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Cat Money

The “tail” of one local animal lover and his Cat House

After the passing of one local animal lover, there are 20 fancy felines in Grant County that are now millionaires. Allan Roswell Patchett, 83, of New Creek, passed away in December 2018 and left behind a will that allots a $1 million dollar trust to ensure the continued care of his cats.

According to his obituary, Patchett was a farmer, who owned hundreds of acres of land in the Grant District of the county. He was a United States Army veteran of the Korean War, a graduate of Potomac State College and a faithful and supportive member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Keyser. He possessed a charitable spirit, asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his honor to The Grant County EMS, Maysville Volunteer Fire Department and Potomac Valley Highland Animal Rescue.

Travis Tritt

Award-winning country music entertainer Travis Tritt is coming to the 2019 Tri-County Fair in Petersburg.

Tritt is performing Tuesday, July 30, at 8 p.m. on the big stage.

Tritt continues to sell out shows and stay true and relevant to country music fans across the globe. A Marietta, Ga. native, he is dubbed one of “The Class of ‘89,” which included country music superstars Garth Brooks, Clint Black and Alan Jackson; all of whom dominated the charts in the early ‘90s.

Among his numerous top 10 hits are “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” “It’s A Great Day to be Alive” and “Here’s a Quarter Call Someone Who Cares.”

The majority of his albums now hold a platinum selling certificate and he has sold millions world- wide and has won four Country Music Association awards.

Tickets may be purchased starting May 8 from the fair’s web site www.tri-countyfair.com or at South Side Depot in Petersburg. Also, for one day only, Wednesday, May 8, tickets may be purchased at the fairgrounds.

Commissioners say new deal will add full-time counselor to the county and will enforce fees on participants

Last week, the Grant County Commission approved a resolution and agreement to continue working with the Mineral County Community Corrections Program.

Commission president Doug Swick said the commissioners had “gone back and forth” over whether or not to sign the agreement. In the past, the group has considered moving the program, which allows those convicted of drug crimes to remain out of jail and receive drug counseling and regular drug testing, to move inside the county.

At a previous meeting, the commission had expressed concern with the distance those in the program have to drive when they need drug counseling. The commission also pointed to the fact that participation in the program costs the county between $46,000 and $48,000 each year and a counselor is available in the county only a few days every week.

Monongahela National Forest fire managers plan to conduct prescribed burns from mid-March through May, weather permitting. The prescribed burns are located in Pendleton, Randolph, Pocahontas, and Greenbrier counties, and total approximately 5,000 acres. This year the Forest Service will also burn brush piles to enhance grazing allotments and wildlife habitat.

The areas planned for prescribed fires this spring include: Ramshorn – east of Green Bank in Pocahontas County; Big Mountain – west and southwest of Cherry Grove in Pendleton County; Brushy Mountain/ Buskirk – north and south of Mapledale in Greenbrier County; Middle Mountain – south of Huntersville in Pocahontas County; Cheat Summit Fort – west of Huttonsville in Randolph County and Pile-burning – various locations in Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and Pendleton counties.

Each burn area will be closed to the public on the day of the burn, and may be closed for several days after to ensure public safety. Signs will be posted on roads near all prescribed burn areas before and during burning. Residents and Forest visitors may see and smell smoke for several days. If you encounter smoke on the highway, slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights and drive appropriately for the conditions.

Prescribed fires are conducted under specific weather conditions and designed to accomplish pre-determined forest management goals. Monongahela National Forest follows strict guidelines for conducting prescribed burns, and takes into consideration environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and wind. If any environmental conditions are not within limits, the burns will be postponed.

For the second year in a row, the West Virginia Legislature has passed a balanced, fiscally responsible budget within the confines of the 60-day regular session – saving taxpayers the cost of an extended budget session.

The Senate passed the amended version of House Bill 2020 on a 19-14 margin Friday, following a 95-5 approval vote in the House of Delegates on Thursday.

“We have said from the very beginning of this session that we would pass a budget within the 60-day session, and we have kept that promise,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. “This budget provides significant investments in our state’s education system, provides a 5-percent average pay raise to our state employees, and funds innovative programs to help put our citizens back to work.”

“This budget is a responsible spending plan that controls spending, provides pay raises to state employees, prioritizes crucial investments in education and provides much-needed tax relief to our seniors and struggling coal industry,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson. “Most of all, completing this budget during the regular session honors our taxpayers and avoids the $35,000-per-day cost of an extended session.”

