Tuesday Morning Eric Fecat of the Belomar Regional Council reported to the Wetzel County Commission that the design of the PSD 1 Chiselfinger area waterline project has been completed. He stated that the next step in the process will need to be the submission of the Rule 42 bill, along with the final design and preliminary engineering to the Infrastructure Jobs and Development Council.
In another matter, the county commission also discussed matters concerning the request for support concerning the Quarter Mile Challenge Sept. 28-30. President Don Mason referred to the event as "another avenue of tourism that I believe we should be involved in personally." Vice President Bob Gorby stated that he thought supporting the event "would be worth it", while Commissioner Scott Lemley stated that the event is "free to the public, which is important." The commission voted to make a donation in the amount of $5,000 to the endeavor.
Rosemary Guida, representing WorkForce West Virginia, also appeared before the commission to give an update. She stated that next year's budget includes an increase of $80,000. Guida reported that West Virginia is one of only seven states not to get a decrease in funds.
Guida then described several different programs that WorkForce is currently supporting. She stated that the individual training account (ITA) voucher program that is used to send participants to two-year training previously would, at times, have 400 to 500 people on the waiting list. But now WorkForce has been able to keep all participants moving through. She said that currently there are 169 participants in progress with the program, with a total of 300 using the program so far.
An 11-week program that teaches job skills and resume creation has been successful and will continue. Participants in this program are given a laptop to use for the duration of the 11 weeks, and upon graduation from the program, the participants are then allowed to keep the laptop, which will perhaps help with those pursuing college.
Different marketing efforts will be used next year for a program that did not fair as well. The mentioned program pays for 100 percent of tuition and books for kids, and while WorkForce is usually able to acquire 40 kids for the program, this year they were only able to acquire 12.
Unfortunately, state funding for the summer employment subsidy program has been cut, which leaves 137 local residents that had been planning to work, without jobs. The program will be terminated as of June 30. Guida said that those concerned should consider voicing concerns to the governor's office. President Mason stated that the commission would be placing a call themselves.
As for the youth, Guida stated that WorkForce is planning to attempt to arrange a small summer work program of five weeks for perhaps 75 kids, a large difference from the usual 300.
In another matter, Tom Myslinksy appeared before the commission to request that they sponsor him as a VISTA volunteer for the upcoming year. Myslinksy explained to the commission that his contract with the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce runs out in August and the chamber has recently chosen not to keep a VISTA volunteer.
Currently Myslinksy is directing the Grow Local, Go Local, a local food initiative that has been responsible for developing two gardens (committee and community) in New Martinsville along with four planting areas for the seniors of Pine Grove, Paden City, New Martinsville, and Hundred. Myslinksy says his next vision is to have raised garden beds at the grade schools, along with raised beds at some areas of low income housing. Ideally, in one year's time, he hopes Grow Local, Go Local can stand on its own as a self-sustainable 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Although a specific decision was not made regarding Myslinksy's VISTA sponsorship, Commissioner Lemley made the motion that the county commission at least move forward with the proposal made by Myslinksy. The motion was seconded and then approved.
Rosy Cozart and Pam Ferrell then approached the commission with the Wetzel County Animal Shelter's monthly reports for the months of April and May. For the month of April, one dog and one cat were euthanized. Four dogs were adopted; eight dogs and 11 cats were rescued. Six dogs were returned to their owners and another 19 dogs were taken in. For the month of May, one dog was euthanized. Six dogs and two cats were adopted, and 17 dogs and four cats were rescued. One dog was returned to its owner. Twenty-one dogs and 16 cats were rescued, and two dogs and one cat were placed in foster care.
Cozart then expressed concern over people not showing proof of a rabies vaccination when they come to the shelter to claim their dog. She then presented the idea before the commission that dog owners would be required to leave a $20 deposit at the animal shelter if they did not have proof of a rabies vaccine on hand. Once they returned with the proof of their pet's vaccination, the $20 would then be returned.
Cozart also expressed concerns over the tax tag that is required for dogs. She stated that the shelter previously sold these tags, but does not anymore; therefore, if a pet owner comes in on the weekend to claim his or her pet and does not have the required tag, the courthouse is not open at the time for them to get one.
The commissioners told Cozart that they were really unable to make any decisions on both of these matters and advised her to present her concerns to the prosecutor's office.
In other commission matters, a presentation concerning insurance quotes was made by Amy Byard and Dave Shreve of Wetzel Valley Agencies, as well as Dave Stacy of Wells Fargo and Traveller's Insurance.
In another matter, Matt Quinet was chosen to fill one of the vacancies on the Wetzel County Hospital Board of Trustees.
The commissioners also gave approval to the Festival of Memories committee to use the courthouse's outside water spigots, restrooms, and electricity.
Approval was given to use a $10,000 grant from the West Virginia Department of Commerce Governor's Community Participation Grant Program to repave and blacktop roads at the 4-H grounds.