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REM Seeks Training Center Grant

By Staff | Jul 15, 2009

REM Community Options might be offering the community much more in the near future if a grant is approved for them. Jason Lynch, program director, and Barb Stegman, employment service assistant manager, from REM appeared before the Wetzel County Commission on June 30 to explain the possible grant money.

According to Lynch, they are applying for a grant called the Community Resource Development Grant in total amount between $200,000 and $300,000. This is part of the recent Stimulus plan for the the Division of Rehabilitation. They were asking for a letter of recommendation from the commissioners to go with their grant application.

This money would help REM locally get a center open in the community for multiple uses. They could train specific groups of people, such as those with disabilities and senior. A vocational training center could be opened that would teach skills needed to enter the work force.

Lynch continued explaining that there would be a place in the center for veterans coming back home to the United States. Those with disabilities, limb loss, or other problems including post traumatic stress disorder and depression would have a place to go for help. “We could be the only one in the state with a place like this,” said Lynch.

Stegman noted that this would be an outpatient clinic for occupation and mental facilities and it will be open to the public, not just for the veterans.

“Technically it’s a start up grant,” said Stegman. She further explained that with the grant application they will have to prove how they can keep the center in operation.

Don Mason, commission president, asked what size they were looking at, regarding a place for these numerous REM services.

Lynch replied, “As big as the Giant Eagle building in New Martinsville that is not currently in use.”

Bob Gorby, commission vice president, asked Lynch how they would continue to fiance the center after the grant money is expended. Lynch explained they want to put in a gym, including an indoor walking trail for public use, and they will have areas or cubicles to rent for small businesses. They will also have a conference center for business use and this also could be used for wedding receptions and other occasions for a fee.

Lynch reminded the commissioners that 90 percent of what REM buys, they buy locally to help the businesses in the area. He continued, telling the commissioners that when the local office of REM started out they had five employees. “Even now with the economy, we have 250 employees.”

He went on explaining that they hire R.N and L.P.N. Nurses, Social Workers, Case Workers, Direct Care Worker, and much more. “We have never had a lay-off,” he added.

The commissioners agreed to give a letter of recommendation for REM.

In other matters, Rosy Cozart from the Wetzel County Animal Shelter was present with her monthly report for the commissioners. She reported to the commissioners some items that need repair at the animal shelter.

One was a screen door that, according to Cozart, is falling apart. She explained she needs a new light fixture in the cat holding room because the florescent light is not working properly. Another issue was the utility sink and its one metal leg that she temporarily has propped up. Gorby told her the whole sink just might just need to be replaced.

Cozart said the faucet in the cat room of the shelter is having problems. She also asked about the fence by the shelter that is damaged and has yet to be fixed. She hates for people to see the chain fence not in good shape. She also requested assistance in cleaning out the lint filter hose and outside of the dryer. Gorby stated they would sent out a maintenance crew to look into the repairs needed.

Cozart brought up the shelter’s hours and an option for Thursday to be by appointment hours only. She explained to the commissioners that this is the day they are short handed with employees or volunteers at the shelter due to someone traveling to the vet with shelter animals that day of the week.

She stressed she is open seven days a week now, and just on Thursday would like it to be changed for appointment only and she was willing to work with anyone that called for an appointment.

Mason agreed that they could try this new change for awhile and if they would get any complaints from the general public, they would address the issue then.

Cozart handled the commissioners her monthly animal report for June: dog euthanized, one; cats euthanized, none; dogs adopted, six; cats adopted, two; dogs to rescue, 11; cats, none; returned to owner, three; cats, none; dogs taken in, 24; cats taken in, 16; dogs in approval/foster care, two; cats in foster care, none; present impounds, none; cats impounds, none; present quarantines, none; and cats, none.

Also, 911 Director Ed Sap was present at the July 14 meeting to discuss the bids on the AM radio public emergency system for the 911 center. The commissioners discussed the lone bid of $24,775 from Information Station Specialist from Zeeland, Mich.

A motion was made to accept the bid from this company.