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COVID-19 vaccine, roof replacement discussed by Brooke commissioners

A VARIETY OF BUSINESS — A roof replacement for a county building and efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccine to residents were among matters before the Brooke County Commissioners on Tuesday. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccine to residents and a roof replacement for a county building were among matters before the Brooke County Commission on Tuesday.

April Eltringham, community wellness coordinator for the county’s health department, asked everyone for patience as the department awaits vaccine for members of the general public.

Eltringham said after establishing a reserve list for residents seeking the vaccine, about 1,700 people signed up in less than 24 hours.

She said she’s pleased so many are willing to receive the vaccine while adding the health department has received little notice of when vaccine will be available, how much it will be and which manufacturer.

Eltringham confirmed the vaccine also is becoming available at some area pharmacies.

Brooke County residents of all ages wanting the vaccine as it becomes available for their respective age groups may register at www.brookecountyhealthdepartment.com/covid-vaccine-reserve-list.

Those who are younger than 80 shouldn’t call the department, which is attempting to contact those who are 80 and older at this time.

Mike Bolen, the department’s administrator, said, “Those that have called in for the 80 plus, please do not register online. We have your names and they are at the top of our list.

We will not accept names via phone of those any younger. If you pre-register online, there is no need to call the health department.”

Bolen said when state officials instruct local health departments to hold large, community vaccination clinics, the reserve list will be null and void.

Also on Tuesday, the commission approved an $8,950 contract with Five-Star Commercial Roofing of Canton, Ohio, to replace the roof of the Brooke County Probation Office at 840 Charles St.

The building also is headquarters for the Brooke County West Virginia University Extension Service.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise said the contractor, which had replaced the roof of the county’s animal shelter, is expected to begin work soon, pending suitable weather.

She thanked County Buildings Director Larry Wallbrown for gathering information needed to plan the project.

The commission also approved a resolution declaring January Human Trafficking and Stalking Awareness Month at the request of Ashley Carpenter, executive director of the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center.

Ashley Williams, an advocate for the center, said there are many misconceptions about human trafficking, including the belief that victims are limited to foreign women held against their will.

Carpenter said the nonprofit organization aids victims of trafficking and stalking as well as sexual assault and assists federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigating such crimes.

With offices in Brooke, Ohio and Wetzel counties, the agency can be reached at (304) 234-1783.

The commissioners also heard from Ruby Greathouse, volunteer curator of the Brooke County Historical Museum and Cultural Center, who said a former gravestone of Patrick Gass is being donated by a descendant in the state of Washington.

She noted Gass participated in the Lewis and Clark expedition, being the first to publish a written account of it, and served in the War of 1812 before settling in Wellsburg.

Because there are two grave markers for Gass and his wife at Brooke Cemetery, Greathouse has suggested the stone be placed near the bust of him displayed in the gazebo overlooking the Ohio River near Main Street.

The commissioners also commented on the recent deaths of Paul “Bud” Billiard, Wayne Campbell and Joe Erlewine.

Commission President A.J. Thomas said Billiard brought “a lot of energy” to Brooke High School’s sports programs as well as volunteer boards for Brooke Hills Park and other programs.

Commissioner Tim Ennis, who came to know the late football coach while working as a bus driver for Brooke County Schools, recalled a game in which the Brooke Bruins met a disastrous loss and for which Billiard took full blame.

Ennis and Thomas said Billiard did not always agree with them but always treated them as friends.

Ennis said Campbell, a former Wellsburg mayor and councilman who operated a pet grooming business for many years, “was one of the good guys.”

He added Erlewine, a former Brooke County Schools teacher and coach, assisted him with an annual night golf scramble that raised money for Brooke Hills Park for 11 years.

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