Something Weird in Mason County, WV

Stop into Mason County and see the Mothman, ok maybe not the real Mothman, but his eight-foot high statue. It’s in downtown Point Pleasant, WV and it’s a local legend and it’s weird, as County Commissioner Rick Handley explains. Ok it’s not Roswell UFO crash site, weird, but it’s part of the local color of Mason County, West Virginia.


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Rick Handley: It’s kind of a mythical thing, but, hey, whatever brings people to town spends her money on gasoline and buying trinkets and whatever. we’re just glad to have them in town.

George Washington came and surveyed that area, and legend says he called it a pleasant point. Yeah. So somehow it got turned around to Point Pleasant.

People used to go buy through, go through West Virginia and not stop. They are missing the hidden gem of the East.

I’m up front with everybody. I will not promise anybody anything, but I’ll say I’ll do the best I can to do what you would like for me to do. as long as it’s reasonable.

David Martin: There’s something weird happening in Mason County, West Virginia. Well, it may not be that weird today, but it was. Today, all that’s there is the Mothman statue. That’s a giant stainless steel statue with piercing red eyes. But back in 1967, Morgan County residents told of being scared off by a giant, well, Mothman. You know, half man, half moth who chased them out of the side of a former AT&T factory.

Welcome to the Good Government show. I’m your host, Dave Martin. On this episode, we’re going to meet Rick Hanley. And he’s a county commissioner in Mason County, West Virginia. While the Mothman may not actually exist, well, at least there have been many sightings since the 60s. It does bring tourists. And as Rick will explain, tourism is a new driving force in West Virginia.

There’s also more good news in Mason County, as they’re getting a new steel plant that’s going to be environmental friendly and provide hundreds of new jobs. So listen to Mason County Commissioner Rick Hanley talked about being in the Guinness Book of World Records and how being a basketball coach helped him be a better county commissioner.

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Welcome to the Good Government show. We are here in West Virginia at the Rural Action Caucus. Thank you. at the Greenbrier resort in, in, White Sulfur Springs in West Virginia. I’m always fascinated by all things West Virginia. And we have a, West Virginia county commissioner. Introduce yourself. Tell us where you’re from. tell us your county.

Rick Handley: I am Rick Handley, am Mason County commissioner. This is my 27th year, and Mason County is right on the border, along the Ohio River.

David Martin: So I am. I have took my first trip to West Virginia a couple of years ago, and I am fascinated by the state. Had never been here. I’m learning a lot about the the diversity that is West Virginia. Tell me a little bit about, Mason County. What are you famous for? What’s going on there?

Rick Handley: Well, Mason County, is known for its agriculture, and it’s also known for its chemical plants. And also, we have a power plant that’s supplied by coal.

David Martin: And what? Tell me about the moss, man.

Rick Handley: Both. Man is a creature that, a couple people saw back in the 1967 up in an area known as the TNT area, where they used to make, obviously, TNT for, World War two. Okay. And once they closed that down, it a lot of strange things has happened in that area where the Mothman was located. but, so what.

David Martin: Is the most.

Rick Handley: Well, man, it is. It’s a creature that if you if you go look, Google Mothman, you will see a, a large wing, basically, seven eight foot wingspan. He had red eyes, according to those who actually saw him.

David Martin: And, there are people that claim they actually saw him.

Rick Handley: Yes. He chased their car out of the TNT area.

David Martin: And two people tend to believe that.

Rick Handley: Well, we have a mothman statue in town.

David Martin: Okay, so you’ve embraced the crazy.

Rick Handley: We. Yes, we have a gentleman who is now past, but he has a stainless steel statue of the Mothman. As as people had told him what it looked like. And we have people come on there every day of the year, probably a couple thousand a week. We also have a mothman festival, the third weekend in September. What have we’ll have anywhere from 15 to 20,000, 25,000 people in our small town of 5000 people.

David Martin: To go to the.

