By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
911 Deputy Director Mike Simmons updated the Tucker County Commissioners on the actions of the 911 call center for the month of August. Simmons said, “There were a total of 730 calls from the public and were processed from the following agencies: 32 were law enforcement, 79 were to EMS, 17 were to Company 10, nine were to Company 20, six were to Company 30, and 11 were to Company 40.” From October 1 to October 26 that is an average of 24.34 calls per day.
Company 10 is the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department, was formally established in 1932. Kevin White is the current Fire Chief. Davis Volunteer Fire Department is Company 20 and has been operating since October of 1937. Allen Cosner is the Company 20’s Fire Chief. Company 30 began in early 1982 as the Canaan Valley Station of the Davis Volunteer Fire Department. Bob Metzger is the Fire Chief of Company 30. On September 26, 1985, the Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department was chartered. The Thomas Volunteer Fire Department according to Fire Chief Joseph DiBacco was established in 1917. According to https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_wv/28651 Company 40 was incorporated in January of 1950.
Simmons also reported that the virtual server components are starting to arrive. Lightrr IT Solutions are tentatively scheduled for the first week of December to be at the 911 center for installation, which should take approximately five days. Simmons stated that the new CAD system (Motorola Spillman Flex) preliminary work has begun. A Team meeting has been set for December 6 via computer to set timeline goals for each phase of construction and establish expectations. Realtime updates will be reflected on a new project management app. It is anticipated the new CAD system will become active on April 2, 2023.
Commissioner Fred Davis commended the staff of the 911 call center by saying, “I called up there the other day to get some information and the people that help me at your facility was very respectful to me and got me what I needed pretty quickly. It was good.” Commissioner Mike Rosenau continued the praise by adding, “Today I just happened to be there when a call came in and I was impressed by the professionalism and how they handled the call and how they handled the situation. The commission is taking note of the professionalism.” Rosenau asked Simmons to pass these praises on to the staff.
Simmons and Director Kevin White of the Tucker County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OEM) both attended an eight-hour active shooter class. The class was held at the Randolph County EM/911 Center.
The Tucker County 911 Center has also gotten approval from the commission for two new hires. Daniel Hebb will be employed as a full-time 911 dispatcher and will begin employment on November 15 while Courtney Summerfield will be the new part-time dispatcher beginning November 1. Both new hires will be tested at 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals that is required for new and present employees.
Commissioner Davis asked White if there had been any new development on the bases for the no trucks allowed signs that are to be placed coming off the mountain by Leadmine. White informed Davis that the bases for the signs had been poured but the remainder was at the mercy of the sign crews. White said, “We are at the mercy of John Monk (Traffic Engineer of WDOH). He said some of the signs would be erected this year, some the following year and some the next following year but they would not go up all at once due to the budget.”
Davis said, “There are just a lot of trucks coming in by Leadmine.” White said, “I am not going to tell you those signs will not help but if anyone goes to those areas and looks at the amount of signage that is there indicating no truck travel and all of that. I do not know how much more anyone can do. The answer, and some people do not want to hear this answer, is to finish the road so the trucks do not even have to go down there. If the Corridor H is finished they would have no reason to get off the Corridor H to be traveling down those roads. That is the answer to our problem.” Davis agreed.
Commissioner Rosenau asked White what were the designated emergency shelters for Tucker County. White answered that the two Red-Cross qualified sites were the Camp Kidd Shelter and the old gymnasium as the Thomas Shelter but when necessary any church or school could be set up as a shelter.
The commissioners signed an agreement presented by James Marshall from Region VII for the creation of the Blackwater PSD. This is the first step needed to create the public service district and move forward with planning and grant process needed for the project.
Marshall also presented the commission with information of the Community Development Building Grant (CDBG) that is available to all municipalities. This meeting was the first of the required meetings that needed to be held to give information on what money was available. Marshall said, “There is approximately $13.8 million state wide to give out to communities that apply. Of that money $10.8 mil will go for infrastructure projects with a $2 million limit per project. They also provide $2 million maximum for water and sewer projects. They have $500,000 for sidewalks, streetscapes, and ADA (American with Disabilities Act) curb cut requirements. They have $500,000 available for Parks and Recreation projects. There is $2 million available for litigation of blighted and abandoned properties. And they have $500,000 available for community planning grants.
There are different eligibility requirements. Those who apply have to be 51 percent low to moderate income levels. The activities to aide and prevention of some blight that would occur with demo properties. With the planning communities grants there is no national or goals that have to be met.
The next CDBG second meeting will be held on November 16 and will be project orientated on the suggestions received.
Rosenau motioned to add new cameras inside and outside the old courthouse located in Parsons, West Virginia. The system comes with the cameras and two recorders for the price of $39,817. The motion was approved unanimously.
During the commissioner’s reports Davis reported that he had attended a meeting concerning doing a survey on the water that flows through Sugarlands. Davis, “We are trying to get that moving along to try and help the people in Sugarlands get water.”
Davis also reported that the commission as a whole was going to start working closely with the Blackwater Ministerial Association food bank on the mountain. Recently the building was sold where the organization worked out of and according to Rosenau, “The food bank in the top part of the county serves a lot of people. They service with not only food but also hygiene products and things like that. They have a good program up there. It is something we will know more about as time goes by and they have one option they are looking into now. They really hope to it works out for them. Veronica Staron has worked her butt off and doing a good job for them. I want to make sure the commission applauds her for all that she does volunteering.” Davis agreed and said, “She does a great job!”
Davis also reported that the shelter in Thomas is not complete. There have been shelving and a new kitchen installed on site. The board at the Thomas Community Center bought a new stove, dishwater, cabinet space, and flooring. Davis said, “If something were to happen right now we could help people at the shelter. The generators run off of propane so we would be able to cook and have heat.”
Commissioner Lowell Moore reported that he attended the previous nights meeting in Davis along with the two other previous meetings concerning the EMS levy tax. Moore said, “The levy needs to pass so that we have two crews 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Otherwise, we are going to one crew and part of another.”
Rosenau finished the reports with applauding the youth of the county. Rosenau said, “We have a cross country track team that is going to state. If we do not do anything else as a commission, I want to make sure we applaud the kids. We do a lot of things, a lot of business, a lot of things for the county, but we as a county need to support our youth. So go to the ball games, go to the track meets!” Davis agreed and gave praise to the dance teams that are ranked number one or two in the world. Rosenau said, “I think those are things we should really concentrate more on. I want the people of the county to know our business, but I also want them to know what good kids we have. There is a lot of people in our community that do not go to ball games, they do not go to track meets, so if we can acknowledge those kids and the success that they have. We hear the bad all the time, but we need to promote the good. Let us concentrate on the positive that we have so much of right here.” Shelia DeVilder added that the FFA students were in Indianapolis for FFA Nationals, and the Moore added that the TCHS football game is undefeated!
The next regular meeting of Tucker County Commission will be held on November 16, 2022, at 9 a.m. and located on the third floor of the Tucker County Courthouse at 211 First Street, Parsons.