The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 23, 2013

Fayette Commission works on Jail Museum

The Fayette County Commission took a first step Friday toward reopening the county’s Jail Museum by agreeing to reconnect the building with water.

Sally Kiner of the Fayetteville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is laying the groundwork for an eventual relaunch of the facility, which currently does not have water or heat.

The old stone building sits next to the Fayette County Courthouse and once housed inmates before the regional jail system was put into place.

Kiner says several options have been discussed for supporting the project, including hiring a VISTA worker or applying for grants.

The commission also heard from the executive director of the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board, Angela Henson, about funding challenges and the jobs landscape.

The agency’s budget, much of which was federal funds, has been cut from $15 million to $1.9 million. More cuts are expected next year.

“It’s a shame that you face a downwardly spiraling budget at the same time as we’re seeing a growing number of unemployed people,” said commission president Matthew Wender.

“It doesn’t make sense to cut programs that provide solutions,” said commissioner Denise Scalph.

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board — which includes 11 counties — provides individual and on-the-job training and supports at-risk youth with education and job skills programs.

The organization spent $120,000 in Fayette County in the last two years, Henson reported. They trained 35 people in Fayette, the majority of which were LPN’s.

The group discussed the difficulty of finding jobs that pay a sustainable wage and provide any form of benefits. Minimum-wage jobs are not enough to provide for a family, said Henson.

In other business:

- Susan Williams was nominated to serve on the Fayette County Board of Health for the Valley District.

- County Commissioner Denise Scalph was reappointed to the Coal Heritage Highway Authority.

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