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The Weirton Daily Times WEIRTON, W.VA.
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SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013
Law enforcement takes Boston bomb suspect into custody By EILEEN SULLIVAN Associated Press WATERTOWN, Mass. — A Massachusetts college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombing was captured hiding out in a boat parked in a backyard Friday and his older brother lay dead in a furious 24-hour drama that transfixed the nation and paralyzed the Boston area with fear. The bloody endgame came four days after the bombing and just a day after the FBI released surveillancecamera images of two young men suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives that ripped through the crowd at the marathon finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 180. The two men were identified by authorities and relatives as ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who
had been in the U.S. for about a decade and were believed to be living in Cambridge, Mass. But investigators gave no details on the motive for the bombing. Early Friday morning, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a ferocious gun battle and car chase during which he and his younger brother hurled explosives at police from a stolen car, authorities said. The younger brother managed to escape. During the getaway attempt, the brothers killed an MIT policeman and severely wounded another officer, authorities said. After a tense tumultuous all-day manhunt and house-to-house search by thousands of SWAT team officers with Associated Press rifles and armored vehicles, Dzhokhar IN CUSTODY — An ambulance carrying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old MassachuTsarnaev, 19, was cornered in a home- setts college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings, turns into Beth Israel See BOSTON Page 7A Deaconess Medical Center Friday evening following his capture in a daylong manhunt.
Audit sought for authority By LINDA HARRIS Staff writer
REMEMBER 911 — The staff of the Hancock County 911 Center wants to assure residents there will be someone available to answer their call in the event of an emergency. Today marks the conclusion of this year’s National Telecommunicators Week.
WEIRTON – City and county leaders have asked the State of West Virginia to audit the Weirton Area Port Authority, saying they have questions about its operations. The request, contained in a letter dated Feb. 21, urged Senate President Jeff Kessler to order a post-audit of the port operation, saying a “thorough review of all real estate transactions, contracts, deposits, invoicing, accounting, billing and the procure-
ment processes used by the Weirton Area Port Authority should be undertaken.” It was signed by representatives of city and county government — Brooke County Commission President Tim Ennis, Hancock County Commission President Dan Greathouse, Weirton City Manager Valerie Means and Pat Ford, the executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle. The Weirton Daily Times obtained a copy of that letter See AUDIT Page 7A
Area begins to Dispatchers mark week realize potential
By CRAIG HOWELL Managing editor
NEW CUMBERLAND — When experiencing an emergency, you want to know there’s a person available to lend a hand. That’s part of the message the staff of the Hancock County 911 Center have been conveying over the last few days as part of National Telecommunicators Week. “No matter what time, no matter the situation, someone is going to be here,” 911 Director Tracy Lemley said, noting people don’t care who is
answering the phone during an emergency, only that there is someone available to answer their call. “It’s their voices that are important.” According to Lemley, the Hancock County 911 Center has 12 full-time employees, and five part-time staffers, working 12-hour shifts and taking calls for fire and police departments and ambulance squads in the city of Weirton and Hancock County. “We answer over 100,000 calls a year,” Lemley said. The center usually has three dispatchers working each shift, she said, noting
some of the dispatchers also are volunteer firefighters, providing additional insight into the needs of those they are sending out on a call. Lemley also noted each dispatcher is required to go through several layers of training and certification each year. “It’s a very specialized job,” Lemley said. National Telecommunicators Week is designated as a time for citizens to thank those who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency responders during times of crisis.
By LINDA HARRIS Staff writer BEECH BOTTOM — To fully understand how far the old Wheeling Corrugating property has come, David Lieving says you have to understand where it was just a few months ago. Lieving, manager of business retention and expansion for the West Virginia Development office, said it was difficult to see the loss of steel jobs
“When we start to see more announcements, particularly on the manufacturing side, it really does have an economic impact on the community. ” – David Lieving, WV Development office in the Upper Ohio Valley over the past decade-plus, “but a See GROWTH Page 3A
Special Olympics benefits from game By WARREN SCOTT Staff writer WELLSBURG — Area police and firefighters will be trading their uniforms, badges, coats and boots for jerseys and shoulder pads when they take to the gridiron for a game April 27 benefiting Brooke County Special Olympics. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Brooke Memorial Stadium, where members of the Brooke County, Weirton and Wheeling Fraternal Order of Police lodges play members of the Brooke County Firefighters Association and Weirton Fire Department. Admission is $5, with children age 10 and under admit-
POLICE, FIREFIGHTERS CHARITY GAME: Police and firefighters will play football to raise money for the Brooke County Special Olympics. The game will be held April 27 at Brooke Memorial Stadium. Admission is $5 with children age 10 and under free. Parking will be $2 and concessions will be run by volunteers with Special Olympics. ted free. There will be a $2 parking fee and concession stand operated by volunteers with Special Olympics. All proceeds benefit the Brooke County Special Olympics program. It’s not the
first time the police and firefighters have played for the cause, but it’s the first in which the game will be known as the Bill Furioli Memorial Football Classic. “We renamed it to honor him,” said Brooke County Sheriff’s Deputy Larry Palmer, the event’s coordinator, noting Furioli had served as the program’s director for 26 years when he died on Jan. 23. Helen Furioli, his wife, said she and her daughters, who assisted him in coaching and assisting the Special Olympics athletes, “feel very proud of that. That was a nice gesture for Bill.” See CHARITY Page 3A
Chamber board honors The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce recently recognized three long-serving board members following their departure this year. Those honored were, from left, Don Gianni Jr., Lisa Conti and John Newbrough. Combined, the three provided more than 70 years of service to the chamber and Weirton community.
