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Communications May Improve In New Martinsville

By Staff | Mar 4, 2009

Mobile communications for emergency personnel in the Steelton area of New Martinsville may get a needed improvement soon.

New Martinsville Police Department Detective Donnie Harris told council he has a verbal agreement with the Ohio Highway Patrol to put the department’s radio communications on their tower across the Ohio River from the airport. “He was really cooperative,” Harris said of his contact with the OHP. The equipment can be on that tower at no cost to the city as it was built with federal money.

Harris said the move should alleviate some of the problems with communications.

At the request of Councilman Joel Potts III, Harris said he would alert the department’s officers that there is a city ordinance that makes parking against traffic illegal. Also, Gibb said she often sees people park by the yellow line in front of Christy’s on Main Street for hours, making exiting from the WesBanco drive-thru difficult.

In another police matter, Pallisco said it is time for the city to begin enforcing its noise ordinance. “We have a noise ordinance that we’re going to start using,” he declared. “It’s time we stand up. All we have to do is follow rules.”

In another matter, Street Commissioner Gary Wiley reported that approximately four more days are needed to complete the cleaning of the sewer on Long Street down to Parkway. While the project being conducted by an outside company is taking longer than expected, he said the work was definitely needed.

The four-foot square sewer that has some wider sections and was largely blocked with sediment and rock. In fact, he said an approximately 200-pound rock was found in the sewer on Monday.

The last time the sewer sediment was addressed was after the 2005 flood. They city crew worked then for about 30 days, but Wiley said it was “never really cleaned.” Essentially the passageway was only widened at that time.

This current work, said Wiley, has to help the sewer troubles in the Second Street area.

Parks and Recreation Director Beverly Gibb reported that her committee sent out about 30 letters seeking Friends of the Park. The group is trying to get more volunteers and ideas for the city’s parks and recreation endeavors. A meeting of “friends” will be held March 26.

The next Parks and Recreation Commission meeting will be March 18 at 1 p.m.

She further reported that the interior refurbishing of the Lewis Wetzel Family Center is nearly complete. “The center looks great,” declared Gibb. The next step is the purchase and installation of new draperies which should be completed in a few weeks.

Electric Department Head David White reported that his department has acquired two new AEDs (automated external defibrillators). An AED is a computerized medical device that can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock and it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights, and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take.

According to the American Heart Association, with a few hours of training, anyone can learn to operate an AED safely. Gibb is a certified trainer, which will save the city some training cost.

One of the AEDs will be kept in the electric department’s large truck and the second will be kept at the city’s garage complex. The cost of the latter device was split between the electric, street, and sewer/water departments.

Council opened the lone sealed bid to provide a bucket truck to the electric department. Altech Industries of Elizabethtown, Ky., submitted two quotes: $79,038 for a 2009 Ford 550 4×2 and $82,930 for the same truck in a four-wheel drive model.

“I’m thrilled with that price,” said White. He had expected to pay about $85,000 for a two-wheel drive bucket truck. “There are a lot of pluses with this truck,” he added, saying the smaller truck offers a lot more flexibility.

Council approved the purchase of the four-wheel drive truck if the bid meets White’s criteria.

The electric department keep capital reserve accounts according to a replacement schedule for all of their vehicles so they have the funds to purchase them when necessary. The department will keep the older truck they are replacing.

Building Inspector Joe Hanna reported that the city issued 243 building permits in 2008, a decrease of about 35 from previous years. However, he noted that those permits represent about $3.6 million in construction costs. Also, they generated $11,500 for the city by charging fees comparable to other cities.

For the first two months of 2009 he has issued 26 permits, but those are historically inactive construction months.

New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Couch commended the group’s volunteers for their work during recent searches. They had to contend with rough water, wind, cold, and other difficult conditions.

Councilmembers Holly Grandstaff and Steve Pallisco echoed that sentiment while including thanks to the NMPD and Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department. “I know that you work tirelessly and endlessly to take care of our community,” said Grandstaff.

Pallisco gave an update from Riverfront Development, saying they are looking toward the Festival of Memories on July 18. Chesapeake Energy has committed to funding the fireworks display and the quilt show will be held at West Virginia Northern Community College July 17 and 18.

He also said all of the food vendors will be non-profit groups. “We want as many food vendors as we can possibly get,” said Pallisco. Any group interested in setting up a concession can contact him.