MATEWAN —The Matewan Town Council met Tuesday evening and discussed a number of topics, including the Thacker Water Project and honoring a pair of girls for winning a poster contest.
Pat Rawlings, Senior Designer for Triad Engineering, spoke to the council regarding the project, saying that he had recently attended “a pre-construction meeting with constructors and agencies, but nothing of consequence was done.”
He said that he recommended the council to sign the contracts that night so that work could begin as soon as possible. The project is set to be completed within nine months of the start date.
The “clock,” as Rawlings put it, would begin once he received a letter back from the contractors.
“At this point, groundbreaking could be at any time,” Rawlings said.
The council tentatively chose the second week of May to conduct the project’s groundbreaking.
Next, the council and Matewan Massacre Drama Director Donna Patterino honored a pair of girls for winning a poster contest regarding the Massacre.
“The goal of the Matewan Massacre group is to teach the young people the history of the area and labor history,” Patterino said.
Each year, the group sponsors a poster contest and this year, went to local grade schools instead of area high and vocational schools.
Alyssa Gauze, 14, of Williamson, daughter of Marie Gauze, and Savannah Curry, 14, also of Williamson, daughter of Greta and Joseph Curry, won the contest.
The two Williamson Middle School eighth-graders were awarded a gift basket and were honored by the council for their research and efforts.
“Thank you ladies, for taking interest,” Mayor Sheila Kessler said. “You did a really, really good job.”
The girls told the Daily News that they thanked the mayor, council and Patterino for giving them this opportunity and for recognizing them.
Next, the council heard from Butch Collins and Troy Smith, members of the local UMWA (United Mine Workers of America) in Matewan, who spoke about Patriot Coal.
Collins said that the company was “built to fail,” and talked about its recent bankruptcy and plans to take away pensions.
He and Smith were there to obtain the signatures of the elected officials present to “bombard St. Louis with hundreds of thousands of letters of support.”
A total of seven states are taking place in this campaign, Collins said, to show that the union had the support of their elected officials.
Kessler and each present councilmember, David Smith, Lois Justice and Edward Nenni, signed.
Lastly, the council briefly discussed the death of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum. The town passed a proclamation, saying that the “Town of Matewan honors, recognizes and mourns Walter Eugene Crum.”
“Eugene was an officer in Matewan for years and was a friend for many, many more,” Kessler said. “He’s going to be missed.”
The Matewan Town Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Matewan Town Hall. Meetings are open to the public.