INDEX 20 pages, 2 sections
Classified .........6-8B Community ..........5A Comics ................5B
Deaths ................8A Local news ...........6A Lotteries ..............2A Opinion ................4A Police ..... .............7A Sports ...............1-4B Puzzle ..................5B TV/Entertainment..9B
QUESTION OF THE DAY
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SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013
Audit this week through the Freedom of Information Act. The port is a threepronged public-private partnership — the Weirton Area Port Authority; the nonprofit Weirton Area Port Authority Inc., a “quasi-public, membership-based corporation established to manage and administer programs”; and the for-profit Tri-State Port Management, a group of investors who oversee port concessions. As of Tuesday, no audit had been initiated because state officials still are trying to determine if a post-audit is appropriate or if audit responsibility actually lies with Auditor Glen B. Gainer III’s office. A post-audit is an indepth examination of the financial records of statefunded agencies, beginning at the source and auditing expenditures from the point where the work was done all the way to who benefits from the service. Findings are reported to the Legislative Post Audit Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Government and Finance. West Virginia Deputy Auditor Stuart Stickel said his office was “still looking into the statutes governing port authorities” and said they expect to decide “in the very near future” which agency is empowered to perform the audit. “There’s more than one port authority out there, so, obviously, it’s an all-ornone situation for us,” he said. In requesting the audit, local leaders cited a number of areas of concern, including WAPA’s organizational structure – which they described as “complicated, unclear” with limited governmental
aspect prior to the board engaging with Keffer and the other federal advisers.” He said he was not aware that default judgments had been entered against Keffer, and said the port authority “has been working diligently over the past three years to do everything we do in public. We have monthly public meetings, every contract, every resolution is posted on our website.” “Some of the comments I’ve heard, I don’t think those officials have ever been to the port authority,” he said. “How often do they attend meetings? What meetings have they been to?” He also said he communicates with board members regularly and “...they don’t have any negative view...that I’m aware of.” West Virginia Public Port Authority Director James D. “Doug” York, meanwhile, said local leaders had asked him nearly a year ago to audit the port’s books and financial statements, “but I told them, it’s not within my statutory authority to do that stuff.” York said he cannot intervene “as long as they are completing the mission they were empowered to do legislatively through the port authority of the state, and the biannual reports they file reflect that they are doing the mission they were empowered to do.” “We are responsible and have to be good stewards of public monies,” he added. “If you are receiving funding from me, you have the duty and I have the responsibility to monitor how the public money is being spent. But they haven’t asked me for $1 of state taxpayer money, nor have they received state taxpayer money.” York said the Legislature could, if it wishes,
order an investigation. The Auditor General also has the power, “even the West Virginia State Police fraud unit could investigate if they thought something was going on.” He also said the public portion of the statute allows port authorities to create not-for-profit corporations, and to receive donations from private entities to make it work, “but Weirton has not requested any state funding at all. That doesn’t mean in the future they won’t, but since no money has been allocated or appropriated … there’s nothing at this point that would require my intervention as executive director of the West Virginia Public Port Authority.” Wright, a WAPA board member and city councilman, said he has no objection to local leaders requesting an audit. “Being on council and also on the board for the port authority, it puts me in a difficult position,” he said. “But as far as I’m concerned, I have no objections to them asking for this. Obviously, if the city administration feels something needs to be addressed, then by all means it should be addressed.” Wright said if community leaders have questions “and they feel like not being they’re answered, they need to do whatever they have to do to get answers.” “I’m a big believer in transparency,” Wright added. “I know that’s a word that gets tossed around nowadays, a lot of people say it and don’t necessarily do it. But I believe in it.” Ennis said he and the other local leaders want nothing more than to “see the port move forward with economic develop-
Continued from Page 1A ment.” A former state legislator, Ennis said the audit “would show the port area where it’s lacking in, where it excels.” “There were some concerns,” added Brooke County Commission Jim Andreozzi. “The potential for development over there is humongous. We just want to be sure all the questions are answered, all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. It sounds wonderful, there’s great potential for Weirton and Brooke County, but we want to make sure everything is done correctly.” Andreozzi said if nothing else, a state audit will ease concerns about how public-private partnerships should and could work. “This public-private stuff is so new, but it seems to be the wave of the future in development,” Andreozzi said. “Using public and private money to bring in industry, it’s just so new. I don’t think anyone knows what is 100 percent right, and we just want to get a handle on it to protect ourselves going forward. We want to move slow, make sure everything is done right.” Greathouse agreed an audit “is a good thing for everybody.” “It’s just the smart thing to do, it puts to rest any kind of rumors anybody might have, any kind of fears they might have,” he said. “I think we need transparency.” He said he’s aware that concerns have been raised about the port’s operation. “With any business, in any way, shape or form, you’d like to have an audit,” he added. “We get asked all the time for financing, we’d like to have an audit” for peace of mind.
