Volume 126 No. 5 Wednesday, January 27, 2021 75 cents (tax incl.) See RECOGNIZED page 4 See PARSONS page 6 See AIR FORCE page 3 Parsons Moves on Sewage Rate Increase to Meet PSC Standards By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate As Chairman of the Water/ Wastewater Committee and Par- sons City Council Member, Tim Auvil read a recommendation to the Council for a sewer rate increase to meet Public Service Commission regulations. The letter read, “The water/waste- water committee unanimously agreed and recommended to Council, as per the CPA’s recom- mendation, that a 25% increase to the entire current sewer rate structure is not only necessary, but critical.” In order to qualify for state and federal grant fund- ing, the PSC requires a 1.5% median household income, which the City has fallen short on for a number of years with the last rate adjustment being over eight years ago. “This proposal would take the minimum bill from $21.48 to $26.85, a $5.37 increase,” read Auvil, adding that if the Coun- cil did not take action, the PSC could mandate an even higher rate than being proposed. “The City has been written up multiple times in its audits for not meeting this requirement,” he added. Council understands that any rate increase is unfortunate, though at this time there is no other option. By implementing the 25% increase, PSC require- ments will be met and will help provide the City the ability to make improvements to the sewer and storm drain systems, most of which have not been upgraded or replaced in nearly 100 years. At this time, the water rates are closer to compliance and will not need to be addressed until a later date. The increase will not be seen on local bills for a few months by the time all docu- mentation is moved through the PSC. Future plans are to address the rates every two to three years to adjust rates a small percent- age at a time to avoid another higher rate increase. Auvil made the motion to approve the 25% increase in the sewage rates with a second from Councilman David Greenlief with all in favor. Carrie Smith with Region VII appeared via teleconference for a public hearing to discuss the City of Parsons submitting a Community Development Block Grant Application for the Parsons Emergency Water Preparedness and Resiliency Project. “It’s a connection between the two water systems in order to provide more stability to both systems in case of any kind of emergencies or mishaps, whatever the case may be,” explained Smith. It will also help fulfill the requirements 2020 Girls Cross Country Team Recognized By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate Athletics Director Jonathan Hicks and the Tucker County High School Girls Cross Country Team Coaches Michele and Jack Mullenax prepared a small recognition ceremony for the 2020 team at the beginning of the Board of Education meeting on January 19. The BOE members were seated in the annex gym as the girls’ names were announced and they were presented with their awards. They were congratulated on a record-setting year, and expressed their excitement for the next season. Upon returning to the meeting room to conduct the official business, Athletics Director Jonathan Hicks presented the option to add a middle school baseball and volleyball team to the list of sports offered in Tucker County. He began by stating that when the TCHS Volleyball Team was developed two years ago, the goal was to form a middle school team that will boost the high school program when those athletes move throughout the program. Several times within the past months, Hicks has been approached requesting a middle school baseball team which, though the challenge Tucker Native Soars Into Retirement from the U.S. Air Force Tucker County Health Department COVID VACINATION UPDATE West Virginia will begin rolling out a new vaccine registration system next week. Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday January 25, 2021, West Virginians 65 years of age and older are advised to visit vaccinate.wv.gov to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. Registration also may be done through the same system by phone, at 1-833-734- 0965. At this time TCHD, will no longer be taking additional names for COVID-19 vaccinations, due to the new registration system. Department of Health and Human Resources Sec- retary Bill Crouch said, “For West Virginians who already have made it onto a vaccine registration list but are still waiting for their first shot, to not to reg- ister again. Existing lists from local health centers will be merged with those registered through the new system”. If you have received your first shot, you will be contacted when you are scheduled for the second shot. To this point, we have been reassured that sec- ond doses will be available. Next week, January 25-29, vaccine distribu- tion will still be Regional (ONCE DETAILS ARE RECEIVED, THEYWILL BE SHARED). Starting the week of February 1, 2021, VACCINE DISTRI- BUTIONWILLRETURN TOALL 55 COUNTIES. Again… Starting Monday, January 25th at 8 AM West Virginians 65 years of age and older can reg- ister for COVID-19 Vaccination at the following: • Vaccine registration website – vaccinate.wv.gov • Vaccine Hotline number – 1-833-734-0965 Hotline hours – Monday thru Friday 8am to 6pm Saturday 9am to 5pm Photo courtesy of Cindy Lipscomb Cars lined Corridor H/Route 93 on Friday to witnessTucker County Native Curtis Bates fly overhead in a U.S. Air Force Aircraft to celebrate his upcoming retirement after 30 years in the service. The 2019-2020 school year Girls Cross Country Team was recognized by the Board of Education for a record- setting year for TCHS. Pictured from left to right are Katelyn Hicks, Addison Hicks, Erin Chambers, Kristen Hicks, and Addie Buckley. Coaches Michele and Jack Mullenax stand behind. Coach Michelle Mullenax presented each team member with the awards they earned from their previous season as she took a moment to reflect on their many accomplishments. By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate Fighter jets soared over Tucker County last week in recognition of one of our own who is retiring from the United States Air Force after three decades honor- ably serving our country. Curtis Bates, son of Larry “Gabby”, and Linda Bates of Hambleton graduated from Tucker County High School in 1991, but his mother recalled he knew well before that he would be going into the military. When asked how she felt as a mother being told her son wanted to enter the military right after high school, she said, “I was proud of him, we’ve always been proud of him, but he decided in school that he was going to go to the Air Force when he got out.” L. Bates wasn’t surprised at the decision as her husband spent four years in the Navy and her daughter, Cindy Lipscomb, spent seven years in the Army Reserves. “I entered the USAF on August 16, 1991. The reason I joined was pretty simple to me. I knew that there were not many oppor- tunities back home and the thought of having the ability to give back to my nation by joining the mili- tary was exciting. I guess you could say that I am patriotic,” said Bates, who is now residing in North Carolina. Ranked as a Chief Mas- ter Sergeant, his current position is a Chief Enlisted Manager of the 333rd Fighter Squadron. Serving in this capacity puts Bates in charge of over 300 per- sonnel. When first enlist- ing, he began as a fighter aircraft mechanic and over the years, continued to work his way through the ranks holding many leader- ship positions. Lipscomb is proud of her brother’s dedication and accomplishments dur- Parsons City Police Chief K.L. Keplinger reported to the Parsons City Council of their department becoming involved in organiza- tions to address drugs and child abuse/neglect issues with city limits.