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As the nation recognizes Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, The Children’s League speech pathologists Angela Mandell, Tracie Green, Danielle Webster and Muryssa George encourage families to learn the signs of communication disorders.

Eleven percent of children 3–6 years of age experience a voice, speech, language, or swallowing disorder. Yet, many families do not know the early signs to look for—a factor that can result in delayed care.

Among children and young adults 6–21 years of age, speech and language disorders are one of the most common disabilities for which students receive special education services in schools through the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. Unaddressed, speech and language disorders can affect a child’s success academically and socially.

“If families are worried about their child’s communication skills, speech-language pathologists can provide life-changing intervention that can help children develop and thrive in school and life,” said Mandell.

“Speech-language pathologists work in early intervention programs, private practices, schools, and health care facilities. Families can reach out to them to have their child evaluated by contacting their local school system or a private practice or clinic.”

New data from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) show that lack of awareness about the signs of communication disorders is the leading factor that prevents families from taking action on these disorders in young children, according to speech-language pathologists nationwide.

“It’s so important that parents and caregivers know the warning signs and are aware of the benefi ts of timely intervention,” added Green. “Many communication disorders can be reversed or even prevented. While working with a speech-language pathologist can benefit a child at any age, intervention and treatment services often take less time and are most effective if they happen when the signs of a disorder first appear.”

Paving operations will began on Lunice Creek Highway — WV 42, from the intersection with Patterson Creek Road to the intersection with Roby Road, started Monday and will run through Friday, May 26.

Paving operations on Jordan Run Road, from the intersection with WV 42 to mile point 12.02, in Grant County, also began Monday and will run through Friday, May 19.

Flaggers will be present to direct traffic. Motorists are advised to stay alert, travel with caution through the work zone and use an alternate route, if possible.

The US Wind Force Foundation Inc. announced grant recipients of the second annual Community Benefit Fund sponsored by the Black Rock Wind Farm, which is owned and operated by Clearway Energy Group.

Sixteen grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and totaling $59,571.43 were allocated to projects in Grant, Mineral, Garrett, and Allegany counties.

The Black Rock Allocation Committee recently met and reviewed more than two dozen applications for the 2023 grant cycle.

Keri Whitacre, Mineral County resident, chaired the committee. “It has been a pleasure working with all the members of the committee to allocate the grant funds and their diligence to the process is much appreciated. A sincere thank you to Clearway and Laurel Renewable Partners for giving back to our communities.”

The 2023 grant recipients are as follows:

Antioch United Methodist Church, Barton Hose Company, Burlington Volunteer Fire Department, City of Petersburg $3,500 improvement of restroom facilities at visitor information center, Developmental Center & Workshop Inc., Elk District Ambulance Service, Elk Garden Primary School, Fountain Volunteer Fire Company, Friends of Ashby’s Fort Inc., Friends of Jennings Randolph Lake Inc., Grant County Commission $5,000 Construction of a pavilion on Virginia Ave for community events, Keyser-Mineral County Public Library, Kitzmiller Volunteer Fire Department, Mineral County Family Resource Network, Mineral County Parks and Recreation and New Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

Along with Whitacre, Allocation Committee members are, Randy Crane, vice chair, Michael Boggs, Dana Carr, Bill Dunithan, Kristi Evans, Carla Kaposy and Tony Stutts. Their service to the foundation and their community was a critical part of the grant review process.

Black Rock voluntarily committed to donate $133,214.29 to the Community Benefit Fund at the start of commercial operations in 2022 and $50,000 per year for the life of the project.

“We are extremely pleased to be part of this community,” said Doug Vance, site manager with Clearway Energy Group. “It’s nice to know that we can be of help to such worthy initiatives and organizations that provide enrichment and critical services in the region.”

South Branch Career and Technical Center conducted their annual National Technical Honor Society induction ceremony April 20, at the Landes Arts Center in Petersburg.

Inductees were: John Alexander, Daphne Ayers, Bianca Barragan, Katelyn Bobo, Riley Bobo, Martin Calhoun, Bayden Champ, Keirah Cullers, Xander Cummings, Seth Doman, Breanna Funk, Blake Harris, Katelyn Greaser, Rhenn Hedrick, McKenzie Howell, Bryan Jenkins, Alex Jones, Elizah Keplinger, Jimmy Keplinger, Hutton Kerr, Tyler Kessel, Laticia Moreland, Aleah Mumford, Victoria O’Callaghan, Bradlee Parrish, Jasmin Pena, Dillon Poling, Dakota Propst, Riley Rhea, Bryson Riggleman, Kelsey Rodgers, Noah Sager, Meagan See, Jesse Shifflett, Preslea Smith, J.W. Teets, Kadin Tinney, Blake Turner, Mason Warner, Alyssa Watson and Vanessa Webster.

