Security; Unclaimed Millions; and a Sign of Thanks

Editor’s note: Reporters are constantly surveying their surroundings, and in doing so often turn up many tidbits of news that don’t make it into the daily newspaper.

This space serves as a spot to aggregate and publish those items that otherwise would stay locked away forever in the reporters’ notebook.

On The Fly

What came first, the heron or the Canada geese? The pesky geese have made a return visit to Heritage Port along Water Street in Wheeling just days before the large, metal heron sculpture was installed at Heritage Port Gateway Park at nearby 11th and Main streets. A pair of Mallard ducks also can be found at the port as someone has been feeding them, as evidenced by food scattered on the ground on Water Street in the early morning hours.

A Capitol Upgrade

Motorists and pedestrians traveling down Main Street in downtown Wheeling over the past few weeks may have noticed the front facade of the Capitol Theatre is beginning to take on a much brighter and polished appearance since crews began restoration work on the building more than a month ago. Approximately $400,000 in facade renovation work is underway at the theater and expected to take several months to complete. The project involves extensive cleaning, stabilization and repointing of the building’s terra cotta exterior, which has cracked in places; and even recasting some broken pieces.

A Sign of Thanks

It has been a good week for Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio. Not only was she selected the new president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, she also received a gift from a soldier serving abroad.

She said the soldier and his wife – who also serves in the military – were on leave last year visiting family locally before being deployed overseas, and they wanted to attend a West Virginia University football game. She gave them her tickets.

Recently, the soldier returned from his tour and brought back a flag for Storch flown by a Blackhawk helicopter over Afghanistan on July 4, 2013. His parents passed it on to Storch.

“I don’t think I have ever received something so touching,” Storch said. “It is proudly displayed in my home.”

Water Can’t Stop Music

Wheeling Waterfront Wednesdays officially got underway this past week as Wheeling Park High School’s Jazz and Steel Drum Bands performed inside WesBanco Arena because of the threat of rain. The Honky Tonk Sweethearts are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., this Wednesday at Wheeling’s Heritage Port. The events are free of charge and subject to change without notice. In the event of inclement weather, concerts may be held at WesBanco Arena.

Showing Caution

Wheeling police seemed to have gone the extra mile Thursday as they dealt with a man who told a 911 operator he had a gun to his head and planned to use it at his North Wheeling residence.

Multiple police units, including the SWAT Team, a Crisis Negotiation Team, a K9 officer, several other patrol officers and Chief Shawn Schwertfeger responded to the scene immediately.

Without knowing what they were facing, police told onlooking neighbors to return to their homes and instructed parents waiting with their children for a school bus to leave the area. They also closed off the street in both directions to avoid the possibility of a motorists getting injured by gunfire.

It ended well when negotiators talked to the subject and became convinced no danger existed.

Other departments could learn from Wheeling when it comes to keeping the public safe and approaching potential dangerous situations in an efficient and professional manner.

Parking Woes

Residents in Cameron may be having issues with parking if they live near rental property. As was recently brought up in a Cameron City Council meeting, several residents were having trouble when multiple renters with large trucks were double parking on public streets and weren’t leaving spaces for permanent residents. Although council said the issue was essentially solved when some of the renters moved out, they still will be keeping an eye on future situations and reminding landlords to have renters leave spaces as a courtesy.

Mystery Millionaire

It’s been almost four months since the Firehouse Marathon station on Wheeling Island sold someone a Powerball ticket worth $1 million. As of this week, that person had yet to come forward, according to state Lottery officials.

Per contest rules, winners have 180 days to claim their prize. That means the winner has until Aug. 11, or thereabouts, to do so, as the drawing was on Feb. 12.

It would be a shame for someone to let such a prize slip through his or her fingers. But it’s happened before – according to the Lottery Commission, a million-dollar ticket sold last year in Beckley went unclaimed.

Any prize of $250,000 or more must be claimed in person in Charleston. If you have the winning ticket, you should call lottery headquarters at 1-800-982-2274 before claiming the prize.

No Ordinary Garden

There is a secret gem in the backyard of the Jesuit priests’ residence on Wheeling Jesuit University’s campus: a turtle garden.

The fenced-in garden, overseen by the Rev. Michael Steltenkamp, is even considered a wild life area. According to a WJU employee, it’s difficult to spot their camouflaged shells but the turtles make a great small sight-seeing adventure.

On Guard

The sheriff’s deputy working security at the entrance to the City-County Building in Wheeling typically leaves at the close of the business day, 5 p.m. But a couple nights a month, there are government meetings that run beyond that time, such as Wheeling City Council (once per month) and Ohio County Commission meetings.

The city reportedly had, for a time, arranged for the deputy to stay later on council meeting nights. But recently that seems to have changed, as there’s been no guard at the door for at least two consecutive meetings.

As recent events both locally and elsewhere have demonstrated, anything can happen, anywhere, at any time. What happened to that arrangement?