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Commission Approves Return Of Army Reserves To Camp

By Staff | Mar 25, 2009

Commission President Don Mason signs a document proclaiming April Autism Awareness Month, as requested by Beth Hayes, right, and the Autism Angels. (Photo by Tammy Wayman)

Staff Sergeant Joseph Hostutler with the 459th Engineer Company from the United States Army Reserve appeared before the Wetzel County Commission March 18 to request use of the 4-H Camp Grounds on April 17, 18, and 19 for field exercise training.

Last year when the reserves were there during their training, there was inclement weather and their vehicles made big ruts behind the boys’ cabin. The 4-H children had to walk on that damaged road to and from their designated cabins during 4-H camp. There was also damage around the Stewart Shelter. Commission Vice President Bob Gorby stated gravel had to be hauled in to patch those areas.

The Army Reserves have booked the 4-H grounds for this April, but Mindy Mall of the West Virginia University Extension office who is the booking agent, really wanted Hostutler to get the commissioner’s approval first because of damage done last year on the 4-H grounds.

Hostutler stated, “Last year I was not there to see the damage.” He apologized for the condition in which it was left. He will insure that no equipment is parked in that area again.

Commission President Don Mason asked, “Do you need all that equipment to train?”

Hostutler explained that the Reserves must have these exercises with their equipment to keep them in top condition or mechanical parts on them could dry rot and corrode.

He stated that he would, this year, personally correct any problems before they leave if any happen and would haul any gravel needed in any area. He also explained that they can park their equipment at the Reserve Center if needed, but wondered if they could use the mud bog area instead at the 4-H grounds for the parking of this heavy equipment.

Hostutler told the commission the Reserves only use the 4-H girls’ and boys’ cabins as sleeping quarters and are out of them by 5:30 a.m. The Mollohan Center is not used at all. “I can even mark off areas they cannot use,” said Hostutler, meaning the Reserves and their equipment.

Gorby said, “I have no problem with you using it (the 4-H grounds).”

The other commissioners agreed, with Lemley saying he trusted Hostutler to take care of any problems. They then contacted Mall and voiced their approval for the usage.

In other matters, Beth Hayes from Autism Angels, was also present at the commission meeting to present a proclamation of Autism Awareness, which Mason read out loud at the meeting. Wetzel County Commission declared April as National Autism Awareness Month for Wetzel County.

Autism is a complex, neurological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Today one in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.

Autism Angels, a local group of concerned citizens, plans on taking part in the Autism Speaks, Walk Now for Autism, the nation’s largest grassroots autism walk program. It takes place in communities across the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Locally, a walk will be held in Wheeling on May 30. This walk generates funds for autism research as well as raising awareness about autism and increased research funding.

Autism Angels will be having a pork barbeque sandwich sale on April 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the courthouse. All proceeds will go toward this walking team. The public is encouraged to support the event.

The County Commission has meetings every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the commission chambers next to the courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.