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Avery County Commissioners Hear Report on Domestic and Sexual Violence

By Tim Gardner

Details of the past year’s work of OASIS, the organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Avery and Watauga counties was the headline topic of a light workload during the Avery Commissioners meeting on October 7.

Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Dennis Aldridge were present. Other leading county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Finance Officer Tim Greene; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore.

OASIS stands for Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter, and is a private, non-profit entity. Its spokesperson Tiffany Moon gave the annual report to the commissioners, which is considered fitting as October is Domestic Awareness Month.

Headquartered in Boone, OASIS also has an office in Avery County, located at 215 Pineola Street, right beside the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children offices.

Moon said that nationwide, one in three women and one in four men and 1.3 million of both experience intimate partner violence. She also noted that nearly 50 percent of all homeless women report domestic violence as the cause of their homelessness

Moon addressed the commissioners with updates about the various services OASIS does to combat domestic abuse and sexual violence in Avery and Watauga counties with service, information and shelter.

According to Moon, the services OASIS gives to those clients besides court advocacy include medical advocacy, case management, direct client services, shelter intake, long term housing support and/or crisis support.

Moon shared that in the 2018-19 year, that OASIS served 75 families of domestic violence in Avery County. Eighteen of those families moved into Transitional or Permanent Supportive Housing.

Moon declared OASIS’ goal for the upcoming year as being to broaden its Outreach, Education and advocacy services in Avery County for victims and survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and to support prevention efforts to stop the cycle of violence within its homes and throughout the community.

Moon stressed that OASIS’ continues to feel supported in this mission through its close work with Avery community partners such as Cannon Memorial Hospital, Avery Sheriff’s Department, Avery Clerk of Court’s Office, District Attorney Seth Banks’ Office, Avery Department of Social Services, Lees-McRae College, various non-profit agencies and Daymark Recovery Services.

But Moon said that OASIS can always use more support financially and through other means. She said it accepts donations via its web site (www.oasisinc.org), at its offices or by mailing a check. For non-monetary donations, those wanting to can donate to the Blair Fraley Sales Store in Crossnore, Rams Rack in Newland or Boone Goodwill in OASIS’ name. They, in turn, give OASIS vouchers for its clients to use.

She said more information can also be obtained by calling (828) 264-1532. Additionally, anyone needing emergency help can call the Avery Crisis 24-hour line number: (828) 504-0911.

Hicks and the rest of the commissioners expressed deep gratitude to Moon and the rest of the OASIS staff for their work.

The Commissioners and County Manager recognized the Avery Agricultural Advisory Board members for what Barrier, Jr. called their “tremendous dedication and phenomenal work for our county’s agricultural programs.” Those members consist of: Anna Trivette; Jim Phillips, Ann Coleman; Jack Wiseman, Jr.; Wood Hall Young, III; Larry Smith; Mose Braswell; Bonita Smith; Tami Hagie; Amos Nidiffer; and Brandon Townsend.

In other business, County Tax Administrator Bruce Daniels told the commissioners that $2,105,180.84 in taxes were collected for the month of September and the commissioners unanimously (5-0) adopted a resolution to waive bidding for a previously bid contract for an Emergency-911 System and will discuss the topic in greater length at a future meeting.

The next meeting of the Commissioners will be Monday, October 21 and their next regular monthly meeting will be on Monday, November 4. Both will commence at 3:30 p.m. in their Board Room on the second floor of the County Administration Building at 175 Linville Street in Newland.