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Bath salts ban passes unanimously

December 20, 2013
By Brad Johnson - Managing Editor , The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS - The Randolph County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance outlawing bath salts on its second and final reading Thursday.

No one spoke against the ordinance during a public hearing preceding the Commission meeting. Several officials took the opportunity to offer praise, however.

"On behalf of the (Randolph County) America's Promise Coalition, I'd like to thank you all again," said Rebecca Vance of the organization, which worked with the Commission to create the ordinance. "It's a huge step for the county."

Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker both said the ordinance will be a vital tool against drug abuse.

"The community is very much in support of this ordinance," Brady said.

"In my travels around the county, I haven't heard anybody speak against the ordinance in any way," Commissioner Mike Taylor said.

The ordinance bans in Randolph County the advertising, possession, use, purchase and/or distribution of substituted cathinones, commonly known as bath salts, as well as synthetic cannabinoids "and certain other synthetic drugs," according to the document.

The penalty for violating the proposed ordinance is a $500 fine for each day a person is deemed to be in violation of its provisions. This fine is "subject to all applicable court costs, assessments, and surcharges," the document, which was prepared by Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker, states.

Also during Thursday's meeting:

- County Assessor Phyllis Yokum and Office of Emergency Management Director Jim Wise asked the Commission to allow an aerial photography update of the county.

"The last time aerial photography was done in this county was 2009," Wise said, noting that many new structures have been built since then. Wise said the firm contracted to do the photography in 2009 was Landmark Forestry, located in Horner.

Yokum said aerial photography is an important tool for both her office and the 911 Center.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Wise and Yokum to advertise for bids for the project. They were instructed to set the bid submission deadline so the bids can be opened at the Jan. 23 Commission meeting.

- Commissioners voted to donate $5,000 to the Hillbilly Hardball Classic in Elkins, The money will come from the county's hotel/motel tax fund, commissioners said. Chris George, director of the annual softball tournament, said the 30 participating teams and their supporters fill the local hotels each year.

Commissioners also approved a $2,500 donation to help pay for new shrubbery at the All Veterans Memorial in Elkins.

Superstorm Sandy destroyed the shrubbery at the memorial last winter, officials said. Commisioners said they would determine which fund the money would come out of at a later date.

The next Randolph County Commission meeting will be Jan. 9 at 1:30 p.m. in the James F. Cain Courthouse Annex. In January, the Commission meetings will be held on the second and fourth Thursday of the month; in February, the meetings will return to the first-and-third Thursday of the month schedule.



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