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Whistles, celebrations and compliance on TOM agenda

Marlinton Town Council recognized the dedication and contributions of the Pocahontas County Scottish Rite Club at its meeting Monday night. Pictured, l to r: Master Mason Doug Lantz, Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton 32º, James VanReenen 33º and Chris Gibson 32º. Photo courtesy of B.J. Gudmundsson
Marlinton Town Council recognized the dedication and contributions of the Pocahontas County Scottish Rite Club at its meeting Monday night. Pictured, l to r: Master Mason Doug Lantz, Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton 32º, James VanReenen 33º and Chris Gibson 32º. Photo courtesy of B.J. Gudmundsson

Quiet nights are ahead for the residents of Marlinton.
Mayor Sam Felton told the town council at its meeting Monday night that “the whistle has been taken off tones.”
Felton was referring to the fire whistle at the Marlinton Fire Department.
In his Mayor’s report, Felton said, “Simply put, the number of fire whistle calls has been a ‘button issue,’ The 911 call board is full. To accommodate other needs, our fire and EMS are on one button. A new call board is a $250,000 item.”
The fire department answers several calls to secure the landing zone at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital for medical helicopter landings.
“Combining extra calls to PMH’s landing zone has two elements,” Felton said. “The landing zone is not FAA approved, and the hospital’s insurance requires a fire truck on-scene to secure the area. In addition Air Medi-Vac is now in Lewisburg, and the fire department has seen nine-to-twelve minute response times. The Department is doing a wonderful job responding to these calls while taking into account the complaints of the community, as well.”
Felton said addressing the problem has been a work in progress, and according to fire chief Herby Barlow “the whistle has been taken off tones from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., unless there is a fire or vehicle emergency.”

Continuing in the category of service, Felton read a Proclamation recognizing the 35th Anniversary of the Pocahontas County Scottish Rite Club. The Proclamation states in part:
“The Town of Marlinton, pausing to reflect on the importance of its civic organizations throughout the town and county, and recognizing the need to provide continuing support to those who tirelessly give of their time and talents, and whereas, the Town of Marlinton is desirous of congratulating the Pocahontas County Scottish Rite Club for its continuing dedication to Pocahontas County, and therefore wishes to acknowledge its 35th Anniversary Celebration to be held during the week of November 8 – 14…”
Water and sewer plant
Project Assistant Casandra Hughart and Executive Director John Toggle of Region IV Planning and Development met with council with regard to the Water Plant Project. Region IV administers the federal grant for the project and helps to make sure compliance is being met.
Their purpose at Monday night’s meeting was to ensure that the town was in compliance with Section III of the Housing and Urban Development Act (HUD).
“The project is in its early stages,” Hughart said, “so there are opportunities to remedy any issues of non-compliance.”
Section III helps foster local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency.
The Section III program requires that recipients of certain HUD financial assistance – in excess of $100,000 – to the greatest extent feasible, provide job training, employment and contracting opportunities for low or very low income residents.
Since the town’s water project is in excess of $100,000, Section III has been triggered. Compliance to this provision falls to the contractor to see that compliance is met.
“With regard to the water system upgrade project, any contract the town enters into, over $100,000, if there is any hiring done while the project is in motion, notice needs to be given to Section III residents, business concerns and professionals,” Hughart said.
There are three goals of the program:
Thirty percent of new hires of contractors and sub-contractors must be Section III residents; 10 percent of construction contracts and sub-contracts must be awarded to Section III businesses; three percent of professional and non-construc- tion contracts and sub-contracts are to be awarded to Section III businesses.
“These are very hard goals to meet, especially in our kind of area,” Hughart said. “We are rural. If you are in someplace like Philadelphia, it’s going to be much easier to meet these goals. And that is what these are – they are goals.”
Going forward, Region IV will take care of the documentation to show the strides the town is taking to help meet those goals.
Chief Sewer Plant Operator James Mitchum updated council on steps taken to correct issues addressed in a DEP Consent Order pertaining to the town’s sewage treatment facility. A DEP inspector will be on-site Tuesday, and Mitchum and Felton requested a meeting with the DEP which is set for November 19.
Mitchum reported that two of the three aerators are functioning and the lagoon is operating at a good level.
In addition, clean-up and tree cutting are in progress around the lagoon area making access much easier.
The town is still having an issue with individuals illegally dumping debris outside the gates of the property.
As efforts continue to improve services to its residents, council approved the purchase of a snowplow for another of the town’s maintenance vehicles. Three trucks with three snowplows will allow the town to get the streets open as quickly as possible during snowstorms.
In other business council
• Approved paving of Haley Street at no cost to the town.
• Hired Kevin Malcomb as full-time maintenance worker
• Approved a request from the Marlinton Woman’s Club to display a street banner for the Great American Smoke-out
• Considered possible projects for the GoMarlinton FlexE Grant
• Recommended a letter of support for keeping Marlinton Elementary School within the town limits and authorized the mayor to act on behalf of the council at school board meetings held prior to the letter’s approval.
The Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month in Council Chambers in the municipal building.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at

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