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.