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Commissioners back solar project

NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County commissioners lent their voices Wednesday to a proposal to build utility-scale solar energy projects in five West Virginia communities, including Sun Valley.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to send a letter to the West Virginia Public Service Commission in support of the project, which, if approved, would generate 50 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

Mon Power and its sister company, Potomac Edison, say the application supports a 2020 bill passed by the West Virginia legislature that authorizes electric utilities to own and operate up to 200 megawatts of renewable generation facilities to help meet the state’s electricity needs.

“There are a lot of businesses that could potentially move into the area that are looking for renewable energy sources,” Commissioner Eron Chek pointed out.

The site being considered in Hancock County is a 51-acre parcel Mon Power already owns near its substation in the Sun Valley/Pleasants area.

Other sites on the Mon Power/Potomac Edison radar are in Berkley, Tucker, and Monongalia counties.

In other matters, Assistant Oak Glen Principal Carla Carinci-Bell presented Hancock County Animal Shelter Nichole Felouzis with a check for $4,400, proceeds from the Halloween for the Hounds event involving elementary, middle and high school students.

Commissioners also pledged $39,675 to assist the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle’s development efforts for fiscal year 2022-23.

They also directed the Abandoned Building Ordinance Committee to file the petitions necessary to begin the demolition process for properties on Kings Creek Road, Middle Run Road, Blossom Lane and Jefferson Street in Newell, “if that’s what it wants to do.”

“That’s what is really needed to get things started,” commissioners were told.

Likewise, commissioners were told the ABOC needs to file the actual petition for demolition before hearings can be scheduled.

Also Wednesday, commissioners:

• Accepted the resignation of Mallory Markowicz from the Hancock County Parks and Recreation Board, effective Jan. 1. Markowicz cited scheduling constraints associated with work, her charity and family;

• Earmarked $2,500 for the Hancock County Shop with a Cop program, which last year helped more than 50 families. Now in its 34th year, Shop with a Cop has helped bring Christmas to more than 10,000 children over the years;

• Contracted with the West Virginia Division of Administrative Services, Justice and Community Services to receive and administer funds for the fiscal year 2021/22 Justice Assistance Grant Prevention Resource Officer program; and

• Approved the hiring of Clara McIntosh, effective Dec. 9, for a part-time position at the Hancock County Animal Shelter.

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