Weston girl representing
state at 4-H conference
by Gail Marsh
STAFF WRITER

    WESTON — Amelia Lee Stultz, a Lewis County High School junior, has been sold on 4-H for as long as she can remember. “My parents were 4-H counselors when I was young, so I got to go to camp when I was 6 years old. I finally got to join 4-H when I was 8, and have been involved ever since,” she said.
    Stultz currently serves as the president of the Freemansburg Friends 4-H Club. By competing in a state 4-H resume contest, she qualified to represent the state at this week’s 69th National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
    Stultz will spend the week learning more about the government and acquiring leadership skills, along with a chance to enjoy a tour of the city during peak cherry blossom season.
    “My experience with 4-H has been so positive. It’s taught me responsibility, leadership and how to get along with people, all skills you need to succeed,” she said.
    To qualify for the conference, Stultz had to create a resume that listed all her service in 4-H and her awards. The package also included a biography and three pages of pictures highlighting her work in 4-H. The resume submission was followed by a formal interview, and Stultz managed to score 299 out of 300 points in the competition.
    “It was a lot of work, but I was really proud of the way things turned out. Just putting the resume together gave me a chance to appreciate some of the things I’ve done because of 4-H,” she said.
    Stultz attends the county and state 4-H camps every year, and for the last few years has been able to serve as a leader at mini-camps that help introduce young 4-H members to camp. This year she’ll miss mini-camp because she’ll be in Russia with 13 other state 4-H delegates to teach Russian teens about 4-H.
    “We’re trying to bring them more knowledge of what 4-H is about and to help them get a similar thing set up. We’ll be mixing the two cultures together to come up with a program that meets their needs,” she said.
    Stultz will be living with a Russian family during her week-long visit and will have a chance to take in the ballet, the theater and some sight-seeing, including Red Square.
    “I’m really excited about the opportunity to see Russia, to visit their schools and to see how they live. I look forward to showing them some of the good things about our culture,” she said.
I    n addition to her interest in 4-H, Stultz is involved in student council, Spanish club, track and yearbook staff at school, and is president of her church youth group at St. Matthew’s. She has a keen interest in politics, thanks in part to her grandfather, who served as chair of the Democratic Committee in Hardy County, she said.
    Stultz has been a page at the Legislature for the last eight years, and said she is seriously considering a career in politics after college.
    “I’d love to be the first woman governor of West Virginia and then end up on Capitol Hill — not as president but as a member of Congress. I think that way you get to deal more directly with the people, and that’s what I love to do,” she said.



DOH chief says Bridgeport bypass 2 years away
by Torie Knight
STAFF WRITER

    GRAFTON — Adding more lanes and straightening bottleneck turns is part of the plan Division of Highways Commissioner Sam Beverage has for the roads in Harrison and Taylor Counties.
    He told attendees at the Taylor County Chamber of Commerce Business and Industrial Appreciation Dinner Wednesday that good roads are the beginning of economic development. “Economic development always follows the transportation system,” Beverage said.
    The growth of Bridgeport near the U.S. Route 50 and Interstate 79 interchange is a good example, Beverage said. By the year 2020, he said the U.S. Route 50 bridge crossing I-79 could be as large as 15 lanes if the area keeps growing.
    For now, however, he is concentrating on the Bridgeport bypass, a road that will connect the U.S. 50 and I-79 without the trip through Bridgeport. The total cost is about $30 million and is already approved. It should open in the summer of 2001, Beverage said, and may handle as many as 30,000 cars each day.
    The commissioner also is concerned with the section of U.S. 50 leading to Grafton. Three different plans exist to widen the road to four lanes. Beverage said he expects a route to be chosen within the next six months.
    The first option, known as Corridor 1, follows existing U.S. 50. The cost for the 12.41 miles of four-lane road from the Bridgeport bypass to Grafton is estimated at $150 million. About 172 homes and businesses would be affected by the building of the road, as well as seven historical sites and one environmental site.
    Corridor 2 would take a more northern route from Bridgeport to Pruntytown, but would follow the existing U.S. 50 from Pruntytown to Grafton. The cost is estimated at $155 million for the 12.69 miles. About 136 homes and businesses would be affected with this option, along with six historic sites and one environmental site.
    The last option, Corridor 3, is the more southern and the most expensive. It carries a $205 million price tag. This option also would follow existing U.S. 50 from Pruntytown to Grafton. It would involve about 137 homes, five historic sites and four environmental sites.
    Beverage said the money for the expansion of U.S. Route 50 isn’t in the state’s coffers. That’s why the DOH is taking the project is stages.
    Preliminary assessments of all three routes should begin any day. After a route is chosen, the state will do environmental and historical assessments. The assessments could take a couple of years. “We’re going to take it in bits and pieces,” Beverage said.
    Although the road is still a few years from being completed, Taylor County Chamber of Commerce President Carl Davis said the economy in the county already is doing better — from the possibility of a Wal-Mart to the opening of more small businesses.
    This year he had the highest turnout ever at the annual dinner with more than 120 attendees and 13 display booths. “These are some things coming about because of a lot of hard work,” Davis said. “I’m excited about everything in this county.”