oversight — and lack of transparency to the advisory role being played by Karl Keffer, who was previously associated with a port project in the Eastern Panhandle and was named in a pair of lawsuits alleging his company had failed to pay two vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in work they’d done for him there. Default judgments against Keffer totaling more than $500,000 are on the books in Berkley County and Fairfax County, Va., where the suits were filed. Keffer has been described in some WAPA communications as a “strategic planning adviser.” WAPA Board Member Chuck Wright, Weirton’s Ward 2 councilman, said Keffer represents Tri-State Port Management, WAPA’s for-profit arm; another board member, who did not wish to be identified, said Keffer routinely refers to Weirton as “my port.” Frank Hoagland, an exNavy Seal and founder of S.T.A.R.T. in Mingo Junction, said WAPA owes his company more than $200,000, a claim WAPA has disputed. Hoagland, though, insists his company was “brought on board by Karl Keffer to help establish” security protocols for the port and interport operations and had memorandums of understanding and non-disclosure agreements signed by WAPA Chairman B.J. DeFelice as well as “hundreds of e-mails and directives given to S.T.A.R.T.” At least one other local vendor has complained of non-payment. Other concerns cited in the audit request include WVPPA board members receiving calls from WAPA employees questioning why they aren’t getting paid, and com-
plaints that WAPA is characterizing individuals who work at the site as independent contractors rather than employees, allowing them to avoid paying the city’s municipal fees, federal and state payroll taxes and workers comp insurance. DeFelice said he was unaware an audit had been requested but welcomed the opportunity, pointing out that since they haven’t received any public funding “an audit would be an easy request.” He disputed suggestions that companies are not getting paid for services rendered, saying, “With everything we do, there’s a deliverable to the contract service base and there’s a payment for that deliverable. “If anybody’s not getting paid here, they didn’t complete the work that was required or didn’t complete the contract documents,” he said. Likewise, he disputed reports that individuals working at the site haven’t been paid. “What happened is the not-for-profit (WINC) arm had contracts with various people that ended in November. After that, anybody who stayed on and participated would be a volunteer,” he said, reiterating that, “If somebody says they are owed money, they didn’t get paid because they didn’t perform or they didn’t have a contract.” DeFelice said he was aware Keffer had been sued by contractors in the Eastern Panhandle, but said “lawsuits happen in business.” “As a businessman, I wouldn’t be able to work with city, county or anybody else if it was based on lawsuits,” he said. “We’d gone through the whole due-diligence
18, a downstairs-apartment neighbor in Cambridge. Ammon quoted Tsarnaev as saying that the U.S. uses the Bible as “an excuse for invading other countries.” Also, the FBI interviewed the older brother at the request of a foreign government in 2011, and nothing derogatory was found, according to a federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official did not identify the foreign country or say why it made the request. The search for the younger brother all but paralyzed the Boston area for much of the day. Officials shut down all mass transit, including Amtrak trains to New
Continued from Page 1A night of crime began was York, advised businesses one in a white baseball his younger brother. Exactly how the long unclear. not to open, and warned cap worn backward, was close to 1 million people in the entire city and Remember your mother with a special message some of its suburbs to in The Weirton Daily Times and Herald-Star stay inside and unlock for Mother’s Day. their doors only for uniformed police. Your special message will run “We believe this man Sunday, May 12, 2013 to be a terrorist,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. “We believe We Have Books this to be a man who’s Available To come here to kill people.” Around midday, the Choose Different suspects’ uncle Ruslan Messages. Tsarni of Montgomery Ads Color Full Village, Md., pleaded on television: “Dzhokhar, if No better mother ever lived, No one so true and kind, you are alive, turn yourHer equal in this weary world self in and ask for for“To know her was to love her.” It would be hard to find. giveness.” Authorities said the man dubbed Suspect No. 1 — the one in sunglasses and a dark baseball cap in the surveillance-camera pictures — was Today recalls the memories Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Full Color Of our dear mom while Suspect No. 2, the
Boston owner’s yard, where he exchanged gunfire with police while holed up in a boat, authorities said. He was taken away on a stretcher and was hospitalized in serious condition with unspecified injuries, police said. Just before 9 p.m., Boston police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody. They later wrote: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.” A cheer went up from a crowd of bystanders in Watertown. “Everyone wants him alive,” said Kathleen Paolillo, a teacher. Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted “We got him,” along with a photo of himself talking to the police commissioner. Police said three other people were taken into custody for questioning at an off-campus housing complex at the University of the Massachusetts at Dartmouth where the younger man may have lived. Up until the younger man’s capture, it was looking like a grim day for police. As night fell, they announced that they were scaling back the hunt because they had come up empty-handed. But then a break came in a Watertown neighborhood when a homeowner saw blood on his boat, pulled back the tarp and saw the bloody suspect inside, police said. Chechnya has been the scene of two wars between Russian forces and separatists since 1994, in which tens of thousands were killed in heavy Russian bombing. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although not in the West. The older brother had strong political views about the United States, said Albrecht Ammon,
Gospel Meeting 3169 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Ave., Ave., 3169 Weirton, WV WV Weirton,
gone to rest, And the ones who think of her today Are the ones who loved her best.
Only a prayer for you, Mom, Only a thought kind and true Only a token of deep affection From those who thought the world of you.
