www.charlestondailymail.com http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: May 26, 2015 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT01/305269975 OBIT01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT01/305269975 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Beasley, Gracie 11 a.m., Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, Beckley.

Clark, Phyllis J. 1 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Sissonville.

Crowe, Eugene R. Noon, The First Church of the Nazarene, Huntington.

Gray, Hazel M. 11 a.m., Waters Funeral Chapel, Summersville.

Hager, Ervin 2 p.m., Alum Creek Church of Christ, Alum Creek.

Harris, Madeline G. 2 p.m., Smathers Funeral Chapel, Inc., Rainelle.

Hatfield, Calvin L. 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Haynes, Ruby I. 1 p.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, Charleston.

Jackson, Marcia L. 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home Chapel, Ravenswood.

Justice, Lincoln 1 p.m., Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens, Glasgow.

Miller, Joann 2 p.m., Cunningham

Miller, Sharon L. 1 p.m., Crosier Cemetery, Union.

Morris, Bruce M. 1 p.m., Montgomery Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel, London.

Pearson, Tammy L. 1 p.m., Deal Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Racer, Harold R. Noon, St. John's Catholic Church, Summersville.

Ripley, Earl O. Sr. 1 p.m., Groves Funeral Home Chapel, Union.

Stone, George E. 1 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Hinton.

Stowers, Ralph 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Tincher, Wilma J. 6 p.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Ward, William 1 p.m., Simons

Wheeler, Ronald 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Sharon K. Adkins http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269995 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269995 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Mrs. Sharon Kaye Adkins, 64, of Henlawson, died April 24, 2015. Graveside service and burial will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Highland Memory Gardens, Godby. Arrangements by Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Kathleen V. Anderson http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269984 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269984 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Kathleen Virginia Anderson, 92, of Charleston, passed away May 24, 2015. Arrangements are in the care of Bartlett-Burdette-Cox Funeral Home, Charleston.

Carolyn Jean Brewer http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269996 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269996 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Mrs. Carolyn Jean Handley Brewer, 65, of Red House, passed away May 23, 2015 at CAMC Teays Valley.

Mrs. Brewer was a former employee of Dwight's and Bob Evans Restaurants and a member of Bancroft Church of God Mission. She was a 1969 graduate of Greenbrier East High School and a graduate of Huntington School of Beauty Culture.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Virgil Lee Dillon, Grover Leslie Murphy and Robert Kenneth Mullins; father, Carlton Handley; mother, Velva Handley Haston; and her stepfather, Robert Haston.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Wayne Brewer; children, Gina Leslie Allen and Virgil Lee Dillon Jr. and fiancee, Andrea Christ; stepdaughter, Carie Brewer; brother, Bill and wife, Susie Handley; sister, Yvonne Sutherland; grandchildren, Tyler, Katie and Courtney Allen; and very special granddaughter, Alyssa Dillon. She is also survived by other family and a host of friends.

A tribute to the life of Mrs. Carolyn Jean Brewer will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Gatens-Harding Funeral Home Chapel with Mr. Frank Allen Jr. officiating. Burial will be in Elizabeth Chapel, Ronceverte.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Poca, is serving the Brewer family.

Arlie Bush Sr. http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269985 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269985 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Arlie Bush Sr., 69, died May 24, 2015. Service will be noon Thursday, May 28, at James Funeral Home, Logan. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at the funeral home.

William Ellis Clegg http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269990 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269990 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 William Ellis "Bill" Clegg, 85, of King Shoals, died May 23, 2015. Service will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, at the First Presbyterian Church of Logan. Visitation will be 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, at James Funeral Home, Logan.

Gary Estil Crawford http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269993 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269993 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Gary Estil Crawford, 64, of Keslers Cross Lanes, passed away Saturday morning, May 23, 2015 at home. He was the son of the late Estil and Corinthia Gray Crawford and was born in Drennen on April 25, 1951. He was a loyal and loving husband, father and grandfather. He was a member of the Laborers Union, and an avid hunter and fisherman.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Patricia and Nancy, and one granddaughter, Alexis Brooke.

Surviving are his wife of 41 years, Barbara; son, Jerrod E. Crawford and wife, Brandy, of Keslers Cross Lanes; and grandson, Wade Jasper.

Funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Waters Funeral Chapel, Summersville, with the Rev. Arnold Nicholas and the Rev. William Johnson officiating. Burial will follow in Zoar Baptist Church Cemetery, Keslers Cross Lanes.

Friends may call from noon until service time on Wednesday.

Marcella Damron http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269983 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269983 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Mrs. Marcella Damron, 89, of Henlawson, died May 24, 2015. Service will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, at the funeral home.

Dale C. Drennen http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269999 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269999 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Dale Crosier Drennen, 68, of South Charleston, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 21, 2015 after an extended hospital stay. Devoted and loving spouse, father and grandfather, Mr. Drennen was born April 21, 1947.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Reba Karen Drennen; by his parents, Mr. Charles Elbert Drennen and Catherine Crosier Drennen; and by his brother, Calvin Andrew Drennen. He was a 1965 graduate of South Charleston High School.

