Vol. 141, No.70 • Since 1874 • Wayne, W.Va. • Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015

Former Ceredo-Kenova High School coaches Carl Ward and Don Money share a laugh during the Ceredo-Kenova High School Football Reunion and Community Dinner to honor former head coach Carl Ward and the 1965 AA West Virginia State Championship team on Saturday at First Baptist Church in Kenova. HD Media photo by Larry Butcher

Champion C-K team reunites,
honors coach

HD Media

KENOVA - Danny Pelfrey stood up, surveyed the crowd and said:

“I look out and what do I see? A bunch of winners. Not only successful on the football field, but in life, too.”

Pelfrey was referring to himself and all the former Ceredo-Kenova High School football players who showed up for a reunion and community dinner Saturday at First Baptist Church of Kenova. The Wonders had an amazing run in football under coaches Carl Ward (who is 86) and Dale Craycraft in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. They won 10 West Virginia Class AA championships and finished runner-up three other times. C-K got its final football crown in 1994 under coach Don Money when it had dropped to Class A.

Not long after, consolidation sent students from C-K, Vinson and Buffalo to the new Spring Valley High School. Special recognition went to the 1965 team on the 50th anniversary of its state championship and being the first Ward-coached team to go undefeated. Sam Woolwine, a C-K alum who was inducted into the Tennessee Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2012, was guest speaker. He had a long career at the Chattanooga Free Press. He played on Ward’s 1960 team that went 1-9.

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Jessie and Tammy Sleasman

Convicted Fort Gay cop killer arrested for drugs, firearms

Staff Writer

WAYNE – Four people were taken into custody Tuesday evening in the Wayne area by members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Drug Enforcement Unit for possession of illegal drugs.

Tammy Sleasman, 52, Jessie Sleasman, 53, Eula Duff and Jimmie Duff, 50, were arrested in their respective homes on Big Branch Road after members of the DEU and Wayne County Sheriff deputies executed a search warrant and found marijuana plants inside.

Tammy Sleasman was charged with possession of a controlled substance – marijuana, cultivation and conspiracy and remains in the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville on $30,000 bond; Jessie Sleasman was charged with possession of a controlled substance – marijuana, cultivation, conspiracy and two counts of a felon in possession of a firearm and remains in the Western Regional Jail; Eula Duff was charged with possession with intent to deliver – clonazepam, conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance and was released on bond; Jimmie Duff was charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance and remains in the Western Regional Jail on $30,000 bond.

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Football in the county was officially underway Friday night as fans (upper left) smile before the Spring Valley Cabell Midland game. A Wayne cheerleader poses (upper right) and the Fort Gay Band show off their new uniforms before the respective schools season opener. SV photo by Kerry Carter, Wayne, Tolsia photo by Diane Pottorff

Eric Hodges sent back to jail without bond

Staff Writer

WAYNE – Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges was sent back to jail with no bond Wednesday following a hearing in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

Magistrate John Cavins found probable cause against Hodges, 41, on charges of embezzlement, computer fraud, two counts of unlawful use of a state purchasing card, threats of terroristic acts, harassing phone calls and assault. His case was bound over to the grand jury.

Hodges has been in custody since his arrest Saturday in Webster County, West Virginia, near the Elk Springs Resort.

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FROM LEFT: Jim Webb, Class of 1958, Football – All Conference, Basketball – All Conference; Bill Dean, Class of 1960, Football – All Conference, All State Honorable Mention, Basketball – All Conference Honorable Mention; Wilts Salmons, Class of 1961, Football – All State Honorable Mention, All Time Winningest Football Coach; Randy Ratcliffe, Class of 1973, Football – All State (71 & 72), Kennedy Award, Runner Up, State and Area Scoring Champ, Track – State Track Meet. Photos submitted

Fort Gay Alumni Association to induct first class

Submitted Article

\LOUISA, Ky. – The Fort Gay High School Alumni Association will be inducting the first group of former FGHS Viking athletes into the FGHSAA Sports Hall of Fame on September 4, 2015 during the Annual FGHS Alumni Banquet to be held at the First Baptist Church of Louisa, Kentucky.

Fort Gay High School operated from 1929 through 1987 before consolidation with Crum High School into Tolsia High School of Wayne County.

The first class of inductees includes nine athletes and coaches from the 1950’s through 1980’s. Among the inductees are three members of the 1976-1977 Girls State Basketball Championship Team – Sherry Damron, Kim Noe, and Jeanette Ratcliffe. This was the only team state championship in the history of FGHS. In addition, the all-time winningest coaches of football, Wilts Salmons, and girls basketball, Judy Frasher Rakes, will be inducted as part of the initial class.

