(Editor's Note: The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in races of local significance. Their responses will be printed in the April 28 and May 5 editions of the Wetzel Chronicle in a simple question and answer format.)
Three candidates are seeking to represent the Fourth Ward on New Martinsville's City Council. They are incumbent Steve Pallisco, George Antonik, and Leslie Manley.
Antonik has lived at the same location in New Martinsville for 45 years. He operated a business in the city for 18 years: the Sunoco Station at the five-way light. He is retired from the Ohio Edison Company Burger Power Plant at Dilles Bottom, Ohio. Antonik is presently the crossing guard at the grade school in Steelton. The kids and he practice safety every day. For 12 years and with God's help, there have been no accidents, no incidents, and no problems. He asks driver to please watch out for them.
Antonik's wife, Judy, is employed by Dr. Ed Emch (22 years). They have two sons, David and John. David and his family live in Chesapeake, Va., and is a colonel in the US Marine Corps, a career Marine Corps Officer. John is the director of New Media, Sports Information Department at West Virginia University and lives in Morgantown with his family.
Antonik is a graduate of Powhatan High School and attended Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, and WVNCC in New Martinsville. He is a member of the Marine Corps league and St. Nicholas Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Church in Barton, Ohio. He serves on Church Council. Antonik previously served on New Martinsville City Council from 1999-2003. He is a Marine Corps veteran.
Manley is a lifelong resident of New Martinsville, a 1977 graduate of Magnolia High School, and attended WVNCC. Her past employment includes: Bridgeman Bros. Motor Co.; Wetzel County Hospital (17 years) wherein she designed WCH signs and the Wetzel County Hospital logo; summer employment with the Wetzel County Tax Office; Sistersville General Hospital; Iams Funeral Home; and Jim Robinson Toyota in Wheeling. She is presently a self-employed artist.
Manley is an animal advocate and member of the Wetzel County Animal Shelter Supporters.
Pallisco is a 30-year resident of New Martinsville and has been married to his wife, Jerry, for 35 years. They have three children and four grandchildren, with a fifth one on the way. He is a 1971 graduate of Bellaire High School and a 1973 graduate of Belmont Technical College with an associates degree in business management. Prior to his 29-year employment with Bayer Corporation, he was an assistant manager for Fisher Big Wheel. He has coached little league baseball and grasshopper basketball. Pallisco has been a member of the PTA, Athletic Boosters, Parish Council, and the Moose Lodge. He has also been on the Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee for the past 20 years.
Pallisco enjoys singing and was a member of his church choir and the Meistersingers. He has also been involved in community theater and performed in productions such as Guys and Dolls, and My Fair Lady. He and his wife own the gift shop, The Tin Ceiling, on Main Street, because they support the efforts to revitalize the downtown. He has been fourth ward councilman for seven years, and he wants to continue to serve you.
What would you propose to do with the current Bruce Pool situation as legislation has made it unusable in its current state?
Antonik: We should challenge any legislation that makes Bruce Pool at New Martinsville Park unusable. With the help of the people with donations and fund raising and financial help from the city, county, state, and federal governments we can save Bruce Pool.
We must not lose Bruce Pool. It's part of our identity.
Manley: What would the Bruce Park be without the Bruce Pool? Bruce Pool is a New Martinsville landmark, most everyone in town grew up and learned to swim at the Bruce Pool. The city needs to not only preserve our history but continue to have a safe place for kids to swim.
If the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has established a grant program and funding/contracting has been secured for Lewis Wetzel Pool, then it could be done for Bruce Pool. Maybe not this year but in the near future.
Pallisco: It is my hope that everyone understands that the decision to close Bruce Pool was an economic decision. To become ADA compliant would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The concrete structure is deteriorating at a dangerous level. In addition, this pool only generated $4,000 in sales in 2009. This was a very difficult decision, but the only choice.
I firmly believe that we have one of the best park directors and park boards in the state. I feel confident that Ms. Gibb and the board members will consult with other park directors, visit those parks, and study the needs of our own community before a final decision is made as to what will become of the site that currently houses the pool. Ms. Gibb and the board are always open to suggestions. I believe that we as a community can be confident that the decisions made will be the best for the whole community.
