Page 1

UNICARE HOSTING BABY SHOWER LOCAL | Page 2A

ALLERGY SHADY’S THOMPSON INJECTIONS GETS FINAL SHOT IN SCHOOLS AT RECORD STATE | Page 3A

SPORTS | Page 1B

REGISTER HERALD THE

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Beckley, West Virginia ◆ Single copy: 75 cents

■ SEVERAL AGENCIES WILL COOPERATE ON ENFORCEMENT

New Raleigh County truancy policy begins today By Jessica Farrish REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

Last year, more than 50 percent of Raleigh County students met the strict definition of truancy at certain parts of the school year, a Raleigh County Circuit Court judge said Wednesday as a new truancy policy was unveiled. Judge John Hutchison was

■ LEWISBURG

Proposed sewer rates could have ripple affect, mayor warns

joined by school and other judicial officials as a new school attendance policy was explained in detail. The new policy will be enforced beginning today. The new policy involves cooperation among Hutchison, the sheriff’s department, the prosecutor and public defender offices, Raleigh magistrates, juvenile probation officials and the Department of Health and

Human Resources. “The change in the program is a recognition that these kind of cases need to be handled quickly,” Hutchison said in his courtroom Wednesday. The new policy will expedite the process of ensuring that parents and truant students receive notifications of truancy. Sheriff’s deputies will deliver the truancy notifications to

Watch video

register-herald.com

the parents — something Raleigh Sheriff’s Capt. Skee Barley said deputies have been doing for several weeks now — and prosecutors and magistrates will file juvenile petitions and petitions against parents more quickly.

Fall color pile up

Drug sweep leads to arrest of 20 Beckley residents By Jessica Farrish REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

See SEWER, 12A

RICK BARBERO/THE REGISTER-HERALD

Tony Calfee, maintenance worker at the Raleigh County Courthouse, rakes leaves on the courthouse lawn.

Law enforcement officers arrested about 20 Beckley residents on felony drug charges in a citywide sweep Wednesday. Beckley Police Department Chief Tim Deems said every charge involved the sale of illegal drugs like prescription pills, cocaine and methamphetamine. He added that his office will release suspects’ names today. The investigation led to a total of 69 warrants issued Wednesday on both state and federal charges. “We do these types of sweeps a couple times a year, but these types of investigations can take several months,” said Deems. The suspects were arrested and taken to BPD for processing. Each appeared before a magistrate and most were remanded to Southern Regional Jail in lieu of bond, reported Deems. The majority of the warrants, 35, involved the illegal sale of prescription drugs. Deems noted a small increase in warrants for cocaine and “crack” cocaine arrests, 19, while the remaining 15 warrants were for the sale of marijuana, methamphetamine and other drugs. The sweep was a collaborative effort of BPD, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshal Service’s Fugitive Task Force. “We were able to serve the warrants without any incidents or problems,” added Deems. — E-mail: jfarrish @register-herald.com

■ OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Congress votes to end shutdown, avoid default By David Espo AP SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

WASHINGTON — Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of

WEATHER

Volume 134 Number 120

See TRUANCY, 12A

■ CITYWIDE INVESTIGATON

By Tina Alvey LEWISBURG — A Ronceverte ordinance proposing a substantial boost in sewer rates will have a ripple effect throughout eastern Greenbrier County, Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester warns. While the initial raise being floated is a modest 15 percent on average, Ronceverte’s ordinance includes a second phase of hikes to take effect once a new wastewater treatment plant is in service. Expected to kick in as early as 2016, that second phase is projected to more than double current sewer rates, both for city customers and for Public Service District No. 1, which pays Ronceverte a bulk rate that forms the basis for PSD customer charges. PSD No. 1 serves the Lewisburg/Fairlea area, a service region that was expanded just this year to include the Echols Acres subdivision. Bringing his city council up to date on the sewer rate situation during a Tuesday evening meeting, Manchester said if Ronceverte officials approve a second reading of the proposed ordinance, as expected, PSD No. 1 customers “are looking at a significant rate increase.” Ronceverte approved the first reading of the two-phase rate hike ordinance Oct. 7. The second reading — coupled with a public hearing — is scheduled for Nov. 4. Manchester used figures from his own bill from PSD No. 1 to roughly extrapolate the impact the second phase of the proposed rate increase will have on Lewisburg and Fairlea customers. He emphasized he could only offer an estimate, however, because PSD No. 1 has not yet announced the exact amount of rate increases its customers will be paying if Ronceverte’s proposed 115 percent hike comes to fruition.

The public defender’s office will defend those who don’t have attorneys, and DHHR officials will offer assistance and resources in cases where certain supports are needed for the family. Criminal complaints will be filed against parents, where warranted, Hutchison said.

Cloudy. 90% chance of rain. High 62. Low 60. Details, Page 12A

■ NEWS HOTLINE: 304-255-4400

an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk. The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the legislation, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin

crises erupted more than three weeks ago. The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid — those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.

After the Senate approved the measure, Obama hailed the vote and said he would sign it immediately after it reached his desk. “We’ll begin reopening our government immediately and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and the American people.” See VOTE, 12A

INSIDE TODAY BRIDGE . . . . . . . . . 6B

HOROSCOPES . . . . . 7B

CALENDAR . . . . . . . 5A

NEWS OF RECORD 12A

CLASSIFIED. . . 8B-12B

OPINION . . . . . . . . . 4A

COMICS . . . . . . . . . 7B

SPORTS . . . . . . 1B-5B

DEAR ABBY . . . . . . 6B

STATE & REGION . . 3A

DEATHS . . . . . . . . . 6A

STOCKS . . . . . . . . 10A

HISTORY . . . . . . . 11A

TELEVISION . . . . . . . 6B

■ TO SUBSCRIBE: CALL 304-255-4444 or 800-950-0250


12A

FromPageOne

THE REGISTER-HERALD Thursday, October 17, 2013

• SIX-DAY FORECAST

www.register-herald.com

• W.VA. FORECAST

• NATIONAL FORECAST

www.register-herald.com

• SEVERE WEATHER, ROAD CONDITIONS To report severe weather, call the National Weather Service toll-free at 877-633-6772 Current weather and alerts on-line: www.WVVA.com West Virginia road conditions www.transportation.wv.gov or 877-WVA-ROAD

• ALMANAC Yesterday’s high Yesterday’s low Record high Record low

Precipitation (period ending 6 p.m. yesterday) 65° 54° 82° in 1908 21° in 1907

Last 24 hours

For month

For year

inches

inches

inches

Trace

0.47

Sunrise today Sunset today

32.16

7:35 a.m. 6:44 p.m.