Northrop Grumman plant for sale
by Paul Leakan
Staff Writer

    Northrop Grumman Corp.’s plans to sell its operations in Bridgeport come with an assurance that the company will seek a “seamless” exchange of the facility that will not result in the layoff of any workers.
    “Our intention is to secure a new owner for the facility that is committed to continuing the facility’s operations and all 110 jobs there,” said Jack Martin, a spokesman for the company in Baltimore, Md.
    Northrop Grumman, one of the country’s largest defense contractors, told its employees Tuesday that it plans to sell the facility.
    Company representatives said the impending sale is due to excess production. The company, which employs 45,000 people nationwide, has too many manufacturing facilities compared to its projected workload.
    Northrop Grumman attempted to place the operations elsewhere within the company but found the profits would not be worth the cost. “It’s simply too expensive to maintain this facility for a long period of time,” Martin said.
    Ray Farley, executive director of the Harrison County Development Authority, met with local representatives from Northrop Grumman Wednesday to discuss the sale. Farley said that after he got over the initial shock of the impending sale, he was convinced that the situation could turn out for the better.
    “What we have in our favor is that the Harrison County workforce is known for its quality and quantity of production. The world often relies on our employees for safety and security in the aviation industry,” Farley said. “With that said, Northrop Grumman has created a strong opportunity for the plant to possibly end up in the hands of something that might have a longer tenure here and might pay better wages.” The company has begun the process of searching for potential buyers. Martin declined to reveal any time for the sale or any price range the company is seeking for the facility.
    Until the sale, business at the facility should remain as usual, Martin said. “Barring any unforeseen cancellations or delays in production, we do not anticipate any layoffs in the short-term.”
    Even though the plant would assume new ownership, it could still serve as a supplier to Northrop Grumman in the future, Martin said.
    The facility produces metal cabinets, consoles and data and communication racks. The equipment is shipped to other Northrop Grumman facilities where various electronic systems and components are installed. The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy use the equipment for airborne surveillance and testing military weapons systems.
    The Grumman Corp. established the facility in Bridgeport in 1991. It became part of Northrop Grumman in 1994 after the two companies merged. The facility encompasses about 10 acres of property, including 56,000 square feet of manufacturing, office and storage space.



Harrison man accused of
sexual abuse at Wal-Mart
by James Fisher
STAFF WRITER

    A United Hospital Center volunteer who was arrested Wednesday on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse did not work with children at the hospital and was described by co-workers as “always friendly and respectful,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
    James L. Riley III, 20, of Route 2, Box 835, Bridgeport, is accused of pulling a 10-year-old boy into a bathroom stall at Wal-Mart on April 7 and fondling him. He is being held in the Harrison County Correctional Center on $200,000 bond.
    When the boy tried to escape from the bathroom stall, Riley allegedly tried to tie his hands behind his back with a lanyard-type keychain, said Clarksburg Police Detective Robert Matheny.
    The boy was able to get away when his older brother entered the bathroom a few minutes later, he said.
Riley was arrested after he was identified by a Wal-Mart employee who remembered seeing him in the bathroom earlier that day, Matheny said.
    “Through the conscientious efforts of an employee we were able to make this arrest,” he said. “If the employee had not remembered seeing him and been able to pick him out of a line-up, we may not have known who did this. “We feel we have taken a serious and potential sex-offender off the streets,” he said. Matheny would not say if Riley had a previous record.
    Riley has been a volunteer at UHC for about a year, said spokeswoman Suzanne Hornor. He helped discharge patients by taking a wheelchair to the room and taking them to the discharge desk, she said. He also sometimes helped stock the gift shop.
Riley did not deal with children at the hospital, she said, because UHC’s pediatrics unit is located in a different building from the one in which he worked.
    “We’re certainly very surprised by this because of his nature while he worked here,” she said. “The volunteer coordinator described him as very respectful and said he always did an excellent job.”
    Hospital officials declined to comment about any decision concerning whether Riley can continue to volunteer at the hospital.



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