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 After nearly a year of discussion, hard work and grant writing, the hopes of giving Petersburg a fully paved hike and bike trail moved one step closer last week. The proposed trail will run approximately three miles along the Petersburg dike and will include multiple entrances for walkers and bikers.

 The completion of the project now hinges on the awarding of a competitive grant through the West Virginia Division of Highways. However, the story of how the project has made it to this point is one of unity within the community.

 Spearheaded by Bob McCalley and Sarah Moomau, the trail was first conceived as a health and wellness improvement for the community, with hopes it could also have a positive impact on tourism. This project was identified as a community need during a West Virginia Community Development Hub, Communities of Achievement Program meeting, with design support from West Virginia University.

 The following cases were heard in the Grant County Magistrates Court from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15:

 Cassandra Rachelle Bowman, 27, of 236 Trimble Ave., Martinsburg, was fined and assessed $175.25 after pleading guilty to charges of speeding.

 Catherine B. Clay, 65, of 103 Gilburt Rd., Shippensburg, Pa., was fined and assessed $181 after pleading no contest to charges of violating limitations on over taking on the left.

 Donovan Michael Whaley, 23, of 432 Orchard Dr., Romney, was fined and assessed $25 after pleading no contest to charges of not wearing a seat belt.

 Christopher Charles King, 61, of 56 Emerald Dr., Mount Storm, pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a vehicle without a certified inspection or failing to produce an inspection.

 The WV Community Development Hub announces the launch of the Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreation Economies (DARRE), a strategic three-year initiative to build local economies. Eight communities in the Monongahela National Forest region in West Virginia will participate: Cowen, Elkins, Franklin, Marlinton, Parsons, Petersburg, Richwood and White Sulphur Springs.

 The central partners of the program, the WV Community Development Hub, the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center at WVU and Partner Community Capital (formerly Natural Capital Investment Fund), combined bring more than 30 years of experience in community engagement, property redevelopment technical services, financial investment and lending, and strategic planning.

Grant Memorial Hospital will be expanding their services to include pediatric speech therapy.
Last week, GMH announced their partnership with Children’s League, a nonprofit organization that has been serving children and families since 1934 with a focus on special needs.
The organization will be providing after-hours services in the hospital’s medical office building starting in September.
The announcement of the program was attended by Children’s League board member and local attorney, John Athey, speech pathologist, Danielle Webster, Chair of the Grant Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, Tammy Kesner, Children’s League Executive Director, Kathy Growden and GMH Chief Executive Officer, Bob Milvet.

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.) introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021. This legislation would help financially support local news organizations through tax credits to incentivize hiring more journalists, subscriptions, and advertising from local small businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made it crystal clear that local reporters and newsrooms are essential to keeping the public informed and safe, but their importance spans well beyond health emergencies,” said Sen. Cantwell.
“At its core, local news is about holding the powerful accountable. The strength of our democracy is based in truth and transparency, and local newsrooms are on the ground in our communities asking the critical questions, countering misinformation, and telling our stories. We have to protect these vital parts of our communities, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

Early on Sunday morning, a thief broke up an iconic duo when they knocked over and then stole Jake Blues from his place next to his brother, Elwood, at the Gary Michael Building on North Main Street in Petersburg.
The Blues Brothers statues have stood in front of the building for nearly 20 years and have become a well-known tourist scene, with many out-of-town visitors stopping to take photos with the statues. The building also regularly plays Blues Brothers music through an outdoor speaker system in honor of the pair.
The Blues Brothers were an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd (as Elwood Blues) and John Belushi (as Jake Blues) as part of a musical sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” Belushi and Aykroyd would later go on to star in a film in 1980 titled, “The Blues Brothers” that featured the pair.
Petersburg mayor Gary Michael, who owns the building, is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can help recover Jake.
Michael said the odds of discovering the kidnapper’s identity are high, because while the crime occurred at approximately 4 a.m. on Aug. 1, the pair stood in a well-lit location and the theft was caught on camera from inside the building.
As a set, the statues are valued at approximately $4,000 and Michael says he fully intends to file a police report on the theft.
“They might as well just return it, they are going to be very hard to replace,” Michael said. “It’s not like they can really do anything with it, just about anyone who sees it will know where it belongs.”
At this time, no ransom has been requested.

Grant County Farmers’ Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday at the city parking lot in Petersburg near the tennis courts.
Grant County Board of Health meeting dates and times at the Grant County Health Department will be posted.
Grant County Board of Education meets the second and fourth Tuesdays on every month at 5:30 p.m. at the board office on Jefferson Avenue.
Grant County Commission meets the second Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. and the fourth Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. in the courthouse, lower level conference room.
Petersburg City Council meets the first Monday on the month at 7 p.m. in the Gary Michael building on South Main Street.
Want your meeting listed? Email news@grant countypress.com or call 304-257-1844.

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