Elkins Recreation and Event Center Open House

Exciting developments are underway at the Elkins Recreation and Event Center.  Formerly the Elkins National Guard Armory, the building has undergone significant renovations and is primed to be used for a variety of functions – including, but not limited to, concerts, fundraisers, dinners and sporting events.

We are opening our doors to the public on May 18 for a grand opening.  An open meeting of the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a ribbon cutting with the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.  Guests will be invited to tour the facility – either with a guide or at their own discretion. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

The Elkins Recreation and Event Center, Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission and City of Elkins, would like to cordially invite you to attend this exciting event. We encourage you to come and see for yourself the progress we’ve made at the facility and find out more about our plans for the future.

Get Involved in Source Water Protection

 

The City of Elkins has developed a Source Water Protection Plan and would like to invite all customers to attend a public meeting on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:00 p.m. at Elkins City Hall located at 401 Davis Avenue. Please join us to review and comment on the plan.

Please contact the Operations Division for additional information at 304-635-7021. You may also review the SWPP flyer for additional information.

 

Car Wash Meth Bust

From Chief Cross:

“On the 21st of February, Senior Patrolman K.A. Shiflett along with Patrolman D.T. Sayre responded to the area of Super Splash Car Wash on Randolph Avenue Elkins WV, in reference to a suspicious male subject later identified as, namely Allen Lee White who had attempted to get into a vehicle not belonging to him. The officers located and made contact with White at the car wash.

During the contact the Officers performed an officer safety check of White’s person during which time Senior Patrolman Shiflett felt with his hand what he believed to be methamphetamine (rocks) in White’s left front pocket. S.P Shiflett then questioned White about the contents of his pocket to which White verbally responded with and expletive and then began removing  clear baggies containing a white crystalline like substance appearing to be methamphetamine from his front left pocket.

After removing the baggies from his pocket, White began attempting to rip them open and did not obey S.P. Shiflett’s and Ptlm Sayre’s commands to stop, at which point both officers attempted to take him into custody. White disobeyed the officers’ commands to place his hands behind his back and resisted the officers attempts to gain control of him. During the struggle White was able to rip open two of  the baggies and cause the contents to be strewn about the air and ground.

After gaining control of White and placing him in handcuffs, officers did observe the substance from the ripped open baggies lying about the ground as well as another baggy which still contained a large amount of the suspected methamphetamine. The officers did recover several grams of suspected methamphetamine from the ground and baggies. The substance did also test positive for methamphetamine using a preliminary field test. Allen Lee White was arrested for felony possession of narcotics and transported to the Tygart valley Regional Jail.”

Search Warrant Leads to Heroin Arrest

On February 15, 2016, Corporal G. L. Brown with the Elkins Police Department obtained a search warrant for apartment 2G at Allegheny Apartments  in reference to possession of narcotics. Corporal Brown, along with Corporal M. J. Sigley, Senior Patrolman K.S. Shiflett, and Patrolman A.M. Wyshyvanuk, assisted by troopers from the West Virginia State Police and deputies from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, executed the search warrant. Heroin and illegal mushrooms were found inside the apartment.  Brian Michael Barrack was arrested for possession. Chief Cross is extremely grateful to the WVSP and RCSD for all their assistance in executing these search warrants.

More than 100 Truck Loads of Snow Removed from Downtown

WS Jonas cleanupWe have gotten some questions about city snow-removal operations. Here’s what’s been going on and what we have planned.

As soon as flakes started to fly on Friday, plowing and road treatment commenced. Crews from not only the Street Department but also the Water Transmission Department, the Wastewater Collection and Transmission Department, and others worked around the clock until the snow ceased and it was clear that primary and secondary roads would remain open without constant attention. Crews were then sent home for some much-needed rest.

On Monday, the Street Department set to work clearing snow from the city’s central business district. You may have seen the barricades as loaders, graders, plows and dump trucks made their way block by block until today, when Davis Avenue was finally cleared from First Street to Fifth Street. In the process, more than 100 dump-truck loads of snow were transferred to Glendale Park.

The next, and final, phase of our response to Winter Storm Jonas will be to look for and clear additional intersections where piled snow could create traffic hazards. Unfortunately, because the arrival of winter weather does not reduce any of the usual, day-to-day demands on all city departments, we will not be able to mount clearing operations throughout the rest of the city similar to the one just concluded on Davis Avenue.

