A look back on 2022: big projects move forward, community climbs out of COVID times


Hospitals worry about capacity at COVID’s Omicron variant spreads widely.

Stonerise nursing home tackles a COVID outbreak.

A snowstorm drops 6-9 inches of snow on January 16, sending students to remote learning.

Colin Graham is hired as the director of the Morgan County-Berkeley Springs Chamber of Commerce.


Paw Paw firefighter Shawn Dick, Sr. is killed in a work accident in Virginia.

County officials consider rules to allow local fire departments to bill homeowners’ insurance for service calls.

Berkeley Springs hosts the 32nd Annual International Water Festival. Waters from Ohio, Connecticut, California, Australia and Hawaii win top honors.

Parker Marcus is appointed to the Paw Paw council to fill an open seat.


Berkeley Springs High School wrestlers head to the state tournament. Evan Zombro & Evan Thompson earn a place as state runners-up.

COVID cases trop locally to single-digit counts.

A handcuffed woman flees police, escaping from the county courthouse.

Morgan County 5th graders show out at the state Science Fair. Aubrey Norcross, Joshua Morgan and Bailey Poniris bring home awards.

A Hancock man is arrested here for making terror threats.

A large-scale mountain fire that starts on March 21 burns more than 130 acres on Sleepy Creek Mountain. Local and regional crews contain damage to the state lands, and state foresters take over watch of the fire area.

Paw Paw resident Scottie Rhodes is charged with attempted murder in a domestic attack with weapons.

State lawmakers say a proposed bill won’t privatize Cacapon State Park or its lodge operations.

Morgan County commissioners commit $1 million toward a water and sewer extension project south along U.S. 522.

Paw Paw’s English teacher Alex Arthur is Morgan County’s Teacher of the Year.

Tari’s Premier Café closes suddenly after 33 years in business.

Warm Springs Middle School secretary Susan Clark is Morgan County’s Service Person of the Year.


County property values rise by 5%, says an assessment report.

Visible work begins on the U.S. 522 bypass after decades of discussion and debate. Trumbull Construction crews begin clearing land along the 3.4-mile corridor.

A local Grand Jury indicts 16.

Morgan County Partnership gets a $1.5 million grant to fight substance use impacts locally.

A Mt. Nebo man, Bradley Backus, is convicted at trial of felony fleeing with reckless indifference.

A quick storm drops 3-5 inches of snow on April 18.


Adam O’Brien, Landon Litten and Camden Spade are Morgan County’s winners of the state history Golden Horseshoe prize. 

Local voters decide multiple races in the May 10 primary and school board election. Bill Clark wins the GOP race for Morgan County Commission, George Miller wins the Republican primary race for delegate in the 90th district. Justin Litten, Laura Smith and Aaron Close win seats on the Morgan County school board and voters approve renewal of the special school levy.

A Philadelphia artist adds a striking veteran salute mural to the Paw Paw American Legion building.

Mushroom hunters find human remains on a Highland Ridge farm. Police think they may belong to a man reported missing in 2018.

War Memorial Hospital celebrates 10 years in their “new” location on Fairview Drive.

The Morgan County School Board adopts a $34.7 million budget.

A developer submits plans to the Morgan County Planning Commission to build a 173-site KOA campground in Great Cacapon.

Berkeley Springs High School’s 4×400 relay teams wins at the state track meet. Runners are Ben Golden, Tim Develing, Gabe McDonald and Jackson Mundey.

Berkeley Springs High School Class of 2022 graduates. There are 153 in the graduating class. Haden Fincham is Valedictorian of the class.

Paw Paw High School Class of 2022 graduates with 12 members. Hannah Deschenes is Valedictorian of the class.

Gas prices hit historic high prices at $4.49 per gallon on May 23.


Hedgesville resident Austin Wise dies in a car crash on June 2.

WSW Empire Cheer wins a national title at a Virginia Beach championship.

Vandalism at North Berkeley Park spurs more monitoring.

Reduced pharmacy hours at Walgreens impacts customers’ medical needs.

Economic Development Authority director Lyn Goodwin is named one of 2022 Women of Distinction by Girl Scouts.


Police search for a man and woman involved in a string of Great Cacapon burglaries.

New school board member Justin Litten is sworn in with re-elected members Close and Smith.

Ohio-based CommuniCare Health Services buys Stonerise nursing homes, including the Berkeley Springs facility.

Attorneys for Andy McCauley Jr. file notice to appeal his murder sentence.

Summer McClintock is hired as the new principal of Pleasant View Elementary.

The Town of Bath annexes the Old English Cemetery into town limits.

A July 23 storm blows through the county, damaging properties and cutting off power to many during a heat wave.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources gets a $2.8 million grant from the federal government to complete a mountain bike trail system at Cacapon State Park.


The Morgan Messenger wins editorial, advertising and design awards at the West Virginia Press Association banquet. The Messenger brings home a General Excellence award for their work in 2021.

County planners approve a site plan for a new Department of Motor Vehicles office along U.S. 522 in Berkeley Springs.

Bypass work closes part of Sugar Hollow Road.

Sgt. Sam Smith is named commander of the West Virginia State Police Berkeley Springs detachment.

A Morgan County couple – Charles and Vicky Law – are found deceased in their Hedgesville home on July 29. Police say she died of natural causes and his cause of death was self-inflicted.

The West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners pulls the license of Hunter-Anderson Funeral Home after investigations into the treatment of a corpse and the conduct of the owner.

Morgan County commissioners vote on August 17 to pass rules allowing local fire companies to bill insurance for their response to calls.

School begins for local students on August 23.


A Martinsburg man, Gabriel Cardwell, is charged with murdering Scott Mullens of Berkeley Springs on September 5 during a fight.

Morgan County 911 officials file a state complaint against Frontier Communications for Paw Paw phone outages that block residents from being able to call 911 dispatch.

County residents flock to South Morgan’s Fireman’s Carnival.

Darren O’Neill is named the new director for Morgan Arts Council.

A Morgan County grand jury indicts 16 for drug trafficking and other crimes.

State election officials tell Morgan County it didn’t count all of the primary election ballots. An investigation locally finds the ballots and tabulates corrected results. No races are changed by the error.

Local chef Damian Heath is named a WV Chef Ambassador.


The Apple Butter Festival returns, bringing thousands to the annual street festival once again.

The U.S. Department of Commerce approves $3.2 million in funding for a proposed sewer and water line extension along U.S. 522.

Morgan County pursues a grant to buy 75 new voting machines to replace the existing machines, which are 20 years old.

Governor Jim Justice comes to Cacapon State Park to campaign against Amendment 2 on the November ballot.

Fall foliage is more vivid that in years past.

Travel Berkeley Springs reports a 57% increase in tourism in 2022.


Local voter turnout hits 41% for November general election, GOP candidates sweep the ballots at all levels here.

Jules Happy Rone is hired as the interim Chamber of Commerce director.

The West Virginia Legislature holds their November interim meetings at Cacapon State Park. Business and civic groups host tours and welcome lawmakers to the area.

School staff shortages are affecting student learning and services.

The Town of Bath Historic Landmarks Commission is led by John Mason as it reactivates activities.


The county looks to find a second public water source as utility extension plans move forward.

Winter Fest Parade attracts thousands to downtown Berkeley Springs as 100 entries parade through town on December 3.

State court officials open an Intermediate Court satellite courtroom in Berkeley Springs.

An ice storm on December 15 damages trees, brings down power lines around the county.

Frigid temperatures set in during the Christmas week, leading local fire companies and community groups to open warming shelters for residents.

Two people are killed in an apparent domestic dispute in front of Coolfont on December 23.