He worked as a mechanical draftsman and engineer at Kanawha Manufacturing Company for 35 years in Charleston, at Special Metals for three years in Huntington and, most recently, at Jefferds Corporation for five years in St. Albans.

He is survived by his daughter, Lisa Shaffer and husband, Tim, of Hurricane; son, Matthew Drennen of Centreville, Va.; sister, Fonda Lockhart and husband, Bill, of South Charleston; and four grandchildren, Lauren, Meghan, Kristen and Reagan Shaffer, all of Hurricane.

A funeral service for Dale will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane. Family will receive visitors from 5 to 7 p.m., prior to the service. Site of interment will be at Cunningham Memorial Park.

Anyone wishing to leave an online condolence or memory may do so at www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com.

Chapman Funeral Home, 3941 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane, is honored to handle Mr. Drennen's arrangements.

Loretta K. Fisher http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269994 OBIT http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/OBIT/305269994 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Loretta Kay (Rhodes) Fisher, 70, of Cottageville, went to be with the Lord on Sunday, May 24, 2015 after a brief illness.

She was born March 22, 1945 in Gay, a daughter of the late Alvin and Tressie Litton Rhodes. She was a graduate of Ripley High School with the class of 1964. She was a lifelong Christian and member of Mount Moriah Community Church.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by daughters, Jennifer and Stacy Fisher, and nephew, Clinton Fisher.

She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Douglas McArther "Mickey" Fisher; daughter, Shelly Marie Fisher of Cottageville; sisters, Lillian (Ira) Fisher of Ripley, Nora Cunningham of Parkersburg and Julie (Tim) Gerwig of Cocoa, Fla.; and brothers, Norlan (Louise) Rhodes and Gordon (Mary Ann) Rhodes of Ripley and Jeff (Regina) Rhodes of Ootewah, Tenn. Loretta also leaves behind many friends and loved ones who will miss her dearly.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley, with Pastor Mike Shamblin officiating. Burial will follow in Fisher-Litton Cemetery, Gay.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Memories and condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.waybrightfuneralhome.com.

Treasurer's Office to auction rare penny http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529563 GZ01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529563 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Paul J. Nyden State Treasurer John Perdue believes a rare, 1909-S VDB penny will attract the interest of coin collectors around the country during the next online auction for unclaimed property. The auction will be held between June 3 and June 18.

Since July 2011, Perdue has held 59 auctions.

"We have a 100 percent sales rate," Greg Stone, a Perdue spokesman, said on Friday. "Everything we have put out for auction has eventually sold."

Since July 2011, Perdue has held 59 auctions.

"We would like to have more in-state interest," Stone said. "But the ultimate goal is to gain the maximum value for the rightful property owner."

Appraisers value the 1909-S VDB penny as being worth $500 each. The government minted 484,000 of those pennies, but the original ones are quite rare.

"Coin collectors will know what a 1909-S VDB is," Karen Plunk from Lone Star Auctioneers, the company running auctions for the Treasurer's Office, said in a statement Friday. "It is a rare penny and the most famous, most well-known Lincoln penny you can still find out there."

Collector Ron Guth explained the reason for the scarcity of the original coin on an e-Bay post, relayed through a statement from the Treasurer's Office.

"When designer Victor David Brenner created the new penny, he placed his whole name in tiny letters on the base of the reverse, bottom center. A mint engraver later changed the name to the artist's three initials, sparking ire among those who said the larger initials were far from discrete and amounted to 'free, illegal advertising for the designer,' " Perdue's press release said.

In response, employees at federal mints simply removed the initials, creating the scarcity of the original coin.

"Once again, you just never know what we're going to take in through unclaimed property, and hence, the online auctions," Perdue said. "The 1909-S VDB is not your usual coin."

The 1909-S VDB cent is ranked 14th in the second edition of "100 Greatest U.S. Coins" by Jeff Garrett and Guth.

The items being auctioned come from safe deposit boxes in banks and from law enforcement seizures.

Stone said on Friday, "In this particular auction, many of the things came from law enforcement seizures.

"We have several iPhones, a 'Lord of the Rings' three DVD set, and a satellite radio that interfaces with computers. That might be worth as much as $6,000. We always also have jewelry."

Stone said the majority of items sold at their auctions come from safe deposit boxes in banks.

"Many people who died forgot to tell anyone they had safe deposit boxes. After five years of no activity, the bank is required to open those boxes up and turn them over to us.

"We try to find their heirs. And many of these people are still alive themselves, but living somewhere else. After the five-year dormant period is up, we could auction off the contents immediately. But we don't until we try to find the owners."

