News for September 13, 1999
'Sunday in the Park' kicks off annual United Way campaign
by Gail Marsh
The weather on Sunday was accommodating and the crowds turned out to
make the kickoff for the 1999-2000 Harrison County United Way campaign
one of its best starts ever.
"This is something that the whole community can enjoy while showing
their support for the United Way," said Ken Moslander, director for the
Harrison County United Way.
"Sunday in the Park," held at Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort,
was filled with activities from start to finish, from a softball tournament
and 5K run to entertainment, food and a dunking booth.
Several of the organizations who are supported by the United Way had
informational booths and fund-raising activities set up in the park's grassy
areas. Roland Kniceley of Salem, assistant scout master of Troop 7 Boy
Scouts of Clarksburg, was helping to grill and sell steak sandwiches. He
said he's been involved in scouting most of his life.
"My father was a scout master so I got hooked on scouting at an early
age. And I still believe that if a child gets involved and applies what
he learns, it's something that will help him to deal fairly and honestly
in every area of his life," Kniceley said.
Hope, Inc., a domestic violence shelter, once again sponsored the West
Virginia Clothesline Project, a visual aid to bring awareness to the problem
of domestic violence.
A few hundred T-shirts decorated by survivors of domestic abuse and
others decorated in memorial to the victims hung on a clothesline strung
among the trees. Lorena Pennell, who manages the Doddridge
County office of Hope, Inc., said the clothesline display is a good way
to bring attention to the problem of domestic violence.
"This can help people to see that the problem doesn't happen just somewhere
else, but it can be your next-door neighbor or a relative who is suffering
from abuse. It's a learned behavior and children who come from an abusive
home tend to carry the problem with them," she said.
Pennell said the support of the United Way allows Hope, Inc., to offer
shelter, counseling, court advocacy, relocation assistance and other needed
services to domestic abuse victims and their children.
"We are also able to go out into the community and do public speaking
to help educate the community about the seriousness of the problem. Without
the United Way's support, we wouldn't be able to do this," Pennell said.
Moslander said the "Sunday in the Park" activity is not meant to be
a fund-raiser, but rather a way to celebrate all the good things that the
United Way does. But he noted that most people who come still want to contribute.
"We made the miniature golf free last year, but we had to come up with
a bucket because so many people wanted to make a donation to the United
Way. The people of this area have been very supportive," he said.
'Concert in the Park' benefits scholarship fund
by Gail Marsh
Capt. Mike Freeman of the Bridgeport Fire Department stood in the grassy
area of the Bridgeport City Park and faced the stage where the band, Second
Street, was performing.
"The weather is good, the bands are great and everyone seems to be
having a great time. I'd say it's going well," Freeman said.
Freeman and several hundred Bridgeport residents turned out for "Concert
in the Park '99," sponsored by the fire department to raise funds for the
J.T. Honce Scholarship Fund.
John Thomas Honce was a long-time member of the fire department who
became a full-time fire-fighter/paramedic for the city of Bridgeport in
1997. He was killed on June 5, 1999, and the department has started a scholarship
fund in his honor.
"All the proceeds from the concert today go to help a student from
Bridgeport or from Harrison County who wants to attend Fairmont State in
the field of fire or emergency medical training," Freeman said.
The concert lasted more than eight hours and featured Second Street,
Now and Then, Standing Room Only, Stiff Kitty, Last Generation, Stepping
Stones and Rock Bottom Band. Their sounds ranged from country to rock and
roll, but nothing too head-banging, according to Amanda Harbert, secretary
for the volunteer fire department.
"We really wanted this to be a family-type event where everyone would
be comfortable, and the bands have been very supportive. We hope to make
this a yearly event," she said.
Harbert said people were generous all day at the concert, with many
people giving more than the requested $5 fee to attend the day-long event.
Many people gave $20 and a few gave $50 and $100 to benefit the scholarship
"Businesses in the area and the people have really rallied together
to help us with this cause. It lets you know that there are still a lot
of good people out there," she said.
