At the regular New Martinsville Council meeting held May 5, Police Chief Tim Cecil reported the New Martinsville Police Department made 88 arrests in April. A total of 52 were road violations; 19 of those were for distracted driving.
The department got a distracted driving grant that facilitated that push.. "It has been noticed by a lot of people," said Mayor Keith Nelsen.
There were a lot of seat belt tickets too-33 tickets in a three-day period.
Cecil noted that distracted driving is a primary offense, meaning drivers can be stopped for that alone; they do not need another reason to stop a driver. Seat belt offenses are also primary offenses.
Fines for distracted driving are $100 for the first offense; $200, second offense; and $300, third offense. There are no court costs levied on these charges, but Cecil noted the fine does go to the city if it is charged by the NMPD.
Patrolman Jason Utt has graduated from the academy and is now a full member of the force.
Council asked Cecil if there had been any more car break-ins. He said there were not, but confirmed there were several in the Fourth and Fifth streets area in a couple days' time.
Finally, Cecil said the department got five new radios. "We are utilizing the old ones that still work well and adding the new ones," he said. If they keep doing drug busts, Cecil said they'll have some more money for new equipment.
Cecil reported that he planned to turn seven complaints for excessive railroad blockage to the Wetzel County Magistrate Office. He said there were seven reported instances between March 2 and April 11 of a train allegedly blocking a roadway for more than 10 minutes. Those complaints include Central, Commercial, and state Route 2. Cecil said the complaints will require CSX to answer the complaints in court.
In an ongoing visibility issue for vehicles exiting Rosary Road onto state Route 2, Cecil said KFC/Taco Bell will be cutting down some of the poles along their property's edge on the highway. He said they will be cutting off the tops of the two most southern poles and then do the same to every other pole.
Councilman Steve Pallisco noted that three churches use that street. "It's quite busy at times," he noted.
Street Commissioner Gary Willey said his department is continuing to work on replacing catch basins on Fourth Street that were stolen. They discovered that the size of the replacement grates requires some additional work "from the bottom up," said Willey. They have added the additional costs to the insurance claim, which is now well over $7,000.
Of additional note, he said the catch basin on McEldowney Avenue will require some additional work in concert with the change out of a fire hydrant.
Also, Willey said his department is continuing to patch potholes. The asphalt plant was broken down for a few days, but they did put down six tons of patching on Monday.
Parks and Recreation Director Beverly Gibb reported that summer hiring was almost completed, at the time of the council meeting. "We have lots of mowing and trimming to do," said Gibb. "Hopefully we'll be able to get caught up."
Some of that work is needed at the renewed miniature golf course at Bruce Park. She said Doolin Landscaping will be putting the shrubs in and they hope to have it open Memorial Day weekend.
Gibb noted Wal-Mart has been donating ripped bags of landscaping materials (mulch, rock, etc.) to the parks department. She believes they will be using some at the miniature golf course.
On May 31 the course will host a tournament to benefit Relay for Life, sponsored by the Wetzel Chronicle and Tyler Star News.
Registration for the four-person scramble will begin at 9 a.m. Registration fee is $25 for the four-person scramble, while singles and doubles will only cost $5 a player during the event. All proceeds will be divided between the Wetzel and Tyler County Relay For Life Associations.
Since the new miniature golf course is now handicap accessible, a special handicap division will be slated. There will also be a chipping contest during the scramble. Prizes will be awarded per age division, as well as for singles and double high scores. There will also be door prizes given out every 15-30 minutes, depending on the number of participants and door prizes, as well as many other awards. There will be refreshments as well as music, T-shirts, and other activities going on throughout the day.
This Relay For Life event is sponsored by the Wetzel Chronicle Zebras Relay For Life Team. For more information, call Martin Parrish at 304-652-4369 or Bruce Crawford at 304-771-1278 or contact the Wetzel Chronicle at 304-455-3030 and ask for Bruce.
In another park note, Lewis Wetzel Pool is set to open May 31.
Finally, Chuck Stora reported that the hydroelectric plant is running well. Its production is over budget for the month and the year. The trash rack drive was out, but was to be fixed shortly after the meeting. "The crane is next," informed Stora. "It has the gear box coming out on it."
Also, it was noted that the city did receive their full operating fee from First Energy. The electric company wanted to lower the payment by $3,000 per month, but it was in their contract that they could not.