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Win streak easily hits 4
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Review again West Virginia’s best big weekly

The Hampshire Review won general excellence for its coverage for the 4th year in a row, 12th of the last 13 years and 13th of the last 15.

The Review’s advertising staff finished 3rd in general excellence.

“I’m so proud of the way we pulled together in the face of Covid,” Editor Sallie See said. “It’s such a team effort.”

The Review’s 3 full-time news staffers – Nick Carroll, Emma June Grosskopf and Jim King – each brought home multiple 1st-place plaques.

Correspondents Sydney Maurer and Henry Ireys won 1st-place honors too.

In all, the Review news crew grabbed 13 1st-place finishes in 29 categories entered, along with 14 2nds and 8 3rds.

The Review was honored in 23 of the contest’s 29 categories, taking 2 of 3 places in 10 categories and sweeping Service to Community.

“I’m especially proud of that honor,” See said. “It means we make a difference in this county.”

The Service to Community honors were for the paper’s support of the historic school bond call, passage of the library levy on its 2nd try in 5 months, and the paper’s commitment to history.

Carroll topped the big weekly competition in sports column writing, sports event coverage for “Hott shot” and sports photo for his picture of the HHS girls volleyball team celebrating their regional championship.

Grosskopf wrote the best news feature, “Forrest’s fires,” and was judged the best headline writer.

King’s coverage of agriculture was the state’s best business reporting and his editorial on the census, “Hampshire County, we’re about to be cheated” was the best editorial.

He and Maurer won the best coverage generated by public notice for their coverage of DMV’s move to Keyser. Ireys’ 3-part story of making hay was the best in-depth reporting.

Editors in Wisconsin judged this year’s West Virginia Press Association contest.

“We try hard to do our best on every page in every issue,” See said. King noted that the paper’s entries included something from all 52 issues.

The staff as a whole was honored in areas from special sections, sports pages, lifestyle pages and service to the community.

The Review won in the large weeklies category, which includes 20 papers around the state. The Times Record of Spencer finished 2nd and the Spirit of Jefferson in Charles Town finished 3rd.

Other editorial general excellence winners were the Charleston Gazette Mail in the large dailies category, The Bluefield Daily Telegraph among small dailies and the Delta Record of Buckhannon among small weeklies.

In advertising, the 4 class winners were Charleston, Bluefield, Spencer and the Tyler Star News.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph was named West Virginia’s newspaper of the year for the 2nd year in a row. The title is awarded to the daily or weekly that has the highest combined score in the WVPA’s editorial and advertising contests.

The results of the annual competition, which honors excellence in newspaper journalism, were announced Friday as the WVPA forsook an in-person convention for the 2nd year in a row.

The Review’s advertising staff took all 3 spots – 1st, 2nd and 3rd – for best classified ad section.

The team of Lana Bean, Danette High and Stacey Duncan also took 1st and 2nd in the categories of Covid-related advertising and for theme pages.


Classified ad section: 1, June 24 issue, staff. 2, June 3 issue, staff. 3, Feb. 19 issue, staff.

Covid-related advertising: 1, Staff. 2, “Because your health is your greatest asset,” staff.

Theme pages (classified): 1, National FFA Week, staff. 2, Pastor Appreciation Month, staff.

Newspaper promotional campaign: 2, Trusted news and information, staff.

Sports special section: 2, Autumn Glory, staff.

Agency ad: 3, Here’s to the heroes, UPMC.


Covid-19 coverage; 1, entire coverage from 4 separate entries, staff.

Reporting generated from public notice: 1, DMV moves, Sydney Maurer and Jim King.

In-depth or investigative reporting: 1, Making hay, Henry Ireys. 3, What fire companies do and mean, Sydney Maurer.

News feature: 1, Forrest’s fires, Emma June Grosskopf. 2, Swapping states, Jim King.

Business, labor or economic reporting: 1, agriculture and weather, Jim King. 3, Covid-19 and the Hampshire economy, Jim King.

