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Last week, Maysville Elementary closed its doors to students after a string of positive Covid-19 tests left the school short on personnel.

The decision to close the school for two weeks was made on Sept. 21 by Grant County Superintendent Doug Lambert and MES principal Megan DiBenedetto.

“It was absolutely an issue of personnel,” Lambert explained to the Grant County Board of Education during their Sept. 22 meeting. “We simply didn’t have the personnel to open the school. Right now, we have remote learning set up through Schoology or through paper and pencil options to get work to the students. Those professional and service personnel who are not in quarantine are allowed to come into the school to work, so there are people at the school.”

A Hardy County man was sentenced to prison earlier this month after a probation revocation hearing alleging he was charged with possession and use of a controlled substance, obtaining new charges, absconding from probation, failing to appear with Hardy County probation when directed and fleeing on foot at the time of his arrest.

An Indiana man passed away last week while traveling in Grant County after he lost control of his motorcycle while attempting to avoid a bear in the roadway.

The incident also included a second accident which occurred when another rider attempted to avoid the initial crash.

A new resolution signed last week by the county commission will now limit membership on the Grant Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees to only Grant County residents.

The question of out-of-county members has been heavily debated over the past two years, with both Hardy and Pendleton previously having voting members on the board.

However, according to the Grant County Commission, members from other counties were never intended to have voting rights.

On July 31, a Pendleton County jury returned a guilty verdict in a civil case against a Grant County couple after they were accused of financially exploiting an elderly family in Upper Tract.

The case centered around the Full family, a group of four lderly siblings - Isaac, Loy, Charles and Nancy, and their family farm in the Upper Tract area. As the siblings aged, they entered into an agreement with Teresa and Robert Borror of 4265 Franklin Pike, Petersburg to help care for them in their old age in exchange for the deed to their property after their passing.

However, as years passed, the Fulls claim that not only did the Borrors not keep their agreement to help care for them, but they attempted to financially exploit them out of their home, their land and their belongings.

Two Hardy County residents have pleaded guilty to burning down a storage unit building in Grant County.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Dec. 14, 2019, when officers from the Grant County Sheriff’s Department responded to a fire at the storage units located behind the 7-11 on Virginia Avenue, in Petersburg.

A Mount Storm man was convicted to serve 30 years in prison last week for distributing methamphetamine throughout Mineral, Grant and Randolph counties.

Robert Lee Pauley, Jr., 42, was sentenced to 360 months in prison after pleading guilty to distributing more than 500 grams of methamphetamine from March to May 2018.

In their ongoing effort to improve school safety, increase security and prevent violence, the Grant County Board of Education applied for and received a $390,069 grant through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP).

It was announced last week by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia that several law enforcement agencies and school districts received more than $824,000 for school safety upgrades.

On Saturday, the Potomac Highlands Guild held their second annual Run for Recovery event at Michael Brothers Memorial Field in Petersburg.

The event included multiple informational setups from programs such as OnTrack, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Jobs and Hope West Virginia and West Virginia Suicide Prevention.

“This is an opportunity to hear from different organizations, to visit their tables and talk to them about what they can do,” said Roger Dodd, a peer recovery counselor with the Russ Hedrick Recovery Center. “This is an effort to get together as a community and show anyone who needs it that we are here for them and that there are options, there are people who care.”

Multiple runners and walkers came out to compete in the event.

Winners in the female category were Alexandria Murray and Hadessah Morrell. Winners in the male category were Josiah Morrell and Raj Masih.

September is National Recovery Month, a recognition aimed at bringing awareness to prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and services around the country.

According to the NAADAC, (an association for addiction professionals) Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

“The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover,” the NAADAC explains. “There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments.”

The West Virginia Supreme Court has set oral arguments in a lawsuit over whether Gov. Jim Justice must live in the state capital.

Arguments are set for Oct. 14 in an appeal of a Kanawha circuit judge’s ruling that denied the governor’s motion to dismiss the 2-year-old case filed by Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, news outlets reported.

Sponaugle, a Democrat, wants Justice to live in Charleston, per the state constitution that says governors should “reside at the seat of the government.’’ Lawyers for the Republican governor, who lives in Greenbrier County and is seeking reelection in November, have argued “reside’’ has vague meaning.

In their petition to the court, Justice’s attorneys say the question is political and it’s up to the governor or lawmakers to decide residency. The attorneys say a judicial ruling would represent a violation of the separation of powers clauses in both the state and U.S. constitutions.