Rick Handley: Mall manifest, we have speakers who talk about paranormal. We have a lot of paranormal people coming from, all over the country and even,

David Martin: Trouble.

Rick Handley: Paranormal.

David Martin: Oh, sorry.

Rick Handley: Paranormal.

David Martin: Okay.

Rick Handley: Some people think they’re abnormal, but they’re paranormal. they just get a kick. about other and mythical monsters. We also have the.

David Martin: there’s a museum for this.

Rick Handley: There’s a museum? Yes. And, home by Jeff Wamsley. Oh, it’s it’s wildly, popular among, people who come here for every day of the year, even Christmas Day. They’ll be here every day of the year. Yes.

David Martin: To see them.

Rick Handley: Often. Yes, sir.

David Martin: What was the last, when was the most recent sighting?

Rick Handley: When was the first sighting?

David Martin: 1968, 72?

Rick Handley: Oh, well, people haven’t really seen him since. That’s what I’m saying. It’s kind of a mythical thing, but I say, hey, whatever brings people to town spends money on gas and and buying trinkets and whatever. we’re just glad to have them in town.

David Martin: So once they hit town, what do they see? What’s there?

Rick Handley: the Mothman statue. Everybody has to have their picture of the old man statue. And, what I my wife has a business on Main Street. She’s an attorney. We always go to a place called the Coffee Grinder.

David Martin: Yeah,

Rick Handley: On fourth and main. And right there is where the Mothman statue is. Well, you go out there and you’ll have mom taken a picture of dad and the kids. Or you have dad take the picture of mom and kids. So my job is to you all get together and I’ll take your picture all together.

David Martin: So is.

Rick Handley: enjoy that. On my way to the coffee grinder and back to the office.

David Martin: Okay. What town is this?

Rick Handley: This is Point Pleasant.

David Martin: Point pleasant? That’s. Is that the county seat from Morgan County?

Rick Handley: Mason County? Yes. Yes it is, yes. It’s where the Canal River empties into the Ohio River. George Washington came and surveyed that area, and legend says he called it a pleasant point. Yeah. So somehow it got turned around to Point Pleasant Point. But it’s also the first battle of the American Revolution.

David Martin: Lexington in Congress.

Rick Handley: On the, hang on it. Next year will be a hundred and 50th anniversary. Lexington and Concord was actually fought between the British and the colonists, right. And Point Pleasant. The battle was fought between the colonists and the Indians, who were being agitated and supported. By whom? The British. The British.

David Martin: Yeah.

Rick Handley: So we we lay claim that that was the first battle of the American Revolution.

David Martin: Is there a battlefield there, site or something?

Rick Handley: there’s a side there’s a, state park is one of the smaller state parks in the state. It’s right there at the point. Okay. It’s a beautiful, beautiful, small park. Really nice. obelisk, statue, monument, I should say that’s there.

David Martin: So one of the things I’ve learned about West Virginia is that there is, I think it’s fair to say the state is sort of in a massive transition, from what it was to move into the future. that includes the coal economy, but includes other, aspects. it seems like, there’s a lot of, tourism and outdoor recreation.

it’s being promoted in West Virginia. What’s going on in your in your county?

Rick Handley: Well, let me get back to the tourism. Sure. We are now being you know, people used to go by, through go through West Virginia, right. And not stop. They are missing the hidden gem of the East. Okay. Because we have a lot of, tourism. We have a lot of, beautiful sights. We have rafting, we have, gosh, we have the we call the, the line ziplining.

you know, but rafting is great. I raft several times. I have also zipline. hiking is great. It’s a great place to come. Bring your children do a lot of hiking. but it’s good. The new River Gorge bridge. Right. And you can walk underneath that bridge on a catwalk, which I’ve done twice now. Thank you.

I know, I know, I know, I’m an. I’m scared of heights, too. My handprints are still on the rail as we speak. Yeah, but, it’s a great it’s a great state for recreation and for gorge.

David Martin: Touch your county.

