Barking dog takes bite out of crime in Barbour Co.
by Torie Knight
PHILIPPI Police responded to a dog complaint at
a home on South Walnut Street Saturday and discovered more than $25,000
in marijuana, heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine just openly lying around
the house, leading to one the largest drug busts in at least four years
in Barbour County.
Neighbors of Wendell Beverly, 36, complained to
police that he left his dog running loose. Philippi Patrolman Lemuel
Jones responded to the scene and was invited into the house.
Once inside, Jones said he saw packages of drugs,
a homemade bong, a gas mask, assorted pipes and other drug paraphernalia.
I think I just caught him off guard, Jones said. Youve heard of luck
before. Beverly also had drugs on him and had a warrant out for his arrest
for failure to appear in court, Jones said.
Philippi Police Chief Tom Hartley said Beverly cooperated,
allowing police to further search his home. Philippi officers, deputies
from the Barbour County Sheriffs Department, the West Virginia State Police
and the Barbour County Reserve Unit conducted the search, at times using
drug sniffing dogs.
Hartley said police discovered straws, packaging
boxes, plastic lunch bags all full of more drugs. A briefcase contained
pictures of money bundles, but the actual money wasnt found in the house,
Police charged Beverly with felony possession of
a controlled substance. He was in a detoxification center in Morgantown
for an evaluation on Monday. Further charges may be pending, Jones said.
As for the dog, it wasnt even Beverlys. He was
only dog-sitting. Hartley said the dogs owner picked up the animal.
Sisters hope to turn old church into a museum
by Torie Knight
CENTURY Broken stained glass windows. Missing statues.
Pews covered with drywall shavings and cobwebs. A podium with a large hole.
Decaying concrete steps. A leaky roof.
I t is far from the childhood memories Nancy Street
and Joan True-Smith have of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in
Smith was baptized in the church. She had her first
communion there, her confirmation and her sacraments. She celebrated when
one of her older sisters married inside those battered, white walls.
She later wept at the funeral services for
her aunt Mary Harris, who always sat on the left, back pew. Thats why
she is taking the deterioration of the building personally. It makes you
very sad, Smith said. It breaks my heart to see the devastation.
Smith came back from Cleveland, Ohio, Monday to
present Street her sister and president of the Century Progressive Development
Association with a $1,000 check to begin renovations to the church. The
association plans to restore the turn-of-the century church and turn it
into a museum.
The sanctuary will house items from the Catholic
faith while the basement will be used as a museum for Centurys coal industry
history. Coal miners built the church in 1902. The church closed
Dec. 4, 1996. Plans were to demolish the building the next year. Street
and Smith couldnt imagine that. Street also had a personal connection.
Two of her grandchildren were the last to be baptized at the church. Its
real personal, Street said.
The city of Philippi agreed to help the town of
Century, located near the Barbour and Upshur county line off U.S. 119,
repair the church. The Diocese of Wheeling gave the building to the
city of Philippi to restore.
Philippi City Manager Joe Mattaliano said the city
has the materials, but still needs about $10,000 to pay for labor costs.
Mattaliano said offering city resources outside of city limits is part
of the councils comprehensive plan for the city to help improve relations
in the county.
The first step is a new roof. After that, Mattaliano
said the association members will depend mostly on volunteer labor.
The association also is working to get the church on the register of
If that is accomplished, the group may be eligible
for restoration grants. Smith said it isnt a complete loss yet. The altar
still stands. A few fake pink and white flowers, a picture of Mary and
some crosses add a touch of hope to the mildewed and corroded sanctuary.
You can still see there is beauty here, she said.
Big party in works for New Year 2000
by Paul Leakan
No, Dick Clark is not planning to usher in the new
year in Clarksburg. And neither is Ed McMahon, for that matter.
But before the clock strikes the big 2-0-0-0, there could be one big
celebration in downtown Clarksburg.