Stone said, "We really encourage West Virginia residents to log on to our auction website and look around. We would like state residents to get a chance to bid on some of these things."

The auctions have been very successful.

"We've sold everything we have attempted to sell. It is a nationwide auction held on the Internet," Stone said.

"There are many coin collectors out there and collectors of so many things. If we don't sell something in one auction, we will sell it in another," Stone said. "Proceeds remain in the original account owner's name. If we find them, or they find us, they get the money after the sale."

To make bids, people should visit: www.WestVirginiaUnclaimedProperty.org.

After creating a user name and a password, anyone can get immediate access to the website to place their bids.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

Community briefs for May 26, 2015 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM01/150529564 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM01/150529564 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400

Spend some time with Congressman Alex Mooney and his family as we pause to remember and honor our fallen heroes. 6-8 p.m. today, Little Creek Park in South Charleston.

The Charleston Rose Society's May meeting will feature Steven Grass, who will talk about spraying and fertilizing roses, and Lynda Grass and Donna Smoot will discuss the Society's 90th annual rose show to be held on June 7. Guests are always welcome at the Society's meetings. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. today at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1600 Kanawha Blvd. East in Charleston.

The Teays Valley Newcomers and Neighbors Club takes a break from its monthly luncheon meetings for the summer, but many of the club's activity groups continue to meet. If you're interested in meeting new people and trying some of our activities, visit www.newcomerswv.com.

Swim lessons are being offered this summer at the Wave Pool in Valley Park, Hurricane. Classes are Monday through Thursday, with a make-up day on Friday in case of a weather cancellation. Morning classes, at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., will run from June 15 to June 26. Evening classes, at 7:15 p.m., will run July 6 to July 17. Another morning session, at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., will run from July 27 through Aug. 7. For more information or to register, call the Park office at 304-562-0518 ext. 101 or the Wave Pool at 304-562-2355.

Arts in Action will host the Tutu Two Miler on May 30. The event will take place at Valley Park in Hurricane and will start at 8 a.m. All proceeds will go toward providing dance opportunities to underprivileged students. To register or for more information, visit www.aptiming.com.

Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia is hosting a Seminar, "Using Technology in the Law Office," on May 29. The seminar by Matthew S. Cornick, author of "Using Computers in the Law Office," 7th Edition, will be at the Bridgevalley Advanced Technology Center in South Charleston, West Virginia. For more information about CLE credits for attorneys and paralegals and a registration form, see www.lapswv.org.

Celebrate Recovery is offered at 7 p.m. every Friday at River Ridge Church, 1 Saturn Way, Hurricane. Celebrate Recovery "is a Biblical 12 Step Program for anyone with Hurts, Habits and Hang Ups: which include Substance Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Enablers, etc."

The Kanawha Rock & Gem Club invites new members and guests. Great for families, fun and educational. No major time commitment, monthly meeting on 4th Sunday. Like us on Facebook. For more information, email polina215@frontier.com.

If you need someone to talk to or just to listen, you are invited to Al-Anon meetings at 8 p.m. Fridays at St. John's Methodist Church, 4013 Teays Valley Road, Scott Depot. Meetings are in the lower part of the building. Call 304-757-7698.

Putnam County Parks & Recreation Commission is looking for instructors to teach classes. If anyone has a trade - whether it is cooking, sewing, exercise, dance, welding or any other skill - and would like to teach a class, please contact the park office at 304-562-0518.

Isshinryu Karate classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for ages 5 to adult at the Hurricane Valley Community Center. Cost is $35 per month. Call 304-562-0518, ext. 10, for more information.

EnAct is now accepting donations for three new programs for 2014: Clothing Closet, Hygiene Pantry and Baby Pantry. For more information contact Barbie Spade at 304-562-6037.

The Putnam Adult Learning Center is open for enrollment. Looking to improve your skills to obtain the new high school equivalency diploma for West Virginia? We can help. Call today to start working toward your future, 304-586-2411.

Boy Scout Troop 36, based in Hurricane, invites area youth to come to a meeting and learn more about scouting. The troop stays active with campouts, summer camp, games, food drives, community service projects and more. The troop meets at 6:30 p.m. every Monday at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 2438 U.S. 60, Hurricane. For more information, call David Miller at 304-562-9271, ext. 6115, or Steve Caldwell at 304-562-9233.

Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that can help addicts overcome their hurts, habits and hang-ups. A Celebrate Recovery group meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays at King's River Worship Center, 777 Mallory Lane, St. Albans. This group is open to anyone who is either suffering from an addiction, living with domestic violence or any other hurts in your past or present. For more information, call the church at 304-727-4907 or visit www.kingsriver.org.

Literacy Volunteers of Putnam County is now training adults who would like to help other adults learn to read, or who would like to teach English to a non-English speaker. No experience is required and free training is provided. Literacy Volunteers is also accepting new students. Literacy Volunteers offers free, private reading tutoring to adults, ages 16 and older. All reading levels and abilities are accepted. Call 304-757-1550 or email putnamliteracy@yahoo.com for more information.

