In a strange twist in the question of “moral character” 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Laura Faircloth once again denied a petition to renew Special Services Bureau, Inc.'s authority be to engage in a bail bonding business in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
In a previous hearing, she stated “I cannot find -- and the way that the statute reads is or who is not known to be a person of good moral character and I don't think I can make that finding. So I'm denying the petition for renewal.”
Her decision was made in part based on the testimony of court official Kim Clark. Clark testified that she was unaware that John Orem was at the secure door before she opened the door remotely to allow his wife Sher Orem in.
Attorneys for SSB, Inc. provided the court with a copy of surveillance video footage that clearly contradicts the testimony of Clark, who Faircloth ordered to the stand during the review hearing of the petition. The surveillance footage showed John Orem in plain sight at the courthouse interior office before being allowed in by Clark.
After review, Faircloth stated she was not going to consider all of the assistant's testimony and that the part of the testimony was stricken from the Dec. 4 order denying the petition. The court also found that Sher Orem is financially responsible and has a clean criminal history. However, she still denied the renewal of the license based in part of a fear that Sher Orem was not removed enough from her husband to run SSB, Inc.
The Orem’s are surprised that they are licensed in so many other locations but are having problems in the Eastern Panhandle. "I'm a bondsman in Virginia, Maryland and every other county we want to be in West Virginia. It's just Berkeley County. And we just got approved in Monongalia County,” John Orem said.
Orem has stated in the past that he has spent over $100,000 in legal fees and would continue to fight to clear his name. “We already began a Supreme Court appeal. We filed a civil complaint against Kim Clark and Berkeley County," Orem said.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Correction: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said Judge Faircloth was not going to consider the assistant's testimony and the testimony was stricken from the record. Faircloth only stuck part of the testimony. The Missions Tribune apologizes and regrets the error"
By: Kim Wince
Romney Middle School chorus teacher, Laura Groves, has finally reached the long sought after goal of obtaining new risers that were needed not only for the classroom but also for school concerts throughout the school year. Laura has been the chorus teacher at Romney Middle School for six years and has been working towards the goal of raising $14,000 to purchase new risers for her students to use. Groves said the risers the school was using were "Hand me downs from other schools in the county; they were nearly 30 years old, bent, broken, and very difficult to use."
the past school year, Groves had decided that this year was going to be the big push to finish funding for the risers. Over the six years of teaching at Romney Middle School Groves had saved from past donut sales and local donations from students' families and the community. At the beginning of the school year, Groves states there was still between $8,000-$9,000 needed to complete the goal successfully. Donations from local businesses including Coldwell Banker Realty, The Bank of Romney, Judy's Mobile Homes, Sheri Coleman from Eastern Psychological Associates, Italian Touch, and Chic-fil-a of Lavale, Maryland all contributed to the new risers' fund early in the school year by either monetary or gift card incentives.
The Hampshire County Arts Council organized a benefit concert near the holiday season that raised over $1,000 to put toward the new risers with Hay Fever and Knobley Mountain Pickers performing pro bono.
Large donations from Walmart of Keyser, West Virginia, Romney Women's Club and Modern Woodmen provided grants to double the donut sales profits with a contribution of $2,500 towards the project. As well, the Romney Middle School student council donated proceeds from their fundraising dance to help with the fundraising drive.
During the last few months of the school year, the chorus students performed another Krispy Kreme donut sale that helped top off the funds needed to obtain the new risers. Groves says, "Between fundraising and donations, we raised $15,000, and I would say that over $5,000 of that was donations from our community and the rest were thanks to our Krispy Kreme fundraisers over the past six years."
After working diligently to acquire the funds needed and by saving from previous years, Groves' chorus students now have a new set of risers. With many students using these risers during their classes and performances in their concerts, ensuring safety is a priority. Groves states, "The new ones roll easily, [and] do not have to be lifted. The actual risers fold down and up on gas hinges, and also have back and side rails to make them safer." With the purchase of the new risers, Groves is now confident of the safety of all of her present and future chorus students while performing.