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SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2013
Authority awaits auditor’s port report By LINDA HARRIS Staff writer WEIRTON — West Virginia Public Port Authority Executive Director Doug York said he’s awaiting the results of an auditor’s report before he sits down with his board members to discuss what, if anything, they need to do to resolve questions surrounding operations at the Weirton port. City and county leaders had called for a post-legislative
audit in February to address concerns with the port’s operation, but jurisdictional questions prompted Auditor Glen Gainer’s office to step in last month and commence a review of the Weirton port’s books. “I want to wait and give the auditor time to do his job,” he said. “I don’t know what the audit will reveal, when it will be done. Usually there are a set of recommendations offered with (the audit report). I want to give that process time to
occur before we jump up and say, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that.’ If he was not doing the audit, then I would take all the information I have and let the board look at it as a whole, I’d tell them to give me direction, tell me what they would like to see done.” In requesting the audit, local leaders cited a number of areas of concern, including WAPA’s organizational structure, which they described as “complicated, unclear” with too-little governmental oversight and lack
and Fairfax County, Va., where the suits were filed. More recently, Bridgeport, W.Va., based Citynet has sued Weirton Area Port Authority Inc. for more than $220,000 it says it’s owed for work done on a fiber optic network, claiming breach of contract. Citynet claims Keffer gave them the go-ahead to do hundreds of thousands of dollars of work but, when they submitted the
of transparency. They’ve also questioned the role being played within the port hierarchy by Karl Keffer, who was previously associated with a port project in the Eastern Panhandle and was named in a pair of lawsuits alleging his company had failed to pay two vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in work they’d done for him there. Default judgments against Keffer totaling more than $500,000 are on the books in Berkley County
See PORT Page 5A
140 earn diplomas at Weir High By CRAIG HOWELL Managing editor WEIRTON — The 140 members of Weir High School’s Class of 2013 took their next steps in life Friday, officially becoming high school graduates and moving toward their future. Commencement exercises were held Friday evening in the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse at the high school. The Class of 2013 is the 97th graduating class from Weir High School. “Today is a day to celebrate 12 years of hard work by these young men and women,” Principal Dan Enich said in welcoming the graduates, their families and other guests. Enich warned the graduates that the protection and accolades of their youth were slipping away, and soon they would be faced with new choices and opportunities. He encouraged them not to sit back, but to experience life. See WEIR HIGH Page 5A
READY TO TAKE NEXT STEP — Weir High School held commencement exercises Friday for the 140 members of the Class of 2013.
Veterans memorial rededication held
SPECIAL CEREMONY — On Friday, a rededication ceremony was held at the Weirton Veterans Honor Roll near Three Springs Drive. The Leadership Weirton Class of 2013 spent the last few months raising funds to purchase six new flags and four new benches for the memorial, which lists the names of many of Weirton’s veterans.
By CRAIG HOWELL
WEIRTON — Visitors to the veterans memorial near Three Springs Drive in Weirton will notice some new additions to the site, and on Friday veterans and local business leaders gathered to rededicate the monument. In recent months, the members of Leadership Weirton’s Class of 2013, in conjunction with the American Legion Post 10, have been working to raise funds for the purchase of new flags and benches to be installed at the memorial located near
Video from the event can be found online at www.weirtondailytimes.com. Additional photos are available through our CU website. the Wal-Mart Supercenter. The project was part of the Leadership Weirton program, operated by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, which requires each class to perform a community service project. The American Legion purchased a new U.S. flag, with See MEMORIAL Page 5A
Summer travel forecast: Better, but no blowout
Series kicks off Weirton’s Summer Sizzle summer concert series kicked off Friday night at the Weirton Event Center, featuring performances by Jim Felix’s “Sounds of Elvis” and local group Legend. Friday’s concert also served as a collection to benefit the Community Bread Basket. The series continues at May 31 with 40+ and Deja Vu, as well as a classic car show. All concerts are free and open to the public.
Associated Press NEW YORK — This summer, high rollers are flying to lavish hot spots for their vacations. The rest of us are driving to less luxurious places like nearby campgrounds. The good news: At some U.S. campgrounds these days you get live bands, air guitar contests and chocolate pudding slip ‘n slides. Americans’ plans for summer travel mirror the current state of the economy. Rising home prices and a soaring stock market are encouraging those at the top of the income ladder to take more extravagant trips. But large segments of the population are staying close to home because wages are stagnant, rents are high and the end of the payroll tax holiday has shrunk their take-home pay. Craig Howell
See TRAVEL Page 5A
INDEX 20 pages, 1 sections
Classified .........6-8B Community ..........7A Comics ................5B
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QUESTION OF THE DAY
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Should West Virginia raise taxes and fees to help fund road repair programs?
