Judge Wilfong happy with turnout for program

There was no shortage of local people present at the third annual People’s Law School, Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong told the Randolph County Commission Thursday.

Wilfong said the law school saw a spike in average weekly attendance from 66 people in 2012 to 81 1/2 people during the 2013 session, which spanned six weeks from Jan. 24 through Feb. 28.

“Attendance was up about 25 or 30 percent from last year,” Wilfong said, adding that overall, 200 individuals attended the weekly seminars, held in the Randolph County Courthouse. “It was a really successful turnout and a great time.”

Subjects of discussion included drug courts and drug abuse; criminal law; elderly law/will and estates/end-of-life planning; family law; land rights, including surface and mineral; and abuse and neglect. For the first time this year, the People’s Law School staged a mock criminal trial.

“It was a great chance to showcase our bar association,” Wilfong said. “We have a lot of fantastic lawyers in this county who all gave up their time to help with this.” The judge said all three county magistrates – Rob Elbon, Ben Shepler and Mike Riggleman – as well as every county probation officer and her intern lent their time to the program free of charge.

Wilfong thanked the commission for their support.

“Expect me to come back next year because they still want to be doing it,” she said of People’s Law School attendees.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

– Larry Wing, a board member of the Elkins-Randolph County Airport Authority, and Nils Heinke, president of the airport authority, delivered the agency’s annual report and submitted its budget request for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“The good news is, we’re not asking for any more money this year,” Wing said. “We do need what you’ve been giving us.” The county commission earmarked $37,000 for the airport authority when crafting its 2012-2013 fiscal year budget. The City of Elkins gave the airport authority the same amount for this past fiscal year.

Wing said an unanticipated increase in aviation fuel sales – combined with the fact that the airport authority is now renting the Emerson Phares building to the Nature Conservancy – has generated enough income to stave off the need for more help from the commission.

– The commission approved transferring the titles of two used patrol vehicles – a 2004 Crown Victoria and a 2005 Crown Victoria – from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office to the West Virginia University police at the request of Sheriff Mark Brady. Brady said the vehicles aren’t being utilized and the transfer would help develop a good rapport between the two agencies.

“We’re able to use the bomb and drug-sniffing dogs they have,” Brady said. “I’m trying to reach out to other law enforcement agencies for the benefit of Randolph County.”

– Commission president Chris See said the commission has scheduled a special meeting for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the James Cain Courthouse Annex. An agenda for the meeting shows the commission plans to “consider/approve” its budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and consider approving a North Central Community Corrections grant application for fiscal year 2013-2014.

In other business, the commission also:

– Commissioners voted to reappoint Kenneth Pomp to the Norton/Harding/Jimtown Public Service District Board. Pomp’s six-year term is effective March 21 through June 30, 2019.

– Commissioners approved signing a renewal of Randolph County’s insurance policy through West Virginia Counties Risk Pool, or WVCoRP.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at kkuba@theintermountain.com.