Once again, we thank those residents who complied with the requirement to clear sidewalks in front of their own houses and businesses, checked on neighbors, dug out each other’s cars, and in general behaved like the resourceful, resilient folks this state is known for. It’s fair to say we dodged a bullet where Jonas was concerned (imagine if that snow had been as wet as during Hurricane Sandy, for example), but it seems everyone did a great job rising to the occasion.

Let’s hope French Creek Freddie has some good news for us next Tuesday!

Elkins Man Shot after Pointing Shotgun at Police

On January 15, 2016 Elkins Police Department (EPD) Senior Patrolman K. A. Shiflett obtained a search warrant for a residence located at 1625 ½ Ward Avenue in reference to illegal narcotics. At approximately 9:45 p.m.,  a team consisting of EPD Senior Patrolman Shiflett, Corporal M.J. Sigley, Patrolman T. C. Bennett, and Patrolman D.T. Sayre; several West Virginia State Police troopers; and several Randolph County Sheriffs Department deputies executed said search warrant. While executing the search warrant, a male subject inside the residence pointed a shotgun at the officers, leaving the officers no choice but to use their firearms to defend themselves. The male subject was struck by bullets fired by the officers. The name of the male subject is not being released at this time. Two other male subjects who were located inside the residence were arrested.

Drunk Driver Arrested After Pursuit

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on January 12, 2016, while patrolling in South Elkins, Elkins Police Department Senior Patrolman K.A. Shiflett observed a black Dodge Grand Caravan traveling west on Eleventh Street at a high rate of speed. Officer Shiflett initiated his cruiser’s emergency lights and siren, but the driver of the vehicle did not stop and instead continued to travel west on Eleventh Street at a high rate of speed in icy conditions, showing reckless indifference for the safety of others.

Officer Shiflett observed the vehicle commit several unsafe passing maneuvers and ignore multiple speed and traffic-control signs and signals before it struck a large rock monument at the entrance to Glendale Park with sufficient force to move it approximately ten feet. The driver then exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Officer Shiflett commenced a foot pursuit while repeatedly commanding the driver to stop and verbally identifying himself as a police officer. The foot pursuit continued into a heavily wooded area of the park, where Officer Shiflett was able to apprehend the driver. Breath analysis of the detainee, identified as Cory Lee Taylor, indicated that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was .157, well in excess of the legal limit of .10, and he was placed under arrest.

Mr. Taylor has been charged for flight in a vehicle from a law-enforcement officer while under the influence of alcohol, a felony punishable by three-to-ten years in state prison. Additional charges related to destruction of park property and unauthorized use of a rental vehicle may be brought once the investigation concludes.

Update Concerning New Billboards in Elkins

As extensively discussed on the city’s Facebook page, two billboards (one LED, one non-LED) are currently being installed in the City of Elkins. Here are some fast facts about this situation:
  • Yes, NEW billboards (LED or traditional) are illegal in Elkins going forward, as a result of the sign ordinance approved in the summer.
  • However, the signs going in at Davis and Randolph and on Harrison are nonetheless LEGAL, because the company that owns them, Legends Outdoor, applied for  sign permits before the final approval of that ordinance.
  • Once in place, these signs are considered “grandfathered,” meaning that the ordinance’s prohibitions against such signs do not apply, just as they do not apply to the several other existing billboards in town. However, the ordinance’s requirements concerning upkeep and repairs, etc., will apply to them. Also, they cannot ever be enlarged.
  • In other words, there is NOTHING the city can do to prevent this sign from going in, AND the city has also taken action to prevent all future such signs from going in. The only entity with any ability to alter the course of this project is Legends Outdoor; their representative, Steve Snyder, may be reached at ssnyder@legendsoutdoor.com and by phone via the information provided on his company website’s contact page.
  • Silver lining: Legends Outdoor has pledged that they will, for free, display information requested by local authorities (e.g., Amber/Silver Alerts, boil water advisories, etc.).
To expand on that last point: Mr. Snyder spoke with Mayor Broughton yesterday. In that conversation, Mr. Snyder reemphasized his company’s willingness to work with the city to broadcast urgent/emergency messages. This could even include giving the city direct access to be able to place an emergency message day or night, but the technical specifics of that capability need to be researched, so this is not yet a firm arrangement.
 
