Taking a look back at 2012

As we begin a new year, The Weirton Daily Times takes a look back at some of the local events to take place in 2012.


The Hancock County Commission announced plans for the construction of a new 911 center, to eventually be built near the Rockefeller Career Center. The project is hoped to alleviate parking issues near the Hancock County Courthouse.

Steve Dragisich announced he would be resigning as Weirton municipal judge to take a position with the state Attorney General’s Office. Mike Adams would later be appointed to serve as the new municipal judge.

Donald Winkler resigned from the Hanover Township Board of Supervisors, only to later be reappointed after his attorney threatened legal action against the township.

Phil Diserio was appointed as state delegate to represent the 2nd District, which includes Brooke County. The seat had become vacant after Tim Ennis became a Brooke County commissioner, appointed to fill the seat open following the death of Bernie Kazienko.

Weirton Medical Center celebrated the opening of its new advanced cardiovascular lab, which included a $1.3 million upgrade to hospital facilities.

Chris Kern was named as the new general manager at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

James Sands and Chelsea Metz were indicted and pleaded innocent to felony murder charges in connection with the death of Dakota Givens during an alleged burglary of a Weirton gas station in December 2011. The murder charges eventually would be dismissed against both. Metz pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction charges in March. Sands still faces charges of burglary and conspiracy.


The Fort Steuben Bridge was demolished on Feb. 21. The span first opened in 1928 as a private toll bridge and was the first Ohio River suspension bridge to have a concrete floor. The bridge was closed to traffic in 2009.

Chester officials discussed increasing security measures near the community overlook after discovering vandalism and damage to the site.

Weirton Transit Corp. announced it would be discontinuing service to New Cumberland as a result of a lack of funding and use by residents.

Weir High School hosted the inaugural Carter G. Woodson Black History Bowl.

A drug collection box was unveiled at the Hancock County Courthouse in cooperation with the Family Resource Network. Similar collection sites also are now available in Weirton and Brooke County.

Site preparation began for Phase II at Starpointe Business Park near Burgettstown as all of the original sites neared capacity.

Nevin Miser, of Chester, was arrested following the beating death of Daniel Bable of East Palestine, Ohio. In August, Miser pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served.


Shell Oil announced it had selected the 300-acre Horsehead zinc property near Monaca, Pa. for the site of a proposed multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker. West Virginia and Ohio also had been working to acquire the plant.

Chesapeake Energy received its first permits to begin drilling for natural gas in Hancock County.

ArcelorMittal Steel officials approached the Weirton Planning Commission to begin requests on proposed subdivision plans on company property. The subdivisions were needed for eventual plans to sell off some of the land.

The Weirton Area Port Authority publicly discussed its intentions to create a physical location for its operations.

Weirton police shot and killed an individual witnessed in the commission of a robbery attempt in downtown Weirton. The individual would later be identified as the person responsible for the robbery of a gas station on Weirton Heights earlier in the evening.

Josh Belovarski, of New Mexico, visited Weirton as part of a contest held to tour some of the locations used in the filming of “Super 8.”

Al Whitney, of Ohio, stopped in Weirton as part of his ongoing efforts to donate platelets in all 50 states.


Jeffrey Nally pleaded guilty to nine counts in relation to the torture and killing of numerous dogs in Hancock County. Nally was sentenced to between 10 and 45 years in prison.

A memorial walk was held in Wellsburg in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.

West Virginia Northern Community College officially opened the $2.78 million, 10,000 square foot expansion at its Weirton campus. The expansion allows for the inclusion of new science and manufacturing-related programs to the college’s curriculum.

The Lee Avenue Bridge was closed indefinitely by officials who cited concerns over the bridge’s safety.

Former Weirton councilman John Moore died.

The Hancock County Commission approved a $500,000 loan to assist with the demolition of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery site.

The Hancock County Courthouse was evacuated after personnel smelled natural gas in the building.


RG Steel officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ending months of speculation as to the fate of local steel manufacturing facilities.

The Rev. Dean Borgmeyer announced he would be leaving Weirton’s St. Joseph the Worker Parish after six years of service for an opportunity to work in Huntington and be closer to family.

The Weirton Event Center officially opened for its first season of events. The event center’s inaugural event was a concert featuring local bands Legend and Chaos Killed.

David Sims, former Ohio County Commissioner, was appointed circuit court judge in the 1st circuit, taking over for Arthur Recht who had retired earlier in the year.

Hancock County Schools announced its plans for the creation of in-school health centers at Allison Elementary and the new Weirton elementary school. The announcement would lead to months of disagreements between the school board, Weirton Medical Center and the City of Weirton.


Weirton Medical Center announced its plans to realign its nursing staff, phasing out LPN personnel while hiring new Registered Nurses.

Demolition began of the former LaPosta car dealership, with plans for the property to be the site of a new Sheetz.

RG Steel announced the layoff of 175 employees at the coke plant in Follansbee.

A groundbreaking was held for a $5 million water filtration project by the Oakland Public Service District. The project includes a new water filtration plant.

Construction began on the new centralized Weirton elementary school, which will combine the students and staff of Weirton Heights, Broadview and Liberty elementary schools.

1st Judicial Circuit Court Judge Martin J. Gaughan returned to the bench after suffering a stroke in December.

rue21 unveiled its completed expansion project at the Three Springs Drive distribution center in Weirton, which provided a total of 370,000 square feet at the facility.