Editorial: 1, Hampshire County we’re about to get cheated, Jim King. 2, Learn, then decide about bonds, Jim King.

Sports event reporting: 1, Hott Shot, Nick Carroll. 2, Bear down, Nick Carroll.

Sports columnist: 1, Carroll’s Corner, Nick Carroll. 2, Word from the Woods, Josh Crawford.

Sports photo: 1, Queens of the court, Nick Carroll.

Editorial page: 1, issues of Jan. 1, 8 and 15, staff.

Lifestyle pages: 1, Panhandle Living Oct. 21 issue, staff. 3, Panhandle Living Feb. 5 issue, staff.

Sports pages: 1, Aug. 5 issue, staff. 2, March 18 issue, staff.

Headline writing: 1, Emma June Grosskopf. 3, Nick Carroll.

Service to the community: 1, Highlighting Hampshire history, staff. 2, Rescuing the library levy, staff. 3, Passing the bond call, staff.

News columnist: 2, On the loose, Jim King.

Lifestyle feature: 2, 3 in a Jeep, Emma June Grosskopf.

Lifestyle columnist: 2, Markings, Roy Knight. 3, A Savage Life, Kitty Savage

Sports news or feature: 2, Kaley McDermeit overcomes the odds, Nick Carroll.

Information graphic, cartoon or drawing: 2, Farming by the numbers, Jim King.

Special section: 2, Farming Today, staff.

Sports special section: 2, Autumn Glory, staff. 3, Spring into Action, staff.

Newspaper design: 2, staff.

Single issue: 3, June 3 issue, staff.

Will slow Ida flood county?
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With the rains that began here Tuesday night as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, residents should prepare for minor flooding and at least 4 inches of precipitation.

“The Eastern Panhandle does look to get hit significantly,” said Tad Malcolm, director of Hampshire County Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Tuesday morning, noting that all fire and EMS chiefs in the county, as well as the swift water teams for Romney and Springfield, are prepared for Ida.

“We started making preparations a few days ago,” Malcolm said. “We are predicted to have minor to moderate flooding of the rivers here.”

He noted that, along the South Branch River, the flood stage is 15 feet.

Emergency Management here relies on weather forecasts out of Sterling, Va., and the National Weather Service there said Hampshire is expected to get a total of between 4 and 6 inches of precipitation as Ida peters out.

This Sunday, Gov. Jim Justice issued a State of Preparedness for the entire state, and though Ida was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, heavy rains are still a cause for concern, especially along the South Branch. 

Malcolm said that fire and EMS officials will be monitoring river levels constantly, and are ready to advise folks who might have campers on the river to head to higher ground if the need (and the river) arises.

According to the National Weather Service, the rain is expected to clear up by Thursday.

Covid death toll rises to 38
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Another death and surging cases are adding up to an ugly Covid-19 picture after the 1st week of school.

The County recorded its 38th death from Covid-19 this week. The Health Department reported Monday that a 73-year-old woman from Romney had succumbed to complications from the virus.

She is the 1st covid death reported here since 2 were announced on June 8.

“We ask that everyone please respect this life lost by taking care of one another and wearing your masks, limiting your gatherings, and social distancing,” the department said Monday morning.

Hours later, the weekly statistics showed the virus continues to spread at rates not seen since last winter.

In the week ending Monday, 88 more Hampshire County residents tested positive for Covid-19. Six people were hospitalized among the 72 active cases.

The week included a record 27 positives in 1 day.

Over the 17 months of the pandemic, 2,202 residents here have tested positive, 1 in every 12 people.

The high number of positives — even among a growing number of people being tested — kept Hampshire red status on West Virginia’s 5-color tracking map.

Hampshire was not alone Tuesday. No counties were green; Pocahontas was yellow, Tucker was gold, 18 more were orange and the remaining 35 were red.

The county had only 38.3% of residents age 12 or older fully vaccinated. Another 4% have received a partial dose.

‘Kind, smart, considerate’
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Banker’s sudden death rocks community

“Without Dean, the bank would never have made that project possible,” his predecessor at The Bank of Romney, Lawrence Foley, said Monday afternoon.

