You can get the details here.
My condolences are also with the Howley family at this difficult time.
To honor Bill, I'm going to tell you all a Bill story. It's a little insight into his wicked sense of humor and the fun we managed to have even when the PATH transmission line was breathing down our necks. And it's a story Bill liked to tell often, with a chuckle and grin on his face.
In early 2011, just before the PATH project was put into abeyance, I was browsing PATH's website looking for something or other. I happened to notice that one page had a link to see what others were saying "in the news" in support of PATH. The link was supposed to click through to PATH's "Coalition for Reliable Power."
The "Coalition for Reliable Power" was a front group Allegheny Energy had created to build the appearance of public support for its TrAIL project. It consisted of a tri-state "coalition" of supporters, with subgroups for each affected state (Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia). The "Coalitions for Reliable Power" had a website, created by PR spinners Burson Marsteller. This is the link new PR company Charles Ryan had designed into PATH's website to see what others are saying about PATH "In the News."
However, shortly after the PATH applications were filed with the state agencies in 2009, Charles Ryan and PATH redesigned their whole coalition organization. Instead of one coalition with state-specific subgroups, PATH created three individual websites, one for each state, and attempted to pretend there was grassroots support for the PATH project. New websites were created for these "coalitions." The original "Coalition for Reliable Power" website was eventually abandoned, when its registration expired. However, Charles Ryan never updated the link on PATH's website.
So, in early 2011, PATH's website link to see what others were saying about PATH "In the News" was clicking through to a dead link -- the domain name was for sale!
And an idea was born!
Working with Bill and fellow PATH opponent and domain name queen Shelly Channell, we concocted a plan to buy the "Coalition for Reliable Power" web domain name and slap up a website touting competitor Dominion's Alternative One. Shelly did the buying and pointing of the domain name, Bill built the website, and I registered the business name "Coalition for Reliable Power" with the WV Secretary of State.
Then, when someone browsing PATH's website clicked on PATH's link to see what others are saying about PATH "In the News," they ended up at our new Alternative One site. Alternative One was a plan by Dominion to simply rebuild several transmission lines in West Virginia in order to increase transmission capacity, and cost one-third as much as PATH. Ultimately, Alternative One is what caused the cancellation of PATH, and has since been built with little fuss and opposition.
So, we chuckled and waited. How long would it take PATH to notice that it was now hosting a link to an opposition website? I guess we had a little too much fun with that and the increased traffic must have sounded some alarms at Charles Ryan Associates, because someone at the agency clicked through to our Alternative One site about a week later and then removed the link from PATH's website.
We figured it wouldn't be long before our friends at PATH found the Alternative One site. But, that's not what happened... apparently Charles Ryan didn't mention the whole incident to PATH. I mean, why admit your failures, right?
We thought it was important for Charles Ryan to tell its client what had happened, and that it was made possible by Charles Ryan's failure to monitor and update PATH's website in a timely fashion, a task it was being paid handsomely to perform. Charles Ryan seemed to be keeping a secret from its client!
We did the only thing a parent would do when a sneaky child wasn't being honest... we set out on a journey to make Charles Ryan fess up. "Charles Ryan has a secret" went viral! People from all over started following along, and learning about PATH in the process. We even created a sort of scavenger hunt, with clues, and encouraged followers to help uncover Charles Ryan's secret. And, of course, PATH was also dying to know what the secret was, but couldn't figure it out either. Only after a reader used his/her noggin to puzzle this out from the clues and post it on the blog, did PATH manage to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to the Alternative One site. PATH was cancelled just a few short weeks later.
And how we laughed!
This is how I will remember Bill. Rest in peace.