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ON WAY TO COURT – Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges is escorted to Wayne County Magistrate Court Monday by deputies with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department for a bond revocation hearing. Hodges will be in court again Wednesday for another hearing. Photo courtesy of WSAZ

Eric Hodges to return to court to face charges

Staff Writer

WAYNE – Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges is expected in Wayne County Magistrate Court today at 10 a.m. for a hearing addressing charges brought against him.

For the second time in a week, Hodges will appear before Magistrate John Cavins.
Hodges appeared before Cavins Monday for a bond revocation hearing.

A preliminary hearing is where some evidence is presented to determine if it is sufficient to move forward to the grand jury.

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Removal hearing set for October

Staff Writer

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has set a date for the removal of Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges from office.

The order was filed Tuesday with the hearing being at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Judge Robert A. Burnside Jr., Tenth Circuit (Raleigh) was tasked to head the three-judge panel – which also consists of Judge David Nibert, Fifth Circuit (Mason, Jackson, Calhoun and Roane) and Judge Joseph K. Reeder, 29th Circuit (Putnam) or alternative date if needed to determine what action will be taken.

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Wayne County Republicans meet to fill spots

Managing Editor

LAVALETTE – The members of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee met Tuesday night to discuss major changes coming to the group.

State Senator Mark Maynard (R-Wayne) announced last month that he is stepping down as the chair of the county’s executive committee. Tuesday, Maynard discussed in further detail how the group is going to decide his predecessor.

Maynard told the group it has been a pleasure serving as the group’s leader, but his duties in state office have taken away from his ability to serve his position with the committee.

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Retro Video Game Convention Returns to Tri-State Saturday

HD Media

HUNTINGTON – Sure, the technology on our new Xbox’s and Playstation’s are great and the graphics are getting ever more realistic.

But for some of us who are old enough to remember the early years of gaming, or those who have an appreciation of retro games, there remains a soft spot in our hearts for those fuzzy, 8-bit characters.

In the spirit of the Comic-Con craze, local videogame guru and graduate of Spring Valley High School, Ben Durfee, with the help of wife, Shannon, also an academic standout hailing from Spring Valley, have brought their love of gaming to the masses with the creation of Power Up, a retro-inspired video game convention. Though the convention is still fairly new, now only in it’s second year, is proving to be a successful catalyst to exposing just how many people still have a passionate interest in the “classics”. Whether you are looking for early games from Nintendo to Playstation, or even comic books, toys, trinkets, and art, Power Up will have something to offer your inner-child.

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DRILL – Firefighters with Kenova and Ceredo Volunteer Fire departments practice their skills during a drill Tuesday at the Big Sandy Peaker plant. WCN photo by Diane Pottorff

VFDs drill with local company

Staff Writer

KENOVA – Firefighters with Ceredo and Kenova Volunteer Fire departments searched the Big Sandy Peaker plant for an “employee” who was injured on the job.

That was the scenario Tuesday evening as the two departments conducted their annual joint drill.

Training is just one of the ways the two departments work together to make sure both communities are safe, as well as making sure each has the equipment to get the job done. Recently, Kenova VFD received a $33,000 check from Columbia Pipeline that will go toward the purchase of a new rescue/pumper in 2016, Chief Tim Bias said.

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Special prosecutor files motion to revoke Hodges’ bond

Managing Editor

WAYNE — Police are looking for Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges after a special prosecutor asked to have his bond revoked Friday.

The motion came after West Virginia State Police said Hodges made at least 11 personal purchases this past week using a Chase Bank credit card that uses taxpayer money from the assessor’s valuation fund.

Earlier this month, Hodges was charged with embezzlement, computer fraud and fraudulent use of a purchasing card after a State Police investigation alleged he used his county purchasing card for more than $5,000 in personal use.

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WARD-CRAYCRAFT STADIUM – A group of residents are working to get funding to restore the concrete bleachers, Jack Hardin Press Box and other features of Ward-Craycraft Stadium. Also pictured is the temporary classrooms of Kenova Elementary that sits to the left of the bleachers. WCN photo by Diane Pottorff

Group works to save stadium

Staff Writer

KENOVA – A group of residents is working to save a piece of history in the Ceredo-Kenova area from the wrecking ball.

