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Dunbar council hears about motorized-wheelchair safety

By Marta Ree Tankersley

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Dunbar Police Chief Earl Whittington demonstrated a motorized wheelchair fitted with reflective flags as part of the city's Motorized Wheelchair Safety Program during a council meeting Monday.

"We are taking a proactive approach to the safety of individuals who use motorized devices," he said. "As far as I know, there aren't any other cities around here ... addressing the non-visibility of citizens using these devices to get around town."

Flags and reflectors can be obtained at the city police station.

"If you can't make it to us, we'll come to you," Whittington said.

City officials Monday also announced possible pay raises to hourly employees, which includes city police officers and firefighters. The pay increases, which are between 30 cents and 65 cents per hour, will take effect July 7 if a new ordinance passes.

"This city is in excellent financial condition," City Clerk Ross Harrison said. "We are finishing the year within budget."

In other action, Sanitary Department Director Ron Byrnside announced that the sanitary board submitted papers to the EPA concerning the second phase of a $12.5 million storm-drainage construction project. Board members are awaiting a binding letter of commitment.

"We expect to begin taking bids in October and have a January 2014 start date for construction on 10th Street on the river side of the tracks and also on Roxalana Road," Byrnside said. "We hope the completion of this project will take care of flooding for years to come."

Also Monday:

* Council members said goodbyes and welcomed newly elected leaders, who will begin work July 1.

Mayor-elect Terry Greenlee is excited about his upcoming term.

"I am really looking forward to the task ahead. I won with a 70 percent margin, so the voters are behind me," he said. "Like I said in my campaign, I'll work on a drug task force and to clean up the dilapidated houses in the city."

Mayor Jack Yeager said he has greatly enjoyed his term as mayor and thanked council members for their cooperation.

"We find ourselves financially and politically stable with outstanding leadership and sufficient funds which will allow the city to move forward," he said.

* A recent redistricting of city wards inadvertently resulted in a change of polling places for city elections, Harrison said. To remedy this, council submitted to the Kanawha County Commission a request to change the polling places. They will hold a public hearing and vote on the measure.

Voting should be more convenient if the changes pass, according to Yeager, who said the city is "fixing something that we didn't cause."

* Greenlee, the current public works director, said that new sidewalks would be installed between 14th and 16th streets as part of a "Safe Route Project."

* Because of the state holiday Thursday, trash and recycling pickup is scheduled for Friday. 

* Gail Harper reminded everyone to attend the time capsule dedication ceremony outside City Hall Thursday at 11:30 a.m.


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