• LAKES, STREAMS, FISHING • For statewide fishing reports on-line, visit: www.wvdnr.gov/fishing/ weekly_fishreport.shtm • For the latest river and stream reports, which are updated at 8 a.m. each day

by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, phone the following numbers: Bluestone Lake

304-466-0156

Lake, New River, Greenbrier River information

Summersville Lake

304-872-5809

R.D. Bailey Lake

304-664-9587

Lake, Meadow River information Lake information

LOTTERY

Daily 3: 1-5-7 Hot Lotto: 7-9-15-36-37 Hot Ball: 4 Est.: $1 million

Daily 4: 5-4-7-0 Powerball: 3-26-28-34-42 Powerball: 28 Est.: $156 million

O1SUD451

SEWER Continued from 1A Manchester estimated the 2,000 gallon-permonth customer’s annual increase would be around $263, if PSD No. 1 matches Ronceverte’s 115 percent hike. Going up one notch, the mayor said an average monthly usage of 3,000 gallons would cost the customer $375 per year more than the current charge. Manchester noted that the revenue needed to support the debt and operating expenses associated with the new $28 million plant could turn out to be lower than estimated, which would, presumably, lower the fees Ronceverte will charge beginning in 2016. But Manchester predicted the cost of the plant and, therefore, the rate increase will remain “close to projections.” He warned such a huge jump in the sewer rate would affect not only individual households, but also businesses and industry, creating a ripple effect throughout the region’s economy. “It would adversely affect a lot of things in our area,” Manchester said. “It is a major gamechanger in many ways.” Manchester said he assumes “many people” will attend the Nov. 4 Ronceverte City Council meeting, noting that while Lewisburg cannot directly contest the rate hike, PSD No. 1 “surely will.” Public Works Director Mark Carver, who serves as Lewisburg’s representative on PSD No. 1’s board, said the agency’s engineer believes Ronceverte could address its quality problems by retrofitting improvements on the existing plant. That would be a much cheaper project, he pointed out. The River City’s position on the need for a new treatment plant was summed up during a public meeting in September of last year by Ronceverte’s consulting engineer Frederick L. Hypes, who said, “The (existing) plant’s simply worn out.” Hypes said Ronceverte officials “made a wise choice” in selecting the vertical loop reactor design for the new plant, which is slated to be constructed near the site of the existing treatment facility on the banks of the Greenbrier River. Carver said the plant’s customer base — which last year was estimated

by PSD engineer Criss Haynes at just over 3,400 individuals and businesses, 1,600 of whom are within the Lewisburg city limits — is simply not large enough to absorb the kind of debt Ronceverte is taking on with the construction of such an expensive new plant. Carver acknowledged that the PSD would pass along to its customers any rate increase Ronceverte ultimately approves. “We have to work in conjunction with (Ronceverte) to raise our rates,” he said. Thus, the PSD’s rates are expected to bump up slightly when Ronceverte’s immediate 15 percent hike goes into effect, about a week before Christmas, and would take a big jump in 2016 when Ronceverte’s rates could double. Printed material handed to newspaper reporters at Ronceverte City Council’s Oct. 7 meeting outlined only the rates proposed to take effect 45 days after the ordinance’s second reading, alluding to “future rates” without specifying any amounts. Those future rates — which are specified in the ordinance up for adoption at Ronceverte’s Nov. 4 meeting — are based on projections of the cost of the new sewer plant, according to the printed material. “While it is impossible to determine exactly what all the costs will be, the City is required to project these in advance of the project and must consider the highest estimate,” the information sheet indicates. “Additional grant funding could lower this rate as well as (certain targeted state) funding which is unknown until the bonds are sold.” The printed material includes the reasons the city is undertaking such a project: “to meet current permit limits, to comply with DEP Order No. 6550, to protect the plant from flood events and to replace antiquated and worn equipment.” The order referenced in the material was issued Sept. 15, 2008, by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, describing several violations at Ronceverte’s wastewater treatment plant and instructing the city to take corrective action. The proposed new treatment facility is expected to address DEP’s continuing concerns. — E-mail: talvey @register-herald.com

TRUANCY Continued from 1A The goal of the new policy is to get students who are out of school back in classes more quickly, Hutchison added. The judge added that the policy is aimed at providing resources to students and keeping them in school, rather than punishing them for truancy. About 80 percent of the prisoners in the penal system didn’t graduate high school. “There lies the problem,” said Hutchison. “The ultimate situation we’re trying to avoid.” Similar policies in other counties have shown that about 95 percent of those who appear before a judge on a truancy charge one time never have to be served a second petition. Attendance Director Millard Francis said the policy aims to help students stay in school and to identify factors in the family or the school that may pressure or enable the child to skip school. “We’re here to help the children in any way they need,” said Francis, adding that clothing

VOTE Continued from 1A Later, in the House, Rep. Harold Rogers, RKy., said, “After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It’s time to take the threat of default off the table. It’s time to restore some sanity to this place.” The stock market surged higher at the prospect of an end to the crisis that also had threatened to shake confidence in the U.S. economy overseas Republicans conceded defeat after a long struggle. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” conceded House Speaker John Boehner as lawmakers lined up to vote on a bill that includes nothing for GOP lawmakers who had demand to eradicate or scale back Obama’s sig-

NEWS OF RECORD The following is a list of incidents reported to police agencies Oct. 15; however, the call may have resulted in something other than what was originally reported.

