Robert “Bob” Gene Wright
Age 77, of 5158 Murphy Creek Road, Weston, passed away on May 23, 2011 at 2:00 AM at the Untied Hospital Center in Clarksburg, WV following an illness.
He was born on April 21, 1934 in Lewis County: son of the late Roscoe Wright and Bonice (Jordan) Wright.
On September 05, 1959 he married Mary Margaret (Turner) Wright who still survives.
Also surviving are two daughters Gina Skinner of Charleston, Trina Wyant & (Danny) of Weston, and two sons Robert J. Wright & companion Judi Persinger, Gabe Wright & (Crystal) both of Weston. In addition to his children he is survived by 11 grandchildren Brian, Breeanna, Nathan, Chad, Brad, Tiarra, Kayla, Chase, Dalton, Dylan, and Kassi, and 8 great-grandchildren Brian, Ryder, Wyatt, Sophia, Olivia, Landon, Teagan, and Gavin, and one great-great-grandchild Brendon. Also surviving are two brothers Danny Wright of Weston and Dick Wright of Ohio, six sisters Norma Craig of Florida, Shirley Pumphrey of Clarksburg, Brenda Davis of Weston, Joan Brown of Weston, Barbara Sigley of Bridgeport, and Vicki Jackson of Weston. Mr. Wright is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Bob retired from the Weston State Hospital as a Health Service Worker, and attended the Murphy Creek Baptist Church. He served his Country in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Bob enjoyed going dancing with his wife Mary, enjoyed mowing grass, washing cars, being outdoors, and was an Avid WVU Fan cheering the Mountaineers wherever they played. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family.
Family will receive friends at the Hardman-Paletti Funeral Home 730 North Main Avenue, Weston on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 2:00 - 4:00 and 6:00 - 8:00 PM.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM from the Hardman-Paletti Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Wease Day officiating.
Interment will follow services in the Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens of Jane Lew.
In Lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Cancer Society online at www.cancer.org.
Bobby Joe Rose
Age 61, of Little Birch died on May 23,2011 at his residence.
He was born August 03, 1949 to Ordie Newton Rose and the late Francis Isabelle Jenkins Rose.
He worked as a Construction Worker and was a disable Veteran serving as Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps.during the Vietnam War and was a P.O.W. and was Missing in Action.
Bobby is preceded in death by his mother, and wife Pamela Kay Rose who died on May 06, 2011, and a grandaughter, Alexis Jo Rose and sister Nelma K. Rose.
He is survived by his sons; Ordie Rose and Bobby Dennison both of Sutton, Jason Rose of Little Birch, and Tommy Rose of Summersville, daughters; Carsea Corbitt of Sutton and Maranda Wilson of Webster Springs, brothers; Oliver and Kyle Rose of Little birch, sisters; Cathy Dennison of Little Birch, and Angela Fisher and Julie Hickman both of Birch River, 22 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 26,2011 at 11:00 AM at Greene-Robertson Funeral Home with Rev. Randal Griggs officiating.
Burial will be in the Okey Rose Cemetery near bays, WV.
Military Honors will be held during the funeral service by American legion Post #33 and Camp Dawson. friends may call from 6:00 - 8:00 PM on Wednesday at the funeral home.
Today is Wednesday, May 25, the 145th day of 2011. There are 220 days left in the year.
Thought for Today: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.“ — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet (1803-1882).
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy told a joint session of Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.“ (That goal was accomplished eight years later with the Apollo 11 mission.)
On this date:
In 1787, the Constitutional Convention began meeting in Philadelphia after enough delegates had shown up for a quorum.
In 1810, Argentina began its revolt against Spanish rule with the forming of the Primera Junta in Buenos Aires.
In 1895, playwright Oscar Wilde was convicted of a morals charge in London; he was sentenced to two years in prison.
In 1911, Mexican President Porfirio Diaz resigned; he went into exile in France for the rest of his life.
In 1935, Babe Ruth hit the 714th and final home run of his career, for the Boston Braves, in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 1946, Transjordan (now Jordan) became a kingdom as it proclaimed its new monarch, Abdullah I.
In 1968, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was dedicated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall.
In 1979, 273 people died when an American Airlines DC-10 crashed on takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
In 1981, daredevil Dan Goodwin, wearing a Spiderman costume, scaled the outside of Chicago’s Sears Tower in 71/2 hours.
