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The annual West Virginia Women in Agriculture Conference provides research-based and practical educational opportunities for agribusiness women while fostering networking and leadership development.

Workshops focus on the five areas of risk management and production enterprises.

Farm tours highlight successful operations and provide opportunities for participants to learn from other’s experiences.

The conference rotates annually to demonstrate the diversity of agricultural enterprises throughout West Virginia.

This year’s conference is set for Nov. 17-18, at Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center in Davis.

Registration, which is now open, and conference information may be found at extension.wvu.edu under the Agriculture tab.

Multiple Viking coaches appeared before the Grant County Board of Education earlier this month to discuss the addition of a new athletics facility that will serve as a home to the school’s baseball, softball, wrestling, cheerleading and archery teams.

Coaches Mike Landis (baseball), Bubba Hedrick (softball) and Tony Weatherholt (wrestling) appeared before the board to request approval for their teams to rent a building for fall and winter practices.

“The idea is to find someplace for our kids to practice their eventing sports,” said Grant County Superintendent Mitch Webster. “As we have grown the teams we can offer, we have not grown our facilities.”

According to information provided by Jacob Gray, Petersburg High School’s athletic director, when the school was originally constructed in the late 1960s, they offered varsity and junior varsity football and cheer as fall sports; wrestling, varsity and junior varsity boys basketball and cheer as winter sports and baseball as the only spring sport. Girls basketball was originally added to the list in the 1970s but was a fall sport before being moved to the winter in 1993.

However, the current list of sports has more than tripled, with 10 teams playing in the fall, including volleyball, golf and soccer and multiple sports now offering middle school teams; nine teams compete in the winter, including archery and multiple age categories of both girls and boys basketball and in the spring, the school hosts six teams, including track and three additional middle school teams.

Gray explained that the struggle to have space for all teams to practice in their season has been a growing issue, which is compounded by flex practices. Flex practices were added in the 2000s and allow coaches to work with their players out of season. This includes 12 practices and three weeks in June.

Webster explained that the original idea had been to fundraise and request grants that would allow the school to build a new facility next to the high school, near where the school’s tennis courts currently sit.

However, due to practice space struggles, the coaches requested a more immediate solution, leaving the construction of the new facility to remain as the long-term plan. Landis explained that all the money that has been raised to this point for the facility will remain in place for that purpose.

The Grant County Commission held a special meeting last week to hear from emergency medical service (EMS) leadership and employees about a possible reorganization of the Grant County Ambulance Service.

The meeting was suggested during the Sept. 12 meeting in which many EMS workers expressed concerns with the possibility of reducing the number of emergency crews in the county from three to two. The conversation arose after it was announced that West Virginia University’s HeathNet would begin covering all Grant Memorial Hospital’s transports beginning on October 1.

During the original meeting, the commission said that this would impact the county’s ambulance financially and that they would be seeking ways to reduce costs. According to data presented by the county, Grant County Ambulance has a total revenue of $4,931,347.94, total expenditures of $9,386,556.44, which leaves an overall loss of $4,455,208.50.

Currently, the county runs three crews and the commission said one of these crews primarily runs transports.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announced another prosecution for voter fraud in West Virginia.

Jon Cooper, a former Randolph County resident, has pled guilty to illegal voting in the 2020 election.

According to Secretary Warner, Cooper illegally voted twice in the 2020 General Election — once in West Virginia, and again in New Mexico.

The case was handled by Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker, and the investigation was conducted by Investigator Elise Guice of the Attorney General’s Office at the direction of the Secretary of State’s Investigation Division Director Kimberly Mason.

Cooper’s guilty plea is the second to come this year for illegal voting in the 2020 election. According to Warner, Cooper’s conviction serves as a deterrent to those who would consider committing similar criminal acts in the upcoming election of 2024.

“I have been dedicated to uncovering and prosecuting election fraud since taking office in 2017. If anyone attempts to cheat in a West Virginia election or commit voter fraud in any way, we will catch you,” said Secretary Warner.

“West Virginia uses state-of-the-art technology and the best-trained elections staff in the country to make sure that our elections are secure.”

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) announces the following students on being named to the summer president’s list. The summer terms run from May to August.

Locally, Ashly Rohrbaugh of Petersburg and Kourtney Cook and Bobbi Morgan, both of Keyser, earned the honor.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.7 and above for the reporting term are named to the president’s list. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired 8-week terms grouped in fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Each year the Lions Clubs of West Virginia provide the opportunity for several students to travel abroad.

Briefl y, this year, six travel grants of $1,600 will be awarded to students in grades 10-12 or a recent graduate, toward a four to six-week cultural exchange to countries such as Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Finland, Japan, Italy, Peru or Australia during the summer of 2024.

Destination countries are not limited to those listed above. Application deadline is November 10, 2023. The Lions of West Virginia rely heavily on the guidance counselors in each high school to get the word out about this program.

Students may contact their high school guidance counselors for more information, an application and contest rules. The Youth Exchange Scholarship Application and Scholarship Contest Rules forms are also currently available on the West Virginia Lions website: WVLions. org/resources then scroll down to Youth Exchange.

If you have any questions about the contest or about the Youth Exchange Program contact Lion Lorrie Krautwurst - 301-467-9868 or Lion Henry Krautwurst - 301-467-1032.

