Kirk Pleads Guilty to Sex Charges

Former Mercer County teacher and Roane County man has pleaded guilty to sex charges involving students.

Media outlets report that 36-year-old Jonathan Edward Kirk of Walton pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree sexual abuse and distributing obscene materials to minors.

Kirk is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 25 in Mercer County Circuit Court.

Earlier, Judge William Sadler had rejected a plea agreement.

Kirk formerly was a teacher and coach at Pike View High School. He resigned after the investigation began. He was arrested in March 2013.


Obituary: Donald Ray Woody

Donald Ray Woody, 54, of Spencer, West Virginia passed away on July 19, 2014 at his home after a brief illness.

He was born February 29, 1960 in Charleston, West Virginia a son of the late Joshua Johnny and Lola Mae Samples Woody. He worked for Columbia Gas/Chesapeake for over 25 years and enjoyed fishing, coaching softball and basketball and watching sports.

“Woody” is survived by his wife of 35 years, Carla Diane Nichols Woody; one son, David Ryan Woody of Spencer; two daughters, Megan Christine Woody of Clay, West Virginia and Deanna Nicole Taylor of Charleston; one sister, Martha Ann Harper of Spencer; two brothers, John Woody of Charleston and Ronald Walker of North Carolina; and six grandchildren.

Per his request, the body was cremated. A memorial visitation will take place on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the TAYLOR-VANDALE FUNERAL HOME from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Obituary: Ruth Kidder

Ruth Kidder, 63, of Spencer, died Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in the Cabell Huntington Hospital, Huntington.

She was born July 19, 1950, at Normantown, a daughter of the late Steve and Martha Riffle Collins. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one sister, Virginia Collins.

Ruth was a homemaker and farmer.

Survivors include one son, Granville Kidder of Spencer; one daughter, Linda Smith of Florida; four grandchildren, Nukeila Kidder, Sonia Kidder, Brenna Garnes and Blake Garnes; four great grandchildren, Damion Longfellow, Kiara Longfellow, Layla Garnes and Braydon Jay Kidder; six brothers, George, Clifford, Davey, Jessie, Richard and Fred Collins; two sisters, Mary Myers and Betty Miller.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, July 20 in the John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer. Burial will be in the Snodgrass Cemetery, Gandeeville. Friends may call two hours before the funeral.

Online condolences may be expressed at

WVKOF Achieve National Success

The WV Kids on First performing arts group sent eight talented youth to the Kids on First National Talent Competition in Branson, Missouri on July 14 and 15, and brought back almost 5 times their number in awards. 
The KOF National Talent Competition is an annual event that brings performing arts students, ages 3-25, together to compete in the areas of vocals, instrumentals, drama and dance. This year, there were 89 acts that qualified at their respective state levels, and those performers brought their talents to the legendary "BRANSON STAR THEATER: Doug Gabriel Stage", all in hopes of securing a little bit of bling and scholarship monies in Music City.
Those competing and representing WV for the 2014 National Competition were: Katie Bowen (Spencer), Emily Hardway (Spencer) , Heather Martin (Spencer), Madison Parker (Walton) , Brandon Tiller (Ripley), Josh Runyon (Newton)), Kami Shultis, (Spencer) Kurt Shultis (Spencer), and the group K-Squared.
TEAM WV was awarded the following: 16 Gold with Honors. 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze, 5 National Championships and 3 Grand National Championships.
TEAM WV also secured the Serendipity, World Changer, Rhythm of the Dance, Dressed for Success, Audience Captivation, Finesse, and Musical Theater awards.
The competition, which took placed on day one, also featured a super competition, where performers were selected to compete for the prestigious title of Overall Super Vocalist. Those representing TEAM WV were Emily Hardway and Kami Shultis. Katie Roussel (Louisiana) took first place in the competition with her version of "Bill Bailey" and Kami Shultis (West Virginia) was named first runner up with "Mercy".
The WVKOF organization is a non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to teaching and honing music/performing arts skills, in students ages 3-25, while providing safe venues to perform and focusing on community service. The 2014-2015 year will begin August 1 and our doors are open to students who love to perform. There is no experience necessary and we have a host of volunteers, from the performing arts industry , that graciously give of their time and talents to help those that would like to learn what it takes to perform on stage. 
WVKOF will be auditioning for our new production, which will be a Variety Show, soon! For information on joining the award winning and nationally acclaimed WVKOF STARS or auditioning, you may contact Vince Metz at (304) 377-0464 or Laurie Shultis at (304) 927-8032 . 

