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Brooke commissioners back senior van purchase

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commission Tuesday agreed to provide the match for a van for the senior nutrition program overseen by the Brooke County Committee on Aging.

County Commissioner A.J. Thomas said the commission will provide $5,129 toward the van, which will be supplied by the state Bureau of Senior Services and will replace one that was severely damaged in Follansbee’s 2016 flood.

Thomas noted that since then, the committee has relied on a 2008 model van that requires frequent repairs and plans to invest funds for such expenses so it will have two for the program.

Angela Kocher, executive director of the Brooke County Committee on Aging, said currently more than 4,000 meals are delivered to about 260 senior citizens in Brooke and Hancock counties.

The meals are prepared by Parkhurst Dining, which serves Bethany College, and delivered to shut-ins from Chester to Windsor Heights.

Based at the Brooke County Senior Center, the program has continued to provide meals there for pickup only from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Participating seniors can eat the food at chairs and tables placed apart from each other outside the building.

Kocher added that during the pandemic, the program has been supplying emergency food to income-eligible residents of Brooke and Hancock counties not currently served by another program.

Information about the emergency program can be obtained by dialing 211, while seniors interested in receiving meals encouraged to call (304) 527-3410 ext. 103.

In recent months the commission and the Hancock County Commission has agreed to provide up to $7,500 each to provide a $50 daily stipened to drivers of the van used to transport veterans to medical appointments in Pittsburgh.

For some time the center has relied on volunteers who can spend up to 12 hours on the trips, which are taken two or three days a week.

Kocher said volunteer drivers are needed again and those interested should call (304) 527-3410 ext. 102.

In other business, the commission tabled a proposed one-year contract with the Brooke County Board of Education for four sheriff’s deputies serving as prevention resource officers in local schools.

A three-year contract had been approved for the officers earlier, but school officials said the board legally can’t enter into a contract longer than a year.

Thomas said he and the other commissioners are concerned about the contract because it suggests the board not pay for time when the officers aren’t in schools, as has been done in the past.

He noted additional deputies were hired because those in the schools were being funded through the five-year levy approved by voters last year.

The commission also:

¯ Agreed to apply for a $500,000 grant to replace the county’s 80 electronic voting machines, which they said have become worn with use. The grant will recquire a $500,000 match.

¯ Agreed to advertise for a part-time inspector of dilapidated structures, abandoned properties and overgrown lots. The position became vacant with the recent resignation of Anthony “Butch” Rotellini.

¯ Agreed to accept letters from those interested in representing Brooke County on the West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority. The volunteer group was formed to promote the expansion of the two highways and includes representatives from 10 counties. The commissioners also are seeking people to serve on the Brooke County Museum board.

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