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Mid-Ohio Valley Reentry Council to help former offenders

“They are going to be our neighbors no matter what. Let’s help them be the best they can be.”

These words from Dominique Kirl sum up the mission of the Mid-Ohio Valley Reentry Council of Parkersburg.

The area reentry council, part of a statewide network of councils formed by the West Virginia Council of Churches, wants to provide assistance to those re-entering a community from incarceration, homelessness, substance abuse or other reasons.

Kirl is chair and Becky Sinnett is co-chair of the MOV Reentry Council. Both work at the Public Defender Corp. office in Parkersburg.

Kirl spoke at Friday’s MOV Reentry Council meeting, open to anyone, at Mountain State College in Parkersburg. The area council was formed last year and is one of nine such councils with additional ones being formed.

The council meets on the second Friday of each month with meetings open to Mid-Ohio Valley residents from West Virginia and Ohio, Kirl said.

The MOV Reentry Council is looking for people to serve on its committees of law enforcement, social services, housing and homelessness, substance abuse, religious, employment, legislation, education and prevention, and marketing and advertising. Those interested can contact Sinnett at bsinnett@wvpdc4.com or 304-699-3812.

Next month’s program at West Virginia University at Parkersburg will be a re-entry simulation conducted by the Mid-Ohio Valley Reentry Council, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of West Virginia, the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and WVUP. The hands-on event is designed to show the challenges many face as they leave the prison system and “what causes so many to go back to a life of crime,” the reentry council said.

The program is 10 a.m. to noon Sept.13 in the WVU at Parkersburg College Activity Center. Parking will be available in the east parking lot.

The West Virginia Council of Churches has said these reentry councils will address issues such as housing, employment, substance abuse, behavioral health, family services and food assistance facing ex-offenders.

Councils will try to bring together human services, public safety and other public agencies with private agencies, nonprofits, law enforcement, the courts, businesses and faith-based organizations to identify barriers to successful reentry into the community and tackle recidivism, the West Virginia Council of Churches said.

Kirl, a treatment coordinator at the Public Defender Office, was recently presented an Outstanding Support Staff award by the West Virginia Public Defender Services for her work with clients suffering from substance abuse disorder.

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Jeff McCrady of Wood County will now have more time to spend with his grandchildren.

McCrady, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources District 6 wildlife biologist, retired last week after spending about 36 years with the DNR in Parkersburg.

McCrady said he will miss the people he has worked with at the DNR and those he has met on the job, such as loggers, foresters, sportsman groups and farmers.

Among the highlights of his career McCrady mentioned the DNR’s recent acquisition of 30,000 acres in District 6 for public hunting and other recreational and wildlife uses in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The purchases will reopen land for public use and preserve rural landscapes, McCrady said.

McCrady expects the DNR’s new and expanded wildlife management areas in this region to attract outdoor enthusiasts from urban areas and help the local economy. New state property boundary lines are being marked and access roads and parking lots built to serve the public lands.

Another interesting project in the region is a bridge construction in the Jug of Middle Island Creek in Tyler County, McCrady said. This will re-establish a section of the creek for canoeing and kayaking.

McCrady also noted the eradication of feral swine in Roane and Jackson counties as important work during his tenure.

McCrady’s replacement has not been named.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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