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Board hears concerns about chrome caps on school buses, receives official opinion from West Virginia transportation expert

Earlier this month, the Grant County’s Sheriff’s Department answered questions surrounding the student drug testing policy currently proposed to the board of education. Sheriff B. Ours and chief deputy S. Wratchford attended the September board of education meeting to respond to concerns about the legal ramifications students could face.

The county’s potential drug testing policy has been heavily discussed by the board this summer and is currently being developed. During the course of the ongoing discussion, the board has had multiple presentations on the policy, including a third-party drug testing company. They have also received input from lawyers concerning the legal rights of the school when it comes to testing students as well as the legality of employee testing. They have also worked closely with other West Virginia counties who currently require student testing.

If passed, the policy would require student athletes to be randomly tested. However, the board has expressed the goal to later expand testing beyond just athletes to all extracurricular activities, including FFA and band, as well as to any student who drives to school.

Board member Janie Berg explained she supported the testing of student athletes but was concerned about the impact a positive test would have on the life of the juvenile.

Troy Sites, Patty Sites, Emyioni Whitaker, Joni Mayle and Hunter Sites stand inside one of the darklight rooms in the haunt. The room is one of many inside the Haunted Dream in Petersburg, which will open its doors the weekend of Oct. 11.

Haunted Dream, an award-winning haunt in Petersburg, will be returning this Halloween season to offer a spooky experience as well as give back to local charities and causes. Last year, the haunt raised $1,000 for the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company and this year, the proceeds from the event will be donated to Project Equip, a program dedicated to helping children in the area.

The haunt is a family-run event that is open on Fridays and Saturdays, starting October 11 and ending in a special Halloween experience on Oct. 31.

This is the haunt’s second year at its current location and was named the number two must-see haunted house in West Virginia. The award was based off of customer reviews through The Scare Factor, a website that lists haunts around the nation and provides customer reviews on each house. Haunted Dream boasts an average ranking of 9.91 out of 10 on the site. While the haunt may be new to its Ivy Lane location, it has actually been running for seven years and was originally located on East Avenue.

Promising guaranteed pay raises and clear career paths, West Virginia is recruiting correctional officers and staff through a series of upcoming job fairs.

Seven one-stop career events are scheduled across the state through Nov. 7. These events will allow recruits to sign up on the spot. Minimum qualifications include a high school diploma, a valid driver’s license and passage of a physical agility test and a drug screening.

Thanks to a series of pay raises, the starting salary for correctional officers is $28,664 and will rise to $30,664 on July 1, 2020.

In addition, officers who complete one year of employment are guaranteed a promotion and a 7% pay hike, bringing their annual salaries to $32,810. Pay increases further, to $35,106, after one year in that promoted position and the officer advances further up the ranks. 

Besides these multiple raises and the revamped career path, the benefits package for starting officers is around $13,776. It includes comprehensive indemnity health insurance, term life insurance, and a defined benefit pension plan.

Positions are available throughout the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation system, which includes West Virginia’s prisons, regional jails and juvenile facilities. While each event is tailored for the facilities in its region, job fair attendees can seek employment throughout the system.

Upcoming One Stop Career Events (each is 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.):

Sept. 17: Martinsburg Workforce West Virginia office, 200 Viking Way

Oct. 1: Parkersburg Workforce West Virginia office, 300 Lakeview Center

Oct. 1: Saint Marys Correctional Center and Jail, 2880 North Pleasants Highway

Oct. 3: South Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility, 1001 Centre Way, Charleston

Oct. 15: Elkins Workforce West Virginia office, 1023 N. Randolph Ave.

Oct. 29: Clarksburg Workforce West Virginia office, 153 W. Main St.

Nov. 7: Summersville Workforce West Virginia office, 830 Northside Dr.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Depart- ment (GCSD) released an update last week concerning new laws in place on vaping.

Vaping is a common term used for the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette.) Generally, the vapor is produced from a material such as an e-liquid, concentrate, or dry herb.

Usage of these products has been heavily discussed throughout the county over the past year as the Grant County Board of Education released policy updates that placed vaping in the same category as tobacco and made using the vape products a punishable offense for students on school grounds.

Last week, the Grant County Commission received an update on courthouse cyber security and the ever-present goal of preventing hackers from accessing or stealing county documents. 

County Clerk Seymour Fisher addressed the commission, presenting an email his office had received.

The email, which claimed to be from Grant County 911 Director Peggy Bobo-Alt, requested that the clerk’s office provide her with a direct deposit form.

“Can I email or fax it back?” the email asked. “I hope I am not late for coming payroll.”

However, on closer inspection, Fisher realized the email was sent from a publicworks.me email and did not match Alt’s county address.

The Hampshire County Veterans Foundation’’s annual Veterans Appreciation Festival and Freedom Ride rolled through Petersburg last week with more than 100 cyclists stopping for a break at Tri-County Honda.

The event is a fundraiser for the program and includes food, drinks and an auction. Petersburg was one of multiple stops on the trip, others including Romney, Wardensville and Capon Springs.

On Sept. 5, multiple Grant County agencies participated in a search for a missing hiker on the North Fork Mountain Trail.

The man, Paul Fox, was hiking in the area when he became disoriented and lost his way along the trail. His absence was noticed by Ed Fischer, owner of the North Fork Mountain Inn. Fox was staying at the inn when he left for his hike.

Awards school five computers

A group of Petersburg Elementary School students show U.S. Sena- tor Shelley Moore-Capito the classroom’s new computers.

A few classrooms in Petersburg Elementary School will now be working with new technology thanks to The Computers for School program and Senator Shelley Moore-Capito.

The program allows each senate office to donate five computer systems to five schools within the state. After review, Capito selected PES as one of the five West Virginia schools to be awarded the new HP 8300 systems, complete with monitors, keyboards and mice.

Community members, organizations and faith-based groups came together over the past two weeks to spread awareness on those who have lost their lives to the drug epidemic and mental health issues.

On Aug. 31, representatives from the Potomac Highlands Guild and The Russ Hedrick Resource and Recovery Center, as well as multiple other agencies, worked to organize a day of awareness at the Landes Arts Center in Petersburg.

Norman and Mary Kile hold sheets of pictures from her family’s collection of memories, including the Jordan’s Taxi Station, family photos and images from the 1949 flood.

Dating back more than half a century, Mary Kile’s carefully preserved family photos have survived not only the wear and tear of time but also major flooding. The daughter of Frank and Olive Jordan, Kile is a true Bayard native, being a graduate from Bayard Elementary School and Bayard High School.

Her grandparents were homesteaders in the area in the 1800s and laid roots in Grant County that have lasted for generations.

In her collection of memories, Kile has a fascinating look back into the history of the county, including a look at the last taxi service in Petersburg.

On Aug. 22, Chief Deputy S. Wratchford of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at Sheetz in Petersburg in reference to two possible overdose victims.

Funding goals to focus on additional money for student safety and facility infrastructure repairs

In an unanimous vote, the Grant County Board of Education has agreed to move forward with a levy that will appear on local ballots next year.

A levy is an adjustment to county taxes in which the funds are earmarked for a specific use, in this case, for the schools.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education, currently 42 of the 55 counties in West Virginia have at least one excess levy currently in effect, including Mineral County. In 2015, Mineral County passed their levy with a vote of 1,731 citizens for the levy and 232 against it.

Grant County currently has no additional levies in place to fund schools.

In these early stages of discussion, Grant County has yet to set a specific tax rate increase. The board did provide preliminary information on their goals, which appear will focus heavily on facility repairs and school safety.

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

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