MORGANTOWN — Most people will live their entire lives without presiding over a public meeting.
Chloe Fitz cleared that off her list before her first day of high school.
Fitz, a student at St. Francis Central Catholic School, was awarded first place in the county’s 2018 County Government Month 8th Grade Essay Contest during Wednesday’s regular Monongalia County Commission meeting.
A monetary prize was awarded to both the authors and the teachers who submitted the winning essays.
Additionally, Fitz was joined by second-place winner Rachel Shockley (Mountaineer Middle) and third-place winner Lea Hatcher (St. Francis) in sitting alongside the commissioners in order to help conduct Wednesday’s meeting.
County Administrator Rennetta McClure said the county received about 75 essays on the appointed theme — How does my county government make life better for me? Those entrants included honorable mentions from Nolan Cook (South Middle), Francesca Cain (Mountaineer Middle) and Michael Lewis Payton Jr. (Clay-Battelle Middle).
The West Virginia County Commissioner’s Association holds the same contest at the state level. Of the nearly 200 essays submitted, Isabella Ferrell, of St. Francis Central Catholic, was awarded second place, which comes with a $300 prize. A pair of South Middle students, Eden Forguson and Julia Leyden, received honorable mentions from the association.
Commission President Tom Bloom said Monongalia County is about to receive an award of its own.
Bloom said the National Association of Counties (NACo) has chosen Monongalia County to receive a national Achievement Award based on its work with the Pantry Plus More program.
He said this is the first time such an award is coming to West Virginia.
The project is a school pantry program that is open daily to every student in a confidential manner all year long. The program is in eight local schools and provides hygiene products as well as food.
Bloom said the commission has played an important supporting role in making the program a success.
“The county commission continues to bring different agencies, businesses and groups together to help resolve one of our basic needs for our children,” Bloom said.
NACo recognizes counties with awards spanning 18 categories. The winning counties will be recognized during its annual conference, July 13-16 in Nashville.
County Clerk Carye Blaney said the county completed canvassing of the recent primary election on Monday, but due to delays at the state level, certification of the local results have been pushed back to next Wednesday’s commission meeting.
In other news, the commission:
Signed a proclamation recognizing this week as National Infrastructure Week.
Eldon Callen, of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, and Susan Riddle, director of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, were on hand to receive the proclamation.
Approved a requisition for $1,130 for MuniCap for its work in the University Town Centre development district.
Signed off on the county’s 2018 land books at the request of the county assessor’s office.