2017… A Year In Review
The year 2017 brought much news to Tyler County. Check out a portion some of the news-making stories below.
In January of 2017 the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department hired a two-year-old male German Shepherd to replace the department’s old narcotics dog, which was no longer able to perform her duties. Sheriff Bob Kendel retired from the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office and was given permission to keep his gun upon retirement.
Also, at the start of the year, Senator Mike Maroney paid a visit to Middlebourne where he sat down with local constituents and discussed county and state level topics that affect our area.
OSHA investigated a well pad accident which resulted in the death of a Jane Lew man.
A new Sistersville ambulance service was a hot topic as there was a special meeting held to discuss the terms of the ambulance service. Mayor Bill Rice explained, “Council will deliberate an indemnity clause that would absolve the city from any liability that may be created by this ambulance service a move that will protect the city from potential legal claims.” When council met on Jan. 10, tempers flared between the mayor, the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department and organizers of the ambulance service.
Tyler County commissioners joined, along with five other counties, with law firm Gold, Khoury and Turak to take action in the form of a lawsuit against opioid companies throughout the state.
The life of a local child was tragically lost due to a house fire. Later a fundraiser was held to help the family with their unfathomable loss. A family member of the child later stated that West Virginia is a special place to live “because of the support.”
Paden City Police Chief Bob Postlethwait submitted his resignation after a short run as chief. Postlethwait had taken over the police chief position in March of 2016 in wake of the suspension of the previous police chief.
Sistersville city council approved the sale of Sistersville General Hospital to Wheeling Hospital for $5.5 million. The sale was anticipated to enhance and increase medical services in the Tyler County facility. Boreman student Layla Williamson held a piggy bank fundraiser with proceeds going to the Tyler County Restoration Committee to be used towards the restoration of the county home.
Tyler Consolidated High School held their annual Ham, Bacon and Egg sale which totaled $45,451 raised towards scholarships.
Middlebourne received a check from EQT in the amount of $15,000 to be used towards the city parks department. “EQT has a longstanding commitment to giving back to our neighbors in the areas where we operate” stated April Black of EQT.
April was Child Abuse Prevention month and pinwheels were placed throughout the county in support of this cause. WV Partners in Prevention, The Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, Wetzel County Family Resource Network, Tyler County Family Resource Network and the Tyler County Prevention Coalition joined forces to ensure that the children of Tyler County are safe and abuse free.
The 39th Annual People’s Bank Awards were held to recognize the top students throughout the county. The awards recognized student who were in the top 15 percent of their class. The event took place over two separate nights, one night for grades 5-8 and another night for grades 9-12.
The Tyler County PSD announced that they will be extending water lines as far as Boreman Elementary School.
Easter Egg hunts were held all around the county with the Easter Bunny himself making appearances in both Middlebourne and Sistersville.
Sistersville Police Officer Rob Haught got a new companion in Thor, a newly purchased police dog. Haught had become one of the original K-9 handlers in the area when he purchased his dog Mauser. Mauser had been with the police force for 14 years before his passing. Haught felt that it was time to get another police companion and so he purchased Thor from a long line of K-9 working dogs.
In May we were introduced to the Valedictorians and Salutatorians of the county. Valedictorians were Jennifer Lynch of Tyler Consolidated and Alexandria Glover of Paden City. The Salutatorians were Justin Brinkmeier of Tyler Consolidated and Haden Hizer of Paden City. Congratulations again to these students.
Bob Kendle was hired as the Police Chief in Paden City. Kendle had previously retired from the Tyler County Sheriff’s office in January but decided that he was not ready to hang up the handcuffs just yet.
The 118th anniversary of Sistersville High School was held and Sistersville celebrated with a “Neverland” themed parade and weekend. The guest speaker this year was Brian Swisher and people traveled from all over to catch this tradition that has been a part of Sistersville’s history for so long.
Memorial services were held throughout the county including Middlebourne, Sistersville and Paden City to pay respects to fallen soldiers during memorial weekend. Crosses were also donated and placed in several cemeteries as a reminder of those who lost their lives in order to protect ours.
In June, students took a trip to visit the WVU Arboretum and were given a tour by TCHS alumnus Dr. Zach Fowler. Fowler is a 1997 graduate of Tyler Consolidated and is now the Director of the Core Arboretum. The field trip was an exciting and educational time for current Tyler Consolidated students.
Tyler County was added to the WV Polymer Alliance Zone. Initial efforts by the Tyler County Development Authority to gain Tyler County’s inclusion in the PAZ began in 2001. PAZ has one of the highest concentrations of high-technology, specialty and engineering polymers production in the world.
