Pocahontas Commissioners Accept Community Corrections Grant Award

At their short meeting on August 20th, the Pocahontas County Commissioners discussed with Daniel Arbogast, the Director of the County Day Report Center the necessary changes to their budget and to the amount of local match money needed due to their recently approved $51,000 Community Corrections Grant award. There was disappointment evident in the room since their grant application had requested almost $216,000. If there was any good news about this it would be that the Commission now only has to come up with $12,750.00 local match money instead of the $53,858.00 they would have had to pitch in had the requested amount been approved by the State. Of course, they would also have had almost four times the amount of money to work with at the Day Report Center. Following this discussion, the Commissioners approved the grant award and their local match.

During their mail items and concerns discussion, the Commissioners discussed a complaint received from Jo Debra Gandee about the Public Service Commission (PSD) taking an easement across her property without her consent. Commission Attorney Bob Martin said he contacted the PSD’s attorneys about this complaint but they knew nothing about it. He will look into it further.

The Commissioners also discussed a complaint letter they received from Theresa L. Weimer of Frank about a burned out and dilapidated property in Frank. In her letter, Weimer said the property is a health hazard because the debris pile is “rat, snake and spider infested.” Commissioner Walt Helmick pointed out that there currently is no county ordinance addressing this type of problem, but enacting one will require a lot of time and thought to ensure it is done right. The owner of that property, Jeremy Bauserman, was at the meeting and said the house was still under construction when it burned down in December of 2010. At that time the property was owned by Jeremy’s father, but Jeremy is now the owner since both his parents have moved away and left it to him. He said the home was still under construction therefore was not yet insured when it burned. Bauserman talked about efforts he has made at hauling some of the debris away in his pick-up truck, but cannot afford to hire an excavation company to do the job right and move the larger parts of the structure. He said he will continue to make efforts to clean up the property.  Commissioner Helmick pointed out that this is just the type of situation his proposal to have the County Solid Waste Authority purchase and open demolition materials landfills could help remedy in the future  Daniel Arbogast suggested to Mr. Bauserman that he contact a local volunteer fire department to see if they would do a controlled burn on the structure as a training exercise.

In other actions:

The Commissioners appointed Robert Sheets to a five-year term on the Historic Landmarks Commission.

They also appointed the below three people with staggered expiration dates to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation’s Board:

  • Charlie Sheets to a term expiring on June 30, 2020;
  • Rita Griffin to a term expiring on June 30, 2021;
  • Kim Beverage to a term expiring on June 30, 2022.

In his Counsel’s Report, Bob Martin told the Commissioners that he has now formerly received a letter of resignation from Josh Hardy as a Fiduciary Commissioner. Martin said he is hoping that Attorney Virginia Lemon will agree to either replace Hardy as a Fiduciary Commissioner, or at least agree to handle cases where the other Commissioner, Laura Finch, has a conflict with handling. He is still waiting on Lemon’s decision about this.

Martin also said he will be presenting the Fire Board’s proposal to change the towing ordinance to the Towing advisory Board. This proposal would allow the Fire Incident Commander, in addition to a law enforcement officer, to call for a tow truck at an accident scene, but was uncertain if the committee members would like that idea. Commission President David McLaughlin said it is time for the Commission to make the decision regardless. Martin said after presenting it to the committee, then the Commissioners will hear the committee’s recommendation on this, but will make the final determination one way or the other on this themselves.

Prior to adjourning, the Commissioners went into an executive session to discuss a request from another agency for background information on a former Commission employee.

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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