MATEWAN — The Matewan City Council met on Tuesday and they signed a proclamation to support the National School Attendance Awareness Campaign.
Jeff Reynolds and Drema Dempsey from the Mingo County Board of Education came before the council to ask them to join in a national effort to declare September School Attendance Awareness month.
“The Mingo County Board of Education recognizes that good attendance is necessary for good academics,” said Reynolds. “Poor attendance is a major indicator of drop out rates because we cannot educate students that don’t show up.”
Mayor Shelia Kessler agreed that student attendance is very important and the council agreed that this was an effort that they could all support. The council signed the proclamation and it will be displayed at Mingo K-8, Mingo Central High School and at the BOE office.
According to the attendance report for Mingo County Schools, the 2013-2014 year was a very successful year in terms of attendance with 96.1 percent and superintendent Rob Bobbera says that he hopes that continues.
“Education is a gift and you need to be present to receive that gift,” said Bobbera. “If students are not in school then not only do they miss out on opportunities to enhance their future but they also miss out on all of the wonderful things school has to offer like social interactions, extracurricular activities and the chance to learn and grow. School is obviously work but anything worth having has to be worked for.”
According to Bobbera, students who learn to focus early on and have that determination to be in school will have helped their future regardless of whatever path they choose.
“Now we are teaching students to be college or career ready. Schools are a training ground for skills that will be the focus for the rest of your life whether you choose that skill to be math, carpentry or shop. When you learn determination early, it ensures that you will take those skills with you into the college or workforce. You will spend the rest of your life doing something with the skills you acquire here,” said Bobbera.
In other news at the council meeting, Veolia Water’s Operational Supervisor Chris Hall presented the council with the water and sewer departments report. According to Hall, one major issue that recently happened was that the raw water station lost water.
“I was able to go and patch the problem but is something that needs to be fixed immediately before I am unable to just provide a temporary fix,” said Hall.
Hall brought an estimate from Precision Pump and Valve Service for the upgrade before council that totaled over $40,000.
“This needs done at the earliest convenience,” said Hall as he explained that there would be a payment system available for the upgrade.
Hall also asked the council to consider upgrading the telemetry system at the Hatfield Bottom/North Matewan tank which would cost approximately $6,000 – $9,000.
“Right now we are pumped blind. We have no idea when our tank is full or empty,” said Hall.
The Utility Board has already approved the new telemetry system to due to the current system being close to 19 years old. If funds allow, the council voted to go forward with both upgrades based on the the payment system for each.
Matewan Chief of Police Dave Stratton appeared before council to give the police report which included one domestic battery, one public intoxication and three false security alarm calls to the Dollar Store.
“The biggest issue right now is that I am getting alot of complaints from people that there is no parking on Main Street because of people parking to get into the doctors office,” said Stratton. “I propose that we create four handicap spots on Main Street and move the rest of the doctors office parking to the gravel lot located beside town hall.”
The council agreed that the idea would open up parking for local businesses on the street and voted to move forward with the relocation of the doctors office parking lot.
There was talk at the council meeting about raising the rates charged to the Mingo BOE for the use of the sports facility but a new number was not determined at the meeting. The current rate is $1,250 each month.
Caitlyn Preast appeared before Council from Thrasher Engineering to present the Source Water Protection Plan for Matewan.
“This idea stemmed from the chemical spill in the Kanawha River,” said Preast. “All utilities are now required to have a source water protection plan.”
Preast advised the council that there are several options for a protection plan which included having two 600,000 gallon tanks of raw water storage, an early warning detection system and generators.
Mayor Kessler asked for estimates on generators and inquired about the possibility of every water system drawing water from the Tug River to join together in an effort to install an early warning detection system that ensures that any facility down stream would be aware of any contamination and be able to turn off their intake valves. Preast agreed that the joint effort between all the facilities would work.
Dave McClanahan from W. Va. Public Broadcasting came before council to discuss the possibility of using the King Coal water tank location to either place a transmitter or build a tower to broaden W. Va. Public Broadcasting’s newest acquired station of WVKA.
“If we can build a tower on that location, we could open up many opportunities to this area such as the possibility of AT&T cell phone service and better broadband,” said McClanahan.
McClanahan asked the council if they could provide accurate land markers on the area so that it could be determined if building a tower was possible.
Mayor Kessler advised him that the land markers were placed by the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority. The council voted to allow W. Va. Public Broadcasting to continue in their endeavor. McClanahan said that he hopes to have a temporary facility in place by the end of the year.
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225.