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An Elk Garden man found himself not only under arrest but also in the hospital after attempting to flee from Grant County deputies two weeks ago. The driver was identified as Corey Austin Bircher.

The incident occurred on April 20, when Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy L.G. Greenwalt was conducting a routine road patrol in the Mount Storm area.

While there, Greenwalt observed a motorcycle traveling at an “extremely high rate of speed” and passing in a no passing zone.

Greenwalt attempted to stop the motorcycle, who then began to flee. Greenwalt pursued the motorcycle on Route 42 in Mount Storm and continued on Route 50 into Mineral County.

GMH Nurses
HARD WORKERS - Participating in the National Hospital Week events were night shift RNs at GMH: Melinda Vance, Ashley Sherman, Jessica Crawford, Cassandra Chenoweth and Susie Long.

Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg hosted multiple events last week in honor of National Hospital Week.

“We want to show our appreciation for our staff and let them take a few moments to take a breath,” said head nurse Kim Linville. “To just take a moment to say thank you for all their hard work.”

The hospital recognizes the week each year, with events that allow employees to sit down with the hospital administration and includes a cook-out by the maintenance staff.

This year’s National Nurses Day, which fell on May 6, included the motto “Nurses: it’s in our nature to care.”

Each event is hosted twice, once for the day shift staff and once for the night shift staff.

“The week also helps to bring awareness to the community about how hard the staff works,” Linville said. “People know we are here, but what they forget is that we are here rain, shine or snow storm, on family birthdays and on holidays. Our staff sacrifice a lot because we want to be here, because we care and we want to help.”

Next week marks the start of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) week. The week is intended to provide community knowledge and employee appreciation throughout the various EMS departments in the county.

“EMS is a vital part of the community, that helps to keep everyone safe,” said Grant County Ambulance director Bobby Funk. “These men and women work long and strange hours. They spend a lot of time away from their families responding to emergency calls and participating in training.”

Terry Shobe
DEDICATION - Nan Kesner, a member of the Grant County Rehabilitation and Care Center board and independent living resident, Terry and Pam Shobe, board chairman Dick Longbon, director Kari Evans and Charlie and Nancy Heck, independent living residents, stand in front of the newly dedicated sign at the Terry Shobe Independent Housing and Retirement Campus in Petersburg.

A new sign was erected earlier this month to officially name the Grant Rehabilitation and Care Center’s independent living community after the facility’s first and longest-serving director, Terry Shobe.

Shobe served as the director at the GRCC for more than 30 years before retiring in 2017.

While the name may be new, the independent housing community actually welcomed its first resident in 1997. It consists of five homes owned and operated by the GRCC.

“Our independent living community is a great asset to the community,” Evans said. “It allows residents to maintain a lot of independence while also participating in activities and receiving support from the care center.”

Evans also said that residents in the community are able to receive meals and be expedited to a nursing home bed if it becomes necessary.

"It is a great option for some people," Evans said. "But a lot of people do not know it is here, but it is here."

More than 3,000 Grant County voters made their way to the polls last week to cast their primary ballots for multiple county and state positions. Of those voters, 2,716 (more than 89 percent) were Republican.

County Commission

One of the most widely contested positions was the open seat for county commissioner. The incumbent, Phyllis Cole, announced early in the political season her decision to not seek re-election.

From there, four Republican candidates filed for the race: Scotty Miley, Charles Goldizen Jr., Boyd Sites and Bobby Funk.

Miley, who resigned from his position as president of the Grant County Board of Education to run for the commission seat, won with approximately 42 percent of the vote. Miley amassed 1,123 votes.

There are no Democratic candidates contesting Miley for the seat; however, it is still possible for third party candidates to enter.

As of now, no one else is registered.

Board of Education

Due to Miley’s resignation from the board of education, four seats were up for election. Incumbents Janie Berg (Grant District), Jared Amtower (Union District) and Hugh Harris (Milroy District) each sought re-election for the three regularly scheduled seat openings. 

Nine candidates ran for the board: Pandora Barr, Amtower, Charles Shreve, Harris, Berg, Carla Kaposy, Matt Allanson, Lee Thompson and Greg Bible.

Earlier this week, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department issued a public advisement concerning all terrain vehicles (ATV) usage in the county.