VFW Post 9097 Hurricane has Bingo and grill open every Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. Also there is Karaoke with Dynomite every Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday afternoons feature free food at the bar.

The Scott/Teays Lions Club meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month. All monies raised by the club are used to benefit the community. If you would like to learn more, call Bill Hensley at 304-757-8599 or email billybh@suddenlink.com.

A support group for caregivers of those with Alzhiemers Disease meets at 12:30 p.m. the first Wednesday every month at the Hometown Senior Center, 100 1st Ave. N. Discussions are confidential. For information, call 304-586-2745.

The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia, the program that operates the statewide 1-800-GAMBLER help-line for problem gamblers and their loved ones, is offering a support group in Teays Valley to help individuals struggling with a gambling addiction. The agency, in conjunction with Fred Clark, a longtime mental health therapist and Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor, offers therapy group sessions for one and a half hours a week for the duration of three months. Anyone who thinks they or a loved one may have a gambling problem is urged to call 1-800-GAMBLER to find out more.

The Hometown Senior Center, 100 1st Ave., Hometown, has several new announcements to share. The Center is looking for quilters, singers for the senior choir and volunteers for various help. The Center is also offering a free scrapbooking class at 10 a.m. every Monday and Thursday. A number of other activities are also available. Transportation is available for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. The service can also include stops at the grocery store, post office or pharmacy after lunch. For more information, call the Center at 304-586-2745.

The Tri-County YMCA continues to conduct SwimAmerica School at the Toyota Aquatic Center. SwimAmerica holds classes for children ages 5 and older Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Pre-School SwimAmerica classes for children ages 3 and 4 are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Cost is $55 for members and $75 for non-members. For more information regarding SwimAmerica or for information regarding infant and parent and adult swimming instruction, call the Tri-County YMCA at 304-757-0016 or visit the website at www.wildwaves.org.

Cub Scouts Pack 586 invites boys to come check out their meetings and learn more about scouting. Pack 586 holds weekly meetings on Tuesdays at Eleanor First Baptist Church. Activities include games, character building activities and more. For more information, call Cub Master Glen Armstrong at 304-586-1157.

To submit an item, send it by email to yournews@dailymailwv.com, fax it to 304-348-4847 or mail it to Community Briefs, Charleston Daily Mail, 1001 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV 25301.

Prosecutors hope murder charge in overdose deaths acts as deterrent http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529565 GZ01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529565 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Erin Beck Nicole Lynn Kees, of Inwood, screamed when she heard the guilty verdict.

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison because he wanted to get high?" she shouted, according to a media report from the time.

It was Sept. 30, 2004, in Berkeley County. Kees, who was 21 at the time, had just been convicted of murder and sentenced to life for sharing heroin at a party with an 18-year-old who died of an overdose.

Kees, a mother of two, sobbed and covered her face with her hands when the verdict was read, according to the media report. She cursed at the victim's family as she left the courtroom and opened a door with such force it created a hole in the wall.

Today, Kees remains an inmate at the Lakin Correctional Center. She was granted mercy, so she is up for parole in 2019.

West Virginia law on murder was expanded to include murder "in the commission of ... a felony offense of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance" in 1991.

Felony murder carries the same penalty of life in prison as first-degree murder. A felony murder is one in which the death occurs in the commission of another crime.

In Kanawha County, prosecutors didn't typically use that portion of state code to prosecute drug dealers until recently.

Steven Craig Coleman, 27, was arrested and charged with the murder of Melody Ann Oxley on May 16. He allegedly gave some heroin to his father Steve Slater, who injected it with Oxley, on Feb. 13. Oxley was found dead the next morning.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely charged Kees with murder in the case 10 years ago and stands by her decision and her efforts to reduce drug crime in the community.

She said drug abuse has not gone down in her county as a result of the publicity surrounding the charges. But that's not why she does it.

"That's the law," she said. "Until the Legislature changes it, that's what we do - if we can."

Games-Neely said Supreme Court decisions since the law was passed made it important for her to be selective in which cases she chooses. She said she has prosecuted felony murder cases after overdoses four or five times, and has been successful in getting convictions twice.

One person died before the case could go to trial. In others, she said court rulings that made guilty verdicts more difficult forced her to agree to plea bargains.

"We have been very picky on this," she said. "You have to meet all the elements. Sometimes you have pieces of elements, but you don't have the whole thing."

She also said that juries are often focused on personal responsibility.

"These cases are not easy to try in front of juries, because some people look at addicts as 'you shot up, what did you expect?'" she said. "That's unfortunate, but that's how juries look at it."

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in December of 1998 that a drug dealer could be charged with felony murder if someone overdoses using their drugs.

The ruling upheld the life without mercy sentence of Johnny Rodoussakis, of Ronceverte. He was convicted of the 1996 death of Randall Burge, 29.