RICK BARBERO/THE REGISTER-HERALD

Raleigh County Circuit judge John Hutchison, right, speaks about the new truancy policy. Listening, from left, Shelly Moore, secretary, Raleiegh County School Attendence, Patty Bryant, assistant attendance director, Jim Brown, superintendent, Raleigh County Schools, Millard Francis, director of attendance and Kristen Keller, Raleigh County Prosecutor. See a video at www.register-herald.com needs and other issues may come to light in the new process. The new policy will require students to present an excuse within 48 hours of missing school. After five unexcused absences, Sheriff’s deputies will serve parents a CA2 form, which requires them to meet with school officials and work out a plan to prevent further truancy. If the truancy continues, petitions will be filed, and they will quickly appear before a judge. Barley said many truant students come from

transient families, and school officials often don’t have the correct address. Deputies are able to locate the families and serve the forms more quickly than school officials can mail them. “When we show up at the door with a letter from the BOE ... that adds some seriousness to it,” Barley said. Raleigh Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said she’s requested an extra assistant attorney and extra staffing to meet the additional workload that the new policy is likely to create in her office.

Hutchison said the public defender’s office and magistrate court are facing similar challenges. Schools Superintendent Jim Brown said Frances and Assistant Superintendent Charles Price worked for about eight months to develop the policy. He praised Hutchison for working with school officials to enact the policy. Hutchison said his goal is to reach students who are truant quickly so that they can return to school before they lose too much instruction.

nature health care overhaul. “The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring that the nation “came to the brink of disaster” before sealing an agreement. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who negotiated the deal with Reid, emphasized that it preserved a round of spending cuts negotiated two years ago with Obama and Democrats. As a result, he said, “government spending has declined for two years in a row” for the first time since the Korean War. “And we’re not going back on this agreement,” he added. Only a temporary truce, the measure set a time frame of early next winter for the next likely

clash between Obama and the Republicans over spending and borrowing. After weeks of gridlock, the measure had support from the White House, most if not all Democrats in Congress and many Republicans fearful of the economic impact of a default. Boehner and the rest of the top GOP leadership told their rank and file in advance they would vote for the measure. In the end, Republicans split 144 against and 87 in favor. All 198 voting Democrats were supporters. Final passage came in plenty of time to assure Obama’s signature before the administration’s 11:59 p.m. Thursday deadline. That was when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would reach the

current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations. Tea party-aligned lawmakers who triggered the shutdown that began on Oct. 1 said they would vote against the legislation. Significantly, though, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others agreed not to use the Senate’s cumbersome 18th-century rules to slow the bill’s progress. The shutdown initially idled about 800,000 workers, but that soon fell to about 350,000 after Congress agreed to let furloughed Pentagon employees return to work. While there was widespread inconvenience, the mail was delivered, Medicare continued to pay doctors who treated seniors and there was no interruption in Social Security benefits.

Beckley Police Department Not available Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department 4-wheeler complaint: Glen Morgan Animal problem: Beckley, Bradley, Grandview Attempted breaking and

entering: Beaver Attempted burglary: Mount Tabor Burglary: Fitzpatrick, Crab Orchard Check welfare: Bradley, Midway, Harper Heights Fraud: Lester, Beckley Motor vehicle accident: Tolley Town, Shady Spring, Beckley, Ghent, Glen Morgan Noise complaint: Shady Spring

Possible DUI: Harper Reckless driver: Beaver Shoplifting: Glen Daniel, MacArthur, Bradley, Shots fired: Bolt Stolen vehicle: MacArthur Suspicious vehicle: Glen Morgan Threats: Bradley Unwanted presence: Glen White


DRUG SWEEP NAMES RELEASED

SALSA OVERTAKING KETCHUP!

LOCAL | Page 3A

GIRLS PREP SOCCER

THOMPSON’S RECORD WILL HAVE TO WAIT SPORTS | Page 1B

BUSINESS | Page 10A

REGISTER HERALD THE

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beckley, West Virginia ◆ Single copy: 75 cents

Raleigh County’s new truancy policy receives mixed reviews By Jessica Farrish REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

BRANDI UNDERWOOD/THE REGISTER-HERALD

Trap Hill Middle School seventh-grade trumpet players Aaron Shrewsbury, left, and Mike Anguiano show off their skills on their shiny new trumpets, provided by the VH1 Save the Music Program, while performing “America the Beautiful.”

VH1 ‘Saves the Music’ at local schools By Brandi Underwood REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

T

he vibrant sound of more than 100 new instruments sounded throughout the region Thursday during several school presentations, all part of the VH1 Save the Music Program. Representatives of the VH1 Save the Music Foundation kept the roads hot, bouncing from Trap Hill and Beckley-Stratton middle schools in Raleigh County, Summersville Middle School in Nicholas County and Summers Middle School in Summers County, to recognize each school for recently joining the ranks of

43 other schools in the state already sharing the distinction. Each school partaking in the VH1 Save the Music Program received 11 clarinets, eight flutes, six trumpets, four trombones, three alto saxophones, a bass drum and stand, one bell kit, one snare drum and stand, one set of bass drum mallets, one set of bell mallets, 16-inch hand cymbals and one set of cymbal straps and pads worth a total of more than $30,000, according to a press release distributed by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. At the Trap Hill presentation,

Raleigh Schools Superintendent Jim Brown was overwhelmed with admiration for the Trap Hill Middle School band and choir members, who comprised a nearly equal ratio to the students cheering them on in the bleachers. “That tells me there’s great leadership here in the music program and choir program,” Brown said. “What a great gift that you guys have,” Brown said to the band and choir, explaining that musical ability is a lifelong asset. See MUSIC, 11A

