BUCKHANNON — Thursday’s City Council meeting kicked off with the presentation of an additional $1,200 donation from Judy Knorr and Keith Buchanan to the Jim Knorr Memorial Foyer at The Colonial Theatre. This generous gift in combination with the $25,000 pledge made by the Buckhannon Community Theatre a month ago, brings the new total for this restoration project to $26,200. Jim was the well-known founder of the Buckhannon Community Theatre, long-time high school music and theater teacher, and he served the city for a decade as a council person and mayor.
Judy Knorr proudly recounted many past performances of the group her late husband Jim assembled, called The Heritage Singers. Mrs. Knorr told those in attendance that their daughter called just as she was leaving for this presentation and said to her mother, “Just tell them how much dad loved working with everyone. He truly loved music and sharing it with others was his passion.” She added, “I think Jim would truly be humbled to see what all is happening, especially to name the foyer after him at The Colonial Theatre. On behalf of Jim and my whole family, I’m very glad that we can do this tonight.”
Keith Buchanan also addressed the group acknowledging the importance of the vision of a vested community. He stated, “Jim’s legacy, BCT’s legacy, and what is happening is all because of the fantastic collaboration between the city, the public and the private sector.”
Rhett Duesenbury, representative for Congressman Mooney, addressed council to express gratitude for the city’s generous donation of a police cruiser to Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department. He concluded by stating, “Thank you for your benevolence.”
The West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association submitted a letter to council requesting funding and permission to use city property and services for the festival and related events. The city already budgets $5,000 for this purpose and council approved the requests.
Carol Cain Bush represented the 2020 Census as a partnership specialist for the United States Census Bureau. She stated, “My goal is to develop grassroots efforts to get the word out that the Census is a good thing and it is coming in 2020.” Paper forms will no longer be used and online or telephone participation will be necessary. She requested community cooperation in forming complete count committees with trusted leaders of local organizations and government officials. The council pledged their participation and more information will follow as Census 2020 nears. Employment opportunities will be coming as well and you can keep informed through the census.gov website.
The City of Buckhannon received proposals in response to their request for such in order to disperse surplus city owned equipment and vehicles by means of online auction from Kaufman Realty and Auctions, as well as J.J. Kane Auctioneers. The Council accepted Amberle Jenkins’ recommendation to use J.J. Kane Auctioneers services for the project.
Callie Cronin Sams reminded everyone of all the useful information that can be found through links on the City of Buckhannon’s upgraded website, such as city council and board meeting agendas and minutes, Google calendar of dates of upcoming events. She announced approval for the continuation of the volunteer center funding, which is a nearly $25,000 grant.
Stockert Youth and Community Center was represented by director, Debra Brockelman. Basketball season just concluded with tournaments and it was overall successful, though gym availability posed some scheduling issues, according to Brockelman. Drill team is underway with 60 members and they are currently doing a Texas Roadhouse fundraiser with orders due by March 14. SYCC is now a chapter of Kiwanis Club and they currently have an athletic equipment drop-off box where you can donate lightly used equipment for reuse.
The after school and tutoring programs are being utilized at capacity, with approximately 60 students per day in attendance. Fitness classes have good attendance and The Biggest Loser Challenge will conclude on March 19. SYCC will be hosting a kid’s movie night with popcorn on Friday, March 22. Brockelman said the center is booked solid with birthday and group parties and stays busy with activities for the community. She reported an impressive 12,873 hours of youth involvement during the month of February, which is proof that the facility is a valuable resource.
Dennis Cortes was appointed to the Upshur Parks and Recreation Board. Amberle Jenkins brought the need for a new computer server to the council’s attention as it has already exceeded its life expectancy. The city will accordingly request for proposals to upgrade their computer server.
Laura Meadows appeared on behalf of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She said they work with a creative company out of Elkins called LMC and Associates, who submitted the CVB’s integrated advertising campaign into a national contest and they won first place. The proposed contract for a security agreement was tabled again until the next meeting on March 21.
Fire Chief JB Kimble discussed the benefits of having additional responders and they have accordingly applied for the Safer Grant. He credited their new software as being a tremendous help in grant seeking efforts and said it is much more informative and efficient. Chief Kimble reminded the public that it is illegal to burn anything manmade and only vegetation is permitted. Burning laws in effect from March 1 – May 31 only allow burning from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. and fires must be attended at all times.
The council approved the top three highest scorers on the Police Civil Service test for advancement to the interview process. Those candidates are Gary Lawrence Brown, Trenton Lee Cooper and Colin Grant Cope. Interviews will be conducted in an executive session on March 13, following the council’s special session at 5:30 p.m. to work on the financial budget. The next regular meeting will be March 21, 2019.
Pre-k and kindergarten enrollment will be held on March 14 at the Buckhannon Event Center. A public celebration to welcome spring as Ostara, the vernal equinox, will be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Jawbone Park.