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During their monthly Petersburg City Council meeting, city representatives were approached by Kirk Wilson, president of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce, and commerce member J.R. Murray to thank them for their support of this year’s Spring Mountain Festival.
“It was a partnership that made this festival a success,” Wilson told the council. “We learned a lot and saw some changes we will be making in the future, but overall I felt it was a great event. I really want to thank the city and the workers that made that all possible.”
After a short discussion, Wilson presented the council with a check for $500, a portion of the event’s profits.
Mayor Gary Michael thanked Wilson and said he was glad to not only see the event back in the city park but to see it had been so well received in that location.
He also said the city would put the money aside for next year’s festival so the event could continue to grow annually.
During the meeting, the council was also addressed by Petersburg Police Chief, Darius Stark concerning a string of breaking and enterings near the field and Central Avenue.
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When local business owner and certified public accountant, Donna Alexander, started her accounting business she knew she wanted to support local business as much as possible.
A Hardy County native and West Virginia University graduate, Alexander opened her business in July 2017.
“When I was looking for a design I spent six months searching for someone to put it together for me,” Alexander said. “I know some people were going online to get it done but I knew I didn’t want to do that.”
At the time, Alexander had already spoken with Eric Hardy, one of the owners of QH Design in Petersburg.
E. Hardy recommended Alexander speak with Tara Pratt, a graphic designer and advertising manager at the Grant County Press.
“It was just funny because I had spent all this time looking for someone and here she was right down the street,” Alexander said.
After the design was complete it was installed by QH Design owners E. Hardy and his son, Colton Hardy
QH Design is a small, family owned company that started as a dog supply shop. However, when they sought to add their logo and name to the side of their vehicles they were shocked at the high price.
“We went to a guy in Harrisonburg but it was going to be an outrageous amount of money,” C. Hardy explained. “So dad thought we could do it so much cheaper. We bought just a regular plotter that you can do car decals with and it has just expanded to what it is today.”
C. Hardy is a recent graduate of Petersburg High School and South Branch Career and Technical Center where he studied industrial equipment maintenance.
“It’s cool because we get messages from people around town asking if we can do this or thinking it may be too big of a job, but then we get it done,” C. Hardy said. “It’s really fun to see more and more stuff we have done around town, like the Bella Vita sign or the tax prep sign or now this sign. It’s just great to see our stuff out there.”
C. Hardy’s advice to other potential small businesses owner is to be persistent.
“Never give up,” C. Hardy said. “Even when times get tough and you don’t see a lot of business, keep your head up. Keep truckin’ forward.”
Alexander said she was very pleased with her new sign and the services she received from both QH Design and the Press.
“Growing up here and being a small business owner, you want people to be loyal to the area,” Alexander said. “Don’t give up, like Colton said. It is so great to know that we have so much we can get done right here at home and know that you will receive that support in return.”
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The Grant County Ambulance service was a heavily discussed topic during last week’s Grant County Commission meeting, as commissioners and service personnel responded to what they said were unfounded rumors and misinformation in the community.
During the meeting, commissioners met with Grant County Ambulance director, Bobby Funk and ambulance employees Wes Alt and Anthony Olivero. Alt told commissioners that Grant County Ambulance has responded to nearly 1,000 calls this year, with over 700 being emergency calls.
“Grant County Ambulance has never missed a 911 call,” Alt said. “Transports never take away from emergency calls. There is never a moment, day or night, that this county does not have an ambulance ready to respond to a 911 call. Emergency calls come first every time.”
The commissioners were responding to information that had seen online complaining about the amount of transports the ambulance service performs, the quality of training the employees have and the working relationship the service has with other services, namely with HealthTeam.
HealthTeam is an ambulance service that runs transports out of Grant Memorial Hospital and entered the county during the exit of the previous ambulance service, Garrett Medical.
According to Alt, of the 89 transports that were performed from Grant Memorial Hospital last month, 70 of those were split evenly between HealthTeam and Grant County Ambulance while the final 19 were made up of other services, private vehicles and air transportation.
Alt explained that Grant County is classified as an “urban” area in emergency transport terms due to the hospital’s location in the area. Alt said this has some unique ramifications for the area’s service. For one, the service receives far less than other services located in “rural” zones. For example, Commissioner Doug Swick estimated that Fraley’s Ambulance Service, located in Hardy County, can receive $12 a mile while in Grant County, just a few miles down the road, can receive only $3 a mile.
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The Grant County Board of Education hosted a School Safety Summit last week in response to public and board concerns following multiple school shootings around the country.
The summit was led by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) School Safety Coordinator, Shelia Diaz, and included panelists from both state and local offices.
On the panel were: Stephanie Hayes, the WVDE coordinator of school counselors; Brent Nelson, the Grant County Schools director of facilities; Sergeant Waylon Roden of the West Virginia State Police; Grant County Sheriff Brian Ours; Grant County Chief Deputy Steve Wratchford; Peggy Alt, director of the Grant County Office of Emergency Management; Kassidy Haslacker, Grant County Schools psychologist and Doug Swick, Grant County Commissioner.
The meeting focused on the current state of school safety, goals and funding options for new initiatives and addressing community concerns around the topic.
Diaz opened the meeting by discussing the work already being done at the WVDE to ensure school safety. She said that West Virginia is currently the only state that has conducted threat and vulnerability assessments of all public schools on multiple occasions in the last 10 years. She said the state has also emphasized mental health planning and creating prevention plans for school faculty and staff to access.
Diaz said that the emphasis on mental health in students has been an important role in preventing school violence. West Virginia has a high rate of children living in foster care or in the care of grandparents. As a result, Diaz said the school system has a strong working relationship with the Department of Health and Human and Resources (DHHR).