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Commission Evaluates Meeting

By Staff | Sep 23, 2009

George Couch, chief executive officer, of Wetzel County Hospital; Logan Hassig, attorney; along with members of the Air Evac Lifeteam including Andy Arthurs, senior director of Base Operations, were present at the Sept. 22 county commission meeting regarding Monday evening’s public meeting at the Wetzel County Hospital.

Couch pointed out that the meeting went fairly well. The meeting have the commissioners a chance to hear from public. Now he hopes the project can move forward and be finalized with the Wetzel County Commission and the Wetzel County Building Authority.

Wetzel County Commission President Don Mason also agreed that the meeting was well attended and people got to voice their concerns. Mason discussed the past idea of the airport being used as a Air Evac base, but noted the area does get a lot of fog, especially this time of the year, and it is in a flood zone.

Commission Vice President Bob Gorby stated, “We didn’t receive that many people against this.” (Air Evac’s relocation in New Martinsville)

A citizen living near the current helipad at WCH did call into the commissioners and spoke before their 10 a.m. meeting, expressing she is in favor of having such a facility nearby. She said the helicopter could truly help in a time of need. She brought up that if state Route 2 would ever be closed due to an accident or a chemical plant incident, the Air Evac helicopter could provide assistance before an ambulance could reach the area.

She felt even though she lives close to the helipad, saving lives is worth the little extra noise of take off and landings.

The commissioners thanked her for calling in and expressing her opinion.

Scott Lemley, commissioner, told those present, “I was skeptical about this in the beginning. But the main thing is, if you can save one life in Wetzel County, it would be worth it. There will be lives saved. My vote is in favor of having it here.”

Arthurs said Air Evac would like to thank the public, attorneys, and commission for walking through this project with them. “We will be a good community partner for you,” he noted.

Arthurs explained that Air Evac will be working with the hospital and the local EMS.

Couch stated, “We will maintain the communication with the public. We want the highest care possible at our small rural hospital.”

Also on the agenda at the county commission meeting was Ed Sapp, Emergency Management Director director.

Sapp recommended the county accept the lowest bid for a phone system for the new E-911 center. That bid for $198,979.37 was from Progressive Communications. Sapp noted that the bidding was between Lauttamus Communication, Miller Communications, and Progressive Communications.

The commission unanimously accepted the recommendation and it is estimated it will take six weeks to install the system.