In 1986, an estimated 7 million Americans participated in “Hands Across America” to raise money for the nation’s hungry and homeless.
Ten years ago:
• A federal appeals court panel lifted an injunction against publication of “The Wind Done Gone,“ Alice Randall’s satirical retelling of “Gone With The Wind” from a black viewpoint.
Five years ago:
• President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a White House news conference in which they acknowledged making costly mistakes in Iraq, but vowed to keep troops there until the fragile new government took hold.
• Former Enron Corp. chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted in Houston of conspiracy and fraud for the company’s downfall. (Lay died in July 2006 from heart disease and his convictions were vacated; Skilling faces resentencing after his original 24-year sentence was overturned.)
• Pope Benedict XVI began a four-day pilgrimage to Poland, the homeland of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
One year ago:
• President Barack Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the US-Mexico border.
• NFL owners voted to hold the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey. Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls and her professional dance partner, Derek Hough, won the 10th season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.“
Lyricist Hal David is 90
Former White House news secretary Ron Nessen is 77
Country singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall is 75
Actor Sir Ian McKellen is 72
Country singer Jessi Colter is 68
Actress-singer Leslie Uggams is 68
Movie director and Muppeteer Frank Oz is 67
Actress Karen Valentine is 64
Rock singer Klaus Meine (The Scorpions) is 63
Actress Patti D’Arbanville is 60
Actress Connie Sellecca is 56
Rock singer-musician Paul Weller is 53
Actor-comedian Mike Myers is 48
Actor Matt Borlenghi is 44
Actor Joseph Reitman is 43
Rock musician Glen Drover is 42
Actress Anne Heche (haych) is 42
Actresses Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (TV: “Little House on the Prairie”) are 41
Actor-comedian Jamie Kennedy is 41
Actor Justin Henry is 40
Rapper Daz Dillinger is 38
Actress Molly Sims is 38
Singer Lauryn Hill is 36
Actor Cillian Murphy is 35
Actor Ethan Suplee (soo-PLEE’) is 35
Rock musician Todd Whitener is 33
Actor Corbin Allred is 32
Actress-singer Lauren Frost is 26
Glenville Mayor Allman Attends The 2011 Community Development Institute East
Glenville Mayor Tashua Allman recently finished the second year of studies at the 2011 Community Development Institute East (CDI East).
The institute occurred May 09-13, 2011 in Bridgeport, WV.
CDI East approaches community development as both a process and a program. It seeks to develop an individual’s ability to identify community problems; set goals; encourage liaison with outside agencies; stimulate community interaction; and bring groups together to support competitive economic development, human resource development and quality of life issues.
It does this by expanding an individual’s ability to identify community and economic problems, set goals, encourage liaisons with outside agencies, stimulate community interaction, and bring groups together to respond to a wide range of subjects.
During the week-long institute, over 30 presenters participated in over 50 class and joint sessions spread across the three years of the curriculum.
The Year 2 curriculum included trends and issues in community development; impact analysis; health care and community development; business retention and expansion; community asset mapping; community surveys; working with groups and volunteers; tourism and community development; conflict resolution; civic engagement; community development project financing; entrepreneurship; and telecommunications and technology.
There was also a regional planning and development simulation throughout the week as well as an afternoon tour examining site selection and development activities.
Common sessions included an opening presentation about creative communities and a closing panel featuring foundations, funding organizations, and service providers.
The institute finished its eighth year and graduated its fifth class. There were a total of 28 students from 18 West Virginia counties as well as Delaware and Texas.
Ten (10) students completed their third and final year of studies, bringing the total number of graduates of the institute to 80.
There were also five (5) students in the first year and 13 students in the second year, meaning 215 unique individuals have taken at least one year of instruction at CDI East.
The CDI East is one of five institutes held throughout the country. This series of three week-long training programs was created in 1987.
They are designed to enhance the leadership and management capabilities of those individuals responsible for developing our communities. CDI is endorsed by the Community Development Council (CDC) and is a principal component for the Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) certification.
Gilmer County Board of Education: Employment, Postings, and Report - 05.23.11
Termination of Employment
• Barbara Baker, Spanish Teacher, GCHS - effective immediately.
