CYAC Asks For Contribution For Pocahontas County Office

Marlinton, WV – The Child and Youth Advocacy Center, based in Lewisburg, works with children caught up in abusive situations in cooperation with local law enforcement and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. They cover Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, and recently hired Americorps Vista volunteer Kat Thompson to staff a part time satellite office at the career center in Marlinton. CYAC Co-director Monica Accord spoke to the Pocahontas County Commission Tuesday, asking for a one-time $3000 contribution to buy equipment to conduct forensic interviews at the career center.

Accord says they already have some equipment, but it’s outdated and new equipment is desperately needed to gather the forensic data used in court cases against abusers. She says this will also give them an alternative to the current location used to interview children – the county jail.

“A couple weeks ago, I came up for interviews” says Accord. “I talked to a five year old girl about what an adult in her family had done to her. We were in the jail, talking to the girl in the interrogation room – it’s intimidating, it’s gray. While I was talking to the child, prisoners had to come by to go to the jail. [This situation] perpetuates the child being afraid and feeling like they’re in trouble.”

Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese says the equipment at the jail is not transportable to another location.

While he fully supports the work of the CYAC, Commission President Martin Saffer says this money should come from sources other than the Commission. He says the Commission already makes a $5000 yearly contribution to the center. Saffer says money for the equipment should come from the Sheriff and the Prosecuting Attorney, whose combined budgets total $891,000.

Accord says Pocahontas Prosecuting Attorney Donna Meadows-Price told her she may be able to contribute $800. Sheriff Jonese offered a verbal commitment of $600. Accord says Jerry Ramos, who did the initial estimate on the equipment needed, may be willing to commit up to $1000. The Commissioners decided to table the discussion until the next meeting later this month so they can confirm contribution pledges.

In other business, Sheriff Jonese presented a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between his department and the Pocahontas County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or PCSPCA. The Commission recently granted the county animal control contract to the SPCA for this fiscal year.

The draft document spells out the responsibilities of all parties involved – the sheriff department, the SPCA and the Allegheny Recreation Center, the Marlinton building that houses the county animal shelter. The SPCA would be responsible for the following:
Oversight and supervision of the animal shelter
Coordinating adoptions and rescues
Transportation of animals for veterinary care or rescue
Euthanization of animals
Vaccination, worming and bathing animals as needed
Reporting to the Commission on a monthly basis.

Pocahontas County Coordinator Jay Miller is the treasurer for the PCSPCA. He says they would like the opportunity to review the MOU before the Commission gives its final approval. This item was also tabled until the next Commission meeting.

The Commissioners re-appointed Connie Carr to the Dramas, Fairs and Festivals board, but held off on making appointments to the Emergency Medical Services Authority and Pocahontas County Free Libraries boards. Commissioner David Fleming wants to come up with a standard protocol for advertising for board appointments. With this in mind, the Commission will run ads in the Pocahontas Times for these board positions.

The next meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission is Tuesday, July 20th.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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