Fire Hits Jane Lew Glass Factory
A portion of the Masterpiece Crystal Glass Factory in Jane Lew was destroyed by fire Sunday afternoon, with the fire reported shortly before 3 p.m.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but the State Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate the blaze at the Trolley Street factory location.
WDTV reported that the factory owner indicated that a neighbor close to the factory heard an explosion and called 911. Another nearby resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said he heard it on the emergency scanner and went to see what was going on and that from the time the fire whistle blew it was only a few minutes until the first fire trucks arrived. The resident also said he saw a portion of the roof cave in shortly after.
After firefighters thought the fire was contained and out and after leaving the scene, they were called back later as it rekindled.
According to the WV State Police, no one was injured in the fire. Based on information we received, the Jane Lew, Jackson's Mill, Weston, Pricetown, and Lost Creek Fire Departments responded to fight the fire.
Metz and Freeman Indicted on 2 Counts of Murder
By JOHN G. WOLFE
As it turns out, a Lewis County Grand Jury issued more than 37 criminal indictments when they met last Monday. Two indictments were sealed, and when unsealed by the court later in the week they were murder indictments that stemmed from the disappearance of Maxine Stalnaker and Mary Friend on Dec. 1, 1999.
Joseph Metz, 39, of Horner, and Charles Stephen Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio, were each indicted on two counts of murder for the killing of Stalnaker and Friend.
The two women disappeared after leaving their home in Jane Lew on a Christmas shopping trip. Stalnaker was 69 when she disappeared, and Friend was 46. Friend is the mother of Metz and Stalnaker the grandmother.
David Hughes, 58, also of Archbold, pled guilty in February to conspiracy to commit armed robbery against the women and has yet to be sentenced. His plea was part of an agreement with the state, in which he is expected to testify against Metz and Freeman.
All three were charged with the slayings back in September of 2013. Those charges were later dropped by then Prosecuting Attorney Michael Smith, who said he had new information and evidence.
It is alleged that Hughes, Freeman and Metz conspired to kidnap, rob and murder Stalnaker and Friend. Police believe that Friend had a notebook listing people involved in illegal drug transactions that occurred at the Wilderness Plantation that was at that time owned by Hughes.
The criminal complaint against Metz claims that Hughes ordered Metz and Freeman to kidnap the women, take their possessions to obtain the notebook and then to kill them. Hughes is believed to have been in fear of the notebook contents which he believed contained incriminating evidence against him.
Hughes turned himself in in December and entered into a plea agreement with the state. He claims that Metz and Freeman gave him the incriminating notebook and that Metz told him they carried out his order by shooting the two women and disposing of their bodies. The bodies have yet to be recovered.
Metz has been in jail without bond since January, after he was recharged with murder. An indictment against him was anticipated. The indictments were sealed until Hughes could be arrested in Ohio and he now stands recharged as well.
In court on Friday, Metz entered a plea of not guilty to the murder indictments during arraignment. His attorneys also filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, saying the indictment was defective. A hearing on this motion is set before Judge Kurt W. Hall this Friday at 1 p.m. Freeman is being held in jail in Ohio pending extradition proceedings.
By ELIZABETH HARDMAN
President Agnes Queen of the Lewis County Commission swore in Scott Chapman as the new Deputy Assessor.
Many citizens of Lewis County have been concerned about the number of power outages and daily surges that are happening county wide. Cindy Whetsell has been in contact with the Government Affairs Representative (GAR). The GAR believes it is best to document the outages so that certain circuits can be watched and hopefully that will lead to a solution. The GAR is also planning to meet with the Lewis County Commission.
The Lewis County Commission agreed to petition the Monongahela Power Company's rate increase of 15.85 percent. About 525,000 customers in West Virginia will be affected if the proposed increase rate is approved.
The Lewis County Regional Jail invoice for June 2014 is, once again at an all time high, $96,693.00. The bill has increased by $3,811.75 since May. The bill has also increased by $33,838.60 from last year in June.
The plan of moving more people out of the jail and into home confinement and community corrections should help lower the jail bill. Also by implementing the new Drug Court into Lewis County should help lower the jail bill. Even though there is focus on lowering the jail bill, the safety of the community will not be put at risk.
The Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) was approved for one Prevention Resource Officer at Lewis County High School in the amount of $20,000.00.
The Wellness Council met on July 1, 2014. The Wellness Council was created to help make Lewis County a healthier county. Many ideas that the council hope to bring to the county include natural playgrounds, water trails, organized 5K's every month, build and connect trails and start walking/running trails.
It is believed that children who participate in healthy activities at a young age tend to carry those activities into adult. Aside from the healthy aspect, these activities can be enjoyed by the entire family.
President Agnes Queen attended the Nature Camp held at Stonewall Jackson Resort on Thursday, July 17. Queen was able to talk and spend the day with the campers. Queen stated, "The Nature Camp was very interesting and highly successful."