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Photo gallery: Logan rebounds to win Class AA Region IV title over Sissonville

LOGAN, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Logan’s Class AA Region IV series victory over Sissonville. The Indians took Game 1, 3-2 on Tuesday. The Wildcats battled back to win Game 2, 10-2 and the series finale 4-1.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)

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Weather postpones University High School commencement ceremony

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The graduation ceremony for University High School seniors scheduled for Friday at the school’s football field has been postponed until Saturday at 5 p.m.

Eddie Campbell (File)

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 Saturday.

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

Morgantown High’s Class of 2022 will graduate at 10 a.m .Saturday  at Pony Lewis Field.

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Colorado woman continues search for lost service dog

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A Colorado woman is still searching for her service dog that she lost near Morgantown earlier this month.

The dog, named Heidi, is trained to help Bridget Spangler detect seizures and get her help if she becomes incapacitated.

Spangler said she was riding with her fiance on Route 43 in Pennsylvania near the Monongalia County line on 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 during a Friday appearance on WAJR’s ‘Talk of the Town.’ “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 Route 43 overpass the same day she went missing but the last sighting was last Tuesday, May 24.

Spangler said the sightings have been in a general area.

“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.

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Photo gallery: Jefferson returns to state tournament with 3-0 win over Martinsburg

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Jefferson’s 3-0 win over Martinsburg in the decisive game of the Class AAA Region II series. The Cougars earned the No. 1 seed in the Class AAA state tournament and they will face No. 4 George Washington Friday, June 3 at 5 p.m.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Christopher C. Davis/@EP_BigCameraGuy)

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Yeager sees spike in travel, 75th anniversary events kick off this Memorial Day weekend

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — First time flyer Gianni Shortt, of St. Albans, says he’s heading to Florida to be with his family this Memorial Day weekend.

“This is my first time flying. My dad has flown before and my brother and sister have, but I have never flown,” he said.

Shortt, 14, told MetroNews it hasn’t been an easy journey so far. He and his dad were scheduled to catch a flight out of West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) to Washington Dullus International Airport Friday morning, but they were by about six hours.

“My dad got me a window seat. I was excited, but we got delayed a lot,” Shortt said.

More than 700 flyers passed through the TSA checkpoint Thursday, the busiest travel day of the week, according to airport spokesperson Rachel Urbanski.

The start of the holiday weekend comes as the same time the airport kicks off events to celebrated their 75th anniversary of commercial flights.

“We have historical aircraft. It’ll be a B-17 Yankee Lady coming in today and tomorrow. We also have some other dates schedule in June, July, August and October,” she said.

Many flyers were delayed Friday due to storms in the Washington, D.C. area where most had connecting flights. William Bailey is originally from Poca and said he was trying to get to his new home in Maine.

“Found out they got tornado warnings there,” Bailey said. “All D.C. flights are canceled for the best because of safety and so now I’m trying to find a flight to get back to Maine.”

Travel is expected to be busy throughout the weekend with a lot of return flights on Monday.

Urbanski said a lot of people depend on the airport to get to where they need to be. Over the years, they’ve opened a U.S. Customs facility to increase international travel.

“We’ve become more attractive to international business and helping with that local economic impact as well,” Urbanski said.

She also noted a lot has changed in the last 75 years, including a name change and full re-brand.

“We’re really proud just how far we’ve come, but we’re really proud that we’ve maintained our roots while also being steadfast in our journey for the future of aviation,” she said.

The airport has several planned events to mark the milestone anniversary, including hosting a Business After Hours in the Bill Noe Flight School’s hangar in June. There will be historic aircraft visits at the outdoor viewing area or playground located off Eagle Mountain Road.

Below are the list of events planned this year:

• May 28 – 29 Memorial Day Weekend: B-17 Yankee Lady
• June 18-19: C-47 Hairless Joe
• July 2-4: DC-3 Flagship Detroit
• July 2: Marshall’s Bill Noe Flight school open house
• August 13-14: B-25 Rosie’s Ripley
• October 25-30: CAF Red Tail Exhibit

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Charges, injuries following pursuit, shooting in Harrison, Marion counties

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Bail is set at $1 million each for two men who led police on a chase between Clarksburg and Fairmont that included a third suspect being shot by police.

Suspects identified as Wilber Chicas, 26, and Jeroenne Carballo, 20, both with out of state addresses, were arraigned Friday morning in Marion County Magistrate Court. The pair and a third man, Luis Lebron, 25, fled police in Clarksburg at about 6 p.m. Thursday evening. The pursuit continued north on Interstate 79.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said the incident began at the Clarksburg Walmart with a shoplifting complaint. Clarksburg police began the pursuit. Riffle said shots were fired out of a white van and other attempts made by the suspects to elude police.

“The pursued vehicle was throwing things like furniture and larger items out of the back in an attempt to try and stop the police pursuit or wreck those vehicles and they continually fired multiple rounds back at (police),” Riffle said.

The van crossed over to the southbound lanes and the three fled the vehicle, set it on fire, and took off running near the Kingmont exit in Marion County.

