Archives for September 2019

MARSHALS LOOKING FOR FUGITIVE IN OUR AREA

The U.S. Marshals Service Mountain State Fugitive Task Force is looking for a Martinsburg man who they say absconded from home confinement supervision. 24 year old Johnathan Jennings was on GPS monitoring on charges including robbery, conspiracy, and escape. Authorities say Jennings escaped, by cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet. The marshals believe Jennings is still in the Berkeley County area. He is 6-feet tall, 300 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He has tattoos on his right forearm, right shoulder, left shoulder and left forearm. Jennings is known by some as “Sumo” and may be involved in the local area drug trade. If you know anything about him, contact the US Marshals. More information is available at www.usmarshals.gov.

HEROS DAY TOMORROW

West Virginia will pay tribute to police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical responders and 911 dispatchers this weekend in honor of Heroes Day… that after Governor Jim Justice signed a proclamation naming September 14 as Heroes Day. Heroes Day is annually celebrated on the second Saturday of September, and is designed as a special occasion to remind us to go out of our way to show appreciation and gratitude for all the tremendous work done by all emergency responders. Many special events are planned at a number of locations throughout the area.

ILLEGAL ALIEN HEADED TO JAIL

In Federal Court in Martinsburg on Thursday, an illegal alien admitted to re-entering the country illegally. 32 year old Omar Antonio Murillo-Bonilla, a citizen of Honduras, has admitted to an immigration violation. Murillo-Bonilla pled guilty to one count of “Reentry of Removed Aliens,” admitting that in August, he reentered the United States illegally after be removed twice before.Murillo-Bonilla faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced. No sentencing date was set yesterday.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED IN BERKELEY COUNTY

Berkeley County Teacher of the Year Cindy Evarts was honored at the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Gala in Charleston on Wednesday night. Evarts teaches sixth-eighth graders at South Middle School in Martinsburg. She lives in Tomohawk, and she said although it’s nice to be recognized, she usually avoids the limelight. Among the other awards she has won, are the President’s Award for Excellence in Math Education, but she also said becoming Berkeley County Teacher of the Year is the most special to her.

MANCHIN ANNOUNCES FUNDING

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced significant funding for West Virginia in the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water and Defense appropriations bills. The money will go toward some of the state’s top priorities… including $10 million for broadband funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission; $32 million for the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub; $25 million for the Rare Earth Element program and $12 million for the NETL Computational Science and Engineering Center; $800 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development; and $175 million for basic infrastructure and job training; and $10 million for a new program to address substance abuse in West Virginia.

EMERGENCY RADIO RECEPTION PROBLEMS

A special session of the Morgan County Commission will be held tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9 to discuss purchase options for new portable emergency radios. The meeting was called after Ron Mason, the Morgan County Emergency 911 Communications Center Director, informed commissioners that previously purchased radios sometimes fail and are hard to update. Mason said he’s had feedback from dispatchers at 911 and from emergency personnel, telling of failures sometimes to be able to communicate from the field with 911.

GOVERNOR SPEAKS OF HOSPITAL CLOSING

Governor Jim Justice was at Wheeling Hospital earlier this week, to reaffirm the state’s commitment to health care in the Northern Panhandle…. expressing confidence in WVU Medicine’s ability to provide quality health care services and fill gaps in coverage caused by the sudden closure of Ohio Valley Medical Center, which shut down abruptly last week. The governor blamed the closure on out-of-state interests that were motivated by greed. East Ohio Regional Hosptial in Martins Ferry, also owned by Alecto Healthcare Services of Irvine, California, remains open for now, but it too is scheduled to close by October 7th.

CONCERN OVER MISSING MAYOR

Concern is building among members of the Berkeley County Development Authority, over the continuing absence of Martinsburg Mayor George Karos from their monthly meetings. Development authority members… according to the local paper… are allowed three meeting absences before bylaws state the member’s board status can be discussed. With that in mind, board members decided that now was the time to begin those discussions. On Wednesday, they decided that perhaps the solution might begin with finding out specifically what might be hindering Mayor Karos from attending those meetings.

MARTINSBURG MAN FACING CHARGES RELATED TO JULY ACCIDENT

A Martinsburg man was arraigned Tuesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on charges related to an accident with injuries that happened back in July on Charles Town Road. 20 year old Benjamin Russo is now facing felony charges including DUI with serious bodily injury; aggravated DUI; and a string of other charges. Investigators determined Russo caused the crash when he attempted to pass the victim’s vehicle while driving on the wrong side of the road while traveling in excess of 30 miles per hour over the 45 mile per hour posted speed limit and was accelerating prior to impact. Russo was jailed, but has since been released after posting a $22,100 bond.

MARTINSBURG WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DRUG CASE

A Berkeley County woman has admitted to her part in a cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution operation. 34 year old Brandy Netz of Martinsburg, pled guilty to one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Hydrochloride.” Netz admitted to working with someone to distribute cocaine in Berkeley County in January 2019. Now, she is facing up to 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $1,000,000 when she is sentenced. No sentencing date was announced Tuesday.