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GVEDC director Beezley attends commission meeting

Tim Walker
AMR Reporter

Ruthana Beezley, of Hillsboro, the new Executive Director of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC), introduced herself at the June 15 Pocahontas County Commission meeting.

The GVEDC serves as the principal economic development agency for Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Monroe counties.

In the past, commissioners have expressed concerns that most of the GVEDC’s economic development efforts have been in Greenbrier and Monroe.

Beezley seemed to understand those concerns and emphasized that she is a native of Pocahontas County, was educated in the Pocahontas County Schools and returned here to live in 2017. She said she cannot speak to the problems the county may have had with the GVEDC over the last 25 years, but said she is making a commitment that her organization will make it a priority to assist her native county in an active and passionate way and will maintain close communication with the county.

Beezley has been active on local commission committees and boards such as the Pocahontas County Broadband Council and the county’s Historic Landmarks Commission.

In other business, 911 Emergency Management Director Mike O’Brien asked for and received commission approval to hire Kevin Stitzinger as a part-time Office of Emergency Services Assistant effective on July 1, Stitzinger has worked with FEMA in the past.

The commissioners approved and signed the Small Cities Community Block Grant (CBG) application for hazardous mitigation regarding the construction of the proposed new 911 Center near the hospital. This will be for a preliminary environmental review of the proposed project.

They opened the bids for engineering services for 911 tower upgrades, but did not award the bid. The bid proposals were referred to the 911 Board for its recommendations.

Laura Young of the Family Resource Network (FRN) asked the commission to make-up losses her agency incurred during the pandemic, providing expanded services to families in the county. Young asked the commission to use $200,000 of the $1.6 million federal funds the commission is scheduled to receive from the American Rescue Plan for this. The commission said they haven’t received any of those COVID relief funds nor do they know how those funds will be permitted to be used.

The commission issued a resolution to accept the Community Corrections Program grant award of $51,000. They also approved extending the Day Report Program’s contract with MindEase Solutions for the upcoming fiscal year.

They approved and signed the application for a Community Block Grant application for county asset mapping.

The commissioners also:

• agreed to continue to provide live coverage of their meetings via Zoom Meeting

• tabled making a decision until they have more information, on a request that they had received to advertise for volunteers to serve on the Selective Service Board.

• appointed Morgan McComb to the Solid Waste Authority; Mike O’Brien to the 911 Advisory Board; Charles Sheets and Rita Griffith to the GVEDC Board; and Wanda Wyatt and Melissa Price to the Criminal Justice Board.

• heard an update from Lisa Cutlip, District Manager of the Snowshoe Resort Community District (SRCD) regarding the need for more law enforcement presence at the resort area. She said the Sheriff has agreed to keep two deputies in the northern end of the county; to use the office the resort district provides for deputies; and to possibly get those deputies certified to do state fingerprinting so that prisoners can be driven directly to the regional jail without having to drive them to Marlinton for fingerprinting.

• signed a resolution approving of the Farmland Protection Board’s proposed granting of a permanent Conservation Easement for Tolly Peuleche and Shawn Clotworthy at 259 Hidden River Farm Road, Monterville.

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