Congratulations to our neighbors in the Cameron area who will be getting cell phone reception next year thanks to a four-year project conducted by their county commissioners, Cameron city officials, Consol Energy, and AT&T. The West Virginia Tower Access Assistance Fund grant of almost half a million dollars enables the project, according to an Aug. 31 Wheeling Intelligencer story, “Tower to Open Up Cell Phone Reception in Cameron.” This is a great example of local governments, the energy industry, business, and state funding entities working together for the good of all.
We here in Wetzel County, at least those of us who live near state Route 7, Hundred, Wileyville, and other rural communities, know what it’s like to need to communicate via cell phones, but with no available signal for miles. We try climbing to hilltops, and then if we pivot ourselves like a human antenna, sometimes we can get a signal. Of course this isn’t too helpful if your car has just broken down or you’ve hit a deer on a back road after dark, and you left your hiking boots at home.
It’s not too encouraging to those of us outside the county seat to see the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce’s Valley Ventures economic plan for the “county” (mentioned in the Aug. 24 issue of the Chronicle) does not discuss improved communications throughout the county—indeed the rest of the county is not mentioned at all.
So why was this tower possible in rural Marshall County but not in Wetzel? We also have the natural gas development that means increased road traffic. The new workers in the area need to stay in contact with their jobs too. We also need cell phone service in emergencies. A map of Marshall County shows the Cameron Ridge location of the new tower to be just across the Wetzel border between Littleton and Cameron. We can only hope some of us will be able to get a signal with the new tower.
Is it too much to anticipate that a new cell tower announcement such as that made in Marshall County is also forthcoming for us? So close and yet so far.