The year 2000 started off with a bang as cities around the world celebrated the arrival of the new millennium.
But the "Y2K" computer bug fears that caught the nation's attention in late 1999 quickly fizzled as time zone after time zone passed into the new year with few problems.
Dominion Resources Inc. started the new millennium by closing a deal to purchase Consolidated Natural Gas Co.
The $9 billion merger became effective Jan. 28, 2000. It made Dominion the largest fully integrated electric power and natural gas company in the country.
The Richmond, Va.-based company serves about 4 million electric and gas customers in five states.
From the start, Dominion said the merger would result in some job cuts, and officials with the United Gas Workers Local 69 viewed the acquisition positively in January.
But the new year started off with uncertainty for the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department as the agency continued looking for a new home.
On Jan. 12, the department still was waiting on word about a possible lease for space at the John W. Davis state office building. State officials said they were willing to negotiate a price.
Veterans in need of long-term care found out in the middle of January about a proposed 120-bed veterans nursing home. Michael Neusch, chief executive officer of the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center, said that federal money was available to fund up to 65 percent of the facility. He cited the state's high number of people who served in the armed services as a key reason for the facility.
Also in mid-January, North Central West Virginia was buried in snow and ice as two storms hit the area on Jan. 19 and 20. An ice storm moved through first, causing numerous accidents and keeping state Department of Highways crews busy spreading salt.
Road crews, police and emergency workers got little rest before the area was blanketed with snow the following day. Most of the Clarksburg area was covered by 4-to-6 inches of snow, which hampered commuters and closed schools.
Foul weather did not stop one woman who traveled through the area on New Year's Day. Doris Haddock, 80, who calls herself Granny D., passed through Clarksburg on a walking tour to Washington D.C. to raise awareness for campaign finance reform.
Other top stories of January were:
n A California company announced it would build a $5 million, 100,000 square-foot plant in the Harrison County Business Park on Jan. 6. Merrick Engineering Inc., of Corona, Calif., said the plastic closet accessory manufacturing facility would employ 80 people within three years of its completion.
n A fire destroyed a building on Main Street in Weston on the night of Jan. 6. Twelve departments from four counties responded to the blaze. Battling the fire nearly depleted the city's water supply. Several minor injuries were reported.
n Police in Lewis County continued their search for two Jane Lew women who were then missing more than a month. Police had no new leads in the probe into the disappearance of Mary Friend and her mother Maxine Stalnaker.
n The Harrison County grand jury returned 51 indictments Jan. 10, including two counts of first-degree murder against Brian Evert Ashcraft. Ashcraft was accused of killing his ex-wife, Heather Ashcraft, and her friend, J.T. Honce on June 5, 1999.
n Harrison County Commissioners met with Anmoore city officials to discuss the municipality's finances on Jan. 13. Town officials told commissioners they still have financial problems, but did not need help from them yet.
n Energex American Pellets Inc. announced it would relocate to the Barbour County Industrial Park on Jan. 17, and county officials said the park would expand by 70 acres. The new plant was expected to create 24 new jobs.
n An explosion at the Clarksburg Casket Company on Jan. 24 sent four Spelter Volunteer firefighters to the hospital. A spark from a machine was blamed for sparking the fire in a silo filled with saw dust.
n Wal-Mart opened in Taylor County bringing with it 230 new jobs.
n A Clarksburg teenager was found guilty of first-degree murder and burglary on Jan. 26. A Harrison County jury deliberated four hours before returning those verdicts against Timothy Wayne Jeffress, 15. Jeffress was accused of killing Kenneth Carder, 79, of Clarksburg.
Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.