By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - The regularly scheduled meeting of the Mingo County Commission was held Wednesday morning, with the three commissioners overseeing a busy agenda that included multiple requests for financial assistance.
Ray Curry, a Delbarton resident who has been a member of the Delbarton Volunteer Fire Department for over 50 years, addressed the commissioners with a funding request to assist the department with purchasing fire hoses. The funding would be used to replace those that were showing signs of age and had ruptured during a testing exercise that included using more pounds of water pressure than what had been required in the past. The increase in pressure is due to changes made in the state rules and regulations governing fire departments.
“Some of these hoses are well over 30-years-old,” said Curry. “We now have two stations, one in the Town of Delbarton and one located at Pie, so we have to have adequate equipment for both.”
Curry also spoke of renovations made to the stations to better insulate the structures in an attempt to reduce their heating and cooling bills.
“You guys do a fine job with your department, and we commend you for that,” said Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith.
A motion was made and seconded to provide $5,000 in funding to the department.
“I hate to bring this subject up again, but if we could have received just 90 more ‘yes’ votes on the Fire Levy last year, this conversation wouldn’t be taking place,” said Commission President John Mark Hubbard. “Funding would have been readily available for all Mingo County departments.”
Several area little leagues were represented at the meeting including Matewan, Delbarton and Tug Valley, and all three received $1,500 in funding to be used to purchase uniforms, equipment and other items that will accommodate the 300 plus children who have signed up to participate in the 2012 season in the county.
“Investing in our children is an investment in our future,” said Smith. “If they are active in sports and other worthwhile activities it will deter them from traveling down the wrong paths.”
Commissioner Hubbard also told the coaches and parents attending the meeting to contact Mingo County Grant Writer LeAnn Ray, who would work with them to secure funding grants for their teams in the future.
Lyle Marcum spoke with the commissioners about acquiring funding to purchase a passing machine for Mingo Central’s football program, and was told the commission would take his request under advisement, saying that if an agreement was reached to provide the financial assistance, they would also make the same purchase for the Tug Valley High School program. The matter will be discussed further and a decision will be made known at a future commission meeting.
Williamson resident Mentola Jackson was present as a representative for the Southern West Virginia Action for Youth program, requesting assistance for general operation and maintenance costs. The commissioners agreed to provide the amount of $2,000 for the program, and voiced their appreciation for Jackson’s many years of service to her community.
A motion was made and seconded to grant $1,500 to the Beech Creek Volunteer Fire Department, to aid in the cost of purchasing new equipment.
West Virginia House of Delegates member Justin Marcum attended the commission meeting, accompanied by two representatives of Frontier Communications, who gave an update on the areas of the county who now have high-speed internet, and those who will in the very near future.
“The state has agreed to spend $127 million to provide high-speed internet to hospitals, schools, libraries and courthouses state-wide, and Frontier has committed an additional $330 million of our own money to feed off of those locations and provide this same service to residences throughout the state,” said Frontier Communications General Manager Zachary Tomblin. “Once the state completes their projects then we go in and build off them.
“We have completed most of Gilbert and its surrounding communities already, and we’re also working in the Dingess and Breeden locations now. We’re working at such a pace that we’re buying the supplies for these projects as quickly as they are being produced.”
Marcum spoke of what a great working relationship he and fellow delegate, House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White had established with Frontier, and said this was the first project he had become involved in after being appointed to office.
“Frontier currently has 51 sites throughout the state that are under construction, and I’m proud to say that 21 of those are in Mingo County,” said Marcum. “Having high-speed internet available for all of our residents is a topic that I’m very passionate about, and I firmly believe that within the next year, this goal will become a reality.”
Other topics discussed during the meeting included a request from the Tug Valley Shrine Club for the use of the courthouse restroom facilities for the public during the annual car show scheduled for June 9, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The request was granted.
The next scheduled meeting for the commission is May 2, at 9 a.m.