And then Again by Tamara Pettit

……Congratulations to the Oak Glen Golden Bears who pulled off a 35-20 win against Weir and brought the Carl Hamill Trophy home with them despite not being able to have home field advantage.  Oak Glen fans are right to be upset about the turf not being installed in time for the home game.  Now rumor is that it still hasn’t been delivered and the next home game has been scheduled for Brooke.  That means that Oak Glen will take a hit on the gate receipts and concessions.  Rumor also has it that the Board will financially make up for the lost revenue.

……What kind of journalist is she relying on RUMOR you say?  Well, normally a pretty good one who always verifies any rumors prior to printing, but in the case of the Hancock County School system that’s all I can get.  I’ve posed questions to Superintendent Dawn Petrovich and sent e-mails on this issue….all have gone unanswered.   I’ve done the same with Maintence Director Mark Dziatkowicz and have received no response.  A few weeks ago, Joe Campinelli, Finance director, did respond to financial questions.

……The lack of response is unacceptable.  When you are dealing with taxpayer money (and despite the fact that the funding came from interest saved on refinancing bonds, the genesis is still taxpayer dollars) means you and I have a right to know the details of the projects.   I can and will file a Freedom of Information request to find out the bid specs and when and how it was bid and the contract was awarded.  That may tell me why Weir High’s turf arrived first and Oak Glen has been left hanging.  It may tell me if the vendor will be required to pay any penalty.

……What a FOIA request won’t tell me, however, is whether or not the coaches and athletic directors had any input on either the specs or the bids.  Rumor has it that they didn’t and to make an investment of nearly $1 million without checking with the experts is not only insane, it seems to me to be a dereliction of duty.  But that’s only a rumor and I think we need to hear from either the Superintendent or Director of Maintenance if that indeed is the case. 

….Wow, Fall is here.  I know, I know there are readers out there who are saying “Not, til Sept. 21 does it start!” Others are saying, “It’s 90 degrees outside, it’s still summer.”  But no,  in everyday life Fall has arrived.   The swimming pool is having its last hurrah on weekends.  Kids are off to school.  Football and Soccer have begun.  Suddenly, life has gotten serious.  While I imagine both educators and students welcomed their summer away from school,  the new school year is once again threatened by COVID, only this time the more contagious DELTA variant. 

….Do I think employees should be required to get the vaccine unless medical reasons indicate otherwise.  Absolutely!  It’s about protecting those around you and businesses have obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees as well as customers.  I especially support it in colleges and universities.

……..The season of fairs and festivals in upon us.  We have information on the Hancock County Old Time Fair, Montani Semper Liberi or Music and Arts at the Bell Tower and New Cumberland Riverfest.  Did we miss any event?  If so, send us the info to [email protected]

………I’m really delving into the “Letter from a Dead Man” cold case files, and each week I come up with a new twist I want to investigate.  What does amaze some readers, however, is that I have sporadically gone into a flurry of activity thinking I can find the answer over the last fifty plus years.  While many of the people whose name  you recognize are now dead,  I did visit with them when they were still alive to talk.  Through the years I talked with Joe Manypenny, Don Donnell who was an assistant prosecutor and relatives of Mrs. Archie Adams, who was the landlady of Lawrence Wise.  

……While the “accidental death” of Helen Williamson in the backwaters near Cowls Farm got the majority of my attention for year, I didn’t have the resource of newspaper archives at my fingertips as I now do.   The August 27, 1963 article on her drowning made front page and confirmed some of my suspicions that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the situation (fully dressed, slippers on her feet), but what drove me crazy was I never could find a follow-up article about the investigation.  It’s like it the case disappeared into thin air.

…..Never was able to find out much about the third death, but my eyes popped open when I saw the corresponding article in the Dec. 3, 1963 Weirton Times.    I expected to search the obituary for George Paul’s death, but there it was on the front page.    The suicide was front page news because  Paul shot himself in the head in a phone booth outside the Weirton Krogers on Main Street.  Again, big story on page one and announcement of my Dad having the Coroner’s inquest the next day.  Then, no further article on the results of the inquest.  It said that two people who were at Krogers at the time and witnessed the apparent suicide would testify at the inquest, but no report of what they said.

……When I found the Dec. 3, 1963 edition of the Weirton Times I was looking for, I was amazed at two other  stories on the front page.   An unconventional raid on a gambling establishment on Route 30 in Chester also made front page news. Justice of the Peace Jack Bryan accompanied by then Democratic Committee Chair Dick Wright had raided the Paddock Lounge on Route 30 in Chester that Saturday night.    Bryan said the WV Code allowed a Justice of the Peace to stage a raid and then hold a hearing on the charges.  Bryan said he had a complaint from  Wright on the establishment and accompanied by few citizens they had deputized they got entrance into the club;  told the 50 patrons to leave; and then seized over $1,000.00 worth of gambling equipment.   It sounds like the wild west back then.  I assume if you’re the arresting officer and the judge hearing the case, the odds for a guilty verdict were pretty overwhelming. 

…….Hard to believe that there was a time when businesses couldn’t be open on Sundays.  West Virginia had a “Blue Law” which required the business to close on Sundays (but, if your religion observed Saturday as the Sabbath you had to close on Saturday.)   I had always heard that several businesses in Weirton were the test case for enforcing the Sunday blue law and on Dec. 3 the headline on the front page read that Value City on Main Street was among four businesses in Weirton that were raided for doing business on Sundays.    What made the Value City raid a doozy was that Santa Claus (twas the season and Charles Goldberg was wearing a Santa suit) had been arrested and was required to post bond of $1,000.  Four employees, however, only posted bonds of $500.00 Sounds like Santa discrimination to me!