By: Kim Wince
Augusta, WV: Robert Reynolds, of Augusta, WV, knows the lifestyle and hardship of being a person that suffers from addiction and alcoholism very well. He was an alcoholic and an addict for seventeen years. After some criminal activity by Reynolds, he received a ten-year prison sentence. With the help of two gentlemen that were living the life of Christ before him, he came to find Jesus during his incarceration. Before his experience, Reynolds was never a believer of God or the idea of church. He had only attended church a few times, for family services on the major holidays in which he states he was "high”. The gentlemen he met led Reynolds to a weekend retreat where they taught a curriculum about Jesus Christ. That's when Reynolds was "saved."
On November 10, 2010, Reynolds made the ultimate decision to begin a life without alcohol and drugs. He was also on some depression medication and decided to transition off of it. For the next year, Reynolds pushed his own parole back while he searched for a facility that would help him with his new life of Christ and help guide him after his release.
Reynolds knew that he could not return home to Martinsburg, WV, for fear of relapsing. In April of 2011 Reynolds was released from prison and went to Levels, WV to meet with Pastor Wayne Stotler, who had interviewed Reynolds while incarcerated. He stayed at a transition home located across from the church of the Pastor called "The House Of Miracles." Reynolds graduated from the program in 2012. He worked with the local youth for a long time and studied to be a youth pastor, but something still didn't feel quite right for Reynolds. He says felt a desire to be somehow more involved with helping addicts and alcohol in a situation like he had once been in.
He started participating at the Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge and became engaged with their program. He was asked to speak and to give his testimony. He would go there on Sundays and spend the day with those involved and have dinner with them, share some devotions, and pray with them. Once, after returning from the Teen Challenge, Reynolds was told by his Pastor that there was where his passion lay, so Reynolds began to pray about it and wrote down a vision of what he thought God wanted him to do.
In July and August of 2017, Reynolds was praying for a more in-depth vision. A brother in Christ, Colby Nichols, expressed to Reynolds that he had received a message from God, while in his basement, to give up his home. Colby and his wife moved from the area and started a new career and a new chapter of their lives. Their home would become "The Freedom House."
Reynolds began the mission with only $25 in his bank account and left the rest up to God. Many people from the community shared with him information about government funding and other possibilities that could help him with the new facility. Reynolds said, "No, God has called me to do this, so I trust in him to make it work." As he began giving his testimonies and sharing his vision throughout the local churches and the community, every denomination in the area started helping with many things including the finances necessary to fund the operation. Businesses in the area, such as Trinity Health Care, offered free medical care, along with Dr. Timothy Nichols, D.D.S. who offered free dental work. Reynolds opened "The Freedom House" last October and said, "It's been a blessing ever since."
The home is a year-long program for individuals and is faith-based. In the house, people start their day with breakfast and devotions followed by some chores and some biblical classes. Throughout the day they may receive calls offering jobs from mowing lawns, to cutting firewood, or to lending a hand to help someone while moving. Reynolds says, "[They] like to give back to the community." The doors at The Freedom House are not only open to people suffering from addiction or alcoholism, but it's also an open door for anyone that needs extra support or that would like to know more about Jesus Christ.
Currently, Reynolds is working with a volunteer, Gary Edwards, that owns a farm and has a wood shop there. During the first couple of months of being at the Freedom House, individuals don't have employment, so Reynolds designing a new agenda that he hopes will allow his clients to go to Edwards' workshop and learn how to make wood signs and furniture. He also hopes to give them a little extra to add to their experience and the skills they could offer.
Monday through Friday Reynolds stays at the house. On Saturday Gary Edwards comes and takes residents to his farm to lend a hand and learn to do some farm work, before taking the night shift at the home, and on Sunday another volunteer supervises operations.
The Freedom House can occupy up to twelve individuals at a time; currently, one resident is there with a few others expected to arrive within the next week or two. Reynolds says the largest number of program participants he has had at one time was ten.
During the next two months, Reynolds friend and Pastor, Imre Kuller, from Estonia, will also be accompanying the residents; assisting with the classes and the educational programs within The Freedom House.