Raleigh County Circuit Judge John Hutchison opened the first day of a new county truancy policy Thursday with 15 students and their parents appearing before him on truancy charges. In the initial hearings, Hutchison explained new county truancy guidelines to parents and set bond for them. The policy, aimed at serving truancy letters and getting truant students and their parents in front of a judge more quickly, received mixed reactions among local residents Thursday. Some, like Raleigh teacher Natalie Coots, praised the policy. “I hope the courts follow through,” said Coots in a Facebook comment. “If they aren’t in the classroom, we can’t teach them.” Raleigh BOE member Richard Jarrell wrote, “If students go to school, there will be no need to worry, but ... we had over 1,300 students miss over 20 days last year. “We do have a problem, and hopefully this will go a long way towards a solution.” Some parents were concerned that the penalties and the many agencies involved in enacting the new policy — the school system, law enforcement, the judicial system and Department of Health and Human Resources — will unfairly expand the presence of government in residents’ lives. Students must not have more than five unexcused absences per semester and must present their excuses to school officials within 48 hours of the absence, according to the policy guidelines. Cecil Massey, 42, of Beckley, said that two of his four children attend school in Raleigh County. “I would say, that’s too much government intrusion,” said Massey. “We are the parents. Not the government, not the school, not the community. See POLICY, 11A

■ BECKLEY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Visitors center reopens

Transportation, metro designation discussed at third plan workshop By Wendy Holdren REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

Transportation and Beckley’s new designation as a metropolitan area were two major topics at the third of four workshops this week for the Comprehensive Plan. Poggemeyer Design Group consultant Randy Mielnik said his crew is about two-thirds of the way through the planning process, and all the information collected at these workshops will help shape the Comprehensive Plan. This plan will provide a roadmap for the city of Beckley for the next 10 years. Two Parsons Brinckerhoff representatives, vice president David W. Hafley and supervising planner Jeanne Stevens, also attended this session to share their thoughts on city transportation. See PLAN, 5A

F. BRIAN FERGUSON/THE REGISTER-HERALD

Taking in the view at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center Thursday, Connie McAlpine holds 2-month-old Ephaim Maaske as Jennifer Maaske walks her prize Great Danes, Prophecy and Glory, along the overlook trail. The visitors center at the New River Gorge National River reopened Thursday after the federal government shutdown ended late Wednesday night.

WEATHER

Volume 134 Number 121

Mostly sunny High 59. Low 42. Details, Page 11A

■ NEWS HOTLINE: 304-255-4400

■ BRIDGE DAY 2013

Visitors encouraged to use shuttle buses to get to bridge Shuttle stops listed

Shuttle stops are listed below:

The best way to get to the bridge on the big day to see the activities or sample the wares of about 175 vendors is to take one of the shuttles. Again this year, Oak Hill Rotary, with sponsorship help from Hometown Subaru, will provide those shuttles. Park your car at designated locations, and $2 will secure you a seat on a shuttle that will drop you off outside the event entrance and bring you back to your parking area later. Shuttles to the bridge will run from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. To avoid crowds, it is recommended participants take the shuttle back before 3 p.m. A handicapped-accessible bus will operate on each side of the bridge.

■ Oak Hill Kroger — The bus stop will be located on the Kroger side of the median between Kroger and the old Kmart, at the far end of the median from the store. ■ Fayetteville Wal-Mart — The bus stop will be located at the far left side of WalMart. ■ Fayetteville High School — The bus stop is right at the entrance to the gravel parking area. The buses turn around in front of the school and stop to pick up at the entrance to the upper gravel area. ■ Fayette County Courthouse, Fayetteville — The bus stop will be in front of Gumbo’s.

South side

See SHUTTLE, 11A

INSIDE TODAY BRIDGE . . . . . . . . . 9B

HOROSCOPES . . . . 10B

CALENDAR . . . . . . . 9B

NATION & WORLD . 9A

CLASSIFIED . . . . 1C-8C

OPINION . . . . . . . . . 4A

COMICS . . . . . . . . 10B

SPORTS . . . . . . 1B-8B

DEAR ABBY . . . . . . 9B

STATE & REGION . . 3A

DEATHS . . . . . . . . . 6A

STOCKS . . . . . . . . 10A

HISTORY. . . . . . . . . 9B

TELEVISION . . . INSIDE

■ TO SUBSCRIBE: CALL 304-255-4444 or 800-950-0250


FromPageOne

www.register-herald.com

• SIX-DAY FORECAST

THE REGISTER-HERALD Friday, October 18, 2013

• W.VA. FORECAST

11A

• NATIONAL FORECAST

www.register-herald.com

• SEVERE WEATHER, ROAD CONDITIONS To report severe weather, call the National Weather Service toll-free at 877-633-6772 Current weather and alerts on-line: www.WVVA.com West Virginia road conditions www.transportation.wv.gov or 877-WVA-ROAD

• ALMANAC

Precipitation (period ending 6 p.m. yesterday)

Yesterday’s high 65° Yesterday’s low 59° Record high 84° in 1938 Record low 22° in 1952, 1907

Last 24 hours

For month

For year

inches

inches

inches

0.31

0.78

Sunrise today Sunset today

32.47

7:36 a.m. 6:43 p.m.

• LAKES, STREAMS, FISHING • For statewide fishing reports on-line, visit: www.wvdnr.gov/fishing/ weekly_fishreport.shtm • For the latest river and stream reports, which are updated at 8 a.m. each day

by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, phone the following numbers: Bluestone Lake

304-466-0156

Lake, New River, Greenbrier River information

Summersville Lake

304-872-5809

R.D. Bailey Lake

304-664-9587

Lake, Meadow River information Lake information

LOTTERY Daily 3: 9-6-0 Cash 25: 08-09-10-19-21-22

Daily 4: 3-1-3-8 Mega Millions: Est.: $37 million

Hot Lotto: Est.: $1.05 million

Powerball: Est.: $186 million

O1SUD451

POLICY Continued from 1A “The community is not my children’s parents.” Massey said he understands the goal of the new policy — to prevent truancy — but that he believes there are too many “extenuating circumstances” that could land the average family in trouble with the legal system under the new guidelines. “A lot of times, our kids will stay home because they don’t feel good, and you don’t run to the ER just because

they don’t feel good. “You try to home-doctor it,” he said, adding that it would be easy for the average family to have more than five legitimate absences that would be classified as unexcused per semester. On Facebook, parent Greg Kessler wrote that his child was an honor roll student and didn’t miss school but that he believes the policy is intrusive. “I hate big brother government,” Kessler stated on Facebook, adding, “We all know how when government gets a little control, they go overboard.”

