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Commission Hears From Red Cross

March 6, 2019

The Wetzel County Commission met in regular session on Feb. 26 at the commission office, located on Main Street in New Martinsville. Commission President Larry Lemon, Vice President Lisa Heasley and Commissioner Greg Morris were present, as was Wetzel County Clerk Carol Haught.

Sharon Kesselring, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northwest West Virginia, provided the commission with a report detailing the Red Cross mission and activities. She also requested a renewal of the commission's annual donation of $2,500 to the Red Cross. She said the organization had been active in Wetzel County during 2018 with seven fire responses, helping a total of 17 people. She said the Red Cross also collected 381 units of blood from Wetzel County residents and helped four military families in various ways.

According to Kesselring, some of the help provided to veterans include information and help with benefits and housing loans. She said the Red Cross also provided training to 200 people in the area and added three new Wetzel County volunteers, who performed over 30 hours of volunteer service.

Article Photos

Photo by Ed Parsons
The Wetzel County Commission has declared March 2019 as American Red Cross Month.

Kesselring pointed out national statistics for disaster response from the organization including help with 2.2 million meals and snacks served with their partners. Information showed the agency has helped provide overnight shelter for 290,000 people during 2018 and helped individuals and families make health and mental health contacts. Also, the Red Cross provided fire recovery support for 73,000 households and installed 400,000 smoke alarms. Kesselring said the Red Cross now provides a Hero Care mobile app, a mobile electronic tool that puts vital Red Cross services for the military and veteran communities at fingertips.

Kesselring said every eight minutes, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster. Thus, she requested the commission proclaim March as Red Cross Month, and to consider her request for the annual donation, as in the past. The commission unanimously approved a motion to declare March as American Red Cross Month and took under consideration the request for funding of $2,500.

Next on the agenda was Sharon Thomas, executive director of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. She requested permission to use the Mollohan Center, free of normal charge, for three of the chamber's activities scheduled for 2019 - including the chamber's newest event, Celebrating Business. Thomas noted the chamber no longer hosts the Chili Fest as the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau took over the event. She said Celebrating Business will be held in early October and will feature new and old businesses. Her request was approved unanimously by the commission.

Pat Durant, of the City of New Martinsville's water department, approached the commission about his concern over the three water meters in the old Shiben building. He said he would be ordering new meters soon that would replace old meters, and he just wanted to make sure they needed three meters. It was explained by the commission that all utilities at the building will be paid by the county, so they would probably only need one. It was agreed that if more were needed later, then they could be ordered. Durant said it takes four or five weeks to receive the meters and they are expensive, so that's why he was concerned if they needed them all.

Durant also questioned the commission about a fence being left open at the bottom of the hill at the 4-H grounds. He said he would like to see it locked to prevent damage. He noted his locks are on the gates, but the county also has locks in place, which keeps him from locking the gates. Commission President Lemon agreed the gates should be locked and advised Durant he would make a call to get it done.

It was also discussed how to get rid of water and sewage back-up in the basement of the old Shiben building. Durant said he would see about getting it pumped out. However, it was explained there is a drain that is not operating properly and may have to be replaced or repaired at the county's expense.

Speaking on behalf of Betty Klug, Lori McCoy requested use of the Mollohan Center with a fee waiver for March 24 for the Relay for Life Quarter Auction. She also mentioned the recent food sale held in the lobby of the courthouse was a success, raising over $700. She thanked the commission for the use of the lobby. The commission also approved her request for the Mollohan Center for March 24 at no charge.

Terri Tyler, Executive Director of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority, appeared before the commission regarding the litter control and cleanup plan. She also made the authority's normal funding request. She explained the authority is still working to find a litter control officer, and there has been some who have shown interest until they find out the job is part-time. She suggested the commission consider making it a full-time position by combining it with other duties. She believes that would make the job more attractive to prospective employees.

Tyler advised the commission there is still a problem with litter and open dumps in the county. She mentioned the recent wind storm had scattered debris, and she said there are a lot of tires being thrown over hills and into ravines. She said the litter crews cleaned a lot of roads in 2018 but not as much on the side or back roads. She added due to traffic issues it was hard to do roads like Doolin, that have a lot of truck traveling.

Tyler mentioned the authority has a carryover of $26,000

The commission unanimously approved the funding request of $50,000 for litter cleanup by the WCSWA.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved a motion to revise the 911 budget by $650.



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