April 2019 marks the 51st anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 — Fair Housing Law.

The Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status. Fair Housing Month is an opportunity to review and initiate local policies designed to affirmatively further and promote fair housing choice.

Governor Jim Justice has proclaimed April 2019 as Fair Housing Month in West Virginia.

The proclamation commemorates this anniversary and emphasizes the policy of the State of West Virginia to provide its citizens with equal opportunity and access to housing.

As a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and/or Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), your local government is required to affirmatively further fair housing.

April also marks “Spring-Cleaning” time.

This week, I would like to offer the following information and challenge to county residents:

We should be thankful for all of the businesses in our county that have been staples for 50 years and more. They have worked hard to remain in business and grow, often during difficult times. They have provided jobs and contributed to the good of Pocahontas County.

Now, Pocahontas needs more help, from one end of the county to the other.

Over the last 40 years, Marlinton and Pocahontas County have become more and more dependent on the Tourism Industry. Pocahontas County is blest with numerous vacation destinations. The lesser known points of interest become better known while tourists are visiting Snowshoe Resort, Cass Scenic Railroad, the Green Bank Observatory, and our several state parks.

As these major players continue to bring more people into our county, our local economy grows even more dependent upon a majority of those visitors returning, again and again.

Each of us can play a part in seeing that our county continues to prosper.

A good first-time encounter will ensure visitors return.

Investment in Hospitality Training will help business as well as improve customer service.

Another way requires a larger investment.

Keeping our roadsides pristine takes community effort.

Clubs, organizations and volunteers should be scheduling local cleanups now.

Make a competition out of who picks up the most garbage or covers the greatest distance.

Adopt-A-Highway remains a good way to make a positive difference in your respective areas.

Let visitors see the difference in where we call home.

Lots of vacation areas are competing for the travelers we depend on to come here.

We can make a difference in how many vacation dollars return to our local economy. More and more repeat visitors can keep more sons and daughters working locally.

More tourism creates more small-business opportunities.

I’d like to challenge club leaders to Make-it-Shine.

When will your cleanup start?

April 8 through 12 is Spring-Cleanup time in Marlinton.

See the notice below for more information.