Pocahontas Commission Establishes a Broadband Study Grant Committee

At the June 16th Pocahontas County Commission’s regular meeting, Amanda Smarr of the Region 4 Planning and Development Council asked the commissioners to establish a study committee to oversee the county broadband project. The county has been the recipient of a broadband study grant. They created a three-person committee made up of Commissioner Walt Helmick, Mayor Sam Felton of Marlinton, and Mike Holstein of the Green Bank Observatory.

Dave Christopher addressed the commission during the “hear callers” with an update to the Tourism and Hospitality Best Practices report the commission’s tourism and hospitality committee had presented to the commission at the June 2nd meeting. Christopher said the committee met again after that meeting and came to a stronger consensus and revised and updated that report. He provided a copy of those revised best practices for housekeeping accommodations to the commissioners and said that Cara Rose of the Convention and Visitors Bureau will help distribute these to all the lodging businesses in the county.

Also, during the “hear callers” session, John Leyzorek requested that the commission consider appointing him to the county Solid Waste Commission citing, among other things, his experiences as a Mechanical Engineer and working with earth moving equipment. Leyzorek said they need to incentivize households create less landfill waste and more recyclables because in the long run that will save money by delaying the need to create a new landfill in the future.

In other actions, the commissioners:

  • Authorized Sheriff Barlow to hire Adria Goodwin as a Full-Time Tax Deputy effective July first at twelve dollars ($12.00) per hour plus benefits.
  • Authorized a contract renewal with Mind Ease Solutions to provide services to the Day Report Center for fiscal year 2020-2021.
  • Renewed the annual contract with Global Science Technologies for them to continue to provide maintenance of the courthouse computer systems.
  • Approved donation fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) from the one hundred thousand dollars they received from the governors COVID19 grant to the Pocahontas County Health Department for them to hire a part-time employee to do virus contact tracing, paperwork related to the pandemic, and other related office duties.
  • They debated appointing one of the two applicants to fill a four-year term on the Solid Waste Commission -Ed Riley and John Leyzorek. Commissioner Walt Helmick said that while both of these men are very qualified, he would recommend Ed Riley because Riley has been involved with The Solid Waste Commission for many years. He said Riley therefore has a better understanding of the history of the landfill. His motion to appoint Riley passed.
  • They made the annual designation of the local banks as County Depositories for the next fiscal year.
  • They scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, June 25th at 8:30 am to pay year-end invoices and to officially certify the election results from the June 9th primary election.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Helmick presented an idea for future consideration of the commission. He suggested the county may want to buy back a 2.9-acre piece of level property located near PMH Hospital that they had sold to Seneca Health Services years ago, and build an assisted living center on it. He said Seneca is interested is selling the land and there is a need for a community for seniors who don’t need to be in a nursing home but want to enjoy a lifestyle with assistance and freedom from maintaining their own home. He said the location, being near the hospital and golf course would be perfect. He said he will present more specific details on this at the next meeting.


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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