That field project will be but a part of the legacy of Dean Young, the 55-year-old bank president who died unexpectedly early Saturday morning.

“We all lost a friend and a leader,” said attorney Will Keaton, chairman of the bank’s board of directors. “He’ll be fondly remembered and sorely missed.”

Dean Young was wooed to join The Bank of Romney more than 20 years ago, but he was a familiar face to Foley and the bank’s leadership before then. Young led the team of accountants that audited The Bank of Romney’s books annually.

“He was very, very easy to work with naturally,” Foley said.

Colleagues agree.

“I am very thankful for Dean’s impact on my life and our great community,” said Michael Cheshire, who worked with him at the bank, calling Young “a man of integrity, heart, charity and great wisdom.”

Kathy Patterson met young at the accounting firm Yount Hyde and Barbour when they were hired there in 1988.

“He was the same kind and caring man then that you all knew him to be now,” she said. “To me that says his character was rock solid.”

Keaton called Young “the perfect fit” to take over when Foley retired in the spring of 2019.

And in his new position, one of Young’s 1st big, bold acts was to take the idea of Hampshire High’s Athletic Director Trey Stewart to find the roughly $1.5 million needed to install artificial turf and a rubberized track at Rannells Field.

“Dean had ideas how to make it happen from the bank’s side,” Foley noted. The Bank of Romney pledged a little over half the costs to be paid over 15 years.

Once the bank’s board was sold on the idea, Foley said, “Then Dean said we need to get the community involved.”

The bank created an innovative plan for donors to make automatic deposits into the turf fund. The plan brought in the needed donations to allow the project to go forward last year.

Innovative thinking was a hallmark of Young’s management, Foley said.

“He was always thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking,” Foley said. “He came up with ideas for the bank to get involved with.”

He reached into the community as a member of Rotary and involving the bank with groups like Scout Troop 32.

On a personal level, his family — wife Shirlene, son Mason and daughter Brenna — baked cookies at Christmas to give to their neighbors.

“He was a family oriented guy,” Foley said.

Professionally, he became president of the Community Bankers of West Virginia, traveling the state for the organization. He was returning from one of those trips when he fell ill Friday night. 

“Kind, smart, considerate,” Keaton summed up. “Couldn’t have drawn one up any better.”

WVSDB combines most classes
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A new era began last week in the 151-year-old West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

Just 82 students were on campus to begin classes, the lowest total in the modern history of the schools.

Beginning last Monday “schools” became, effectively, “school.” Students with both vision and hearing loss were all being taught in the Pierre Sevigny Building, which locals know better as the School for the Deaf.

And most classes included students with vision and hearing impairments, a break from the past.

Plans were announced late last winter to combine deaf and blind students by grade, with pre-k through 5th grade in the Sevigny Building and grades 6-12 in the School for the Blind.

But those plans were upended by a review from the State Department of Education in late April that led to an intervention plan to overhaul the schools.

State Superintendent Clayton Burch has led a team from Charleston in repeated visits to the Romney campus to address issues from building use to staffing to the criteria for accepting students.

The unending changes since intervention began in earnest in June have been marked by massive personnel changes.

WVSDB had 138 employees under contract last week, the Department of Education said in a series of short responses to emailed questions. In December 2019, the schools reported 272 people on payroll.

Departures had the schools looking for 6 classroom teachers a couple of days after classes started Aug. 23.

The resignation of Jamie Vittoria solved 1 staffing issue. She was 1 of 2 principals under the spring plan.

Now, the state says, Dave Simansky remains as principal and athletic director.

Melanie Hesse has been moved from the outreach program to the new position of dean of students. Burch told the State Board of Education 3 weeks ago that he was searching for someone to take on that role to oversee the students’ education and residential needs.

And Pat Homburg, the retired state director of special education who came to campus a year ago as interim superintendent, now has the title of interim coordinator of special education and student services, the state said.

The State Board of Education, which is responsible under state law for direct oversight of WVSDB, meets again next Wednesday in Charleston.