June was also a month for book publishing as two local authors brought their stories to life. Author Joe Griffith told of his reflection on the completion of a personal challenge with his book “34 Miles in One Day” Lynn Eagle wrote her book “The Lyrics of My Life: Music, Ministry and Soaring with the Eagles” which is a reflection of her times growing up in Sistersville.
Paden City High School held its alumni weekend in June. It was also the first year for the ALS Awareness walk held at the park walking trail.
July saw the implementation of Dave Snively, Tyler County’s newest extension agent.
Meanwhile, the Tyler County Commission purchased the old Soil and Conservation building to use for the new sheriff’s department. The building, located behind the car wash in Middlebourne, was purchased for $202,401.90 with an additional $16 in recorder fees.
The Tyler County Commission appointed David Kelly as the new county commissioner. Kelly was appointed to finish out the term for retired commissioner Charles “Pork” Smith.
Despite damages caused by a storm just the night before, Sistersville’s Picnic in the Park was a huge success.
July also saw the crowning of the 49th Annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival Queen, Emily Wigal. Also, the Third Annual Ohio Riverboat Ferry Festival was held despite a debris filled river. The festival featured a petting zoo along with vendors and free swimming at the Sistersville pool. Music from Almost Famous Bluegrass, High Street Jazz, and Todd Roddey was featured throughout the weekend. Elaine Berger was recognized as the Ohio River Ferryboat Festival Queen.
Ariel Fish was crowned the Tyler County Fair Queen.
Joe Griffith and his family traveled eight hours to Tennesse to experience totality during the August 2017 solar eclipse.
The Tyler County Fair continued into the first week of August, with plenty of thrills for everyone. Luctricia White was invited to be a part of the fair’s rodeo, as part of her Make-A-Wish request.
August also brought a visit from David McKinley, who met with elected officials.
Amy Meko, self-taught artist and photographer, was honored to feature her creations at the Grave Creek Mound Museum.
Tina Lancaster was hired as the new manager of the Tyler County Public Service District after Bob Patterson retired with 15 years of service.
Meanwhile, the OEM worked with the National Weather Service to develop a weather briefing system.
In Sistersville, Mayor Bill Rice informed council members that six residents were prosecuted for water theft. These individuals were taking hoses and other materials to bypass the water meter in order to run unregistered water. This unregistered water accounted for a large percentage of Sistersville’s overall water loss.
The Sistersville Oil and Gas Festival along with Marble Fest was a huge success for the community, and Danielle Grimes was crowned the 2017 Tyler County High School Queen.
Chief Jim Holler educated Tyler Consolidated Students on the dangers of social networking through a special assembly titled “Social Networking:The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!” The event was funded through a grant awarded to the Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center by the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley.
Marissa Gogan was crowned Middle Island Harvest Festival Queen.
At Paden City High School, the Fourth Annual Cardboard Boat Race Regatta was held.
West Virginia voters said “yes” to Gov. Jim Justice’s “Road to Prosperity” plan to revitalize the state’s highways, job prospects and economy, and Ken Stead was sworn in as Paden City’s new mayor.
The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office announced that they will again participate in the “Shop With a Cop” program. Ten students are chosen form A.I.B and will be paired with a deputy and provided with $250 to spend on gifts for their family and also on themselves.
The town of Middlebourne acquired the deed to the pink building located on Main Street to demolish the eyesore and hazard, and the Bens Run area of Tyler County is named one of the top three sites for an underground natural gas storage facility.
Special recognition was given to first responder Dave Cooper who recently removed Asia Keller from a burning vehicle and resuscitated her back to consciousness. Cooper was presented a plaque from going above and beyond the call of duty.
Also in November, Katy Wells was selected as Grand Marshall for the 2017 Christmas parade held in Middlebourne.
To honor the tragic passing of Beau Patterson, his great aunt Janice McMullen sewed well over 60 blankets to donate to the Arthur N. Gutske Shelter for youth. The shelter houses children between the ages of six to 18 years old who have been removed from their homes due to an unsafe environment.
Meanwhile, 14 organizations in the Sistersville and greater Tyler County area was awarded grant funds totaling $111,470 from Harry E. And Olive T. Barth Charitable Trust. The Barth’s established the Trust to extend their dedication to the Sistersville are after their death. Through this, the Barth’s interest is in supporting animals, community organizations and beautification efforts can continue for all time.
Rover Pipeline Spokesperson Alexis Daniel presented a $10,000 donation supporting local first responders at the Tyler County Emergency Management.
The Tyler County School Levy renewal passed with a total of 511 in favor while 70 were opposed. The levy election was for a five-year renewal for day-to-day operating expenditures of the school system.
In December, Sixth District Delegate Roger Romine announced that he will not seek re-election to the 2018 West Virginia House of Delegates.