“We have already had several severe ATV accidents and dirt bike accidents this year,” explained Deputy S. Wratchford in the release. “As well as complaints on ATVs operating wrecklessly and obnoxiously. We will be stepping up enforcement on this issue.”

Along with his release, Wratchford also included these laws concerning ATV usage:

Laws sited by the department were:

§17F-1-1. Acts prohibited by operator; penalties for violations.

(a) No all-terrain vehicle may be operated in this state:

(1) On any interstate highway except by public safety personnel responding to emergencies;

(2) On any road or highway with a center line or more than two lanes except for the purpose of crossing the road, street or highway, if:

(A) The crossing is made at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the highway and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing;

(B) The vehicle is brought to a complete stop before crossing the shoulder or main traveled way of the highway;

(C) The operator yields his or her right-of-way to all oncoming traffic that constitutes an immediate potential hazard; and

(D) Both the headlight and taillight are illuminated when the crossing is made if the vehicle is so equipped;

(3) With more than one passenger unless more passengers are allowed under manufacturers’ recommendations;

(4) With a passenger under the age of 18, unless the operator has at a minimum a level two intermediate driver’s license or its equivalent or is 18 years of age or older;

(5) Unless riders under the age of 18 are wearing size appropriate protective helmets that meet the current performance specifications established by the American National Standards Institute standard, 90.1, the United States Department of Transportation federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 218 or Snell safety standards for protective headgear for vehicle users;

(6) Anytime from sunset to sunrise without an illuminated headlight or lights and taillights;

(7) Without a manufacturer-installed or equivalent spark arrester and a manufacturer-installed or equivalent muffler in proper working order and properly connected to the vehicle’s exhaust system; or

(8) Unless operating in compliance with the provisions of section two of this article.

(b) An all-terrain vehicle may be operated upon the shoulder, or as far to the right on the pavement as possible when there is not enough shoulder to safely operate, on any road, street or highway referred to in subdivision (2), subsection (a) of this section other than an interstate highway for a distance not to exceed 10 miles to travel between a residence or lodging and off-road trails, fields and areas of operation, including stops for food, fuel, supplies and restrooms, if:

(1) The vehicle is operated at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less; and

(2) The vehicle is operated at any time from sunset to sunrise the all-terrain vehicle must be equipped with headlights and taillights which must be illuminated.

(c) Operation of an all-terrain vehicle in accordance with subsection (b) shall not constitute operation of a motor vehicle on a road or highway of this state as contemplated by the provisions of section seven of this article.

(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, a municipality, county or other political subdivision of the state may authorize the op- eration of all-terrain vehicles on certain specified roads, streets or highways which are marked with centerline pavement mark- ings, other than interstate high- ways, to allow participation in parades, exhibitions and other special events, in emergencies or for specified purposes.

During their May meeting, the Petersburg City Council issued several reminders to citizens concerning local ordinances.

One of these ordinances addressed concerned the growth of weeds, grass and vegetation. Mayor Gary Michael explained that it was illegal for citizens to blow their clipped grass into the streets and sidewalks. He said that the grass can get into the sewer system and cause issues.

They also discussed issues related to uncut grass in the residential areas of the city. Grass can not exceed 12 inches in height at any place on the property. Warnings, citations and fines will be imposed for excessive grass growth.

Also addressed were the rules concerning abandoned and “junk” vehicles. The council defined “junk” vehicles as any vehicle that is not validly registered and has been inoperative or incapable of being driven for a period of 10 days. This also addressed abandoned vehicles, or any vehicle that is inoperable and has been left unattended for 10 days or more on public property.

The council said they are willing to hear from citizens who feel they may have an exception to the “junk” vehicle rule. For example, in the case of a citizen rebuilding an an- tique vehicle.

Patrick Pratt

Patrick Pratt of Moorefield, was arrested last Tuesday after he allegedly committed an armed robbery on Mountain View Street in Petersburg.

The incident occurred early in the morning and was investigated by Deputy A. Berg and Chief Deputy S. Wratchford of the Grant County Sheriff's Department.

After arriving at the scene, Pratt was identified by the victim and witnesses and deputies were informed that the suspect had fled the scene in a vehicle.

A short time later, Hardy County law enforcement units were able to locate Pratt and he was transported to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.

Pratt was charged with armed robbery, wanton endangerment, daytime burglary and being in possession of a firearm.

Officers determined the incident was isolated and stemmed from a domestic situation. However, the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending. 

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