CASA director discusses relocation

WELLSBURG – The executive director of a local nonprofit group thanked Brooke County commissioners on Tuesday for their help recently in securing a new location.

Rhonda Stubbs, executive director of A Child’s Place Court Appointed Special Advocates, said after being unable to pay the rent for its Charles Street office for some time, the group will be moving to a new site to be announced in the near future.

The group trains volunteers to represent the interests of children involved in abuse and neglect cases in Brooke and Hancock counties. This year it has served 187 children, the highest number since it was formed in 2000.

She said the site is in Brooke County but she can’t name it because it hasn’t been approved by a board responsible for it.

Stubbs said officials with the Brooke County Museum had offered to provide space temporarily to the group, which needs a secure place to store files.

She said she was speaking to Commissioners Jim Andreozzi and Tim Ennis about that possibility when a call came from someone who could help provide a new location.

The arrangement is expected to be temporary. The group hopes to secure a location close to both counties. But Stubbs said the assistance is greatly appreciated.

She said arrangements will be made to allow the agency to maintain its current phone number, (304) 737-4444. She noted the group’s e-mail address and Facebook page won’t be affected.

Andreozzi noted the volunteer group is led by Stubbs and just one other paid staff member, Jennifer Reitter. He said both receive modest pay for all they do, and they and their volunteers should be applauded for helping to ensure children are in safe homes.

Stubbs said she gave up a job in Washington, D.C., with excellent pay and benefits to work in a CASA program but it has given her personal satisfaction.

“It can be exhausting but we’re making a difference in the lives of kids,” she said. “I believe in what we do in CASA.”

In other business, the commission:

Agreed to pay the county’s part-time employees time and a half for the holidays they work. The move mostly affects staff in the county’s ambulance service, who frequently work on holidays.

Bob Fowler, county ambulance director, said he suggested the move because he believes it wasn’t fair for part-time staff to be working on holidays along side full-time personnel, who received time and a half.

Approved the hiring of Carol Posey and Amanda Ferda as part-time employees of the county’s animal shelter.

Learned seven homes recently were acquired by Brooke County residents with help from the Northern Panhandle First-time Homebuyers program.

Through the program, the residents obtained loans of $10,000 or less for the homes and those loans have been forgiven because they have lived in the homes for five years.

The seven join four others that were acquired earlier this month.

Announced it’s still accepting letters of interest in seats on the Brooke Hills Park board through County Clerk Sylvia Benzo’s office.

The volunteer board meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month at the park’s clubhouse.