City of Grafton prepares for Y2K problems
by Torie Knight
Grafton City Council members are thinking twice about the Year 2000
Council voted Tuesday to buy two generators one for city hall and
the other for the citys water pump stations. City Manager Donna Hoyler
said it wasnt just because of the Y2K bug, but also for any emergency
electrical situation the city may have.
If a power outage lasts more than 24 hours in Grafton, the city water
pump stations could run out of water. That, Hoyler said, is a bad scenario.
Its not just Y2K, it is something we have really needed, she said.
Tuesday night, council said it is taking back Fetterman Park and its
Council hasnt been in control of the pool for several years. Last
year, it was leased to a private group, which ended the year with a $6,727
deficit. The group has asked the city to take back operation of the pool.
Im in favor of keeping the pool open, but not paying another persons
debt, said Councilman Beryl Riley.
A decision to help the private group with the debt will be made later.
Members plan to try and find ways to make the pool and Fetterman Park more
profitable. They hope the recent construction of the Castle Creek Playground
may help do that.
It will probably never be self-sustaining. We know that, Mayor Thomas
Also Monday, council discussed the need to start working on downtown
parking problems and the mayor asked members to consider municipal fees
and utility taxes.
Several residents have written letters complaining about a lack of
parking spaces in downtown.
We are going to have to bite the bullet, Horacek said. Parking in
downtown needs looked at.
Municipal fees and utility taxes may be needed in the city, the mayor
said. Council members will have to make that decision soon. Horacek said
without pay raises for some city employees, especially the police force,
many will opt to go to other jobs.
We are losing our police whenever they can get a job elsewhere, Horacek
said. We need to do something.
In other actions, council opened employee health insurance proposals
from 18 companies and opened a sewer cleaner bid. Members approved a Mothers
Day Shrine brochure, paid bills, accepted a budget revision, renewed the
dog wardens salary and denied a request to abandon a portion of Howard
Street. The abandonment request was denied because of utility lines in
Two Harrison English teachers receive honors
by Gail Marsh
At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the Harrison County Board of
Education recognized two of its own who were chosen as the 1999 English
Language Arts Teachers of the Year.
Marguerite S. Hickman, Liberty High School, and Carol A. Curotz, Wilsonburg
Elementary School, were honored by the county at the secondary and elementary
I am always looking for ways of doing things in an innovative manner.
I enjoy my students very much and am glad to have the opportunity to teach
them, said Hickman, a ninth-grade English teacher.
Rosalee Dolan, principal at Wilsonburg, said Curotz often designs projects
to help immerse her third graders in reading, writing and literature.
Her students begin to project a more positive image toward reading
as they participate in her class, she said.
The board also heard from Harrison County Commissioner Roger Diaz,
who presented a check from the commission for $5,000 to the school systems
Foster Grandparents program. The program, which trains volunteers to work
with children in local elementary schools, plans to use the money to recruit
more volunteers and to expand their work to the middle schools.
I commend the board for their foresight in putting such a useful program
in place, Diaz said.
The board also heard a report from Jim Eschenmann, county school technology
coordinator, who told how the money from two recent grants will be used
in the local school system.
The first grant for $42,000 will be used to fund a multi-media project
at Bridgeport Middle School, called March Through the Millennium, a Biographical
Journey Through Time. The money will buy 15 computers, video equipment
The second grant for $193,000 will be used to start a central training
facility for teachers at the school board office located on E.B. Saunders
In other business, the board agreed to budget $15,000 for the 1999-2000
Artist-in-Residence program for Harrison County Schools. The local artists,
Anna and Steve Pisher, who have extensive experience in Italian culture,
will hold workshops at various schools during the school year.
The next school board meeting will be held on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. at
Lincoln High School.
Suspension of 2 Lewis Co. students angers parent
by Troy Graham
As Alex Stapletons daughter got off the school bus at Robert L. Brand
Middle School in Weston last Friday, two older girls began calling to her,
he said. She ignored the girls and kept walking toward class.
