2020: Year in Review
By LEANN COCHRAN
As we look back over the past year, it could be said that no one expected what 2020 handed us. January 2020 seems almost a distant memory of when life was easier. Masks were not required to enter a grocery store or restaurant, New Year’s Eve parties were held without hesitation, and Times Square was full of people anxiously awaiting the start of a brand new year.
2020 was full of twists and turns, but we as a community have learned to handle those curves with ease. We were forced to slow down. More home-cooked family meals were shared in 2020. Students began Summer break a few months early. Those individuals who were able stepped up to help high-risk neighbors, family, and friends by shopping and delivering groceries and necessities right to their doorsteps.
2020 brought us a greater appreciation for those who work on the front-lines to keep the community safe. The EMS workers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and police officers continued to work throughout the pandemic to help others while putting themselves and even their families at risk.
The grocery store owners and employees worked long and tirelessly to acquire essentials – and, of all things, toilet paper – during a national shortage that proposed new challenges of it’s own.
The gas station and restaurant employees continued to work throughout the pandemic to provide the community services that are needed.
The teachers, still responsible for the students’ learning, found ways to bring lessons and information to kids without being in a classroom. The school employees worked together to ensure students were fed, even while school wasn’t in session.
This year will make history books, and personal stories will be handed down for generations to come.
Here’s a look back on the up’s and down’s 2020 handed us.
∫ Tyler Consolidated High School Boys Basketball defeated Valley with a score of 70-68 after going into overtime in the Boggs Roundball Classic consolation game. The Knights girls also took the win over Valley in the consolation game with a score of 23-16.
∫ The Paden City Girls Basketball team travelled to Meadow Bridge for a WVHIT game, outscoring the Travelers 57-18.
∫ The Sistersville Nature Seekers 4-H Club attended WVU Day at the Legislature. Members Kate Gorrell, Madeline Tarnecki, Katie Ash, and Ava Gorrell had the honor of meeting with Speaker of the House of Delgates, Roger Hanshaw, as well as Delegate David Kelly.
∫ Paden City Elementary School held it’s annual Spelling Bee with students from fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Grace Greene took the win for the 2020 school year.
∫Paden City Girls Basketball earned a win in their home gym, defeating Harman with a 49-29 victory.
∫ Seven students from Tyler Consolidated attended the West Virginia American Choral Director’s Association Conference. Those students were Timothy Boyd, Raina Long, Cole Moore, Layla Williamson, Alec Jacobsen, Eudora Lough, and Abigal White.
∫ Tyler County became the third county in West Virginia to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary, following the approval of a resolution passed by the Tyler County Commissioners – Mike Smith, Eric Vincent, and John Stender.
∫Brooke Lemasters, owner of Bombshell Hair Studio, celebrated five years of business in Sistersville.
∫ Paden City residents rallied together at a Council Meeting to express outrage in the release of information regarding contaminated water violations in the city.
∫ Tyler Consolidated We the People participants were recognized at the Board of Education meeting for their success at the regional and state tournament. The students placed first at the regional contest and third at the state contest.
∫ Paden City Band and Choir received high ratings at the West Liberty Festival. Fourteen students received superior ratings, five received excellent ratings, and nine received superior ratings with a state submission.
∫ Tyler Consolidated football star, Mark Rucker, signed his commitment letter to further his football career at West Virginia University.
∫ Jonus Glover and Creed Ammons of Tyler Consolidated High School were selected as Honorary Secretaries of State for their efforts to register classmates to vote.
∫ Knights Band made history when six members were selected for All-State Band, one for All-State Orchestra, and 21 students were selected as state honor’s finalists for Solo and Ensemble. Until this year, only two other students in the program’s history had been selected for this prestigious honor.
∫ Despite many efforts, Tyler County said goodbye to the historic County Home as demolition commenced.
∫ The Tyler FFA held it’s 70th Annual Ham, Bacon, and Egg Sale. Jonus Glover presented both the Grand and Reserve Champion Bacons. Katelyn Greathouse exhibited the Grand Champion Ham and Emma Paden auctioned off her Reserve Champion Ham.
∫ Paden City Elementary student John Mace won the Gettysburg Address Contest sponsored by American Legion Post 86 Auxiliary.
∫ The 21st annual Sisters Fest was held in Sistersville.
∫ Governor Justice announced the closing of all pre-k through 12 schools in the state.
∫ Tyler Consolidated’s Jacob Sharp signed to play “sprint football” at Alderson Broaddus University.
∫ The local school cooks and bus drivers worked tirelessly throughout the school closure to ensure students were still fed during the Coronavirus crisis.
∫ Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities suspended visiting hours during the pandemic. Residents from Genesis HealthCare shared messages with loved ones during the uncertain time.
∫ The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office introduced the K-9 outreach program. Buddy, a very cute K-9, joined the team!
∫ Governor Justice ordered all West Virginia State Parks and Campgrounds closed.
∫ The Tyler FFA Greenhouse opened for the Spring.
∫ Tyler County honored graduating seniors with a county-long parade due to a traditional graduation ceremony not taking place.
∫ Rachel Thomas and Shawn Jones were announced as the Valedictorians for TCHS. James Tanner was honored as Salutatorian.
