Commission recognizes fair queens


By Brittany Hively - bhively@aimmediamidwest.com



Mason County Commissioners Rick Handley, Sam Nibert and Tracy Doolittle with Mason County Fair Queens Madilyn Keefer, Kira Henderson, Leah Hoffman and Alivia Layne after the commission recognized the queens for the work done during the 2021 Mason County Fair.

Mason County Commissioners Rick Handley, Sam Nibert and Tracy Doolittle with Mason County Fair Queens Madilyn Keefer, Kira Henderson, Leah Hoffman and Alivia Layne after the commission recognized the queens for the work done during the 2021 Mason County Fair.


POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission recognized the Mason County Fair Queens during the last meeting of the year.

Commissioners Rick Handley, Sam Nibert and Tracy Doolittle were present at the meeting.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the fair queens were unable to attend the commission meeting that followed the fair, this is generally the meeting the commission recognizes their service.

“I just want to make sure that we have [the] opportunity to come and as a commission congratulate you all for what you all do with the fair,” Handley said. “I was so glad to get back the regular fair this year and with the pageant, with the animal sale on Friday and all the events that you go to everyday. Saw some of you at the rotary ice cream booth and love to have you all there.”

Fair queens in attendance were: Kira Henderson, nursing student Marshall University — 2021 Mason County Fair Queen; Leah Hoffman, West Virginia University (WVU) student — second runner up; Madilyn Keefer, early elementary education student at WVU — third runner up and Alivia Layne, junior Wahama Junior/Senior High School — Miss Congeniality.

Lorrie Wright, 4-H youth development extension agent with Mason County WVU Extension, spoke to the commission about a pollination project she and Ben Goff, agriculture and natural resources extension agent, have been working on and hope to expand to a more hands-on project with the Mason County Schools.

“About a year ago, Ben and I started planning a pollinator project for Mason County,” Wright said. “He has the expertise. He’s already started this camp. He’s been making boxes. We wanted to get a larger scale and work with the Board of Education and develop pollinator farming that could be used as an education are for the school kids.”

Wright said the problem she and Goff are facing is that the project goes beyond 4-H and the state funding is “very specific in nature.”

Wright is seeking $2,000 to help fund the project. She gave commissioners a breakdown of what the funds would go towards.

“The state does provide grants. I recently got [a] $1,000 grant,” Wright said. “I used that money to purchase equipment for the fair, the learning lab was prepared during the [period for an] educational activity.”

Wright said additional funding is needed for finishing and printing curriculum, purchase needed items, do outreach within the schools and have a little leeway.

“You’ll see the outreach program demonstration,” Wright said. “I’d like to do more hands on preserving classes.”

Wright said when she does such classes she pays for them out-of-the-pocket, which is not a problem she said until it gets to a larger scale.

“[Of] course with COVID, we’ve had to keep numbers down anyways,” Wright said. “Having that flexibility of being able to purchase items that we need, whenever we need it would be helpful.”

Mason County Administrator John Gerlach asked Wright what she would cut if there was less than $2,000 available.

“We would cut probably the school curriculum,” Wright said. “I think that’s for the putting together little publications, the printing cost and that type of thing.”

Doolittle asked if Wright had spoken to the school board.

Wright said the project had been discussed with former Supt. Jack Cullen, but they have not spoken to the current Supt. Keith Burdette yet.

Wright said they would like to place pollinators at the board of education office to be able to use them for teaching purposes.

“Some of our goals, like we haven’t been able to have the Outdoor Youth Expo for a couple of years,” Wright said. “We feel confident that that will go on hopefully next spring. We wanted to base the pollinator garden at school board property and then be able to utilize that for the Outdoor Youth Expo, to have a large group of kids because we had talked about moving the Outdoor Youth expo to the board office.”

Wright said the pollinator is a large scale project, where children would be able to visit the area to learn and see the larva, butterflies, bees, and the transitions between stages. She said it would also teach that more than just honey bees are involved in pollination.

“This isn’t something that’s developed overnight,” Wright said. “It’s going to be something that’s developed over time, but having a starting point and then having funds to use for discretionary purposes would be helpful.”

Wright said the gardens cannot be started until the spring and that the curriculum is almost complete.

Wright said she would reach out to Burdette. Nibert said he could speak to him also.

“I love these hands on activities with the kids,” Handley said.

Doolittle said the commission would discuss the project further and see what information is found from Burdette. No action was taken.

Handley proposed a thank you letter be sen to the Department of Highways for the completion of Route 35. All three commissioners spoke on the positive things they have heard since the highway opened. Gerlach and Jason Bechtel will complete the letter.

The next Mason County Commission meeting is set for Jan. 3 at 4 p.m. at the Mason County Courthouse.

© 2021, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Mason County Commissioners Rick Handley, Sam Nibert and Tracy Doolittle with Mason County Fair Queens Madilyn Keefer, Kira Henderson, Leah Hoffman and Alivia Layne after the commission recognized the queens for the work done during the 2021 Mason County Fair.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2021/12/web1_IMG_3891.jpgMason County Commissioners Rick Handley, Sam Nibert and Tracy Doolittle with Mason County Fair Queens Madilyn Keefer, Kira Henderson, Leah Hoffman and Alivia Layne after the commission recognized the queens for the work done during the 2021 Mason County Fair.

By Brittany Hively

bhively@aimmediamidwest.com

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.