MUSIC

their academics as a result. “Keep living the Continued from 1A dream,” Brown told the Raleigh County students. “We could not have “Music enhances your done this collaboration in life so much. Whatever form of fine arts you may Raleigh County without the Beckley Area Foundecide to go into, you never get too old to enjoy dation,” explained Randall Reid-Smith, commisit,” said Delegate Linda Sumner, R-Raleigh. “All sioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture of the gifts of the fine and History. arts bring blessings to “Giving leaves a legacy our lives and to all of for those who follow,” those that you share it said Sharon Lilly, prowith.” Brown said that while gram director of Beckley Area Foundation. Beckley-Stratton’s band Lilly explained that was small in number, it was mighty in sound. He Thursday’s presentation was the result of a very challenged the student body to become more ac- successful collaboration of many people. tive in an organization, “VH1 had the dream of whether in band, choir, awarding these (instruathletics or a vocational ments), Commissioner program. Reid-Smith brought that “Whatever you’re doing, you need to be doing to the community and we something,” Brown said, have individuals that explaining that students stepped up to the plate,” Lilly said. who participate in exWhile the VH1 Save tracurricular activities become more engaged in the Music Foundation

■ NEWS BRIEFS

in their marriage. At the first meeting David “Bugs” Stover, on Nov 1, participants West Virginia storyteller will have dinner and review the program. The and Wyoming County circuit clerk, will speak group will meet again Dec. 6 for dinner and Tuesday at 6 p.m. at evaluation. the Shady Spring LiThe first meeting will brary. The original probe held at the Moungram with staff storytaineer Conference tellers will be incorpoCenter and the second rated in also. will be held at the Holi■ ■ ■ day Inn Conference WVU Extension is ofCenter. Both dinners fering “Five Love Lanare from 6 to 8 p.m. guages,” along with dinner, for couples who and you must attend them both. are married or in a You must pre-register committed relationship. to attend by contacting The two-session proTerrill Peck at 304-255gram is based on Dr. 9321 or terrill.peck@mail Gary Chapman’s book, .wvu.edu, and both peoand will allow participle in the relationship pants to find out what must attend. their love language is The program is limited and how to use this as to 10 couples. a communication tool

Another parent expressed concerns that, without parental knowledge, some students fail to give teachers their excuses. Developed by Raleigh Schools Assistant Superintendent Charles Price and Attendance Director Millard Frances, the new guidelines mandate that after five unexcused absences in a semester, deputies from the Raleigh Sheriff’s Department will deliver CA2 letters to parents, alerting them that they must schedule a meeting with school officials to resolve the truancy problem. If the student remains

truant, the Raleigh prosecuting attorney’s office may file juvenile petitions against them. Prosecutors may also file petitions against parents, including criminal petitions in some cases. The public defender’s office will provide attorneys to defendants. Hutchison, Frances, Raleigh Schools Superintendent Jim Brown and others said Wednesday that the goal of the new policy isn’t to punish students and parents, but to get students back in school more quickly. To meet that goal, Frances explained,

DHHR caseworkers may get involved in truancy cases if students and parents report a need such as clothing or if officials notice a problem, such as addiction in the family, that can contribute to the truancy. Frances said if bullying is keeping kids out of school, school officials will address that problem. Hutchison pointed out that last year, more than half of Raleigh students met the legal definition of truancy at some point during the school year. The judge also noted that several county agency officials — in-

cluding magistrates and Raleigh Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller — have stated that the new policy is likely to create heavy caseloads for their agencies. Keller said Wednesday that she’s expressed a need for at least a parttime assistant prosecutor and additional staff since hearing of the new policy. Raleigh commissioners Pat Reed and Dave Tolliver were not immediately available Thursday afternoon for comments on any potential increase to the county jail bill.

— E-mail: jfarrish @register-herald.com

its new instruments and talents during the presentations. Trap Hill seventh- and eighth-grade band members performed “America the Beautiful” and “Eye of the Tiger,” while the sixth-graders performed “Hot Cross Buns.” The Beckley-Stratton Middle School Band played Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and the Summers Middle School Band played “Accidentally In Love,” a Counting Crows song, as well as their school fight song. Jennifer Buckland, BRANDI UNDERWOOD/THE REGISTER-HERALD Summers Middle Beckley-Stratton Middle School percussionists keep the beat while performing School’s band director, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” during Thursday’s VH1 Save the Music Program. said the new instruments have already “made a world of a differprovided $15,000 to each were instrumental in ed in the program. ence” in her school’s muschool, the school was re- making the Raleigh In Summers County, sic program. sponsible for coming up County effort successful. the matching funds for “I had students sharwith $15,000 to fund the After Park Middle the VH1 Save the Music ing instruments who now other half of the proSchool’s addition to the Program were provided gram. Lilly explained VH1 Save the Music Pro- by the West Virginia Di- have their own,” Buckland said. “It’s just wonthat the Beckley Area gram next year, Raleigh vision of Culture and derful.” Foundation, The Carter County will be the first History and Summers — E-mail: bunderwood Family Foundation and in the state with every County Band Boosters. @register-herald.com the Word funds at BAF middle school representEach school showcased

SHUTTLE Continued from 1A North side

■ Milroy Grose Road — Parking is at the New River Campground. ■ Smales Branch Road — In front of the Lighthouse Worship Center. ■■■ In order to prevent you from being stopped from entering the area around the bridge, note that none of the following are allowed: backpacks (check-in stations at both north and south entrances); coolers; folding chairs; large handbags; dogs (except service animals); bicycles (Fayette Plateau Ministerial Association will

conduct check-in stations at both north and south entrances to the event); strollers (umbrella strollers are OK); skates; skateboards; wagons; weapons; fireworks; illegal drugs; and alcoholic beverages. For more information on any of the activities, call 304-465-5617 or 800-927-0263 or visit www.officialbridgeday .com. For questions onsite Saturday, stop by the official Bridge Day booth near either end of the bridge. The Bridge Day poster will be available for sale at the booth, as well as other merchandise, in addition to event information being disseminated.