∫ Paden Morris was named Tyler County Teacher of the Year. Morris had great success in the first year of the Ready to Work program that has continued to grow in the highschool.
∫ TCHS’s Anna Griffith committed to playing golf for the Hilltoppers.
∫ Hali Westcott was awarded the 2020 Adam R. Kelly Memorial Scholarship.
∫ PCE was announced to be undetectable in Paden City water following the installation of a water stripper in May.
∫ Despite pandemic challenges, Tyler County Speedway kicked off it’s 46th season at the Bull Ring.
∫ The Tyler County Primary Elections took place. Sheriff Brian Weigle, Board of Education Member Linda Hoover, Assessor Lisa Jackson, Magistrate Court Judges Mary Dotson and Mike Griffin, and Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee were all elected back into office. Lance Hickman was also elected to serve his first term as Commissioner.
∫ The Tyler County Board of Education said goodbye to member P.J. Wells, as they welcomed his successor Chad Heintzman.
∫ Sistersville welcomed the reopening of the Sistersville Ferry, with Captain Bo Hause at the wheel.
∫ The annual 4th of July celebration took place, with a fantastic firework display lighting up the night sky.
∫ The Main Street Quick Stop in Middlebourne became ParMar Stores.
∫ Gage Huffman signed his commitment letter with Ohio Valley University.
∫ A new fire danger sign was placed at the Middlebourne Galaxy.
∫ Rick Casteel was elected as Paden City’s new Mayor.
∫ Tyler County mourned the loss of one of their own, Gladys Fletcher Spencer Gregg, best known for the decades of memories she brought at the Jug.
∫ Wayne McKeever, resident of Sistersville, was elected president of the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts.
∫ The Tyler County Courthouse welcomed the addition of Security Officers.
∫ Marietta Memorial Health Systems announced intent to purchase Sistersville General Hospital. The exchange was set for October 1.
∫ The new Tyler Consolidated Sports Stadium saw action as football geared up for the season.
∫ Paden City Wildcats football was forced to end season after two games due to low numbers.
∫ Frum took his giant pumpkin to Barnesville for the Pumpkin Festival.
∫ The PCHS Band showed perseverance by continuing to share music with the community in spite of the pandemic. Director Debra Price found ways for the band to perform by marching around town, playing in the parking lot after the Labor Day Parade, made a house call for a special birthday, and performed outside the windows for the residents and both the New Martinsville Center and Sistersville Center Genesis Healthcare Facilities.
∫ The Sistersville Lions Club and community volunteers banded together to give Sistersville City Park a much needed upgrade. Items at the park were given a fresh coat of paint and some minor repairs were made.
∫ Tyler Consolidated Volleyball Coach Richard Summers gets his 600th win. The Knights picked up a victory over Cameron.
∫ The Upper Ohio Conservation District donated Chestnut trees to be planted on Tyler Consolidated school property. UOCD Supervisors Wayne McKeever and Patricia Thomas, alongside Forester Jon Wilson, oversaw the project.
∫ The Silver Knights Cross Country team sent three individuals to state. Those representing the Knights were Kashia Brown, Haygen Baker, and Emily Ebert.
∫ Paden City Wildcat Volleyball celebrated their 4th straight OVAC Class – A Title.
∫ Paden City Wildcats Volleyball star Mallory Yeater recorded her 2,000th career assist in a victory over the Hornets.
∫ The 4th Annual Trunk or Treat sponsored by the STARS Team was held at the Tyler County Fairgrounds. Although things were different and the little ghouls and goblins who participated had to drive-thru the event from their vehicles, they still went home with bags full of goodies, nonetheless.
∫ Sadie Nichols was crowned Tyler Consolidated’s Homecoming Queen for 2020.
∫ Maggi Still was crowned Paden City’s Homecoming Queen.
∫Haygen Baker, a Cross Country runner for the Silver Knights, placed 9th at the state meet.
∫ Local FFA member Creed Ammons was chosen as the Agricultural Processing National Proficiency Award winner for his Supervised Agricultural Experience Program which included hogs he raised to sell at the Annual Ham and Bacon Sales, processing and selling one ton of pork product, and processing and selling fresh holiday turkeys.
∫ David Kelly was once again elected to serve on the House of Delegates for the Sixth District.
∫ Tyler County broke ground on the E-911 center, where construction is taking place just off of Gorrell’s Run Road near Middlebourne.
∫ Sistersville Elks installed a new patio for outside entertainment.
∫ The Tyler Star News took a look at the progress of the construction on the new Bus Garage being built behind the old high school in Middlebourne.
∫ Patrolman Gavin Corely successfully completed and graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy with the 183rd basic class.
∫ Tyler Consolidated’s Pam Stollings was named Counselor of the Year.
∫ Santa Claus made his way around Sistersville, Middlebourne, and Paden City on the fire truck.
∫ The Mountaineer Food Bank was in Sistersville to distribute food to local area residents, servicing over 200 families just before the holidays.
As we look to 2021, we can only hope for the return of a sense of normalcy. We hope for families to reunite, for students to return to school, and for local businesses to once again thrive with community support.