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West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announced another prosecution for voter fraud in West Virginia.

Jon Cooper, a former Randolph County resident, has pled guilty to illegal voting in the 2020 election.

According to Secretary Warner, Cooper illegally voted twice in the 2020 General Election — once in West Virginia, and again in New Mexico.

The case was handled by Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker, and the investigation was conducted by Investigator Elise Guice of the Attorney General’s Office at the direction of the Secretary of State’s Investigation Division Director Kimberly Mason.

Cooper’s guilty plea is the second to come this year for illegal voting in the 2020 election. According to Warner, Cooper’s conviction serves as a deterrent to those who would consider committing similar criminal acts in the upcoming election of 2024.

“I have been dedicated to uncovering and prosecuting election fraud since taking office in 2017. If anyone attempts to cheat in a West Virginia election or commit voter fraud in any way, we will catch you,” said Secretary Warner.

“West Virginia uses state-of-the-art technology and the best-trained elections staff in the country to make sure that our elections are secure.”

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) announces the following students on being named to the summer president’s list. The summer terms run from May to August.

Locally, Ashly Rohrbaugh of Petersburg and Kourtney Cook and Bobbi Morgan, both of Keyser, earned the honor.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.7 and above for the reporting term are named to the president’s list. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired 8-week terms grouped in fall, winter/spring, and summer.

Each year the Lions Clubs of West Virginia provide the opportunity for several students to travel abroad.

Briefl y, this year, six travel grants of $1,600 will be awarded to students in grades 10-12 or a recent graduate, toward a four to six-week cultural exchange to countries such as Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Finland, Japan, Italy, Peru or Australia during the summer of 2024.

Destination countries are not limited to those listed above. Application deadline is November 10, 2023. The Lions of West Virginia rely heavily on the guidance counselors in each high school to get the word out about this program.

Students may contact their high school guidance counselors for more information, an application and contest rules. The Youth Exchange Scholarship Application and Scholarship Contest Rules forms are also currently available on the West Virginia Lions website: WVLions. org/resources then scroll down to Youth Exchange.

If you have any questions about the contest or about the Youth Exchange Program contact Lion Lorrie Krautwurst - 301-467-9868 or Lion Henry Krautwurst - 301-467-1032.

By Ravenna Redman

Director of Social Services

The employees of Grant Rehabilitation and Care Center have chosen Mary “Fran” Shockey as our GRCC Resident of the Week.

Fran has been a resident of our facility since July 18. She was born Feb. 28, 1953, at Veach Townsend Clinic in Petersburg, to Phillip Blaine “Satch” and Lillian Josephine (Strawderman) Wratchford. Fran is the second eldest of five children. Her siblings are Betty Arbogast, Joan Foltz, Mark Wratchford, Jim Wratchford and the late Janet Musser.

Fran was raised in Moorefield. They lived at Fort Run and eventually on Cold Springs Road. Her father, Satch, worked at Rockingham and became a plant supervisor. Her mother worked at Hester’s. The children would often invent games to play outside and play with the neighbors to keep busy. They went for drives in the country and attended church regularly.

“We were a close family, and we did a lot of things together.” One of her favorite memories is of her mother, and her aunt Stella. “In the evenings, they would play their guitars and sing to us. They were on the radio.”

For elementary school, Fran attended Tollgate School. “There were three classrooms with three teachers. It was a good country school. During the term, I was able to help in the kitchen by serving lunch.”

After six years at Tollgate, Fran transfered to Moorefield High School. She played in the interclass basketball tournament, served as secretary for three different teachers and was also on the student council. During her high school career, she was awarded the American Legion Award, which focused on trustworthiness, honor, and excellence and also was awarded Miss Yellow Jacket. She graduated in 1971.

The Church Women United of Petersburg presented the Human Rights Award to Lori Landis Martin at a luncheon on Sept. 9, hosted by the Petersburg Presbyterian Church.

President Ellen Kirby made the presentation. Members from several churches attended.

Martin shared her experiences while serving at the American Indian Christian Mission at Show Low, Ariz. for a year. Her position consisted of business manager, kitchen manager and events coordinator, but her duties included being a gym teacher, driver’s education instructor, cook’s helper, head cook, janitor, music teacher, counselor, and dorm mom.

She also worked as a relief parent at Living Hope House (Dream City), which is a maternity home for single homeless mothers and their children during pregnancy.

Her love for the Apache children was evident in her inspirational presentation. She is planning a return mission trip to the same area in the future.

Martin attends the Cornerstone Family Fellowship Church, where she is currently the church secretary, a member of the praise and worship team, Sunday school superintendent and event coordinator. She has participated in many different aspects of the church in the past.

All area church women are cordially invited to participate in the meetings and activities of Church Women United.

The next business meeting will be held at Grove Street United Methodist Church on Friday, Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. The next celebration will be World Community Day on Nov. 4, at the Dorcas Baptist Church.

The Petersburg Interfaith Pantry food requests for September are

• Pancake mix and syrup

• Cereal

• Canned chicken

• Canned tuna Any other nonperishable food items are always welcome.

Drop your donations at any of the following locations: Grant County Press, Judy’s Drug Store, Hott Insurance or Shop ‘n Save. Food may also be dropped off at the pantry, 4 Myrtle Avenue, during open hours.

Petersburg High School English language arts teacher Ashley Wilkins-Franks was selected as a state Superintendent’s Rising Leaders.