Eventually they got mad because she wouldnt come to them and they
attacked her from behind, Stapleton said.
The girls threw Stapletons daughter on the ground and kicked and punched
her, leaving the fifth-grader with a concussion, black eyes and bruises,
They just kept doing it until they realized a teacher was coming and
they took off, Stapleton said.
The two girls, a sixth- and seventh-grader at Bland, were suspended
for five days. Stapletons daughter was taken to the emergency room and
has been recuperating at home this week.
On Monday, Stapleton went before the Lewis County Board of Education
to ask why the girls were not more severely punished.
They attacked her from behind, he said. I wanted them expelled.
Board officials said the school systems disciplinary policy was followed
in this situation, although board members only learned of the attack at
At the next meeting, well ask for a report to see what was done and
if it followed the policy, said board member Cline Craig. Mr. Stapletons
contention is the policy needs to be changed to put more bite in it. The
policy was followed as far as we can tell.
Craig, who was board president when the policy was drafted, said it
is actually more stringent than the state guidelines under the Safe Schools
But Stapleton, who is studying at Glenville State College to become
a teacher, said more supervision of students is needed, as well as more
severe punishments for violence.
I dont want our school system to get out of hand. I dont want our
school system to look like New Yorks, he said. Im not trying to be
vindictive to these girls, but it has to start somewhere. If we let this
go on the other kids may say, Well, they only got a five-day suspension.
A forum, scheduled several weeks ago, will be held on Feb. 27 at Lewis
County High School to discuss the disciplinary policy. The forum will look
at the policy to see if any changes need to be made, Craig said.
Stapleton is urging other parents to attend the meeting.
We want this to be a flourishing community, but no one is going to
bring their kids to a school where they fear for their lives, he said.
More parents need to speak up.
Craig said the policy has so far achieved its purpose.
This was a pretty well-put- together policy that has most times served
pretty efficiently, he said.
Cross-burning case ends in conviction
Wildman faces 10 years in state
penitentiary and $5,000 fine
by James Fisher
Fannie Parker sighed deeply, put her head in her hands and wept Tuesday
when the jury announced that it had convicted Michael Vernon Wildman of
violating her familys civil rights in 1997.
The jury deliberated about 30 minutes before finding the 20-year-old
Harrison County resident guilty of civil rights violations and destruction
of property for pouring and then lighting gasoline in the shape of a cross
on the Parkers front lawn in Quiet Dell.
You hate to see anyones child put through this, Parker said after
the verdict was read. Hes young and had his whole life ahead of him,
but what he did hurt me and my family.
At his March 17 sentencing, Wildman faces up to 10 years in the state
penitentiary and/or up to a $5,000 fine for the civil rights violation.
He also faces up to 1 year in the county jail and/or up to a $500 fine
for the misdemeanor destruction of property charge.
The verdict ended 1 1/2 days of trial before Harrison County Chief
Circuit Judge Thomas Bedell, during which witnesses testified that Wildman
lit the cross after a night of drinking at a nearby party.
Wildman and his attorney Eric Wildman were unavailable for comment
immediately after the verdict.
Several of Fannie and Raymond Parkers co-workers attended Tuesdays
hearing, but all declined to comment about the verdict.
Raymond Parker said the verdict will bring closure to the incident
for his family.
Now we can get everything back in order and put this behind us, Raymond
Parker said. Well never forget this, but we have to go on with our lives.
Eric Wildman called just two witnesses Tuesday. Before the jury returned
the verdict, Wildman said he had intended to call more witnesses, but he
changed his mind when prosecutor Larry Frye cut short his witness list
Michael Wildman was not called to testify.
Both attorneys called for the jury to draw on their own life experiences
and use common sense when deliberating.
Eric Wildman contended that the incident was simply bad judgement on
the part of a group of teen-age boys who were drinking, not a felonious
assault on the Parker family.
Frye, however, called the incident a hate crime, and noted the long-term
effects on the family.
Raymond Parker said his family leaves lights on at night. Family members
also said they dont sleep well and that any small noises easily wake them.