Local News

Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV


Colorado woman continues search for service dog

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After about a week missing a Colorado woman is still searching for her service dog, Heidi. The dog is trained to help Bridget Spangler detect seizures and get her help if she becomes incapacitated.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Bridget Spangler said she was riding with her fiance on south 43 May 21 when he suffered a medical emergency and crashed the vehicle. Heidi panicked and jumped out of the back window and ran toward the Pennsylvania line.

“Heidi looks like a small German Shepherd. She’s brown and black, she has a standard black saddle bag on her and she has white underneath,” Spangler said. “At the time she got loose she was wearing a purple collar with white stitching and it has a Laramie County, Colorado rabies tag attached.”

Spangler said there were several sightings of Heidi on a 43 overpass on May 21. But, the last sighting was May 24.

“The West Virginia-Pennsylvania border and going down into the vicinity of Seghi’s Five Lakes,” Spangler said. “That seems to be the circle where anybody has seen and reported her.”

Due to weather conditions, Spangler said the dog is likely seeking shelter. Heidi can be timid around strangers, but Spangler said the dog is not aggressive or mean.

“In the rain she’s bedding down, she doesn’t like the rain,” Spangler said. “So, people need to look in their barns, in garages and under porches she’s got to be there somewhere.”

Spangler asks anyone that finds a dog they think might be Heidi to take steps to verify who the owner of the dog is.

“Heidi is microchipped,” Spangler said. “If anybody sees a German Shepherd or a German Shepherd mix dog please go get it scanned.”

Spangler is staying in Morgantown at the Motel 6 while the search continues.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help Spangler defray costs.

If you have information or see the dog please contact Bridget Spangler at 719-640-2651 or [email protected] or Margaret at 724-562-5807.


Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Weather postpones Monongalia County graduation ceremony

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Graduation ceremonies for University High School seniors scheduled for today has been postponed until tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Monongalia County Schools superintendent Eddie Campbell told WAJR News continuing rain and a worsening forecast are the culprits.

“Thunderstorms coming in about 6 p.m. and the stadium will be full by then,” Campbell said. “We’re not going to get an opportunity to dry out.”

The MetroNews Accuweather forecast said the chance of rain Friday is 90-percent with a chance for an embedded thunderstorm. Forecasters expect a quarter inch of rain, more in thunderstorms.

Campbell and principal Kim Greene reviewed the conditions and considered everything from the possibility of slick surfaces to lightening when making the decision.

“We just elected that it was probably more prudent to postpone things until tomorrow at 5 p.m.,” Campbell said.

There is just a slight chance for rain tomorrow, but from Sunday the next significant chance of rain doesn’t come until Thursday.

“The weather looks really good for tomorrow,” Campbell said. “I think things are going to clear out overnight.”

For Saturday, seniors at Morgantown High School will graduate at 10 a.m. on Pony Lewis Field at J.W. Ruby Stadium. University high School seniors will hold their ceremony at 5 p.m. in Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

FirstEnergy begins solar subscription process

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – FirstEnergy Corporation customers with Mon Power and Potomac Edison can now purchase solar renewable energy credits (SREC’s) from five utility-scale solar projects planned in the state.

In April, the Public Service Commission conditionally approved construction on all five projects after sufficient customer demand is determined.

FirstEnergy spokesman, Will Boye said Mon Power plans to build, own and operate the following five facilities:
• A 26-acre reclaimed ash disposal site in Berkeley County
• A 51-acre site adjacent to a Mon Power substation in Hancock County
• A 27-acre retired ash disposal site in Marion County
• A 95-acre site in Monongalia County adjacent to Fort Martin Power Station
• A 44-acre reclaimed strip mine property in Tucker County

“When we are able to get customer commitments for 85-percent of a facility’s credit then we will go back to the commission and seek final approval for a modest ratepayer surcharge to help cover the project cost.”

Businesses and homeowners are becoming more interested in renewable energy as a way to offset utility bills and help the environment. Many industries and municipalities are also making the move to renewables in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have heard interest from customers, both residential and commercial, who really want to support renewable energy in the state and the economic development that goes with that,” Boye said.

A commercial subscription would equal a percentage of monthly usage, but is negotiable. Residential customers have an ala carte menu.