SBCTC serves the tri-county area with students from Petersburg High School, Union High School, Moorefield High School, East Hardy High School and Pendleton County High School.

The annual Spring Giant Flea Market and Antique Sale is back at the State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, on May 19 – 21.

Back to a three-day event, the sale will be open from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday.

“For the first time since 2019, our Giant Flea Market will be back to it’s full set up including vendors both indoors and outdoors,” State Fair CEO Kelly Collins stated.

“Whether you are looking for a unique shopping experience or just spring cleaning and need to get rid of stuff, this event has something for everyone.”

Vendor booths remain at $25 per day for outdoor or $115 for the weekend indoors. All vendors must pre-register. Large items are the responsibility of the vendor and buyer.

All shoppers are asked to park in the free parking lot located on 219S and walk through the tunnel entrance. Admission is free to shop.

For more information or to register as a vendor, visit www.statefairofwv.com/flea-market, or call 304-645-1090.

The State Fair Event Center is a 200-acre multi-purpose meeting and exposition facility providing a wide variety of event rental opportunities and hosting over 300 events annually.

For more information, please visit www.statefairofwv.com, or follow fair events on Facebook and Twitter.

The Grant County Commission gave a resolution, at least temporarily, to the conversation surrounding the potential change of lease at the Forman School building in Lahmansville.

The conversation arose when Shawna Cole, the owner of the Learning Tree Daycare Center located next to the building, requested the commission consider leasing or selling the old schoolhouse to her so that she could expand child care in the area.

The conversation continued heavily last month during the April 25 commission meeting, with numerous community members attending to voice their opinions on the matter. For a full recount of this meeting, see the May 2 edition of the Press.

Overall, Cole explained the building would not be an expansion of her existing daycare business but would be used as a pre-kindergarten program and that she had registered the program as a nonprofit.

Currently, the building lease is held by the Patterson Creek Ruritans, who were apprehensive about the lease changing to Cole. Their main concerns lies in potentially taking the building away from the community, with the location currently being available for rental for birthdays, memorials and similar occassions. The Ruritans also clarified that they fully supported Cole but did not believe “this was the right place” for her expansion.

At the time, the commission ended the discussion saying they would seek input from the West Virginia Attorney General’s office on the legality of leasing the building to Cole. This concern arose from the legal definition of the designation of “for public use” and the type of nonprofit that could legally lease property from the county commission.

They also requested Cole provide a business and building use plan for them to present to the attorney general to ensure her usage of the building would fall into the legal perameters for the lease.

However, due to the existing lease’s timeline, upcoming automatic renewal and the time it will take for an official opinion to be rendered, the commission said last week that the lease changing will be “nearly impossible” at this time.

“There was an agreement between the Ruritans back in 1999 where the county originally reached out to them for help and they signed for a 25 year period,” commissioner Tyson Riggleman explained. “... That isn’t up until next year I believe.”

Will serve Grant, Mineral and Tucker

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that he had selected a new circuit court judge that will preside over the Grant, Mineral and Tucker county area.

Judge Robert E. Ryan of Morgantown was selected by Gov. Justice to fill the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of the area’s long-serving Judge Lynn Nelson.

Nelson, a Mineral County native, is scheduled to retire in July. His retirement will cap a career that spanned more than 30 years. He was elected circuit judge in 2009 and had previously served as the county’s top prosecutor.

According to the announcment concerning Ryan’s selection, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1996, then went on to attend Washington and Lee University School of Law where he obtained his Juris Doctor in 2000. Currently, Ryan is licensed to practice law in four states — West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as in five of the United States District Courts.

He has received numerous honors in the legal field, which included being chosen as Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Best Lawyer in America publication, as well as being named a “Rising Star” by the Super Lawyers publication.

Ryan is a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of WV, the Defense Research Institute, the WV Association of Justice and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel.

Ryan is also a member of several bar associations.

In his spare time, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and officiating ice hockey for teams sanctioned by USA Hockey.

Summerfield faces murder charges

The final witnesses are set to take the stand at the Grant County Courthouse as the jury deliberates to determine whether or not Carl Ray Summerfield, 30, of Cabins, is responsible for the death of Wesley Rohrbaugh, 48.

