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Dominion’s Robert Orndorff & New Pipeline Community Liaisons Brief Pocahontas Commission

Bob Orndorff, the State Policy Manager for Dominion Resources introduced the two new Community Liaisons for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction Project to the Pocahontas Commissioners at their February 6th meeting. The primary Construction liaison for Pocahontas and Randolph Counties will be a familiar face to many county residents, Denise Campbell, the former Democrat Delegate who represented Randolph and Pocahontas Counties in the WV House of Delegates.. The other Liaison who Orndorff introduced is Mike Cozad, who will primarily be the liaison for Lewis and Upshur Counties, but will also available to assist Campbell here. Campbell said she will be reporting to the construction site in Pocahontas County at 6 am, six days a week during construction and will be somewhere along the construction route unless meeting with citizens.

In an earlier story we covered Orndorff’s denial of the Commission’s request for financial support to enable the County Water Taskforce to monitor county streams and rivers during pipeline construction.

Orndorff also let the Commissioners know that hand tree felling is scheduled to begin around March 1st in the Green Bank area with construction beginning in areas East of Route 28 to begin in early Spring and West of Route 28 to begin in the spring of 2019. Orndorff says that if things remain on schedule, all construction in Pocahontas County should be complete by December of 2019.

Orndorff also said that 50% of the estimated construction workers will be West Virginia residents who will be hired through local Union Halls.  There will be an Open House presentation in March in Marlinton where the Construction Company will answer questions and talk about job opportunities.  Orndorff explained that the Greenbrier River pipeline crossing will be done by use of  a “Cofferdam” where half the river at a time is dammed to allow for installation of the concrete enclosed pipe while the rest of the water is diverted around it.  He added that the construction will not shut down the Greenbrier River Trail.

The Commission granted the following requests for contributions. High Rocks received $4000.00. The Town of Durbin received $5000.00 for City Building repairs, The Pocahontas County Humane Society received $4000.00 for spay and neuter programs.

Steve Rawlins of the West Virginia Counties Risk Pool, explained that the Pool is a non-profit insurance sharing group which 47 WV counties (including Pocahontas County) belong to. He said that to reduce insurance risk and cost, they offer building inspections and harassment training for employees all at no cost.

Betty Hall, who lives near Beaver Creek complained about the lack of cell service near her home, and offered free space on her property to any cell tower company to build a tower.

The Commissioners approved the first reading (by title) of the proposed new Emergency Towing Ordinance which had been drafted by a committee of county towing operators.  The new ordinance will divide the county into a three towing territories – A Central, a Northern and a Southern area, based on fire response areas and set up rules and regulations for emergency tows.

Johnny Dean of Johnny’s Garage asked the Commission to keep the towing committee limited to only the four companies who initially accepted the invitation to be on the Committee and who drafted the ordinance. No decision was made by the Commissioners on that request at this time.

In addition, the Commissioners:

  • Passed a proclamation making the County a “Purple Heart County”;
  • They adopted emergency absentee voting procedures and Executive Committee notifications for the May 8th primary elections;
  • Approved the Fire Association’s new “Standards of Operation;”
  • Received an update from Cara Rose of the Convention and Visitors Bureau;
  • Appointed Randy Wilfong as a Fire Board Representative for a three year term.

Each Commissioner updated the commission on the activities of the various Boards to which they are assigned, and the meeting ended with a closed session to discuss the Commission Annual Audit with their attorney.

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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