Philippi Council Votes To Purchase Bulletproof Vests, Generators
by Allison Pugh
The Philippi City Council met on Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. At the meeting, council approved the purchase of five portable diesel generators for the booster stations of the water plant, pending available funding.
Craig Richards of Burgess & Niple presented the bids to council. Council motioned to purchase the generators from Cummins Crosspoint, LLC out of Cross Lanes, WV, for a total of $150,938.
Council also motioned to allow the purchase of six ballistic or bulletproof vests for the Police Department. The vests will cost around $600 each, but are a necessary investment for the safety of the department.
The Philippi City Council will meet again on Tuesday, December 17, at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers.
Consumers Reminded To Shop Smart This Holiday Season And Avoid Debt
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminded West Virginia consumers to shop smart this holiday season and not go into debt.
“Consumers often get caught up in the spirit of giving this time of year, and it is easy to just buy one more gift for a loved one,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The best way to avoid going into debt during the holidays is to set a budget and then stick with it. Before going out to the stores, make a list of who you want to buy for and what you want to buy. If you want to make a spur-of-the-moment purchase, make sure it falls within your budget.”
For consumers who already have debt problems, Morrisey reminded them that debt collectors, including original creditors under West Virginia law, may not:
*Contact you repeatedly by phone with the intent to abuse or harass you.
* Use obscene or threatening language with consumers.
* Tell others how much debt you have, either verbally or in writing.
* Contact you at work if you or your employer has told them not to.
* Refuse or fail to identify themselves and for whom they work.
* Threaten to add additional fees, seize property or file criminal charges for failure to pay within a set timeframe.
* Threaten physical harm if you do not pay a debt.
* Contact you if you have a lawyer.
Collection agencies must adhere to the following additional rules as part of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
* Calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. are prohibited.
* Debt collectors must send a written notice stating the amount of the debt, the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and a statement that the debtor has 30 days to dispute the debt, in writing.
* If the debt collection agency receives a written dispute letter from the consumer within the 30 day period, the debt collector must send verification of the debt to the alleged debtor. The collector may not attempt to collect the alleged debt until that proof is sent.
* Any and all communications, including telephone calls and letters, must immediately stop once a debt collector receives a “cease and desist” letter from you. Cease and desist letters are effective once received by the collection agency. They can be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested to establish a “paper trail.” The “cease and desist” letter has no effect if the collector is the original creditor.
* Debt collectors must state in the initial communication “This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” In subsequent communications the collector must disclose it is a debt collector. Debt collectors may not use fictitious company names, but rather must use the true company name.
* Once a collector is told an individual is represented by an attorney all conversations, messages, letters or any other communication must immediately stop with the consumer by the collection agency. Under West Virginia law, original creditors, not just collection agencies, also must stop contacting the debtor when it appears the debtor is represented by a lawyer and the lawyer’s name and address is known or could be easily ascertained.
“Our Office regularly gets complaints from consumers who say they are being harassed by debt collectors,” Morrisey said. “While people should always pay what they owe, collectors also must abide by the law and treat citizens with respect. Most consumers in West Virginia who are having financial trouble want to pay their debts and avoid new debts.”
If you feel as though you are being harassed by a debt collector, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division toll free at 800-368-8808.
ABU PA Program Receives Seven Year Accreditation-Continued Status
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Alderson Broaddus University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
“We’re very excited about the seven year accreditation period because it’s a record high for us,” said Mr. Thomas Moore, Dean and Assistant Professor of the College of Physician Assistant Studies. “A lot of work went into re-vamping the program from three years to two years and a lot of hours. It shows success in an area that we were once lacking.”
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2020. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.The program has been is approved to accept a class size of 36 students. Before the ARC-PA will consider an increase in class size for any accredited program, the program must maintain five consecutive years of continued accreditation without an adverse accreditation status.Moore, who graduated from the AB PA Program with a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies, and a Master of Medical Science degree in Surgery, reflects on the program’s success over the years.“It’s an outstanding program and has a lot of history,” he said. “It’s been around since 1968. We went to a master’s degree in 2004. We’ve had a really strong postgraduate program in years past. The profession continually changes.
Like any profession, as the profession changes, the academia side of that profession needs to change with it and we adapt and change as we go along. We went from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree when that became the standard in education years ago.”
Alderson Broaddus University Provost Joan Propst is also excited to announce the program’s accreditation. According to Propst, the PA Program had a 95% compliance rate and met all but five of the 108 Standards.
“It’s hard work to keep these standards because you constantly have to be vigilant of what you’re doing in your program to make sure the quality of the education is secure and to make sure the quality of the student experience is secure,” says Propst. “There is nothing less that you can do as an administrator or faculty other than to secure students trust.”
Alderson Broaddus University received word of the seven year accreditation-continued status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) earlier this fall. The accreditation was approved in September 2013. To continue the accreditation, the program will be required to submit responses to ARC-PA by January 1, 2014, and then again by October 1, 2015.