Businessman and former mayor Ric Griffith is working on saving the concrete bleachers that once held the fans of Ceredo-Kenova sports teams.

He said he intends to make an announcement during the reunion of the football teams next Saturday. Griffith’s plan includes taking off the overhang in the back of the stadium, fixing the sidewalk, power washing the old paint and repainting, fixing other problems and hang 12 murals of history from the six openings on the stadium.

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This photo shows plans for the fencing around Dreamland Pool and the playground area. The blue line indicates the remaining portion of fencing needed to enclose the playground, the red line would enclose the pool and the green lines are gates. The two gates at the pool, referred to as slider gates, will provide access to the other areas while the pool is open and will slide shut when the pool is closed. Submitted photo

Improvement plans approved for Dreamland Pool/Virginia Point

HD Media

KENOVA – Future plans for Dreamland Pool and Virginia Point were discussed at Kenova’s City Council meeting Thursday, as the council continues to make improvements to draw visitors to the city.

Gordon Jones, park advisor for Kenova, said he received four bids from contractors to refurbish the gazebo at Virginia Point.

The winning bid was awarded to Bellomy Construction, which will redo parts of the gazebo for $17,500.

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Charles Tygrett

Bridge naming honors brothers

CHARLESTON – A bridge along Interstate 77 in Fayette County was recently dedicated to seven brothers who served in the military during World War II and Korea.

Earlier this month, the bridge near the Mahan exit was dedicated and named the “Tygrett Brothers Seven Veterans Bridge” in honor of Charles R., John D., Harold M., Paul A., R.G., Tommy E. and Reginald D. Tygrett, sons of the late Marion A. and June O. Tygrett.

All served in the United States armed forces during World War II and Korea and returned home.

The family also had three son-in-laws who served and returned home.

Each served in different regiments and was involved in the several major battles.

Charles Tygrett was the owner and operator of the Ashland Service station that is now the home of Wayne Pharmacy. He retired from the business in 1974.

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Daughters of Charles Tygrett, Roberta Ann Ross and Margaret Ruth Thompson, display a replica sign during the bridge dedication ceremony honoring the Tygrett brothers. A bridge along I-77 at mile marker 63 was named the Tygrett Brothers Seven Veterans Bridge in their honor. Photo submitted


Jeremy “The Beast” Bates

Wayne County boxer Pennington now promoting


HUNTINGTON – Don Pennington has expanded his resume from amateur Wayne County brawler to school-teacher to professional fighter and now boxing promoter.

“Dirty Don” is putting together a card for the Battle at The Big Sandy on Sept. 5 at Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Bell time is 7:30 p.m.

“It’s been a stressful job so far,” Pennington said. “So much to deal with. Learn as you go.”

Pennington, who is unbeaten, is a participant on the card. He’s also booking other pros and amateurs and participated in talks with arena officials to get the fight date. Pennington is 7-0-1 and compiled that record at shows in Madison, W.Va., and Pullman Plaza Fight Nights at Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington.

It’s been quiet on the boxing scene of late, so Pennington stepped up.

“I want to see boxing keep going,” he said. “We’ve got some decent guys. I want to see West Virginia guys get on shows.”

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Business is up at Tri-State airport

Staff Writer

CEREDO – July was a good month for Huntington Tri-State Airport as revenues and number of passengers getting on planes was up.

Officials with the airport told the Tri-State Airport Authority Board during its regular meeting, revenue was up over expenses.

“We did $104,425 in revenue over expenses,” Finance director Don Wiseman said. “We doubled last year’s totals.

Wiseman attributes the rise in revenue to Allegiant Air flights with 75, up from 62 last year.

Marketing Director Beckie McKinley said the last Punta Gorda/Fort Myers flight for the season was Monday and will return Feb. 18, but she has received telephone calls from passengers who are not happy with the season being over.

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Kenova hires new city employees

HD Media

KENOVA – Several items were on the agenda during Kenova’s City Council meeting Thursday, such as the approval to change the council’s meeting time to 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month and Kenova Police Department’s need for police academy graduates to join the police department.

Airport Project:
Jonathan Carpenter reported on the Tri-State Airport’s progress toward completing the water line project, which provides access to stronger pressurized water at the airport in the event an accident occurs and water is required by the fire department.

Carpenter said the line has been pressure tested, and one leak was found. A guard at the airport confirmed the pond was leaking water over its retaining wall. The wall has not been compromised, and the water has been diverted, but it is crossing the road leading to one of Kenova’s water tanks.

