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Council Names Willey Street Commissioner

By Staff | Oct 9, 2008

New Martinsville City Council appointed a new street commissioner during their meeting Monday evening.

Gary Willey will take over long-time commissioner Gary Lemon’s post when he retires on Nov. 28. Councilman Joel Potts, chairman of the street committee, made the recommendation after announcing Lemon’s retirement after 40 years of service to the city.

The committee, which includes council members Holly Grandstaff and Steve Pallisco, agreed on the appointment of Willey. Said Potts, “We feel, with all of his years of experience, he is the person for the job.”

Wiley began working part-time in the city’s street department in 1983 and became a full-time employee in 1989.

Since the street commissioner is an elected position, the job was not posted and it is up to the council to appoint Lemon’s successor. Wiley was approved unanimously.

“Gary (Lemon) will be greatly missed. That knowledge will be hard to replace,” said Pallisco.

“I’ll still be around,” answered Lemon in his typical nonchalant manner.

In other street matters, Pallisco asked Lemon’s crew to better paint the areas around fire hydrants in the downtown area. The councilman said the state fire marshal recently gave some motorists warnings for parking too close to hydrants. He thought perhaps the yellow paint on some of the curbs does not extend as far as is necessary.

City Recorder Bonnie Shannon said she has received some calls lately saying that the trees in the median of the four-lane section of W.Va. 2 near the Ohio River Bridge need to be trimmed.

The trees were originally planted by a civic group that no longer cares for the plants. So, the city is seeking a person or group to step up and volunteer to maintain the trees. She has been assured that if the Department of Highways looks to attend to the trees and the trunks are larger than four inches in width, they will be cut down.

Councilman Keith Nelsen presented Mayor Blum with a petition signed by 19 area residents in the area between Barr Street and McEldowney Avenue requesting “Slow Children Playing” signs erected in the area.

One person in particular, according to Nelsen, abuses the speed limit there, but law enforcement has yet to be able to catch him.

Lemon said he could put up some signs, but they are just warnings. The speed limit on city streets is 25 miles per hour. Nelsen asked for extra police coverage in that area. Municipal Judge Larry Couch offered that there were two citations given in that area in September.

“That’s good and maybe a couple more will put an end to it,” said Nelsen.