Police: Arrest may resolve other
break-ins in Clarksburg
by James Fisher
Police say two Clarksburg residents, who are in the
county jail on bond after their arrest Monday on charges of breaking and
entering, may be connected to a series of other break-ins in late March.
Lisa Marie Hern, 34, of 655 W. Main St. is being
held on $32,500 bond and Robert Glen Palmer, 32, of Koupal Towers, is being
held on $45,000 bond.
Clarksburg police arrested Hern and Palmer just
minutes after the pair allegedly knocked down the fence at Lowes Lawn
and Garden Center on Emily Drive and removed a power washer and tiller
about midnight Saturday. The two also allegedly broke into an automotive
repair shop on West Pike Street about an hour before. Police say there
are similarities between Saturdays break-ins and others that occurred
The Colonial Village office complex, Subway Sandwich
Shop and the Milford Street Dairy Queen were all broken into in March.
Small amounts of money were taken from each location. Certain things fit
the patterns and they could be related, Clarksburg Detective Jason Snider
said. Our investigation into it is continuing.
Saturday, witnesses observed the pair using a car
to knock down the fence, Snider said. Officers Jesse Menendez and S.E.
Audia were dispatched to the scene and observed the vehicle traveling west
on U.S. Route 50.
The stolen items were so large the pair was unable
to completely shut the rear drivers side door, Snider said. Officers searching
the vehicle found a folder containing a checkbook that belonged to Pro
Transmission Service, located at 911 W. Pike St. and an undetermined amount
of cash. Officers checked the automotive shop and observed that the garage
door had been broken into.
Hern and Palmer were charged Saturday with one count
of breaking and entering. Monday, Snider obtained warrants for Hern and
Palmer for the Pro Transmission Service breaking and entering.
If convicted, the pair each face possible prison
sentences of 1-10 years in the state penitentiary for each charge.
FBI officers honored for lifesaving efforts
by Paul Leakan
From helping to save a womans life to leading efforts
to keep guns out of the wrong hands, FBI employees in Clarksburg were kept
busy last year.
On Monday, the Criminal Justice Information Services
Division made sure to show 69 select employees that their efforts have
not gone unnoticed during the fifth annual Assistant Directors Awards
for Excellence Program.
As soon as FBI Officers Jeffrey Owens and Robert
Mason took the semicircular stage, the crowd stood and erupted with applause.
The crowd knew that the two men helped save a life and had earned the Exceptional
Officers Owens and Mason were on a routine traffic
patrol on Feb. 4, 1998, but would soon find themselves in a situation that
was anything but routine.
A tractor-trailer was engulfed in flames on Interstate
79. A woman was trapped beneath the trailer as plumes of toxic smoke began
filling her car. The officers, working together as a team, sought ways
to keep the woman from suffocating.
Officer Mason smashed the cars window with his
expandable baton, allowing fresh air to funnel into the car. Mason then
climbed into the car and covered the woman with his jacket. He broke another
window for better ventilation. The woman was rushed off to the hospital
to receive treatment for multiple injuries. The woman, Connie McCoy, survived.
It was later discovered that she was an employee
at the FBI complex in Clarksburg. Its a miracle she actually lived,
said David R. Loesch, deputy assistant director of the FBI Clarksburg complex.
McCoy shared her appreciation for the two officers valor by walking on
stage and giving each of them a hug.
Before the two men were honored for their efforts,
more than 40 employees were given awards for putting together a nationwide
system that checks the backgrounds of prospective buyers of firearms.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System,
also called NICS, got off to a rocky start when it first began on Nov.
30, 1998. Gun store owners had a difficult time getting through to the
FBI call center, which screens the history of potential gun buyers.
But the FBI and more than 500 trained personnel
were able to fix the problems and make the system work much more efficiently.
The development team and program office for the system truly deserved
to receive a Special Achievement Award, according to James E. Kessler Jr.,
NICS section chief.
We were starting from zero here, said Kessler,
who received the Excellence in Management Award. We had to start from
nothing and build something. They were extremely self-sufficient.
James DeSarno Jr., assistant director in charge
of the complex, is proud to work with so many talented employees.These
are truly the cream of the crop. Each and every day there are employees
here that do amazing things. Sometimes their services mean the difference
between life and death.