He said the contractor will have the issue resolved soon, so the cleanup and closeout can be completed, which will tie up any loose ends connected to the City of Kenova.

Source Water Contingency Plan:
Kaitlin Preace from Thrasher, based out of Bridgeport, West Virginia presented the council with a source water contingency plan.

This plan is a requirement of West Virginia Senate Bill 373, which was created after the water contamination incident near Charleston.

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GUEST SPEAKER – Huntington Public Works Director Jim Insco speaks to the members of Westmoreland Neighborhood Association. WCN photo by Diane Pottorff

Crime rate down in Westmoreland

Staff Writer

WESTMORELAND – Crime is reported to be down by 46 percent in the Westmoreland neighborhood.

“Westmoreland is safer than most neighborhoods in the City of Huntington,” Capt. Hank Dial of the Huntington Police Department reported to the Westmoreland Neighborhood Association members. “Here the neighbors take pride in Westmoreland’s appearance.”

Dial spoke at Monday’s meeting as he presented statistics for the first half of 2015.

He said last year’s statistics shown a slight increase in areas such as larcenies, but assaults were down this year.

One area with an increased rate was driving under the influence.

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Jared Tyler Hicks, 21, graduated cum laude from Marshall University this past May after just three years with a Bachelors in business administration. Jared was accepted to the Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Virginia. He began classes at ASL this past week. Hicks graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2012 with honors. He is following in the footsteps of his father Kenneth Hicks, who is a Huntington attorney as well as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. His mother is Tonya Hicks. Photo submitted


Store has grand opening at new location

Staff Writer

HUNTINGTON – A local business relocated to a new facility and celebrated with a grand opening Sunday.

Diana Whitt, owner of Diana’s 2nd Time Around, opened the doors to several customers who were waiting on the parking lot, she said.

“It was busy,” Whitt said. “I had people looking around and buying items as I was moving in and had not opened yet.”

The store is not just a second-hand clothing store for children or women, but for all genders she said.

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Results from Wayne County Fair Pageant

Baby Miss Wayne County - Lillyana Lowe
1st Runner-Up - Kyla Gibbs
2nd Runner-Up - Kylie Adkins
Baby Mister Wayne County - Tristan Sexton
Wee Miss Wayne County - Adriaunna Craft
1st Runner-Up - Gracie Adkins
2nd Runner-Up - Maycie Sutphin
Tiny Mister Wayne County - Carson Craig
1st Runner-Up - Drake Mooney
Mini Miss Wayne County - Jaelyn Spry
1st Runner-Up - Zoee Hunter
2nd Runner-Up - Emilie Vance
Tiny Miss Wayne County - Alianna Pruitt
1st Runner-Up - Reaghan Terry
2nd Runner-Up - Alyson Asbury
Mister Wayne County - Braxton Carter
Little Miss Wayne County - Kyndra Quick
1st Runner-Up - Mackenzie Blankenship
2nd Runner-Up - Laekyn Scarberry
Petite Miss Wayne County - Victoria Sovine
Junior Miss Wayne County - Katherine Smith
1st Runner-Up - Rachel Simpkins
2nd Runner-Up - Abby Grim
Miss Wayne County - Holly Eastham


4-H fundraising for ambassadors’ trip

Staff Writer

WAYNE – The 4-H Ambassadors will be hosting a spaghetti lunch/dinner from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Lavalette United Methodist Church.

The meal includes spaghetti with meat or marinara sauce, salad, roll, dessert and beverage for $10 at the door. Cost is $8 if ordered before Saturday.

Proceeds will go toward the 4-H Ambassadors trip to Oregon for a presentation on Wayne County’s Heritage Quilt Square Trail during a national conference.

The group is also raffling a four-by-four Oregon Trail quilt block for $5 per ticket. A demonstration of constructing a quilt block will be at 2 and 6 p.m. at the church on Saturday.

For more information or to place an order, call 304-272-6839.


Spaghetti dinner to support Veterans Association

The Wayne County Veterans Association will be hosting a Spaghetti Dinner 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., August 12 in the Philadelphia Baptist Church basement.

The cost is $7 per person. The group will deliver to the local area, but orders must be placed between 10 a.m. and noon to ensure your meal is delivered on time.

The meal includes a salad and a dessert, and everyone is welcome to come eat at the church. Sodas will be available only to those who eat at the church for an additional 50 cents.

To place an order, or for more information, please contact Dolphus Perry at 304-962-5332.