2018: A Year In Review
The year 2018 is almost history, and thus, your Tyler Star News staff reflects on 12 months of news in Tyler County.
We hope you enjoy our annual recap, as we share pieces of just some of the stories we reported on in 2018. We look forward to bringing you the local news in 2019, and we wish our readers a Happy New Year.
In January 2018, the Tyler Star News interviewed Gladys Gregg, proprietor of The Jug. Gregg explained how her family had owned and maintained the Jug property throughout its entire existence. Gregg also warmly recollected her growing-up years in Tyler County, ice skating during the winter and swimming in the creek during the summer.
In January, the Tyler Star News spoke to Pastor Darrell Mayfield and his wife Betty about their blind dog, Buster – short for Bartimeaus. The Mayfields spoke about the how Buster brings out the love in people and how he visits residents at local nursing homes and patients at local hospitals.
A winter storm brought flooding to Tyler County in January 2018. Meanwhile, the Tyler County Board of Education grappled with how to deal with many school cancellations from Winter 2018.
Middlebourne residents were given notices to clean up their properties, and the Tyler County Commission discussed the upcoming Fire and EMS levy elections.
The Tyler County Development Authority discussed possible locations for the potential Appalachian Storage Hub, per a study that had been conducted. At the January meeting, a collection of individuals had expressed concerns about possible damages to the environment, if a storage hub would be constructed in the area.
The Tyler Star News highlighted the Stealey-Green Community Center in Middlebourne, noting improvements made at the facility – fresh carpet, new additions to the game room, padded walls, and more.
Tyler County received a couple of late Christmas gifts in February, as county representatives received funds to aid with the expense of the Route 18 water service extension project. Also, funds were awarded to help with the county’s broadband expansion.
The Tyler Star News spoke to Ron Fletcher, current proprietor of The Farmers Exchange, which has been a familiar sight for Tyler Countians for nearly a century. Fletcher reflected on earlier days of the store, when his uncle sold John Deere Tractors out of the showroom of the building.
A special graduation ceremony was held at Paden City High School in February. Carloss Gray, 90-years-old, left high school to serve his country during World War II. A large crowd gathered to watch as he received his honor.
The Tyler Star News checked out the Middlebourne Wellness Center, located adjacent to the senior center on Cherry Street in Middlebourne. The center is operated by Pam Farhatt.
February was also the month educators, including those in Tyler County, conducted a work stoppage, speaking out for higher pay and insurance benefits, among other issues.
Improvements to the county’s 4-H grounds continued in February, while Tyler Countians became excited about the impending opening of Middlebourne’s B&B Buffet.
Teachers and service personnel in Tyler County, and throughout the entire state, returned to classrooms in March, as lawmakers agreed to a 5-percent raise for workers.
Also in March, Art Mason was sworn in as a board member for the Tyler County Board of Education. Heather Rice was appointed as Interim Recorder for The City of Sistersville after the departure of Chad Edwards.
Also in Sistersville, Sistersville Police Department requested donations as the department worked to make room for K-9 Thor. Thor’s handler, Chief Rob Haught, needed to make renovations to his police cruiser, to accommodate his fellow officer.
The annual Ham, Bacon, Eggs, and Bread Sale yielded more than $51,000 for Tyler County FFA in March, while Arthur I. Boreman Elementary School prepared for its annual Celebrating the Arts Night.
Paden City dealt with water system woes in March, as Mayor Ken Stead explained the brown water the city has been dispensing is safe to drink. It was noted the tanks have been running close to empty, due to a failing telemetry system.
Anticipated upgrades to the water system were projected to cost $5 million, which would require a water rate increase.
Sisters gathered in the City of Sistersville in March for the 2018 Sisters Fest.
Meanwhile, several years-worth of debate on the County Home came to a climax as Peggy George, president of the Tyler County Restoration Committee, met with county commissioners. George requested the commissioners write a letter stating that they had given her committee permission to raise and grant write from January 2016 to December 2020 for the buying of materials to mothball the county home.
