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The Petersburg City Council voted last week to approve the purchase of a columbarium for the city’s Maple Hill Cemetery.

A columbarium is a structure that contains niches to house funeral urns and allows for cremated ashes to be safely included at the cemetery while also offering a much less costly option compared to purchasing a headstone.

A new effort to make Petersburg a more beautiful place released a set of tentative plans aimed at bringing the city to life with fresh flowers and trees.

The Downtown Petersburg Beautification Project is a locally led effort striving to improve the look of the city while also working alongside other growth efforts already planned in the community.

The effort is being spearheaded by Grant County residents, Tammy Kimble and Kim Secrist.

As social distancing continues to be the primary weapon in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many local agencies are getting creative in the way they provide services to their clients.

One such agency is the Potomac Highlands Guild, a Petersburg-based program working to provide mental health services to the region. These services include individual and family counseling, intervention and recovery assistance.

West Virginia Mask Army volunteer Debra Rexrode of Grant County sews masks in her home.

As businesses continue to shutter and the state keeps a wary eye on the continually rising COVID-19 pandemic, many local volunteers are finding a way to give back to those fighting the illness on the front lines.

One of the biggest issues currently facing the nation is an all around lack of protective supplies, with hospitals and health departments struggling to receive enough stock to combat potential outbreaks. However, while the nation is working to shore up production of these supplies, it has been community volunteers that have stepped up to fill some of this need – and Grant Countians have been no exception.

One protective supply sorely lacking in the country is protective face masks and West Virginia Mask Army, a state-wide nonprofit, is helping to fill that gap. The program is volunteer based, with many communities around the state creating their own “hubs” to fill supplies for their local agencies.

Late last month, an outdated registration stop ended in the discovery of more than 2.3 grams of methamphetamine and the arrest of a Petersburg woman.

On March 18, Gloria L. Merritt, 41, of 1771 Ridge Rd., Maysville, was pulled over after an officer with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department noticed her vehicle registration was expired while stopped at the stop light on Virginia Avenue in Petersburg.

The Hardy County couple arrested last year for burning down a storage building in Petersburg have now been indicted by a Grant County grand jury.

Hunter Todd Largent, 36, and Marci Lynn Largent, 46, of P.O. Box 883, Moorefield, were indicted on charges of second degree arson, 16 counts of third degree arson and three counts of causing injury during arson.

The fire occurred in December 2019, when officers and firefighters were dispatched to an active fire at one storage facility in Petersburg, containing 20 individual storage units. The total value of property loss from the fire is estimated to be more than $150,000.

In order to ensure safety during the pandemic, several local services are making changes to their routine practices.

One of these changes was announced last week, with the City of Petersburg announcing that all city trash must be in plastic bags and tied, or it would no longer be picked up.

West Virginia Mask Army is a statewide nonprofit that is helping to fill the gap in face mask supplies and is playing a crucial roll in the health of Grant County citizens. The program’s Potomac Highlands Hub is being headed by Kim Musser of Grant County and has already produced over 1,000 face masks for essential organizations, such as Grant Memorial Hospital, local fire departments and law enforcement. 

The masks, which are made from polypropylene furnace filters, are far more effective at filtering airborne particles then their cloth counterparts.  The program has received support from the National Guard and is being headed up by a biologist at Marshall University.

As protective medical supplies nationwide continue to be stretched thin, many states have looked to community efforts to potentially assist in filling those needs until supplies become more readily available. Anyone who would like to volunteer to sew can learn more by visiting their Facebook page “WV Mask Army Potomac Highlands Hub” and those who would like to donate towards the effort can do so at this link: Grant County Ministerial Association Mask Fundor by clicking the button on the Grant County Press home page.

John Glenn Riggleman, 31, of 256 Riggleman Dr., Moorefield, was indicted on charges of burglary and grand larceny. Riggleman’s charges stem from an incident in December 2019 when officers responded to a possible breaking and entering call on Kellers Ridge Road.

According to the report, the resident of the home was awaken by a noise at approximately 3 a.m. When the resident went to investigate the noise, he saw his weather monitor had been broken, looking as if it had been stepped on or smashed.

The resident then noticed a vehicle light outside of his home. He then proceeded to go to the vehicle, with a pistol for protection, and demanded the driver to get out of the vehicle.

Last week, the Grant County Commission signed a resolution declaring the wrongful manufacturing, distribution and dispensing of prescription pain pills, including hydrocodone and oxycodene, a public nuisance to the people of Grant County. The decision to sign the resolution was made during their regularly scheduled March 24 meeting.

Between 2006 and 2014, approximately 3,760,720 prescription pain pills were sold in Grant County, which had a 2010 census population of 11,937 people. That equates to 315 pills for every man, woman and child during that time period.

“The dumping of millions of pain pills into our community has spawned a public health and safety hazard to the residents of Grant County, devastating our families, hurting our economy, wasting our public resources and creating a generation of narcotic dependence,” the resolution claims.

A Petersburg man is facing multiple charges following an encounter with law enforcement officers outside of a local grocery store, which left some local shoppers startled.

Gareth Paul Berg, 37, of 93 Brook Lane, Petersburg, was arrested after Patrolman K. R. Thorne, acting on behalf of the Petersburg City Police, observed him in the parking lot outside of Shop n’ Save and Family Dollar in Petersburg. At the time, Berg appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

As schools around the nation remain closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Grant County School district is striving to ensure students have access to meals.

According to Tamara Gossard, the Grant County director of nutrition, the county is providing nearly 800 meals for local students. This includes breakfast and lunch five days a week.

Based on guidance from the West Virginia Department of Education, Grant County is providing meals for children ages two to 18 every Monday.

Meals are being packaged at the school and delivered by drivers to preplanned drop-off points around the county.

Packaging is being done by school administrators, teachers, bus drivers and other volunteers.

Both Gossard and superintendent Doug Lambert expressed their goals to ensure no student goes without a reliable meal sources during the closure. “Much work is being performed to make this a reality,”

Lambert said. “If you have the chance, thank those who are selflessly giving their time and effort in this once in a lifetime event that I hope we never see again.”

Editor - Camille Howard;
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Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
Graphic Designer - Jesse Hedrick;
Print Shop Manager - Richard Knight; 
Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
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