Future events are being planned for the scholarship fund, including
a golf tournament at the Bridgeport Country Club. The J.T. Honce Memorial
Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, Oct. 4, starting
at noon, with registration slated for 10 a.m.
For more information on the tournament, people can contact Freeman
at 842-8252 or Chief Kelly Blackwell at 842-8251.
New security measures make Taylor Co. Courthouse a safer place to work,
by Gail Marsh
The judicial offices at the Taylor County Courthouse are a little more
secure after workers spent the last two weeks installing a number of security
measures in the downtown Grafton facility.
"The steps that were taken will create a safer environment for those
people who work in the magistrate offices and in the court system," said
Bob Weaver, president of the Taylor County Commission.
Weaver said the project was possible after the state Supreme Court
encouraged the Legislature to make money available for courthouses in all
55 counties to have some type of security in place.
"We applied for a state grant and got $40,000 to do the work. For right
now it just covers the judicial area, but that's where it's needed most,"
The security work was done at the courthouse by Advanced Alarm Technologies,
a Parkersburg firm owned by Robert Hill.
Hill said installing the new system was not difficult because all the
judicial offices are located on one floor -- the underground first floor
of the courthouse. These include the circuit court, prosecutor, magistrate,
family and divorce law and probation offices
The new system consists of several video surveillance cameras
placed strategically throughout the area. Activities can be monitored by
magistrates, bailiffs and also the county dispatch center.
The system includes a keypad entry system with electric door locks,
an intercom at each door and a series of duress or "panic" buttons that
allow court officials to notify law enforcement if an emergency arises.
"This is a pretty extensive system that should allow them to be able
to know just who is coming and going and what is taking place in any judicial
room at any time," Hill said.
Hill said his company has now installed security systems in 13 county
courthouses, including work done last year at the Harrison County Courthouse
on Main Street.
That work in Harrison County involved making the elevator the only
available entrance to the third floor that houses the two courtrooms and
the circuit clerk's offices.
Donnie Kopp, circuit clerk, said people can still use the stairs to
leave the third floor, but they must come up on the elevator and go through
the metal detectors in order to come on the floor. Three bailiffs are stationed
on the floor, one in each courtroom and one at the elevator entrance, he
"It does give you a greater measure of security to know that everyone
who comes on the floor must first pass by the bailiff and through the metal
detectors," Kopp said.
Weaver said the work done at the Taylor County Courthouse is a good
beginning, but more work needs to be done to secure the rest of the building.
"It's kind of a shame that we have to do this. I used to be a magistrate
and never worried about any harm. Now, with so many family issues, it's
a good idea to be concerned about safety," Weaver said.
Local residents' contributions make Black Heritage Festival a success
by Gail Marsh
Beverly North and her husband, Otto, have had a busy weekend.
The couple from North View have been one of the most popular food vendors
at the Black Heritage Festival for a number of years. With good reason.
"We must have sold 100 rib dinners and about one hundred pies on Saturday.
And today we're back with more ribs and chicken and steak sandwiches,"
The barbecued ribs, prepared by Otto North on his homemade grill, are
accompanied by string beans, potato salad and corn bread. But all the pie
was gone by late Saturday at the ninth annual festival.
"I start making those pies two to three days ahead, and I thought I
had plenty, but every year the demand is greater," Otto North said.
The Norths say they begin ordering their supplies for the festival
months in advance, and really don't mind all the preparation. They do it
because they enjoy serving people and offering a quality product.
"It's really all about coming here and getting to see the people and
all the families that come from far away to take part in the festival.
And I enjoy making sure that what we sell is the best quality," Beverly
Frank Starks of Clarksburg, along with several nieces and nephews,
has been selling fried fish sandwiches at the festival for the last four
years. Starks, who learned to cook from his mother, said his endeavor is
not really about making money but about helping the kids in his family.
"My main motivation is the kids. I try to instill in them that with
some work and dedication they can do something on their own, to encourage
them to do something better," Starks said.
