Anmoore police chief focuses on keeping crime rate
by James Fisher
Being a police officer often can be a thankless
job with long hours, low pay and dangerous situations.
That doesn't bother Anmoore's newest police chief, Chris Cogar. Being
a police officer is something he has always wanted to do. And everything
he has done since high school has been aimed at achieving that goal.
Cogar, 26, joined the Army National Guard when he
was just a junior at Webster County High School. The Army gave Cogar his
first taste of the potential dangers of being a police officer when he
was assigned to the demolitions unit.
At 21, Cogar got his first police job in his hometown of Webster Springs.
"The chief was an old friend of my family's and
he said there was a position open," Cogar said. "I went before town council
and they hired me."
He spent the next two years patrolling the streets
of the small town in central West Virginia. Soon, he decided to cast his
lot and see what else was available.
He applied to, and was hired by, the U.S. Department
of Defense. He wanted to be on the police force, but his background and
weapons abilities opened up new avenues for the 23-year-old West Virginia
"The captain of the special reaction team gave us
our orientation," he said. "He saw that I had some S.W.A.T. background,
and I qualified as one of the best shooters, so he asked me if I wanted
to be on the team."
As a member of department's special reaction team,
Cogar was exposed to situations of extreme danger. "We recovered nuclear
and biological weapons from terrorists," he said.
With a gleam in his eye, Cogar spoke fondly of his
year stationed in Utah with the DOD. He could not elaborate on most of
the things he was involved with. "We did some things that I still can't
talk about, but it was interesting," he said.
After a short year of employment with the federal government, Cogar
lost his job when it decided to downsize the team. He was one of the less
senior members, so the government cut him first.
"When President Clinton signed the law banning chemical
weapons, the department of defense started downsizing," he said. "They
said I could go to a base in Cuba, but I decided to come back to West Virginia."
Cogar returned home to Webster Springs. There were
no positions available on the police force, so he turned instead to logging.
He quickly grew tired of the logging business and began sending out
resumes to police departments across the state. Anmoore was the first to
respond, so he packed up his fiancee and their son and moved north.
Flash forward two years to 1999. Cogar has now become
the youngest police chief in Harrison County and says he isn't finished.
While policing a small town like Anmoore has its advantages (a very
low crime rate, for example) Cogar said he would eventually like to move
on to a bigger department.
But for now, he is concentrating on making changes
in the Anmoore department and keeping the crime rate as low as it is.
"We do mostly multi-jurisdictional aid with other departments," he
said. "There's just not a lot of major crimes in Anmoore."
But Cogar and the department's two officers, Chris Gearde and Danny
Dolin, still manage to find ways to keep busy.
In November, Cogar and Gearde were involved with
stopping a Shinnston man who led police officers on a 25-mile, high-speed
chase from Weston to Bridgeport. The pursuit at times reached speeds of
nearly 100 mph before Cogar and Gearde were able to pin the man's truck
against a state police cruiser.
"That definitely could have turned out much worse,"
Cogar said. "If he had gotten into the southbound lanes like he wanted,
I can't imagine what would have happened."
Cogar was nominated for the Sherlock Holmes Award
for that pursuit. Chiefs of police and mayors make the nominations for
the awards that are given for service above and beyond the call of duty.
Small forces like Anmoore have a distinct advantage
for young officers because the pace is invariably slower. "It's a good
stepping-stone for someone just out of the (West Virginia State Police)
Academy because you can learn a lot," he said. "Also, you get a lot of
help from other agencies in the area."
Cogar is in the process of revising rules and procedures
for the department and has also secured funding for new uniforms.
"Our use of force policy needs to be more detailed and so does our
pursuit policy," Cogar said. "I'm making changes and trying to institute
some standard operating procedures. We've got some great officers. We're
young, but we have lots of experience and strong convictions."
Historical Society gets lesson in "Gypsy 101"
by Torie Knight
Gypsy resident Florence "Dimples" Gifford is preparing
Harrison County residents for the 100th anniversary celebration of that
town next year with a refresher course. Welcome to Gypsy 101.
Despite the fact that gypsies once camped in the
lower grove of the small town near the river, the community was not named
after the wandering group.
West Virginia's eighth governor, Aretas Brooks Fleming,
named it after his daughter Margaret, better known as Gypsy. Fleming served
as governor from 1890 to 1893. Before that time, Gypsy was known as Beaver
Head by Indians. "Gypsy is a unique little community," Gifford said. "Most
of the houses standing there are the way they were built."
Lesson 2-interesting tidbits.
In 1854, Maulsby bridge was constructed. Then, on
April 30, 1863, Gypsy became a Civil War battle site. Three years later,
authors noted the town as a good picnic spot.
From the 1840s to the 1920s the town was the site
of many religious camp meetings, including one that brought 15,000 people
to the area.
In the 1950s, the state constructed the Gypsy Prison
Camp, a minimum-security facility. The prisoners built roads while staying
there. The prison closed in the late 1950s, but the mess hall still stands
Lesson 3- economy.
