Board of Supervisors meeting addresses rivers and roots

Tuesday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting was dedicated to bringing in the new, and getting familiar with some items needing more attention in 2016. The Supervisors did approve the School Board’s amount towards capital expenditures, and the whole county waits eagerly through the next steps towards paving the high school parking lot. An item requiring action came up because Bath administration had learned from neighboring counties about a changed designation on 14 rivers across the state from unnavigable to navigable.   The Board was prepared to formally document their opinion on the matter, and one landowner asked the board to take their resolution a step further than just an objection.

“My name is Monroe Farmer. If there was any comment I could make, it is, I would prefer it be resolved that they rescind their designation until such time as they follow public hearing proper procedure.”

The board agreed with Mr. Farmer, and a couple of other members of the public. Their resolution includes a request for proper procedure in the future regarding any classification of rivers flowing through this county, and also that the Marine Resources Commission take back the designation that claims about 2,100 feet of the Bullpasture is now navigable. The incoming board will be the ones following-up with state delegates and the MRC, to see what occurs.

A quote Supervisor McWilliams had found in the local paper caused him to wonder. He shared his thoughts towards the closing of the meeting during Board Member comment.

“Instead of people who come here, and try to take over the county, we need to take care of those who have made it what it is. And I thought about this, and I thought, who are those people? We’ll start with the Ingalls family. Traditionally, they weren’t here; they weren’t from here. They were from somewhere else, but they left us with a tremendous legacy, and a tremendous reputation throughout the region and the country. We have Mr. Ellis, who was not from here. He donated the first Rescue Squad that got the Hot Springs Rescue Squad started. Lettie Pate Evans, she wasn’t from here, but she created a foundation that to this day supports a tremendous amount of our health care in this community. Elinor Hopkins, she was not from here, but she organized the first art show, which is now the Bath County Arts Association, and they’re providing programs throughout the schools, and for all the kids in town that require them to be involved that require them to be involved in something they don’t have access to on a regular basis. Mrs. Kendall, she wasn’t from here. She donated and funded all of her property, and created an art center that employs fifteen people, and has a budget of a million dollars a year creating tax revenue, and tourism revenue for the county. Tommy Craven, and Dutch Von Shilling, probably consider, they’re not from here, but they donated land and a building so that we could have a library. Jamie McArdle, she’s not from here, but she started the Allegheny Mountain String Project. She brought string music programs to the schools, and to families who are homeschooling creating a resource that wouldn’t have been there. There’s Mrs. Ellis; there’s Mr. Beach; there’s Mr. Vardommen, and there’s Mr. Brooks. None of those folks would be considered ‘from here’ but if you go back and look at the scholarship money they’ve provided for Bath County Students, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised. And this doesn’t even talk about the numerous businesses that are providing jobs to the community that may be owned by some one ‘not from here’. We all live and work here, and I think therefore, we are all from here. Our ideologies and our opinions may differ, but it should not diminish where we are going, or the contributions we can make to Bath County to be more successful. And so for a population declining, we need to embrace people coming here, and be part of our success. And I leave you with that, that we are all from here, no matter where you’re from.”






Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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