Rick Handley: No, it’s about hour and 45 minutes away, but it’s now a national park.

David Martin: It’s the newest national news.

Rick Handley: National park? Yes.

David Martin: When I was talking to mentioned we talked a little bit about that. have you seen a spillover effect from the from the new River Gorge to your county?

Rick Handley: Well, anybody who comes through on us 1910 to, they can obviously come to Mason County to see the Mothman. Right. so, yeah, there’s we have a lot of people who go from north to south or from east to west, and one of the places they stop by is in Point Pleasant to see them off, man, they can stop there and go to the museum, grab a bite to eat so one of the local eateries there?

David Martin: Yeah,

Rick Handley: Fill up all the gas and take off to the next spot and.

David Martin: And a half to new River Gorge.

Rick Handley: Yeah. There you go.

David Martin: so what challenges do you have? What are you dealing with?

Rick Handley: Well, we we’ve dealt with a lot of unemployment in the past, but now, we have landed a, a great, great, great, great company is called Nucor. This is one of the largest steelmaking plants in the world.

David Martin: you’re going to make steel.

Rick Handley: They’re going to make steel. Yes, sir. They have invest. They’re going to be going to invest 3.4 billion, not million. They’ve got $1 billion into this facility. It’s right along the river.

David Martin: Okay.

Rick Handley: And it’s also right along a rail line. So they’re going to have not only, shipping things in and out by rail, but also by, by boat. we’re about 15 miles from the nearest, interstate, which we hope that, our state government will build a nice four lane to that, interstate. But it’s, it’s a steel plant.

They’re going to hire 800 to 900 people. a lot of jobs us there. And we realize that Mason County will not get all those jobs, which is fine. Because of that, we have Huntington close to us, Ashland, Kentucky. We have, Chillicothe, Ohio, which is about 45 minutes away. People are going to, drive in to go to those places because we’re talking anywhere from 90 to $110,000, average jobs.

David Martin: Okay. That’s significant. Now, my understanding is that and I researched this a few years ago, there’s not much steel being manufactured in America, is there?

Rick Handley: No, no. And Nucor has, a couple different places that they have plant right now. And this is going to be their newest state of the art. It’s going to be run by electricity. No coal was involved, no emissions. Okay, good. which is a great, great thing for, West Virginia because we’re known for burn a lot of coal, a lot of bad emissions that come out.

We have three.

David Martin: Stripping the tops of.

Rick Handley: Mountains. Yes, yes. wasn’t a fan of that either. But, the we have three power plants that burn coal within probably four miles of each other.

Two and a half, one in, in a mason county.

David Martin: Okay. My understanding, I’m just going back to the steel manufacturing. I think I remember reading and researching this. It was like one steel plant in Pennsylvania, just to say there was still a steel plant being made somewhere near the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yeah.

Rick Handley: Well, we had that also in, and we’re in West Virginia, right. Still, still making plant and, yeah, Pittsburgh area is known for their for making the steel. But this is going to be, like I said, we’re looking really I’m looking forward to it. They came to our county Nucor did.

David Martin: Yeah.

Rick Handley: And we we you know, everybody says you’re going to come to your county, come your county and all this. But they came. And one of the first things they did was give money to a, a food, oh, oh shoot plate people.

David Martin: Can people.

Rick Handley: Give out food.

David Martin: Pantry?

Rick Handley: If they could like you? But they also gave our county board of education $1 million check. Oh, well, I knew they were. I knew they were coming when that check didn’t bounce and the school board took it and used the money wisely. And, they, they come to all their employees are wonderful. they’re not even, haven’t even they’re not even a roof yet.

Hey, mister. Actual construction.

David Martin: Yeah.

Rick Handley: I had groundbreaking a couple weeks ago and had over 500 shovels. Yes, there’s an acre. I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records.

David Martin: Which.

Rick Handley: Is for every 500 people. It’s the largest groundbreaking, event, in the history. And and we had a Guinness Book of World Records.

David Martin: They were there. They were.

