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Public event set in WV for medical cannabis registration

CHARLESTON — West Virginia residents with serious medical conditions can register with the state at an upcoming public event for medical cannabis products.

The state Office of Medical Cannabis will conduct the event next Monday at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. The Department of Health and Human Resources said appointments are strongly encouraged.

Patients must have already seen a registered physician and bring a certification form, either a driver’s license, state identification or passport, and proof of residency such as a utility bill or voter registration card.

Patients also can use a state website to sign up.

More than 2,550 applications have been received so far, the DHHR said in a Tuesday news release. Patient cards are good for two years for patients who register by Sept. 30. The card is good for only one year for those who register after Oct. 1.

The fee for the state card is $50. Low-income applicants can apply for a waiver and must provide income documentation. Registration does not mean medical cannabis products can immediately be obtained, the statement said.

The 2017 state law allows for medical cannabis use in pills, oils, topical gels, liquids, dermal patches and a form that can be vaporized.

After deadly fair ride accident, Ohio beefs up inspections

Four years after a carnival ride’s corroded steel arm snapped and flung a high school student to his death at the Ohio State Fair, the state is tightening its oversight of amusement rides.

Inspectors are conducting more mandatory checks for rust and metal fatigue and increasingly flagging rides for repairs during the first year of enforcement under the new regulations.

Some carnival operators say inspectors are overreaching and shutting rides over issues that aren’t immediate safety concerns. A few have pulled out of Ohio’s festival circuit or are considering it because of what they say is uncertainty over how the rules are being enforced.

The 2017 accident at Ohio’s showcase fair that killed Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old Marine enlistee, and left four others with life-changing injuries sent shudders through the amusement industry.

The maker of the spinning, swinging Fire Ball ride said years of undetected excessive internal corrosion caused a carriage holding four riders to break apart just hours after a final inspection.

Attorneys for the victims believe the state’s inspectors missed obvious warning signs and also blamed the ride’s operator and maker, though no one was charged.

Ohio, like many other states, gives its ride inspectors immunity from negligence lawsuits. But settlements were reached with the ride’s owner and two private inspection companies while another lawsuit against the manufacturer is still in court.

While the state has long had one of the nation’s more robust ride inspection programs — nine states don’t require any government scrutiny — Ohio lawmakers spent more than a year crafting a plan to increase oversight. Called “Tyler’s Law,” it requires more mandatory inspections for big attractions and makes owners maintain repair and travel records.

“We will have a history that comes with each ride, whether it be a kiddie ride or a roller coaster,” said Dorothy Pelanda, director of Ohio’s Agriculture Department, which oversees ride inspections.

The head of the state’s amusement ride safety office, David Miran, said the law emphasizes checking a ride’s structural components and that inspectors are told to err on the side of caution.

Carnival owners also must work with ride manufacturers or a certified engineer when repairs are needed and have them sign off on the work — a process that is more expensive and keeps rides out of commission longer, resulting in lost revenue, their operators say.

“It’s out of the ride owners’ hands in that scenario, and it’s up to the manufacturer who has the deep knowledge of what that ride is and what the ride needs,” said Miran. “Having that other set of eyeballs is huge.”

Because ride owners now are required to make visual inspections before going out on the road, many are making needed modifications before inspectors arrive, Miran said.

Ride owners say they’re all for safety and don’t mind added scrutiny, but some rides have been shut down for things they think don’t compromise safety, such as surface rust on handrails and on transport trailers.

Frank Welsh, a member of the Ohio Advisory Council on Amusement Ride Safety, a volunteer board, said some inspectors are probably being a little too picky to protect themselves from being fired or disciplined.

“Take an an older car — you get a little rust on the bumper and it doesn’t mean the car’s unsafe,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you need to have an engineer look at it.”

Eric Bates, who has been in the portable ride business for five decades, said the new law doesn’t address what caused the Fire Ball accident — internal corrosion that can only be spotted by ultrasonic testing that measures the steel’s thickness.

“By the time we see external rust, it’s too late,” said the owner of Bates Brothers Amusement Co.

This year, five of his 18 carnival rides weren’t allowed to start at the beginning of the season. A kiddie coaster had to be disassembled and repaired even though it had issues that he didn’t think needed immediate attention.

Amusement operators say they especially can’t afford to have their rides grounded for repairs that they don’t believe are warranted coming after a year when they were shut down because of the pandemic.

“I can’t gamble like that,” said Val Gorham, who runs Cromer United Amusements from its base in Eaton, Ohio.

Instead of taking his rides to 26 fairs and festivals around Ohio this summer, he’s canceled all of those and filled his calendar with events in neighboring states.

“When I go 15 miles to Indiana or to West Virginia, Georgia, Florida or Kentucky, my equipment’s fine,” he said.

His decision left organizers of the Tusky Days festival in Tuscarawas scrambling to find another ride company. All they could come up with were a few inflatable bounce houses and one kiddie ride.

“We were doing damage control all weekend,” said festival chairman Matt Ritenour. “Having a festival without rides is like having a beer garden without beer. You just can’t have it.”

