2013 in Review


Some of the items that made the news in the Mountain Messenger in 2013:

image courtesy of/ Pixabay

January: Shanghai Parade held Jan. 1 in downtown Lewisburg; City Commission announced hearing date for writ of mandamus challenging Commission’s commitment to fund public swimming pool on campus of NRCTC; White Sulphur Springs Community Food Pantry receives donations from Greenbrier Sporting Club; Rainelle announces plans for 100-year celebration in April; Cindy Lavender-Bowe becomes new director of United Way of Greenbrier Valley; County Commission approves hiring of private attorney to represent them in a lawsuit over the proper use of $1.3 million in hotel/motel tax funds committed by the Commission to renovate a public pool on the grounds of NRCTC; Town of Ronceverte makes plans for 2nd Annual Super Bowl Party; new Drug Task Force proposed among several local law enforcement agencies; Greenbrier County receives Transportation Grant funding; police officers shoot armed man at rush hour on Rt. 219 near Shoney’s and Ruby Tuesday after he threatened them with a rifle; Senator Jay Rockefeller announces he will not seek re-election in 2014; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week proclaimed Jan. 14-21; Greenbrier County Public Library kicks off 2013 Operating Campaign with co-chairs Richard and Sally Ford; On Jan. 14, Citizens of Greenbrier County vs GCC requests and receives new hearing date of Jan. 30; Town of Renick addresses water service issues concerning billing for water use arrangement with Lewisburg; citizens in White Sulphur Springs bring discrimination claims before city council; on Jan. 21, Lewisburg honors memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a parade; Rainelle Community Development Corporation (RCDC) launches new website; mystery solved of body found in Greenbrier State Forest in 2002 – Waynesboro, VA man charged with murder of wife; 2013 Spelling Bee winners announced – Su Su Wai, Prahalath Anbu and Logan Toothman;

February: Fire Levy election set for March; John B. Arbuckle, Jr. nominated for WV History Hero; 10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge held Mar. 9 at Blue Bend; Dr. L. Marshall Washington named president of New River Community and Technical College; FFA Week observed Feb. 16-23; adoption of White Sulphur Springs property maintenance code delayed for further study; Greenbrier Executive Chef Richard Rosendale honored by City of Lewisburg; Alderson Police Department makes arson arrest of Charles Collins from Nov. 9 house fire;

March: Greenbrier Historical Society participates in History Day at Capitol in Charleston; two cavers rescued near Renick; Fire Levy fails passage in special election held Mar. 2; new trail system construction begins in Greenbrier State Forest; Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce honors Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe at annual dinner; Ronceverte City Council considers request to allow residents to raise chickens within city limits; new mayor, Travis Copenhaver, selected to complete the term in Alderson until June; Rainelle’s Dr. Darrell K. Cales gives land for Little league baseball and softball fields; RNs picket GVMC citing unsafe staffing; L&R Trail Head construction begins on Court Street in Lewisburg; Alderson 4th of July Celebration and State Fair of WV included in Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events for Summer”; Renick Town Recorder files lawsuit over noncompliance of proper procedures concerning sale of municipal dump truck; county commissioners challenged for meeting in executive session without providing sufficient information to the public on purpose of session – “to discuss pool” seen as “too generic and vague” by members of the local press; federal spending cuts referred to as “sequester” result in possible closure of air traffic tower at Maxwelton airport; Planning Commission meets to revise and update Comprehensive Plan;

April: Mayor Manchester honored by WV Environmental Council with Chuck Chambers Public Service Award; after lengthy discussion, commission votes to replace commission’s legal counsel, Richard Robb, with Patrick Via in litigation of civil suit of public pool case; 7th Annual Chocolate Festival held Apr. 13 in downtown Lewisburg; city council considers contribution to county swimming pool – Mayor moves to authorize allocation of $11,500 in hotel/motel tax monies from fiscal year 2013-14 to be deposited into the Parks account for the swimming pool; local Earth Day recognition includes Sustainability Fair in Ronceverte, Drug Disposal Event sponsored by Greenbrier Medical Arts Pharmacy and LPD and a public meeting at Union Rescue Squad building featuring a free dinner; Rainelle Centennial Celebration held Apr. 25; GCC votes to sidestep escape clause options and allow judge to decide pool case; WVSOM hosts Health and Safety Fair for community;

