Wetzel County Sheriff Mike Koontz, along with Chief Deputy John Brookover, appeared before the Wetzel County Commission Tuesday morning to request the purchase of three Ford police utility vehicles, priced at $25,752 each. The base price of each vehicle is $25,518, though an additional option in the amount of $234 has been added to include a reverse sensing system on each vehicle. The total price for all three vehicles is approximately $108,000, which will include funds for a push bar, wraparound for the front of the vehicles, along with any additional expenses that might come up in the purchase.
The commissioners approved the purchase of the new police vehicles, which will be from Stevens Auto of Danville, W.Va. Koontz reported that it would take six to 10 weeks for delivery.
While he was present, the commissioners inquired to Koontz about the payment of bills in the sheriff's department. Koontz reported that the oldest bill that had been found thus far had been dated back to 2009, whereas the second oldest was dated back to January 2011. Koontz said most vendors had been "pretty good" and were glad to get their money and were ready to extend credit to the sheriff's department again.
In another matter, the commissioners approved a request made by Rev. Bruce Taylor, who appeared on behalf of the Ministerial Association. Taylor requested a prayer for the election on Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m. The non-partisan event will take place on the courthouse steps. Taylor states that three pastors will be present. The pastors will give a prayer for the national election, state election, and local election, respectively. Taylor states that the prayer will hopefully allow voters to vote with a "clear head and kindness to others."
Finally, two representatives from the Disabled American Veterans appeared to question why their meeting grounds in the War Memorial Building had been taken from them.
In an apparent unfortunate mistake, the DAV's meeting room was given to Tom Myslinsky, the county's VISTA volunteer as well as Grow Local, Go Local organizer. The veterans claim that their charter on the wall had been taken down, along with their flags, papers, and the rest of their belongings. An air conditioner, purchased by the veterans, is also missing. And perhaps most noteworthy, the veterans' DAV flag is now missing. The veterans reported that they recently had to have a funeral without the flag, as it could not be found.
The representatives stated they were told that the room in the War Memorial Building was given to them to use for lifetime, as long as the cannon stays painted and the flag stays up at the building, along with the room being painted. The late Norman Gamble, a former member of the DAV, had told the DAV that in 1978, the veterans were given the room at the War Memorial Building, by the county commission, for lifetime.
"No one had the audacity to tell us. . .Why would they take the room from the veterans without the veterans knowing?" they asked. The veterans also wanted to know why the DAV had not been contacted when the belongings were sorted out. "Whoever took that stuff out, had to have known it was a DAV room," stated one veteran. They also noted that when they tried to get into their room the other day at the War Memorial Building, the locks had been changed.
Although commissioners offered to purchase a new flag for the DAV, the veterans stated that the one they had possessed sentimental value, as it had been flown up and down the streets by Gamble.
The veterans stated that they have been here for the community, citing a recent donation to a middle school in the amount of $500 for tissues and other flu season supplies.
As for the veterans' meeting place, the commissioners expressed their apologies for the mistake, stating that they can give the veterans a different room. President Don Mason said, "We can make it decent for you." Commissioner Scott Lemley stated, "Had we known this room belonged to the veterans, we never would have given it away." Mason further stated, "We apologize, really. . .we didn't know anyone was there. We'll do whatever we can."
When asked if the DAV could have their old room back, if documentation is found stating that it was given to them for lifetime, Mason stated, "We will cross that bridge, when we get to it." Mason stated he would stay updated on the situation.
In other matters, commissioners give a contribution in the amount of $500 to Wetzel County Relay for Life. A bid was also accepted by J&T paving to repave specific areas at the 4-H grounds. The bid was in the amount for $12,096. This will be paid for by two separate partnership grants in the amounts of $2,000 and $10,000, respectively.