Berkeley County

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / West Virginia Division of Tourism

On February 17, 1735, pioneer Morgan Morgan was commissioned a captain of militia in present Berkeley County. Nearly three centuries later, a successor to Morgan’s militia regiment is still going strong.

The militia’s original purpose was to protect settlers against Indian raids. Then, in the early decades of the nation, the militia took part in every American conflict: from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. One of the first state militia units reorganized after the Civil War was the Berkeley Light Infantry.

The Clorox Company

The Clorox Company says it plans to build a new manufacturing facility that would employ 100 workers in West Virginia.

Company officials told The Journal that they took the first step in the process of locating to the area by filing draft plans with the Berkeley County planning commission. Plans call for the plant to be located in the Tabler Station Business Park.

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Gov. Jim Justice has hired a former campaign staff member as his Regional Representative for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle counties.

One of seven locomotives acquired by OmniTRAX after it purchased the Winchester & Western Railroad in September. Additionally, OmniTRAX acquired 470 railcars.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Colorado-based OmniTRAX, a freight-only transportation company that links several railroads from coast to coast in the U.S., purchased the Winchester & Western Railroad for $105 million in September. 

The railroad runs through part of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, and the purchase is expected to improve West Virginia’s economy by attracting more businesses to the Eastern Panhandle.

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Nov. 30 was the deadline for West Virginia to provide $2.3 million to the Maryland Department of Transportation to keep the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) at its current service. Otherwise, the service in West Virginia would be reduced from six trains per weekday to two. 

But it’s unclear if an agreement was reached.

Downstream of Dam #5 in Falling Waters, W.Va. during a study using tagged American eels from Millville, W.Va.
David Sutherland / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

At the end of Vineyard Road in Falling Waters, West Virginia, there is an old, stone and brick structure on the Potomac River. This small, historic building is a hydroelectric power plant owned by Cube Hydro Partners based in Maryland. Beside the structure is ‘Dam #5.’

The MARC train parked at the Martinsburg train station. The service currently offers six trains, Monday through Friday, in West Virginia, but that could be reduced to two trains if West Virginia does not pay Maryland $2.3 million by the end of November.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Local municipalities in the Eastern Panhandle have come together to provide some funding for the Maryland Area Regional Commuter, or MARC train, but it remains unclear if it will be enough to keep the service in West Virginia.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

A Polish family-owned cosmetics business has decided to place its United States flagship in West Virginia. The family hopes to open a manufacturing facility in Martinsburg in five years.

October 18, 1778: Martinsburg Incorporated

Oct 18, 2019
Martinsburg took off with the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad IN 1842.
e-WV / WV Humanities Council

The town of Martinsburg in Berkeley County was incorporated on October 18, 1778. The place had been settled originally by Joseph and John Morgan in the 1740s. But it was Scotland native Adam Stephen who put Martinsburg on the map. Stephen established mills along the banks of Tuscarora Creek, built himself a limestone house, and, in 1773, laid out the town. He named it for Colonel Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Lord Thomas Fairfax, who owned much of the present Eastern Panhandle.

Members of the local 1590 United Automobile Workers have been on the picket line for nearly a week. Picketers have been stationed at three locations along the road that leads to the entrance of the General Motors Distribution Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


For nearly a week, 90 workers from the General Motors Martinsburg Distribution Center have been on the picket line demanding better pay and benefits, as well as an updated promotional system for new employees.

U.S. Air Force

 


Residents and businesses in the southern part of Martinsburg were encouraged to evacuate Monday afternoon, after a resident brought an explosive device to the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

A federal public health agency is launching a study this fall that will evaluate Berkeley County residents’ exposure to the PFAS group of chemicals, which includes PFOA, or C8.

 

June 11, 1900: Confederate Spy Belle Boyd Dies at 57

Jun 11, 2019
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On June 11, 1900, Confederate spy Belle Boyd died of a heart attack at age 57.

Boyd was born in 1843 to an influential Berkeley County family. When the Civil War erupted, she and her family were decidedly pro-Southern. On July 4, 1861, Belle shot and killed a Yankee soldier in the Boyds’ Martinsburg home but was cleared of any criminal charges. She was only 18 at the time.

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, gives her opening remarks during the 2019 Legislative Wrap Up Breakfast in Martinsburg.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A special session to address education in West Virginia is just around the corner, and lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle are making plans to reintroduce controversial legislation next month.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department / sheriff.berkeleywv.org

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department has announced that two deputies involved in a November incident will return to duty.

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The MARC Train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter, serves about 250 West Virginians who live in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.