In neighboring Denison, only six of 11 rides were approved to operate during its four-day festival in June because inspectors had “zero tolerance for rust,” said Greg DiDonato, the town’s mayor.

“I get that there was a tragedy. I get it. We want safety, but this is a huge overreach,” said DiDonato, a former state lawmaker. “I’m for ride safety. Everybody is. But this will kill the small-ride operators.”

Small-town carnivals and church festivals are most likely to lose out because some out-of-state operators won’t go through getting licensed in Ohio and those that remain will seek out more profitable, bigger events, said Mike Spriggs, president of the Ohio Fairs and Festivals Association.

“If there aren’t changes made to be a little more friendly, I think we’ll continue to see them go by the wayside,” he said about the ride companies. “They’re not going to go through that trouble to get licensed in Ohio.”

Brenda Lucas: Community news for Thursday, July 22

BLOOD: American Red Cross sponsors a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 23, at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church, fellowship hall, Hurricane, West Virginia. Contact redcrossblood.org or 800-733-2767.

HIGH HONORS: Two Lawrence County, Ohio, residents were among about 160 students to be named to the dean’s high honors list for the spring semester at Marietta College. Samantha Rubadue of Ironton, graduate of Rock Hill High School, is majoring in communication studies. Kelsie Warnock of Proctorville, Fairland High School graduate, is majoring in special education/elementary dual degree. To qualify, full-time students must complete at least 15 credit hours with a grade point average of 3.75 or better in a given semester.

“DOUBLE NICKELS”: Dallas and Patty Cassidy, of Wayne, received their “double nickel” wedding anniversary gift five days early when they welcomed their first great-grandchild. The Cassidys were married 55 years ago July 22 and River Wolf Cassidy, weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long, was born July 17. Dallas is a retired Mountaineer Gas Co. employee and Patty was a radiology transcriptionist with Cabell Huntington Hospital. May their anniversary be filled with happiness, love, good health, fond memories and special moments with the new addition to the family.

READERS: Vera Dailey, of Ona, sent this note: “We certainly enjoy your column with local news and birthdays.” I can’t remember ever receiving correspondence from this reader, but it was great hearing from her. Keep your news coming.

VBS: “Destination Dig” is the theme for Vacation Bible School offered from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 26-30, at First Baptist Church, Ceredo. Contact 304-453-2092 or fbcsecretary@zoominternet.net. To register, visit www.fbcceredo.com/vbs-signup.

GOLF: Boyd County Tourism presents Ashland Open Disk Golf Tournament Friday through Sunday, July 23-25, at Armco Park, Ashland.

OVER 70: Dale and Dorothy Musgrave, both in their 90s in age, celebrate over 70 years of blessed days of marriage Thursday, July 22. The Monel Park residents for 50-plus years were the first ones married in the new 26th Street Baptist Church. Dorothy not only supported God’s direction for their lives, but she supported her husband in his calling to be in gospel music for many years. They are parents of two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Prayers are for several more years of togetherness.

QUALIFIED: Danielle Boggs, of Ashland, qualified for the dean’s list for the spring semester at Ohio University, Athens. To receive this distinction, students must earn 12 semester hours of credit, including at least six hours attempted for letter grades, with a minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 achieved. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the university’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.

PIRATES/MERMAIDS: Hope’s Place presents its third annual pirate cruise, “Pirates and Mermaids,” from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 24, on Cincinnati Belle, Ashland. Tickets are $150; $275 couples; and sponsorship tables are available. Costumes are not required but could walk the plank if not wearing. Proceeds benefit Hope’s Place Child Advocacy Center. Contact Tiffany Jobe, 606-325-4737 or tiffany@hopesplace.org.

MOVIES: Movies in the Square begins at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Broadway Square, 1600 Winchester Ave., Ashland. Sponsored by City of Ashland Parks and Recreation and Boyd County Library, admission is free.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Laura Adkins, Mike Woodard, John Patterson, Kayce Scarberry Beltz becomes “sweet 16,” Christy Jones, Patty Anderson, Gary Edgell, Abby Mills, Bailey Philyaw, Michael Shaver, Kent Schamp, Carolyn Karr, Kristi Boshell, Mikey Curtis, Jane McColgan, Amy Ward, Karen Hale.

TODAY’S ANNIVERSARIES: Kody and Shelby Adkins celebrate No. 5, Steve and Stacy Morrison, Glen and Vickie Stapleton, Brian and Amy Kelly, Jeff and Toni Madden, Adam and Stacey Holley.

FRIDAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Brenda Adkins, Kirsten Bess, Sharon Ross Caldwell, Rodney Montgomery becomes the double 6 (66), Barbara Townsend, Alana Mooney, Woodson Proctor turns 64, Sherri Hagley, Kody Adkins and Kayla Adkins, twin brother and sister, celebrate turning 32, Dan Jordan, Mike Kelly, Mike Baker, Kirstyn Bess, Michelle Jackson, Chase Maddox, Grace Payne, Said Phillips, Andrew West, Izzy O’Callaghan, Kay Ransbottom, Margy Kennedy, Anna Thomas, DaVontaé Edwards, Chad Heiner, Nick Clark, Jan Mayes, Erin Bradley, Hunter Lycans turns 2, Alan Zimmerman.

FRIDAY’S ANNIVERSARIES: Todd and Kathy Lester, Gary and Jill Newman, Ben and Becca Wilson.

CHUCKLE: A couple was touring the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the guide pointed out a tall, benevolent gentleman as the congressional chaplain. The lady asked, “What does the chaplain do? Does he pray for the Senate or House?” The guide answered, “No, he gets up, looks at the Congress, then prays for the country!”

Wife can't convey uncertainty of pregnancy to husband

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for eight years, married for two. We recently started discussing having a family. I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and it may be difficult for me to get pregnant. I suffered a miscarriage earlier this year. Until it happened, I didn’t realize how badly I wanted a baby.

We both feel we are ready to be parents. However, I’m terrified that I won’t be able to conceive or that I’ll lose the baby again. My husband is so optimistic. He thinks everything will be fine and, as soon as we decide to get pregnant, it will happen. I have tried explaining PCOS to him, but he seems oblivious to what could be our reality.

I don’t know how to get through to him so he won’t be severely disappointed if having biological children isn’t in the cards for us. Do you have any suggestions? — TROUBLED IN TENNESSEE

DEAR TROUBLED: Please accept my sympathy for your miscarriage. Because you haven’t been able to get through to your husband that the road to parenthood may be bumpy, enlist the assistance of your OB/GYN or your fertility specialist to explain it to him. That way, if what you fear is true, you can better support each other. I wish you both good luck on this journey.

DEAR ABBY: I am 56 and I had an affair with a woman I met 17 years ago. We grew close and five years later we moved in together. We separated five years after that, but stayed friends. At that time, her daughter “Chloe” and I developed feelings for each other.

Chloe’s mom became sick two years ago and has now passed away. I love Chloe, but she doesn’t want anyone to know about our affair. I don’t see how we can hide this any longer. Do you think this relationship will work out? — PONDERING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PONDERING: You’re asking the wrong woman. It’s time for you to have a serious talk with Chloe to ask why she doesn’t want anyone to know about the affair. Her answer will tell you everything you need to know about where your future is — or is not — heading.

DEAR ABBY: My dad has a hearing problem. Every night he nods off in his recliner. When it’s time for me to go to bed and I turn the TV off, he turns it right back on instead of just going to bed like he should. I’m one of those people who needs quiet in order to fall asleep. Abby, this has been going on since I moved in here with my parents. I have done everything I can think of, but he just keeps doing it and I’m about ready to explode. — IRRITATED DAUGHTER

DEAR DAUGHTER: Have you tried enlisting your mother’s help in getting through to your father? Have you tried earphones for him and earplugs for you? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are either going to have to adjust or, for the sake of your health and sanity, find another place to live.

Ironton man faces up to 220 years in prison after being convicted on child sex abuse charges

IRONTON — An Ironton man faces a prison sentence of up to 220 years after being convicted on 30 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and 15 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

Shawn Koster, 46, of Ohio 243, Ironton, was convicted Tuesday evening following a two-day trial in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. The jury deliberated about three hours before convicting Koster on all the charges he was indicted on earlier.

Judge Christen Finley set final sentencing in the case for 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2, according to Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson.

Anderson, who prosecuted the case, said he will seek a lengthy prison sentence due to the nature of the offenses. He said Koster had unlawful sexual conduct with a girl between the ages of 13 and 16 and took obscene pictures of the teenager.

Koster rejected a plea deal that would have sentenced him to 25 years in prison prior to the trial, which required the girl to testify in the case, Anderson said.

In an unrelated case Wednesday, Shawn T. Brown, 23, of Echo Drive, Ironton, admitted violating community control sanctions and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In other cases:

  • Raymond E. Jenkins Jr., 40, of the 100 block of 11th Street, South Point, pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated trafficking in meth and aggravated trafficking in meth in the vicinity of a juvenile. Bond was set at $25,000.
  • Jamie R. Domosley, 36, of Pippa Passes, Kentucky, pleaded not guilty to aggravated possession of meth and receiving stolen property. He was released on a $25,000 recognizance bond while the case is pending and was ordered to get drug treatment.
  • Jimmy Turvey, 21, of Ohio 93, Pedro, pleaded not guilty to aggravated possession and trafficking of 12.3 grams of meth. He was released on a $25,000 recognizance bond while the case is pending.
  • Steven D. Wirzfeld, 22, of Price Street, Catlettsburg, Kentucky, pleaded not guilty to possession of hashish and possession of drugs with a prior drug conviction. He was released on a $10,000 recognizance bond while the case is pending.
  • Gary N. Abbott, 48, of Township Road 1118, Chesapeake, denied violating community control sanctions. The case was set for trial next month.