Rick Handley: There. All right. Okay. Pictures.

David Martin: And do you have your show? Did you keep your show?

Rick Handley: I have my shovel.

David Martin: Gold shovel, like.

Rick Handley: No, it’s a dirt shovel. But yeah, I took it home to my wife. I said, you’re going to have to use this. It’s, let’s show shovel. And I’m right handed.

David Martin: Did she hit you with the stone?

Rick Handley: But, no, it’s a great thing, to have in our county.

David Martin: what did you. Why did they pick your county? Did you do anything where their requirement is?

Rick Handley: They were there before, I tell you, our our federal government. Yeah. A Senator Manchin Senator capital were awesome and get and helping it all sorts of economic development in the in the country okay. And that comes down to the state, governor, justice who owns this facility? Yeah. it was also instrumental as long as our legislature, they, changed some laws that made a little bit easier to, for companies to come in and, along with the county government, which is the county commissioners, we gave them a pallet program.

It’s a payment in lower taxes. the land that they were on, we were getting probably $30,000 a year. It was being farmed. So it was only farm use tax, as far as on the taxes. So they’re giving us 60,000 for the next two years, payment lieu taxes. Yeah. Okay. And then once they’re, in operation, they will be giving, Mason County at $1 million.

David Martin: What does that mean to Mason County?

Rick Handley: Well, that’s a lot of money that you can give out. And you can you can build,

David Martin: What do you how are you going to.

Rick Handley: Water? Water projects project.

David Martin: Somebody is rubbing their hands together. Yes. Well, we’re I like, we we do it here.

Rick Handley: Everybody’s going to want a piece of the money. Sure, but, you know, we have fire departments to, to the EMS to to fund libraries to fund, I tell you, we’re going to be possibly, doing more water projects because people are going to be we hope, where people moving, that’s part of our problem. We don’t have enough housing.

You know, we couldn’t build houses five years ago because we didn’t know Nucor was coming. Now the new course is coming. You know, we have a couple of years to before, the actual start up date as far as producing steel. So hopefully we can get some to build. But it’s hard to find people who, construction company or people who want to build homes to come in and build in your area.

David Martin: are you building single family homes you’re going to build?

Rick Handley: Well, what.

David Martin: Kinds of.

Rick Handley: I say it’s all different. Yes, yes, it’s going to be different homes. But I would stay in the 150 to $250,000 homes will be probably the the average.

David Martin: Okay. I would think. What effect is it going to have on the, you know, public education on libraries on.

Rick Handley: Well, that’s.

David Martin: police department on roads, that sort of thing.

Rick Handley: You know, along with all this positive things, there are some things that you gotta really plan ahead of time. Sure. yeah. We only have, one fire department that in the county. and that’s a we’re all volunteer, and Mason County is know, as in most, West Virginia only probably 3 or 4, cities, the large cities that have paid work.

we have, EMS we have one EMS squad down there. so, yeah, there’s a lot of different things we’re going to pay for.

David Martin: We’ll have to.

Rick Handley: Well, if you’re if you’re a, school teacher and you’re making. I was a school teacher for 35 years. But if you have a school teacher making $40,000, $50,000, you can go down there and apply to be working in a steel plant for 90 $500,000. Who are we going to lose? Our the teaching. You have a you are deputies making 50 55,000 right.

You know you can go down there and make two almost twice as much. So we’re you know, what do we do to to keep them there instead of going down to the plant? It depends on what you want to do. Right? You know, if you want to be in the law enforcement, we we lower law enforcement people in Mason County as we do in the state or country.

But, there are some problems that will be created by them coming to. No, I won’t say not problems, but things to deal with, issues to deal with.

David Martin: In my conversation with the county commissioners, I have discovered that many of them, are teachers. Is there anything about being a teacher that lends itself to being a good county commissioner, a good, you know, government official?