“You can sign up for $2-per month which is a cup of coffee and you’re supporting solar energy in the state, and doing your part to support economic development and those benefits that come with renewable energy generation in the state.” Boye said.

The program is a commitment, or subscription until the 85-percent threshold is reached for business and residential customers.

This would show up on customers’ bills by early 2024,” Boye said. “We do have to reach that 85-percent threshold and our hope is the we can start construction on our first facility by the end of the year.”

Mon Power and Potomac Edison estimate the total cost of the facilities at $102.2 million with annual operations and maintenance expense of $1 million to $1.5 million.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Wetzel County teacher resigns, under investigation following Fairmont field trip

WETZEL COUNTY, W.Va. – Members of the Wetzel County Board of Education have accepted the resignation of an English teacher after allegations of misconduct with a student during a field trip.

No information has been released regarding what happened between the student and Drew Schmaltz during the field trip to Fairmont. However, Schmaltz tendered his resignation last week and it was accepted by the board during closed session on Wednesday.

Detectives from the West Virginia State Police are investigating.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Bartlett Housing Solutions nears pre-storm operation levels

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bartlett Housing Solutions at Hazel’s House of Hope on Scott Avenue is back in business, and soon they’ll be back to full operations following a May 1 storm that ripped the roof off most of the building.

When the storm hit about 30 people in the building were not injured and evacuated to hotels or other housing options. Executive Director of Bartlett Housing Solutions Keri Demasi said clients in the upper floors have not been able to return, but all other clients have.

“We were able to move out triage clients that were displaced from the storm that were being housed in hotels back into the shelter,” Demasi said.

For now, new intakes cannot be processed due to continuing rook work above the entrance area.

“They have to put gutters and some other additional parts on the roof over the main entrance on,” Demasi said. “I know they’ve been working diligently and MCR (Morgantown Community Resources) has been in communication with us and keeping us updated.”

While repairs were being made to the facility the work of Bartlett continued. Demasi said the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority has helped with emergency vouchers to help some of the clients.

“Our case managers have been working around the clock to identify housing units within the community to get people moved in,” Demasi said.

Over the 24 days since the storm, Demasi said there have bee some long and uncertain days as work went on. She said the outpouring of support from the community has been very important to the clients and keeping the organization in operation.

“Sometimes when you deal with adversity it really allows an organization to show what they’re capable of,” Demasi said. “Our team of folks has really come together and we’ve seen amazing response from the community.”

Staffing issues have also hit the social service sector. Demasi said they have an immediate need for staff at all positions in the shelter. The shelter operates 365-days a year and has a variety of opportunities for people to help in the community.

“Ongoing staffing shortage and Bartlett is in desperate need of triage assistants to help work in the shelter,” Demasi said.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Former Hazelton guard admits to bribery charges

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A former FCI Hazelton corrections officer has pleaded guilty to charges related to bribing a public official. Eli Scott Villers, 29, has admitted to one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official and one count of bribery of a public official.

U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld said Villers conspired with an inmate on multiple occasions to smuggle tobacco products into the facility.

Villers faces up to 15 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Lawmakers tour new Reynolds Hall during interim meeting stay in Morgantown
Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Morgantown man charged with impersonating police

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A Morgantown man is being held in the North Central Regional Jail after being arrested for impersonating a police officer.

According to a report from the West Virginia State Police, John Chesire, 50, called the WVU Police Department on January 27, 12 times and identified himself as a state trooper with badge number 182. Chesire said he was calling to file an officer complaint.

The next day police interviewed Chesire and he admitted to making the calls and that he was unemployed. Police say Chesire has never been a sworn police officer in any jurisdiction.

Chesire has been charged with impersonating a police officer.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

Body found in Cheat River in Preston County

KINGWOOD, W.Va. – The Preston County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the discovery of a body the Cheat River.

The man’s body was discovered in the water Friday near the U.S. Route 50 bridge near Macomber. Police were not able to determine how long the man had been in the water.

The body was sent to the state medical examiner’s office to make a positive identification.

Anyone who may have information is asked to contact the Preston County Sheriff’s Department at 304-329-1611.

Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV

WVU, Monongalia County set to welcome lawmakers for interim meetings
Source: Local News | 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV