Cailey Moore\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nDuring the October 7 county commission meeting, Commission Attorney Bob Martin reported that the Board of Education had voted to accept the county's transfer of the Green Bank Industrial Park property back to them.\r\n\r\nIn last Tuesday's meeting, the Pocahontas County Commission put the property conveyance on hold.\r\n\r\n\u201cI'd like to speak to that,\u201d Commissioner David McLaughlin said. \u201cBeing that the property is in the Green Bank district and that's where I'm from, I'm quite interested in that. I'd like to delay conveyance of that property to seek another option for a parcel of that land.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommission president Bill Beard expressed interest in commissioner McLaughlin's stance, but had concerns about the lack of interest shown from members of the community.\r\n\r\n\u201cAt this point, I haven't received anyone here that said they wanted that land and requested it,\u201d Beard explained, \u201cbut maybe we hadn't moved far enough to get that request.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo that, Jacob Meck Construction Company office manager Michael O'Brien, of Green Bank, reiterated an interest in the nine acres \u2013 located at the back of the property \u2013 discussed in the September 22 meeting.\r\n\r\nA misunderstanding led Beard to believe that the company would pursue the nine acres via negotiations with the Board of Education once the transfer had been made while O'Brien had a similar misunderstanding and had hoped that the commission would hold off on the transfer and turn those nine acres over to the Greenbrier Economic and Development\u00a0Authority in order for Meck to negotiate with them.\r\n\r\n\u201cI've talked to Jacob Meck,\u201d commissioner McLaughlin said. \u201cThere's nine acres up there already surveyed and pinned, and Jacob is quite interested in them. Jacob's buying two new trucks, he's starting his trucking business, and he's out of parking room. His is the only business in the county that's growing. He's the only person that's hiring people to work. I think I'm right about that, and I think we'd be doing a disservice to the county and that business if we turn our backs on them.\r\n\r\n\u201cJacob has a good relationship with the Greenbrier Economic and Development Authority, and he knows how to work with them. He's done it with what he's got up there with the three acres, and he's working twenty-two full time jobs. That money's being put back into the local economy.\u201d\r\n\r\nAccording to McLaughlin, if the property transfer would go through, Meck would have to start over at square one and work with the Board of Education in order to obtain the desired nine acres.\r\n\r\n\u201cI agree with Mr. McLaughlin,\u201d Beard said. \u201cWe do need to support a growing business if we can do it some way. I guess I misunderstood, and I'm sorry.\u201d\r\n\r\nMeck joined the conversation and reiterated O'Brien's request.\r\n\r\n\u201cI appreciate you all considering our project there in Green Bank,\u201d he began, \u201cand I think there's been somewhat of a change in the opposition that we've had. One of the biggest reasons for that is \u2013 when we looked at the nine acres that were surveyed in, I believe, 2010 \u2013 we were specifically looking at the sewage storage issues, and that caused some heartburn in the community, and that was understandable. We have completely changed our approach to how we're dealing with that and how we're taking care of that. Matter of fact, that facility has been built on the three acres that we have, in a different form and fashion, and we've had absolutely no complaints.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat we're looking for now is property. I don't even have property for my guys to park on. I had an agreement with Mr. Irvine, and he sadly passed away several weeks ago, and I'm certain there will be several changes to that. So, we're in need of something now. We've been working on this for five years, and we don't even have proper employee parking.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe expressed concern about the fact that he has large trucks entering and leaving the highway, as well. According to Meck, his trucks have to be nosed out to the white line in order to see in both directions, which causes a potential hazard to both his employees and the general public.\r\n\r\n\u201cI would like to take immediate steps to get that fixed,\u201d he said, \u201cand by picking up that additional property that has already been surveyed off, will allow us to get that extra hundred feet plus and open that road up a little bit so that we can get equipment on and off the road safely. It is an immediate need and an immediate concern.\u201d\r\n\r\nDespite voicing their support of aiding local businesses, the commission refrained from taking any action for the time being. The issue will be revisited at a later date.\r\n<p style="text-align: center"><em>Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food Act <\/em><\/p>\r\nAdditionally, the commission revisited a prior request from the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food Act to pen a letter of support regarding state-based food labeling laws at the request of commissioner McLaughlin.\r\n\r\n\u201cI did a little more checking,\u201d he began, \u201cand I talked with the lady [Tabby Bennett] up at the State Farm Bureau office. I think that was one of your [commissioner Beard's] concerns \u2013 did they support it? I talked to her, and they do support that. I'm not saying I support everything the Farm Bureau supports, but also, the senior citizens supported this. There was a senior citizen constituent in our county thought we should go with this thing, and that's why I brought it back up. We didn't discuss it much the last time, and I just wanted to bring it back up. My position is that I support it.\u201d\r\n\r\nTwo of Pocahontas County's residents voiced their opposition of the coalition.\r\n\r\nDoug Bernier, of Marlinton, was the first to speak and presented the commission with three reasons as to why he opposed the idea of supporting the coalition's request. In his first point, Bernier reminded the commission that they were elected to represent the interests and requests of county residents and that the coalition's letter originated outside of the county.\r\n\r\nBernier's second point drew the commission's attention to a recently passed \u201canonymous\u201d no tolerance policy.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think the commission would be acting against one of their own policies,\u201d he explained, \u201cand that is the policy of not responding to anonymous requests. Although that letter does have a signature on it, I don't believe that any of the commissioners \u2013 probably myself, as well \u2013 can tell you exactly who this Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food is, what's behind it or what they represent.\u201d\r\n\r\nHis third reason tied itself to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.\r\n\r\n\u201c'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,'\u201d Bernier quoted. \u201cI think that if the commissioners support this, that they'd be violating their oath of office where you all agreed to honor the Constitution of the United States because what these folks are trying to do is to give that power to regulate\/for that regulation to the federal government, as opposed to allowing individual states to have it, and I think that's against the Constitution.\u201d\r\n\r\nLocal Emergency Planning Committee member John Leyzorek joined Bernier in opposing the commission's consideration.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe only position I will express here is that the more everybody knows, the better,\u201d he said. \u201cI believe in information, and I agree with Doug that, at the national level, a lot of pressure is going to be brought to bear for the FDA to decide that all of these ingredients should be generally recognized as safe. I don't think any of us here, including me, are equipped to decide whether this stuff is good or bad, but I think one of the powers, one of the good things, we have in this country is room for diversity of opinion and diversity of approach. Pocahontas County can go their own way in certain limits, and states can go their own way in certain limits. That's kind of why the 10th amendment is there. Government \u2013 at all levels, unfortunately \u2013 tends to be subject to all kinds of pressures. Sometimes it tends to be corruptible when you put all powers in one place, and all pressures come to that place.\r\n\r\n\u201cI would also point out \u2013 I used to be a member of the Farm Bureau. I know something about their policy process. The FDA is going to be much more influenced by the big farmers in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas than they are by the little farmers in West Virginia. I'm hoping, again, that my county commission is going to represent a local interest before anything else, and I think, because we have a lot of small-scale farmers, we're trying to grow our local economy with local foods and diverse foods. I think a bill like this is likely to step on important, local initiatives. The kind of policy this letter is pushing for will tend to step on local initiatives and local diversity of options. I think it's a bad idea. I also think that the Pocahontas County Commission's voice will be very soft in all this. It will be a grain of sand on the balance, and I would hope in the interest of humility and doubt, you guys would kind of just let it go by \u2013 that you would decline to put your foot in this particular trap.\u201d\r\n\r\nFollowing the public's input, commission president Beard expressed a desire to hear from a Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food representative. In the end, the commission took no action regarding the letter of support.\r\n\r\nIn other news:\r\n<ul>\r\n\t<li>The commission accepted Woodford Oil's bid for #2 heating oil \u2013 Marathon rack price plus 12 cents per gallon to heat the courthouse offices and jail building beginning November 1, expiring on October 31, 2016.<\/li>\r\n\t<li>Tammie Alderman appeared before the commission and presented the Pocahontas County Day Report Center's monthly update.<\/li>\r\n\t<li>The commission authorized Sheriff David Jonese and commission attorney Bob Martin to enter into negotiations with Snowshoe Mountain Resort regarding a possible five-year contract. During those five years, the sheriff's department would station a third deputy at the Sheriff Department's Snowshoe Detachment, that would service the central part of the county, as well as Snowshoe. Snowshoe would pay the initial start-up costs \u2013 which would include salaries and equipment purchases.<\/li>\r\n\t<li>Following a closed executive session, the commission voted two to one \u2013 with Commissioner Jamie Walker opposing \u2013 to immediately terminate 911 Dispatcher Lisa Friel's employment at the 911 Center.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nThe next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for November 3 at 8:30 a.m.