76% 24% No
SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2013
FROM THE FRONT PAGE
Port Continued from Page 1A invoice, offered various reasons for them not being paid. WINC’s response to the Citynet suit, however, stated that “...Karl Keffer is not an authorized agent or representative of the defendant, and cannot legally bind this defendant and his actions or omissions are not governed, controlled or directed by defendant, although defendant is aware that he had discussions with (Citynet).” It also indicated WAPA “is aware that an advisor to the Port Authority, not the defendant or any of its representatives, likely provided a Master Services Agreement to plaintiff, but denies the agreement was ever fully executed or binding.” Keffer, however, was recently named interim director of the port because of his “background in port development, federal contracts and federal programs,” WAPA Chairman B.J. DeFelice has said. Meanwhile, Kokosing Construction Co., general contractor for the earthwork done at the Weirton port, also has filed a mechanics lien for $513,350 against WAPA and the owner of the property it occupies in Weirton’s Half Moon Industrial Park, alleging it, too, hasn’t been paid. Kokosing General Counsel Mike Currie has said that, unless payment is made, the company will be forced to file suit. DeFelice, however, labeled it a contractor dispute and contends they have differing “expectations (of) what the deliverable was” and said Kokosing “didn’t meet the process.” At least one other vendor claims he is owed more than $200,000 for work done at the port for which he hasn’t been paid, and a former contracted consultant also was heard after a recent WAPA meeting questioning why payment hadn’t been forthcoming. Nearly two weeks ago Weirton City Council asked the West Virginia Public Port Authority to take an in-depth look at the local port’s operation and, if cause is found, to replace its officers and directors as is deemed necessary. The resolution, passed unanimously, said WVPPA has a “moral and ethical obligation” to the people of Weirton to address questions surrounding the port’s organizational structure, “including facts about their subsidiaries, financial information, cash management and transparency, background history of the principals involved, ... allegations of non-payment or delinquent payment to vendors, allegations of nonpayment of employees, clarification of employee classifications, reports of alleged threats of Emi-
nent Domain as a means to acquire property, statements of unfounded authority to other parties and authorities, and other items of concern.” DeFelice says there’s a lack of understanding surrounding the port’s organization and operations, in part because participation at meetings is poor. “We’re developing a port,” he said. “As we learn things, we have to make changes. We haven’t done it before. It’s a change in the model, an opportunity from a development standpoint for revenue sharing in the community. Any money made here, the community will share. No work is being done here that won’t benefit the public.” DeFelice said there’s a “lot of confusion, but people need to get some facts.” He said they’ve given state officials “every report they ask for, we’re meeting all requirements for transparency, use of public funds, and the audit,” though he said they “can’t audit private investment because it is private investment. Exposing all private company information to competitors puts you at a disadvantage.” He also said WVPPA will have to sign off on any bond issue by the port. “Everything we do goes through the state port, even private equity. If we accept any financing, any financing we do, the state port authority has to approve,” he said. York, meanwhile, said he considers the controversy surrounding the port to be a “local issue that needs to be resolved locally ... but having said that, I think it would be fair to give (Gainer’s office) a little time to complete the audit before we (do anything as a board).” York said he’s planning to meet privately with local leaders within the next couple weeks in hopes of better understanding their concerns with operations at the Weirton port. “There may be some things we can do, some things may not be in our perview,” he said. “But, I’m confident as a whole we can come up with something that will allow the port concept in that area to move forward. “We’ve studied that area and two others in the state have had independent studies conducted,” he said. “If you take the cast of characters out, if none of them are there it’s still a wonderful place to explore economic development opportunities with rail, water and highway access. We’re poised to explore those things if we can come to agreement.”
“Be involved, be engaged and best of luck to each and every one of you,” he concluded. Anna Makricostas, who graduated at the top of the Class of 2013, gave the honors address, recalling their experiences together while noting there are many more still ahead of them. “We have grown up together and made unforgettable memories,” she said. “I know we have all worked hard to reach this point in our lives. While we celebrate this exciting time, we need to remember that this is just the beginning of our future.” Quoting Thomas Edison, she encouraged her fellow graduates to never give up on their dreams. “We have all experienced failure during our school years, but we managed to persevere,” Makricostas said. “So, if we continue to work hard to reach our future goals and never give up, we will continue to find success in ourselves.” Superintendent Suzan Smith congratulated the class, wishing them the best of luck in the future in brief comments prior to conveying them with their diplomas. “You’ve been here so many years and heard so many speeches, you don’t need to hear one from me,” she said.
