At this week's Wetzel County Commission meeting Mindy Mall of the West Virginia University Extension office expressed concern regarding liability issues of the general public using the 4-H grounds horse ring.
The county commission and Mall agreed the main concern is the citizens' safety. Also a top priority is making sure the county is covered sufficiently. The horse ring is not a certified ring and maintenance of it is limited. All groups under 4-H are covered under the organization's own liability insurance, but the general public is not. Mall previously met with Attorney Tim Haught for counsel who simply said if the county cannot comply with the state code then the county should not allow that piece of property to be used.
The commission will need to modify its contracts and make sure anyone who wants use of the facility signs the appropriate paperwork. Also, there are padlocks on the facility to help deter the public's now-termed unauthorized use. For further clarification the commission called their insurance provider, Wetzel Valley Associates. It was stated the county is liable if anyone gets hurt while using any of their property and the county is insured for $2 million per occurrence. Wetzel Valley recommended it be required that persons seeking use of the ring must name the county commission as an additional insurant and have proof of their own liability insurance.
"We are just following the state code," President Don Mason said. The commission and Mall decided to meet with Haught in the near future to modify the language in the rental contracts. In the meantime, anyone requesting use of the horse ring will need to provide proof of liability insurance and follow West Virginia state code 20-4-2 through 20-4-7. Additionally, those persons will need to include the county commission as an additional insurant.
The county commission then received a surprise phone call from William Moon, general manager of the Wheeling branch of Frontier Communications. Moon called to inform the commission a credit of $1,625 was going to be applied to their bill to compensate for the communication interruptions many Wetzel County entities experienced while the switch from Verizon to Frontier was made. The commission very appreciatively accepted the gift and hopes no further complications arise in the future.
Lastly, Rosy Cozart of the Wetzel County Animal Shelter met to discuss cutting back several trees that are leaning dangerously over the shelter. During the winter the staff was met with fallen dead trees and the commission had at least one tree taken down. However Cozart says more need taken or trimmed back to ensure the safety of everyone. The commission moved to allow Cozart to get some estimates on such work to then move forward with the much-needed project.
Cozart also presented the monthly reports for June and July. For the period of May 1 through June 4:
Dogs euthanized, three; adopted, seven; rescued, 13; returned to owner, one; taken in, 25; in approval/fostered, zero; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero. Cats euthanized (by the city of New Martinsville), seven; adopted, zero; rescued, five; returned to owner, one; taken in, nine; in approval/fostered, zero; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero.
For the period of June 5 through July 5: Dogs euthanized, one; adopted, eight; rescued, 12; returned to owner, one; taken in, 26; in approval/fostered, seven; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero. Cats euthanized, zero; adopted, one; rescue, three; returned to owner, zero; taken in, five; dogs in approval/foster, zero; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero.
Also during Cozart's appointment Leslie Manley requested she be able to draw the winners for a fund raiser she put together to raise money for the shelter. Manley insisted she draw the winners in a public place to ensure complete fairness in the drawing. For a period of about six weeks $927 was raised through $5 raffle tickets for great prizes the shelter purchased from Wayside Furniture. The winner of a rocking chair of the individual's choice was Roger Manion of New Martinsville. The intended prize is either a West Virginia University or Ohio State rocker, however Manley stated a plain rocker was also an option. The winner of a 19-inch LCD TV was Ashley Armann, and the winners of a 13-piece Rachel Ray cookware set were Terry and Bobbi Hayes of New Martinsville. The shelter hopes to put on another fund raiser similar to this one in the fall. Also underway is this year's Mutt Strut set for Oct. 9.