Berkeley County briefs

January 23, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Berkeley Co. magistrate seeks sixth term

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg formally announced Wednesday that she will be seeking a sixth term on the bench in the upcoming election.

In seeking another four-year term, Bragg, of Martinsburg, said in a news release that she would continue to serve in an impartial manner and be mindful of alternative sentencing options to help alleviate the ever-increasing burden of jail costs on county taxpayers.

"In cases where someone is convicted of lesser crimes, it is more beneficial to everyone for that person to be sentenced to (home confinement) and monitored at home or to perform community service rather than become a burden to the tax community," Bragg said. "I will continue to use discretion and common sense when making these types of decisions."


Appointed in 1988, Bragg, a Democrat, is the longest serving of the county's five magistrates. Fellow incumbent magistrates Jim Humphrey, Sandy Miller, JoAnn Overington and Harry L. Snow have filed for the upcoming election.

Born in Upshur County, W.Va., Bragg said she was raised in nearby Barbour County and first moved to Berkeley County in 1972. Bragg said she worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C., and 13 years for the City of Martinsburg before accepting the magistrate appointment. At that time, Bragg was one of three magistrates.

Berkeley County's magistrates are paid $50,000 annually based on a two-tier system based on population.

Retired firefighter/EMT announces bid for sheriff

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A retired firefighter/EMT announced his candidacy Wednesday to be Berkeley County's next sheriff.

Democrat Charles C. "Chip" O'Roke, 58, of Martinsburg, said he wanted to continue his work as a public servant, which has spanned more than 40 years. He works as a court security officer at the Berkeley County Judicial Center.

"I want to continue my service as Sheriff of Berkeley County by trying to make this county a safer place for all of us to live in," O'Roke said in a news release.

"I want our children to be able to go out and play and go to school without the fear of harm."

O'Roke's bid to replace outgoing Sheriff W. Randy Smith joins fellow Democrats Kenneth (Kenny) Lemaster Jr. and Richard "Dick" Steerman, both of Martinsburg.

Carlton "Cootsie" Dehaven of Martinsburg was the only Republican to file for the office as of Wednesday.

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