That argument is based on an “incorrect interpretation of legal precedent,’’ Sponaugle said.

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

Briefly, this year, six travel grants of $1,400 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 2021. Destination countries are not limited to those listed above.

Application deadline is Nov. 13.

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 at www.wvlions.org/youth. html.

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

By Lexi Browning West Virginia Press Association

For financial leaders in West Virginia, staying ahead of the curve — while making strides to flatten it — has been crucial in managing the coronavirus pandemic.

Facing a global health crisis, an economic downturn and record-high unemployment rates, early adaptability helped many financial institutions and investment firms keep customers informed — and at home.

From large financial institutions to community operations, the focus has been on safety and service.

Recently, the impact of Covid-19 on the state’s financial industry was discussed with Chad Prather, president of Huntington Bank’s West Virginia Region; Brett Harper, financial adviser at Edward Jones in Charleston, W.Va.; and George Ford, president and CEO of The Grant County Bank.

At Huntington Bank, Prather said previous protocols that allowed for remote work helped “seamlessly” transition 80 percent of employees to work remotely overnight.

Despite shifting guidelines in federal lending programs and uncertainty about funding availability, Prather said he and his team worked efficiently to ensure their customers’ loans were processed early on.

“All hands were on deck,” Prather said. “It was a super proud moment. There were a multitude of things we stepped up to do to ensure our colleagues and customers were safe, that the community was taken care of and that our customers were able to survive this and would be able to thrive on the other end because of the way we worked together.”

At a time when many faced layoffs and unemployment, Huntington offered multiple forms of economic relief for its customers, including fee waivers, interest-only payments and forbearance programs.

“We offered flexibility on loan repayment and waived all overdraft fees, and we offered a lot of leniency to those in need,” Prather said. “We led the way in terms of setting precedent for how we should react in a situation like this. We are the number one SBA lender in the country, and the number of [Paycheck Protection Program] loans initiated [were] 35,000 to the tune of north of $6 billion.”

Ensuring that customers knew about economic relief programs at a time when they felt most vulnerable was a priority for Prather. Alleviating stress over loan accounts was the “least” they could do, he said.

“This goes back to the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated,” he said. “This was not a banking or finance crisis; it was a health crisis that no one saw coming or could do much about. As a bank that’s all about taking care of people, it was the right thing to do. We proactively and immediately set forth those [initiatives], and the payment relief early on was so welcomed by businesses and consumers.”

Following guidelines set by health experts, Prather said Huntington has deployed social distancing measures, way-finding markers to help guide customers through the branch and staff mask requirements. Customer-facing operations are now separated by plexiglass.

Throughout the last few months, Prather said he has been indescribably proud of the way his colleagues — as well as his state — stepped up and supported one another, whether it meant driving to a distant branch to fill in for a vacancy or putting in extra hours.

“Everyone rallied around one another, supported and helped where they needed to, and they were there to help reassure customers as well,” Prather said. “It was a proud moment as a leader of the organization to see the team step up in the way that they did.”

At Huntington, team members were given additional paid time off, emergency and caregiver leave, along with location flexibility and daily internal updates. For those who continued to work on-site, Prather said the bank sponsored meals from local restaurants.

The bank’s community outreach, he said, also founded a Covid relief fund that helped local food banks and housing initiatives.

“Our communities are the life- blood of the bank,” Prather said. “We live in them. Everything we do is local ... we aren’t who we are without them.”

Though much is uncertain, Prather said he still anticipates an economic recovery.

“The system in place is significantly greater than adequate to support recovery, and I fully expect one,” he said.

Harper, financial adviser at Edward Jones in Charleston, W.Va., said he was also optimistic about the financial industry’s future.

“I can look to history and the market, and after every downturn, there’s always a recovery period,” Harper said. “Going forward, almost five months after [the pandemic began], the S&P closed within its record-high this week.”

Throughout the ongoing pandemic, previously established digital meeting options helped clients stay up to date, he said.

“Prior to the pandemic, with any client I had, we’d discussed account access and the importance of look- ing at accounts online,” Harper said. “A lot of people just have phone appointments with us. It’s not out of the norm, but I did work remotely, and I’m still working remotely.”

In March, as the pandemic began and negatively affected the economy, Harper said he began reaching out to clients to reassure them during the uncertain time.

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