Individuals receiving the award demonstrate the following:

• Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;

• Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;

• Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;

• Early-to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and

• Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

This program is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education.

A worldwide celebration of peace and music is always celebrated the last Saturday in August. Founded in 2013 by Brian Mallman, a Los Angeles-based artist and some friends, the event boasts an international day of peace through music.

Hilton, Marcia and Lenwood Brake of Petersburg put on an event this year at their farmhouse to join in the celebration.

The event was hosted at the home of the late Conway and Connie Brake, which in later years became Norris and Aldene Brake’s home. It was attended by some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren along with neighbors and friends.

The very talented Joe Crites and Colton Watts performed music on the front porch. Each guest brought a favorite dish to share. It was a great evening with lots of good food with friends and family.

Marcia shared, “As a child growing up in California we would visit my grandparents in SW Virginia each summer for several weeks. My mother was from a family of nine kids. Aunts, uncles, cousins that lived all over the U.S. would visit during that time. Several of them played different instruments and had beautiful voices.”

Marcia continued, “We all enjoyed listening to the music and storytelling about our family sitting on the front porch with chairs and gliders in front of the porch. My grandpa was very talented playing the banjo, guitar and the harmonica. Grandma would sing gospel music. It was always a grand time for our family."

Marcia saw the info on Instagram “Play Music on the Porch Day” and knew they had to participate in this international event. So she and her niece, Joy Brake started the planning.

“It was a wonderful peaceful evening of good food, fellowship and music. It brought back lots of memories of playing on the porch during my childhood,” Donna Brake Humphrey refl ected. She is the daughter of the late Gene and Imogene Brake and granddaughter of Connie and Conway Brake.

Kathie Brake Huffman shared, “Best of all was spending time with family that you don’t get to see very often. The food was abundant and amazing. It bought back so many wonderful memories being back at Granddad’s.” She is the daughter of the late Warren and Charlotte Brake and granddaughter of Conway and Connie Brake.

Submitted by Donna Kuhn Humphrey

The first official meeting of the Seneca Rocks Regional Development Authority board of directors was held Sept. 13, at the Communications Building in Petersburg under the guidance of their attorneys, Eric Gadd & Josh Jarrell, with Spilman Thomas & Battle Pllc.

The first elected executive board is:

▪ Derek Nesselrodt (Grant) – WVU Medicine - Grant Memorial Hospital

▪ Dayne Davis (Pendleton) – PCB

▪ Jamie DiFalco (Pendleton) – Pendleton Community Care

▪ Tim Bagley (Grant) – U.S. Army, retired Other board of directors members include:

▪ Heather Adams (Grant) - Grant County Schools

▪ Kyle Apple (Pendleton) – Greer Lime Company

▪ Jeff Davis (Pendleton) – Potomac Hardware and Trails End Outfitters

▪ Carl Hevener (Pendleton) – Pendleton County Commission

▪ Brooke Hott (Pendleton) - Pendleton County Health Department

The Potomac Highlands Guild and the State Opioid Response Team hosted their fifth annual 3K Run and Walk for Recovery.

“It is so important to raise awareness on the fact that people do recover,” said Michelle Zappas, one of the event’s organizers. “Recovery is happening and it’s important that people realize that we do recover and we can be successful members of our community once we overcome the disease and the struggle of addiction.”

The event was held at Michael Field in Petersburg and included runners of all ages.

“Addiction is a disease, just like any other disease and when someone recovers from that disease, it should be celebrated,” Zappas said. “The stigma that is attached to addiction and substance use is really sad and it does hinder a lot of people working towards recovery. We need support, we need support from our community and from our peers.”

The event also included trainings on how to properly use Narcan, a life-saving drug that can prevent an overdose death if used quickly.

Zappas encouraged everyone in the community, not just those struggling with addiction or even know someone who is struggling, to learn what Narcan is and how it works.

3K winners were: adults: first place, Damien McGee; second place, Roman Moreland and third place, Sarah Williams; youth: first place, Daniel Pena-Friddle; second place, Keysean Washington and third place, Laurencio Sanchez.

Hearing canceled

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has announced that the City of Petersburg and the Grant County Public Service District have reached an agreement that will see the county water resale rate increase from $2.82 per 1,000 gallons to $3.54.

When the decision was first announced by the Petersburg City Council, they said the reason for the rate hike was due to increasing costs of maintaining the water facility, with heavy repair costs and shortages on necessary parts.

According to city officials, this is the first time the city has increased water rates in 12 years. The council said the current rates are “inadequate” and that the revenue received by the city from water sales was insufficient to provide for the upkeep and operation of the system.

However, the rate increase will impact not only those who receive water through the municipality but also all customers who receive water through the Grant County PSD.

The Grant County PSD expressed concerns with this raise, saying that it would impact resale rates (customers not inside city limits) heavily and could impact customer’s ability to pay.

In last week’s edition of the Press, it was stated that a hearing had been scheduled in Charleston to address the issue on Sept. 22. However, it was later discovered that this announcement was erroneously sent out via press release, with a correction coming days later saying that the involved parties have reached an agreement at the end of July and that the hearing was canceled. Currently, the GCPSD has submitted a Rule 30B request, which will allow the agency to pass the increase along to its customers.

Editor - Camille Howard;
News Editor - Erin Camp;
Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
Print Shop Manager - Richard Knight; 
Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
Circulation - Mary Simmons

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