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Weirton Leadership purchasing flags to repthe Army, resent Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and POW/MIA. these new “With flags, we remember every branch of the U.S. military and those who are prisoners of war or missing in action,” Patty Soplinski, a member of this year’s Leadership class, said. Class member MaryLee Ammon explained the new benches would provide a place for residents, especially the family members of veterans, to sit and reflect while visiting the memorial. Catherine Ferrari, president and chief executive officer of Hancock County Savings Bank, served as the guest speaker, reflecting on the sacrifices and commitment of the nation’s veterans and the contributions of the Weirton Leadership program during its 20year history. “These leaders are making a great impact on our community,” Ferrari said. Ferrari was a member of Leadership Weirton’s inaugural class. She said it was fitting for the class to find a way to give back to the area’s veterans, noting (Harris can be contact- their lifetime commited at lharris@herald- ment toward serving others. staronline.com)
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, expects prices to drift lower after the holiday and fall close to last summer’s low of $3.33 per gallon before hurricane season starts to drag them up again. ≤ More expensive hotel rooms. The average hotel will cost $112.21, before taxes and any other add-on such as resort fees. That’s up 4.4 percent from last year’s $107.52, according to hotel research firm STR. Hotels are also expected to be slightly fuller, with occupancy rates climbing from 69.3 percent last summer to 70 percent this year. ≤ Packed planes, steady airfare. Airlines for America, the industry’s lobby group, expects 208.7 million people to fly, up 1 percent from last year. About 87 percent of air-
Tiffany Elizabeth Davidson, Shane Steven Davis, Matthew John Decker, John Paul Dematteis, Jessica Marie Derby, Kvanna Isabel Diaz, Micah Lin DiBacco, Christopher Joseph Dobosz, Rachelle Marie Ervin, Jeromy Matthue Falk, Cody Nicholas Fuscardo, Frank Bernard Gardner, Kodi Ranae Gegas, Michael Tyler Gibson, Dominique Marie Gilbert, Evan James Greco, Kasey Edward Green, Joshua Robert Groves, Mark Anthony Guglielmo, Kandace Leigh Haga, Jerren Randall Haines, Justin Ryan Haines, Dusty Allen Haspell, Erin Nicole Hawthorne, Gracen Elizabeth Hayes, Tess Laurise Haynes, Chad William Hensley, Kain Allen Hess, Cory Scott Heupp, Savanna Kaitlyn Hibbits, Lauren Brianna Hoffman, Austin Douglas Hoover, Carl Raymond Howard, Patrick Allen Hulbert, Blake Allan Huval, Kyle Joseph Jennings, Chelsey Lynn Johnson, Danielle Rae Jones, Teyona KarenLee Jones, Jamie Lee Kikilidis, Seth David Klar, Zachary David Knuutila, Austin Keith Krupp, Kayla Grace LemleyRaiford, Alexandra Lynn Lengyel, Samantha Ann Lengyel, Taylor Rae Long, Steven Vasile Maragos, Rachel Sara Marker, Allyson Lin Martin,
Travel For a travel industry still stinging from the Great Recession, that likely means another summer of steady, but slow, recovery. AAA, one of the nation’s largest leisure travel agencies, isn’t expecting a resounding start to vacation season this Memorial Day. Citing the “up and down economy,” AAA expects 31.2 million Americans to hit the road this weekend, virtually the same number as last year. Throw in planes, trains and buses, and the number of travelers will drop about 1 percent, AAA says. As vacationers set out this summer, here’s what they can expect: ≤ Gas prices about the same as last year. The national average price of gasoline was $3.65 a gallon Friday, 1 cent higher than during last year’s Memorial Day weekend.
The Weir High School Class of 2013 includes: Highest Honors: Ryan Michael Duke, Brandon Coty Jasiel, Jenna Louise Jenkins, Anna Irene Makricostas, Kristen Marie Mastrantoni, Harry Russell Olenick, Benjamin Lucas Suter, Kristen Taylor Tuell, Alexis Louise Virtue, Kaitlyn Rose Williams and Emily Susan Zatezalo. Other members of the Class of 2013 are: Conner James Addison, Marcedes Selene Alexander, Marcellus Dion Alexander, Audrey Evelyn Augustine, Paul Irvin Ayers, Ashley Ann Babinchok, Dustin Andrew Bailey, Eric Scott Baker, Daren Allen Baldwin, December Lynn Baldwin, Matthew David Barnes, Lance Christopher Beck, Emily Anne Bertha, Ashley Lynn Boyer, Corey David Bradley, Zachary Thomas Brooks, Maelynne Rene’ Brunner, Alexandria Paige Bruno, Meikka Noel Buffo, Monica Leigh Burdette, Shelva Danisha Burns, Kiara Lee Candelario, James Dylan Cassiadoro, Reno McClain Castelli, Matthew Alex Cessna, Taylor Ryan Chappell, Matteo Anthony Collett, Samantha Erin Collins, Tyler Jay Conrad, Justin Harold Allen Crago, Alex Raymond Creel, Alexis Renee Curtis, Brianna Nicole Dailey,
Continued from Page 1A Nathan Ryan Masters, Dakota Chance Matheny, Haley Marie McLaughlin, Zachary David Midcap, Brian Scott Miller, Manon Estele Misto, Jenna Marie Moore, Kenneth Hayden Muhart, Gregory John Mulaski, Karly Grace Mullens, Christopher Craig Oaks, James Henry Lee Owens, Brandon Michele Palmeri, Makayla Ann Parr, Nicole Rachelle Pellegrino, Natalie Marie Perrone, Abigail Claire Peters, Taylor Renee Peters, Eric Jeffrey Piatt, Paige Elizabeth Pompei, Laken Mariah Quickle, Jessica Marie Reese, Lauren Katherine Rosnick, Patrick Morgan Rouse, Joshua Stephen Russell, Bailey Bryn Ryan, Sarah Ann Schell, Courtney Nicole Schexnayder, Silvan Thomas Setcavage, Shane Mikal Spencer, Derek Allen Staley, Francesca Nicole Stewart, Neil Andrew Summers, Jeremy Tyler Swartzmiller, Catherine Elizabeth Tate, Kelly Lynn Taylor, Lydia Fay Taylor, Ashlee Nicole Vandruff, Jonathan Wayne Thomas Vantilburg, Alicia Colleen Veltri, Leslie Talon Washington, Raymond Dale Welch, Tyler Reid Wilson, Austin Michael Wolverton, Racen Nicole Young and Brandon Joseph Zapotoczny.