USDA Strike Force Forum

USDA StrikeForce Forum Coming

The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) will be conducting a StrikeForce forum for Calhoun and Roane Counties on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. 

Calhoun and Roane County residents and leaders are encouraged to attend the forum which will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Arnoldsburg Community Center. 

In 2010, USDA launched the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity as an effort to leverage partnerships in poverty-stricken rural areas to ensure that every community has equal access to USDA programs.  USDA partners with rural communities and regions on locally-supported projects.  USDA takes steps, in partnership with the community, to provide technical assistance and explanation as needed to ensure that communities can fully access USDA programs. 

Attendees will participate in a community discussion which will identify the needs, barriers and opportunities for increasing opportunities in the region.  USDA, State and Local organizations representatives will assess if programs and/or partnerships can address the community’s needs.

The forum is hosted by the USDA, in partnership with other federal, state and local organizations.  These organizations will have program information available for attendees.  The forum will include refreshments and doorprizes and is expected to conclude by noon.  

WVU Morns the loss of former Spencer resident Ruth Kershner

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ruth Kershner, Ed.D., whose work and vision inspired her students and colleagues throughout her career at West Virginia University, has passed away. Dr. Kershner was a professor in the WVU School of Public Health and a very passionate advocate for health education.

“Ruth was a precious and valuable member of the School of Public Health family,” Interim Dean of the School of Public Health Jeffrey Coben, M.D., said. “For more than 24 years, Dr. Kershner was a courageous champion of WVU students and their well-being. She was known for her love, generosity, and endless energy and enthusiasm.”  

Kershner was frequently recognized by the university, community, and profession for her excellence in teaching and service. She was well known for her commitment to social justice. 

Her accolades included the 2011 Women in Science and Health Award and the 2009 West Virginia Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation.  

“Dr. Kershner’s humble beginnings as a nurse practicing in rural West Virginia led to her passion for community health, outreach, and educating the next generation of public health and nursing professionals. She was a master educator and excelled in leadership, mentorship, and service. Her enthusiasm truly inspired her students, and our world is diminished by her passing.  I will miss her immensely,”Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for WVU Health Sciences and president and CEO of West Virginia United Health System, said.

"The entire University community is saddened by Ruth's sudden death. She was well-respected by students and colleagues alike and was a force for public health in our community and state. She was an iconic figure on campus and a champion for making people's lives better," WVU President E. Gordon Gee said. "She received just about every teaching accolade possible. When she was named CASE professor of the year for West Virginia in 2009, one student said, 'You feel like she's on the same level as you, but she has the authority in the classroom and respect from her students. She makes you want to come to class every day.' I can't think of higher praise."

A memorial service on the Health Sciences campus is being planned for colleagues, students, friends and family.


Obituary: Shirley Carol Jett

Shirley Carol Jett, 62, of Looneyville WV, went home to be with the Lord on July 8, 2014 following a short illness.

Shirley was preceded in death by her beloved parents Waunie and Kate Hanshaw and her brother Dana Hanshaw.

Few words can express the impact Shirley had on the people around her including her husband of 43 years Randall "Blake" Jett, also of Looneyville. She always said it was his polka dot hat he wore when she first met him that sealed the deal for her. Shirley's life revolved around Blake and their two daughters, Kelly Morehead of Looneyville and Jaelyn Merical of Charleston. Shirley always ensured her daughters never wanted for anything and they didn't. She also loved her sons-in-law, Billy Morehead of Looneyville and Joseph Merical of Charleston.

Shirley was a homemaker in order to ensure that she was always available to take care of her family which also include three very special grandchildren whom she held near and dear to her heart, Nicholas and Olivia Morehead of Looneyville and a new "Merical" grandchild due in November.