Local National Park areas reopen to visitors New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area and the Bluestone National Scenic River reopened to visitors Thursday. Visitors can access all public areas and facilities including visitor centers, restrooms, river accesses and campgrounds. The three parks were closed Oct. 1 due to the lapse in congressional appropriations. October is the second busiest month for visitors to the area, particularly with Bridge Day events taking place on Saturday. Canyon Rim Visitor Center

will be open to the public during the event, and visitors can enjoy another view of the bridge from the overlook. Employees are happy to be back at work to welcome visitors to the Gorge and continue the park's fall education programs in the local schools. Updates will be posted to the park's website at www.nps.gov/neri. You can also find updates on the park's Facebook page at http://www.facebook .com/newrivergorgenps and the park's Twitter page at https://twitter.com /NewRiverNPS.


RED CROSS ISSUES CALL FOR BLOOD DONORS

WVU steady in exhibition win over Fairmont

A MONTH IN, 10 THINGS WE’VE LEARNED ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM

LOCAL | Page 3A

SPORTS | Page 1B

NATION | Page 9A

REGISTER HERALD THE

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ronceverte sewer rate hike plan postponed

Beckley, West Virginia ◆ Single copy: 75 cents

Officials believe truancy often an indicator of larger problems

Fall frolic

Goal of Raleigh’s new policy is to get families the help they need and keep kids in school

By Tina Alvey REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

RONCEVERTE — Citing newly-obtained legal advice, Ronceverte City Council voted unanimously to withdraw a proposed sewer rate hike from consideration Monday evening. The controversial proposal, which was introduced at last month’s council session, called for an immediate sewer bill raise averaging 15 percent, followed upon “substantial completion” of construction of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant by a doubling of rates. The $28 million plant is expected to be operational sometime in 2016. The rate hike measure, along with a companion ordinance changing the city’s sewer use regulations to prevent customers from flushing substances that could Smith damage the system or could not be adequately treated before discharge into the Greenbrier River, were both taken out of play Monday. Both ordinances were originally scheduled for a public hearing and second, final reading at Monday’s meeting. Mayor David Smith explained that the ordinances were withdrawn on the advice of counsel. He said the city’s legal firm — Spilman, Thomas & Battle — “had some adjustments they wanted to make” to the ordinances. “We knew after the last meeting that (the rate hike) was going to have to be withdrawn,” Smith said. “We will offer (the ordinances) again whenever the attorneys finish doing their thing,” he said. Even though both measures passed a first reading in October, the city will now have to begin the process anew, re-doing the first reading and vote, followed by a public hearing and second reading and vote. Although the changes recommended by the attorneys were not specified, they are not expected to be substantive, as Smith referred to the review now under way as “fine-tuning” the ordinances. As originally proposed, the charge for city customers would rise from the current level of $13.08 to $15 immediately and then to $28 in 2016 for the first 1,000 gallons of usage and from $8.61 to $10 and then on to $20 for each subsequent 1,000 gallons. The “bulk rate” that the city charges Greenbrier County Public Service District No. 1, serving Lewisburg and Fairlea, would rise in two steps by a similar percentage. If the new plant comes in under budget, or if grant funds arrive in hoped-for amounts, the 2016 rate increase will not be as steep, according to Smith. — E-mail: talvey @register-herald.com

By Jessica Farrish

RICK BARBERO/THE REGISTER-HERALD

Vincent Colo, 3, son of Dustin and Kimberly Colo, plays in the dry, autumn leaves in his front yard on Vine Street in Beckley. Dry weather is expected to continue through tomorrow with high temperatures around 60 and lows in the 40s. See the six-day forecast on Page 10A.

■ Details of Recent hearings under Raleigh recent County’s new truancy policy have truancy brought to light what Circuit Court hearings Judge John Hutchison and other officials have known for some time: Truancy is often an indicator of a much larger problem within a family. “There are lots of families out there that need help in other areas, and all the truancy does is point out that they’ve got problems,” said Hutchison, who developed the policy with help from Raleigh Schools Superintendent Jim Brown, Attendance Director Millard Francis and others. “We need to help them start addressing these other problems.” In October, Hutchison heard 22 cases involving truancy, and he said the new policy is helping keep students in school. The goal of the policy is to make sure families get help they need and reduce truancy rates. The stakes are high, according to statistics. “Eighty-five percent of people who plead guilty for crimes in my court do not have a high school diploma,” Hutchison reported, adding that the annual cost to taxpayers of keeping incarcerating one prisoner for a year is $38,000. See TRUANCY, 10A

Fayetteville sees increase in water and sewer bills By Brandi Underwood REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

Statewide customers of West Virginia American Water will be parting with a little bit more cash this month when their water bill comes in the mail — 6.7 percent more cash, to be exact. Residents of Fayetteville, on the other hand, will notice two rate increases slipped into their mailboxes. Like the rest of West Virginia American’s customers, they will notice the same water hike. But on top of that, Fayetteville

residents connected to the public sewer system will see a 14 percent rate increase on their sewer bill. The rate change, which went into effect Oct. 11, increased the average monthly Fayetteville residential sewer bill 14 percent from $35.78 to $40.92. Approximately 1,100 households connected to Fayetteville’s public sewer system are affected by the hike, which will help offset costs invested by West Virginia American Water into upgrading the town’s anti-

quated sewer system to be compliant with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection requirements. This rate increase represents the first wastewater rate increase since West Virginia American acquired the Town of Fayetteville’s wastewater system in 2008. By the end of 2013, West Virginia American will have made investments totaling $1.36 million in the Fayetteville wastewater system over its five-year span of ownership. Among 1,100 households, the firm’s invest-

ments averaged to be more than $1,200 in sewer system improvements per customer. “Many of these improvements were upgrades necessary to modernize the Town of Fayetteville’s wastewater operations and to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations. Others have been necessary to maintain service levels and the system’s overall operations,” said Laura Jordan, external affairs manager for W.Va. American Water. See FAYETTEVILLE, 10A