plane seats will be filled with paying passengers. Domestic fliers will pay $421 on average for a round trip ticket, down $6 from last summer. International fliers will pay $1,087, up $8, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp. ≤ Amtrak expects to meet or exceed the 8.3 million passengers it carried last summer. But the taxpayer-backed railroad wouldn’t disclose how fares compare with last summer’s average one-
NEW BENCHES — Among the additions to the veterans memorial are new benches, many of which listed those local individuals and businesses who donated to the effort. Jennifer Mason, MaryLou McHenry, Martire-Pittman, Renee Salkovick, Alecia Sirk, Patty Soplinski and Danielle Welshans. Donors to the project include: Hancock County Savings Bank; an anonymous donor; Danny Greathouse and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau; Ergon West Virginia; Starvaggi Industries; Gurrera Law Offices; Steel and Wolfe Funeral Home; Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; United Steelworkers Union; Robinson and Son Construction; Fox’s Continued from Page 1A Pizza Den; Shirley Brecht; Tri-State way ticket of $66.39. Mike Klopp, a com- Marine Corps Club AuxJoan Spano; mercial insurance sales- iliary; man in Irvine, Calif., is starting to feel better about the economy. He and his wife plan to take their three kids on a vacation up the coast to Monterey in August — a trip they skipped last year. But Klopp says local trips are the limit because they’re cheaper. Like many others, he’s not yet willing to splurge on a dream vacation. “There is no greater hero than a man or a woman who serves others,” Ferrari said. Mayor George Kondik also was on hand, thanking everyone involved in the project. “This class doing what they’re doing with this community is great,” Kondik said. Members of the Leadership Weirton Class of 2013 are MaryLee Ammon, Larry DeRosa, DeeAnn Greene-Marszalek, Marisa Marino, Karen
Craig W. “Billy” Petrella, II is no longer affiliated with Tri-State Financial Services or Walnut Street Securities, Inc. As of May 7, 2013 Billy Petrella can no longer conduct business on behalf of either entity. For questions or concerns regarding your accounts contact Ken Perkins at 740-264-4466.
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Marsh Pipe and Supply; American Legion Post 10; The Lawn Barber; Bob Evans; Wal-Mart; Iannetti’s Garden Center; Krazy Bout Sportz; the City of Weirton; Fairfield Inn and Suites; Randy Swartzmiller; Edwin J. Bowman; Century 21 Lane Realty; Irene Boby; Knights of Columbus 4th Degree; Rotary Club of Weirton Heights; Lorraine Soplinski; Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; Knights of Columbus; Hancock County Senior Services; EMJ; Lillian Zellar and Art Chappell. (Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)
Brooke defeats Weir
Economy is a mixed bag
WEATHER TODAY: Rain with a high of 65 and a low of 45. THURSDAY: Cloudy with a high of 58.
The Weirton Daily Times See Page 1B
See Page 6A
See details Page 2A
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16, 2013
Dilapidated structure ordinance discussed By WARREN SCOTT Staff writer WELLSBURG —The Brooke County Commission next week will consider an amendment to its dilapidated structure ordinance aimed at making the cost of enforcement more affordable for the county. Commission President Tim Ennis announced a public hearing will be held at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, prior to its next regular meeting, for the amendment, which involves changing the dilapidated structure enforcement agency to include a certified contractor instead of a licensed engineer.
Ennis said the cost to employ an engineer on the board and the availability of interested engineers led to the decision to amend the ordinance. Adopted by the commission several years ago, the ordinance also calls for a representative of the county health department, local fire chief and two residents to serve on the board, with the county’s sheriff serving as a non-voting member. The fire chief will serve a threeyear term, while the residents each will serve a two-year term. The ordinance allows a resident to file a complaint, through the office of County Clerk Sylvia Benzo, of a structure or property he or she
believes to be unsafe, unsanitary, dangerous or otherwise detrimental to the public health or welfare. In addition to dilapidated structures, the ordinance addresses accumulation of refuse or debris, overgrown vegetation or a toxic spill. Following an investigation by the certified contractor, the board may order for the structure’s owner to correct the situation within 30 days. After that, they may be fined $100 per day. If the owners continue not to respond, the county may condemn the structures, order their demolition and place a lien on the property so if it is ever sold, the commission may recoup the costs for demolition.
Notice given on local port dissolution
Local event showcases businesses
By LINDA HARRIS Staff writer
By CRAIG HOWELL Managing editor WEIRTON — A crowd of area residents filled the Serbian-American Cultural Center Tuesday to learn more about what some of the Upper Ohio Valley’s business community has to offer. Approximately 50 businesses were on hand for the annual Top of West Virginia Showcase and Taste of the Valley event, sponsored through a cooperative effort by the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. Those in attendance were welcomed by Dan Greathouse, executive director of the CVB, who noted the variety of businesses set up for the evening. “We thank all of the vendors that have come out and all our guests,” Greathouse said. Businesses from across Hancock and Brooke counties in West Virginia, and even from Jefferson County in Ohio, were on hand, showcasing some of their products and services. Some of those businesses and organizations on hand included local hotels the Holiday Inn and the Fairfield Inn and Suites, the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center showing off its latest documentary project,
In other business: ¯Ruby Greathouse, president of the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association, told the commission she shared some concerns about a pipeline extending across the trail with a contractor involved and feels satisfied they will cooperate. Greathouse said a contractor working with MarkWest has extended a pipeline across a section of the trail to draw water from the Ohio River for hydraulic fracturing. Because the temporary line is above ground, crews have covered it with a board and posted a sign alerting trail users of the bump. See DILAPIDATED Page 5A Á
SAMPLES OFFERED — Approximately 50 businesses were on hand Tuesday at the Serbian-American Cultural Center for the annual Top of West Virginia Showcase and Taste of the Valley, sponsored by the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. Cindy’s Fusion Fitness and Newbrough Photo. Food vendors on hand included the Serbian-American Cultural Center, which presented its make-you-ownpasta table, The BBQ House and Wine and Beverage Merchants. Weirton Chamber President Brenda Mull said she was pleased with the response from the community. “It makes the businesses feel good,” she said. The evening also included perform-
ances by the Weir High cheerleading squad and a drawing for several door prizes. Many of the businesses on hand also had giveaway items for those in attendance. The event initially started as two separate activities, but was combined several years ago. (Howell can be contacted at email@example.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)
WEIRTON — West Virginia Public Port Authority Executive Director James York issued formal notice Tuesday of the state board’s decision to dissolve the local port authority. York sent certified letters to Mayor George Kondik, as well as Brooke and Hancock County commissioners and the port’s director documenting the WVPPA’s Oct. 3 decision to dissolve the Weirton Area Port Authority. Kondik had asked the state panel in a Sept. 17 letter to intervene, citing growing concerns over lawsuits, vendor payments and disputed contracts involving the port. York said WVPPA had taken the action “due to (the city’s) request and outline of a significant unresolvable issue between the city and the Weirton Area Inland Port District and outlining concerns to your local citizenry and taxpayers and specifically vendors doing business with the local port authority.” “The state of West Virginia remains constant on our desire to work with local governments as well as private industry in growing our economy,” he added. WAPA Chairman B.J. DeFelice could not be reached this morning for comment.
