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TSN celebrates 2010

By Staff | Dec 29, 2010

Another year has come and gone, and in its wake are the headlines of 2010.


Cold temperatures ushered in the ‘new’ year as snow feel throughout Tyler County. In the midst of the storm, authorities searched for a missing teen.

The Paden City Council sought grant funding to cover a variety of worthwhile projects to enhance their community and improve the quality of life for residents.

Veteran and Sistersville resident Bob Tippins (dec.) rallied the community to raise funds for the erection of a Civil war monument on the Courthouse grounds in Middlebourne.

In the second week of 2010, authorities recovered a cache of stolen guns and knives. Circuit Court Judge Mark A. Karl handled a full docket on Jan. 7, hearing a number of cases.

In other news, it was announced that Paden City’s Marble King was among four West Virginia Businesses to receive national recognition for their efforts to reduce energy consumption. Marble King President and CEO Beri Fox accepted the award.

Arrests dominated the headlines of the Jan. 20 issue of the Tyler Star News, as local law enforcement investigated cases involving possession of drugs and firearm theft.

The local chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation held their annual banquet on Jan. 9, where several local members were honored.

Four weeks into 2010, Tyler County Superintendent Jeff Hoover announced his resignation after more than 30 years. Hoover said, “I couldn’t have asked for a more blessed personal and professional life. Tyler County is a place that I am proud to have lived…”

In court, Judge Karl declared a mistrial in the Steven D. Wedekamm case for the second time.


Three pled guilty before Judge Mark A. Karl. Mark A. Blouir, Parkersburg, withdrew his not guilty plea for obtaining money by false pretenses. “I was a licensed contractor and signed a contract and failed to complete the job,” stated Blouir. Judge Karl placed him on two years probation and ordered restitution.

In the second week of February Tyler County was hit by a snowstorm that dumped several inches of snow, dropped temperatures to below freezing and brought with it windy conditions. Thanks to early warning of the coming storm system local city and state road work crews were able to deal with the majority of the cleanup in a timely manner. Downed trees and heavy snow on power lines caused power outages sporadically throughout the county.

The new bus garage project was a headline-making story of February 17. Tyler County Superintendent Jeff Hoover stated to the board that communications with the county commission have been good and the project was moving along. “It’s gonna happen,” commented Hoover, “but it just takes time.”

Michael Walker of Scot Depot pled guilty to felony driving under the influence causing the death of Paul Lyttle III, topping the headlines for February 24. Judge Mark Karl sentenced Walker to no less than two and no more than ten years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for Men. Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee commented that “this case is yet another sad example of proof beyond any doubt that drunk driving is deadly business.”


The Tyler County Board of Education announced that the new superintendent of schools would be Robin Daquilante, formerly principal of Sistersville Elementary School. Daquilante received her undergrad and masters degrees from Salem College and began her career in Tyler County in 1979. “Tyler County has the reputation of excellence in that state of West Virginia and we hope to continue that reputation,” remarked Daquilante.

Noteworthy news of march 10 – Eight members of the Tyler Consolidated High School Chamber Choir performed with the 2010 West Virginia All State Chorus, and spent two days in rehearsals with the guest conductor before giving the closing performance at the state music convention. Members participating included Kelsey Sole, Katie Klages, Emily Moore, Amanda Goodfellow, job Hadley, Greg Gust, Charlie Hamilton and David Chichick.

Star News readers learned about a funding request for upgrades to the Middlebourne Public Library on March 17. Roseanne Eastham and Carol Ann Kucharski spoke to the Tyler County Board of Education, saying that conditions were overcrowded at times, stressing that more room was needed. The Board awarded $7,000 to the public library in 2009, and Treasurer Jeff Davis said he would introduce the new request at the next budget meeting.

Rumors concerning the proposed closure of Paden City High School grabbed the headlines on March 24. A public hearing was scheduled at the school to give people from the community the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions about the future of the school. An anticipated vote on the proposal (the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan) prompted concerned citizens to hold the open forum. “We want everyone to come and wear their green and white” remarked Rodney McWilliams, a spokesperson for the Cornerstone committee and president of the Paden City Foundation.