The Clarksburg Millennium Committee, which is made
up of city residents, has begun planning activities to celebrate the upcoming
The committee is planning for a big party downtown,
citizens awards, seminars to educate residents about issues that they
will face in the coming new year and a reflection of Clarksburgs history
during the last 100 years.
Committee members brainstormed Monday to come up
with events, entertainment, refreshments and ways to honor the past 100
Curtis Marozzi, chairman of the New Years Eve Celebration
Committee, said the committee will seek to attract both the young and old
for the party downtown. Even if kids dont come out, I want to have a
family-like atmosphere, Marozzi said.
The committee is searching for entertainment and
corporate sponsors, such as restaurants, to help fund the event. The committee
currently does not have a budget or any money appropriated to put the event
Some ideas shared Monday:
-A parade, complete with high school bands, to kick off the event.
-Entertainment featuring local bands on stage at the Harrison County
-Having local restaurants and businesses to stay open later that night.
-Activities for the youth.
Members said they do not want to encourage any disorderly
behavior from residents who may have overindulged in alcohol. We want
to have a party, said Trevor Fluharty. But a party can be interpreted
in many ways.
Aside from the celebration, some committee members
plan on putting together a history of Clarksburg and its people in the
last 100 years. The history may be put together in book form.
The city would like for some of the plans to begin
by July 1, said City Manager Percy Ashcraft. We feel like we are responsible
to make people prepared when that turn of the century comes, Ashcraft
Some committee members are already counting down
to the big day. Well, said Harry Berman, weve got 270 days.
The committee will meet again on May 3 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
Clarksburg building still open despite violations
by Paul Leakan
The Waldo Complex in Clarksburg remains open despite
more than two dozen fire code violations that were discovered nearly a
State Fire Marshal Walter Smittle has said the building
is unsafe for renters. But, he does not know whether his offices attorney
has sent in a petition to the Harrison County Circuit Court that could
force the owners of the building to either repair 30 fire code violations
or close the building.
The attorney has been ill and was busy representing
other state agencies in litigation during the past few months, Smittle
There have not been any cases filed in Harrison
County Circuit Court that involve the state fire marshal and the Waldo
Complex, according to the circuit clerks office.
The state Fire Marshals Office has not set a time
frame or deadline as to when the petition must be sent, Smittle said.
But Smittle believes that regardless of whether the petition has been
sent or not, the situation should not be misconstrued as a sign that the
building is safe to live in. If it wasnt dangerous I wouldnt have issued
the order he said.
Smittle said that people still living in the building
should start looking for another place to live as soon as they can.
Smittle issued an order to either repair the fire code violations or
shut the building down in June 1998.
David and Suzanne Arnett, owners of the building,
had appealed the order after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May.
The Arnetts, who have been unable to be reached for comment for months,
pulled their appeal in November.
Among the violations in the building are a lack
of electric hard-wired smoke detectors in each apartment and an absence
of an automatic sprinkler system or heat detector, according to the fire
Bert Dibish, a former Waldo resident who moved out
just before Christmas, was told recently that there are only about seven
apartments still occupied.
A tenant who wanted to remain anonymous said there
were probably only about five tenants still living in the building.
There were about 27 tenants living in the hotel-turned-apartment
complex in August. Several residents cleared out their apartments and sold
used furniture, clothing, mattresses and toys on the first floor in November.
If the Harrison County Circuit Court chooses to
close the building, all remaining tenants would have to leave, all doors
would be locked and any broken windows would be boarded up, Smittle said.
The building, which is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places, has been appraised at $603,000. It was built from 1901
to 1904 and opened as a hotel. The Arnetts used the building as collateral
for a $700,000 loan from Bank One.
Bank One will not do anything with the Waldo until
the Harrison County Circuit Court receives the petition and makes a decision
on the buildings future, said Neil Cotiaux, Bank One public affairs
Right now, we continue to be a by-stander, Cotiaux
said. Basically, we need to see how this plays out between the Arnetts
and fire marshals office.