MIDDLEBOURNE -- The Tyler County Commissioners held their first meeting of February where Dominion Director Bob Orndorff and Christine Mitchell, external affairs and state/local government affairs for Dominion, gave a presentation on the supply header that will be going through a small section of Tyler County.
The project is said to provide natural gas suppliers to various customers, allowing the transportation of natural gas from supply areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to market areas in Virginia and North Carolina. One of the main customers will be Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC- a joint venture composed of subsidiaries of Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas- which is proposing to construct the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The project in whole consists of approximately 37.5 miles of 30 inch diameter pipe to be constructed along existing pipeline rights of way and will include approximately 33.6 miles of pipeline in Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, and Wetzel counties. Of the 33.6 miles of pipe, only four miles will be located in Tyler County, specifically in the Indian Creek area. Modifications and facility upgrades will be made at Dominion's existing compressor stations in Marshall and Wetzel counties. Some of the projected benefits include economic development activity potential, economic activity during construction and operation, and employment opportunities.
Mitchell explained that they go through vigorous safety inspections such as X-raying pipeline welds, and they work with local LEPC to make sure all safety protocol is in place and understood. All of the pipelines are monitored by a gas control center located in Bridgeport.
"Even though we welcome the pipeline, and what it can do for our economy, we are concerned about legislation as to the location in proximity to residents." Commissioner Charles Smith said. "We feel that they dropped the ball on that... I think this became very clear in the pipeline explosion down along I-77 and Sissonville area."Orndorff explained that this will be a federally regulated pipeline and will work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure that all precautions have been taken.
The commissioners passed a motion to join several other counties in a class action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies that have over-prescribed opioid medications throughout the state. Attorneys Gold, Khourey and Turak had previously stated that the West Virginia Attorney General recently won close to 47 million dollars on two opioid cases within the state by suing many of the pharmacies that over-prescribed certain medications. Turak felt that West Virginia has been a "dumping ground" for pharmaceutical companies. He announced that 780 million opioids have been distributed throughout the state over the last six years. That averages to 70.2 pills per person throughout the entire state. In fact, there was one town with a population of 392 people that received over 9 million pain pills through the course of those six years years.
Turak stated that the legal groundwork is already in place against these pharmaceutical companies and that the drug wholesalers were not in accordance with the law. Wholesalers have a responsibility to report red flags yet they have preyed upon our state creating the current opioid epidemic.
Alex King reported to the commissioners that there had been meeting with people in regards to the poor cell phone service throughout the county. King mentioned that he has located a possible tower, but that it would need boosters installed. He stated that he has received a great amount of interest and support through social media for this cellular expansion. King proposed that he would contact the right people and have them get in contact the commissioners. The commissioners agreed and stated that they had previously gone through Senator Manchin's office, who then directed them to an AT&T facility in Texas. King was advised to check with Senator Manchin's office to review a record of their previous attempt.
Roseanne Eastham gave a yearly report of the Middlebourne Library mentioning that it was a great year and there were many classes available for the public. There is a craft night scheduled 5 times a month for children 5th grade and under. There is also a story night available for children ages 3-5. The Library offers Learning Express for adults who need help preparing for jobs and job searches, plus the library computers are setup to assist with creating resumes for jobs.
Sabrina Kile gave a yearly report on the Sistersville Library mentioning a few additions available through the library since last years report. A notary public will be available for free to those who need one. The library has also created a teen zone for teenagers to have a safe place to shoot pool, play air hockey, or just relax with their peers. There will also be movie nights available every Saturday starting in March, beginning with the movie Goonies. Prior to the Goonies movie, Barry Fox from Marble King will give a presentation on marbles and how Marble King marbles were featured in the movie.
Adam Vaughan of Cintas gave a proposal to the commissioners to offer their products and services throughout the community. Cintas has a national account with U.S. Communities which is a purchasing collaborative that offers a free sign up policy. Cintas has also been working with the Tyler BOE with their simulated workplace program by providing students with uniforms as well as welding equipment such as fire resistant clothing.
Luke Peters with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council stated that Camel Technologies are ready to begin doing renovations on the courthouse. They are set to begin on the 13th and will work in the evenings and around the court schedule. Camel will spend the fist two days working on the Magistrate building and finish up the week on the courthouse. The whole project is scheduled to last about a week.
Tom Cooper, director of the Tyler Office of Emergency Management, reported that they are continually working on the storage facility in Paden City. Most of the electrical work has been finished and the security cameras have been put in place. They have also finalized their training grant as well as the radio grant so they will be expecting those checks in the mail.
911 Director Josh Fulks stated that they still need repair work done to the stairs outside their entrance. Commissioner Vincent told Fulks that he had been in contact with Quality Aluminum and they sent their suggestions. Fulks said that he would get with Quality Aluminum to get a quote for the proposed steps.
Sheriff Brian Weigle requested that the commissioners help purchase new tasers for the officers. He stated that the current tasers are at least five years old and are starting to fall apart. The batteries and cameras are starting to fail and Weigle feels that this is a major safety concern. "If the tasers aren't working, then we know the alternative is...and the alternative isn't good" stated Weigle. He offered a proposal from one company in particular but the commissioners stated that they must bid out the purchase due to the total cost of the tasers.
Commission Vice President John Stender reported that the 4-H grounds are continuing to improve and they were able to purchase new tables and chairs for the dining hall.
The commissioners appointed Mike Weekly and Linda Hendrickson to the Tyler County Service Board.
It was announced that the results from a recent bridge inspection had been received for the bridge located at the 4-H grounds. The report came back stating the bridge had been rated as being in fair condition. The report also offered suggestions of how to improve the bridge such checking all bolts and rivets as well as re-painting the bridge. The commissioners passed a motion to bid out the project to get the process started.