The arrival in Wetzel County of Air Evac Lifeteam, an independently owned air ambulance provider, was a front page story on March 31. Air Evac Lifeteam provided new employment for 12 to 15 individuals and services communities within a 70-mile radius of Wetzel County. “Emergency care in Wetzel, Tyler and Monroe counties will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a full-time emergency helicopter service,” remarked Wetzel County Hospital CEO George Couch.


Fire destroyed the home of Robert Consol of Little Sancho Road, says the Tyler Star News edition of April 7. The Saturday afternoon fire was noticed by a neighbor, Sarah Patterson, who ran to Consol’s house and alerted him to the conflagration. The structure was declared a total loss.

A local woman was acknowledged in the April 14 edition of the News for her services in the wake of the Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Wetzel/Tyler County Medical Examiner Carla McBee lent her services to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston in examination of the slain miners to determine cause of death. “The families were so brave and wanted to know how we were doing,”noted McBee with amazement. “West Virginians are good people. They are just strong, brave, good people.”

The headline for April 21 read: “Board: PCHS will stay” referring to the vote to keep Paden City High School from consolidation. The Board of Education voted unanimously to remove the provision to close Paden City High School from the ten year Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan. The announcement was met with cheers and tears and an overall sigh of relief, according to the Star News report.

The Tyler Star News ran the names and photographs of registered sex offenders in the April 24 issue of the paper. According to the article, offenders are required by law to register every year with Sex Offender Registry in Charleston during their birth month. Tyler County’s sex offenders are monitored by the State Police Detachment based in Paden City. According to statistics, there were 39 registered offenders residing in Tyler County at the time.


The Knights Chamber Choir took home top honors at the Music in the Park Competition at Blake High School in Baltimore, MD, garnering front page coverage in the May 5 edition of the Tyler Star News. The students were in competition with schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Knights Chamber earned a superior rating from the judges and also had the highest total score of any performance group in the competition, including band, jazz band and orchestras.

Voters in the county elected Eric Vincent as the new Tyler County Commissioner and Teresa “Terry” Hamilton as the County Clerk. On the National Ticket, Michael Oliverio was the Tyler County standout on the Democratic ballot for U.S. House of Representatives with the Republican position going to David McKinley.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Friendly Cemetery on May 15 to pay their respects to 2nd Lt. Jack S. Arnett, a downed WWII pilot whose cremated remains were laid to rest after more than 60 years. The remains of Arnett were recovered in 2005 by the Bent Prop Project, an organization that finds American planes shot down in World War II.

The end of May was a busy one for local communities with a monument honoring Tyler County residents who fought in the Civil War being placed on the Courthouse lawn; the annual Alumni celebrations of graduates of Sistersville High School and their “Spooktacular” plans; and the continuing coverage of Relay for Life of Tyler County events leading up to the main event. Curtis Romine and Chelsea Wells were named as valedictorians for Tyler Consolidated High School and Dorman “Rusty” LeMasters was the salutatorian.

Memorial Day weekend became one of many celebrations as the classes of Sistersville High School gathered to re-connect in their hometown. The dedication of a monument to the Civil War Veterans in Middlebourne drew hundreds to pay their respects. Civil War enactors, an actor portraying Abraham Lincoln, several speakers and a civil war era cannon were present at the dedication, as was the force behind the placing of the monument, Bob Tippins, local veteran.


June brought local graduations to the forefront of the news locally with Paden City High School and Tyler Consolidated each graduating seniors. Allison Bertozzi was selected as the valedictorian for PCHS while Courtney Conaway served as salutatorian. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #6327 presented three graduating seniors with scholarships from their annual scholarship fund.

In other school news, students at A.I. Boreman Elementary raised more than $2,000 for Relay for Life.

