Commission lends a listening ear

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

During the December 15 Pocahontas County Commission meeting, members of the community presented a series of reports and updates on organizations throughout the county.

In addition, Senator Joe Manchin III’s Regional Coordinator Peggy Hawse was in attendance and appeared before the commission as a hear caller.

“I’m an outreach coordinator,” she explained. “I’m not in Washington, but I can call and get answers for you. I’m like a conduit. I’m out there [in the communities], I try to get the questions you all need answered, and I send them in.”

Using this time, Commissioner Jamie Walker posed a question concerning any possible movement on the proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.

“To our knowledge, there’s no movement at all,” Hawse responded. “The senator has gotten letters from people that are for it and from people that are against it, but to his knowledge – and as far as going through Congress – there’s been no movement. Now, what the president might do on his own, I’m not sure.”

“Most of those are all executive approval, aren’t they?” Commission President Bill Beard asked.

Hawse responded to commissioner Beard’s question by explaining the differences in forming a national monument and a national park.

“If it’s a national park, a study is set up to see if the area is worthy,” she said. “The only reason I know that is because that came up when Seneca Rocks and Smoke Hole [Caverns] were being investigated a couple years ago. The first step is to see if the area was worthy, then public meetings are to be held. After that, the proposed area is introduced to Congress, and a committee is formed to see if the people want the national park.

“Now, a national monument is different. I don’t think the process is the same as a national park.”

Peggy Hawse may be contacted by email at peggy_hawse@manchin.senate.gov.

In other news:

  • The commission suggested that Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese contact different dealerships in order to obtain quotes on a possible trade-in to replace the current process server vehicle.
  • Pocahontas County Arts Council vice president Cynthia Gurreri and treasurer Eric Werner presented the PCAC’s annual report.

    In addition to continuing their work with the county’s schools, the Arts Council sponsored its 24th annual Pioneer Days Art Show and hosted four gallery shows – three in Durbin and one in the Dirt Bean Studio and Gallery – as well as conducting a number of art classes at the Dirt Bean Studio, the Durbin Art Gallery and the Little Yellow House.

  • Pocahontas County Farmers Market co-president Renee Picarsic and former president Tolly Peuleche appeared before the commission with an update on the 2015 Farmers Market and discussed plans for the 2016 Market season.
  • Tammie Alderman presented the Pocahontas County Day Report’s monthly update.
  • The commission scheduled dates for the 2016 Board of Review and Equalization hearings. The hearings will take place on Monday, February 1; Thursday, February 4; Tuesday, February 9; and Friday, February 12, at 1 p.m. A final hearing will take place on Tuesday, February 16, at 5:30 p.m. The hearings will take place in County Commission room in the Pocahontas County Courthouse.

The next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for January 4, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

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