Commission appoints board members, funds projects

Laura Dean Bennett
Contributing Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission appointed three members to the Pocahontas County Emergency Medical Services Authority at its meeting Tuesday morning. They are Christine Rebinski, representing Cass, Don McNeel from Little Levels Emergency Ambulance and Janet Ghigo, representing Bartow-Frank-Durbin. The appointments are for three year terms, expiring June 30, 2020.

Mike Vance gave a preliminary report regarding an upgrade of the door locks on the former shoe factory building. He recommended that at least 17 interior doors be considered for high security keys. 

Commissioners asked Vance to provide a written proposal at the next commission meeting.

Renewal of MindEase Solutions contract was on the day’s agenda.

Angela Hoffman of MindEase Solutions gave a detailed presentation of her company’s work with the Pocahontas County Day Report, including the classes and therapeutic programs that they currently administer and classes that might be offered in the future. 

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the challenges in meeting Judge Dent’s and Judge Richardson’s requirements for classes and class participation in the day report program. Day Report officer Jimmy Vandevender and Community Corrections board president Sam Felton were involved in the discussion. 

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the contract between the Pocahontas County Day Report Center and MindEase Solutions for services to be provided fiscal year 2017-2018.

Vandevender then gave a brief update on the Day Report Center’s June activity, followed by a complete report for the month of July.

There were 21 participants in the Day Report program at the start of July and four more were added during the month. Of that number, four completed the program, five were terminated, none were on home confinement or from drug court and nine were in rehab. Two participants were unemployed and two found employment.

ixty-seven drug and alcohol screens were performed on Day Report participants and 17 screens were performed on DHHR participants. Four screens came back positive for drug use and one came back positive for alcohol use. Thirty-four hours of community service completed, with an additional 18 hours of special activities.

A total of 38 classroom/ therapy hours were completed by Day Report participants.

The Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department is looking for office space for its home confinement program.

Commissioners asked Sheriff Jeff Barlow if the vacant pet grooming section of the former shoe factory would serve his needs for the home confinement intake office and storage space for the program. Barlow said the space would provide more privacy and would be adequate for the needs of the program. Commission approved for the home confinement office to move as soon as possible.

Four organizations came before the commission to request funds for their programs:

Diane Hinkle of the Tucker Community Foundation, which holds the annual “Run For It” charity race in Davis asked commissioners to once again help fund the Pocahontas County teams which are participating in this year’s race to raise funds for their organizations. 

There are 78 teams involved overall.

The four teams from Pocahontas County are: Challenged Athletes of West Virginia, Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, Youth Health Services, Linwood Community Daycare.

“All of the money that these teams raise comes back to their home counties,” Hinkle said. 

“And these are all worthwhile causes.”

Commissioners agreed to give the foundation $4,000.

Alexander Kennison, of the Pocahontas County Youth Soccer League, asked commissioners for a contribution to the program to help defray expenses related to upkeep of equipment. The league, affiliated with the West Virginia Soccer Association, has been active in Pocahontas County since 1979 and has approximately 163 young people playing in this year’s league.

Commissioners agreed to give the soccer league a $500 contribution.

Cara Rose, representing the Pocahontas County Tourism Commission (DBA Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau) made a funding request for the recently created Bicentennial Commission. 

Rose delivered a proposed beginning budget for the Commission. 

“We have begun developing ideas and plans for the bicentennial and need matching funds for a grant request as we move forward with a website and printed materials,” Rose explained.

Commissioners awarded the Bicentennial Commission $5,000.

Allie Dunbrack and Cheryl Jonese, of the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition, presented a detailed review of the year’s educational activities of the group and the county groups with which they partner, before asking commissioners for a $5,000 contribution.

The commissioners voted unanimously to make the $5,000 contribution to the organization.

Commissioners approved the contract agreement and certification of the Division of Justice and Community Services Grant which was awarded to Pocahontas County. 

Gene Watkins, owner of RAJCO, a company which provides cost reduction audits and services to county governments and hospitals throughout the state of West Virginia, came before the commission to ask that they again consider hiring his company to do a cost reduction audit of the county’s telecommunications services and utility bills. 

After asking questions about his company’s services and costs, the commission asked Watkins to send a copy of a sample contract for review by the commission’s counsel. They will also talk with other county commissions who have hired RAJCO in the past.

During the commissioners’ reports on various boards, commission president Bill Beard offered some good news from Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.

“I’m proud to say that PMH has just been rated in the top twenty percent of small hospitals nationwide and rated #2 among small hospitals in West Virginia,” Beard said.

Ending the meeting on a high note, the commission then adjourned into executive session.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, August 15, at 5:30 p.m.

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