Do you have a plan for progress in New Martinsville? Give some specific steps to achieve that goal.
Antonik: In our present economy we need not spend time on million-dollar projects that have little chance of success. Some projects that have realistic goals: complete phases two and three of the bicycle and walking trail through New Martinsville and on to Paden City; construct a gazebo type band stand on the lot behind the library for concerts and other outdoor activities; build a skate park for our kids; build a splash and spray water park for Brooklyn, New Martinsville Park, and Lewis Wetzel Park; and have a community center for the city for all indoor events. Congratulations to the Paden City boosters. They have nearly completed their center and it will be dedicated soon.
Manley: Of course, the top of the list in almost any town is the economy and jobs. If you knew a little history you can go back 50-100 years in New Martinsville. There was a lot more going on then than now. More businesses, plants being built, jobs, farming, activities, and entertainment.
We have been regressing instead of progressing. We need to get back to basics, preserve what we have and work towards the future.
What about town hall meetings? Neighborhood watches?
We need to get the citizens of New Martinsville involved with what's best for the town as a whole and not just let a few people decide our future.
Pallisco: I believe that the improvement of our infrastructure is essential. I will continue to work with phase two and phase three of the storm sewer projects and work with the mayor to clean up dilapidated properties. I will work with the street commission to improve roads and the electrical department to enhance electrical availability on Main Street, so that we can better entertain tourists.
I will continue to team with the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce, the County Commission, and Regional Economic Development to lower our current double-digit unemployment by bringing in small businesses that will complement our existing businesses. I want to help find small industries that will pay a fair wage and be able to use our skilled work force.
Developing our riverfront, extending our bike and walking path to Main Street, and building camp sites on North Hydro are all important components to tourism, and I pledge to continue in these endeavors. Nothing stays the same. New Martinsville may not be what it once was, but it can still be equally good. We just need to focus on our assets, have the courage to move in a different direction, and work hard to achieve our goals.
Name one city issue you would like to see addressed and how specifically you would work to rectify it.Antonik: Animal control and derelict properties are important issues in our city, but the issue I would address is the deteriorating condition of our streets and sidewalks. I do not fault our city street department, they can do only so much with the funds they receive. It's the large trucks and heavy equipment that use our city streets on a regular basis. In Steelton it's Contractor's Supply, in the downtown area it's Wal-Mart, Bridgeport Equipment, Litman Construction, and all the companies that haul out of the sand gravel and asphalt plants on Wetzel Street, including the Ohio and West Virginia Department of Highways. Our streets were not designed for this type of traffic. We need a user fee for funds to maintain and repair our streets.
Manley: Animal control. The city is in the process of hiring an Animal Control Officer, but as an animal lover and advocate I would work to educate the public on anti-cruelty laws.
Anti-cruelty laws are designed to protect society from violent people. They were first enacted in the late 1800s to protect animals from human violence, then these laws led to the creation of child abuse laws and then elder abuse laws. Scientific research proves that there is a link between these different types of violence.
My goal is to see the law relating to prevention of cruelty to animals is enforced.
Pallisco: An issue I would like to continue to address is substance abuse. Drug use among our youth has grown to epidemic proportions. I have chaired or been a member of the police committee for seven years as a council member, and we have worked hard to develop a quality K-9 unit. We have recently worked with Magnolia High School and are hoping to receive a grant for 2010-2011 that will help fund a full-time resource officer at our high school. We have also met with several of our local pastors to ask for their help in educating and counseling our youth. I feel with the support of our public, parents, grandparents, educators, churches, and our prosecuting attorney, we can soon make some progress with this serious issue. We need our youth for the future of our community. Together we can design a blueprint that will propel our beautiful city to prosperity. To achieve this goal, there will be hurdles. Substance abuse is the highest one. This is a challenge for all of us, but we can do it.
The city of New Martinsville's municipal election is on the county ballot. Early voting is taking place now at the Wetzel County Courthouse in New Martinsville, or ballots can be cast on Election Day, May 11.
A list of precincts and polling places can be found on page 12B.