Rick Handley: Well, I was a teacher, teacher 35 years. I was a coach for 22 years, which I think, coached, girls basketball, boys basketball, high school, track. as far as my, my teaching, came into teaching back in 1974 and I went to elementary teaching because there weren’t very many male teachers in the elementary schools.

Right. And I, they kept it’s very important to do that, because, you know, there are some families didn’t have dads in the family. Okay. Yeah. So, but I think that being a teacher and being a, a coach, you know, you have leadership skills that you want to share with your city. I was a city councilman in Point Pleasant for 12 years before, became a county commissioner.

And and, do you still.

David Martin: Do you still coach basketball?

Rick Handley: No, I do not. No, I do not. I love to watch. I’ve got a son who plays basketball. All right. I’ll be watching him play. Okay. And that’s when I actually stopped. I stopped coaching when we were kids. We came up with enough.

David Martin: dad to be the coach.

Rick Handley: Well, no, I didn’t want to be, coaching one team. Well, my sons.

David Martin: okay.

Rick Handley: Playing another. Yeah. Or my daughter, whomever. Yeah. So.

David Martin: All right, have any of your your former students or former players, come up in city government or county government as well?

Rick Handley: Yes, I’ve got a couple. Yes. That are. Yeah. I really, I really like that. I’ve got a nephew who’s in the city council person in Point Pleasant. Okay. Did a former student who lives right down the block from me, who’s also a city council person. So. Yeah. And I’ve got a, lady who is now the city clerk.

Yeah. was temporary mayor, our other mayor, retired. So, yeah, she’s one of the city clerks in Point Pleasant. yeah. I’ve got a the former student who’s one of our is our county assessor.

David Martin: Okay.

Rick Handley: In Mason County. So I call them classmates. I’m former student. I call it my old classmates.

David Martin: All right, so one on one, you’re on your side. Who’s winning?

Rick Handley: he’s taller than I am now. Yeah, but, you know, I tell him he is a a sophomore. He’s six three, all right? He’s grown quite a bit in the last several years. okay. But I tell him that he may be taller than me, but he won’t be as good looking as I am. I have a face for radio that.

David Martin: I don’t cover. And, you go to the website, check out the pictures I had, you decide for yourself. All right. So, with all that, we’re going to get to our good government questionnaire, and we’re going to get to the heart of your philosophy of government. Are you ready for this? I’m ready. All right, here we go.

I’m ready. All right. how long you’ve been a county commissioner now?

Rick Handley: You said 27 years.

David Martin: 27 years. Yes, sir. And you were in public school teacher before that?

Rick Handley: Yeah. Well, there for about, say, from 97 to oh nine for 12 years, I was both. You’re both working here in West Virginia. We’re going to that are part time.

David Martin: Oh you are yes. So from where you sit to find good government.

Rick Handley: Good government is when people that are elected, listen to the, to the, to their constituents and do what’s best for, the people in your county, people in your town, whatever might be, showing that, you do your homework before you make decisions, you ask around, I go to, I go to and be seen out in public.

I go to Walmart, I go to a local, I go to church there. My kids go to school in the county. So, you know, being, available and having access to to people and, so that you can hear what they have to say.

David Martin: How do you judge your success? How do you know if you’re doing a good job? Or how do you know if you’re not doing a good job? What do you use as your personal yardstick?

Rick Handley: I use, as a rule that I have been elected five times, and nobody in my county have been elected more than two times, so I’ve been elected five consecutive.

David Martin: Maybe they’re just afraid you’re going to make them run.

Rick Handley: Well, yeah. I’ve had, former classmates tell me that an athletes. But, Yeah, I just, figured if I’m doing a good job, I’ll get reelected. If I’m not, then I’ll put someone else in.

David Martin: what about in between elections? That’s every four years. What about it?

Rick Handley: Every six.

David Martin: Years? Every six. Even worse. Yeah. in between. How do you measure success?

Rick Handley: Oh, well, I tell you what. As a county commissioner, we have three county commissioners on every, commission except for Berkley and Jefferson. They have five.

