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Commission Discusses Gabriel Project, RegattaFest

By Staff | Jul 27, 2016

Several clients have signed up for assistance from the area’s new Gabriel Project location, according to Linda Barth of the organization.

Barth provided the Wetzel County Commission, at their July 19 meeting, with an update of developments since the organization’s implementation.

The Gabriel Project has officially opened its doors to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday, July 12. The Gabriel Project is located at The Disciple Center, located by First Christian Church on Maple Avenue in New Martinsville.

Families or single parents who may be in need of financial assistance are encouraged to stop by The Gabriel Project for tangible needs such as safe cribs, secure car seats, diapers, formula, clothing, and hygiene products at a low or no cost rate to the client.

The Gabriel Project also wants to provide emotional support, information about child care, and they even make referrals to other social service organizations.

Barth said nine clients had signed up for support prior to The Gabriel Project’s opening; she said another 17 clients have signed up in the four days since The Gabriel Project was open.

Barth gave thanks to Holy Name Society, Lions Club, ACE Hardware, and Walmart, among others who have provided support to The Gabriel Project.

Barth said more cribs are needed than can be supplied; she is requesting assistance to purchase those, along with sterile products such as bottles, nipples, and pacifiers. Items, such as swings, carseats, and gently used clothing items and blankets, are mostly provided thanks to donations.

The commission, which previously gave Barth a $5,000 donation for The Gabriel Project, suggested that Barth apply for a 2016-2017 grant to help with funding.

Hours of operation for The Gabriel Project will be every Tuesday and Thursday, noon to 4 p.m. and also every third Saturday of the month, noon to 4 p.m. at the building location. Phone lines will be monitored and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available for anyone interested.

In another matters, Sam and Sherron Winer delivered a presentation on behalf of RegattaFest. The Winers explained that for this year’s RegattaFest, the main stage will be moved back to Main Street, and improvements will be made to the kids’ entertainment area, including a soak zone, if the weather permits. Time trials will take place on Friday, and racing will occur on Saturday. Events will include a special appearance of a fully restored replica Gale 5 Unlimited Hydro, which was in the area in 1954. This style of boat is labeled as loud considering it runs off an airplane engine designed to be used in WWII Spitfires.

A fully restored Miss US 4, built in 1956, will also be put on display for the fans at RegattaFest. This boat travels at a speed of approximately 140 mph.

Throughout the many years that the Regatta has been established, there have been a total of 140 records set, more than anywhere else in the world. The Winers hope this fact will draw the attention of additional racers, who hope to set a record.

In other matters, an architectural design company hopes to provide Wetzel County Courthouse with some renovations in the near future. Jordan Garland and James Swiger took the floor, before the commission, in order to present their company — WYK Associates Inc. WYK Associates focuses mainly on reconstruction of older courthouses. WYK is the oldest firm in the state, dating back to 1900, and is hoping to build an annex on the Wetzel County courthouse.

Swiger described many of the past projects that their firm has completed such as Harrison County Courthouse, Braxton County Courthouse, Barber County Courthouse and Pocahontas County Courthouse, to name a few. Swiger gave an example of the diligence of the firm in renovations to the Preston County Courthouse. WYK was able to find the original sandstone quarry, located in Indiana, which contained the exact sandstone used on Preston County’s courthouse. Therefore, WYK not only fixed the courthouse, but did so using as much original material as possible. The firm recently purchased a 3D printer in order to provide a model of finished projects, as opposed to just providing blueprints. This enables clients to look at the model in different angles and with more detail.

In another matter, Wetzel County’s WVU Extension Agent, Molly Toppe, gave a report on the county 4-H camp that took place on June 19-24.

Toppe mentioned that camp was a success and that there were 129 campers, 81 girls and 41 boys. This is an additional 10 campers from last year. There were 23 full-time volunteer counselors, eight full-time volunteer junior counselors, 15 part-time volunteer class instructors, and four full-time WVU extension staff available throughout the week. All volunteers went through training, and there were 29 classes offered — STEM (Science Technology Engineering, and Math, Archery, basic survival skills, pet care, cake decorating, and outdoor cooking, just to name a few.

Toppe noted that this was the first year the STEM program was available, and it was a success.

There were three new cabins available for camping this year as well.

Mollie said that when campers were asked what they would do differently, upon return to home, they responded in the following manner: “Enjoy nature and stay off my phone,””Be a leader and try to better myself and others,” and “Stay off my electronics more often.”

A motion was made to accept the resignation of dispatcher Scott Turner and to hire Larry J. Thomas and Anthony Stoneking as dispatchers at the 911 center. Stephen Yoho will replace Turner as the new Deputy Director of Emergency Management. Also, there was a motion passed to donate $2,500 to YWCA for basic camp sponsorship for the battered victims program.