National news stories about incidents that have occurred since Donald Trump won the presidential race last week have become personal for some state residents.
They now know how it feels to be in the headlines, and the common denominator is Trump.
In two instances, self-proclaimed Trump supporters boasted about their involvement in targeted hits.
Darkness was the backdrop in Clarksburg when a gay couple found a threatening note on their door, and young athletes in Boone County lost thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to arson.
A third controversy erupted after a Clay County community official’s Facebook post comparing First Lady Michelle Obama to an “ape in heels.”
There have been more than 300 reports of this kind of activity in the past week, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center, where they are “monitoring reports of racist harassment and hateful intimidation in wake of the presidential election,” the website states.
Arson in Boone County
After 40 years in law enforcement, Boone County Sheriff Randall White had seen it all.
Until Sunday night, when a press box and maintenance building at Racine’s John Slack Park containing student football equipment was set ablaze. Total damages are tentatively set at $18,000, he said.
Arson is one thing, but a message left behind is the real puzzler.
The phrase “Trump Train” was painted on the ground in front of the torched building.
Things had been quiet since last week’s election when Republican Donald Trump won the presidential race. There was nothing to indicate something was brewing.
“It shocked us, but especially because it is the kids who really got hurt because their football equipment got burnt up. They are the ones who’ll really suffer from this,” he said.
“It don’t make sense. Why would you do this to a bunch of kids?”
The Seth Midget Football League lost helmets and padded pants used by dozens of youngsters. A public address system and some pieces of field equipment were also ruined by the blaze.
There is some good news: County police already have some leads, and are continuing to investigate. Monday evening, parents and players came together at the park’s charred remains as a sign of unity.
Gay couple in Clarksburg targeted
Nearly 150 miles away in Harrison County, self-proclaimed Trump supporters targeted a gay couple in Clarksburg.
Corey Hurley and Kyle Chester were awakened early Thursday by a knock and the sound of someone running away.
It was about 3 a.m. when they found a handwritten note that read, “TRUMP is our president now! Get out of our neighborhood now FAGGOTS!!”
Although shaken by the hateful post, the pair – who were already wondered what to expect after Trump won – posted the note on Facebook. They received both national and international support.
On his Fb page, Hurley said it was scary but he was more interested in letting as many people as possible know about the incident.
Controversy after Facebook post in Clay County
It’s a different story in Clay County, where two Trump-supporting public officials are now in the media spotlight since their posts went viral.
Outrage continues after Clay County Development Corp. Director Pamela Ramsey Taylor apparently posted on her personal Facebook page what many considered a “racist” comment about First Lady Michelle Obama.
“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in high heels,” Taylor reportidly posted.
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling replied, “Just made my day Pam.”
Their posts went viral, and at one point Sunday evening 42,465 people were talking about it on Facebook. The two pages have since been deleted.
Nearly 120,000 people have currently signed an online petition calling for both women to be terminated from their positions.
An individual who answered the phone Tuesday said Taylor is no longer the agency’s executive director and was not in the office.
She declined to say whether Taylor had been fired, or will continue to be employed in another position.
Board members held an emergency meeting Friday, and named Leslie McGlothlin as the new director.
Whaling issued a statement to a Charleston television station explaining her action, and apologizing for causing “any unintentional harm,” WCHS reported.
“My comment was not intended to be racist. I was referring to my day being made for the change in the White House… Those who know me, know that I am not in any way racist.”
Town council members are expected to discuss the situation at tonight’s regularly scheduled meeting.
In a weekend interview with WSAZ, also a Charleston station, Taylor said she is sorry and that she’d already been reprimanded on her job.
Taylor is now concerned about her own safety as well as her family since “this has now become a hate crime against her.” She also said they have received death threats.
Neither woman responded to an interview request.