Barbour waste facility on hold
by Torie Knight
State officials on Thursday froze the permitting
process for an infectious medical waste facility proposed for the Philippi
Industrial Park, because they believe the proper paperwork hasn't been
sent to the state Division of Environmental Protection and other agencies.
Joan Ohl, secretary of the Department of Health
and Human Resources, sent a letter to Barbour County commissioners Thursday
saying clouded circumstances and missing pre-siting notices would further
delay a long-overdue report on the proposed facility.
"All the secretary has done is asked the county
commission to reconfirm that the proper pre-siting was filed," said Henry
Taylor, commissioner of the DHHR Bureau for Public Health.
Joe Wyatt of the Bureau of Public Health has been
working on a report responding to public comments on the infectious medical
waste facility proposed for Philippi by Virginia developer Doyle Payne.
Payne has proposed building the first commercially operated Rotoclave-type
facility in the nation that could be capable of sterilizing medical waste
such as towels, sheets, gloves and syringes.
Ohl's announcement Thursday will hold that report
and put off granting a constructional permit for the facility until county
commissioners and Payne can verify that pre-siting notices were filed properly.
State law requires the filing of four pre-siting notices.
The Department of Health and Human Resources and
the Barbour County Commission received the notices, but the Division of
Environmental Protection and the Barbour County Solid Waste Authority may
not have received the notices.
The Concerned Citizens of Barbour County hired Clarksburg attorney
Thomas Michael to help sort through the permit and sent a letter to the
state stating it believed the pre-siting notices were not filed properly.
The citizens claim that the DEP had a certified
mail receipt in its files, but no notice. The solid waste authority did
not have a notice, they said.
The state agency is asking the Barbour County Commission
to confirm the pre-siting application. The state also wants to know if
the DEP or the Solid Waste Authority received pre-siting notices.
"It's a very long process. We feel like we have
hit a snag here that needs addressed," said Mark Ferrell, spokesman for
the Bureau of Public Health. "Until that matter is cleared up, it
doesn't make sense to go ahead with the permitting process."
Both Payne and Barbour County Commissioner Kenneth Dadisman declined
Mary Poling, a member of the Concerned Citizens
of Barbour County, hopes that the DHHR's decision will get members of the
group closer to a vote on the proposed infectious medical waste facility.
"Our hope is this will be set back to where he has to start over with
the pre-siting notice and we can file a referendum," Poling said.
Only the county commissioners can decide whether
or not to put the facility on the ballot. They have asked the prosecuting
attorney to make a decision on whether they should allow a vote. The residents
missed the 60-day deadline to require a referendum themselves.
Hopes for 3rd circuit judge revived
by Troy Graham
CHARLESTON- Two local senators have resurrected an
amendment to a bill that would allow a third judge in Harrison County.
A House bill passed earlier in the session would
realign several judicial circuits and add a judge to a circuit in the eastern
panhandle and one in the southern part of the state.
Sen. Joe Minard amended the bill last week in the
Senate Judiciary Committee to include an additional judge for Harrison
County as well. Committee Chairman Bill Wooton, D-Raleigh, killed the amendment,
The state Judicial Association conducted a survey
and ranked 10 circuits in need of another judge. Harrison County ranked
eighth on that list.
Minard, D-Harrison, argued that the data was incorrect
and the growth of Harrison County and the heavy caseload there warranted
an additional judge.
Minard and Sen. William Sharpe, D-Lewis, introduced
the amendment to add a judge in Harrison County again Thursday, this time
successfully, when the bill was introduced to the entire Senate.
Wooton did not offer any opposition. But he reminded
the senators of the cost of an additional judge and that the Judicial Association
ranked Harrison County eighth on its list.
"They recommended 10 new judges. I'm told the cost
of a new judge to the state alone is about $300,000," Wooton said. "No
one disputes the accuracy of the ranking order. The question is, do we
need 10 new judges?" The amendment passed, as well as the bill, which was
unanimously approved. The passage of the bill does not guarantee
that Harrison County will get another judge.
Because the House passed a bill that added only
two judges, and the Senate passed a bill with three new judges, the differences
in the two bills will have to be worked out in a conference committee with
members of both chambers. The conference committee could still take out
Harrison County's third judge.
"I'm trying to get appointed to conference," Minard
said. "Although that doesn't mean we'll get it, at least it gets me in
Sharpest spellers in the region face off
by Gail Marsh
Speculate. S-p-e-c-u-l-a-t-e. Speculate.
By correctly spelling speculate in the contest,
Jesse Darby of Gilmer County became this year's Region VII Spelling Bee
Darby, a 10-year-old who attends fifth grade at
Normantown Elementary School, beat out 19 other contestants from Gilmer,
Doddridge, Harrison, Marion and Tucker counties to claim the top prize.
He is now eligible to compete in the national spelling bee in Washington,
D.C., in May. "I was pretty confident and was hoping I could win, but it
was still a surprise," Darby said.
His mother, Theresa Darby, was more surprised. "I
really didn't expect him to win. He's a good speller, of course, but he's
only in the fifth grade," she said. Darby's brother, Bryan, 12, also
The contest, co-sponsored by The Clarksburg Exponent
and Telegram and RESA VII (Regional Education Service Agency), was open
to students in fourth through eighth grades who had won spelling bees in
their home counties. The competition was held at Robert C. Byrd High School
With parents, family members and teachers looking
on, the students took nearly one hour to narrow the contest down to the
two top contestants. Words such as cavernous, husbandry, pensive, horizontal,
quill, barren, fathom and niche knocked out the contestants one by one.
This year's runner up, Jessica Cana, a fifth-grader
from Sand Fork Elementary, also hails from Gilmer County. She and Darby
competed one-on-one over a number of words, with both faltering on vagueness,
erasable, aggressor and colossal.
"It got hard at the end. But I did pretty well," Cana said. She was
accompanied by her parents, Robin Hakes and Clinton Howes.
When Darby missed a word, Cana then had the chance
to spell the missed word and one other word correctly in order to win.
The lead went back and forth several times, but when Cana missed the word
imperial, Darby went on to spell it correctly, and followed it with the
correct spelling of speculate to clinch the title.
Every student received a new dictionary, while Darby
and Cana also received trophies. Cana was given a CD-Rom version for her
school library, while Darby got a larger dictionary for his library that
he will use for study.
Darby said he and his brother studied every night for the competition,
but said he'll increase his study time for the national contest. "I'll
be using the big dictionary, so I'll be putting a lot more time into it,"
Joseph Paull, executive director of RESA VII and
moderator of the contest, said this year's contestants were especially
"This was one of the toughest competitions we have
had in a long time. Our students did very well, and Jesse has a lot of
potential. I expect he will do well in Washington," Paull said.