FRN discusses county synar visits

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson -

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Family Resource Network (FRN) recently met discussing recent synar visits to local businesses.

Greg Fowler, FRN executive director, shared this year he along with a female Mason County police officer and a female youth visited four businesses in Mason County, two in Mason and two in Point Pleasant. Prior to the visit with each business, the employees received a training on not selling tobacco to underage youth. None of the businesses sold to the youth which is the goal of the program. Though one employee at a business did try to sell tobacco to the youth, the computer system did not let the sale go through as the youth’s license was an under 18 license.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the synar program is responsible for implementing the requirements of the synar amendment which requires states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18.

In other business, Fowler discussed the statewide directors meeting for the DHHR that was held in Flatwoods. All grant work is up to date.

Bree Ramey, from the Workforce West Virginia Career Center, reported the Mason County Baby Pantry will be operating on its regular schedule. Upcoming dates for the baby pantry include June 24 from 5-7 p.m., July 8 from noon-2 p.m., and July 22 from 5-7 p.m.. The volunteers at the baby pantry are working on getting information out to the mothers on local Vacation Bible School programs and summer food programs. Ramey also asked FRN members if they have any flyers or other information for the “mom bags” given out at each baby pantry as the volunteers at baby pantry like to give the mothers new information about what is going on in the county every few months.

The FRN members discussed updates on recent teen court cases as well as the recently held S.T.E.M training event and the Fishing Rodeo.

Ramey reported the S.T.E.M event went well and all of the youth in attendance enjoyed their time even though the attendance was lower than usual. The Mason County superintendent suggested the event be held earlier in the school year next year such as in March because it is a less busy time than May.

Fowler reported though the attendance for the Fishing Rodeo was down this year as well with about 110 participants, all who participated had a good time and it was still an overall good day. Three prizes of brand new fishing poles were handed out for each of the five age groups. The Krodel Park lake was stocked with regular catfish as well as a small amount of albino catfish the day before the Fishing Rodeo. Fowler gave away additional prizes for those who caught albino catfish.

CASA is still in need of new volunteers for the program. Chelsea Zuspan, CASA volunteer supervisor, shared she has a goal to have at least 15 total volunteers for Mason County by Dec. 31. Currently, she has five advocates and one in training. Zuspan discussed the programs Savannah’s Closet and Foster First-Care which are located in Jackson County with fellow FRN members.

Contact in Mason County is still seeking out new volunteers as well. Brittany Mitchell, victim advocate for Contact in Mason County, shared the “Mind Matters” curriculum will be starting in the fall at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School.

A United Way representative shared Friday is National Day of Action and is a day everyone should do a volunteering activity. United Way has a volunteer website where those who want to volunteer and those who need volunteers can search out to find each other and representatives at United Way help match volunteers and organizations. The website is

Workforce West Virginia Career Center will be holding a job fair on July 3 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Mason County office to find workers to take the 2020 census for Mason County. It is a temporary job and pays $13.50 per hour.

Sign ups for the EMS certified apprenticeship program for Mason County will be held on July 15 at the Workforce West Virginia Career Center, space for the program is limited.

The Mason County Public Transit System will begin running on July 1.

The FRN members discussed upcoming Back to School bashes and are considering having an event of their own.

Ramey shared a United Way Community Needs Assessment is tentatively set for July 5 at Trinity United Methodist Church.

On Aug. 3 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. United Way will be a holding a “stuff the bus” event for school supplies at Mason Wal-Mart.

On July 26 at Krodel Park in Point Pleasant Mountain State Healthy Families will be hosting a tie-dye palooza.

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.