• Sandra Harding, Substitute Aide
• Nancy Minney, Executive Secretary, Special Education and Federal Programs
• No Recommendation - Federal Programs Director Superintendent reported he has to go through more applications
• Marlene Minney - Cook for Energy Express Summer Program
• Richard Burkowski - Social Studies Teacher, GCHS
Substitute Teachers for the Remainder of the 2010-11 School Year
• Barbara Baker - Pending approval by State Department of Education approval
• School Bus Operator 2011-12 (Mouth Rock Run/Lower Level Run/Cedarville Store/Leatherbark/Head of Bull Run/Cedar Creek/NES)
Note: The following postings were on the agenda for approval. However, the Superintendent asked them to be removed from the list at this time:
• Part-time Reading and Math Intervention Tutor – GCHS 2011-12
• Cook for Glenville Elementary School
• ½ time Cook GCHS, ½ time Cook SFES
• OEPA Update
Superintendent noted he had not heard back from the OEPA visiting team.
Dr. Davis is to come and meet with Superintendent and Board President.
President Pritt, Superintendent Bennett, and Future Superintendent Dr. Simmons have been invited to the meeting at the State Board.
• CEFP Update
There will be a forum on Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the commons area of GCHS.
The public is invited to attend and there will be a presentation by the architects to the public.
• Update on Lewis County Members – Exploratory Committee for Regional School
Superintendent of Lewis County Dr. Mace said the Lewis County Board is selecting and/or deciding this Monday about the committee
• Laptops for Board Members – Electronic Board Packets
Superintendent Bennett asked if the board was interested in having a laptop in order to receive the information packets electronically.
Some board members said, with the internet connection speed it will be hard to receive the information electronically.
Superintendent said they could also use flash drives for the documents.
The laptops are from FBI center.
Board members also need to have the same office software version so they can open the documents given to them.
• There has been a grievance filed that has not satisfied the individual.
The person has not been happy with level 1 and 2 of grievance and it needs to go to level 3.
Superintendent asked the item be put on the next agenda.
Board Members Report:
• Board Member Rhoades:
Attended a RESA meeting on May 19, 2001 WV Wesleyan College.
The Medicaid amount is $92,656.76 for the county. There was a concern because the amount is less than last year. The concern is that the reporting is not done properly.
On May 25, 2011 there will be a safety meeting which she and superintendent will attend.
Parent link program: Currently $1.15 is paid per student. County can add additional services to include bus routes and access and contact via internet services for $1.70 per student.
The cost of program excluding the bus routes is $1.50.
She presented a plaque of appreciation to Mr. Bennett from RESA.
• Board Member Skinner:
There will be a meeting of Extension Service Board on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 to discuss personnel.
• Board Member Starkey:
She attended the meeting at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center.
Mr. Sturn, the Career Center Director, discussed the GED option. He is very pleased about the program and the success rate.
Resignation of Dave White, long time counselor, for retirement was accepted.
Position for a new Counselor position is to be posted.
Finally, there are 3 candidates for networking position to be reviewed for possible employment.
There is a new program for expelled students.
ALC program in WV was discussed. This is an online credit recovery program allowing students to graduate with their own class.
Superintendent Bennett was presented a plaque by the center.
• Board President Pritt:
She Thanked Mr. and Mrs. Ike Morris for the Academic Banquet.
She also thanked Patty Knicely and Kim Frymier for all the work for the banquet.
• Approved Budget Transfers in the amount of $21,983.28
• Approved Budget Supplements in the amount of $2,943.63
• Approved Invoices in the amount of $45,349.79
• Approved Budget for FY2012
Kendra brown, Director of Finance explained the budget to the board members.
Board member Skinner asked for more details on the amount allocated for maintenance. He felt board should know so if there is any contract over $5000 they are bid properly.
Discussion made about OPEB and PEIA amount in the budget.
Finance Director said the amounts shown in the budget were for the future PEIA and did not include the OPEB debt.
Superintendent Bennett explained they were keeping two sets of reports, one with OPEB and one without.
Kendra Brown said that was correct per the verbal instructions they were given, there are two sets of reports.
Board member Ratliff asked if the entry for OPEB has been made for this year.
Kendra noted, there have not been any entries made for this year for OPEB on the books. She said she will make an entry for the entire year in June which is going to make the figures go in red.