Lana Poole, a state witness, testified that she saw Rodousssakis inject Burge, 29, with morphine three times hours before he died. Poole said Burge became ill after the second injection, and tried to stop Rodoussakis from injecting more, but Rodousssakis refused.

At the time, the case was thought to be the first time felony murder was charged as a result of a drug overdose in West Virginia and the first time the state Supreme Court addressed the issue, according to a previous Gazette report.

Gazette archives show a handful of counties took advantage of the law since then, but the cases are far from frequent. Some of the counties mentioned include Boone, Jackson, Raleigh, Mercer, and Kanawha.

Jim McHugh, who was the prosecutor when a case in Jackson County was brought up, still supports the strategy. He feels it did discourage drug activity.

"We pursue these cases for deterrents," he said. "Maybe someone will think twice before delivering. With the number of overdose deaths, we can't ignore the problem."

In the only Kanawha County case that could be found in Gazette archives, Suzanne Creathers, who was 32, was charged with felony murder and delivery of a controlled substance in 2006.

Police said she told them she held a bottle of Methadone while her brother-in-law, Joshua Todd Creathers, who was 24 and a Quincy coal mine equipment mechanic, drank it. He died of a Methadone and alcohol overdose.

She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of involuntary manslaughter and possession with intent to deliver Methadone in 2008, according to records in Kanawha County Circuit Court. She was sentenced to one year on the involuntary manslaughter charge and one to 15 years on the possession charge. The sentences were to run concurrently.

Records from the state Department of Health and Human Services show that there were 64 drug overdose deaths in Kanawha County in 2006, the year Creathers was charged. There were 62 in 2014, although that number is expected to increase because not all causes of death have been recorded yet.

Overdoses have increased in Berkeley County since the 2004 case and have stayed fairly stable in Jackson County.

Reach Erin Beck at


304-348-5163 or follow

@erinbeckwv on Twitter.

Report: Pain clinic personnel not trained in medicine http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529571 GZ01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/GZ01/150529571 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Eric Eyre CHARLESTON, W.Va. - At a Raleigh County pain clinic earlier this year, state inspectors interviewed a medical director who said he tried to change pain-pill prescribing practices at the facility, but the clinic's practice manager nixed the idea and issued a directive: "Give patients what they want."

The state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification later cited Hope Clinic in Beaver with dozens of deficiencies that put patients' health and safety at risk.

The state's 136-page report shows that the pain clinic operated mostly without medical professionals, except for a doctor who had no say over how the facility was run. Inspectors discovered at least six people who worked at the clinic who also received pain medications as patients there. And they flagged higher-ups for allegedly putting profits over patient care.

"Our biggest issue with this clinic was the designated physician owner not having care and control and complete oversight of the clinic, as well as various personnel without appropriate experience providing medical treatment," said Jolynn Marra, director of the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification.

Instead of nurses, retired police officers worked at the facility, according to the report. The officers had no medical training, yet they were printing out hundreds of prescriptions without a doctor's order, diagnosing patients and taking their pulse and blood pressure, documents show.

"When I take blood pressure and it is high, sometimes I tell the patient it is high and sometimes not," one officer told inspectors. "If I tell them, and the patients get upset, I will sometimes ask if they have had a sausage biscuit, or had lots of coffee that morning and tell them that may be the reason their blood pressure is up."

After the inspection, the state ordered the Raleigh County pain clinic to close by May 15. Hope appealed and requested an administrative hearing. The clinic remains open, but now faces a May 30 deadline to shut down unless it wins the appeal.

"We have begun a cooperative and productive dialogue with OHFLAC, exploring the possibilities for continuing to serve chronic pain patients in Southern West Virginia," said George Manahan, a public-relations specialist hired by Hope. "Although Hope Clinic remains confident in its past practices, we look forward to working with regulatory authorities to meet their expectations and to continue providing the best possible care to our patients."

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin also is investigating Hope Clinic. Federal agents raided the Beaver facility in March.

For years, Hope also operated an affiliated pain clinic in Charleston. That clinic, at 4407 MacCorkle Ave. SE., in Kanawha City, failed a state inspection and shut its doors in late February.

Both the Beaver and Charleston clinics employed former law enforcement officers who worked under a contract through a company called PPPFD Inc., which shares the same address as Hope's Beaver office.

A doctor at the Beaver location told inspectors that "PPPFD hires and fires all employees."

"I realize they are not medical people," he said, according to the report. "We rely on them to take the patient's legal history and vital signs."

The clinic allowed patients to "opt out" of seeing a doctor and pick up prescriptions "pre-printed" by the ex-officers. PPPFD auditors also routinely looked up and verified patients' medications on a website called Drugs.com, and decided whether patients should undergo a drug test.

"Narcotic auditors are untrained, unlicensed, non-medical personnel, and preparing narcotics prescriptions is outside their scope of practice," inspectors concluded in their report.