The Hancock County Board of Education declared Newell Memorial Field and Jimmy Carey Stadium as surplus property, an action which spurred months of protest throughout the county.


The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center held an event to honor area women who served in factories during World War II. Dubbed “Rosie the Riveters,” the museum also helped to chronicle the stories of many of the women as part of an ongoing project.

Burgettstown-area law enforcement arrested Ronald Boyer and two minors in connection with breaking and entering and vandalism charges at Burgettstown Junior/Senior High School.

Weirton businessman Lou Serra, founder of Weirton Geriatric Center and Serra Manor, died at the age of 84.

FirstEnergy was ordered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to close down operation of the Little Blue coal ash impoundment by 2016.

Disabled veterans taking part in the Sea to Shining Sea bicycle ride stopped in Weirton as part of their coast-to-coast trip.

Follansbee Community Days moved its event to the parking area by Follansbee Municipal Park.

Federal agents investigated the offices of the PA Cyber School in Midland, Pa. as part of an ongoing investigation.


The new multi-sports stadiums at Weir High School and Oak Glen High School were unveiled as part of celebrations to kick off the high school football season.

David M. Weir, the son of E.T. Weir and Margaret Manson Weir, died at the age of 68 following complications from cancer. Weir had visited the area several times in recent years, often making donations to the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center.

Brooke High School revealed the new turf field installed at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

Weir High School was briefly evacuated as a result of smoke in the building. The smoke was caused by garbage found to be smoldering in a pipe casing near one of the school’s restrooms.

Two Steubenville student-athletes were charged with rape and kidnapping in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a Weirton girl. Trent Mays of Bloomingdale, and Malik Richmond of Steubenville, both 16, currently are awaiting trial in juvenile court. The incident recently resulted in a protest rally with claims others were involved in the alleged assault.


Residents of Quail Drive in New Manchester requested assistance from county and state officials after an earthen bridge was washed away during a storm. The bridge was the only way the residents can access their homes.

A large truck experiencing brake problems struck the side of the Starvaggi bus garage on Pennsylvania Avenue in Weirton, damaging the building. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Rudie, a K-9 who had been part of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department since 2003, died only a few months after retiring from service. Rudie was partnered with Deputy Scott Gittings.

Weirton City Council took its first steps to institute a 6 percent Business and Occupation tax on natural gas producers operating within the city limits.

Chester City Council began debating the possibility of banning the use of golf carts on city streets because of safety concerns.

Members of the Weirton Area Board of Parks and Recreation gave a reprieve to the Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool, announcing they would give the Marland Heights Community Association an opportunity to raise the funding needed to save the pool from demolition.

Hancock County officials filed a lawsuit against Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort seeking hotel/motel tax money the county felt owed from complimentary rooms given at the casino.


Steelworkers with ArcelorMittal Steel, including workers in Weirton, ratified a new, three-year labor agreement providing a 4.5 percent pay raise over the life of the contract.

Russell Kohser, of Monaca, Pa., was fined $200 as a result of a fire at a fireworks stand he owned which had been operating in Chester.

The Hancock County Museum celebrated its 10-year anniversary of operations at the Marshall House in New Cumberland. The celebration included the dedication of a bell which once had been used on barges on the Ohio River, as well as at a local church.

Joseph J. Yurigan, who owned Weirton Chiropractic, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud charges. He was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay more than $800,000.

Hancock County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of three armed men breaking into a Chester apartment and assaulting the resident.


The Business Development Corp. announced it had purchased the more than 600 acre property of Wheeling Corrugating in Beech Bottom. The property was among those sites previously owned by RG Steel.

Employees with Homer Laughlin China agreed to a new, three-year contract with the company. Details were not discussed.

Area voters elected several new people to local office, including Chuck Jackson as Brooke County sheriff and Ralph Fletcher as Hancock County sheriff. Former Hancock Sheriff, Mike White, was elected as a county magistrate.

Aaron Hartley, 21, of Wellsburg was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to two charges of first-degree robbery for entering a Hooverson Heights home and striking two elderly residents in an attempt to rob them in May 2011.

A tanker barge was loaded with millions of gallons of natural gas liquids from the tank farm in the Half Moon Industrial Park. The operation is part of increased activity by the Weirton Area Port Authority.

The Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park was officially dedicated at Brooke Hills Park after years of fundraising.

Local law enforcement spent several days searching for the body of Tim Ralston, of Chester, after he was reported to have jumped from the Jennings Randolph Bridge following an alleged domestic assault of his wife and son.

The first phase of a multi-million-dollar sewage system upgrade began in Weirton. The project eventually will prevent untreated sewage from going into the Ohio River from property currently owned by ArcelorMittal Steel.


The Hancock County Commission officially purchased Newell Memorial Stadium and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium from the Hancock County Board of Education for $400,000.

Ergon announced its plans to invest $78 million in the company’s Newell refinery. The investment will allow for an expansion to take advantage of increased local crude oil production.

Chester residents and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle celebrated the completion of demolition work at the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery site.

Area communities, including Weirton and Beech Bottom, held vigils to show support for the victims of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

The Brooke High cheerleaders won their 13th West Virginia state championship, setting a new state record

A Louisiana man was killed Dec. 16 while installing a natural gas pipeline near Camp Run Road in Bethany

Robert “Rocky” Fitzsimmons, a Wheeling attorney, was appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as the new state Senator representing West Virginia’s 1st District. Fitzsimmons will take the seat vacated by Orphy Klempa, who resigned to become an Ohio County commissioner.