By RACHEL DOVE-BALDWIN
WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Commissioners, President John Mark Hubbard, Greg “Hootie” Smith and David Baisden received a certificate of excellence and appreciation from Donna May Paterino and several cast members from the Matewan Massacre production, honoring them for the continued moral and financial support they have provided throughout the past few years.
“We have performed three times so far this year, and we’ve been blessed with the largest audiences to date,” said Paterino. “None of this would be possible if we hadn’t received the financial support each year that you guys have so generously provided.
“We are still hoping that our dream of an amphitheater will come to pass in the near future, especially with all of the media attention that the Tug Valley has been showered with over the past month or two and the increase we’re seeing in tourists visiting our region,” Paterino said. “We would love to be able to increase our productions to include several other plays, and have a theater to perform then in that could accommodate several hundred people at a time.”
“We completely agree,” said Commissioner Smith,” and that’s one goal that we’re hoping we can assist you with.”
Paterino was accompanied to the meeting and assisted during the presentation by Massacre cast member Eric Simon who portrayed Sid Hatfield, Francene Jones, a committee member, and Matewan Councilman Steve Fullen.
The commissioners then recognized and welcomed the county summer student workers who would rotate throughout the court house offices throughout the next weeks.
“We hope that you enjoy your summer with us, and that you leave with a new perspective and better understanding of the ins and outs of county government,” said President Hubbard. “We’re hopeful that after you complete your college education and enter the work force, you consider coming back to your home town.”
Next on the agenda, Williamson City Police Chief C.D. Rockel approached the commission with a funding request that would be used to pay the cost of training for his department and to purchase one Taser that is equipped with a video camera that would be utilized to record the behavior of a defendant, that if subpoenaed, would be used in a court of law to show judge cause for the use of force.
“Our department has never been fortunate enough to be equipped with Tasers, and from what I understand, neither has any other municipality police department within the county,” said Rockel. “Once we are trained and certified, we would be available to teach the other departments at no charge to them or to the county.”
The commission agreed to pay the fee of $800 that would include training for the entire WPD and allotted $1,200 to purchase one Taser and said they were hopeful the Williamson City Council would agree to purchase others.
Rockel explained that although the cost for the Tasers he had opted to purchase was higher than other types available, it is superior to most and stated that the benefits of the built in video camera would prove to be a valuable asset to his officers.
“This particular type of Taser has a 21-foot reach which allows the officer to stay a safe distance away from someone who is acting in a confrontational manner toward them,” said Rockel. “It can also be used as just a video camera without activating the Taser itself, which we definitely can make use of.”
The Crossroads Recovery Program and STOP Coalition requested funding that is needed to expand their treatment program to accommodate an additional 2 clients, and to add apartment type units needed for staff. Funding in the amount of $2,500 was approved.
Additional information on an appointment and one re-appointment to the Mingo County Health Department Board along with other topics discussed during the county commission meeting will be featured in Saturday’s edition of the Daily News.