Pocahontas County Loses Eight Hundred and Fifty People in Census

At the September 7th Pocahontas County Commission, a meeting that was long on informal discussions, but short on actual agenda items, Commission President Walt Helmick revealed that the 2020 U.S. Census count shows that the county’s population has dropped to seven thousand, eight-hundred and sixty-nine (7,869) people, which is a drop of eight-hundred and fifty (850) people from the last census which was conducted in 2010. Helmick added that the two-hundred and twenty (220) inmates at the Denmar Correctional Center were counted in the census as being county residents, and that if they not been so counted, the county’s population drop would have been even greater – a drop of a thousand and seventy (1070) residents.

Helmick said that the state will redraw the House of Delegates Districts, which will probably cause the county to have to share its two delegates differently with surrounding counties. Currently the county shares delegates with Randolph County, but that could change when the state redistricts. Helmick said a single two-delegate district requires seventeen-thousand and five hundred people, and because of the population drops, which also occurred in some adjoining counties, a single district could now consist of two, three or more counties. He said the county could possibly be split with different parts of the county moving into different districts shared with different counties.

During one of the other informal discussions at the meeting, Helmick also talked about a possible new railroad from Elkins to the Silver Creek and Snowshoe Resorts, but he said the state must first authorize this. Helmick says the state may or may not authorize it, despite such a railroad line being supported by the tourism industries here as well as in Randolph and Tucker Counties.

Helmick also said he met with representatives of Thrasher Engineering and discussed the water and sewer engineering issues on Beard Heights.

Additionally, Helmick revealed that Inter-State Hardwoods, in an effort to fill its fifty-employee shortage, on Monday began using work-release inmates from the prison in Huttonsville. He said the prison and Inter-State Hardwoods worked out the details among themselves, and the Mountain Transit Authority (MTA) will transport the work-release inmates from the prison to the jobsite in Bartow and return them to the prison at the end of each day.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners:

  • Approved allowing Seneca Health Services to set-up an informational table at the courthouse from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 10th. The purpose of this is to provide information and resources to the public about preventing suicides. This is being done because this is Suicide Prevention Week.
  • Scheduled a Board of Assessment Appeals session for October 5th during the regular 8:30 a.m. commission meeting.
  • Appointed all five county elected officials; the two Magistrates; and Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton to serve on a committee for the Courthouse Annex Project, and approved a motion to seek funding sources and grants for that project.
  • Replaced an estate representative for an estate, appointing the decedent’s mother as the new estate administrator.
  • Approved paying Thompson and Litton’s invoices for broadband consultation services from the funds contained in the Broadband Study Grant. These invoices are for services rendered from February through July, 2021 in the amount of sixteen-thousand, three-hundred and sixteen dollars and fifty cents ($16,316.00.)
  • Tabled action on the maintenance and service contracts on the courthouse telephone system that Frontier is trying to sell to the commission. This happened because the Frontier representatives did not show-up at the meeting.
  • Tabled action on Selective Service Board Vacancies as Robert DiDomenico did not appear at the meeting to explain to the commissioners about this.
  • Approved invoices prior to adjourning the 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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