At this meeting the commission discussed the future of the home – whether to rehabilitate the building, sell the property, etc.
In March, it was learned that the state’s Division of Natural Resources had agreed to commit $3 million to restoring access and recreational opportunities at The Jug Wildlife Management Area. Improvements to the existing low water bridge and development of improved access for kayaking, canoeing and float fishing were all parts of the DNR’s plan.
The Wetzel Chronicle, Tyler Star News, and Green Tab welcomed Eric Anderson as publisher in April.
Talk on the county home continued as Ridge 2 River Realty’s Steve Zechman said he strongly felt the property should remain owned by the county. Zechman said adding another land owner between the grade school and fair grounds would complicate matters. He said the building should be carefully torn down and the land restored, adding “the real resource is the land.”
Also in April, a scholarship was created by Union Bank in honor of the late Gary R. Davis, who was a long-time community banker.
Susie’s Crafts in Paden City announced its imminent closure in April.
Pinwheels were planted across lawns of various businesses and organizations, in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The county celebrated National Library Week – celebrating local book havens in Middlebourne and Sistersville.
Meanwhile, Indian Creek Christian School personnel held a community forum to spread the word on its plans for opening for the 2018-2019 school year, and People’s Bank marked its 40th Annual Academic Awards program.
The Republican Executive Committee held its annual Lincoln Day Dinner in April as well.
In the fifth month of 2018, Tyler Consolidated students Hattie Murphy and Sabrina Smith celebrated a first place finish at the West Virginia State Social Studies Fair, while Paden City High School was the location for a career day hosted by United States Senator Joe Manchin’s office.
The area marked the National Day of Prayer in May, and the Tri-County Combating Addiction With Grace group planned a Community Outreach Day, in hopes of spreading drug addiction awareness and offering resources for combating addiction. As part of the National Day of Prayer services, Secretary of State Mac Warner spoke to Tyler County residents from the courthouse steps.
Tyler Consolidated’s bands celebrated success in Spring 2018, as the Tyler Star News published reports in May regarding superior ratings given at the Annual Region I Band Festival.
The 2018 Primary Election was held in May, and Mike Smith received the Republican nod for county commission, while Democrat Julia Archer captured her party’s nomination. The Fire and EMS Levies passed by large margins, while Katrina Byers, Larry Thomas, and Dave Roberts won three vacant seats on the Tyler County Board of Education.
Also in May, Paden City Police Officer Raphe Bailes was recognized for life saving actions.
In other Tyler County Courthouse happenings, Mike Britton retired after 32 years of service in maintenance.
Local high schools marked annual commencement ceremonies in May. Luke Daugherty was announced as the Silver Knights’ valedictorian, while Amanda Reynolds received salutatorian honors.
Sistersville High School marked its annual alumni festivities in May, and the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were the recipients of an American Flag, courtesy of the American Legion.
Tyler Consolidated High School Band received a check in the amount of $5,000 for being named grand champions of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Parade, held May 19.
The Silver Knights also shone brightly in the form of Shianne Ferrell, who was named Miss Knight.
Sistersville Elementary School showcased its historical wax museum, while Relay for Life was held at the track at Arthur I. Boreman.
The Tyler Star News showcased the top of Paden City’s Class of 2018, as we ran biographies on co-valedictorians Aubrey Neff and Levi Goddard, as well as salutatorian Joshua Glover in June.
Tyler County Board of Education recognized its outstanding teachers and staff in June. Tyler County’s Teachers of the Year were Michelle Beagle, Erica Shirer, Jami Nelson, and Bryce Negie.
The United States Attorney’s Office announced the indictments of 31 people who were allegedly involved in a drug ring. Several of those individuals were from Tyler County.
This concludes our review of Tyler County news for the first half of 2018. Our Jan. 2 edition of the Tyler Star News will conclude our “2018: A Year in Review,” as we look back on the news from July through December 2018.