By Ravenna Redman

Director of Social Services

The employees of Grant Rehabilitation and Care Center have chosen Mary “Fran” Shockey as our GRCC Resident of the Week.

Fran has been a resident of our facility since July 18. She was born Feb. 28, 1953, at Veach Townsend Clinic in Petersburg, to Phillip Blaine “Satch” and Lillian Josephine (Strawderman) Wratchford. Fran is the second eldest of five children. Her siblings are Betty Arbogast, Joan Foltz, Mark Wratchford, Jim Wratchford and the late Janet Musser.

Fran was raised in Moorefield. They lived at Fort Run and eventually on Cold Springs Road. Her father, Satch, worked at Rockingham and became a plant supervisor. Her mother worked at Hester’s. The children would often invent games to play outside and play with the neighbors to keep busy. They went for drives in the country and attended church regularly.

“We were a close family, and we did a lot of things together.” One of her favorite memories is of her mother, and her aunt Stella. “In the evenings, they would play their guitars and sing to us. They were on the radio.”

For elementary school, Fran attended Tollgate School. “There were three classrooms with three teachers. It was a good country school. During the term, I was able to help in the kitchen by serving lunch.”

After six years at Tollgate, Fran transfered to Moorefield High School. She played in the interclass basketball tournament, served as secretary for three different teachers and was also on the student council. During her high school career, she was awarded the American Legion Award, which focused on trustworthiness, honor, and excellence and also was awarded Miss Yellow Jacket. She graduated in 1971.

The Church Women United of Petersburg presented the Human Rights Award to Lori Landis Martin at a luncheon on Sept. 9, hosted by the Petersburg Presbyterian Church.

President Ellen Kirby made the presentation. Members from several churches attended.

Martin shared her experiences while serving at the American Indian Christian Mission at Show Low, Ariz. for a year. Her position consisted of business manager, kitchen manager and events coordinator, but her duties included being a gym teacher, driver’s education instructor, cook’s helper, head cook, janitor, music teacher, counselor, and dorm mom.

She also worked as a relief parent at Living Hope House (Dream City), which is a maternity home for single homeless mothers and their children during pregnancy.

Her love for the Apache children was evident in her inspirational presentation. She is planning a return mission trip to the same area in the future.

Martin attends the Cornerstone Family Fellowship Church, where she is currently the church secretary, a member of the praise and worship team, Sunday school superintendent and event coordinator. She has participated in many different aspects of the church in the past.

All area church women are cordially invited to participate in the meetings and activities of Church Women United.

The next business meeting will be held at Grove Street United Methodist Church on Friday, Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. The next celebration will be World Community Day on Nov. 4, at the Dorcas Baptist Church.

The Petersburg Interfaith Pantry food requests for September are

• Pancake mix and syrup

• Cereal

• Canned chicken

• Canned tuna Any other nonperishable food items are always welcome.

Drop your donations at any of the following locations: Grant County Press, Judy’s Drug Store, Hott Insurance or Shop ‘n Save. Food may also be dropped off at the pantry, 4 Myrtle Avenue, during open hours.

Petersburg High School English language arts teacher Ashley Wilkins-Franks was selected as a state Superintendent’s Rising Leaders.

Individuals receiving the award demonstrate the following:

• Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;

• Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;

• Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;

• Early-to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and

• Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

This program is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education.

A worldwide celebration of peace and music is always celebrated the last Saturday in August. Founded in 2013 by Brian Mallman, a Los Angeles-based artist and some friends, the event boasts an international day of peace through music.

Hilton, Marcia and Lenwood Brake of Petersburg put on an event this year at their farmhouse to join in the celebration.

The event was hosted at the home of the late Conway and Connie Brake, which in later years became Norris and Aldene Brake’s home. It was attended by some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren along with neighbors and friends.

The very talented Joe Crites and Colton Watts performed music on the front porch. Each guest brought a favorite dish to share. It was a great evening with lots of good food with friends and family.

Marcia shared, “As a child growing up in California we would visit my grandparents in SW Virginia each summer for several weeks. My mother was from a family of nine kids. Aunts, uncles, cousins that lived all over the U.S. would visit during that time. Several of them played different instruments and had beautiful voices.”

Marcia continued, “We all enjoyed listening to the music and storytelling about our family sitting on the front porch with chairs and gliders in front of the porch. My grandpa was very talented playing the banjo, guitar and the harmonica. Grandma would sing gospel music. It was always a grand time for our family."

Marcia saw the info on Instagram “Play Music on the Porch Day” and knew they had to participate in this international event. So she and her niece, Joy Brake started the planning.

“It was a wonderful peaceful evening of good food, fellowship and music. It brought back lots of memories of playing on the porch during my childhood,” Donna Brake Humphrey refl ected. She is the daughter of the late Gene and Imogene Brake and granddaughter of Connie and Conway Brake.

Kathie Brake Huffman shared, “Best of all was spending time with family that you don’t get to see very often. The food was abundant and amazing. It bought back so many wonderful memories being back at Granddad’s.” She is the daughter of the late Warren and Charlotte Brake and granddaughter of Conway and Connie Brake.

Submitted by Donna Kuhn Humphrey

Editor - Camille Howard;
News Editor - Erin Camp;
Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
Print Shop Manager - Richard Knight; 
Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
Circulation - Mary Simmons

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