Held in Heist
At GNC Store
By JOHN G. WOLFE
A Virginia man is being held in the Central Regional Jail after confessing to police that he robbed the GNC store, located at the Market Place Shopping Plaza, on Saturday afternoon.
Stephen Lucas Homer, 18, of Blue Ridge,Va. was arrested later that night following a joint effort of the Lewis County Sheriff's Department and the West Virginia State Police. He was arrested at the BFS Store at Stonewall Junction, where he was preparing to catch a bus to head to Virginia. His arrest came as a result of a tip called in after local media outlets ran news stories about the robbery that included a description and a camera footage photo of the defendant.
In his complaint against Homer, Deputy G.P. Hoskins wrote that at about 2:04 p.m on Saturday, the robbery occurred at the GNC store. "The store cashier reported a short male subject wearing a hat, orange reflective sun glasses, a red or orange hoodie with a tan jacket over it entered the store. He waited until a customer left before coming to the counter and telling the cashier he needed all of the money out of the register. The cashier handed the defendant approximately $200 before he left the business." A weapon was not used by Homer in the robbery.
Hoskins wrote that Senior Trooper A.N. Alton reviewed a video tape at the BFS and observed the accused wearing the same clothing he wore in the commission of the robbery at the GNC store.
Homer was interviewed by Senior Trooper Z.T. Cooper and confessed to him that he had committed the crime. He also outlined what he did after the robbery and told Cooper where he ditched or hid the clothing he was wearing at the time of the robbery.
He told Cooper that he buried the clothing he was wearing on a hill behind Stonewall Jackson Oxygen in the snow and then walked away from the area. He stated that he took his gloves off and buried them along Glady Fork Road. Trooper Alton took him to the spot where he said he had buried the gloves and they were retrieved. Other officers located the clothing that he had been wearing during the commission of the crime where he had told Cooper he had hidden the clothing.
Homer was arraigned by Magistrate Roger D. Clem, Jr. with bond set at $200,000. He remains held in jail pending the posting of bond or further court action.
Irish Spring Festival Kicks Off Sunday with 3 Events
The 34th Annual Irish Spring Festival, held in the community of Ireland will kick-off on Sunday, March 8, with three events. The theme for this year's festival is "Irish Blessings."
At 12:15 p.m. will be the flag raising ceremony at the Ireland Community Building, to be followed by the Pot o'Luck Dinner, a covered dish dinner at 1 p.m. The dinner will be followed by the Psalms of Ireland, a gospel music sing to be held at the Ireland United Methodist Church beginning at 2:30 p.m.
It is hoped that all the homes of Ireland will be decorated in Irish finery and green and white for the judging of the best house decorations to begin on Monday, March 9.
A few days will lapse before festivities resume on Thursday, March 12, with opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m., followed by the King and Queen Reception with entertainment provided by Dustin McCray at 7:15 p.m. in the Ireland Community Building.
On Friday, March 13, a bevy of activities will occur at the Ireland Community Building, beginning with the Irish Jig, or square dancing at 7 p.m. Occurring at the same time will be the Costume Contest.
At 8 p.m., the winners of the house decorating contest will be announced, to be followed by the announcement of the winners of the Costume Contest.
The grand finale of the evening will be the announcement of the winners of the Festival King and Queen Contest at 9 p.m. Candidates of the title of Festival Queen include Linda Clutter, Karen Gum and Sandy King. Candidates for the title of Festival King this year are Bob Bennett, Bob Chumney and Roger Westfall.
Saturday, March 14 is the big day of the festival, with folks coming to the small community in southern Lewis County from near and far.
Throughout the day arts and crafts will be on display and for sale. Harp music will fill the halls of the Ireland United Methodist Church, and in the community building the Ireland Post Office will offer the 2015 St. Patrick's Day collector's cancellation stamp. Health screening will be provided by the Tri-County Health Clinic and Irish- themed foods and drinks will be available.