May: Heavy rains and flooding hit area during week of May 6-11; Federal Aviation Administration announces the air traffic control tower at Greenbrier Valley Airport will remain open through June of 2014; Alderson erects new signs proclaiming Alderson has the “Best July 4th Celebration” in WV; legal arguments presented in court involving the legality of the county commission’s vote to allocate $1.3 million of bed tax monies to a state-owned property for a public swimming pool; Ronceverte decides not to redraft the town ordinance prohibiting domestic fowl and therefore chickens will not be allowed within town limits; Arbor Day Foundation names Lewisburg Tree City USA; Alderson Bridgefest and opening of Community Market held May 18; Run for the Wall XXV 2013 Rainelle arrival ceremony held May 23; GCC votes to have attorney Via draft a letter to the New River Community and Technical College Foundation requesting return of the $1.3 million of arts & recreation monies given to the college in December of 2012; renovation of County Courthouse begins with work on cupola; settlement reached in White Sulphur Springs with former police chief who alleged unlawful termination;

June: Civil suit against former commissioner Betty Crookshanks surfaces – former building inspector Tony Hinkle claims he was fired from his job with the county because he “refused to support Crookshanks’ failed bid for re-election”; Ronceverte elects new mayor – David Smith; Renick Town Council considers locks on fire hydrants in effort to prevent water loss – 80,000+ gallons of water missing and unaccounted for; White Sulphur Springs Rotary Club holds Annual Fishing Derby; White Sulphur Springs elects new mayor – Lloyd Haynes; Ronceverte River Festival held June 6-9; Renick teenager Kathryn Robinson wins full scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan; Gloria Martin, the Alderson Ministerial Association and James and Pamela McPeak of Monroe County honored at annual Governor’s Service Awards Banquet in Charleston; several local residents arrested in meth labs busts; Executive Chef Richard Rosedale resigns from The Greenbrier to pursue career with Food Network Channel; Mountain Messenger adopts new narrow page format; county commission votes to hire new part-time animal control employee; Gov. Tomblin announces introduction of WV Statehood Commemorative Stamp in recognition of West Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Celebration June 20; construction of additional 33 wind turbines slated to resume in July; Judge Charles M. Vickers finds county commission guilty of “misapprehension of the law” – finding it illegal for the commission to have allocated $1.3 million of hotel/motel tax revenues to renovate a swimming pool at NRCTC; Gloria Martin receives Ron Nester Award from Committee on Aging; Board of Education announces a School Levy election set for Oct. 5;

July: Greenbrier Classic golf tournament held July 4-7 – Jonas Blixt wins the trophy; following the ruling against the use of bed tax monies for the renovation of a swimming pool on the campus of NRCTC made in the civil action case, Sharp, et. al. v. the Commission – commission votes against an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals and votes to break lease with NRCTC and requests return of the $1.3 million; 1882 Society continues work to revitalize Ronceverte; former White Sulphur Springs Mayor Thomas Taylor threatens suit over back pay for the time between his resignation in 2011 and reinstatement in early 2012; archaeological excavation study set to begin at Fort McCoy; National Boy Scout Jamboree held July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Fayette County – locally, Scouts work on several projects; Friends of THE Second Creek (FOTSC) held their 2013 Watershed Day July 27;

August: 2nd Annual Lewisburg Literary Festival held first weekend in August; State Fair of West Virginia held Aug. 9-17; plans announced for renovation of Fort Savannah property; Blue Pavilion near Alderson receives county support funding to study ways to preserve the site; architect shares amphitheater plans for Montwell Park; White Sulphur Springs ordinance seeking to establish standards for property maintenance was thrown out for lack of a second – maintenance code deemed “too divisive for a compromise to be struck” by Lynn Swann and council urged to focus on strengthening other maintenance ordinances already in place; Lewisburg City Council hosted a presentation on solar power access for the city; state troopers seize hundreds of thousands of dollars in marijuana in a remote area of Cold Knob; movie, Child of God, filmed in area towns, released Aug. 31 at 70th Venice Film Festival;