David Martin: Okay.

Rick Handley: but, don’t do anything. It’s through. It’s. We. Okay? Yeah. We do things for our county, and, we all work together. I don’t care whether it’s an hour after your name, a day after your name or not. I’ve never been on the county commission in my my five terms where we decide anything based upon politics. That’s what I like about county government.

David Martin: All right, if the citizens. If the voters, if you’re the, you know, the residents, if they feel like they’re not getting good government, what should they do?

Rick Handley: Attend meetings and find out what is that? That’s it. That’s an issue. We don’t have many people come to our meetings unless they want to complain about something.

David Martin: So I think it goes back to you’re going to make them run.

Rick Handley: Yeah. Know.

David Martin: Now do give me 20 year coach. It’s it’s you can’t you can’t shake that. no you’re right, you’re.

Rick Handley: Right, you’re right. you know, I still have certain students say you made us right. Run up and down the court. Some of the little, But, you know, that’s why you’re playing basketball, you know? So it’s no race, though. So, get my your question. Yes.

David Martin: if they don’t feel like they’re getting what they want, what should know?

Rick Handley: Yeah. Come to attend meetings. Okay. To be involved. talk to someone. Talk to me. Talk to the other two county commissioners. come to the meeting and tell us why you think something should be changed, or we should be doing something about whatever we have an economic development, director, an authority in town. We have, different boards that people can help take.

You know, it’s hard to find people to serve on boards because that’s, you know, you always have to make a decision. And when you make a decision, you make people mad or you make them.

David Martin: Mad when you.

Rick Handley: Make a decision.

David Martin: So you make a mad or you make a mad.

Rick Handley: Mad or glad 1 or 2.

David Martin: All right. Okay. you’ve been at this, you said for 26 years. Yes.

Rick Handley: 27.

David Martin: 27. Sorry. That’s a of, so that makes you sort of a political insider. What would you like people to know about how government works or doesn’t work?

Rick Handley: I do, I like the people in Mason County to know that we are up front with anybody who comes to the door to our meetings. I’m up front with everybody. I will not promise anybody anything, but I’ll say I’ll do the best I can to do what you would like for me to do. Okay. as long as it’s reasonable.

Yeah, I forget, you know something I ask, someone asked me to do something. And so when I was asked to do just the opposite, I got away both issues and it was said, I want to want to lean towards, but I try to do my homework before I make decisions.

David Martin: So as.

Rick Handley: A teacher.

David Martin: Yeah.

Rick Handley: Like at home.

David Martin: Do your homework. Well done. so, so just, know that you know that you’re open.

Rick Handley: I’m always open my phone numbers in the phone book. I give people my cell phone. I’ve been called on vacation so many times, but. But I do carry my phone no matter where I go.

David Martin: How does that go over at home? Not bad.

Rick Handley: Yeah, my wife understands. And people are, you know, people, my kids understand that if dad needs a phone call because of something in Mason County. Yeah, I’ll take the phone call. All right? No. If I’m eating with my family, it can be turned off. All right. on vacation, I had the service in the school was call me four years ago, and I’m, laying on the beach in Jamaica, and there’s background music of you know, beach music.

Sure. He calls it says.

David Martin: Red Striper District.

Rick Handley: That’s it. There you go. You’ve been.

David Martin: There. Yes, I have, and.

Rick Handley: he said, Rick, would you like to be on a comprehensive a facilities plan for the school system? No, I’m a retired school teacher and still care about the school system, Master Joe. Yeah, he was also a coach with me in track. So. Yeah, coach, I’ll be glad to. He said. Rick, I hear music in the background. Where are you?

I said, coach, I’m in Jamaica. He started apologize and said, I didn’t mean to bother you. I said, nope, my, got my phone with me wherever I’m at.

David Martin: All right. who’s your political hero? Who do you look up to? Who inspired you?

