New Martinsville Postpones WCCC Rent Issue
New Martinsville Council voted unanimously at their Sept. 13 council meeting to postpone the implementation of $1,000 per month rent from the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce for use of the former City Hall building for further discussion. The measure was supposed to begin Sept. 1, according to a motion approved at their August meeting. Just prior to the September council meeting the committee met with WCCC officials, but ran out of time to finish the discussion.
Pallisco said that for years the city has not charged any rent, but paid the utilities, maintenance, and insurance. Now they are asking the WCCC to contribute, to help out. “We’ve got to look for every dime that we can find also,” said Pallisco.
In a related matter, unanimously approved a resolution for a West Virginia Division of Energy Block Grant for $15,100 to fund a new heating and air conditioning system at the old City Hall building.
New Martinsville Street Commissioner Gary Willey reported that his department was kept busy with two storms in August. From Aug. 4-6 they hauled 22 loads of brush. They have also started putting down black top on the scheduled streets. In addition, he said, “We have a lot of patching we’re going to do in the downtown area.” Also, the new street, what he is calling Foundry Street Extension, is now completely surveyed.
The storms were also a factor for the electric department, said Manager Dave White. While New Martinsville’s electric service wasn’t hit too hard by the Aug. 5 storm, St. Clairsville, Ohio, was completely out, including service to three radio towers. The New Martinsville Electric Department sent mutual aid of two crew members to St. Clairsville. They worked until midnight that night, until everything was back on. Recorder Bonnie Shannon said she had run into the Robert Vincenzo, the mayor of St. Clairsville, and he couldn’t say enough good about the New Martinsville workers.
Electric service to New Martinsville, as well as the surrounding areas of Proctor, state Route 7, and Doolin Run Road, were adversely affected on Sept. 8 as power was out for approximately two hours. White explained that Allegheny lost the feed to the New Martinsville substation. “My problem with the situation was how long it took to get us back on,” said White. “Unfortunately that was unavoidable.”
The power outage was also a burden on the New Martinsville Police Department’s on-duty dispatcher. Police Chief Tim Cecil said the dispatcher received over 500 calls, so many that she couldn’t even call the electric department to let them know of the outage.
While residents have been told in the past to call when there is an outage so the department can be notified, White said it is important for Steelton residents to know that they are not New Martinsville Electric customers. They are serviced by Allegheny and should call that utility’s notification number. This would help cut down on the number of calls to be fielded by the police dispatcher.
Cecil said his department had made a well-publicized heroin bust recently, but otherwise it was a somewhat slow month as they have some personnel openings in the department and the department had a lot of paperwork to complete.
“There’s a lot of work that people don’t see,” said Councilman Steve Pallisco.
One personnel opening occurred when Patrolman Steve Kastigar moved to full-time duty at Magnolia High School. “I know the personnel at Magnolia High School are very pleased to have a full-time officer at Magnolia High School,” said Mayor Lucille Blum. “Of course we know we have a drug problem, particularly at Magnolia High School, and this is a great way to deter it.”
Area residents can bring specific drug concerns to the Coalition Against Drug Abuse meeting that is held the last Tuesday of each month at the Lewis Wetzel Family Center, 6 p.m. “We do have good attendance, but the thing that amazes me is there is a constant turnover in the people who attend,” said Blum.
Parks Director Bev Gibb updated council on the relatively new rule against feeding water fowl at Lewis Wetzel Park. “We are trying to prohibit the feeding of the ducks, for very good purposes.”
Fall is the time for Canada geese and mallard ducks to migrate south for the winter. But in recent years, an abundance of food from the public has motivated the waterfowl to stay at the park all year. This disrupts the natural cycles that nature intended.
“The domestic ducks are going to good homes,” said Gibb. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Further, she said the department is working on taking care of the trees at Bruce Park. “We have been doing a lot of trimming,” Gibb noted.
Building Inspector Joe Hanna reported that he issued 27 building permits in August, basically the same as July.
Pallisco reported that while the Riverfront Development Committee isn’t particularly busy right now, they have followed up on the Festival of Memories to critique and see what they can do better. A volunteer has come forward with a couple new ideas.
Also, he said the group has never given up the idea of an amphitheater beside the river at Washington Street. Citing the many attractions and activities he sees in other river communities, “We could be doing the same, very thing (as Wheeling) in our community.”
The group is going to pick a smaller item and see if they can’t get it accomplished. It will probably be a good, portable stage, at a cost of about $90,000.
Rick Suter thanked thank Blum, Carman Harman, and the local radio stations for their assistance in raising $62.03 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “I would also like to thank the Paden City Labor Day Celebration for letting me speak down there again,” said Suter.
A constant advocate for MDA, Suter has been trying for a few years to get a local call bank located in New Martinsville again during the Labor Day telethon.