The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 12, 2014

Heroes honored at council meeting

— Two local heroes were acknowledged at Common Council Tuesday for their bravery during a recent house fire on Teel Road.

Beckley Fire Chief Billie Trump presented Randall Boyd and Larry Stoumile with plaques for braving the flames of a house fire March 3 and rescuing an elderly sister and brother, Elsie Worley and Jack Reed, who were still inside.

Trump said these citizens went “above and beyond” and commended them for their courageous and selfless act.

A Worley family member also thanked the men for their service — “They saved their lives.”

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Council members will soon approve priority rankings for the city for 2014.

The eight categories are ranked in the following order:

- No. 1 — Community Facilities and Service (water, sewer, neighborhood improvements)

- No. 2 — Transportation (air, rail, highway, water, public transportation)

- No. 3 — Economic Development (travel and tourism, industrial development, small business development)

- No. 4 — Environment and Natural Resources (flood prevention, land use)

- No. 5 — Energy

- No. 6 — Housing

- No. 7 — Human Resources (health, education, child development, aging)

- No. 8 — Government

Priority revisions will also be approved. Dilapidated housing removal is at the top of the list and will cost an estimated $300,000. Next on the list is downtown revitalization, which will cost approximately $1.3 million. The third item is transportation upgrades, which will cost $350 million, but will benefit 220,000 people.

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Under old business, Councilman-at-Large Tim Berry asked if Sarah Birchfield’s Uptown property situation had been remedied.

Birchfield approached Council at its last meeting with concerns about a sign being placed on her building. The sign said the structure was a health hazard and unsafe for human occupancy, although an inspection had never been made.

Chief Code Enforcement Officer Bob Cannon said she never called his office, but after she spoke with Mayor Bill O’Brien, the city removed the sign. An inspection must be performed before the building can be occupied though.

Berry also asked about progress on the Uptown “hole.” O’Brien said he recently visited the site and action will take place “very, very soon.”

“It’s time,” Berry said. “I’ve said this for the last year.”

He said he would like to see the lot remedied in time for Chili Night in October.

Councilman Ron Booker asked if a decision had ever been made about the exact plans for the two lots.

O’Brien said the owner of the other lot, John Mize, has plans to rebuild and has already submitted his plans to the Beckley Fire Department for review and approval.

Under new business, O’Brien said spring cleanup will commence as soon as snow is out of the forecast.

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O’Brien, a longtime radio man himself, proudly read a proclamation for WJLS’s 75th anniversary.

He said the station was founded in 1939 and has been recognized on many occasions for its excellence in broadcasting.

Two WJLS representatives, Sandi Smith Milam and Jennifer Farley Gwinn, came to accept the proclamation.

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- Tom MacAulay was appointed to the health board for a five-year term to expire Dec. 31, 2018.

- The city received four bids from Southern West Virginia Asphalt, Steelcon Supply Company, Boxley and David Hill Concrete for the purchase of asphalt, concrete, stone/abrasives/ sand and reinforcement rods for the Board of Public Works.

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