County Commission to Write Letter of Opposition to NIOSH Mine Project

After hearing Jeanie Bell of the Eight Rivers Council and Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s Evan Cole and Heather Ransom, as well as Becky Sharp and Gil Willis express opposition to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Mine Safety training project near Mingo, the commissioners decided to write a letter of opposition to the project being built at the site. Since Commissioner Helmick was not present at this December 1st meeting, Commissioners Groseclose and McLaughlin voted to write the letter.

According to those opposed to it, the project would endanger safe drinking water and wells in the area, as well as have a detrimental effect to the county’s tourism industry.  Randy Sharp expressed his opposition to the commission writing the letter, saying that every time a project is proposed that would create jobs in the county, it is opposed because by the tourism industry.

Both commissioners present said they did not oppose the concept of the project which is to make the workplace safer for coal miners and others who work underground, but felt this was just not the right location for such a project.  The commissioners took the suggested letter written by the Eight Rivers Council and asked County Prosecutor Eugene Simmons to compose a letter based upon the information in that letter. It will be sent to the county’s Federal Representative and U.S. Senators.

The commissioners also voted to certify the county’s November 3rd General election.

They did not take up the agenda item regarding the Snowshoe RAD’s request to access the Hotel Occupancy Tax Returns, since this matter was settled before this meeting.

Kimberly Raleigh of Seneca Health services phoned in to the meeting and said Seneca Health has established a mobile health clinic to serve Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Nicholas and Webster Counties. The mobile unit will be at the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday to serve the medical needs of people who find it difficult to drive to a clinic.

They commissioners adopted a resolution supporting the County Clerk’s Office application for a $3,862.00 HAVE CARES Act grant for reimbursement of extra election costs due to COVID-19.

Cree Lahti, Director of the Pocahontas County Libraries & Visitor Information Centers delivered their annual update. She said that library activities have been defined by the pandemic in 2020, however the libraries are once again operating on almost regular hours. She noted that appointments are recommended since the number of patrons in the library is limited, but you can show up at a library without an appointment,  ring the doorbell and be admitted by a librarian. She added that curb-side service remains an option.

Lahti said that the WIFI at the four libraries that offer it has been opened up to all, and the state has installed “Kids Connection” to the libraries, allowing school students to access the school’s web.

Lahti said the Summer Reading Program was a success with one hundred people registered in it. She mentioned several other accomplishments this year:

  • The Green Bank Library’s new parking lot has been finished
  • “Play Zoom” has replaced “Play Time” at the libraries

Lahti also thanked the County Commission for its contributions from the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which she said makes up 52% of their budget.

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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