At its July 5 meeting, the Pocahontas County Commission wrote a letter supporting the dedication of a portion of Frost Road from Dunmore to Minnehaha Springs to Dr. Roland P. Sharp. Sharp was born in Frost in 1907 and practiced medicine for 75 years, 40 of which were in his rural practice in Pocahontas County.
Dr. Sharp also founded the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1974.
He died in 2013 at the age of 105.
The commission also discussed the possibility of purchasing a drug dog as a tool for law enforcement to address the growing drug problem in the county. They put off further discussion of this until a future meeting when representatives of the Sheriff’s Department and State Police can be present to offer their expertise on this.
Agnes Doyle, who spoke up during the June 28 special commission meeting about how the county’s drug problem affects her quality of life, expressed disappointment that the commission was not actively addressing the drug issues, then left the meeting. Commission President Walt Helmick attempted to explain that the commission is an administrative body, not a law enforcement body, but he also expressed sympathy and understanding about what she is going through. When Doyle left the room, Helmick pledged that the commission would maintain, as a priority, helping law enforcement with financial resources to solve the drug problems.
A representative of the Pocahontas County Saddle Club provided an update on the activities at the rodeo arena located on the grounds of the county’s ARC Building. He asked the commission to consider extending their use of the grounds for multiple years, instead of annual renewals, since the Saddle Club wants to make improvements to the arena, such as adding a pavilion with a roof over the arena, additional electrical service, a better access road and possibly RV hookups for out-of-town participants. The commission pledged to ask County Prosecutor Teri Helmick if they can enter into a multi-year agreement with the club since they do not charge the club to use the arena. Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton added that the rodeos held there add to the quality of life in the town and are an economic boost.
The commission took no action on the agenda item concerning nuisance and dangerous dog problems, possibly related to some of the drug problems already discussed. They agreed to reschedule that for a future meeting when they have more information about those problems.
Tim Keaton, the newly appointed CFM Mitigation Planner for the WV Emergency Management Division, asked the commission to approve the map revisions for the Swago Creek Floodway. Keaton explained that all the flood plain maps for Pocahontas County are being revised and will be much more accurate because they are now using LIDAR scans that are accurate to within one foot. The old maps used Topo Maps. He said the floodway and flood plain on the draft revised Swago Creek Floodway map are actually smaller than in the older maps. The commission approved this.
Keaton also explained that local jurisdictions must ensure that any new construction in a flood plain which adds fill to elevate it, must prove through an engineer study, that this will cause zero adverse effects on surrounding properties. Keaton said that all local ordinances must require this to be done, and if a jurisdiction fails to enforce this, it will be required to fix the problem at its own expense, or all property owners in that jurisdiction who have flood insurance may have their flood insurance rates increased.
In other business, the commission
• reappointed Sue Ann Heatherly to a five-year term on the Pocahontas County Libraries and Visitor Information Centers Board.
• appointed Edwina Garber to a six-year term on the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Board.
• appointed Linda Simmons and Nancy Martin to three-year terms each on the Parks and Recreation Board.
• utilized the new WV Code Section 44-2-19a to administratively close 25 estates in the county which have not showed any progress towards being settled.