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Brooke Commission updated on COVID-19 vaccinations

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commission, Tuesday, was updated on efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the county’s oldest residents and encouraged residents to report littering.

Mike Bolen, administrator of the county’s health department, said with the cooperation of the Hancock County Health Department and C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc., another vaccination clinic was planned for later this week at Weir High School.

Bolen said the site was chosen because state officials require the vaccinations be held in a central location,and it is between the two counties.

Since he made the announcement, officials reported all slots for the clinic have been filled.

Both county health departments are encouraging residents 70 and older in their respective counties to register through their websites.

“When we get vaccine, we’re going to continue to vaccinate,” said Bolen.

He said planning the clinics is difficult because the departments often have little notice of when vaccine will arrive.

“It’s been a real challenge because we never know how much or when we’re going to get it. It changes four or five times a day,”Bolen said.

Both departments have discouraged people from calling them to register because they have been focused on contacting residents 80 and older who are among the first to receive the vaccine.

Bolen said his department is continuing to contact octagenarians while still also vaccinating emergency first responders.

He said accepting online registrations from residents and setting appointments for them is an efficient way to get vaccine to the general public.

Bolen said some other health departments had offered the vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis and encountered long lines and irate residents when they lacked sufficient vaccine for everyone who turned out.

In other business, the commissioners said littering continues to be a problem in the county and urged residents to abstain from it.

Commission President A.J. Thomas said several volunteers collected about a dozen full bags of trash from along Archer Hill Road this weekend.

He said while such efforts are greatly appreciated, they shouldn’t be necessary.

Thomas noted criminal offenders sentenced to community service were engaged in collecting litter in the past. But he said that’s been curtailed more recently by the pandemic.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise noted the commission has teamed with the county’s solid waste authority to employ a compliance officer to investigate complaints of littering, illegal salvage yards and dilapidated structures.

The solid waste board has posted littering complaint forms on its website at www.brookecountyswa.com under the litter link.

The board also has posted a toll-free hotline, (800) 322-5530, through which residents may report littering.

Under state law, littering can range from deliberately tossing trash, in various quantities, into roads, land or waterways to failing to adequately cover garbage in bins or truck beds.

Those convicted of littering up to 100 pounds or 27 cubic feet may be fined $50 to $500 for a first offense. Those found guilty of littering more than 100 pounds or 216 cubic feet may be fined $500 to $2,000 and sentenced to collect litter for 16 to 32 hours.

In other business:

¯ County Clerk Kim Barbetta announced the county was awarded $16,623 in federal C.A.R.E.S. Act funds for additional expenses incurred during the county’s general election due to the pandemic. Barbetta said the costs range from postage for the larger than usual number of write-in ballots sent to residents to cleaning supplies used to keep polling sites sanitary.

¯ The commissioners said they still seek a licensed surveyor to serve as county surveyor. Thomas said the commissioners have learned a Brooke County resident must fill the unsalaried position, which is used on an as-needed basis by the county.

Qualified residents interested should contact Barbetta’s office at the county courthouse.

¯ Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Adams said Sheriff Rich Beatty expects to present, next week, a county policy for the use of towing services in emergency situations after seeking input from such businesses.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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