Four Of The Eight Candidates For Marlinton Town Council Appear At Meet The Candidates Forum

Marlinton, WV – Candidates for Mayor and Town Council for the Town of Marlinton gathered for a Meet the Candidates forum in Marlinton last week. The forum was sponsored by Go Marlinton and the Pocahontas Times newspaper. On Monday, we heard from the candidates for Mayor. In this story we’ll hear from the candidates for Marlinton Town Council.

There are eight candidates in the running for the five town council seats. Four of them were at the forum – Chris Weber, Natasha McMann, Ronald Freer and incumbent David Zorn. The four other candidates not in attendance were Bill McLaughlin, and incumbents Norris Long, Loretta Malcomb and Louise Barnisky.

Weber retired to Marlinton 4 years ago with her husband and works as a volunteer with animal rescue and Mountain Hospice. Zorn, a Marlinton business owner, has served two terms as a Town Council member. McMann, the youngest candidate and a lifelong resident of Marlinton, says she wants to bring a new perspective to the council. Freer has lived in Marlinton for about 19 years and works as an ambulance driver for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.

The candidates were asked about their ideas for improving economic conditions in the town. Zorn answers first.

“It’s beyond me; the only thing I can do is take care of my business and bring people into the town” he says. “And hope that the people who come into town invest; making the town more presentable, no dogs running loose, no junky cars sitting in yards, things like that. It’s not my job to improve the economy; you take care to mind your p’s and q’s, and make it right, the economy will take care of itself.”

McMann agrees that appearances are important to attracting and keeping new business. But she says the Town is missing an important component.

“In this age of cyberspace, we must have a website that not only will entice businesses but also just visitors” says McMann.

There are currently a couple of sites for the town, both with basic information about the history, governance, and businesses in the town. Ron Freer says they also need activities for the younger population, to give them a reason to stay in the town. Weber agreed with all the statements made by the other candidates and pointed out that the welcome she and her husband received from Marlinton residents was a factor in their decision to retire in the town.

Candidates were asked what they see as the biggest challenge for the town in the next 4 years. McMann was the first to answer this question.

“That’s a really tough question to come up with an answer right away” she says. “I think the infrastructure here in Marlinton is falling apart, and we do need to look at getting monies or funding to redo the infrastructure; there are serious problems with it.”

Ron Freer expressed much the same sentiment in his answer.

“I feel the same way” says Freer, “it’s a money issue; where we can get funds to get us back up on things. It’s going to take a long time for us to get where we need to be.”

Here is the response from Cris Weber.

“I also think we need to get it fixed, but I don’t know if there are any quick fix solutions to any of the problems” she says. “We have to listen to your concerns and get out there and see what we can do.”

Dave Zorn says it’s all about attitude.

“Take someone like Jonathan [Snak Shak Caf ] across the street” says Zorn, “he believes in what he’s doing, his cup is half full, not half empty. Christy owns the Dirtbean, The Old Clark Inn, myself – it’s just believing. Ronald Reagan said a rising tide floats all boats’. So if you just believe and have that kind of attitude instead of sitting in a corner and complain[ing] about it, ain’t going to get you nowhere, and that’s just the way I feel.”

The election for Marlinton Mayor and Town Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14th.

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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