MTR proceeding with Eldorado merger plan The Associated Press MORGANTOWN — MTR Gaming Group said Tuesday it’s evaluating a buyout offer from Jacobs Entertainment, but its board of directors remains unanimously behind plans for a merger with Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts. Colorado-based Jacobs made an unsolicited offer to MTR earlier this month that it says is 10 percent richer for MTR shareholders than the proposed merger. But MTR said it can’t say
when it might have a decision or any further comment about Jacobs’ proposal. In U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, CEO Jeffrey Jacobs said his unsolicited offer of $5.69 per share is worth $15.6 million more than Eldorado Resorts’ offer of $5.15 per share. He also argues that MTR’s board wouldn’t be selling control of the company and could still appoint the majority of the board of directors. Jacobs
owns more than 5 million shares, or 18 percent, of MTR’s stock. MTR runs Presque Isle Downs & Casino near Erie, Pa., Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack & Resort in Chester, and Scioto Downs Casino & Racetrack near Columbus, Ohio. Eldorado operates the Eldorado Reno and Silver Legacy, both in Reno, Nev., and Eldorado Shreveport in Louisiana. In May, Jacobs offered to sell his company to MTR in exchange for
$144.5 million in MTR stock, saying it would help the company diversify. He withdrew that offer after the Eldorado announcement. Jacobs Entertainment also owns the Colonial Downs thoroughbred track and 10 off-track betting facilities in Virginia; The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk and the Gilpin Hotel Casino, both in Colorado; the Gold Dust West-Reno, the Gold Dust West-Carson City and the Gold Dust West-Elko in Nevada; and 23 video poker truck stops in Louisiana.
Westlake Lane scratched from sanitary sewer project By STEPHEN HUBA For The Weirton Daily Times NEW CUMBERLAND — A project to extend sanitary sewer services to more unincorporated parts of Hancock County is being scaled back because of an anticipated lack of state funding, officials said. The Hancock County Public Service District originally planned to build sewer lines for an estimated 208 customers on Westlake Lane, U.S. Route 30 from Taylor Road to the Pennsylvania state line, and a small section of state Route 8. The residential and commercial properties cur-
rently are on septic systems. That project, with an initial cost estimate of $8.2 million, will likely be revised to incorporate just the Route 30 portion, PSD Chairman Bill Mackall said. “Westlake Lane has been dropped from the project,” Mackall said. “The money that was available for Westlake Lane is not available now downstate (in Charleston) because it’s first-come, firstserved. ... We didn’t get there quick enough.” When the project was announced in January, some Westlake Lane residents voiced their opposition, saying
they were happy with their septic systems and didn’t want to bear the extra cost of being connected to the Hancock County PSD system. Some of those residents also signed a petition in opposition to the project. While the residents’ wishes were a factor, the biggest reason for the project revision was a lack of funding, PSD Office Manager Anita Mahan said. “Unfortunately, there’s just not the funding out there that used to be there. It’s very hard to find state and federal funding for infrastructure projects,” Mahan said. “It seems to
be a real problem with everybody (in West Virginia).” District officials hope to resubmit their project application to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council in November, following the PSD board’s Nov. 13 meeting. The council is the chief funding authority for water and wastewater treatment projects in West Virginia. The PSD board likely will revise the scope of the project after meeting with project engineer Paul Ghosh, of Paul Ghosh Engineers Inc. in Charleston. “It’s in the hands of the
INDEX 20 pages, 2 sections
Classified .........5-7B Community ...........7A Comics ................4B
Deaths ................8A Local news ...........6A Lotteries ..............2A Opinion ................4A Police ..................9A Sports ...............1-3B Puzzle .................4B
engineer, the accountant and the lawyer,” PSD Treasurer Del Wright said. Once they determine the scope of the project, board members will resubmit the application and await approval from the state infrastructure council. Such an answer could come by January, Ghosh said. If the state application is approved, the PSD board likely will have to obtain a loan to cover the costs of a project design, Wright said. The design phase could take about a year, putting the project even further behind schedule, See PROJECT Page 5A Á
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Today’s question is:
Should state police personnel records be open to the public? Log onto weirtondailytimes.com before 6 a.m. Thursday to cast your vote.
Should the 67% West Virginia Capitol Complex be expanded? No