Campbell did not leave a note

Deputy testifies to what was found at the scene of his death

Alexis Barker 

NLJ Reporter

Weston County Sheriff’s Sergeant Pat Watsabaugh had already finished his shift when he overheard dispatch sending two other deputies to a property south of Newcastle in response to a report of a male who had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head on June 24, 2015— the day 60-year old Richard Campbell died.

At a Coroner’s Inquest held last month to determine the cause and manner of Campbell’s death, Watsabaugh testified that, although he was off work, he responded to the scene, a property with multiple residences that share a common entrance and an overgrown driveway 11 miles south of town on Old Highway 85. The property, which included both a circular structure and a single-wide trailer, is owned by Caroline Scoutt. Campbell lived in the trailer, and the circular building is Scoutt’s home.

As he drove down the driveway, Watsabaugh came upon the circular structure that Scoutt lives in, and observed fellow Deputy Dan Fields leaving the residence. Fields informed the other officers at the scene that the call had been made in reference to the other home on the property, and the officers made their way to the single wide trailer occupied by Campbell.

Pay me now or pay me later

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

“This vote affects everyone in Weston County. It hits all of us. This is the most important vote in Weston County next to the hospital tax. They both affect everyone,” City Engineer Bob Hartley told the News Letter Journal in reference to a ballot measure that will result in a three mil property tax levy to fund a landfill in Weston County if voters approve it.

The Weston County Solid Waste District board was created just over a year ago by the Weston County Commissioners with the task of finding a solution to the growing cost of solid waste disposal across the state. Their purpose was to research various options and determine the course that will best serve residents within Weston County.

Predator Board takes some shots

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

On September 20, representatives of the Weston County Predator Board approached the Weston County Commissioners to discuss the removal of one of the board’s members, Nicky Groenwold, due to her not meeting the appropriate qualifications for the position, but the discussion came to a head on October 10 at the Predator Board meeting in Upton when Terry Groenwold— himself a former member of the board— confronted the members present and voiced a number of issues he has with the board and the manner in which they operate.

Groenwold indicated that he believed his wife had been “attacked” by other members of the board, and called it a cowardly act. He also asserted that crimes had been committed by the board and called for action to be taken. He indicated that the Weston County Commissioners, County Attorney William Curley, the State Auditor, and the State Attorney General’s Office should all be informed of the actions of the board.

Free money

Supporters tout benefits of lodging tax

Andrew McKay

NLJ Reporter

Despite what online ads and spam claim, the mantra ‘nothing is ever free’ remains the rule rather than the exception, but this is essentially how the lodging tax works for Weston County businesses and community according to supporters who say, unlike other taxes, the lodging tax is paid for by the county’s visitors rather than its citizens.

“This is not a tax that Weston County residents are paying. It is money meant to bring tourists in, and the beautiful thing is, they’re the ones who pay for it,” said Norma Shelton, who has been on the Weston County Travel Commission since 2003.

“Visitors to our hotels pay a tax for their room, what it amounts to is a little less than four dollars a night here in Weston County. It’s a great deal. We receive the benefits, but don’t have to pay the expenses. I think this works for everyone,” explained Upton Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Douglas.

Mayor resigns to take Clerk’s job

Bob Bonnar

NLJ Associate Publisher

In an email sent to city officials on October 4, Newcastle Mayor Greg James announced that he was resigning his position as mayor to accept the position of City Clerk/Treasurer vacated late in the summer by Charita Brunner. He began work in his new position on Monday.

“Thank you for your offer of position as Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Newcastle. I gratefully accept the position, effective start date Monday, October 17, 2016,” he wrote to the members of the Newcastle City Council.

In the email, James also resigned immediately from the mayor’s position, and withdrew his name as a candidate for the Newcastle City Council. James had already decided to step down as the city’s mayor at the end of the term that would have concluded at the end of this year, but had filed for election to a city council position and appeared on the primary election ballot.

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