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Dunbar says goodbye to police chief, appoints successor

By Marta Ree Tankersley

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Dunbar Police Chief Earl Whittington announced his retirement after 29 years of service to the city during the council meeting Monday evening.

"I started my career here and I'm honored to end it here," Whittington said.

Whittington is not leaving law enforcement entirely -- he has accepted a position with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm closing one door and opening another in my career. I'm going to challenge myself in a different way, but my heart is and will always be with this city," he said. "It's been a pleasure to serve as your chief."

Jesse Bailes, a 27-year veteran of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, was sworn in as the new police chief. Bailes began his law enforcement career with the city 30 years ago. His sons, Travis and Justin, currently serve on the force.

"Thanks for your trust and confidence in this position," Bailes said. "Coming back to where it all started is most special to me. I look forward to building on what Chief Whittington has built and working with the mayor and council."

In other business:

* Council approved the allocation of an $8,550 West Virginia Division of Culture and History grant for the annual Critter Dinner (which served over 1000 people last year) to be held Feb. 15. The city will contribute $450 to the event.

* Council approved a 20-year lease of Shawnee Park from the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Department. This lease will expand the city's role at the park to include management of the golf course and the club house. Mayor Terry Greenlee said the city is in negotiations to bring Rib Fest to the park and has been approached by a softball league interested in its facilities.

"Our goal is to look at all possibilities and utilize every aspect of the park to benefit the city," Greenlee said.

* Public Works Director Mike Williams reported that garbage pick-up will proceed tomorrow despite the weather.

* Greenlee urged residents to contact Metro 911 if they experience power outages during the extremely cold weather.

"It is too cold to think you can ride it out without heat," he said. "Our police and fire department personnel are ready with help, so do not hesitate to call."

* Jo Ann Cornell of the Dunbar Convention and Visitor's Bureau announced Christmas Parade Float winners:

In the Spirit of the Season category, first place was awarded to the First Church of God; second to Roxalana Gospel Tabernacle; and third to Rebecca Chapel.

In the Christmas Beauty category, first place was awarded to the Tyler Mountain Association; second to the American Legion; and third to the Dunbar Fire Department.

In the Crowd Pleaser category, first place was awarded to Clearview Farm; second to WQBE Radio; and third to Frontier Communications.


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