She said beginning July she will make the entry for OPEB monthly.
• Approved Out of County Student Transfer Request, Remainder of 2010-11 - Pending approval by Ritchie County
Father moved from Glenville to Auburn in Ritchie county.
Parents want the students to finish the school year at Normantown Elementary
• Approved Nursing and Allied Health Agreement with Fairmont State University
This allows Fairmont State University to work with Gilmer County students for any type of training.
• Approved Leave of Absence – Chris Lacy
Director of Transportation Joe Frashure asked that Chris Lacy be allowed a leave of absence.
Superintendent Bennett explained when the person returns he will be on the bottom of the list and therefore lose seniority.
• Years of Service Request – Barbara Runyon - Denied
Superintendent had received the request for 8 years of out-of-state work at McDonalds in management position.
However, he said she should have requested it immediately upon employment.
Also he noted the policy says if the work is out-of-state the years of service is half as much. So he initially recommended 4 years of experience for her to the board.
But after further discussion in an executive session, he advised the board not to grant the request.
• Approved of Placing Trailers at Sand Fork Out for Sealed Bid
• Board President Misty Pritt talked about whether a president can make and /or move motions.
Question was asked concerning the motion she made in previous meeting.
She reported she was well within the law for making a motion last time.
• Anti-Bulling Grant
Mr. Larry Barton, Troy Elementary Principal, explained the grant he had written for anti-bullying for amount of $14,500.
He said he was just informed that $10,000 has been granted.
The grant is for Pre-K to 8th grade.
Barton said most likely he would come to board in the future to see if they would make up the difference.
He presented the document for Superintendent Bennett’s signature so the money can be sent.
The document was signed by Superintendent.
• Approved First Reading of Policies:
#1211 Parent Involvement Policy – changes about parent involvement
#4111.4 Tie Breakers for Employment, Promotion and Transfer of Professional Personnel
#4122.1 Conditions of Employment for Substitute Teachers
#4122.5 Substitutes in Areas of Critical Need and Shortage
#5118 Student Transfer Within County
#5118.1 Student Transfer Request – Out of County
• Approved Adding Members to CEFP Committee
Superintendent Bennett explained about the problem with some members coming to meetings. He suggested the member to be contacted to see if they are not planning to attend the meetings, or they should resign.
Superintendent Bennett asked for the following individuals to be added to the board.
The list was approved: » Larry Barton » Cassandra Huff » Shawna Maxwell » David Millard » Barbara Miller » Dendra Miller » Tom Minney » Darrell Ramsey » Dave Ramezan » Dr. Simmons » Bryan Sterns » Andy Tomblin
• Nancy Minney after employment asked for years of experience – she was asked to send a letter dated meeting date.
• CEFP Forum – Wednesday, May 25, 2011, GCHS commons Area, 7:00 PM
• CEFP Special Meeting reference to employment to be followed by the Policy Workshop - Monday, June 06, 2011, GCHS Library, 5:00 PM.
‘Commonsense Connections’ Week: ‘Your Government, Your Voice’
Following success of first ‘Commonsense Connections’ Week in February, Manchin staff will again visit counties across West Virginia to meet
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that his office will launch a second “Commonsense Connections” Week – Your Government, Your Voice – beginning Monday, May 23, 2011. Representatives from Senator Manchin’s office will travel all across West Virginia to meet with constituents in every part of the state and hear their commonsense ideas, priorities and concerns.
Senator Manchin held his first “Commonsense Connections” Week in February, during which representatives from his office traveled to all 55 counties in the state.
“Next week, we are bringing Washington to West Virginia so that you know it’s your government and your voice,” Senator Manchin said. “I want West Virginians to know that I am working for you, and that you don’t have to come all the way to Washington to get the help you need for whatever is on your mind. Beginning Monday, my hardworking staff will be criss-crossing this state, reaching out to West Virginians in all 55 counties and talking to them about their commonsense ideas, priorities and concerns. Our first ‘Commonsense Connections’ Week was extraordinarily successful, and helped me gather very valuable insight and ideas for solutions in Washington. I have no doubt we will have great turnout and great success this time around, as well.”
Senator Manchin began the year with a highly successful two-week “Call for Common Sense” tour, during which he visited 11 counties, drove 1,800 miles and talked to hundreds of West Virginias about their ideas, concerns and priorities.