The $4.675 billion General Revenue Fund budget contains funds for an average 5-percent pay raise for State Police and public employees, and secures funding for the teacher and service worker pay raises that are expected to be approved during the upcoming special session on education betterment. Leadership intends for that session to coincide with regular interim committee meetings later this year, which will avoid additional session costs for taxpayers.

Additionally, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget features:

$10 million for the “last dollar in” West Virginia Invests Grant Program for free community and technical college for state students (Senate Bill 1).

$12.8 million in additional funds for state four-year colleges and universities.

$5 million in additional funds for the state’s community and technical colleges.

$1.5 million in addition funds for local health departments. $500,000 for dash and body cameras for State Police.
$500,000 for child advocacy centers.
Full funding for the state’s PROMISE Scholarship program.
In addition to the new investments, the budget plan also includes the three-year phase out of the state’s income tax on Social Security benefits, as well as the reduction of the severance tax on steam coal from 5 to 3 percent over the coming years.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jim Justice for his consideration.

By Phil Kabler Charleston Gazette

After an otherwise relatively low-key last night to an otherwise tumultuous regular session, the 2019 regular session ended at midnight with the usual motions to adjourn sine die — but also with the unusual twist of being immediately followed by the start of a special session on education reform.

Just when that session will begin in earnest is to be determined. Both houses Sunday adopted House Concurrent Resolution 101, adjourning the special session to an undetermined future date, subject to the call of the House speaker and Senate president.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said afterward that while that could come as early as April, the session most likely will resume in May or June, probably coinciding with regularly scheduled legislative interim meetings.

“It gives us time to reach out to the education community,” he said.

Carmichael said legislators will be heeding Gov. Jim Justice’s call to get feedback from educators, administrators and parents in their home districts prior to the resumption of the special session.

“We’re going to reach out to all the interest groups who previously said they haven’t been involved,” he said, referring to criticism that the Senate’s ill-fated omnibus education bill was crafted without input from state teachers or administrators.

While some elements of the omnibus bill may be incorporated into the special session legislation, Carmichael stressed, “This session will not be about [Senate Bill] 451. It will be a reform agenda.”

When it became clear Senate leadership was not going to budge on 5 percent average pay raises to teachers and school service personnel but no other educational measures (House Bill 2730), Justice issued a proclamation Thursday, calling the Legislature into special session with a broad purpose of education reform generally.

Meanwhile, in a memorable highlight to an otherwise low-energy last night of the session, Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, had a legendary moment, giving a 21-minute mini-filibuster on the Senate to run out the clock on a House Concurrent Resolution calling for an Article V Convention of the States to amend the U.S. Constitution — something he said would be a “nuclear bomb” to the Constitution.

From 11:39 p.m. until the 2019 regular session expired at midnight, Romano spoke nonstop in praise of the founding fathers and the Constitution, and in opposition to what he said would be a wide-open convention to make significant changes to it.

“For all its frailties, our democracy is enduring, and the reason it is, is that piece of parchment,” he said.


Dominion Energy recently awarded the Community Enrichment Network Inc., a Grant County based nonprofit, $5,000 to help provide “Comfort Kits for Kids.” These kits include hygiene products, foods, and clothing for over 230 children in need.

The network serves a five county region of West Virginia, focusing on the needs of children.

The program was one of 27 organizations chosen for funding with over $175,000 throughout West Virginia.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry Investigative Unit has special tools that have proven effective in tracking down arsonists, missing children and lost hikers. They are the crime fighting dogs of Forestry’s K-9 teams.

Assistant State Forester Don Kelley began working with search dogs shortly after joining Forestry in 1993. For the last six years, he has partnered with Raisy, a bloodhound he has trained since she was a few weeks old.

In 2017, Kelley and Raisy were named K-9 Team of the Year during the West Virginia Police Canine Association’s annual training/recertification conference. The crime-fighting dogs are required to pass rigorous tests to certify their tracking skills. The annual certifications are valuable factors in having the dogs’ evidence stand up in courts of law.

Kelley and fellow Division of Forestry investigator John Bird help to train and certify dogs and handlers for Forestry and other organizations. Kelley estimates he has trained around 20 canines for a career in tracking and law enforcement.

