Tim Walker
AMR

The July 17 Pocahontas County Commission meeting was short, but it was productive for a group of citizens who live on Waybright Road.

It seemed just about the whole neighborhood turned out for the meeting because they wanted the name “Thornwood Road” returned to a portion of what is now called Waybright Road.

They pointed out to the commission that the road is actually a continuation of Thornwood Road, but the name for a portion of the road was changed a few years ago to accommodate people who were trying to find “Camp Barefoot,” which is no longer located in the county. 

Commission attorney Bob Martin said the County Ordinance governing such road name changes allows the 911 Director to rename a road if he feels it is the right thing to do. The ordinance also allows a road name to be changed if 80 percent of the people living on it request it.

Since the residents had a petition signed by 100 percent of the residents living on the road, and Mike O’Brien, the Pocahontas County 911 Director concurred with the name change, the commissioners voted to go along with the neighborhood and to write a letter to the state to have the road formally renamed “Thornwood Road.”

The short meeting was also the scene of some verbal fireworks as John Rebinski of the Cass Volunteer Fire Department showed up ready to defend his department from allegations made by 911 Director Mike O’Brien, only to find that he had been removed from the agenda.

Rebinski still had his say, though.

He signed up as a “Hear Caller” and demanded to know why he had been removed from the agenda.

Commission President Bill Beard and attorney Martin explained that they removed him to save a public airing of allegations which would only harm Cass VFD. Martin explained that O’Brien had sent Cass VFD a letter detailing and documenting a number of violations committed by Cass VFD and placed the fire department on Administrative Probation for a year. The letter also warned that continued violations would result in removal of the Cass VFD’s response authority.

Martin said he would entertain any written evidence Cass VFD wanted to send him refuting any or all of these allegations, but would not get into a verbal only exchange with the fire department.   

Rebinski categorically denied all of the allegations and said he would bring legal counsel into any future discussions with O’Brien and the 911 Center’s lawyer – Martin.

Martin pointed out that he represents the Pocahontas County Commission, not O’Brien nor the 911 Center, but reiterated that he would  consider and investigate any documented evidence Cass VFD provides to disprove O’Brien’s evidence.

The Commissioners discussed its contract with Michael Vance to replace locks and fix doors at the county owned former Shoe Factory Building. Vance was not present at the meeting, but Martin said he would contact him to see how much progress has been made.

In other business, the commission

• re-appointed Michelle Jeffers for a five year term on the Pocahontas County Free Libraries and Visitor Information Centers Board, expiring on June 30, 2023

• discussed linking the security camera system in the former Shoe Factory Building with the existing camera system in the 911 Center and agreed to place this on a future agenda for approval.

• heard a report from Martin concerning uncollected Hotel Occupancy Tax on several Snowshoe properties. The matter will be addressed at a future meeting.

The next county commission meeting will be Tuesday, August 7, at 8:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

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