Following the success of the “Call for Common Sense” tour, Manchin launched “Coffee and Common Sense,” an ongoing series of open conversations with constituents. In March, Senator Manchin toured the state to focus on “Our Values, Our Priorities,” which included days of emphasis on fiscal responsibility, taking care of our families, growing small businesses, keeping our promises to seniors, and achieving energy independence. Most recently, Senator Manchin wrapped up his “Commonsense Solutions” tour, a nine-county 1,500 mile trip through West Virginia to focus on the commonsense solutions that will move this nation forward.
A sampling of scheduled events in the area counties for the week is included below (listed by county).
Additional events could be added:
Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Time: 10 AM – 12 PM
Location: Calhoun County Senior Center, 3 Market Street, Grantsville, WV 26147
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011
Time: 9 AM – 10 AM
Location: Clay County Commission, 246 Main Street, Clay, WV 25043
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Time: 2:30 PM – 4 PM
Location: Doddridge County Courthouse, 135 E Court Street, West Union, WV 26456
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: West End Café, 512 West Main St. West Union, WV 26456
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011
Time: 2 PM – 3 PM
Location: Gilmer County Public Library,214 Walnut Street, Glenville, WV 26315
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Time: 9 AM - 10:30 AM
Location: Harrison County Public Library, 404 West Pike St. Clarksburg, WV 26301
Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Nicholas Court House, County Commissioners Room, 700 Main Street, Suite 1, Summersville 26651
Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Time: 12 PM – 1 PM
Location: Nicholas County Senior Center, 1205 Broad Street, Summersville, WV 26651
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011
Time: 11:30 PM – 1 PM
Location: Ritchie County Integrated Family Services, S. Court Street and Edgeview Lane, Harrisville, WV 26362
Roasedale Community Cemetery Committee Serving Food and Drink – 05.29.11
The Rosedale Community Cemetery Committee and the Rosedale Senior Citizens will serve food and drinks for local residents and visitors to the Rosedale area on Sunday, May 29, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Rosedale Senior Citizen Center in Rosedale, WV.
All proceeds will be divided equally between the two organizations.
We cordially invite you to stop by to have lunch and visit awhile.
• On Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Judge Alsop presided over 2 juvenile cases, one of which was rescheduled for Friday, July 08, 2011 at 9:00 AM.
On Monday, May 23, 2011, Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire presided over a 3 page docket as follows:
• Two fugitives from justice (both represented by R. Russell Stobbs of Weston waived extradition back to their respective states. Wayne Hill waived to return to Kansas and John Norris waived to go back to Ohio.
Authorities have until 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 to pick them up or Central Regional Jail will release them.
• Several juvenile cases were heard and rescheduled for Monday, August 22, 2011 at 9:00, 9:10, 9:15, 9:20 and 9:30 AM.
• A civil case regarding a sale of property was heard and funds will be placed in escrow pending final report of the attorney.
• The case of State of West Virginia vs. James Lee Shields was continued to the July term of Court.
• State of West Virginia vs. Shannon Marks
She was before the Court for sentencing.
Judge Facemire sentenced her to 1-5 in the penitentiary, with sentence being suspended and she was placed on 5-years’ probation.
She received NO fine but must pay court costs and attorney fees within 18 months.
She was represented by Christina Flanigan of Buckhannon.
• State of West Virginia vs. Brian Hardesty
He was sentenced to 1-10 in the penitentiary with his sentence being suspended and he was granted 5 years’ probation.
He must pay court costs within 18 months and restitution within 3 years, and must pay a minimum of $50.00 per month by the 5th of every month.
He also must perform 100 hours of community service per year he is on probation.
He was represented by R. Russell Stobbs of Weston.
• One individual who was convicted as a juvenile, but who is now 18 years of age, received a 6 month sentence in Central Regional Jail and fined $ 100.00 plus court costs.
He was represented by T.J. Drake of Gassaway.
• The civil case of Gregory Davis vs. Timothy B. Butcher, et al was before the Court on a motion to dismiss, and after arguing his case the Judge granted Tim Butcher’s motion and dismissed the case without prejudice.
• State of West Virginia vs. Jimmy R. Stump
He saw his case dismissed without prejudice by the prosecuting attorney.