September: New River Gorge Bridge added to National Register of Historic Places; Lewisburg Police Department sponsors annual DARE to Cruz Car Show in downtown Lewisburg and raises $2,318 for the DARE school program; two county departments receive state awards – the Greenbrier County Day Report Center and Al Whitaker, director of Homeland Security and 911 Emergency Services; WVSOM announce construction plans for the future – expansion of Clinical Evaluation Center, a new student center and eventually a new entry road from Rt. 219; Ronceverte plans urban deer hunt to run through end of December; county commission considers suit against NRCTC to recover the $1.3 million but decide to give the college “a little time” to return the funds; county commission considers further upgrade to Courthouse facade and agree the Sears Kit house next door to the Courthouse will be a good location to house a Law Enforcement Task Force; Montwell Park receives funding support from City of Lewisburg; WVSOM hosts reception for Dr. Marlene Wager recognizing her contributions to osteopathic medicine and community health; NRCTC offers county commission return of $300,000 of the original $1.3 million; Greenbrier Valley Shrine Parade held Sept. 28 followed by the band competition at GEHS stadium;

October: County commission agrees to a meeting with representative of NRCTC in an effort to regain the $1.3 million illegally authorized by the commission as a funding gift to the college; Ronceverte releases plans for Community Garden at site of old swimming pool and new solar powered electric car charging station; Bridge Day held Oct. 19 in Fayetteville; Rupert resident wins $1 million playing Powerball; demolition begins on old Fort Savannah future site of Montwell Park; flood control information meeting held in Rainelle; Ronceverte’s decision to build expensive new sewer plant expected to double Lewisburg residents’ utility bills; New River Board of Governors nixes return of pool funds to GCC – college’s offer of $600,000 rebuffed by county commission; City of Lewisburg announces “no left turn” test at Rt. 219 / Rt. 60 intersection during month of November;

November: Volunteers complete mapping of Rainelle Cemetery; Ronceverte sewer rates / regs ordinances withdrawn for fine-tuning; NRCTC Foundation Advisory Board votes to file interpleader in pool case thereby placing remaining money ($1 million) in the hands of the court to settle the issue; fire in downtown Marlinton takes out entire city block; county commission files suit against NRCTC to recover remaining $1 million allocated to the college’s Foundation to fund the swimming pool renovation; Child Youth Advocacy Center honored by US Attorneys Office-Southern WV District as outstanding; Alderson receives “Make It Shine” award from Department of Environmental Protection; three new business open in Ronceverte – Whanger Construction, Pickering Automotive and The Arcade; Roger Lockridge of Lewisburg named first Champion by National Nonprofit Children of Domestic Violence;

December: Registered nurses picket at GVMC citing concern for patient care and cuts in patient services; Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company announces plans to open microbrewery in Maxwelton in the spring; GWHS Cavaliers defeat Magnolia in semifinal to make it to championship game against Madonna at Wheeling Park; “No left turn” experiment ends and is determined by WVDH to be ineffective at reducing congestion at Rt. 219 / Rt. 60 intersection; revised sewer ordinances get first reading in Ronceverte – rates and charges will not go into effect until new sewer system is completed in 2016; Greenbrier County Circuit Judge Joseph C. Pomponio, Jr. announces plans to retire – Governor will appoint new judge; The Greenbrier holds “Create a Dream Tree for Kids” holiday gift drive and distributes nearly 40,000 gifts to charity; annual Christmas Parade held Dec. 7 in Lewisburg; Judge James J. Rowe reverses decision to close courthouse on Dec. 24 and 31 as paid holidays for courthouse employees made by county commission saying they have no authority to designate legal holidays; 911 Center proposes fee increase in public hearing at Courthouse; pocket park proposed for Lewisburg in Rolling Hills area provided the home owners authority can get a two-thirds majority of the homeowner membership to approve the deed transfer; four members of Lewisburg Police Department honored for their efforts in Highway Safety Enforcement; City of Lewisburg schedules meeting Jan. 8 to discuss updating Comprehensive Plan.