Shirley is also survived by her sisters MaryLou Summers (Joe Summers) of Wallback, Agnes Perkins of Valley Fork, Hazel Griffith (Dale Griffith) of Seville OH, Phyllis Hanshaw of Millersburg, OH, Sharon Boggs (Rocky Boggs) of Valley Fork, Ruth Webster (Dan Webster) of Creston, OH, and brothers Charles Hanshaw (Rose Hanshaw)of Fredericksburg, OH and David Hanshaw (Marie Hanshaw) of Valley Fork, WV. Shirley also had many nephews and nieces, each of which she loved dearly.

Shirley ' s life was a full one filled with love, laughter and her devout faith in the Lord. As a result, she created a strong family bond built on that love and faith that can never be broken. She loved to spend time with her family especially her husband who she traveled with each week to work with. She also loved to sit on her front porch and swing while talking with her daughters.

Those who knew Shirley well probably received cards or little notes from her in the mail from time to time to let them know she was thinking about them. As she always said, “ It's the little things we can do for others that make a difference.”

The loss of Shirley leaves a void in the hearts of her loved ones but the memories she created with each one of them will forever stay and provide them with such love and comfort.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer, with Pastor Rick Perrine officiating. Burial will be in the J. Herbert Smith Sr. Family Cemetery, Vineyard Ridge, Looneyville.

Friends may call one hour before the funeral.

Online condolences may be shared at





Obituary: Rita M. Terrell

Rita M. Terrell, 84, of Reedy, West Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at home.

She was born April 30, 1930 in Roane County, a daughter of the late Alfred and Pearl Starcher Matics. She loved and cared deeply for her family-her parents, brothers, sister, sons, grandchildren, great-granddaughter, nieces, and nephews.

Rita is survived by her husband, Kenneth V. Terrell, Jr.; two sons, and daughters-in-law, Ronnie and Doris Terrell and K. Allen and Cheryl Terrell, all of Reedy; four grandchildren, Jason Terrell and Amanda Terrell, both of Reedy, Ashley (Mike) Sheppard of Grand Saline, Texas, and Brittany (Paul) Ward of St. Albans, West Virginia; a great-granddaughter, Elliot Brooke Sheppard; a sister, Tresa Lea Westfall of Woodsfield, Ohio; and three brothers, Don and Kenneth Matics, both of Reedy, and Jim Matics of Ohio.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by four brothers, Alfred “Bill”, Jr., Robert (Bob), Larry, and Benny Matics. The family wishes to send special thanks to Rita’s caregivers: Beth Mullens, Pat Mason, and Katrina Parsons.

A graveside service will be held at 10:00am on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Fairview Cemetery off of Grace Road near Reedy. There will be no visitation.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Fairview Church and Cemetery Fund, P.O. Box 266, Spencer, WV 25276.

Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home in Spencer, West Virginia is in charge of the arrangements.

Canning Workshop

Hands-on Canning Workshop Planned


Submitted by: Shannon Cottrill & Brandy Brabham, WVU Extension, 304-927-0975

An increase in home gardening and in the availability of locally grown produce for purchase has led to a renewed interest in canning and preserving foods for winter use.   In response to this interest throughout the Roane County community, the WVU Extension Service and Hardman’s Supply Company will be offering a free hands-on Canning Workshop on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at the Heritage Park Community Building in Spencer from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Instructors will focus on teaching participants safe and recommended practices when using both the boiling water and pressure canner methods.   Additionally, WVU Extension Agents will offer free testing of pressure canner gauges and provide other information concerning food preservation practices.  Hardman’s will sponsor door prizes and provide equipment for participants’ use.

Due to kitchen space requirements, the workshop will be limited to 20 participants with slots filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, July 23.  Interested individuals must contact the WVU Extension Service in Roane County to register for the workshop at (304) 927-0975. 

For more information about food preservation or testing your pressure canner, contact Brandy Brabham or Shannon Cottrill, WVU Extension Agents in Roane County at (304) 927-0975.

Roane Man Facing Sex Crime Charges

Nathan Lee Bissell, 33, of Roane County is facing several sexual abuse charges and is accused of sexually abusing a relative.

According to a criminal complaint says, victim, who is a minor, told the mother that Bissell inappropriately touched the victim while visiting his home and the victim's mother contacted police.

The victim, according to to the complaint, said that Bissell crushed up a pill and forced the victim to snort it during one visit to his home.

He is charged with sexual abuse 1st degree, sexual assault 1st degree (intrusion), sexual abuse by parent/guardian, and incest.

