POINT PLEASANT — Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, will forever be known as “Wahama White Falcons Championship Day” in Mason County.
Mason County Commissioners Rick Handley, Miles Epling and Tracy Doolittle signed the resolution at the regularly scheduled commission meeting on Thursday. Commissioners welcomed WHS Football Coach Ed Cromley and players Brandon Rickard, Louis Menendez, Crandale Neal and Justin Tillis to the commission meeting room. The entire team will be honored by the commissioners before Friday’s basketball game at Wahama High School.
Handley read the resolution at the meeting which included the following statement:
“We, the Mason County Commissioners, proud of the entire county for pulling together and supporting the White Falcons and their football team, would like to express our appreciation to a team whose attitude, desire, toughness, talents and exemplary sportsmanship brought honor and a great sense of pride to its county by becoming state champs this football season, and we also wish to congratulate the students, the band, the cheerleaders, all the support staff and all the dedicated and wonderful fans of the Bend Area for a well-deserved state championship season.”
Also during the meeting, Commissioner Tracy Doolittle reported the state would not pay for highway signs denoting the football championship, but she’d contacted Greg Roush about making custom signs. Commissioners then approved purchasing two signs for $150 each from Roush of Auto Options which will be placed likely in Mason and in New Haven along W.Va. 62 which will denote the Bend Area as home of the Class A State Football Champion White Falcons. Roush is also donating the poles for the signs.
In other commission business:
The commission made its annual donation of $2,500 to the Point Pleasant Regatta with Jacob Hill accepting the check on behalf of the regatta committee.
Diana Riddle of the Mason County Health Department reminded the commission of the first Mason County Health Symposium set from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the National Guard Armory. The symposium will feature health-related services that are free and available for local residents, including services from Pleasant Valley Hospital and Holzer Health System. Free services will include breast cancer exams, prostate cancer exams, cholesterol and glucose blood tests, blood pressure and body mass index determinations, and orthotic scans, as well as offering information on other health-related problems such as cardiovascular and pulmonary health and other local cancer resources. Healthy food demonstrations as well as Zumba and belly dancing as exercise options will be discussed.
Riddle also reminded commissioners that February is Heart Healthy Month and relayed some stark statistics, including the fact nine women in West Virginia die everyday from stroke or heart-related diseases.
Shawn Tucker from Chapman Technical Group, presented the commission with an update on the completed work at the Mason County Airport which had a “substantial completion date” of Jan. 16. This means the commission has a year from this date to report any problems on the upgrade to the facility which cost $91,292.94 - all of this was 100 percent paid for through grant funding from the state and a Federal Aviation Administration Grant. The county had no money in the upgrades which included work on runway lights and an electrical upgrade, among other items.
Commissioners approved hiring Ronald F. Stein as an assistant prosecuting attorney, effective March 1 and Nancy Wamsley as a tax deputy in the tax office, effective Feb. 16. There were openings for both these positions and money already in the respective budgets for the hires.
Sheriff Greg Powers informed the commission he was purchasing a new identification machine for concealed carry permits, which can also assist in making identification cards for the courts at a cost of $4,000. The commission approved Powers purchasing three new Chevrolet Tahoes at the state bid price for the sheriff’s department. The cost is $29,549 each. Powers said the vehicles were needed due to high mileage and wear and tear on existing vehicles. The commercial dealership with the Tahoes at the special price is located in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
County Administrator John Gerlach said he was currently working on the upcoming county budget. He also has been working with those involved on saving at least the furniture and facade of the Virgil Lewis home in Mason. Furniture from the home will be stored at the airport, and the home, which is on the national registry of historic places, will have it’s facade placed on a reconstruction of the structure at the West Virginia State Farm Museum. Furniture and artifacts will also be displayed in the reconstructed home. The actual home was too structurally unsound to move entirely to the farm museum.
Handley reported he’d met with Assessor Ron Hickman who wants to assemble a task force which will include personnel from the West Virginia State Police, Mason County Sheriff’s Office and other municipalities to help crack down on people from other states who are living in Mason County but have not changed their residency status or license plates on their vehicles. This causes the county to lose valuable income, according to Handley, who added it’s one of the top complaints he hears from citizens.
Present at Thursday’s meeting, in addition to Handley, Epling, Doolittle and Gerlach was County Clerk Diana Cromley.