WVNCC, WVU Discuss Partnership

Students at West Virginia Northern Community College will have the opportunity to complete a degree online thanks to a partnership between the school and West Virginia University.

WVU Online and Academic Innovation Staff were on hand Tuesday to offer information and answer questions in the B&O Building lobby for interested students. The event was an effort to inform potential students, particularly those wishing to complete their bachelor’s degree online, about WVU’s Baccalaureate Pathway Program.

The program allows students to transfer up to 72 credit hours of general education courses and select three out of 18 available online minors to design a personalized multidisciplinary studies degree. Strategic social media and forensic and investigative science, two new minors WVU recently added to its offerings, are available through the program.

The WVNCC and WVU connection is one of WVU’s multiple partnerships with community and technical colleges to provide students with flexible learning options. WVU encourages students to complete their associate’s degree prior to beginning the B.A. Pathway Program.

WVU’s student support coordinator, Melissa Kelley, noted the university is targeting a different audience than traditional students.

“People entering this program are typically older, have careers and family, and don’t want to leave their current area,” Kelley said. “Technology has enabled this audience to continue education without worrying about location.”

Rishira Dille, WVU’s development advising specialist, added the convenience of distance learning does not equal a decrease in student-adviser connectivity.

“One of the things that many students say is how much support they receive in an online program compared to most campuses,” Dille said.

In addition to its B.A. Pathway Program, WVU provides other flexible graduate and undergraduate tracks for its online programs. Degrees and certificates, including options like a master of arts in elementary education and a software engineering graduate certificate, are available.

For more information regarding WVU Online and Academic Innovation, visit

WVNCC, WVU Discuss Partnership

More needs to be done to maintain the Heritage Port playground and keep people out of it at night, downtown resident Charles Ballouz believes.

Ballouz told City Council members during their Tuesday meeting that the playground, located a short walk from the Windsor Manor apartment complex where he lives, is in “deplorable” condition.

He said litter is a problem at the playground, weeds there often are allowed to grow too tall and slats missing from the wooden fence around the equipment look unappealing. What’s worse, he claimed, is that the park becomes a haven for obscene and illegal activity after dark.

Ballouz said the city should install a gate at the entrance to the playground. He said he’d even be willing to make sure the gate is locked at night and unlocked each morning.

“Children shouldn’t be down there at night, and neither should adults,” Ballouz said.

Ballouz said if the city doesn’t take action soon, he plans to begin a petition drive.

“I’ll sign it,” said Mayor Andy McKenzie.

Following the meeting, City Manager Robert Herron said maintenance crews visit each of the city’s parks and playgrounds at least once per week, and he wasn’t aware of any major issues at the Heritage Port facility.

In other business, City Council unanimously approved the lease-purchase of six new police vehicles from Doan Ford of Belmont, for $175,854.

Councilman Don Atkinson said he’s been questioned why the city is buying vehicles from an out-of-state business. Herron said the city must solicit competitive bids for all purchases of more than $15,000, and Doan Ford was the low bidder.

The city may only reject a low bidder in favor of a Wheeling-based vendor if the local vendor’s bid is within 5 percent of the low bid, Herron noted.

Council also unanimously approved hiring Liberty Environmental Services of Moundsville to perform $8,380 worth of asbestos inspections through the city’s Community Development Block Grant demolition program.