He was represented by R. Russell Stobbs.
• A 2008 magistrate case was before the Court to determine the competency of the defendant.
The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charges in magistrate court and if necessary proceed to filing a mental petition against defendant.
• State of West Virginia vs. Walter Wallace Adkins Jr.
He had motions heard in his case and Judge Facemire set his trial for Tuesday, May 31, 2011.
All March term petit jurors will need to report for trial.
He is represented by Christina Flanigan.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin isn’t ruling out adding a new prison to West Virginia’s corrections system, but he and other officials question whether the state can build its way out of its inmate overcrowding crisis.
The crisis became a recurring topic during last week’s legislative interim meetings. Lawmakers learned that an all-time high of 1,700 people sentenced to prison remain in jails instead because of a lack of bed space at Division of Corrections facilities. That number is projected to nearly double to 3,200 in five years.
The state’s prison or prison-bound population, including those awaiting transfers from jails, topped 6,880 this month, legislators were told. The state estimates that their ranks will swell to 8,500 in 2016 and then to 9,700 by the end of 2020.
“The inn is full,“ Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told one House-Senate interim committee. “We’ve got our facilities full. The regional jails are overcrowded, and the growth continues.“
West Virginia’s imprisonment rate per resident ranks 37th among the states, on par with its position for overall population, according to 2010 figures from the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States. But the Pew report also found West Virginia with the second fastest growing inmate population.
Rubenstein said the state’s new accelerated parole program, aimed at the least risky of nonviolent offenders, should increase releases by 200 to 250 people annually. But he and other officials also noted that the state’s Corrections population has increased by a net 200 so far this year.
“No advantage there, it doesn’t look like to me, as far as reducing the overcrowding,“ said Delegate John Frazier, D-Mercer and a retired longtime circuit judge. “That’s not going to be the big answer to the overcrowding problem, is it?“
Accelerated parole was among the 14 options recommended by a 2009 study of inmate overcrowding commissioned by then-Gov. Joe Manchin. The report also called for a greater focus on substance-abusing offenders. Rubenstein touted how his agency is increasing the amount of beds in treatment facilities within the prisons.
The commissioner also quickly added that this step can help only so much.
“As we open those up, you’ll see a little decline in the numbers,“ Rubenstein said. “But in a matter of four, five or six months, it’s but a memory.“
That prompted Frazier to cite another of the study’s 14 recommendations, one that the state has yet to pursue: a new 1,200-bed medium-security facility.
“Perhaps the real resolution to this is what no one wants to talk about, no one wants to address. That is the building of another prison,“ Frazier said.
Budget concerns prompted state officials to hold off considering that step in the wake of the study’s release. Rubenstein estimated last week that a new prison would cost $120 million to $200 million to build, operating expenses aside.
Tomblin considers the price tag one of several questions the state must answer before embarking upon such a project, spokeswoman Kimberly Osborne said Friday.
“While the necessity to expand facilities within the system cannot be discounted, further considerations must first be given to how to reverse the current trend of steady population growth,“ Osborne said. “The administration wants to comprehensively develop solutions to the challenges the system faces and not just arbitrarily treat the symptoms.“
The state has begun expanding the St. Marys Correctional Center, as recommended by the study. But Rubenstein noted that the 300 new beds that will result there, when combined with the addition of the recommended new prison, would not even cure the current jail backlog.
“As we’re trying to curb that growth, even level it off or see a decline, what we’re faced with is a large number of inmates who remains in those regional jails,“ Rubenstein said. “There’s no magic bullet that is just going to wipe that out.“
What is more likely to help is a wide-ranging approach that embraces more of the study’s recommendations, Rubenstein told lawmakers. Osborne agreed, citing the state’s stepped-up efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and otherwise recognize the link between substance abuse and inmate population growth. As had Rubenstein, Osborne also said that any plan to build a new prison must first involve the Legislature as well as industry experts.
Among the study’s other proposals, the state has also increased funding for community-based alternatives to prison, parole officers and in-prison classes, counseling and services aimed at reducing recidivism. Rubenstein said other states have seen success after revisiting their criminal statutes and sentencing laws - steps also recommended by the 2009 study.
“They tackled it in a variety of ways,“ Rubenstein said. “I think any state commissioner or director would say there’s no way to build your way out of what we have here.“