POINT PLEASANT — Mason County Commissioners honored the Point Pleasant High School (PPHS) Wrestling Team and discussed the Letart Nature Park during their meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Commissioners honored the team by congratulating them for their championship win. Commission President Rick Handley said the team brought pride, honor and integrity to Mason County. The commission gave a special honor to the players who won individually in the state championship and to coach John Bonecutter, who was named a coach of the year.
The team re-wrote the program’s record books recently while cruising to its fifth state championship at the 73rd annual WVSSAC Wrestling Championships held at Mountain Health Arena in Cabell County.
Sophomores Derek Raike (132) and Justin Bartee (138), as well as junior Isaac Short (120), repeated as state champions in their respective weight classes, while senior Juan Marquez (195) joined juniors Parker Henderson (106) and Mitchell Freeman (145) in notching their first state crowns.
Commissioners also honored the team with a proclamation declaring Friday, March 13 as Big Black Wrestling Day in Mason County.
Commissioners heard from volunteers for the Letart Nature Park. Volunteers said in the last year, they added more trails and updated the map, have a Facebook page and website, held a Memorial Day Weekend event, added bee pollinator stations, built a storage building, held fundraisers, and many more events. On June 13, volunteers will be sponsoring the Letart homecoming barbecue. They hope to have a dedication of new flag pole, which is donated by Woodmen of the World in observance of Flag Day.
Commissioner Sam Nibert made a motion to give the Letart Nature Park $1,000 to help with soil erosion issues. The volunteers want to reseed grass and post signs to keep four-wheelers off the area until roots have time to grow, which will reduce erosion.
County Clerk Diana Cromley asked the commissioners to approved the list of emergency absentee ballot commissioners and polling places.
County Administrator John Gerlach told commissioners the Mason County Clerk and Circuit Clerk were awarded a grant of $9,430 for a Records Management and Preservation Board grant from Governor Jim Justice.
Gerlach also gave commissioners a letter from Christoper Johnson, Chief Probation Officer from the Mason County Adult Drug Court for the resignation of Ashten Crank as an adult drug court therapist. Johnson recommended the hiring of Marlee Hartley, MS. Commissioners approved the resignation and hiring.
Mason County Emergency Management Services Director Dennis Zimmerman said his departments were monitoring COVID-19 with the health department and the Department of Health and Human Resources. Zimmerman said they have meetings every Friday at noon and will continue to keep the public informed when and if there are new cases of the virus. West Virginia currently has no cases of COVID-19. According to the Associated Press, as of Friday afternoon, state health officials said West Virginia had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 after 12 people have been tested, with 11 negatives and one test still pending.
Handley told the other commissioners that Point Pleasant Intermediate School asked to use the 4-H camp as an alternate site to move students in the case of emergency. Commissioners approved the memorandum, pending the fire marshal approval after work at the 4-H camp is completed.
The Mason County Commissioners have a meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19 at 4 p.m.
Bryan Walters contributed to this story.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.