Portion of Waybright Road to be Renamed Thornwood Road in Thornwood, WV

The July 17th Pocahontas County Commission meeting was short, but, as a group of citizens who live on Waybright Road, led by JoAnn Gilardi, found out, it was also very productive for them. It seemed just about the whole neighborhood turned out for the meeting because they wanted the name “Thornwood Road returned to a portion of what is now called Waybright Road. They pointed out that the road is actually a continuation of Thornwood Road, but the name was changed to Waybright Road for their portion years ago to accommodate people in locating the “Barefoot Camp” which no longer exists.  The Commission’s Attorney said that the County Ordinance governing such road name changes allows for the 911 Director to rename a road if he feels it is the right thing to do, and it allows a road name to be changes where 80% of the people living on it request the change. Since the residents had a petition signed by 100% of the residents living on the road, and Mike O’Brien, the Pocahontas County 911 Director concurred with the name change, the Commissioners voted to go along with the neighborhood and to write a letter to the State to have the name formally renamed “Thornwood Road” once again.

The short meeting was also the scene of some verbal fireworks as John Rebinski of the Cass Volunteer Fire Department showed up ready to defend his department from allegations made by 911 Director Mike O’Brien, only to find that he had been removed from the agenda.  Rebinski still had his say though. He signed up as a “Hear Caller.” Rebinski demanded to know why he had been removed from the agenda. Commission President Bill Beard and Bob Martin, the Commission’s Counsel, explained that they removed him to save a public airing of allegations which would only harm Cass VFD. Martin explained that O’Brien had sent Cass VFD a letter detailing and documenting a number of violations or committed by Cass VFD and placed the fire department on Administrative Probation for a year. The letter also warned that continuing violations would result removal of the Cass VFD’s response authority.

Martin said he would entertain any written evidence Cass VFD wanted to send him refuting any or all of these allegations, but would not get into a verbal only exchange with the fire department.   Rebinski categorically denied all of the allegations and said he would bring legal counsel into any future discussions with O’Brien and the 911 Center’s lawyer – Martin. Martin pointed out that he represents the Pocahontas County Commission, not O’Brien nor the 911 Center, but reiterated that he would  consider and investigate any documented evidence Cass VFD provides to disprove O’Brien’s evidence. Rebinski left the meeting, apparently very unsatisfied with what he had heard.  It was never made clear just what these allegations involved.

The Commissioners discussed their contract with Michael Vance to replace locks and fix doors at the county owned Former Shoe Factory Building. Since Vance was not present, it was not learned just where the project stood, so Bob Martin said he would speak to Vance and see where he is with the contract.

The Commissioners approved a Budget Revision and Resolution to balance the General Fund Unencumbered Balance to begin the new fiscal year.

They also voted to re-appoint Michelle Jeffers for a five year term on the Pocahontas County Free Libraries and Visitor Information Centers Board, expiring on June 30th, 2023.

The Commissioners discussed linking the security camera system in the former Shoe Factory Building with the existing camera system in the 911 Center and agreed to place this on a future agenda for approval.

In his Report to the Commission, Counsel Bob Martin pointed out that these is an individual who handles numerous rentals at Snowshoe who stopped paying the Hotel Occupancy Tax in 2010 and currently the county is out over $70,000 in uncollected taxes. Martin wants the Commission to authorize “Extraordinary Measure” legal action against this individual to get an injunction enjoining him from continuing to manage the rental of properties and to possibly obtain the names of the property owners he represents to collect the back taxes directly from them. The Commissioners seem inclined to authorize this at a future meeting.

As usual, the Commissioners ended the meeting with the signing of invoices.


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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