At the Beaver clinic, inspectors found a box stuffed with 216 prescription slips. Ninety were unsigned. The rest had a physician's signature but no record the doctor had ordered the prescription.

Inspectors interviewed PPPFD CEO Mark Radcliff and asked him why he didn't hire any nurses or physician assistants or other medical professionals at the pain clinic.

"We try to maximize the doctor's profit," Radcliff said, according to the report. "We have not hired any other medical personnel because it will cut into the doctor's profit."

Radcliff "did not place any emphasis on the safety, care and well-being of patients being treated at the clinic," inspectors wrote in the report.

Other findings in the 136-page report:

n The clinic's operations director had two felony arrests, but supervisors never checked on the outcome of the charges.

n More than 70 patients transferred from Hope's Charleston clinic to the Beaver facility after a doctor changed the Charleston clinic's prescribing practices.

n Hope employees treated for pain at the clinic got prescriptions at no charge. The clinic kept no medical records on the workers who also were patients.

n A woman hired as a janitor to clean the facility was "giving appointments and prescriptions."

n The clinic's manager scolded a doctor for writing prescriptions for brand-name painkillers, such as OxyContin, instead of generic drugs. The manager warned that insurance companies would "punish" the clinic, driving up costs and forcing Hope to hire more staff.

Since January, the state has ordered five pain clinics to close in West Virginia. It's the first time the state has inspected the clinics - part of a new law that aims to curb prescription drug abuse.

At the Hope Clinic in Beaver, inspectors discovered a document posted on the side of a file cabinet in the medical records room. It was a list of patients who had died.

The report cited the clinic for failing to investigate, track or report patient deaths to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

A clinic manager disclosed that charts for deceased patients were kept in the bottom drawer of the file cabinet.

The list of dead patients had 30 names.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com, 304-348-4869 or follow @ericeyre on Twitter.

Chris Stansbury: It's time to break the addiction cycle http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529572 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529572 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 It's no secret that West Virginia's drug addiction and overdose crisis is plaguing our great state at all time levels.

In 2013, 157 West Virginians died from a heroin-related overdose. Preliminary 2014 numbers suggest that West Virginia led the nation again with over 150 individuals dying from heroin-related overdoses.

Reversing this frightening trend isn't impossible, but it's going to require a tenacious, statewide effort.

Indeed, to say we have been trying to combat this epidemic is an understatement. It has been an all-out push on all fronts, but we still can't seem to gain any ground on it.

Our state, county and local law enforcement officers are working hard to stop this problem where it starts, by arresting drug manufacturers, traffickers and dealers, but access and availability remains.

Our courts are delivering tough sentences to those involved in the drug trade, and have helped addicts stay clean through the Adult Drug Court program, but usage continues to grow.

Our correctional facilities are providing treatment behind prison walls, but our addiction problems still remain.

Our addiction treatment doctors are striving to help West Virginians get and stay clean, but relapse is on the rise.

And our legislature has been passing tougher laws for drug crime and laws that make more treatment available for addicts, but it just isn't enough.

There's a clear pattern at play here, and what have we learned from all of this? No one entity, no matter how well equipped or intentioned, can single-handedly carry the burden of slowing and reversing West Virginia's drug crisis.

We must find collaboration across the board, by bringing our law enforcement, courts, corrections, treatment providers and lawmakers together to come up with common-sense, state-based solutions for West Virginia's drug addiction problems.

This kind of successful partnership was seen throughout the development and passage of House Bill 2880 during this year's legislative session. I worked with key leaders from the Governor's office, Department of Health and Human Resources, Supreme Court of Appeals and Division of Corrections to draft House Bill 2880, which provides treatment for addiction to heroin and other opioids to those in the West Virginia criminal justice system.

Having all of those agencies at the table during the bill's development allowed us to craft a stronger program with the kind of input from across the board that aimed to eliminate unintended consequences.

In the end, we were left with a bill that created a practical solution for dealing with the addicted population in our criminal justice system, and it played to all of our agencies' strengths.

In the same spirit of collaboration, I have organized the inaugural West Virginia Addiction Summit, which will be held at 5 p.m. next Monday, June 1, in the West Virginia Culture Center Theater.

The Summit will feature a panel of addiction experts and key state officials including Bureau of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta; addiction treatment specialist Dr. Rachel Sowards; Rex Whiteman, president and CEO of the Union Mission; Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Brent Benjamin; Adult Drug Court Judge Jennifer Bailey; West Virginia State Police Captain Timothy Bledsoe; Joey Garcia, Governor Tomblin's Director of Legislative Affairs; Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein; Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Commissioner Vickie Jones; House Speaker Tim Armstead; and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The Summit is free and open to the public.

Ashton Marra from West Virginia Public Broadcasting will moderate the event, and will help the panel receive and answer questions at the end of the evening.