Activities slated for Saturday include a scavenger hunt at 9 a.m., kite fly at 9:30 a.m., Lucky Charm horseshoe pitch and hound dog demonstrations at 10 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., and intermediate harp workshop will take place at the Ireland United Methodist Church, with extra harps available. Also at 10:30 a.m. will be the Tour de Shamrock, a 10.5 mile bike tour in and around the Ireland community.
At 11 a.m. a foul shooting contest will take place for the youth, and a harp concert rehearsal will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the church.
The highlight of the day will be the March "March," or parade beginning at 1 p.m. Following the parade, a Harp Concert will take place at the church beginning at 2 p.m.
Other afternoon activities include: Fuzzy and Stubbles at 2 p.m., Irish Road Bowling at 2:30 p.m., a beginners harp workshop at the church at 3 p.m., the Just Ducky Sweepstakes (rubber duck race) starts at 4 p.m.
At 4:30 p.m. in the community building the Budding Shamrocks talent contest will begin, and capping off the days activities will be the Luck o' the Irish Bingo.
On Sunday, March 15, from noon until 4 p.m., there will be open microphone music at the community building, featuring the Gregory Family and others. Shamrock CEOS Craft tables will be set up throughout the community building.
At 1 p.m. the Snake Chase, or 10K walk/run will begin and at 4:30 p.m. there will be a Fried Potato Contest.
On Monday, March 16, a Unicorns, Gremlins and Shmoos Pet Show will take place at the community building beginning at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 17, St. Patrick's Day, local school children will visit Ireland.
On Wednesday, March 18, at 6 p.m. there will be the corn hole contest and stone soup supper.
The Luck o' the Irish, or bingo, will return on Thursday, March 19, beginning at 6:30 at the community building.
The festivities will end on Friday, March 20, with a 6:15 p.m. ascent to the local Blarney Rock and the Vernal Equinox and Official Declaration of Spring at 6:45 p.m.
The annual festival is sponsored by the Shamrock CEOS. For more information visit the festival website at www.anglefire.com/wv/irishspringfestival.
Is Sworn In
Devon Morgan was approved and sworn in by the Lewis County Commission Monday morning as the newest Deputy to join the Lewis County Sheriff's Department.
Morgan is originally from Greenbrier County and is taking the position that is vacant due to the retirement of Sergeant Ed Browning.
Morgan worked as a military police officer for four years according to Sheriff Adam Gissy and will attend the State Police Academy at the beginning of May.
In other news, Michelle Posey, case manager, from the Community Corrections Program, gave an update to the Commissioners about the growth of the center since it began in 2010.
The first year the Community Corrections program had 42 referrals, this year so far Community Corrections has had 211. People remain in the Community Corrections ranging from six months to a year.
The Commissioners also approved to match a grant for the Lewis-Upshur Community Corrections program.
Mayor of Weston, Julia Spelsberg offered her and the City of Weston's help to the Commissioners as they begin planning the bicentennial celebration of Lewis County which will take place in 2016.
Spelsberg's requested that the Commissioners sign a proclamation in support of the West Fork Water Trail Proposal. This proposal will be a 75 mile train that will start at the base of the Stonewall Jackson Dam and continue all the way to Fairmont.
There are two small dams in Lewis County and four in Harrison County that there will have to have small slides so that kayaks or other non-motorized boats/water devices can sale down with ease. There are already four of these type of water trails in the state.
With the anticipated news that a Tudor's Biscuit World would be coming to Lewis County, Commissioner Tom Fealy asked Lewis County Executive Director of the Economic Development Authority Mike Herron if he had heard any more news about it.
Herron responded by saying, "There are a number of restaurants looking at this area."
Herron recently toured Ipacesetters to see the new renovations that have taken place the last few months, due to the expansion of the building and adding additional employees.
The next meeting of the Lewis County Commission will be held on Monday, March 9, at 10 a.m., at the Lewis County Courthouse.