Reinventing a Disgraced Mayor: Development King or Drug Czar?

In a desperate attempt to reinvent himself either as a self-appointed drug czar or a development leader, former Parkersburg mayor Bob Newell is negotiating a potential land deal for WVUP – the possible purchase of the Stephenson Mansion for use as a presidential residence. The historic property is located on Seventh Street – miles from campus but in the heart of the city.

Newell is hoping his cronies will appoint him to head the Area Roundtable for Economic Development now that Cam Huffman has taken a job with the Blennerhassett Hotel. The development entity is facing challenges posed by a vacant Coldwater Creek facility, abandoned industrial riverfront property that is no longer intended for the location of a cracker plant, and a polluted water supply that will continue to keep some manufacturers at bay indefinitely. A masterful development leader is needed to help Parkersburg grow jobs and rise above.

At the same time, Newell is distributing applications and accepting membership money from Parkersburg South students for a Drug-Free Club. It should be noted that the national organization does not recognize a local chapter of the club. Parents are concerned and some have already contacted administrators over their discomfort at having a man so abusive towards women in charge of a club that could involve their teenage girls. Further, since the drug problem only worsened during his tenure as police chief and mayor, sources believe this is an opportunity for Newell to draw a paycheck and apply for grant funds – not seriously focus on the heroin and painkiller epidemic killing our children and neighbors. After all, Newell’s primary drug prevention initiative during his last term was the placement of signs to discourage panhandlers and those who give to panhandlers.

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About Callie Lyons

RCNN Publisher and Editor Callie Lyons is an independent journalist and author living in the Mid Ohio Valley. Her first book, Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, is available at Amazon.com and in hundreds of libraries all over the world. Known as a "warrior for public health", Lyons' environmental investigations have been featured in documentaries, including Good Neighbors - Bad Blood and Toxic Soup, on Swedish National Television and in numbers of television, radio and print media interviews. Her work has appeared on Nova's Whiz Kids and in Mother Jones magazine. More recently, a national audience has come to know her award-winning investigative work through the Environmental Working Group and interviews with leading publications like the Huffington Post and The Intercept. Lyons' work was featured in the 2017 documentary Parched:Toxic Waters by National Geographic. According to Dr. Arlene Blum of the Green Science Policy Institute at UC Berkeley, Lyons' book provided the inspiration for the Madrid Statement, which documents the scientific consensus regarding the persistence and potential for harm of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances like PFOA and lays out a roadmap to gather needed information and prevent further harm. In 2006, Lyons received the Associated Press of Ohio Award for Best Business Writer. In 2007, Ohio Citizen Action presented Lyons with the Uncovering the Truth Award for her environmental journalism. In 2015, the Marietta 9-12 Project awarded Lyons the Freedom Pin for her commitment to democracy and free press.
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