Barbour, Randolph on short list for new jail
by Troy Graham
Two sites are still in the running as possible locations
for the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, including one in Belington and one
along the Barbour-Randolph County line, after the state Regional Jail Authority
cut the list of sites down from six Monday.
Eliminated from contention were locations in Tucker and
Taylor counties, and Philippi and Huttonsville, said Steve Canter-bury,
the Regional Jail Authoritys executive director.
The Belington site and the Morris Farm site, which
is just across the Barbour County line in Randolph County, will have to
be studied to determine which is more suitable for the 300-bed jail, he
The facility will house prisoners from Pocahontas,
Barbour, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Preston counties. If there are problems
at either of the two sites, the authority will go back and start the selection
process over, Canterbury said. Were not obligated to choose one or the
other, he said.
The jail authority will work with local development
officials at each site to judge their willingness to help with the construction
costs and to evaluate their overall economic plan for the jail.
Regional jails in other areas of the state have
created economic booms, often because the jails bring infrastructure like
water, sewer and roads to the rural areas where they are located.
A regional jail outside of Charleston created an
explosion of hotels, restaurants and retail stores when it was built along
Corridor G to Logan County, Canterbury said. The development there wouldnt
be there if we hadnt done our thing, he said.
Canterbury wants similar development with the other regional jails.
He is also going to need some help from local officials
to pay for the jails infrastructure. There simply isnt enough money in
the budget to pay for water, sewer and roads, he said. But, local development
agencies have access to infrastructure grants, he said.
Canterbury said he hopes to make a decision on one of the sites, or
decide to start the process over, by June.
State students put to the test
by Gail Marsh
Most state students will spend several mornings this
week taking standardized achievement tests to help the state Board of Education
determine how well those students are learning.
Though the Stanford-9 tests are not the only way
to assess a students progress, student scores are used to help determine
whether a county school system is fully accredited by the state. And educators
say that sometimes the pressure to score well can take away from the real
purpose of the test.
All too often we lose the focus of what the test
is supposed to do, and instead look at how well other buildings or other
counties are doing. The tests are meant to show us how well an individual
child is faring, said Carl Friebel, administrative assistant for planning,
research and evaluation for Harrison County schools.
The Stanford-9 achievement tests are given to all
students in the state in first through 11th grades. Kindergarten students
will take the Metropolitan Readiness Test, an abbreviated version meant
to show areas where students may need help. Only the scores of students
in grades three through 11 count toward accreditation at the state level.
The multiple-choice tests include sections on reading,
language arts, math, spelling, science, social studies and study skills.
Friebel said students prepare for the test by reviewing past lessons and
following the normal classroom routine.
We teach the states instructional goals and objectives,
which focus on the same kinds of materials that are covered on the test.
If students are doing well in class, they will have a good chance of doing
well on the test, he said.
Friebel said that standardized tests are just one
way to indicate how a child may be doing in the classroom. Teacher opinion,
daily classwork, homework and other test grades are all important in assessing
a students progress, he said.
A teacher can get a better picture day by day of
how well a student is achieving rather than by a one-shot, standardized
test, he said.
Therese Wilson, director of student services and
assessments for the state Board of Education, said the Stanford-9 test
may not measure everything a student knows, but the test can have value
as a teaching tool.
People forget that the purpose of the test is to
help teachers see what Billy doesnt know so they can teach him in that
area. The individual test results can be an instructional tool to give
teachers a better idea of what they need to teach, she said.
With Harrison students just returning from spring
break, a number of schools spent time before the break working to help
prepare students for this weeks test schedule. Besides reviewing course
work, the faculty at Lincoln High School is offering incentives to students
who improve their scores, including a chance to win cash prizes, season
passes to home games and movie tickets.
We work all year with the students, giving them
tips and working on areas where they may have weaknesses. Our scores were
up considerably last year, so we expect our students to do well again this
year, said Sharon Brisbin, assistant principal.
On Monday, students at Norwood Elementary School
took a sample test to help them prepare for this weeks test. Principal
Phil Brown said the students take the test in the mornings and the rest
of the day is left open to do art work, storytelling and other leisure
Theres a lot of pressure put on us by the state,
but we try not to convey that to the kids. We let them know that this is
an important evaluation, but its just a test and not the end of the world,