Commission discusses possible suit against drug distributors

By Beth Sergent -

POINT PLEASANT — Though it is just in the discussion phase, the Mason County Commission is open to considering possibly filing a lawsuit against distributors of opioid drugs, similar to what the City of Huntington has done.

As reported by the Huntington Herald-Dispatch in January, the City of Huntington filed suit against three distributors of opioid drugs, as well as one local doctor. The Herald-Dispatch stated, Huntington seeks damages for reimbursement of expenses related to public safety.

Attorneys Matt Clark and Mark E. Troy were at the meeting to answer questions about the topic at Thursday’s regular commission meeting. However, Commissioner Sam Nibert said after researching similar lawsuits, he wanted more time to get more information. He made a motion the commission table the discussion until the meeting on March 23.

In other commission business:

County Administrator John Gerlach said he researched the deed to the J.C. Cook Park in Mason, along with Attorney Stephen Littlepage representing the Claflin Foundation. The findings, read in a letter, said the deed requires the property be referred to as J.C. Cook Park but it doesn’t prohibit any naming of any structure within the park that the Mason Recreation Foundation or Mason County Commission would choose. The park would revert to the Cook heirs in the event it was no longer being used for recreation. Last year, the newly renovated “Claflin Stadium” was dedicated at the park. Money for the renovations was provided through grants in excess of $30,000 from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation.

After receiving a letter of concerns from Cook family member Charlotte Yonker, Commissioner Rick Handley clarified, only one field at the park was upgraded and improved and it was not restricted for use solely by Wahama High School. Handley said the Claflin Foundation has “done an outstanding job, putting money into that along with the Wahama Ball Park Committee…it is an asset to that community.”

Commissioner Tracy Doolittle made the motion, and commissioners unanimously approved, putting up a sign to denote J.C. Cook Park in Mason, near the entrance in remembrance of Mr. Cook.

Approved the part-time employment of Austin Sroufe and Olivia Davis at Mason County 911.

Commissioners also mentioned this Saturday’s fund raiser for Mandy Spencer, who works for Mason County Day Report but has been unable to work since December after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). The fund raiser and benefit dinner will take place from 4-7 p.m. at the First Church of God Ministry Center on Jefferson Avenue. Dinner will include baked spaghetti, salad, rolls, bread sticks and dessert. Price will be a donation and take out orders will be $5 each. There will be prize drawings and a “dessertwalk” every 30 minutes, as well as live entertainment throughout the event.

Attending the meeting were Commissioners Handley, Nibert, Doolittle, as well as Gerlach and County Clerk Diana Cromley as well as Mason County Director for 911 and the Office of Emergency Services Dennis Zimmerman and Paula Gregory of Contact.

By Beth Sergent

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.