The West Virginia teams have also traveled to assist law enforcement agencies in other states. Kelley and Raisy have tackled assignments across the country, including California, Arizona and North Dakota.

In the fall of 2016, Kelley and Raisy helped locate a missing man who had medical issues. Raisy tracked the man’s scent from his home to a drainage ditch more than a mile away. The man was successfully rescued and transported to a nearby hospital.

The Investigative Unit’s K-9 teams have tracked arsonists, reducing the problem of arson fires in rural areas where eye witnesses may be few.

When it comes to tracking crime, Raisy and her partner have the offenders beat by a nose.

Keryn Thompson

Accomplished illustrator and filmmaker Keryn Thompson will visit West Virginia University Potomac State College on Monday, March 25 to discuss the art of filmmaking with the Potomac State Film Club.  The event will be held in the University Place Theater from 6-8 p.m., where Thompson will be screening a film as well as fielding questions about the filmmaking process.  This event is free and open to the public. 

Thompson graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and immediately jumped into a freelance animation and illustration career. Her work was soon featured in major productions such as The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, the Sundance Channel’s Love Lust, and promotional work for Stevie Nicks Crystal Visions.

In 2009, she shifted to focusing on a film career, which resulted in her associate producing the 2009 Sundance feature film Toe to Toe, and producing the critically acclaimed documentary Daddy Don't Go, which was named Best Documentary at the 2016 American Black Film Festival and the 2016 Urbanworld Film Festival.

The Potomac State College Film Club is currently working on its own documentary of the MinCo Heritage Music Festival which is scheduled for this summer.

For questions about the event or the film club, please contact PSC Assistant Professor James Morgart, PhD at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 304.788.7141.

Release from Bordas & Bordas law firm

A Wood County jury returned a verdict of $16,922,000 against Walmart (last) Tuesday.

The case centered a charge that Walmart fails to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition when attempting to apprehend a shoplifter in February 2015, which led to injuries to one of its customers, Diane Ankrom.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its verdict that included $6.5 million in past and future medical expenses and over $10 million in general damages. The jury found Walmart to be 30 percent responsible for the incident and the shoplifter to be 70 percent responsible. The verdict is believed to be one of the largest, if not the largest, verdicts in the history of Wood County on behalf of a single plaintiff.

Jamie Bordas of the Wheeling-based law firm of Bordas & Bordas who served as lead counsel for the plaintiff at trial commented, “It was truly an honor and a privilege to be able to fight for justice for Diane Ankrom. We are hopeful that this jury’s verdict sends a message to large corporations that they are not supposed to put profits over safety. The shoplifter in this incident had merely stolen gloves and had already given them back before Walmart persisted in attempting to detain him in an inappropriate manner that ultimately led to one of its customers being injured.”

Bordas was assisted at trial by his colleague at his firm, John Artimez, and Wood County attorney Todd Wiseman. Wiseman noted, “Diane Ankrom has suffered so much in the past four years. Although this verdict will not take away her injuries or the suffering, it will provide for her medical needs in the future as well as help to balance some of the harm that Walmart’s conduct caused.”

Philip Sbrolla and Matthew Schrebe of the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Cipriani & Werner defended Walmart. Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane presided over the five-day trial.


Petersburg Elementary School students welcomed a surprise visitor to their class last week when Choosy, a friendly leader in lifestyle choices, stopped by to say hello.

“Choosy is a role model who always makes the right choices in regard to nutrition, physical activity and more,” explained Vicki Fertig, nutrition instructor with the West Virginia University Nutrition Progam who is partnered with Choosy Kids LLC and Keys for Healthy Kids.

The topic of medically assisted recovery was the top talking point at the Feb. 27 meeting of the local Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, Anti-Stigma and Recovery (PITAR) community organization. The group is a coalition of multiple local programs, including local churches, law enforcement and county agencies aimed at reducing illegal drug use throughout the region.

The February meeting was attended by Lincoln Wilkins, PhD of Alkermes Pharmaceuticals.

Wilkins presented information on the use of Vivitrol, a prescription medication that blocks the effects of opioids, preventing those struggling with addiction from experiencing a “high” from drug use. The medication also can be used to prevent the effects of heroin.

Editor - Camille Howard;
News Editor - Erin Camp;
Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
Graphic Designer - Jesse Hedrick;
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Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
Circulation - Mary Simmons

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