Laura Dean Bennett\r\nContributing Writer\r\n\r\nThe Pocahontas County Commission meeting began promptly at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with the Pledge of Allegiance. \r\n\r\nAfter considering routine matters, the commission turned its attention to time for Hear Callers\/Public Input.\r\n\r\nDunmore resident Amy Scott read a statement outlining her many concerns regarding the Pocahontas County leg of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and whether or not it will truly be in the best interests of county residents.\u00a0\r\n\r\nScott summarized her remarks by asking the commissioners not to support the ACP.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhile residents are welcome to express their opinion and concerns during the Hear Callers\/Public Input portion of the meeting, the commission listens but takes no action with regard to the information presented there.\r\n\r\nFirst on the day\u2019s agenda was Pocahontas County Magistrate Cynthia Broce who asked the commission to sponsor a grant application for funding from the 2017 West Virginia Court Security Grant. The funds are being made available by the West Virginia Supreme Court to county courthouses across the state in need of revenue to upgrade their security.\u00a0\r\n\r\nBroce explained that Sheriff Jeff Barlow and Joe Clendenin have both concluded that the security system at the courthouse needs an overhaul, at an estimated cost of $50,000. \r\n\r\nCounsel Bob Martin advised that this grant application is for an \u201coutright grant,\u201d meaning no matching funds would be required from the county. \r\n\r\nIf the grant application is approved, it would require a project director to be assigned to administer the security upgrade process.\r\n\r\nMcLaughlin made a motion that the commission sponsor the grant application and that commission president Bill Beard be designated as project director. \r\n\r\nRachel Fanning, of Slaty Fork, appeared before the commission to report that several members of the community who belong to Pocahontas Indivisible, recently travelled to Charleston to meet with representatives regarding the ACP and other issues of interest to the county.\u00a0\r\n\r\nDuring those meetings, the suggestion was made by the group that the state should consider creating an emergency fund for West Virginia counties which are traversed by pipelines.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe idea was met with interest by several of our representatives, Fanning said.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cAs an affected landowner, I was thrilled to receive your letter stating that the commission does not support the ACP\u2019s revised route,\u201d Fanning told the commission. \u201cBut being realistic about the chances of the pipeline going through Pocahontas County with or without our support, I am working with several people on drafting legislation that would put in place a state supported clean-up fund, in case of any accidents down the road.\u201d\r\n\r\nMcLaughlin agreed that this was a concern for many people in the county.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis would be like a rainy day fund for pipeline accidents and I would push for Dominion to put up the money for this fund,\u201d McLaughlin said.\r\n\r\nMartin said that he didn\u2019t want to \u201cthrow cold water on the idea,\u201d but that drafting and getting the votes for such legislation would be an extremely complicated process.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cAlthough getting this fund may never happen, I agree that at least we should try,\u201d Beard said. \u201cI think there should be a tax on the gas company imposed by the state to put the money into the kitty for this type of emergency fund.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cIf we could get the funding and the legislation for it, it would be a good thing.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Groseclose agreed that the effort sounded like a \u201cgood idea.\u201d\r\n\r\nFanning said a letter of support is not necessary right now, but asked if she might come back and ask for one at a later date.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe commissioners assured her that they would be in favor of drafting such a letter should it be helpful later in the process.\u00a0\r\n\r\nNext to address the commission was Roger Griffith of the New River Community and Technical College, gave an update on the One Room University.\r\n\r\nGriffith told the commission that the One Room University has been in existence for six years and was initiated as an endeavor \u201cto bring education to people.\u201d\u00a0\r\n\r\nAfter an initial two-year pilot project, it was determined that there was sufficient need in Pocahontas County for the One Room University. Griffith said that the ORU has never been operated as a for-profit center.\u00a0\r\n\r\nSince 2012, the program has graduated 23 students with associate degrees or certificates.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThere are currently 29 students who are enrolled in 151 courses provided by New River Community and Technical College for the 2017- 2018 academic year, 19 of whom will be continuing toward their degrees in the fall of 2017.\r\n\r\n\u201cMany of our students are working adults who want to further their education,\u201d Griffith said.\r\n\r\nElaine Diller, local administrator of the program, said, \u201cwe have students in our nursing program, returning students, working students and even some students in their 50s. It\u2019s never too late add to one\u2019s education.\u201d\r\n\r\nGriffith added that the ORU offers a paramedic certification course, continuing education credits, EMS courses and even a course in probate law tailored to the needs of county clerks.\u00a0\r\n\r\nMany questions were asked and answered during the extensive presentation, after which, commission president Beard spoke in favor of the ORU.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cI have been a supporter of the ORU since the beginning,\u201d Beard said. \u201cEducation is the backbone of any community, and I am in full support of community college. I feel that the money we spend on this program is justifiable and from what we see here, it\u2019s doing well for the community.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeard concluded the discussion by saying that \u201cas long as there is money in the budget, we will be in support of the One Room University, and we certainly appreciate all that you do.\u201d\r\n\r\nNext on the agenda was the an update on the formation of the Pocahontas County Bi-Centennial Commission. This commission will begin to plan for the county\u2019s 200th birthday celebration which begins December 2021. An official proposal was presented to the county commission by Convention and Visitors Bureau director Cara Rose.\u00a0\r\n\r\nRose asked that the following members be appointed to serve on the Bi-Centennial Commission:\r\n\r\nBill McNeel- Pocahontas County Historical Society; Cara Rose and Chelsea Walker- CVB; Lauren Bennett- Parks and Recreation; Ruth Taylor- Dramas, Fairs and Festivals; Bob Sheets- Educator, Community Representative; Jaynell Graham- Community Representative; Bill Jordan- Chamber of Commerce; Michael Holstine- Community Representative; Judith Fuller- Community Representative, and one County Commissioner recommended.\r\n\r\nThe commission added Groseclose as its representative as his term extends through that time period.\r\n\r\nDuring the discussion of the formation of the Bi-Centennial Commission, Bob Sheets, known for bringing fascinating \u201cshow and tell\u201d items of historical note, read excerpts of bi-centennial interest from a letter written in Colonel J. Howe Peyton in 1823 and published in a family history book entitled, \u201cA Blackhurst Comes to Burner Land.\u201d\r\n\r\nColonel Peyton was the first Virginia Commonwealth\u2019s attorney for Pocahontas County. The excerpts which Sheets read were from Peyton\u2019s diary, written during his first visit to Pocahontas County for the first term of \u201cSuperior Court\u201d at the county seat of Huntersville.\u00a0\r\n\r\nFor your reading pleasure, we offer these few quotes:\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cPocahontas, 1823. On Tuesday at 2 o\u2019clock we arrived at Huntersville, the seat of justice of Pocahontas County - a place as much out of the world as Crim Tartary (a reference to the Crimea). The so-called town of Huntersville consists of two illy-constructed, time worn (though it is not time that has worn them) cabins built on logs covered with clapboards... \r\n\r\n\u201cOne of these wretched hovels is the residence of John Bradshaw... where there is a large fireplace, which is an ingenious contrivance for letting all the warmth escape through the chimney, while most of the smoke is driven back into the chamber. In the chimney corner I prepared my legal papers before a roaring fire, surrounded by rough mountaineers, who were drinking whiskey and as night advanced, growing riotous.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe commission meets again in regular session Tuesday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m.