George W. Ash led the court news in the June 9 issue of the Tyler Star News. Ash signed a plea agreement, pleading guilty to operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, as well as the felony offense of exposure of children to meth-amphetamine manufacturing by knowingly causing minor children to be present in a location where meth-amphetamine is manufactured. Judge Mark A. Karl sentenced Ash to serve two to ten years for the first count and one to five years on the third count. Also, a Friendly woman, Veronica Myers, was facing felony charges after a routine traffic stop in Sistersville produced 20 stamps of Heroin. She was charged with felony possession of a schedule one controlled substance with the intent to deliver.

Tyler County Grand Jurors returned five new true bills in June: William L. Wright, of Sistersville, was indicted for felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance and the misdemeanor offense of delivery of an imitation controlled substance; Michael L. Mason of Shirley, was indicted on five counts – felony offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, felony offense of fleeing from a police officer in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, felony offense of driving while license suspended or revoked, misdemeanor offense of reckless driving and misdemeanor offense of underage consumption of alcohol; Jason E. Smith, of Middlebourne was charged with two felony offenses of failure to meet an obligation to provide support to a minor; Patrick J. Blavos of Belmont was charged with the felony offense of failure to meet an obligation to provide support to a minor; and Zachary S. Boor, of Middlebourne, was charged with two felony offenses of delivery of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor offense of delivery of an imitation controlled substance.

It was reported also that thanks to money seized in drug arrests and generous donations from the community, law enforcement officers in Tyler County were able to add another useful tool to their belts by way of X26 Tasers.

The end of June brought sadness to the headlines in the county with the deaths both U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, and newspaper friend and mentor, Bob Kelly, managing editor of the Charleston Daily Mail and son of the late Adam Kelly (TSN Editor Emeritus).

Michael Richard Martin and Andrew Scott Laugh, both of Paden City were charged with cultivation of marijuana after they were spotted carrying pots with what appeared to be marijuana near the City Park.


The Historic Wells Inn made the headlines in July with new owners, Charles and Kim Winslow, undertaking the fourth overhaul of the building and business. Having been empty for more than a year, the Winslow’s and their crew committed themselves to revitalizing one of Sistersville’s oldest treasures.

Three defendants, Angela Bennett, Jerry D. Noland and Shawn Long pled guilty before Judge Mark A. Karl. Bennett was charged with the felony offense of malicious assault; Noland pleaded guilty to the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance; and Long was charged with second offense of battery on a police officer and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Timothy J. Channell was indicted by the grand jury of committing the felony offense of malicious assault; Jason E. Smith was indicted for failure to meet obligation to provide support to a minor.

The new Superintendent of Tyler County Schools, Robin L. Daquilante was sworn in to office early in July, having served in both teaching and principal positions in Tyler County before taking on the office. The Tyler County Courthouse received much needed improvement after the County Commission was awarded a grant in the amount of $95,000 to do restorations to the historic building.

Kelsey Waybright of Ripley, took the crown at the 2010 West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival.

It was a tempest in a tea-cup in Paden City as tempers flared at the Paden City Council meeting with issues dealing with appointments to the Park and Pool Commission at the forefront.

The death of respected Tyler Countian and Army veteran, Brian Reed, of Friendly was reported in the July 28 issue of the Tyler Star News. Reed, 41 was killed in a motorcycle accident in Pleasants County on June 26.


Keri Jean Suter,16, being crowned as queen of the 48th Annual Tyler County Fair headlined the first newspaper of the month. Ariel Rachelle Fish was crowned the Jr. Miss at the Fair and Clinton Conrad and Jocelyn Foltz were selected as the Prince and Princess.

The Tyler County Fair news was not just of queens, quilts and livestock this year as the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call advising that a bomb was to explode on the fairgrounds. The fairgrounds were evacuated and the Sheriff’s Office, Middlebourne Fire Dept., Shirley Fire Dept., Middlebourne EMS, West Virginia State Police and the Tyler County Fair board members checked all areas and the fairgrounds were re-opened to the public approximately an hour later.

