Eagle Scout and WV American Water address commission

Suzette Lowe
Eagle Scout Philip Lyons presents his project to Commissioners Mitch Morrison and Dick Waybright.

One of scouting’s newest Eagle Scouts, Philip Lyons, presented the Jackson County Commission with the results of the project which helped him earn his rank.

An Eagle Scout project is an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate leadership while performing a project to benefit his community.

“With the pandemic, it was hard for me to find a project to do,” Lyons said. “With all the restrictions, it was hard to contact people or go into any facility. My father happened to overhear the local VFW and a state officer talking at breakfast at Tudors and he told them about my predicament. I met Mr. Elkins at a flag raising at the Ravenswood Cemetery and he gave me the idea for my project.”

There was no organized copy of the veterans buried in the cemetery. An incomplete hand-written list didn’t provide enough information for all the veterans to be honored with a flag on their graves.

“My dad and grandfather are veterans and I plan to join the military,” Lyons said, “I was very happy to take on the task of compiling an organized list.”

At the end of four months, Lyons, his dad and his fellow Troop 43 Scouts had a total of 648 names, ranks and service compiled into a list that can easily be added to or revised.

“We cleaned several gravestones that were not easy to read,” he said. “Sometimes we only knew they were veterans by the memorials left on the gravesite by family.“

Lyons, a Ravenswood High junior and son of Burt and Debora Lyons, said, “It was a deep honor to complete this project. These veterans served their country, and they deserve to be recognized.”

Representatives from West Virginia American Water spoke to Commissioners Mitch Morrison and Dick Waybright regarding the possibility of purchasing the public service districts in Jackson County. Commissioner Mike Randolph was unable to attend the meeting.

Currently, the company has six to eight families in southern Jackson County as customers.

Brooks Crislip, director of business development, said that 2020’s West Virginia Senate Bill 551 allows more leeway for the sale of utility systems such as water.

“It allows us to evaluate the worth and what we can pay,” he explained.

According to Jake Glance, business development coordinator, West Virginia American Water serves 30 percent of the state’s population and its parent company operates in 36 states.

Crislip said the presentation was to introduce the company to the commission and lay the groundwork for possible future discussion.

On April 30, the water company filed a request before the West Virginia Public Service Commission for a rate increase of 26 percent. A statement released by company President Robert Burton said that the increase is based on the need to continue ongoing infrastructure improvement.

A request by Sheriff Ross Mellinger to allow EMS and the sheriff’s department to be part of the Enterprise fuel program was approved by the commission. This will allow gas to be purchased at any Exxon station at a discount and no state tax. Previously, the county vehicles could only receive a discount by filling up at one station in the county.

Montana Boggess brought both good news and concerns before the commission.

“Our Ravenswood tower is working wonderfully now,” she said. “The antenna is installed, and the Ravenswood police department have received their portable radios. The reception and transmission are noticeably clearer now where it was extremely hard to hear before this. We do need to prepare a bid for the generator which is desperately needed. There is no state contract.”

One homeowner on Thompson Lane which leads up to the tower contacted Boggess about concerns for the condition of the road. It appears that the road is leased by the county from the city of Ravenswood. Ownership of the right of way will be determined before any decision regarding repair will be made.

The next meeting of the commission will be Wednesday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. at the courthouse.