For years, the town of about 75 homes survived on
the coal industry. The coal company came into the area, built homes for
workers, laid out the land, developed green spaces, opened a company store
and put in a water system.
"It was an excellent example of a planned community
that was developed for the workers by the employers," said Harrison County
Planning Commission Director Terry Schulte.
Lesson 4-the future.
On Sunday, Gifford told members of the Harrison
County Historical Society that all of those memorable events at Gypsy will
be incorporated into the 100th-year celebration.
The event is scheduled for a three-day span in June
or July. Plans include entertainment, food, a Civil War re-enactment, an
old-fashioned revival tent and the selling of Gypsy cookbooks.
The town received a grant through the State Historic
Preservation Office to finish a historic survey. Schulte said plans are
in the works to add the community to the National Register of Historic
Family facing uncertain future after daughter's liver
by Troy Graham
When Kim and Harry Owens' daughter Brittany was 4
months old, doctors told the young couple that their daughter had a potentially
Brittany was born without a bile duct from her liver
to her intestines, a condition known as biliary atresia. Doctors placed
her on a waiting list for a new liver when she was 6 months old. In the
meantime, she had to go to the hospital two or three times a year for blood
transfusions, said Kim Owens of Gypsy. A transplant was the only cure for
Brittany's disease, her mother said.
At 4 years old, Brittany's time was running out for a new liver, Kim
"It was scary," she said. "The transplant doctors
told us she needed it as soon as possible." Doctors decided to transplant
a lobe from Harry Owens' liver to Brittany. Last Monday, doctors in Pittsburgh
successfully performed the operation. Both father and daughter are recovering
well, Kim Owens said this week from Children's Hospital.
However, the family is still left to face a staggering
list of hospital bills. The cost of the surgery alone is $100,000, and
Brittany will have to take $3,000 worth of drugs every year for the rest
of her life to ensure that her body doesn't reject the liver, said Kim
Owens, 25. "I try not to think about how much we're going to pay," she
Although both Kim and Harry work, they are unsure
how much their insurance will cover and how much they will be left to shoulder.
Fortunately, a co-worker of Owens' has stepped up
to start a fund in the hopes of raising money to help the family deal with
the financial hardship. Lori Bokey opened the fund at Bank One and is hoping
to raise money through individual and corporate donations.
"I just felt so bad because of the situation," Bokey
said. "If my family was in this situation, I hope someone would help out."
Regardless of the cost, Owens will be happy to see her daughter playing
like other children her age. Because of her condition, Brittany has not
been allowed to ride her bike or go skating like other children, her mother
said. "I kind of had to watch everything she did," Kim Owens said.
Brittany should be able to lead a normal life now,
while her father should be fully recovered in three months, Kim said.
In addition, the girl has not really been aware of how serious her
"She knows that she's sick," Kim said. "I don't
know that she really understands what's going on." Anyone who wishes to
help with the family's medical bills can send donations to: Brittany Nicole
Owens Liver Transplant Fund, Bank One, 229 W. Main St., Clarksburg, WV,
26301 or: Bank One, 1507 Johnson Ave., Bridgeport, WV, 26330.
Harrison, Doddrige, Lewis and Randolph schools get
by Gail Marsh
Schools in Doddridge, Lewis, Randolph and Harrison
counties have received money to offer or expand classes that are delivered
to students via satellite over television.
The state Department of Education and the West Virginia
Educational Broadcasting Authority distributed more than $209,000 in federal
grant money to 21 sites to allow students to take courses not otherwise
offered at their schools.
The grant awards are for the 1999-2000 school year. Doddridge County
High School received $25,937.
The money will enable the school to offer advanced
English and calculus classes that are worth college credit.
The courses are broadcast to a receiver at the school and the students
view the live classes on a television screen, according to Barbara Stout,
Doddridge County High School principal.
"The program allows us to offer something to our
students that we otherwise would not be able to have," Stout said.
Lewis County High School received $13,360. The school will continue
to offer Latin and German classes to about 30 students, according to Sylvia
McNeish, principal. In Harrison County, Lumberport Middle School received
The money will help to continue a program that gives
eighth-graders the opportunity to take Spanish I. "We're glad to be able
to offer a foreign language class through distance learning. The students
have been very receptive to it," said John Marchio, Lumberport Middle School
Students will take the televised Spanish classes
four days a week from an instructor at the University of Nebraska, with
the remaining class devoted to conversation.
The students are provided with telephone tutors
to help them practice and master concepts in conversational Spanish.
Pickens Elementary/Middle/High School will use its grant of $1,875
to continue an elementary Spanish class for the school's kindergarten through
sixth grades, according to James Biggs, principal of the rural Randolph
"We've been able to provide Spanish at different
levels for all of our students for the last couple of years. Distance learning
works well for our small school of 47 students," Biggs said.