Authorities said Lebron was injured during the foot chase when a Harrison County deputy returned fire. Lebron is in stable condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Chicas and Carballo were chased down by police. Drones and boats were used to search the banks of the Tygart River where Chicas and Carballo were located.

A number of roads were closed during the pursuit and manhunt including both north and southbound lanes of the interstate. East Fairmont High School, where an evening event was taking place, was put on lockdown.

Riffle said the nature of the incident makes it a complicated investigation to sort out.

“With that many agencies and that many jurisdictions involved it’s going to take some time. There’s evidence to be processed and scenes to be processed,” Riffle said.

The Marion County charges include two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, weapons charges, conspiracy, transporting stolen property and third degree arson. Lebron will be charged once he’s released from the hospital.

There will also be charges in Harrison County.

Riffle said there was good cooperation by multiple police agencies.

“We were all trying to reach the same goal and it was all accomplished by the apprehension of the three suspects,” Riffle said.

WAJR Report Mike Nolting contributed to this story. 

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Wayne County teen charged with sexual assault for incident on campus, court records say

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A Wayne County teenager has been arrested and charged with sexual assault, which stems from an incident on a school campus during school hours.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Wayne County Magistrate Court, Joshua Tackett, 18, is charged with sexual assault after deputies said he forced a girl to have sex with him at Spring Valley High School. Tackett was a student at Spring Valley but has since been expelled.

A deputy with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that he spoke with a girl in early April and she said that she was raped.

The complaint says during a forensics interview, the student said on March 14, Tackett approached her at lunch and forced her to have sex with him in an auditorium despite her saying no.

According to the complaint, the victim said Tackett had sex with her, and he told her not to tell anyone or he would have a female beat her up. The victim said the same thing happened again later in March, and that time Tackett pinned her head under a chair.

According to WSAZ-TV, Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander confirmed the incident allegedly happened on school property during school hours.

Tackett’s bond was set at $40,000 but has since made bond and been released. He waived his preliminary hearing.

The case will be presented to the grand jury as an investigation is ongoing.

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Monongalia County Commission considers new 911 building, construction partnership

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Commissioners in Monongalia County may only be months away from announcing a plan to build a new 911 communications center.

Commissioner Sean Sikora said the proposed site for the 9,600-square foot facility is the Morgantown Industrial Park.

Sean Sikora

Sikora, speaking on WAJR’s ‘Talk of the Town,’ said the existing location on the Mon Health Campus is landlocked and provides no area for expansion. The lack of space does become a consideration when agencies plan responses and deploy assets.

“It also requires us to have emergency management assets scattered throughout the county because they can’t be housed there,” Sikora said. “We’ve been looking at it for about five years.”

The 911 communications center project was delayed first by the planning and construction of the Monongalia County Extension Office/4-H Center at Mylan Park. Another delay occurred when the communications tower on Catherine’s Knob required emergency repairs.

The delays set the project back by about three years. During the delay, improvements at the industrial park began with approval of the Harmony Grove TIF and proposal of a new interchange from I-79.

“I guess it’s good that we were delayed because as the Harmony Grove TIF District was created we started to talk about the new interchange and proximity and more central location in the county that this might be an opportunity,” Sikora said.

“Enrout Properties will then lease that facility back to the county, but it would be a lease-purchase agreement so at the end of the TIF once we pay that facility off it will be county property,” Sikora said.

“If we built this facility anywhere else in the county we would have to also build another tower to link to all the emergency services in the county,” Sikora said. “It saves us about $1 million because we don’t have to build another tower.”

Enrout Properties will prepare the project plans and specifications with the Thrasher Group. The work would be put out for bid as a private project by Enrout Properties, not subject to county rules.

The estimated cost of the building is $9 million.

“Enrout Properties has the direction to go out, our bond council is getting engaged to see what that lease-purchase agreement would look like,” Sikora said. Nothing is finalized until we do it in a formal meeting, but we could be months away from doing that.”

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Mercer County student arrested for alleged threats on social media

PRINCETON, W.Va. — A student at PikeView High School is behind bars charged with making terroristic threats.

The charges were filed Thursday against Amiliyon Urell Barnes, 18, after a video was posted to his SnapChat account which was deemed a threat. The school was actually placed into lockdown briefly while State Police and the school’s resource officer took Barnes into custody.

The offending video, according to the State Police, featured pictures of a number of Barnes’ fellow students at PikeView with their heads circled, crosshairs drawn on their face, and the word “dead” written on the picture.

The criminal complain indicates Barnes told school administrator the post was part of an ongoing Tik-Tok trend and was only a game. The investigating trooper also noted the video had been seen by multiple students at PikeView High School and was posted to other social media sites.

The State Police have submitted documentation to SnapChat to preserve Barnes’ account for evidence.

Barnes was arraigned before a Mercer County Magistrate and his bond was set at $20,000 with a requirement of home confinement if it was posted.

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Bartlett Housing Solutions nears pre-storm operation levels

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bartlett Housing Solutions at Hazel’s House of Hope on Scott Avenue is partially back in business 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 roof work above the entrance area.

Damage following the May 1 storm

“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 nearly four weeks 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. 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.

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