This Addiction Summit will allow us to have an open and honest dialogue about West Virginia's addiction problems, discuss the outcomes of addiction programs that we have put into place around the state and bring new ideas to light.

My aim is that we will work together to implement these new ideas and we will be able to celebrate a reduction in drug addiction, crime and overdose deaths at the 2nd Annual West Virginia Addiction Summit in 2016.

Please join us on June 1st for a healthy, open and honest public discourse about ways we can work together to slow and reverse the detrimental cycle of addiction in our beloved state.

Republican Chris Stansbury represents the 35th House District in the West Virginia Legislature.

Charles Krauthammer: What we know now question misplaced http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529573 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529573 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 WASHINGTON -- Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen.

Instead, it's the defense minister of (BEG ITAL)Iran(END ITAL) who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who's in charge -- while the U.S. air campaign proves futile and America's alleged strategy for combating the Islamic State is in freefall.

It gets worse. The Gulf States' top leaders, betrayed and bitter, ostentatiously boycott President Obama's failed Camp David summit. "We were America's best friend in the Arab world for 50 years," laments Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief.

Note: "were," not "are."

We are scraping bottom. Following six years of President Obama's steady and determined withdrawal from the Middle East, America's standing in the region has collapsed.

And yet the question incessantly asked of the various presidential candidates is not about that. It's a retrospective hypothetical: Would you have invaded Iraq in 2003 if you had known then what we know now?

First, the question Is not just a hypothetical, but an inherently impossible hypothetical. It contradicts itself. Had we known there were no weapons of mass destruction, the very question would not have arisen.

The premise of the war -- the basis for going to the U.N., to the Congress and, indeed, to the nation -- was Iraq's possession of WMD in violation of the central condition for the cease-fire that ended the first Gulf War. No WMD, no hypothetical to answer in the first place.

Second, the "if you knew then" question implicitly locates the origin and cause of the current disasters (BEG ITAL)in 2003(END ITAL). As if the fall of Ramadi was predetermined then, as if the author of the current regional collapse is George W. Bush.

This is nonsense. The fact is that by the end of Bush's tenure, the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine. We can debate that until the end of time.

But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama's. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, "We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people." This was, said the president, a "moment of success."

Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq.

We didn't just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases.

We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become the indispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean.

And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble.

The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn't that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake.

But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was (BEG ITAL)that(END ITAL) not a mistake?

Mme. Secretary: When you arrived at State, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been crushed and expelled from Anbar. The Iraqi government had from Basra to Sadr City fought and defeated the radical, Iranian-proxy Shiite militias.

Yet today these militias are back, once again dominating Baghdad. On your watch, we gave up our position as the dominant influence over a "sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq" -- forfeiting that position gratuitously to Iran. Was that not a mistake? And where were you when it was made?

Iraq is now a battlefield between the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State and the Shiite jihadists of Iran's Islamic Republic. There is no viable center. We abandoned it. The Obama administration's unilateral pullout created a vacuum for the entry of the worst of the worst.

And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, "is tragic foremost because it didn't have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years."

Do the math. That's 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.

Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.

Charles Krauthammer's email address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.

Editorial: Project an investment in the community http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529574 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529574 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Sometimes all it takes is a second chance.

Thanks to West Invest, a program designed to integrate police officers in Charleston's West Side - which includes some notoriously tough neighborhoods - some former convicts are seeing their lives begin to turnaround.

The program places officers in vacant homes in the area to rehabilitate them while taking an active role in the community. But Cpl. Errol Randle, one of the first officers to take part in the program, opted to use former convicts to fix up his new home, giving them the chance to take on some work and reintegrate into society.

The Daily Mail's Tyler Bell introduced readers to Randle's work crew in March. One crew member, Lewis Smith, detailed his past drug abuse and addiction. He told Bell his addiction stood in the way of a relationship with his four children and 12 grandchildren. The only family he has is other men staying at the Harvest Time Church of God homeless shelter, he said.

Mike Shields, another crew member, battled alcoholism and drug abuse, but has a background in tree trimming and contracting.

"I don't consider myself a criminal. All my problems were with addiction," Shields said.

Now that Randle's home is almost complete, both Smith and Shields are seeing some positive outcomes thanks to the program. Since Bell's initial story ran in March, Smith has moved out of the homeless shelter and is on the way to reconciling with his wife. Multiple companies have approached Shields with job opportunities, Bell reported last week.

The city has seemingly embraced the idea of community-based support for criminal offenders and those battling addiction. Such services help those in need get a leg up and work toward becoming productive members of society.

But just because the house is nearly finished doesn't mean Lewis' and Shields' work is finished. We encourage both men, and others in their situation, to continue working toward sobriety whether they take advantage of opportunities offered through a rehab program, a community-based service or faith-based organization.

Hopefully the idea of West Invest will catch on. Not only would the West Side see revitalization, but men like Lewis and Shields, who are starting over, would receive a much needed second chance.