The case against Summerfield is being argued by Grant County prosecutor John Ours, who presented 11 state witnesses last week to prove to the jury that Summerfield intentionally murdered Rohrbaugh and concealed his body in a garage at Allen’s Trail Court in Cabins.

Rohrbaugh’s body was reported on February 5 of last year after residents of the trailer court discovered it in a locked garage near where both Summerfield and Rohrbaugh had been residing. However, while emergency responders where contacted on Feburary 5, Rohrbaugh’s time of death was placed days earlier on February 1.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Department headed the investigation, with aid from the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Quantico, Va.

When he was discovered, Rohrbaugh had been shot multiple times, with bullet entrance wounds in his arm, hand and head.

Following an investigation, Summerfield was arrested and was charged with murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Summerfield later pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A trial began on May 11 to determine Summerfield’s guilt and was set to conclude yesterday with jury deliberations to begin following the defense’s final witnesses.

During the first two days of the trial, Ours presented multiple witnesses who were present at the time of the alleged crime as well as those Summerfield interacted with following Rohrbaugh’s murder. Witnesses who testified against the accused included: a man who claims he traded 30 capsules of heroin to Summerfield in exchange for the alleged murder weapon; a man who shared a jail cell with Summerfield who claimed Summerfield requested and was given a “trophy tattoo” depicting the grim reaper with the letter “W” to indicate Rohrbaugh’s name; expert witnesses from both the FBI and the state medical examiner’s office in Charleston; and the case’s lead investigating officer with the sheriff’s department.

The most vocal state election official critical of the federal government’s role in misleading American voters to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election is now calling for the immediate resignation of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Actions have consequences. Using former federal employees of hightrust government positions in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election cannot be tolerated,” said West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner.

“In order to have confidence in a trusted and fair 2024 presidential election, we must prove to the American public that those engaging in nefarious behavior will be punished, not promoted.”

On April 27, Warner testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration on restoring voter confidence in American elections.

In his testimony, Warner outlined recently disclosed records concerning a highly improper coordinated effort between the Biden campaign and former intelligence officers of multiple federal agencies to infl uence the American people just before the 2020 presidential election by providing candidate Joe Biden talking points and “evidence” to push back against any attempt by President Trump to comment on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.

Last week, Congressman Jim Jordan released a 64-page report that verifies Secretary Warner’s assertions about the improper role of those former federal intelligence agents, and in particular the role that current U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken played in developing the lie to the American people. The disinformation operation played a significant role in influencing voters’ opinions in the 2020 presidential election in favor of Biden.

In 2020, Blinken was then a senior adviser to the Biden campaign when he sparked the disinformation creation by Michael Morell, former CIA Acting Director who was reportedly being considered for CIA irector if Biden won the election.^1

Recently released documents from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee shows that Blinken coordinated with former intelligence officials of multiple federal agencies, including the FBI and the CIA, to develop a disinformation strategy to discredit the allegations against the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop.2 Blinken, and those promoting the letter, suggested that the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian disinformation campaign.^3

After 30 year of what the West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McKusky’s office calls “overly bureaucratic and confusing,” the law concerning property tax sales has been revamped.

Previously, properties that owners failed to pay taxes on were put up for auction at courthouses across the state by the sheriff of each county.

Senate Bill 552 has made the state auditor’s office fully in charge of each sale, which will still take place at each courthouse only once a year. The sheriff’s department is still responsible for sending out tax due notices, collections and notifying owners of delinquency.

According to the state auditor’s office “Any property that is not sold will still be available to purchase through the Auditor’s Office, however, SB 552 establishes a pecking order for unsold properties.

“This order was established to encourage purchase and to get properties back into productive use to clean up communities and make use of vacant properties.

“The unsold properties will be offered in this order: adjacent landowners, municipalities/land reuse agencies, counties, land stewardship corporation and then the public.

“Recognizing that no one’s home should be taken away for falling on hard times, for the first time ever, this bill establishes a payment plan. If your home is sold at a tax sale, you can request a re-payment plan from the Auditor’s Office, to be paid in three installments before the deed is issued to the new purchaser.”

In addition to the new sale rules, recent legislation will go into effect June 9, that will prohibit foreign countries on U.S. government watch lists and fly-by-night property speculators from purchasing land at county tax sales, adding another tool in the toolbox for local governments.

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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