The train has been serving the area for more than 30 years, but Maryland has always paid the bills. West Virginia was only responsible for upkeep of its three West Virginia stations.

Edward Kimmel / Flickr

Updated on Mar. 21, 2019 at 4:44 p.m.

A police dashcam video released Thursday shows a West Virginia police officer kicking and punching a handcuffed teenage boy on the ground and kneeling on his shoulder during a November traffic stop.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Delligatti released the eight-minute video to The Associated Press. The teen's face is redacted in the video, taken from a sheriff's cruiser.

Jessica Leake / Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

West Virginia Public Broadcasting held a community outreach event Tuesday night at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg to discuss the future of jobs in the Eastern Panhandle.

One of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s organizational goals is to help facilitate an ongoing statewide conversation about job opportunities in West Virginia – what jobs are out there and what are the barriers to getting them?

The Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center is located on Wilson Street in Martinsburg, W.Va. It's the first of its kind in Berkeley County since the 1990s.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been more than 20 years since Martinsburg had an in-patient detox facility. That changed Friday.

The open house for the Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center attracted dozens from the community. The project took two years and was funded through a state grant of more than $1 million. The center will offer 16 beds to people with substance use disorders. It will be open 24/7.

Angie Gray, Nurse Director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department, shows a box of sealed, sterile syringes given to participants in her harm reduction program.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across West Virginia, people are fighting back against the opioid epidemic and pushing the message of recovery. Some of these people run harm reduction clinics – which sometimes include needle exchanges. We meet a nurse in the Eastern Panhandle who runs one of these programs.

Deer
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

West Virginia officials have placed restrictions on the disposal and transport of deer carcasses in two more counties in response to a disease.

The state Division of Natural Resources says in a news release the restrictions start July 1 in Berkeley and Mineral counties. The restrictions are already in Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties.

Lisa Melcher's daughter Christina pictured here with her two children, Anthony and Jasmine. Christina died of a heroin overdose in May 2017. Lisa says Christina is the heart of the Hope Dealer Project and came up with the name.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of people fighting the opioid epidemic in Berkeley County is garnering national attention (The New Yorker, CBS). In the Hope Dealer Project, three women work together to drive people struggling with addiction to inpatient detox or rehabilitation centers – pushing the message that recovery is possible.

Water
Jasonanaggie / Wikimedia Commons

The City of Martinsburg has sued the federal government over alleged chemical contamination of a drinking water plant.

Martinsburg attorney Kin Sayre filed the claim this month, requesting the Air National Guard pay for damages caused by high levels of two chemicals that the city said seeped into the water supply at the Big Springs water filtration plant in Martinsburg in 2016.

The Opequon Creek that borders Berkeley and Jefferson Counties has completely flooded a bridge in Martinsburg near Grapevine Road. Photo taken on May 17, 2018 at 7:22 p.m.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

Final Update on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 3:17 p.m.

 

After several days of continuous rainfall, the Eastern Panhandle is no longer under a flood warning or flood watch by the National Weather Service.


Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

Officials in one West Virginia county say they're spending less on jail by routing some offenders through alternative programs instead.

The Journal of Martinsburg reports Berkeley County's bill for the Eastern Regional Jail was down to nearly $646,000 for the three months ending in February, from nearly $800,000 during the same period the year before.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, speaking during a Senate floor session.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography


State lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle met Tuesday for the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast in Martinsburg, where education and the teacher pay raise took center stage.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of West Virginians travel from the Eastern Panhandle to Maryland or Washington D.C. every weekday for work. These commuters catch the Maryland-based MARC train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter.

But during this year’s West Virginia Legislative session, lawmakers debated the future of the MARC train in the state.

Maryland threatened to discontinue MARC service to West Virginia unless certain provisions were met.

Aneesh Sompalli (center) speaking at a Gereration West Virginia event in Shepherdstown.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Generation West Virginia’s local Eastern Panhandle chapter hosted a panel discussion at Shepherd University Thursday night with four young locals who decided to stay in West Virginia to build their careers.

Gas, natural gas, pipeline, energy, valve
Dollar Photo Club

Regulators have approved a construction stormwater discharge permit for Mountaineer Gas Co.'s proposed natural gas distribution line expansion in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release Wednesday the permit gives the DEP wide-ranging inspection and enforcement authority for the project.

Procter & Gamble Headquarters in Cincinnati, OH.
Derek Jensen / wikimedia Commons / user: Tysto

Officials from Procter and Gamble have announced additional products will be manufactured at the Martinsburg plant and, as a result, more employees will be needed.

Since construction began in 2015 for West Virginia’s Procter and Gamble plant, the organization estimated a need for 700 full-time employees to be hired by 2019.

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