At Monday night’s Marlinton Town Council meeting, town resident Caroline Sharp addressed council about the lack of communication between council and the community, which she feels is a public safety issue.
Sharp referenced a specific situation in which the Marlinton Fire Department held a drill at a condemned house next to hers and she found out about the drill two hours prior to it taking place. She said she was worried because she did not know what kind of drill it was and if it would include actual fire.
Members of the fire department who participated in the drill, including chief Herbie Barlow, were at the meeting and explained that there was not a live fire at the house that, instead, the crew used a fog machine to simulate smoke for the trainees to navigate through the house.
Sharp said she did not have a problem with the fire department doing training drills, that her concern is that the public did not know about it in a timely fashion.
Barlow explained that the drill was not publicized because he did not want the trainees to know when and where it was happening. He added that to make it more authentic, the trainees need-ed to be in the dark, so to speak, until they were dispatched to the scene.
Sharp reiterated that she had nothing against the fire department and that she just wants council to communicate with the community in general.
The discussion became a back and forth which led to some confusion about the matter at hand, which led councilmember Gail Hyer to stand up and announce that she was leaving, as she was disappointed with the turn of the discussion.
Council then thanked Sharp for sharing her concerns and said it would do better in the future in communicating with the community.
During the public input portion of the agenda, council welcomed Pocahontas Memorial Hospital CEO Andrew Baer who gave an update on the new construction at PMH. A groundbreaking took place July 26 for a project which includes the rural health clinic, addition of an out-patient surgery center, increased physical therapy/ occupational therapy services, expanded ED department, updated radiology department and a mammography department.
Council also welcomed town resident and Pocahontas County Arts Council representative Peggy Owens who presented a proposal to add more murals and other art projects to the community. Owens made several suggestions, including wall murals, crosswalk designs and fire hydrant paintings.
Council thanked both individuals for their presentations and asked both to keep council updated.
Under new business, council approved the following:
• adoption of the Municipal Adoption Resolution, which acknowledges the requirements of Section 322 of DMA 2000 to have an approved Hazard Mitigation Plan as a prerequisite to receiving post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds.
• Region IV smoke testing project resolution #12.
• Region IV stormwater project archaeological consultant selection.
• Region IV water and sewer project amended professional agreements.
• Town of Marlinton Trick-or-Treat will be Monday, October 31, 5 to 7 p.m.
• supporting the Rite Aid Settlement Terms and Agreement.
Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month, excluding holidays, at 7 p.m., in the auditorium of the municipal building. The public is welcome to attend in person or virtually through Zoom.