Highland Board Of Supervisors December Meeting

The Highland County Board of Supervisors fielded a unique request during their regular December meeting. Kari Sponaugle, Highland-Bath 4H and FFA agent was joined by residents Steven Rogers of Mill Gap and Tim Duff of Meadowdale to speak to the Board about the newly formed 4-H Shooting Education Club. The club is designed to promote skills and sportsmanship and safety, and utilizes air rifles to accomplish those goals. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Duff were two of the four trained volunteer teachers. The club has met twice, with three youth attending and a potential of up to nine in the future. They had come before the Board seeking to use the county’s modular conference building as a year round shooting range, noting that the building was of perfect size, and stressing the type of guns used, essentially BB guns, along with specially constructed backstops, would minimize the chance of damage. The need for heating and adequate lighting makes most barns and buildings in the county impractical for practice.

While the Supervisors were supportive and appreciative of this, and all the programs 4-H and FFA initiate, they ultimately shot down the request, citing worries of damage to the building, despite safety precautions, as well as liability issues and potential zoning conflicts. They did suggest contacting the local Ruritan clubs, and were told this had already occurred, and also felt that the publicity of this story might elicit listeners to volunteer a suitable location which had not been considered. The requirements of the building would be roughly 30’ by 15’, with heat and lighting, preferably centrally located in the county for equal travel time.

School superintendent Dr. Thomas Schott provided the Board with an update on the oil spill which occurred on the school grounds this summer. All the physical clean-up work has been completed, and all sampling shows the water is human drinking water clean – one more round of sampling will occur in spring. One location still shows evidence of toluene, buried six inches in the dirt, which could also be left over from a previous spill. Dr. Schott also requested release of 3rd quarter appropriations for school funding and the permission to enter into a lease agreement for a new 65 passenger bus. The total cost of the bus would be $87,000, which would be broken into monthly lease payments of $16,700. Supervisor David Blanchard questioned the need for that size bus – unfortunately, the next lower size is 24 passenger, which would be insufficient for some routes, which have 40-50 at different times. The supervisors unanimously approved both requests.

Josh Omar, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator for The Highland Center, updated the Board on last year’s youth employment program, which saw 20 participants work 1,600 hours at close to twenty different worksites. He noted the educational aspects which have become a part of the program, and the efforts to involve younger participants in these educational efforts, to give them a head start on skills needed in the future for job application, interviews and performance. He predicted more program growth in 2017.

In action items, the Board:

  • Approved a budget amendment from the Department of Social Services relating to two new children in foster care;
  • Approved the appointment of Chad Kimble to the EDA to fill an unexpired term; they also reappointed Gene Dever to a new four year term
  • Tabled appointment of a member to the Planning Commission;
  • Resolved to send a letter of support for the re-instating of funding for predator control which had been cut from the state budget
  • And approved the consent agenda

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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