Attendance for the two-day festival in downtown Clarksburg was steady,
with crowds lasting till 10 p.m. on Saturday. The day ended following a
gospel sing by the Mt. Zion Church choir.
"It's a good thing to come together like this. It's good for the people
and good for the community," Starks said.
Local and area news in brief
Blaze destroys mobile home in Sardis
A double-wide mobile home in Sardis was declared a total loss following
a fire early Saturday morning at the structure in the Katylick community,
fire officials said.
According to Ken McNemar Jr., captain with the Reynoldsville Volunteer
Fire Department, the department was called on scene at about 3 a.m. and
found the 1978 double-wide mobile home in flames. The Wallace and Lumberport
volunteer departments also responded, he said.
"The damage was contained to the home, which has been declared a total
loss. As we understand it, the house had been vacant for at least two weeks
while some remodeling was taking place," McNemar said.
McNemar did not release the name of the owner of the double-wide, but
did say the incident remains under investigation. The state fire marshal
may be called in to the investigate, but that has not yet been determined,
Rabid bat forces Wetzel school to close again
CHARLESTON (AP) -- A Wetzel County school was closed for two days last
week after officials found a rabid bat.
Short Line School officials in Reader shut the school Tuesday and Wednesday.
A piece of metal on the roof came loose and bats entered the building by
poking through the ceiling.
"It was a scary situation, especially with all the kids around," said
Raymond Ebert, a maintenance supervisor.
Ebert said a bat, tested by state Health Department representatives,
was found to be rabid.
School officials hired an exterminator to rid the school of the bats
and classes resumed Thursday.
Putnam County resident seeks to alter highway route
TEAYS VALLEY (AP) -- A Putnam County resident is working to generate a
letter-writing campaign to persuade state highways officials to change
the proposed direction of U.S. 35.
Public comment will be accepted until Sept. 23. But highways officials
say they won't change their plans for the $408 million, four-lane highway
that would link Point Pleasant in Mason County with Interstate 64.
Ellen Mills Pauley of Crooked Creek is urging neighbors to bombard
the state Highways Division with letters. "You can bet I will go up a day
or two after the public comment period ends to count the comments," she
Pauley says highways officials should move the proposed route further
west, which she says would save money. The alternative also would avoid
bulldozing her community.
Highway officials say their proposed route is sensible because most
of the traffic on U.S. 35 heads east. And linking I-64 with state Route
34 would provide relief for commuters from growing Winfield subdivisions,
highway engineer Dave Clevenger said.
If a letter-writing campaign fails, Pauley says she'll seek a court
injunction against the state highway department.
Man suspected in deaths of four family members
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- A man suspected in the deaths of his estranged
wife and three of her family members was being held in New York City Saturday
night, according to the Belmont County Sheriff's office.
Nawaz Ahmed, 44, is a suspect in the death of his estranged wife, Lubaina
Bhatti Ahmed; her father, Abdul Majid Bhatti of Canada; his sister-in-law,
Rubie Ahmed of California; and a niece, Nasira Ahmed of California. Ahmed
and the victims are not American citizens.
The bodies were found Saturday afternoon by a deputy at Ahmed's home
south of this city along the Ohio-West Virginia border about 110 miles
east of Columbus. The victims' relatives had contacted the sheriff's department
after being unable to reach the victims by telephone, according to a statement
from the sheriff's office.
The statement said Nawaz became a suspect based on evidence found at
the scene. He was being held by customs officials at Kennedy Airport, who
captured him while awaiting for a Pakistan International Airline flight.
They were unsure of where he was headed.
The Times-Leader of Martins Ferry reported for a story Sunday that
the couple were scheduled for a divorce hearing in Belmont County Common
Pleas Court Monday and that Ahmed has had previous arrests for domestic
"We knew he has violent tendencies," Sheriff Tom McCort told the newspaper.
He said a determination of when the victims were killed has not been
The newspaper said Ahmed has been living in Columbus.
The bodies have been taken to the Franklin County Coroner's office
No other details were released.
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