Pocahontas Commissioners Discuss Possible 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance

At the July 7th regular Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Commissioner John Rebinski took the lead in talking about passing a possible 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance. Rebinski said that once such an ordinance is passed here, Pocahontas County would join 24 other West Virginia counties who have passed these ordinances. He said the effect of passing this ordinance would be to send a message that the county stands behind its residents’ 2nd Amendment rights, and would not support local enforcement of any federal or state laws that may come up which infringe on the right of the people to possess firearms.

Commission President Walt Helmick said he is not opposed to such an ordinance, since he has always supported hunters, but would first need to see copies of the ordinances passed in other counties.

John Leyzorek commented that the U.S. 2nd Amendment is not about hunting, and said there are many differently worded 2nd Amendment sanctuary ordinances across the state, and even across the country. He said although these ordinances may not be identically worded, all basically prohibit the use of local resources to be used to enforce gun laws that infringe on the 2nd Amendment. For example, Leyzorek said, over 100 jurisdictions – counties, cities and or towns — in the State of Virginia have passed such ordinances. The commissioners appeared to support considering doing this in the future.

The commissioners also received an update from Ruthana Beezley, the Director of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) and from George Carico, the Director of the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, regarding the EPA’s Brownfields Grant. The purpose of this grant is to clean up hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead paint and contaminated ground water at the East Fork Industrial Park in Frank.

Beezley said that although the county’s application for this grant was denied last year, a re-application for the grant was approved this year. She said the county has been awarded $497,697.00 to clean-up 11 acres at the East Fork site. Carico explained those funds will remove the asbestos from one building, which the county will then demolish, and clean up the ground water. He said the grant requires eight ground water monitoring tests – one every 3 months for 2 years. After being cleaned-up, the site can only be used for industrial purposes. Amy Truesdale added that under the grant, the site will be placed into the West Virginia EPA’s Voluntary Remediation Program.

Commissioner Rebinski announced that he was disappointed in the Region 6 Opioid meeting in Raleigh County on July 5th, which he attended as the county’s representative. He described the meeting as “a bust,” since he had believed the meeting was to make decisions about the distribution of the state’s portion of the funds from the Opioid Litigation settlement, but that did not happen at the meeting. He said they did appoint Dr. Kelly from Raleigh County as the official Region 6 Representative, and the only positive was that he met Dr. Drema Hill of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, who works with the settlement legal team. Rebinski said Hill is willing to come to an evening County Commission meeting to answer questions about the settlement.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners:

  • Set up a 3-signature special revenue fund account to receive and disperse any camping funds received from campers at the Handley property by the Pocahontas County Campground Association, who run the campground for the commission.
  • Re-appointed Jason Bauserman to a 5-year term on the Historic Landmarks Commission.
  • Set-up a work session for 3 pm on Tuesday, July 18th to discuss the annual savings the current commission has created to the county budget,
  • Approved a list of eight unprogressed estates. This will begin the process to administratively close them per West Virginia law, unless they respond after being notified of this proposed action.
  • Formalized the changes to the commission’s donation policy to reduce the amount of money any one non-profit organization to $2,500 annually from $5,000, as approved at their last meeting. They also agreed to remove the exception for private organizations to be able to receive up to $500.00 without being a formal non-profit corporation. At their last meeting they also reduced their total annual contribution budget from $50,000 to $25,000.

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.

Current Weather