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Pocahontas Community Watch ~ making a difference

Members of the Pocahontas Community Watch spent last Saturday morning picking up trash from the Marlinton bridge to the Stony Creek bridge on US 219. The clean-up is just the beginning for the new organization. Photo courtesy of Sam Felton

Sam Felton
Marlinton Mayor

I just met the Pocahontas Community Watch group last week. But after a Thursday evening meeting and a Saturday work project, choosing a topic for this week’s Mayor’s Corner was easy.

The response to the pictures of the Riverside litter cleanup posted on Facebook was immediate. Virtually all comments were swift and positive. Many expressed appreciation for the litter cleanup. I can tell you that the group went above and beyond in volunteer service to our community.

From what I hear, our county will benefit from future projects.

Even though this organization was new to me, it is not new. The program has been about a year in the making.

According to Mike McKenney, materials and most signage follows the National Neighborhood Watch Association.

Last fall, McKenney spoke with the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement, before proceeding with the official organization.

Both county and local law enforcement were supportive, as long as law enforcement is kept in the loop, when it comes to doing eventual community patrols.

According to member Tom Angle, this group is about more than just picking up trash. They are about coming together as a community within Pocahontas County. The goal is to make the county better, and that will take more than 15 or 20 people. Trash and hunger are just symptoms of some issues within the county. PCW has handed out food when they have it and would also like to hear from people across the county about any help they might need.

Pocahontas Community Watch has members in most communities in the county and is very much able to assist with organizing local projects, as requested.

PCW started working on the concept early last year and developed the group’s framework, before rolling it out this year. Their feeling is, we all live here and want Pocahontas County to be a safe and clean place to live. As a community we can make it happen.

Anyone who wants to know about how to get involved can contact PCW at PocahontasCountyWatch@hotmail.com

The next meeting is planned for Thursday, April 8, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Marlinton.

According to the national website, the Neighborhood Watch program is one of the oldest and best-known crime prevention concepts in North America.

In the late 1960s, an increase in crime heightened the need for a crime prevention initiative focused on residential areas and involving local citizens.

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) responded, creating the National Neighborhood Watch Program in 1972 to assist citizens and law enforcement.

The implementation of this program within our county may be coming at just the right time.

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