Rick Handley: my dad. My dad was a city council person, point Pleasant, back in the 60s. So, I was, which led me to, that. But also I was, president, junior, president of my junior class and high school president of, what we call it, what we called the Key club back then.

Right? the captain of the basketball team. Co-Captain. So I had some leadership roles, but, Ken Heckler was, was an older, congressman from West Virginia. Okay. Back in the late 60s. And I went to Washington, DC on the contest that he had and just loved, the way that he handled himself, in, in Congress.

So, maybe it was, you know, Ken Heckler, did.

David Martin: You dream of being president or.

Rick Handley: Oh, no. No, no, no.

David Martin: Or any of that.

Rick Handley: Stuff. No, no, no, that’s,

David Martin: Well, I mean, he it sounds like you had some leadership and some, like, you know, kid political training, when you were younger.

Rick Handley: I did, but I don’t want to be at home. Yeah, I want I don’t want to be in Charleston, West Virginia, in the legislature.

David Martin: Yeah.

Rick Handley: matter of fact, I got accused at one time of creating a single district. single delegate district in Mason County, so we could have our own house, a delegate member. Okay, we didn’t have one for a while, and then, but I had no intention of going to trail.

David Martin: House of delegates as a House of Representatives, as.

Rick Handley: The House was.

David Martin: The state of West.

Rick Handley: Virginia. Yes. And you’d be in Charleston.

David Martin: Are there any other House of delegates in of states, or is West Virginia the only one?

Rick Handley: we have House a delegate and we have a state Senate.

David Martin: No, no, I other any other states with House of delegates?

Rick Handley: I really don’t know.

David Martin: I don’t think so. It’s I think it’s unique.

Rick Handley: Yeah.

David Martin: so as I said, I am fascinated by all things West Virginia. This is my, second trip here to the state. I’m coming to Mason County. What’s a great local dish? What are we going? What do we have and what what are we eating?

Rick Handley: Well, we. There’s a place in town called the village.

David Martin: Pizza village, pizza hut. I’m from Brooklyn. You’re going to talk pizza?

Rick Handley: no. No, no, listen, I bet they don’t serve that hyper pizza that we.

David Martin: Have, okay?

Rick Handley: Or the kind.

David Martin: You know, if you went a lot or something.

Rick Handley: No. Good. This is a moth, man. Pizza.

David Martin: You’re right. We don’t have that yet. We.

Rick Handley: we have the coffee grinder. We have quite a few, a couple of different places, but the coffee grinder is where we go. My wife and I go eat about every day. What’s the sandwiches?

David Martin: What’s the. What’s a good regional? What’s a good dish? What’s a good regional dish?

Rick Handley: I love their, stuff. Pepper soup stuff. I love stuffed peppers. Yes.

David Martin: Okay.

Rick Handley: But I love stuffed pepper soup.

David Martin: And, you.

Rick Handley: Know, it’s a, well, pepper. paper pepperoni rolls is what a lot of people eat. But honestly, Dave, I’m not a big pepperoni roll eater.

David Martin: You’re not. Okay, well, listen, it’s called the Good Government show, and so we always try to bring it back to good government. Give me an example of a good government project you’ve been working on or have worked on in the past.

Rick Handley: Well, we have, government project. I’ll tell you one. That may not be what you’re looking for.

David Martin: Well, but we’re good government.

Rick Handley: They were building a, finishing a road 14.6 miles. Okay. They have one end of route 35 finished, and we had the other end finished. We had, but we had a 14.6 miles. It was not finished. Okay. So they wanted a toll or road. I say they the legislature want a toll road. Yeah. So part of the bill said that, whatever counties the road goes through, both county commissioners must approve it.

Well, Putnam County commissioners voted three zero to just hold it. Mason County commissioners voted 2 to 1 to toll it. And then one of the guys who didn’t want the commissioners who, voted to toll it, come back to me, I said, we got I want to meet again because I made a mistake. So we had another vote.

