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City Honors Two Heroes

By Staff | Jul 12, 2017

Photo Provided New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil (center) presents Officers Michael Owens (left) and Jason Utt (right) with the “Life Saving Award.”

During a portion of the New Martinsville City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 5, Mayor Steve Bohrer turned the floor over to Chief of Police Tim Cecil, who asked officers Michael Owens and Jason Utt to come to the front of the room for a presentation of the “Life Saving Award.”

Each patrolman received the award for heroic actions taken on March 17, 2017 at Wetzel County Hospital’s emergency room.

“Their actions reflect the highest standards of conduct for law enforcement officers and bring great credit to the New Martinsville Police Department.”

“My officers followed a vehicle to the hospital; a female got out of the vehicle screaming. My officers went to check out what was going on, and found a suspect unconscious and blue, in the back of the car, and unresponsive. Patrolman Utt drug the gentleman out of the vehicle and on to the stretcher. As they got him into the hospital, they were giving him IVs and relaying information back and forth to the doctor,” said Chief Cecil.

“During this process, the doctor was getting ready to give up. My officers didn’t give up. They kept doing what they were doing, got a breath, and brought him back. So I present awards to both of them.”

The gentleman who was revived was also present, and Chief Cecil asked him to come to the front of the room. He thanked the officers for saving his life. All three were given a standing ovation and a round of applause.

In another matter, Mayor Steve Bohrer gave the opportunity to guests speakers to start the meeting, and Brenda Shepherd, representing her 90-year-old mother who lives on Clark Street, asked the council if any decision has been made regarding Ann Lane.

At issue is a dispute between the City, residents of the 200 block of Clark Street, and Jackson’s Towing. Ann Lane is behind the homes of the Clark Street residents and is, what has been believed to be, an open alley for travel and access to and from residents’ homes.

More recently, however, local businessman Clarence (Butch) Jackson purchased property from the Shiben Estate in that area. According to survey maps, the land used as Ann Lane is not where it was thought to be, and it seems that the Lane was really partially on the private property of the Shiben’s, although it has been graveled and maintained by the city routinely.

Reportedly, the city had thoughts of purchasing the land but later decided against it. Butch Jackson, however, purchased the property and decided to use it for an impound lot for Jackson Towing. After examining the survey maps, Jackson decided to fence the area in and started erecting posts near the middle of what was Ann Lane, thereby cutting off the residents access to their homes and garages from Ann Lane.

The dispute also involves whether or not the residents have built on Ann Lane. Residents believe the property they have used for many years, and has been maintained by the city, should remain open, and the city should use the power of prescriptive easement to force Butch Jackson to move his posts and open Ann Lane back up. Also complicating the matter, and according to the city and the residents, is the more important matter of Jackson creating, what they believe, is an illegal salvage yard.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Mrs. Shepherd had questions as to whether the city was going to use the old road, previously used, or allow access to the real Ann Lane. She wasn’t sure what would solve the problem. Mayor Bohrer told her he wants to solve the problem and hopefully can get the matter resolved. Bohrer said everyone is wanting the issue resolved, and he (Bohrer) is sure Butch (Jackson) does as well. Mrs. Shepherd said it is a major inconvenience when a person cannot access the rear of his/her own property.

Delinda Jackson, wife of Butch Jackson, (owner of the property behind Ann Lane), was the next speaker. Jackson stated she believes the issue can be resolved, short of the legal system. Delinda Jackson said she would like to meet when the city attorney is available.

Former council member, Jeremy Shepherd, said he was present at the meeting to ask councilman Joel Potts how the situation – the Ann Lane dispute – was his (Shepherd’s) fault.

Potts responded that he didn’t say it was all Jeremy Shepherd’s fault.

“It was misconstrued, and I may have worded it wrong. I apologize,” said Potts.

“You need me to explain how it did get started? Chief Cecil is here, and he can probably back up everything I have to say. I can tell you at another time, so I don’t have to take up your time,” added Shepherd.

Again, Potts said it was misconstrued and he worded it wrong, and he apologized.

“Okay,” said Shepherd.

Jeff Gieseke questioned the mayor, concerning his role on the cleanup committee. He said he was appointed to a position several months ago, and that was the last he’s heard about it.

Mayor Bohrer said, “Let me tell you something. Four other people are on that committee who haven’t heard anything. The problem turns out, we haven’t had any complaints, and we’re not getting those complaints.”

“Jeff this is something you can do,” he said.

Gieseke asked the mayor if he had any of the complaint forms and if that was all it would take to get the process started.

Bohrer said they would have meetings if they get complaints; he told Gieseke not to get discouraged.

Gieseke responded that he was discouraged, and his name had been in the paper three or four months ago and nothing has happened.

“Nothing is getting done,” stated Gieseke.

Gieseke also questioned as to whether the noise ordinance covered fireworks.

Councilwoman Iris Isaacs responded that the city was not in line with the state code. When the ordinance was written about fireworks, it was illegal. She said she believes the state approved on June 1, fireworks, and the city is not in line with state code.

“Now, there is a noise ordinance that goes from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. as quiet time, but as far as the fireworks, we’re in the process of getting in line with the state code” said Isaacs.

The subject of rundown property was again brought up, and the mayor said council needed to sit down and discuss the issue. He said council has made progress, and at the present time, is working to get rid of the old drug store. The store has been an eyesore and a danger, and the city now has control over it, according to Bohrer.

Gieseke, again, said nothing was getting accomplished. Bohrer disagreed and said council was in the process of getting some issues taken care of.

Under the regular order of business, Councilwoman Kathryn Goddard moved to approve supplements to the general funds and Parks. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Councilman Steven Pallisco made a motion to approve the hiring of Alex Haught as a lineman for the electric department, starting July 31. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

Councilwoman Iris Isaacs spoke about the city-wide clean up saying it was going to be July 21-22, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. “So far we’ve had seven full dumpsters,”said Isaacs. She noted the dumpsters will be at the City Complex.

Councilman Joel Potts made a motion to hire Donnie Owens as a full time dispatcher, effective immediately. Owens has been working in that position part time. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

Holly Grandstaff, council chairperson for the fire department, introduced Fire Chief Rick Myers, who gave a report on the fundraiser for a new ladder truck. He said the department had sent out letters requesting donations and received some good responses. At this point, he said, the department has received approximately $19,000. Myers mentioned that the department is busy and has answered 223 calls since the first of June, and three just yesterday. He reminded council that they are all volunteers and are ready all hours, day and night, to assist. He said the department appreciates any help from fundraisers and will keep on working to get what they need. He thanked everyone and praised the VFD.

Mayor Bohrer and council recognized Sandy Hunt, who was in attendance, for her efforts in organizing the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival June 30 and July 1-2. Council deemed it a success, and Councilman Joel Potts said he had not heard, nor seen anything, negative. Council was all in agreement that the festival was a benefit to the City.

Bohrer thanked Hunt for her hard work, and he said the council does not just allow anyone to take on projects such as the festival.

“We thank you for all your time and hard work,” Bohrer said.

Hunt said she was very satisfied with how the festival came together and felt it would be even better next year. She said several stores had increased business during the weekend and that makes money for the city. She felt the musicians were good and everyone that attended had a good time.