Providers: Broadband access across state a lofty goal By Vicki Smith ASSOCIATED PRESS

MORGANTOWN — Some of West Virginia’s biggest Internet providers said Monday they’re working hard to reach the 9 percent of people statewide who still lack broadband access, but hurdles remain and one official called complete access a lofty goal. At a Morgantown summit hosted by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, officials with

WEATHER

Volume 134 Number 139

On Page 7A

REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

Sun with high clouds High 56. Low 41. Details, Page 10A

■ NEWS HOTLINE: 304-255-4400

Suddenlink Communications, Frontier Communications, Comcast and Verizon all said they’re aggressively expanding their networks, and most are creating lowcost options for low-income families. But the challenges go beyond geographic isolation and the high costs of extending into tough, sparsely populated terrain. They say many people who could benefit most, including the elderly and the poor, have yet to see

the relevance of the Internet. Frontier committed to bringing broadband to 85 percent of its West Virginia market by the end of 2014, and Executive Vice President Kathleen Quinn Abernathy said it exceeded that goal two years ahead of schedule. It’s invested $360 million in the past three years and will use stimulus funds and other grants to continue expanding, she said. Some 85,000 homes had access for the first time by the

end of 2012, and another 67,000 will have it soon, Abernathy said. But it will take much longer to reach the remaining 3 percent in the targeted area, or about 20,000 households. “It’s a dollars challenge,” she said. Frontier struggles to balance “the highest of the highest costs” of getting into those hard-to-reach areas against the need to deploy service as widely as possible. See BROADBAND, 10A

INSIDE TODAY BRIDGE . . . . . . . . . 6B

HOROSCOPES . . . . . 5B

CALENDAR . . . . . . . 6B

NEWS OF RECORD . 7A

CLASSIFIED. . . 7B-10B

OPINION . . . . . . . . . 4A

COMICS . . . . . . . . . 5B

SPORTS . . . . . . 1B-4B

DEAR ABBY . . . . . . 6B

STATE & REGION . . 3A

DEATHS . . . . . . . . . 6A

STOCKS . . . . . . . . . 8A

HISTORY. . . . . . . . . 6B

TELEVISION . . . . . . . 6B

■ TO SUBSCRIBE: CALL 304-255-4444 or 800-950-0250


10A

FromPageOne

THE REGISTER-HERALD Tuesday, November 5, 2013

• SIX-DAY FORECAST

www.register-herald.com

• W.VA. FORECAST

• NATIONAL FORECAST

www.register-herald.com

• SEVERE WEATHER, ROAD CONDITIONS To report severe weather, call the National Weather Service toll-free at 877-633-6772 Current weather and alerts on-line: www.WVVA.com West Virginia road conditions www.transportation.wv.gov or 877-WVA-ROAD

• ALMANAC

Precipitation (period ending 6 p.m. yesterday)

Yesterday’s high 53° Yesterday’s low 31° Record high 79° in 2003, 1918 Record low 11° in 1954

Last 24 hours

none

For month

For year

inches

inches

0.66

Sunrise today Sunset today

33.86

6:54 a.m. 5:21 p.m.

• LAKES, STREAMS, FISHING • For statewide fishing reports on-line, visit: www.wvdnr.gov/fishing/ weekly_fishreport.shtm • For the latest river and stream reports, which are updated at 8 a.m. each day

by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, phone the following numbers: Bluestone Lake

304-466-0156

Lake, New River, Greenbrier River information

Summersville Lake

304-872-5809

R.D. Bailey Lake

304-664-9587

Lake, Meadow River information Lake information

LOTTERY Daily 3: 6-4-6 Cash 25: 07-08-10-15-17-23

Daily 4: 5-4-4-3 Mega Millions: Est.: $99 million

Hot Lotto: Est.: $1.3 million

Powerball: Est.: $70 million

N1SUD414

TRUANCY Continued from 1A Studies show that around 80 percent of the United States prison population didn’t finish high school or get a general equivalency diploma (GED) and that 70 percent of the prisoners who dropped out of high school are functionally illiterate. Raleigh County’s new truancy policy allows five unexcused absences. Excuses for absences must be submitted within 48 hours. Raleigh sheriff’s deputies serve letters to parents of truant juveniles. Then, parents and sometimes juveniles must appear before Hutchison. If the truancy continues after several offenses, parents may serve jail time, and juveniles may be placed under a juvenile petition or, in an extreme case, sent to a facility where they must attend school. Of those 22 children whose parents appeared in court, Hutchison said, 13 are back in school. The rest are bringing to light problems within the county that must be addressed by school ad-

FAYETTEVILLE Continued from 1A While the improvements have come at a high cost, Jordan explained that they were necessary to bring the system’s operations up to today’s standards. “In 2011, then-acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the WVDEP honored West Virginia American Water’s environmental stewardship

BROADBAND Continued from 1A Suddenlink spokesman Michael Kelemen said companies also need more accurate coverage maps. Some, he said, show Suddenlink serves an entire area, when in fact it serves only part of it. In the short term, Kelemen said, 100 percent coverage might be overly ambitious. “We still don’t have water and sewer to 90

ministrators or the Department of Health and Human Resources and other agencies. “Bullying is a big complaint, and it’s something we have to look into,” Hutchison said. “The Board of Education has been ordered to do an investigation into those types of cases and report back on what they’re finding.” In some of the cases, Hutchison said, the students first reported the bullying following a truancy hearing. Hutchison said some kids reported that they had panic attacks in crowded hallways when they had to change classes. In those cases, he said, educators are developing plans under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act to allow the students to change classes at times when the hallways aren’t crowded. Truancy can sometimes point to serious issues within families, he reported. “There’s more to the family dynamic than just the kid not going to school,” he said. “We expected to find that.” Hutchison said he was impacted by one mother who testified that her teenage son “cusses” her