Mr. Snyder also confirmed that the sign will be dimmed to some extent at night and said that the company might consider turning it off altogether between midnight and 5 a.m., depending on community input.
 
We have heard from many upset residents about this issue. We want you to know that we hear you and understand why you are upset. However, the current elected leadership and administration of the City of Elkins are committed to the rule of law; we cannot pick and choose who the law applies to and who it does not apply to.
Therefore, no matter how strongly many of us might wish otherwise, there was no magic parliamentary or other maneuver available to council or any city official that could have legally prevented the issuance of this permit, which was due to the applicant (Legends Outdoor) on April 29, before the first reading of the first version of the sign ordinance on May 7, 2015 (and of course even that version was later changed substantively enough to require two further readings, such that it was not finally approved until mid-June). As asserted to us by an attorney retained by Legends Outdoor:
  • “West Virginia law does not give cities the authority to suspend a valid ordinance. See Bittinger v. Corporation of Bolivar, 183 W.Va. 310, 314-15 (1990) (rejecting the city’s attempt to defer consideration of any new permits for ninety days by declaring a “moratorium” on any applications while a new ordinance was adopted).”
  • “West Virginia case law does not support the ability of the City of Elkins to retroactively apply any revised code that may be adopted to my client’s previously submitted applications. See Far Away Farm, LLC v. Jefferson County Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 222 W.Va. 252, 259 (2008).”

Thanks for reading, and we will keep you posted.

Search Warrant finds Drug Paraphernalia, Possible Stolen Items

October 29, 2015

9:36 a.m.

From Chief Cross: Early this morning, Elkins Police Department officers Shifflett and Wyshyvanuk obtained a search warrant for a garage on the curtilage of 1106 South Kerens Avenue. Upon executing the warrant, the officers discovered drug paraphernalia and numerous items matching the description of items recently reported stolen. The resident of this garage, an individual named Christopher Bibey, was arrested on multiple related charges. Officers are currently examining and inventorying the contents of the garage and will begin contacting recent theft victims if it appears that their lost items have been recovered.

What’s Up with all the Water Main Breaks and Leaks?

It’s not your imagination: we have had a real spike in water main breaks and leaks recently. But don’t worry, the end of the world is not near! According to Operations Manager Bob Pingley, these events don’t signal a general collapse of our water infrastructure. There’s a simpler explanation.

“It’s actually because we had to close the line filling the Crystal Springs reservoir tank,” Pingley said at last night’s council meeting, referring to one of the city’s two reservoir tanks (the other one is on top of “reservoir hill,” above High Street). He explained that the city’s Water Plant pumps water out through the city’s piping system at a certain pressure. When everything is functioning normally, the water flows out through the lines and eventually fills up the tanks at each end of the city. The main function of those tanks, of course, is to store fresh water, but a byproduct of the action of filling them up is that each tank provides a sort of ‘relief valve’ for pressure throughout the system of pipes that serves the city. For an admittedly inexact analogy, think of the expansion tank on a water heater: a place for water to keep flowing into so that it doesn’t raise the pressure of the system it’s coming from.

But as water customers along Harrison Avenue and in Crystal Springs know, everything hasn’t been functioning normally. At least not since October 13, when we suffered a break to a 24-inch water main in that area. Although crews were able to implement a temporary solution that restored water service, that solution left the line to the Crystal Springs tank closed. Without the “relief” of that tank, the water pressure throughout the system was substantially raised.

Now, as you may know, we have a lot of old pipes out there, some almost 100 years old. Many of these already had hairline fractures and even small leaks. Not surprisingly, when the pressure goes up for any reason, those hairline fractures start turning into small leaks, those small leaks start turning into larger leaks, and the larger leaks–well, just ask the customers along Harrison or in South Elkins this week.

The good news is that the line to the Crystal Springs tank is back open as of today. We hope it can stay open, although we should all be ready for some continued “aftershocks” of the experience we’ve just been through. As you can imagine, that raised pressure might have created some really weak spots that are just waiting for some other factor to put them over the edge. Rest assured that, if that happens, our hardworking water crews will get things fixed just as fast as they can. Thanks for your understanding and patience, and check out these resources to learn more about the city’s water system and plans to improve it: