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Mollie Toppe Discusses Summer Programs, Including New Classes

By Staff | May 31, 2017

Mollie Toppe, West Virginia University’s extension agent for Wetzel County, visited the Wetzel County Commission Tuesday, May 16 to discuss summer programs throughout the county – 4-H camp, Energy Express, and the Wetzel County Farmer’s Market.

Toppe said 106 kids had already signed up for 4-H camp, prior to the first deadline, and there are also approximately 40 volunteers.

Toppe said there are some new classes for this year’s camp, such as kayaking, sign language class, and a couple of STEM courses.

The extension agent also reported that there is a new volunteer to serve as a camp nurse.

Energy Express will be held at New Martinsville, Long Drain, and Short Line schools this year.

Toppe said the program is a “reading and feeding” program that allow kids to have both breakfast and lunch during the summer, as well as avoid any possible summer slides in reading skills. Toppe said 60 percent of the kids involved in last summer’s Wetzel County program either maintained, or grew, in their skills.

The program is open to kids, ages kindergarten to sixth grade and lasts half a day, each day, from June 19 through July 28.

AmeriCorps members serve at the schools and act as mentors over the kids. Three Wetzel County educators serve as site supervisors, one for each school, and the board of education also provides school bus drivers, three buses, cooks, and custodians for the sites.

The mentors receive a living allowance of $1,800, which they can apply toward furthering their education.

Toppe said she believed that Energy Express is AmeriCorps’ longest running program.

Also, the Wetzel County Farmer’s Market will now take place every Thursday, through early October. The times will be from 3:30-6 p.m.

Toppe said the market would be selling lettuce, onions, baked goods, cornmeal, eggs, meat, as well as homemade candles.

Toppe said Holly Giovinazzo is the market manager and has “hit the ground running.”

So far, Giovinazzo has painted the fence at Bruce Park, where the market is set up. She has also reached out to possible vendors.

“We hope the market will continue to grow,” Toppe said.

In other commission matters, the Wetzel County Commission has requested an itemized listing of what needs done to make Hundred’s pool operable.

Theresa Briggs, of the Hundred Pool Association, presented an estimate to the commission, courtesy of Shamblin Construction, regarding repairs to the pool.

On Monday, May 1, Mayor Donna Himmelrick and Hundred’s town council voted to be the financial intermediary of the funds to repair Hundred Swimming Pool. It was a group effort of Mayor Himmelrick, Recorder Sherry Hayes, and the town council.

Briggs had told the council then that the pool averaged 37 kids each day.

The commission has expressed interest in helping with financing of repairs and renovations, but required – due to West Virginia Law and the West virginia Auditor’s Office Regulations – that the project be placed out for public bid, and the town council has to administer the funds.

The following community members were in attendance at the May 1 council meeting to support keeping the Hundred Swimming Pool open: Myron and Kathy Seese, Pastor Jason Sleeth of Harmony Baptist Church, Bill Lemley, Long Drain School Teacher Carla Fluharty, Scott Lemley, and the spokesperson for the group was Briggs.

At the May 16 commission meeting, it was noted that the pool would have to be shutdown for part of the summer, while repairs are made.

Briggs agreed to bring an itemized list of repairs/costs to the commission.