County Commission to Invite State Legislators to Discuss Gun Safety & Noise Issues

Agnes Doyle and Marvina Irvine appealed to the Pocahontas County Commissioners at their July 19th meeting for them to write a letter to the WV State Legislature about gun noise and gun safety issues that Doyle and Irvine have been experiencing in the Brush Country Road area. Doyle issued a memorandum to the commissioners saying that this is her second request for the commission to do this, the first time was at the June 28th special commission meeting.

Doyle informed the commission that her overriding issue is with the guns and bombs her neighbor fires off and not as much with their drug dealing. she said she was suffering from a PTSD breakdown during that special meeting and perhaps did not make that clear. She said that her neighbor fires off a powerful .30/06 rifle which can send a round up to 4 miles, according to her research on the NRA website.  Doyle and Irvine are upset that under current state law it is legal to discharge a firearm so long as you are not closer than 500 feet to an occupied home. Both Doyle and Irvine would like the legislature increase that distance by a large amount to ensure the safety of other people in the area. They both would also like to see a county noise ordinance to prevent discharges of firearms late at night. Doyle said her neighbor repeatedly shoots his gun from his porch in the middle of the night but the police cannot do anything because that is more than 500 feet from her home. They said this has been going on for 3 ½ years and is ruining their lives.

Without expressing an opinion either way about these requested changes to WV’s gun laws, Commission President Walt Helmick did agree to invite several legislators representing the county to attend a future special meeting to discuss this with Doyle, Irvine and anyone else from the public who wishes to be there.

Ruthanna Beezley of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation introduced Alan Lawson, CEO of EDIOL, LLC, a company out of Georgia. Lawson told the commissioners that they are very interested in a two-year lease with an option to purchase a 2.77-acre lot on the county-owned Brown Field site at the former tannery property in the East Fork Industrial Park. He said EDIOL would like to construct an advanced biorefinery on that site, Lawson explained that a biorefinery converts – using a totally non-polluting process- wood chips into liquid hydrocarbons in the forms of biofuels, biochemicals, and bioplastic resins, which are all biodegradable. He said these some of these products can fuel vehicles if added to gasoline, while others have valuable industrial uses. The commissioners expressed interest in learning more about this proposal.

Roger Griffin of the One Room University asked the commission to hire an employee to replace another employee who left. He said this employee would not have benefits but would be paid on a W-2 and could only work up to 1039 hours per year. The county pays up to ½ the cost of some employees of the One Room University, as well as supplies, rent and utilities. Since this was not on the agenda, the commission agreed to discuss it at their next meeting.

Andy Friel and Nichole Brock of the Pocahontas County Saddle Club asked for a multi-year agreement with the county for their continued use of the rodeo arena on the county-owned field near the old ARC Building. They said they want to do some major improvements, such as adding power and putting a roof over the arena, but can only do this if they have a 15-to-20-year agreement with the county to use the field. Commission President Helmick said he would like for the commission to look over the area with members of the Saddle Club to see where the improvements will be before finalizing the agreement.

Christine Rebinski, the Cass VFD Rescue Chief, requested that the commission authorize that their building at the intersection of Route 66 and route 92 be annexed into the Cass VFD’s EMS response area. It is now located just inside the BFD Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Area, and just outside of Cass VFD’s Area. She explained that doing so would speed up EMS response times when they are called to back-up BFD since a lot of Cass’s volunteers live in Dunmore and must drive right past that building to the main fire station in Cass when responding from home to a call. Mike O’Brien said the State Fire Marshall has determined the building is in in BFD’s fire area, but EMS areas are designated by the County Commission, not the Fire Marshall. Rebinski said they would still need to install a sprinkler system before they could house an ambulance there even if the commission were to annex the building into Cass’s EMS area. The commissioners want to discuss this with BFD before annexing it. BFD has opposed this in the past. Commissioner John Rebinski recused himself from the room while this was discussed.

In other actions, the commissioners:

  • Passed a motion to advertise for contractors to restore and preserve the first County Clerk’s Office in Huntersville.
  • Approved a time extension request until 6/30/2023, and a $2095.60 draw-down #6 for T&L consulting fees from the Pocahontas County Broadband Study.
  • Approved draw-down Request #2 in the amount of $79,351.50 from the Broadband Project to pay T&L Consulting fees.
  • Approved the Day Report Program to apply for a WV Business Registration which is required for them to participate in the Empowered Employment Program.
  • Authorized Emergency Management Director Mike O’Brien to close out their COVID grant.
  • Wrote a required letter for the Marlinton Motor Inn to host the Eight Rivers Rally Event on August 4th through August 6th.
  • Appointed Leisha Cassell to the EMS Board.
  • Approved a Budget Revision and Resolution for the 2022-2023 General Fund.
  • Approved High Rock’s request to extend the time for them to purchase a commercial dishwasher using funds from the commission’s 2021 contribution to them.
  • Approved a Court Security Grant application.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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