He voted not to total it like I did. So they did not toll that road. Now, it took us several years to get that road finished because I think they probably kind of held against us for okay. But part of that bill today, which we didn’t like, was every two years they were going to, up the the toll, the amount, the toll was going to be.

You ever been through West Virginia as far as to toe to toe with the Turnpike.

David Martin: I don’t recall.

Rick Handley: Okay. The turnpike, you would know if you come up to it.

David Martin: Because we were.

Rick Handley: Tollbooth is for $4.25, and we have three of those on West Virginia. So our thinking.

David Martin: Was, I take the Verrazano once a week, okay. Staten Island, that’s like 1150.

Rick Handley: So you have,

David Martin: I laugh at your $4 toll.

Rick Handley: Well, I’m not sure what would be right now. I’m in Point Pleasant because it was tornado two and every two years ever going to increase it. So we were against that also. So right now we have a brand new house about a year and a half now. a road in Mason County that goes from Charleston to Point Pleasant.

Yeah. cut off about ten minutes drive and there’s no toll. All right, so when you come into West Virginia from the north, you’re not paying a toll until you get to Charleston. The our thing was, you’re going to get told before that you’re going to get towed before when you come in, you’re going to get told when you leave.

Why would someone want to come through your your state? They’ll go around it so.

David Martin: Drivers could pass through your town without having to, to get old.

Rick Handley: Yes, sir.

David Martin: Right. Rick Handley, it is, been a pleasure speaking with you and meeting you, in, Mason County and, I, hope to see the Mothman Museum someday.

Rick Handley: You come down and let me know that you got my card. I do let me know when you’re in town. We’ll take you down a coffee grinder. All right? And I’ll show you the moth man’s shiny heinie.

David Martin: And, can we can we go up to, like, the places where he’s been spotted and see if we could? You know, we.

Rick Handley: Can go to interior. All right? We sure can go.

David Martin: Look for the Mothman. Rick. Harley, thanks for coming by, John.

Rick Handley: Thank you. All right. Thank you, sir.

David Martin: What is it the county government does? That’s the question County commissioners get asked the most. And the simple answer is everything on the good government show. We’re so lucky to have talked with so many county commissioners and other county officials that have shown us how effective county government is. County government dates back to get this 1634, making it one of the oldest forms of government in the United States.

Think about it. Roads, highways. Hospitals. Schools. Recycling, law enforcement, water, sewers, and most of the county. Those services are maintained by the county that’s county government. The National Association of Counties represents all 3069 counties across the USA. Naco helps county government work better together through things like sharing best practices. When county government works well, well, that’s just good government.

Add that to the list. The Mothman Festival, just another West Virginia attraction that’s helping change the state, diversify from a majority coal economy. Add Commissioner Hanley to the list of former teachers turned elected officials. But there are good things happening throughout West Virginia, and I continue to be impressed by a state that continues to surprise me. And I hope you too.

Well, that’s our show. Thanks for listening. Please like us and share this with your friends and with us right here where you’re listening, and check out our website. Good Government for extras. Join us again for another episode of The Good Government Show. And if you like what we’re doing here at the Good Government Show, check out our friends at the How to Really Run a City podcast.

It’s hosted by a couple of smart, hilarious and outspoken former two term mayors, Atlanta’s Kazeem Reed and Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter. Each episode features a different A-list guest sharing their secrets about how to really get stuff done in the urban laboratories we call cities. Check out How to Really Run a City, brought to you by the nonprofit set up After You, citizen, and co-hosted by award winning journalist and author Larry Platt.

Wherever you get your podcasts and at the Philadelphia So thanks for listening. I’m Dave Martin. This is the good government show.

The Good Government show is a Valley Park production. Jim Ludlow, Dave Martin, that’s me and David Snyder are the executive producers. Our show is edited and produced by Jason Stershic. Please subscribe then share and like us and reviews. That’s the best way to make sure we’re able to keep telling these stories of our government working for all of us.

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**This transcription was created using digital tools and has not been edited by a live person. We apologize for any discrepancies or errors.