The Stealey Community Fund awarded grants totaling $198,722 for 20 projects to benefit the Middlebourne area. The largest beneficiary is the Middlebourne Parks and Recreation Facilities, Inc. Also receiving funding were: Adams House Ministries, Council of Senior Tyler Countians, Inc. and Tyler County 4-H leaders, among others.

Paden City Council once again revisited arguments of old as appointment issues resurfaced causing heated confrontations to interrupt usual business.

In August, members of the Sistersville American Legion Post 67 family announced awards they had received at the state convention in June. Post 67 took seven of the top 10 awards presented at the convention which represented 106 chapters in the state.

The Tyler Star News itself was on the receiving end of awards during this time as well, with the West Virginia Press Association awarding the newspaper recognition in several areas.

WRSG Knights 91.5, the radio station at Tyler Consolidated High School, announced they were seeking donations for an automation system at the station that will allow music to be played at all times without an operator physically on hand.

In court news, Sabastian J. E. Rosenlieb of Sistersville, entered a guilty plea to malicious assault and reckless driving on Aug. 13 before Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. in Tyler County County Circuit Court. Rosenlieb was charged by a Grand Jury in Oct. of 2009 concerning an incident occurring on Sept. 9, 2009.

The Union Bank employees and directors were recognized during Meet the Team night at Tyler Consolidated for their continued support of all Silver Knight programs at the school. The Union Bank sponsored the new scoreboard placed at Knight Stadium for use by students and programs.


Bell Chevrolet, one of 17 suspended GM auto dealerships across the state, recently learned that it won its arbitration case and will stay open to serve the community and the surrounding area. As part of a federal government takeover following bankruptcy, Congress forced General Motors Corporation into arbitration with hundreds of dealerships chosen to lose their franchise. “We are very excited to have this behind us and return to the family of GM dealers,” Bell said. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous support our employees, customers and the entire Ohio Valley extended to us during this time of uncertainty.”

The Tyler County Drug Enforcement Taskforce and the Family Resource Network are teaming up to take part in a national initiative to help residents dispose of their outdated and unused prescription drugs. A national “take-back” day has been scheduled for Sept. 25 and is intended to heighten awareness of prescription drug abuse. (Misuse of) “prescription drugs are one of the biggest drug problems here in Tyler County,” said Tyler County Sheriff Bob Kendle. The program is anonymous and all efforts will be made to protect the identity of individuals disposing of medications.

The Tyler County Sheriff’s office recently received awards from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program for their involvement in the statewide efforts to curb impaired driving. The TCSO participated in the federally funded DUI Patrol Grant administered by the State of West Virginia from Feb. 1 through June 30. During this period, deputies made a total of 522 stops which resulted in 3 DUI arrests, 10 misdemeanor arrests, two felony arrests and two drug arrests.

A Friendly man was arrested on Sept. 15 after he allegedly broke into a neighbor’s home and bit his face. Harry Strudwick, 69, allegedly gained unlawful entrance into the residence of a 70-year old man for the purposes of attacking him. he is charged with felonious malicious assault and felonious daytime entering without breaking. According to Trooper First Class S.R. Curran of the WV State Police, Strudwick attacked the victim while he was sleeping and is accused of biting the victim’s face.

The 27th annual Middle Island Harvest Festival will kick off on Oct. 1 and run through Oct. 3 with plenty of family-friendly activities slated to celebrate the beginning of the fall season. Held at the fairgrounds in Middlebourne, the three-day festival will feature daily attractions including a Harvest Princess contest, pumpkin decorating and scarecrow contests, a baking contest and a muzzleloader shoot.


Tensions were high in Paden City on Monday evening as 13 residents met to protest against a business located within the city limits. According to Paden City Police Chief Michael Billiter, Ptl. Michael Owens received several complaints of loud music resonating from Days Gone By, a local pub, on the evening of Oct. 2. The owners were made aware of the violation upon the first call. Billiter reported the business could face a total of 11 citations in city court for breach of peace, an offense with an initial fine of $110.