when she tries to get him to attend school. “That’s a symptom of a deeper problem and is going to need some resources put in place to try and help that parent, but also figure out what’s going on with the kid,” said the judge. “What is the dynamic that’s causing that?” Hutchison acknowledged that socioenomics play a role in truancy. Some parents face economic challenges. Some need help breaking generational cycles that may contribute to not making education a priority. “I have seen some kids that are just being silly and stupid and ditching school, but I’ve also seen some kids who are in families that have needs, and the needs are more than forcing the kid to get out of bed and go to school in the morning,” he said. “There are underlying problems that have to be addressed, and we’re working diligently to address those kinds of issues.” Hutchison said one current goal of prosecutors is to find a way to hold both parents accountable for truancy, regardless of their marital status. “I made it clear to the

prosecutor and board of education that we’ve got to try to start figuring out how we can create a situation where non-participating parents start getting the message that ... they’ve got an obligation,” said Hutchison. “Why should that (uninvolved parent) be walking around free and clear and feel like he has no obligation to help support and manage and help raise his children? “It takes two to tango, and it takes two to raise a child.” The new truancy policy gives Hutchison more leeway in helping those truant students who receive Social Security disability checks. County governments must certify each year that the eligible students are enrolled in school in order for the checks to be issued. Some of those students, said Hutchison, have shown up at the start of the school year in order to “be certified.” Although they didn’t officially drop out, they stopped attending classes after they were certified. The new truancy policy is a safety net so that those students don’t “slip through the cracks.” “We’ve got to let them know, you can’t come for

the first week or so, get your certification that you’re enrolled for your Social Security, then quit coming,” said Hutchison. “It’s better for them to get in school because any education they get has got to improve their future possibilities. “That’s what our goal is.” In extreme cases in which juveniles won’t cooperate with parents and authorities who are making reasonable efforts to get them to school, punitive action may be needed. “In that case, we’re going to put juvenile probation in it,” he said, adding that children may also be removed from the home if they refuse to cooperate. The judge said that many agencies — Raleigh Sheriff’s department, prosecutor’s office, Department of Health and Human Services, juvenile probation office, public defender’s office and others — have pulled together, with agents volunteering their time and effort, to make the new policy successful in helping students. Hutchison approved the hire of an assistant prosecutor to focus on the truancy cases due to an extreme need, he said,

but the cost of enacting the new policy has been negligible due to the many agents who are volunteering. “Whether you like Hillary Clinton or not, her comments, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ are absolutely correct,” said Hutchison. “We’re trying to be that community in this way. “I hope this program is one method to try to break that cycle.” Hutchison said the court won’t be “rolling out the red carpet” because it’s expected that parents and students will do their part to correct any truancy problem. “I want to give them a hand up, not a hand out,” he said. “They need to start working as hard as we’re going to help them. “It might be a little tough to start, but we’ve got to figure out a way to get involved. “If we don’t, we’re just creating another generation that’s going to just continue the cycle.” The numbers of absences in county schools for the month of October aren’t yet available, but Hutchison said he expects to see a “significant” decrease in unexcused absences.

with recognition of Fayetteville as one of the most improved wastewater treatment plants in the state,” Jordan said. While some members of other communities have become concerned that the sewer system investments in Fayetteville have impacted their household water bill, Jordan assures there is no connection. “Investments in Fayetteville sewer system upgrades have no

bearing on any rate increases outside of Fayetteville,” Jordan said. The 6.7 percent water increase statewide was related to the approximately $85 million of system improvements the company has made to general facilities and infrastructure across the state since 2009, Jordan explained. West Virginia American Water made investments in upgrades to the water distribution

system, water tr eatment facilities, storage tanks, pumping stations and computer systems. In a press r elease, West Virginia American President Jeff McIntyre stated, “These prudent investments were necessary to enhance customer servic e and maintain water quality, service reliability and fire protection for approximately one-third of the state’s population that we serve.”

The good news is that the company agreed not to file another general rate case for water or wastewater prior to Jan. 1, 2015, so customers can be assured that their current rate will be static until well into 2015. ■■■ In an effort to lessen the impact of rate increases for customers struggling to make ends meet, West Virginia American launched a program in May that

provides a 20 percent discount on residential water rates for certain low-income households. The company also offers utility assistance through its shareholders’ support of the Dollar Energy Fund, which provides one-time grants to eligible customers. To learn more about these programs, visit www .westvirginiaamwater .com.

percent of our homes,” he said, “so it’s a lofty goal.” Mark Reilly, a vice president with Comcast, said tougher federal regulation won’t get the job done any sooner. After 100 years of highly regulated telephone service, for example, not everyone in the U.S. has service. “Regulate what?” he asked. “We’re still very much in the early innings of this game.” Reilly said the industry is investing billions on its own, and he wor-

ries regulation could have a chilling effect. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was an early champion of extending broadband to rural America to encourage economic development, education and commerce, and to improve public safety, emergency services and health care. At his last summit four years ago, less than 72 percent of West Virginians had access. Today, that’s up to 91 percent. But Rockefeller said the job isn’t done until everyone has access.

is laudable, her union has found that 40 percent of consumers aren’t getting the speed of access they were promised. The CWA launched a Speed Matters initiative two years ago to help consumers put providers’ claims to the test. Those promises must become reality if businesses are going to locate in West Virginia, Goldman said. Living in a wired home increases the likelihood of landing a job, she said, and even long-established industries like agriculture

now need to be online to monitor everything from market prices to weather reports. But Comcast’s Reilly said many of those farmers didn’t want or need cable TV in the 1990s when that industry was growing, so they lack the lines to support broadband service today. “So we built a largely residential network where people were demanding it,” he said. Today, “it’s hard to get to that farm, and it can be hard to get to that industrial park.”

ONLINE W.Va. Broadband Deployment Council: http://bit.ly/AiCQ5o “I want to do everything possible so that all West Virginians are on the right side of the digital divide,” he said. “Now is not the time to cut back on investments in critical infrastructure.” Debbie Goldman of the Communication Workers of America said that while the growth so far

— E-mail: jfarrish @register-herald.com

— E-mail: bunderwood @register-herald.com

Gov truancy policy all jf  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you