Program designed to deter crime

The director of the Community Corrections program, Matt Bennett, discussed a new program with the Barbour County Commission Wednesday, one designed to offer a helping hand to those needing an opportunity to improve their lives.

The program is set to begin Feb. 5, and offers classes to those who qualify. Qualifying persons must be a parent, be incarcerated or have a low income within a certain range below poverty. The idea behind the program is to help families, Bennett said.

Referrals for the program can come through Community Corrections, probation, parole, the Family Resource Network or the Department of Health and Human Resources.

“It’s going to be something that can benefit the whole community,” Bennett said.

The program offers a new start with the hope that those who benefit will become less likely to commit crime. Bennett said some might be less likely to repeat their offense if they are able to get a job to be able to support their families. Those who participate could choose a variety of different classes and receive job assistance in the area after completing the classes. As an incentive for employers, the program offers to pay the first two months of salary so that the job seeker is more likely to be given a chance.

“The whole meaning of this is to try to give people the tools to get their lives back on track,” Bennett said.

Also during the meeting:

Sheriff John Hawkins said that he was contacted by Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., about a Second Amendment “round table” discussion that McKinley wants to have with some officials in Barbour County. The Sheriff’s Department will host the discussion at 10:30 a.m., Jan. 30 in the conference center at the Day Report Center.

After tabling board appointments at an earlier January meeting, commissioners revisited the matter and appointed nine people to the Economic Development Authority board, filling two vacant positions. The appointments include Mike Isner, Tim Ferguson, Jeff Rogers, Ron Channell, Josh Krepsel, Phil Hart, Joe Super and two men who filled the vacancies, Ron Redman Phillips and Larry Jett.

Commissioners also appointed Michael Johnson to the Airport Authority, Roberta Keener to the Central-Barbour Public Service District and Barbara Barkley to the Barbour County Health Department.

Upon the request of Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling, commissioners agreed that Mary McCullough will be hired as a contracted paralegal to assist with orders, legal research, managing cases and other office duties. Also under personnel, commissioners approved that the Sheriff’s Department advertise for a part-time administrative assistant to replace Misty Poling after her resignation. Misty Poling will work through Feb. 24. Hawkins said he wants to hire someone for the position while she is still available to help train them. Misty Poling was present at the meeting, but said she did not want to publicize her reason for resigning.