By JOHN G. WOLFE
Saturday was a tragic day in the Roanoke area of Lewis County, when a large tree fell on a man driving to work smashing the cab of his truck and killing him.
Patrick Daniel "Bubby" McVay, age 58, of Walkersville was traveling to work at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Jacksonville Ridge Road when a tree fell onto the cab of his 2014 Nissan Frontier truck. According to the police report filed by investigating officer E.W. Clark of the Lewis County Sheriff's Department the accident was reported to E911 at 6:33 a.m. when someone in the area said they thought they heard a vehicle hit a tree and could hear a vehicle horn sounding.
Clark arrived on scene at 6:49 a.m. where he was met by members of the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Department, who worked to remove the tree so that McVay could be extricated from the vehicle. According to the accident report, there was no evidence that McVay had any chance of avoiding the calamity. McVay's death was the result of a rare accident in which he had no chance of survival. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:03 a.m.
McVay's body was transported to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital where the medical examiner reported that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The report also indicated that McVay suffered a broken rib and that there was evidence of asphyxiation.
Patrick McVay was the father of five children and grandfather of seven. He was employed at the Super 8 Motel in Weston and had worked for Halliburton according to his obituary.
The funeral service for McVay is to be held today, at 11 a.m., at the Pat Boyle Funeral Home in Jane Lew, with burial to follow in the McCann's Run Cemetery. His full obituary is found in this week's edition of The Weston Democrat.
By CASSIDY McCOY
At the Monday meeting, the Lewis County Commission approved measures to de-fund Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau as of July 1. Lewis County CVB will remain operational and funds from the hotel.motel tax will be devoted to a single tourism organization instead of divided between the two.
Commission President Agnes Queen said that during budget discussions in March the commission was tight with money in order to be proactively fiscally responsible. Lewis County is an oil and gas county and that surrounding counties have witnessed drastic declines in incoming revenue. Queen said Lewis County "is solid and wants to stay solid" so the commission made tough decisions, one of which is to stop funding for Mountain Lakes CVB as of July 1.
Queen stressed that "no one has done anything wrong" and that the commission hopes to see the funds, people and ideas from both CVBs come "together under one umbrella." The county cannot force Mountain Lakes CVB to close its doors but will no longer be providing funding. According to state regulations, if Mountain Lakes does dissolve then any funds in the bank account would revert to the county and in turn go to the Lewis County CVB.
The two groups have been working together for months and have already begun merger discussions, Queen said "that the two groups have come so close to joining" but are now at a dead standstill, which is why the commission decided it was time to push the subject and force the two organizations to work something out.
Mountain Lake CVB had just hired a new director, Jo Ellyn McNees, who was delivered the news Monday, her first day on the job. McNees took the news as an "opportunity to take this area to the next level," stating that she agrees with the merger and thinks that combining resources and ideas can be good for the county.
Mountain Lakes Chair Jonelle Swiger spoke to the commission to introduce McNees and acknowledge that Mountain Lakes has already begun planning for the merger. Swiger requested an outside audit from Lewis County CVB in order to pursue planning for Mountain Lakes.
Both Lewis County CVB and Mountain Lakes CVB are dedicated to promoting tourism in the area and merging boards and marketing strategies will help the county save money on general office and operating expenses.
Chris Richards, Lewis County CVB executive director, was at Monday's meeting for the funding decision and to deliver the Lewis County CVB quarterly report. Richards and her board have been hard at work promoting Lewis County at trade shows and events, preparing marketing materials and working with the state tourism department. Richards said that recently passed Senate Bill 581 has added money to the MAPP grant program and created a major increase in funds around the state for tourism.
Richards also mentioned extended stay contracts at hotels in the area, stating "no state law says a hotel has to accept extended stay contracts" and suggested in the future Lewis County may look into restricting such contracts to open up rooms to tourists and travelers. Commission Administrator Cindy Whetsell said that apart from the resort, motel and hotel occupancy in the county hangs around 95 percent.
In other news, Lewis County EDA Director Mike Herron scheduled another public meeting for the Northwest Water Project to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. May 12 at the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Department.
Herron is still gathering water user agreements from residents and finalizing plans for the project. The EDA has already hosted two public meetings for the project, one in Churchville and one in Murphy's Creek. The public meetings give the public a chance to learn more, ask questions and turn in water user agreements which are required from the WV American Water Company before the water company sets up a funding amount.
Herron also said that the Alum Fork Laurel Lick water project has only seen about 60 percent of the water user agreements turned in. Herron urges residents to fill out the agreements and return them to the EDA so that he can move forward in planning, funding and finishing the job.
The EDA welcomed board member Bruce Loyd, who took his oath of office Monday.
Michael Oldaker was sworn in by the commission as the deputy sheriff's representative to the Lewis County Civil Service Board.
Construction crews have began working on transforming the old sheriff's office into office space for assessors. Whetsell said the crew has been doing a tremendous amount of demolition including the removal of asbestos. Construction has run into little problems like removing doorways with offset steel or removing the old shower stalls but Whetsell said "no change in the project scope will lead to an additional cost to the county."
Sarah Weaver and Mary Hendricks attended Monday's meeting as the commission proclaimed May 7 as National Day of Prayer Celebration in Lewis County. A gathering will be held at the courthouse with a prayer at noon to correspond with ceremonies nation wide.
The Lewis County Commission is at 110 Center Avenue on the second floor and can be reached at (304)269-8200. The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday May 4.
Tuesday, April 21, the Lewis County Commission reviewed levy rates and elected to keep the same rates for 2015-2016.
Tax levies are based upon the assessed value of property as determined by county assessors, not the appraised value. In Lewis County levy rates are listed as cents per $100 valuation and are applied to personal property, real estate and public utility.
Currently Lewis County residents are subject to a current state levy, a current county levy, a county excess levy for the aquatic center, a current school levy, an excess school levy and municipal levies for Jane Lew and Weston residents.
The current levies are set at the following rates: State levy Class I is 0.25, for Class II is 0.5 and for Class III and IV it is 1; County regular levy for Class 1 is 14.3, Class 2 is 28.6 and Class 3 and 4 is 57.2; County excess levy rates for the aquatic center are set at 1.65 for Class 1, 3.3 for Class 2 and 6.6 for Class 3 and 4; Regular school levy is set at 19.4 for Class I, 38.8 for Class II and 77.6 for Class III and IV; School excess levy rate for Class I is 10.32, for Class II is 20.64 and for Class III and IV it is 41.28.
So for rural Lewis County residents in the Class I tax base the levy rate is 45.92. Class II sees a levy rate of 91.84 and Class III and IV see levy rates of 183.68.
Jane Lew and Weston both implement a municipal levy and use the same rates. For Class I the rate is 12.5, for Class II the rate is 25 and for Class III and IV the rate is 50. For those residing within Jane Lew or Weston city limits the levy rates for Class I total 58.42, for Class II it is 116.84 and for Class III and IV it is 233.68.
Levies provide valuable funding for government organizations and municipalities. Some of the funds provided by the school excess levy are being used for the current renovations, investing in teacher salaries and providing textbooks to students.
The annual levy rate will be reviewed again next year and the excess school levy will be voted on again in 2020.