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Berkeley Co. gets $114,000 in W.Va. grants

December 02, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Money from new state grants will be used to fund a position at an agency that helps battered women, according to the head of a group that works with victims of domestic violence.

A $22,000 grant for the Shenandoah Women's Center is part of $114,000 in Community Partnership Grants awarded last month to Berkeley County. The local grants were part of a $668,000 statewide grant program announced by West Virginia Gov. Cecil H. Underwood.

Ann Smith, the executive director of the Shenandoah Women's Center, said the grant money will allow the center to pay a full-time worker to help victims who might be hesitant to seek assistance.

Smith said outreach workers can accompany police to the scene of domestic violence calls and talk directly with victims to assess needs and discuss options.

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"It gives victims an idea or a thought that they do have choices," Smith said.

The women's center previously had only one full-time outreach worker for Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, but Smith said the grant will allow the agency to expand one of three part-time positions that had been funded by a different grant through the City of Martinsburg.

"This allows us to better address the needs of the community," Smith said.

Victims of domestic violence will not be the only beneficiaries of the Berkeley County grant money.

The Berkeley County Commission will receive $20,000 to put toward substance abuse prevention services for middle and high school students and their parents, and $20,000 will be allocated to the county's fire service board for equipment purchases.

A $10,000 grant will be used for drug abuse and awareness outreach programs for the Community Partnership of Morgan and Berkeley counties.

While most of the county's grant money is earmarked for social programs, the state has awarded $38,000 to use for fun and games.

Steve Catlett, director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board, said $10,000 will be used to rehabilitate the tennis courts at Faulker Park.

The money will go toward putting down asphalt on two of the four courts at the park, and redoing the mesh surrounding the courts, Catlett said.

With other area public tennis courts converted for other uses or beyond repair, Catlett said the Faulker Park courts are the last decent ones around.

"The demand for tennis is down from where it was in the 1980s, but it's still important to have them," he said.

Catlett said the recreation board will use a $25,000 grant to add a heater to the therapeutic pool in War Memorial Park. The heater, Catlett said, would help with swimming programs and make the pool more inviting for senior citizens.

The projects at both parks are expected to begin in the spring and could be completed by Memorial Day 1999, Catlett said.

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