Bissell is in Central Regional Jail with bond set at $300,000.

Obituary: Barbara Jean Fields

Barbara Jean Fields, 53, of Spencer, died Sunday, July 6, 2014, at her home.

She was born February 9, 1961, in Spencer, a daughter of Carol J. Kelly Miller of Spencer and the late Levi Gay Miller. In addition to her father, she is preceded in death by one sister, Media Hall; and an infant brother, Levi G. Miller, Jr.

Barbara was a former employee of Kellwood Corp. and Go-Mart, Spencer.

In addition to her mother, survivors include her husband, Rick Fields of Spencer; two sons, Timothy Fields and Richard Fields both of Spencer; three grandchildren, Julian Fields, Jamison Arison and Jeremiah Fields; three sisters, Regina Marks of Spencer, Beverly Arthur of Milford, OH and Tammy Nichols also of Spencer; one brother, Mark Miller of Ripley.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 9 in the John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer, with Pastor Rick Perrine officiating. Burial will be in the Slate Cemetery, Spencer.

Friends may call one hour before the funeral on Wednesday.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Obituary: Donald E Williams

Donald E. Williams, Sr., 61, the Athletic Director at Roane County High School, a position he held since 2005, has died.

For 30 years Williams coached football, basketball and tennis. He had coached and taught at Gauley Bridge High School, Charleston Catholic High School, Parkersburg Catholic High School, Walton High School and Roane County High School.

For the last 32 years, he had been in the Roane County School System. While he was at Gauley Bridge and Charleston Catholic, his teams were in State Championships.

He was a member of the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Coaches Association, receiving his B.S. from W.V.I.T., Montgomery and his M.S. from W.V.U., Morgantown.

He was a member of the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Spencer and the Knights of Columbus, a member and past president of the Roane Arts and Humanities Council.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 8 in the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Spencer, with Father Josh Stevens as Celebrant. Burial will be in the Eventide Cemetery, Spencer. Friends may call after 5:00 p.m. Monday, July 7 at the Roane County High School.

The family requests that donations be made in memory of Donald E. Williams, Sr., to the Roane County Scholarship Foundation, 804 Summit Street, Spencer, WV 25276.

John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer, is in charge of arrangements.

Read complete obituary   Donald E. Williams, Sr.

Obituary: Ralph Leon Cottrell

Ralph Leon Cottrell, 65, of Spencer, died Friday, June 27, 2014, at his home.

He was born July 26, 1948 at Clover, Roane County, a son of the late Raymond Francis and Sybil Lorraine Huffman Cottrell. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four sisters, Martha Church, Rosalee Starcher, June Henslee and Naomi Frances Randall; three brothers, Robert L. Cottrell, Benjamin Cottrell and Boyd Ray Cottrell.

Ralph was a boiler maker and a former employee of Kellwood Corp., Spencer.

Survivors include one sister, Mable Irene Winter of California; caregiving nieces and nephew, Ann Herman and Sue Walkup of Massillon, OH and Dominic Joseph Cottrell of Wheeling; numerous other nieces and nephews.

Ralph has been cremated. Burial, at a later date, will be in the Clover Cemetery, Clover.

John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer, is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Obituary: Thella G. Miller Gainer

Thella G. Miller Gainer, age 89, of Spencer, West Virginia, passed away at Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston, West Virginia, on Friday, June 27, 2014.

She was born November 14, 1924, in Gilmer County, West Virginia, the daughter of the late Everett Miller and Audra Snyder Miller.

She was a former employee of Kellwood Company and retired from Spencer State Hospital. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Spencer.

Thella is survived by her son, Gordon Lee Gainer (Rita), of Spencer; and granddaughters, Lindsay Gainer of Ripley and Megan Gainer of Spencer; grandchildren, Tracie Nolder, Anissa Furr, Tammy Furr and Chad Furr; sisters, Merle Nicholson and Tressa Porterfield.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Lee Gainer; son, Errol Gene Furr; sister, Thelma Ritter; and brothers, Russell and Bryan Miller.

Thella requested there be no funeral service and her wishes will be respected.

If anyone desires, donations may be made in her memory to Hubbard Hospice House, 1001 Kennawa Drive, Charleston, WV 25311.

Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home in Spencer is in charge of the arrangements.