By ALLISON CLARK
Commission President Agnes Queen reported that the Lewis County Commissioners were contacted last week by EQT in regards to another potential natural gas pipeline that will run through Lewis County and into Virginia.
There are two possible locations for the pipeline being discussed currently, one is in Jane Lew and one is in the Western part of Lewis County. EQT told the Commissioners that residents are currently being called and notified by mail.
This will the the second large pipeline running through Lewis County, the first of which will be 550 miles long and runs to North Carolina.
"They [EQT] said they would be forthcoming with more information they got," said Queen.
Commissioner Boyle commented on how EQT took the time to inform the Commissioners of the plans because the Commissioners don't know what is happening with the oil and gas industry until the company or a constituent informs them.
Lewis County Commissioners approved the application for a grant for the amount of $98,322.00 for improvements to the Lewis County Courthouse on Monday morning.
If attained, the grant will be used to replace the fluorescent lights with LED in the main Courthouse, as well as the following in the former jail: upgrade main panel, bring fire alarm system up to code, upgrade the lighting fixtures and controls, branch circuitry, teledata cabling and receptacles.
Once the former jail is renovated the Assessor's Office will be moved into it.
In other news, the Commissioners approved the proclamation stating that October of 2014 will be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Lewis County.
The Commissioners also signed a resolution supporting the Environmental Protection Agency to schedule public meetings in areas impacted by the decline in coal mining and coal production.
Gary Hall representing the Lewis County Firefighters thanked the Commissioners for allowing first responders to attend a class at the fire academy on meth, meth labs and the composition of meth.
Roughly 30 first responders in Lewis County attended this class.
Hall said, "I was surprised with the availability of the supplies used to make meth."
"There isn't just one set recipe to make it," said Hall, "This class was well worthwhile."
Queen also said that Lewis County Park is currently getting quotes on handicapped accessible playground equipment. Last year the LC Park was awarded a grant for $120,000 to make the park more handicapped accessible.
Some of the equipment includes a wheelchair accessible swing and a merry-go-round.
The Commissioners approved the resignation of Cinda Shaver from the LC Parks and Recreations Board.
Barb Paugh was appointed in Shaver's position to fill the unexpired term.
All of the Commissioners commented on how Paugh will make an excellent addition to this board.
The next meeting of the Lewis County Commission will be held Monday, Oct. 6, at 10 a.m., at the Lewis County Courthouse.
Sharpe Hospital Employees Picket
By JOHN G. WOLFE
Dozens of William R. Sharpe, Jr. employees, members of the UE Local 170 public employees union, conducted informational picketing on Monday afternoon at the entrance road to the hospital in Weston. Many drivers passing by blew their vehicle horns in support of the workers.
The purpose of the picketing was to "bring public attention to the ongoing problems at the hospital and at other facilities operated by the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities," said Union International Representative John Thompson.
The union is seeking improved wages for all its employees, an end to mandatory overtime work, an end to the practice of using contracted or temporary workers and recognition of the right of public employes to bargain collectively.
A press release from the union indicated that since 2013 the bureau has spent over $9 million on contract employees at Sharpe and Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington. That money, the union says, could be better spent on salary increases for veteran staff members and recruitment of employees to fill vacant slots. They say that low salaries and poor working conditions lead to a constant turnover of employees and an inability to attract new employees.
House of Delegates member Peggy Donaldson Smith was on hand to address the workers, pledging her continued support for efforts to improve working conditions at the hospital and encouraged protesters to get in touch with other legislators in an effort to get backing for needed changes. State Senate candidate Michael Romano also addressed the workers, saying he will work for better wages and will fight any attempts to privatize the state psychiatric hospitals.
Lewis County Commissioner Agnes Queen was in attendance as a show of support, as was Prosecuting Attorney Lea Anne Hawkins. All mingled with the picketers and discussed their concerns.
National hunting and fishing days will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $6, but is free for children ages 15 and under.
West Virginia's Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day is jointly sponsored by DNR and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation. CONSOL Energy is again a major financial contributor this year. CONSOL has made a priority of supporting youth-related causes, especially the Outdoor Youth Challenge.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) also is a significant financial contributor this year, as it has been in the past.
For a complete schedule and more information on National Hunting and Fishing Days, see the special supplement in this week's edition of The Weston Democrat.
Held for Aliayah
"Somewhere Out There" was the theme of the candlelight vigil held for Aliayah Lunsford. Lunsford has been missing for three years as of last Wednesday.
Three-year-old Aliayah went missing the morning of September 24, 2011, at the family's rented home on Dennison Street in the Bendale area of Weston.
The girls mother, Lena Lunsford, reported checking on the child, who had been sick at about 6:30 a.m. Approximately two and a half hours later Lena noticed that Aliayah was gone.
The mother contacted authorities after claiming she and her other children searched for two hours.
Roughly forty family members and friends gathered together at the Jackson's Mill Baptist Church on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 to remember Aliayah and to keep her disappearance in the public's mind
Purple balloons were sent into the evening sky while prayers were being said to remember Aliayah.
"Next year we will have answers," said Aliayah's great aunt Vickie Bowen.
The congregations of mourners sang gospel hymnals to remember the little girl.
"We are going to find her. We have to allow God to work,this is in God's hands now," said J.R. Pratt.
The Simmon's Sisters sang a song called "Aliayah Paige."
"I don't know why her parents seem to have forgotten her. Both have been incarcerated since Aliayah went missing," said Bowen.
Since Aliayah's disappearance, Lena Lunsford, Aliayah's mother, by court order has had all her children taken away by Child Protective Services(CPS).
After Aliayah's disappearance, Lena had three other children and all of which were taken by CPS as well.
"We are so quick to forget things," said Pastor Greg Miller, "but keep praying that we will bring her home."
The service was concluded with a candlelight vigil.