Alderson Broaddus University is a health-related and professional educational institution firmly rooted in the liberal arts. The mission of Alderson Broaddus University is to provide our students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens. For more information, visit www.ab.edu.
Residents Enjoy Annual Parades, Activities Despite Rainy Weather
by Allison Pugh
Despite both heavy rain and cold temperatures, Barbour County residents turned out for holiday parades and events in Philippi and Belington.
Although it rained heavily, the Philippi Christmas parade continued as scheduled on Friday, December 6, at 7 p.m. After riding through the parade, Santa Claus visited Code Blue on Main Street to spend some time with the kids. Santa’s visit was sponsored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Crim Memorial United Methodist Church held its Holiday Sweet Shop featuring homemade cookies and candies from 5 to 8 p.m., on Friday. A craft show was also held in Philippi at the city building over the weekend.
The Belington Christmas parade was held at 6:30 p.m., on Saturday, December 7. The parade turned out large crowds of excited children and residents despite temperatures below freezing. A tree lighting ceremony was held in the town square after the parade, as well as a visit from Santa Claus.
Florida Man Arrested On Multiple Counts Of Sexual Assault
by Allison Pugh
Kadontae Y. J. Brooks, 19, of Debary, Florida, was arrested on Tuesday, December 3, by warrant for three counts of second degree sexual assault. Brooks is currently being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $15,000 bond.
The arrest was based on an investigation conducted by Philippi Ptlm. S. A. Miller, lead investigator, after two separate victims came forward and reported the alleged incidents. The initial report given to law enforcement yielded a second victim in the investigation who also alleged she was sexually assaulted by Brooks. The charges were brought forth together.
The first assault reportedly took place in August. According to the criminal complaint, the victim alleged that Brooks hosted an underage drinking party where the assault occurred. A witness reportedly stated that the victim was heavily intoxicated, according to the criminal complaint. The witness reportedly helped Brooks to carry the victim upstairs to Brooks’ room, after which the witness left.
According the criminal report, the victim awoke the next morning in Brooks’ room. Brooks reportedly told the victim that the two of them had had sex, and then proceeded to have sex with the victim again while she was still very intoxicated, according to the criminal report.
Brooks admitted to having sex multiple times with the victim when questioned by the police, stating that the victim was crying and did need help walking, as stated in the criminal report.
The second assault took place in November when Brooks entered a woman’s room and began to force himself upon her, according to the criminal report. The alleged victim reported that the previous night Brooks had been intoxicated and inappropriately touched her. Brooks reportedly returned to the victim’s room the next morning. According to the criminal complaint, the victim told Brooks to stop and asked him leave her room. As stated in the complaint, Brooks then attempted to force the victim into having oral sex and began removing her clothes.
When questioned by the police, Brooks stated that oral sex was performed, but that he had believed it to be consensual, according to the criminal report.
Belington City Council Meets December 5
by Allison Pugh
The Belington City Council met in regular session on Thursday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. At the meeting, council approved the first reading of a new ordinance drafted by the city attorney that will allow persons who fail to appear before the Belington Municipal Court to be summoned by a judge to appear before the court. The ordinance will also allow for a police officer to carry out the summons. The ordinance will move on to second reading for approval.
At the close of the meeting, council members discussed the increased citizen interest in the town, expressing how many people have stated that the town is beginning to look much better as it moves forward, particularly the light decorations on display for the holiday season.
The Belington City Council will meet again on Thursday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers.
FOP Encourages Blue Light Holiday Decorations
Fraternal Order of Police, Seneca Trail Lodge No. 104, is encouraging everyone to decorate in blue lights for the coming holiday season. By placing one blue light in a window of your home, you’ll be showing your support for officers killed in the line of duty and those who continue to work America’s streets.
The color blue is a symbolic of peace. By displaying a blue light, you will be sending a dual message that you support America’s peacekeepers and that you hope the coming year will be a year of peace.
City Council And Building Commission To Hold Joint Meeting
A joint meeting between the Philippi City Council and City of Philippi Building Commission will be held on Tuesday, December 17, at 4 p.m.
The meeting will be held in the City of Philippi Council Chambers and is open to the public.
Shop With A Cop Basketball Game
Scheduled Dec. 14
The Belington Police Department will hold their annual Shop With a Cop basketball game. This year the entire county will be involved. The goal is to take at least one child from each of the schools throughout Barbour County K-12.
Each administrator from each school has been asked to provide a list of five children in need and five outstanding.
The game will be played at Philip Barbour High School gym on December 14, at 6 p.m., and will include all Barbour County Law Enforcement and fire departments. Any donations can be made to the Belington Police Department and dropped off at Belington City Hall.
There will be refreshments sold during the game.
Any and all donations and volunteers will be greatly appreciated.