Marion Louise Belletto

Shelby Jean “Jeannie” Legg Green
53, of Waynesboro

Howard H. Harper Sr.
81, of Summersville

Virginia Mae Pinson
78, of Cape Coral, FL.








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Breaking News:

Woman convicted in death of infant daughter

By Pat Hanna
The Nicholas Chronicle

A Nicholas County Circuit Court jury has convicted a Craigsville woman of a felony charge in the death of her infant daughter.

The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated less than 30 minutes on Wednesday, Aug. 20, before finding Stephanie Louk, 26, guilty of child neglect resulting in death.

Louk will be sentenced on Oct. 31. She faces 3 to 15 years in prison.

Testimony during the two-day trial revealed that Louk injected herself with methamphetamine in June 2013 when her pregnancy was at full term.

She went into acute respiratory distress after injecting the meth, cutting not only her own oxygen supply but also that of her unborn child, and was taken to Summersville Regional Medical Center.

Louk underwent an emergency c-section at SRMC. The daughter, Olivia, was flown to a Charleston hospital and placed on life support after doctors determined there was no brain activity. She was removed from life support 11 days later and died.

An autopsy concluded the infant died of oxygen deprivation that caused irreversible brain damage.

A post-mortum toxicology test also showed the presence of meth in blood taken from the placenta.

Louk, who is pregnant with another child, remains on home confinement bond pending sentencing.

A full report on the trial will appear in next week's Nicholas Chronicle.




Second continuance granted in arson cases

By Pat Hanna
The Nicholas Chronicle

The arson trials of Austin Cox and Nicholas Coty Stover have been continued for a second time, and during a hearing in Nicholas County Circuit Court on Monday, Aug. 18, conflict arose again over which defendant would be tried first.

Cox had been scheduled to stand trial on Aug. 26, but his attorney, Ryan Keesee, asked for another continuance because of a medical condition involving a defense expert witness.

Stover’s attorney, Tim LaFon, addressed the court by speaker phone from his Charleston office and remained insistent that Cox be tried first, based on a July court order that mistakenly transposed August trial dates for the two defendants.

“My client is prejudiced by the sudden change,” LaFon said in moving that Stover’s case also be continued.

LaFon also said he had not yet received a ruling on a motion and subsequent brief he filed in late July seeking to suppress a statement Stover gave to authorities in July 2012.

Courts rarely grant a second continuance, but Nicholas Circuit Judge Gary Johnson agreed to continue the cases to the September court term and set trial dates of Sept. 30 and Oct. 16.

LaFon wanted the Oct. 16 date, but Nicholas Prosecutor Jamie Milam, who chose to try Stover first when the cases were separated in May, before LaFon was retained as Stover’s attorney, again said he would rather have Stover go first.

“I believe the state has the right to choose,” Milam said.

“That’s been traditional, but I don’t know if it’s the rule,” Judge Johnson responded.




The boys of summer

Showing a unique jumping form, these young swimming enthusiasts came out last Saturday to help raise money for renovations to the swimming pool at Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Park in Summersville. There was fun, food, swimming and diving competitions, rubber ducky races, raffle drawings, and a colorful calendar with pictures of the lifeguards and “friends of the pool.” They did not meet their ultimate goal but did raise an encouraging $15,722 in cash and pledges, according to pool manager Mary Spencer.





Two recognized during School

Board Employees Opening Day

Countywide recognition of two employees highlighted the opening day program for all Nicholas County Board of Education employees held Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Nicholas County High School Auditorium.

Following the welcoming by Nicholas County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Keith Butcher, the program began with the presentation of colors by the Wilderness Battalion of the Junior ROTC from the Nicholas County Career and Technical Center in Craigsville. Baylee Jarrett, a student at the Gauley River Elementary School, and Rachel Dorsey, a student at Nicholas County High School, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Holly Belmont sang the National Anthem.

Superintendent Butcher gave a PowerPoint presentation which included five important qualities in creating a positive workplace, including showing gratitude, focusing on strengths, balancing negatives, facing challenges with positive problem solving, celebrating success and supporting the team.




Lighthouse Festival is Saturday

The first-ever Summersville Lake Lighthouse Festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 23, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Summersville Lake Retreat off Route 129 in Mount Nebo.

The festival is a celebration of West Virginia’s only lighthouse, which is located at the retreat overlooking Summersville Lake.

“All lighthouses have some type of commemoration and we originally thought we would do something early in the month in observance of National Lighthouse Day which is Aug. 7,” said Summersville Lake Retreat owner Steven Keblesh.

“ We were then contacted by Summersville Lake officials and the Mountain Mama Hospice Regatta and they asked us if we would do something when they have their regatta this weekend to keep people at the lake after the regatta,” explained Keblesh.

Keblesh added that one can get a good view of the sailboats racing in the regatta when they climb the lighthouse.

A number of activities are scheduled, including a classic car “cruise in,” artisans from Tamarack demonstrating their crafts, and numerous food vendors. Cabela’s hunting and fishing retailer will have a bait casting booth.

Local rock and blues band Big Daddy and the Mudcats will be the featured performers. They will be preceded by local musician Chris Stockwell.

Drawings will be held for numerous prizes, including a brand-new kayak with accessories, a Summersville Lake Retreat cabin rental, Winterplace Resort ski package, a whitewater rafting trip and a zip line tour.

Keblesh also confirmed that a special guest for the festival will be Tim Harrison of Maine, the editor of Lighthouse Magazine.




School Board hears teacher and parent concerns

The Nicholas County Board of Education heard concerns from a parent and a teacher at their meeting on Monday evening, Aug. 18.

The Board also learned about the Flexible 6 scheduling system at both high schools in the county, received an update on the proposed upgrading of the old football field near Summersville Elementary School, approved bids for laptop and desktop computers and conducted a student disciplinary review.

Present for the meeting were Board President Dr. Lloyd Adkins, Vice-President Phil Berry and members Bob M. O’Dell, Darrell White and Fred Amick.

Request for leave of absence
Nancy Long, teacher at Summerville Middle School, came before the Board to request that she be permitted to take five days of paid leave to accompany her son on a Make-a-Wish Foundation-sponsored trip to Disney World in Florida.

Long said her son suffers from life-threatening seizures and has some other medical problems and suffers from autism so she would have to accompany him on the trip.

“He has wanted for almost his entire life to see The Transformers,” said Long of her son’s desire to visit the Disney World attraction.

Long told the Board that she was disappointed to be told by the Board personnel director that she would only be provided paid leave for three days with the other two days being without pay, in accordance with county Board policy.

Long said she would be unable to afford losing two days of pay because she is a single mother raising several children and if she can’t go on the trip, she would have to pay back the cost of airplane tickets reserved by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.



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