PARKERSBURG - The 2012 winners of this year's Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program Awards were Cpl. Roger Rhodes with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Mountwood ATV Adventures.
This is the ninth year for the awards, and the first year a group has been the recipient of one of the awards.
Rhodes is a veteran of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department where he has voluntarily worked night shift. He is a strong advocate for eliminating drunken driving not only as a law enforcement officer but also on a personal level, said Toni Tiano with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program. Eight years ago he was injured when his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Over the past five years. Rhodes has accounted for nearly 30 percent of all DUI arrests made by the 12-man department in Jackson County. During this past year, he led all officers in the Mid-Ohio Valley in the number of DUI arrests made a total of 28 , which is more than the total number issued by several agencies, Tiano said.
Cpl. Roger Rhodes, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department; Tim Graham, Graham Excavation; Rod Barrett, Paul Lemon and Eric Barrett, Barrett and Lemon; John Reed and Risha Bradford with the Wood County Solid Waste Authority; and Toni Tiano with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program.
The other award winner, Mountwood ATV Adventures, has been instrumental in developing a new ATV trail park at Mountwood Park. The new ATV park will be on the north side of U.S. 50 where the campground is located.
In March, John Reed, coordinator for Wood County Solid Waste Authority, county compliance officer and an ATV enthusiast, was asked to form an exploratory committee to study the feasibility of developing an off-highway trail system at Mountwood to provide an area in the community for the ever-expanding use of all-terrain vehicles.
Reed worked with several individuals who helped to make this become a reality including Paul Lemon and Rod Barrett of Lemon and Barrett's Powersports. As a result, the ATV Committee received a $19,500 grant from Yamaha to be used as seed money for development of trails, trail markers, parking areas and mapping. Tim Graham of Tim Graham Excavating donated equipment and labor to create the 25 miles of trails in three different grades.
In addition to these trails, Mountwood ATV Adventures will be conducting special events throughout the year with proceeds going to the trail system. There will also be ATV safety classes conducted periodically with funding for these classes provided by the Highway Safety Program.
ATV fatalities and injuries have been a constant problem in West Virginia. In 2011, there were 54 fatalities from ATV incidents. Local highway safety officials said the new park should provide a safe place for riding and will have rules regarding ATV use while using the trails.