A top story the week of October 13 was a two vehicle accident involving a private vehicle and a school bus belonging to Tyler County Board of Education. The accident occurred at the north end of Middlebourne at the intersection of Rt. 18 and Old State Road. Ambulances from Middlebourne, Alma and Sistersville EMS were dispatched to the scene. Of the 29 students and drivers on the school bus, six children were injured along with the driver of a 2001 Dodge Durango. The bus sustained minimal damage and the Durango received moderate damages. The accident was investigated by Tyler County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the WV State Police.

An EMS bond levy was in the news the week of October 20. Failing by a slim margin during the primary election in May,Patricia Burdette, chief financial officer of Sistersville General Hospital, addressed Tyler County Commission in the hope of getting the message to the public.

The Sistersville Community Theatre Players will present Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” at 7 p.m. on Friday at Fox Business & Activity Center in downtown Sistersville. Starring Kelly Williams and Judy Light as Florence Unger and Olive Madison, the play chronicles the woes of two friends who came to live together following their failed marriages. The production is under the direction of Lisa Fox.


Business owner Jon Baker addressed the Paden City Council Monday to clean the air. It was standing room only as citizens in support of Baker and Days Gone By Sports Pub congregated to hear Baker’s comments. “I came here tonight not to yell, argue or demand anything, instead I came here to give some insight on the little business that has caused so much stir lately,” Baker said. After addressing council in defense of his business practices, Baker said that he would be willing to answer questions posed by the city council, however Mayor Bill Fox informed him nothing would be resolved during the meeting.

The Sistersville Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a variance which could allow an engineering firm to develop on a vacant lot previously zoned as residential. Representatives from the engineering firm C.M. LLC presented the planning commission and the residents gathered with diagrams and drawings for the construction of a Family Dollar store on the vacant lot adjacent to the Sistersville IGA and VFW Post 6327.

Plans for the annual Sistersville Christmas Parade on Dec. 3 were the main topic of conversation at the monthly meeting of the Sistersville Community Service Organization on Monday (Nov. 15). The theme for the parade is “The Sounds of Christmas.”

A Middlebourne man will have a minimum of ten years in prison to contemplate his felonious actions toward two children. Judge David Hummel sentenced Eric John Fisher, 47, of Elk Fork Road to ten to twenty years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for crimes of a sexual nature alleged to have occurred several years ago. When asked by Judge Hummel if the prosecution agreed with the terms of the plea agreement, Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee agreed the solution was fair on two levels: justice was served in that Fisher would spend the next 10 to 20 years of his life behind bars with no chance of parole for at least 10 years, and the two young victims in the case would not have to endure the stress of being under the public eye for the duration of the case and beyond.


The courtroom at the Tyler County Courthouse could receive much-needed improvements should an application for grant funding send money to the county. County Commission Charles “Pork” Smith signed a resolution Monday morning after the commission-at-large approved a motion for him to submit an application requesting money through the West Virginia Courthouse Facility Improvement Authority.

Though nothing official was read into the minutes, Paden City Recorder Larry Shepherd tendered a resignation letter to Mayor Bill Fox on Monday evening amidst controversy and rumors. Questions concerning the city’s financial books as well as delinquent bills and past due notices prompted Mayor Fox to suggest a special meeting be held for the finance committee to review the City’s bills. The council moved to set a meeting.

The Sistersville Police Department is once again at full force with the recent employment of Patrolman A. J. Thomas. Thomas graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and Business Management. After graduating from the 16-week training course at the WV State Police Academy, Thomas can count his law enforcement certification among his accomplishments.

Melody Glasscock, Family Resource Network director, addressed Tyler County Commission on Tuesday concerning the National Youth Leadership Initiative, a pilot program in West Virginia whose purpose is drug, alcohol and tobacco education/prevention for youth. Six Tyler County youth are participating in the program. A four-day trip to a leadership training workshop in Washington, D.C. is in the planning stages. The commission voted in favor of sponsoring a participant to the event.