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Citizens ask Dunbar to annex Institute, West Dunbar, Pinewood

By Gracie Ferretti

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- After two years of gathering door-to-door petitions, Dennis Davis and a group of citizens from Institute, West Dunbar and the Pinewood area brought before Dunbar City Council their petition asking that Dunbar annex their areas.

On Monday, Davis and a group called "Citizens for Positive Change" went before the Dunbar City Council and officially petitioned for annexation.

"It took a lot of shoe leather and a lot of steps -- some of which I'm still feeling," Davis joked.

If Dunbar were to approve the annexation, then Institute, West Dunbar and Pinewood would gain access to all city services, full-time police and fire patrols, zoning rights, a decrease in insurance prices and increased property values, Davis said. 

Dunbar would profit by gaining Shawnee Park, West Virginia State University and 15 to 20 businesses in the proposed annexed area, he said. This annexation would also give Dunbar the ability to expand.

Davis said the citizens from Institute, West Dunbar and Pinewood are already familiar with the Dunbar area and the school districts have been combined since 1975. "The two are practically joined at the hip," he said.

"The time is here, the time is now and, yes, it's a time to combine," Davis said.

Also on Monday, Sam Gassaway was appointed to Dunbar's planning and zoning commission, representing Ward 2, and David Hatcher was appointed to the board of appeals.

Police officer Michael Lester was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. Police Chief Earl Whittington said Lester and his K-9 are very diligent about ridding Dunbar of drugs.

"He is not an 8 to 4 kind of person," said Whittington. "He is a good picture of what we want in an officer."

An amendment to a city ordinance was proposed to make consistent pay rates for local handymen in the Dunbar area.

This amendment also requires handymen to have state licensing and liability insurance. The handyman can charge no more than $2,500 for a job. If the job exceeds that amount, a licensed contractor will have to do it.

The jobs that handymen can do are concrete, fencing, and painting. They are not allowed to work on electrical or plumbing issues.


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