New Martinsville Council Hears Department Reports
During New Martinsville’s regular city council meeting Oct. 4, council set trick or treat for Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6-7 p.m. It coincides with Paden City and Sistersville’s trick or treat times.
Patrolman Steve Kastigar gave a report for the New Martinsville Police Department. He noted the department has hired a new patrolman, Adam Skinner. He has three to four years of experience from in the Paten City and Sistersville police departments. Skinner will take Kastigar’s place on the road as he is now a prevention resource officer at Magnolia High School.
Kastigar said things are going pretty well there during his first month. He also said the school now has a full-time dating violence counselor from the YWCA. They are going to try to start a monthly or bimonthly meeting for the parents to do some awareness about drugs and domestic violence.
Councilman Steve Pallisco noted that when a drug dog visited MHS recently they found nothing. He also commended Kastigar for being at the Monroe Central football game, an event in Woodsfield.
Also, Kastigar noted the New Martinsville Buck$ will play a charity basketball game against the West Virginia Blazers on Nov. 10 to benefit Josh Kirkland’s rehabilitation. Kirkland, 24, of Proctor, was seriously injured in an All Terrain Vehicle accident on July 23. He is still at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., for rehabilitation.
Street Commissioner Gary Willey said his department has put down 250 tons of blacktop. “We’ve been getting complaints on certain intersections,” said Willey, so they’ve been measuring them and painting the no-parking zones where they should be.
Council approved the promotion of Randall Moore to assistant street commissioner. “I think Gary’s got a great department and they’re really working toward great things,” said Pallisco, who added Moore will do well in that position. Councilman Chris Bachman added that Moore has a good rapport with the employees in the department.
The department is also rallying around a member who is currently off sick, Lloyd “Ham” Bard. He has a serious illness and will be off work for some time. “Our prayers are with him that he can come through this,” said Pallisco, but noted it will be expensive. They hope a fund raiser event will help ease the family’s current situation.
They will be holding a benefit dinner at the Mollohan Center, Wetzel County 4-H Campgrounds, on Nov. 6 from noon-6 p.m. Proceeds will assist the Bard family in medical and travel expenses. Menu includes spaghetti, salad, roll, desert, and drink. There will be a 50/50 drawing, door prizes, and gun raffles. Donations are appreciated.
The department should have a new street sweeper Dec. 10. Thanks to a mixup at the company selected through the bid process, the sweeper the city is getting at the bid price is two years newer than the one they bid and it has a couple extra features than requested.
Finally, council approved the ordering of 340-feet of pipe to replace the old sewer pipe under the upper half of Neubauer Drive, at a cost of $10,200. The state has pledged $10,000 toward the project. The line is collapsing and causing many problems. “This is the worse part of it,” said Willey. “They’ll still have to contend with the lower part.”
Electric Department Head Dave White said his department was celebrating Public Power Week with an informational table in the lobby of the city building.
They offered cake on Oct. 4 to thank all the city employees who help out the department.
More thanks were offered to the city workers for their cooperation with the demand response event on Sept. 23. New Martinsville had voluntarily entered the program to help control high peak electricity demands in the event of a system peak through the grid that serves the area. It also affected Allegheny Power and American Electric Power. The city was asked to drop any energy they could conserve.
“Unfortunately it was a long event,” said White, stating it lasted from noon to 6 p.m. The police department used a generator and the remainder of the city operations were without electricity. “I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had from everyone that works here at the city hall. I know it is an inconvenience. . . but it helps to avoid a total black out,” said White.
This was the first time they have had a demand response event. White apologized to Police Judge Larry Couch and all the police officers for the inconvenience during the switch back to power as city court was scheduled that evening and had to be postponed.
White further noted that the Public Service Commission is currently developing rules and regulations measuring reliability for all utilities in the state.
“It takes a lot of hard looks at your infrastructure,” said White.
“I think that’s going to be a big plus in West Virginia. It should give reliability to everyone statewide.”
New Martinsville’s Electric Department already has a gold certification in reliability from the American Public Power Association. “It is very hard for a utility our size to get the gold status. We were the first public utility in the state to be able to do that,” stated White.
The PSC is also developing rules for renewable energy credits, a process in which New Martinsville has been involved. “We’re very active with it,” said White, noting an attorney in Charleston is working with them.
White noted they are aware there have been many complaints about the traffic lights lately. “The basic problem is they have been damaged,” said White. The loop triggers have been compromised by water getting in and damaging the pads that alert the light of a vehicle at an intersection. “That’s all state equipment,” said White.
The street department has helped the state out by grinding out and repairing asphalt on those trouble spots.
“They do know that there as been a lot of concern about them,” said White. The traffic lights are all computerized now and it can’t be changed unless the state approves it.
Mayor Lucille Blum said she has been asked several questions recently about property upkeep in town.
She made it clear that sidewalks and curbs are the property owners’ responsibilities. “I hope you all will keep that in mind,” she said.
She also looked up city code that says no person except as authorized shall drop, place, or throw on any street or other public property glass, bottles, scrap iron, nails, tacks, paper, or offensive matter of any kind. She said twice on the day of the council meeting she heard it said, “Our city has never looked so bad.” When the mayor looks through neighborhoods she sees why that statement is being made and she hopes people won’t be shy about reminding people that littering looks bad.
While Parks Director Beverly Gibb was not in attendance, she offered a written report that said the miniature golf and paddle boats are closed for the season. The department is also working on replacing concrete at Lewis Wetzel Pool. The next parks and recreation commission meeting will be held today at 1 p.m.
Building Inspector Joe Hanna was not present to give a report.
Councilwoman Kay Goddard said her committee has had some meetings concerning equipment purchases and old city hall, but offered no recommendations at this time.
Chanda Spragg and Tony Huggins from New Martinsville Health Care and Rehabilitation Center attended the meeting to give an update on their company. The name was changed a while back to reflect their increased outpatient use. Spragg said currently 45 percent of admissions are staying for 90 days or less.
They have also been trying to get more involved in the community. They held a free lunch and information fair on Friday during Autumn Fest. Also, they will stage their annual haunted courtyard Oct. 26 from 7-9 p.m.
Spragg said they wanted to remind council that even though patients are in the facility, they are still part of the community. She welcome the council to come have a tour of the facility. “I’m sure you”ll see some familiar faces,” said Spragg.
Finally, Blum proclaimed Oct. 4 as West Virginia Breast Cancer Awareness Day and October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. She encouraged residents to become aware of the risk and discuss screening with their health care providers.