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Petersburg residents may be seeing a few less potholes this summer, as street repair efforts ramp up.

The Petersburg City Council said last week they planned to pave several streets this summer as they work to patch potholes and other street deterioration within the city limits.

The meeting was attended by city residents Curt and Connie Keplinger, who requested the city look into repairing Overlook Drive, the street the couple lives on. Co. Keplinger brought photos of deterioration along the paved area to show the council.

Mayor Gary Michael explained the city’s goal was to do a great deal of street repair this summer, including the street requested by the Keplingers.

The former Petersburg High School teacher who was charged with sexually assaulting students has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison following an emotional sentencing hearing overseen by Judge Jay Courrier.

Jonathan M. McNemar, 29, of Petersburg, was originally arrested in 2020 on 57 charges, including sexual abuse, soliciting a minor via computer, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or a person of trust, sexual assault and displaying obscene matter to a minor.

According to a report from the investigating officers, the assaults took place at Petersburg High School. During their original investigation, Deputy Mallow and Sgt. Thorne of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department discovered that McNemar had sent sexually explicit material to a 17-year-old female student. The report also claims that, on multiple occasions, McNemar requested the student’s presence in his classroom alone. During these incidences, sexual encounters took place.

Earlier this year, McNemar plead guilty to seven of the 57 charges, including four counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or a person of trust and three counts of sexual abuse. The crimes McNemar pleaded to involved two girls, both underage students.

By Josiah Cork

WV News

President Joe Biden recently extended the student loan repayment pause through Aug. 31.

This extension comes just after the two-year mark since student loan payments were first paused in March 2020, and the pause has been continually extended since then.

Along with other measures, this is simply another one the government has undertaken to stimulate the economy, experts say.

“The way I interpret it is, it’s just another form of government stimulus on the economy. The government has several different ways in which it can kind of stimulate the economy during a downturn,” said John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and associate professor of economics at West Virginia University.

 The first segment of a special deer hunting season for youth and senior citizen hunters and hunters with a Class Q/QQ permit opened in West Virginia last weekend.

 The first segment of the Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS Deer Season was Oct. 16-17. The second segment will run Dec. 26- 27. During the special season, hunting is permitted on private and public lands in 51 counties with a firearms deer hunting season.

“This special antlerless season provides an excellent opportunity to pass on hunting traditions to youth hunters,” said Nick Huffman, a wildlife biologist for the WVDNR. “This season also provides a tremendous opportunity for seniors and hunters with a Class Q/QQ permit to enjoy this unique hunting experience at a time when there is a noticeable reduction in hunting pressure.”

 Kids 8-17 may participate in this special season. Senior citizens 65 and older, who have a resident Class XS lifetime hunting, trapping and fishing license, may also participate.

 Resident youth hunters 8-14 don’t need a hunting license, stamps or hunter safety education card, but must be accompanied by an unarmed, licensed adult who may not hunt. Resident youth hunters 15-17 must comply with all licensing requirements, but don’t need a Class N Stamp.

 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.

To the community,

July 4th will be here soon and we are celebrating our 41st year!

Another big day has been set up with entertainment and fireworks for Saturday, July 2.

We hope you can make this our biggest July 4th yet with a donation toward our fireworks display. The cost of the fireworks has increased from $14,000 to $15,500.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could help us with a donation to make this such an outstanding day for our community.

Editor - Camille Howard;
News Editor - Erin Camp;
Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
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Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
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