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Edition: December 12th, 2014

Firefighters from Marietta Fire Department battled


the blaze for about 85 minutes before getting it under
control, Marietta Fire Chief Bill Offerman said.
Offerman said firefighters also were concerned that
more deaths could have occurred if the response time
hadnt been so quick. The identification of the
bodies is still in progress.
Police closed off Mississippi Avenue, the village's
main street, for much of morning while firefighters
were on the scene completing the investigation.

Bar owners plan to rebuild


after fire kills four
The owners of a downtown Marietta bar that was
damaged in a mid-morning fire say they plan to
rebuild their business, despite the fact that the fire
caused four deaths.

Lori Thompson said she believed the building's shell


was still intact, though the roof would need to be
replaced. Firefighters still had the building cordoned
off Wednesday morning, so she had not viewed the
interior.

Lori Thompson who along with her sister, Sharon


Thompson, and mother, Kay Thompson, run
Thompson's Bar & Grill, 115 E. Mississippi Ave in
Marietta. said the family plans to remodel once
they determine the extent of the damage.

Parkersburg tries to claim


gang presence is limited,
but tagging in Marietta says
otherwise.

Witnesses reported seeing smoke wafting from the


roof of the one-story wood and stone building about 1
a.m. Sunday.

Police acknowledge the existence of gangs in the


city, but say there is no indication of any nationally
affiliated gangs.

"We saw some smoke coming out of the roof and


while we called 911, it was just engulfed in flame,"
said Matt Masood, manager of Sunshine Food, a
market across the street from Thompson's. "And then
the smoke just billowed out in a big black cloud. ... It
happened so quickly."

Parkersburg police Officer Don Brown, who serves


as the prevention resource officer at Parkersburg
High School, said gangs in the area are local groups.
"We have documented what we consider hybrid
gangs," he said. "There is no national affiliation, such
as Bloods, Crips or MS-13; just a local group."

Brown said a gang is a group of three or more


individuals together for a common purpose.
"That purpose is criminal activity," he said.

Open casting calls for "Elevator," directed by Rich


Rule of Dizzyboy Productions of Parkersburg, will be
held 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign
Wars post on Garfield Avenue in Parkersburg.

Mayor Bob Newell, a former police chief, said a


group of kids who thinks they are a gang are every bit
as dangerous.

Rule was involved with other movies filmed in


Parkersburg, including "ReZistance," "White
Zombie" and "Pro Wrestlers versus Zombies."

Brown said they see a lot of petty crime for the


gangs, most of the more serious activities is related to
drugs. The newest activity taking place in Marietta.

He was an assistant director in "ReZistance," which


with "White Zombie" will be shown Saturday night at
Parkersburg South High School in a benefit for the
drama department at the school. Admission is $2.

Officials say there may be more arrests, much like


the two from the previous week.

"This is my first full-length feature movie," Rule


said.

The gangs have made it harder to be tracked.


"One thing they have learned is not to be so outgoing
or flashy," he said. "They don't fly the flags anymore
and stick mostly to tagging. They are trying to be
discreet."
Brown said the gangs don't wear colors anymore. But
they have gotten more notoriety on the Internet, using
social Web sites such as Facebook to interact and
recruit members.
Brown said they have documentation of gang activity
through a cooperative effort between the police and
the Wood County Board of Education.
Police downplay talk of rampant gangs and gangrelated activity. Brown said there are only a handful
of gangs in the area, but police seriously approach
claims by someone who asserts himself as being in a
gang.
"If they say they are in a gang, they are in a gang,"
Brown said. "We don't take it lightly."

The movie, which takes place in an elevator, is a


psychological action thriller, said Lea Wilson, a
production coordinator for Dizzyboy. Three people
are trapped in an elevator during a heist in the
building.
The plan is for filming to begin in January, Rule said.
The movie may be released in late summer, he said.
While several roles have been cast, 50 to 60 actors,
maybe more, are needed to be extras, several with
speaking parts, he said.
Deget Bundlez will play the part of the street thug
who is trying to take over and expand the drug
industry in his town. Cody Gutberlet will play the
business man with questionable ethics and can't be
trusted.
Also needed to be filled are the roles of an off-duty
police officer trapped in the elevator with them, Rule
said.
Among the roles to be cast:

Casting call set for local


movie
The Mid-Ohio Valley will be the setting for another
movie producers hope to starting filming next year.

* Detective Shawn Allen: late 20s to early 40s, good


looking, rough.
* Butch's men: intimidating, over 30
* Queen: mid 20s to mid 30s, attractive, intimidating
* Tony: 30s, rough looking, average
* Junkies: 20s to 30s, bum 1 and bum 2, both males
* Cate: any age
* Capt. G.: older, heavy set, eyeglasses
* Police officers: 20s to 40s
* Board members: seven to 10, well dressed, business
wear
* Female executive:

* Brad's men: two, 30s, rough but tough looking, 20s


young looking and clean cut
* Eddie: teenager, clean cut
* Jasmine: 30s, down-to-earth, motherly
* Gang members: tough and rough
* Queen's men: mixed types
With Rule and Wilson, Carey Clevenger is the
assistant director and Zei Vogta is the writer of the
screenplay.

Car stolen and found


abandoned in Parkersburg
down by the river bank
The theft occurred between 8.35pm and 9.45pm on
Saturday at Witton Court, Oxclose.

you can. The best defense you have is knowledge


about who is asking you for a donation," Tennant
said.
Tennant said the legitimate charities will be able to
answer questions such as whether the organization is
registered with the Secretary of State's Office, how
the donation would be used, and whether the caller is
employed by the charity or by a fundraising
organization.
The Secretary of State's Office maintains an online
database of charitable organizations licensed to
solicit donations from West Virginians. Using the
database citizens can find out how much money was
donated to a charity and if the charity spent the
donations on administrative costs, program costs, and
how much was spent on fundraisers.

A Renault Clio car was driven with keys and later


found abandoned and burnt along the Ohio River
bank.

Also available on the Secretary of State's website is


the Guide to Charitable Giving, which urges people
to beware of signs of a potentially fraudulent charity,
including:

Parkersburg Police are appealing for anyone who was


in the area, who has seen or heard anything
suspicious to contact them.

* Bills or invoices sent to you even though you never


pledged money to the organization.
* Evasive, vague or unresponsive answers to specific
questions about the charity and how the money is
used.
* Words making up a charity's name that closely
resemble a more well-known charity.
* Allowing you no time to reconsider your pledge;
they insist on collecting your money immediately.

Tennant warns of holiday


donation scams
Residents are urged to research charities before
donating this holiday season.
"During the holidays, we are all feeling more
generous and we want to find ways to help those who
are less fortunate," Secretary of State Natalie Tennant
said.
"But we all have to be wary of those fraudulent
charities that want to use our generosity against us.
That's why I urge all West Virginians, when
contacted by a charity, to ask as many questions as

* Refusal to answer questions about where your


money will go or refusal to send more information
about the charity.
* Emotional appeals and high pressure tactics to get
you to make a quick donation or attempts to make
you feel guilty if you do not wish to contribute.
To report a potentially fraudulent charity, contact the
Investigations Unit of the Secretary of State's Office
at 304-555-6000.