Editorial: Reckless rulings create unhealthy legal climate http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529575 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529575 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 In Gov. Tomblin's State of the State address this past January, he referred to West Virginia's reputation as a "judicial hellhole." The label, he said, "do[es] not help our efforts to engage potential investors and strengthen our economy."

On that, the governor was correct. Where he missed the mark, however, was in blaming so-called "out-of-state interests" for the widespread perception that something is awry with West Virginia's judicial system.

It isn't just out-of-state interests who are critical of our legal climate - although it's unclear why the opinions of outsiders shouldn't be relevant, given the much-discussed need for the state to convince outsiders to locate here.

Numerous voices here at home, including the Daily Mail, have pointed out repeatedly that it is this state's own judges - particularly some of the justices on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals - who give us our reputation as a place where courts are skewed against businesses and toward plaintiffs' lawyers.

Those "out-of-state interests" did not write last week's indefensible ruling granting criminal drug abusers the right to sue doctors and pharmacies. It was written by Chief Justice Margaret Workman and joined by Justice Brent Benjamin and Justice Robin Davis.

Their decision will encourage a flurry of lawsuits by personal injury lawyers seeking money for drug addicts. It will create perverse incentives and likely harm the state's efforts against prescription drug abuse.

It was not "out-of-state interests," but Justice Davis herself, who failed to disclose the fact that a millionaire Mississippi plaintiffs' lawyer had purchased a Learjet from Davis' husband shortly before Davis wrote an opinion awarding the same lawyer a $17 million payout.

It is not "out-of-state interests," but the West Virginia Supreme Court, that persists, over and over, in circumventing the Legislature's curbs on frivolous lawsuits. Lawmakers will likely have to spend time during the next session passing a law to correct the Supreme Court's latest misadventure, just as they did this year with the deliberate intent bill.

Here's hoping that in next year's State of the State address, Gov. Tomblin doesn't unleash another misplaced rant about outsiders labeling the state.

In his 2016 address, the Governor should point the blame for the "judicial hellhole" label where it belongs: the West Virginia Supreme Court and the plaintiffs' lawyers that seem to have a hold on some of the justices there.

Editorial cartoon for May 26, 2015 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529576 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529576 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 Editorial cartoon for May 26, 2015

Vent line for May 26, 2015 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529577 DM04 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150526/DM04/150529577 Tue, 26 May 2015 00:01:00 -0400 n Is Chuck Canfield trying to pull a fast one on the taxpayers of Putnam County? They are having a levy vote on May 30 and it seems to be a secret to everyone but retirees and employees. He is the one who will benefit the most if it passes. This is from a concerned citizen.

n The jury has sentenced the Boston bomber to death by lethal injection. I agree wholeheartedly with this decision since I've been a victim of crime many times over. This reminds me of Timothy McVey and we all know he was executed pretty quickly. My thoughts and prayers go out the victims' families and may they find peace and closure.

n Being a mother today is probably 20 times more difficult than when I was a mother - and 20 times scarier.

n They wouldn't have to ban certain dresses for high school proms if people used their common sense in purchases.

n In the Friday's Capitol Notebook they were talking about the energy bill for clean energy in West Virginia. The paper identified Shelley Moore Capito as a Democratic senator for West Virginia. I wish you would correct that. She is not and never has been a Democrat. She is a great Republican senator for the great state of West Virginia.

n Perhaps the caller doesn't realize that Mike Huckabee has made several misogynous comments about women.

n My wife and I went to the Winfield Cemetery to put flowers out. We looked down over the hill and it looked like a junkyard. Winfield used to be such a clean town. I'm wondering what has happened.

n If someone at my church would just tell me what I have done wrong I'd be glad to apologize. But since I realize no one is going to come forward with the answer I think it is best if I just leave.

n President Obama and his progressive socialist buddies would probably never admit it but Protestant Biblical Christianity has produced the most satisfying and prosperous time in the world's history. Giving man the character he needs to succeed.

n The five teenagers that are pictured at the Top-O-Rock in the paper should be put in a jail cell and taken to Top-O-Rock for at least 8 hours to clean it up.

n I'd like to know when the county election is for judges. There is one who put the mayor's son out on probation again instead of having a trial. It is the same judge who denied Mark Plants' constitutional rights and threw him out of office.

n A sign of the last days and the falling away of the church age: The community briefs on Friday said church open stage with comedy, music, visual arts, poetry and dancing. If Jesus were here he would run them out of the church like he did the moneychangers. He said, "My house shall be a house of prayer." Not dancing, comedy, music and the world's fine arts.

n The highway on U.S. 119 between Mink Shoals and Elkview looks like a pair of Appalachian overalls with patches on top of patches. When are we going to get this section of highway repaved?

n If you pay for the newspaper to be delivered to your newspaper box every day of the month and you don't get it then it's fraud and they should go to jail for that.