BUCKHANNON — Out of the many topics addressed at the Buckhannon City Council meeting Thursday evening, much discussion was devoted to topics surrounding Fire Prevention Month.
Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble offered many statistics involving fire department zone’s monthly activity, number of calls received, major incidents, etc. Kimble stated, “If you look back in July, we actually didn’t have any fires. We have had 10, however, this last month.” Kimble advised that everyone needs to make sure they have smoke detectors and that they are operational. “Seventy-five percent of fire fatalities happening are in homes that do not have smoke detectors,” Kimble reported.
Local fire departments will be working with students in all schools recognizing October as Fire Prevention Month. They will be offering free smoke detectors to anyone who would like them and can even assist with installation, so contact your local fire department if interested. Kimble further stated, “Fire permits or burning of any kind will not be allowed since it has been so dry recently.”
Following the arson incident of August 30, Kimble announced, “Firefighter T. Smith has returned to duty and the subject responsible for the arson and injury to Smith has been arrested here recently.”
The night drew long, but necessary for discussion about the importance of hiring a part-time firefighter. Kimble and the council tried to reconcile the process, the methods in approaching the issue, the job description, and what the training would entail. The issue has been an ongoing debate and still did not achieve resolution, but will be further discussed at the City Council meeting next Thursday.
A moment of silence was observed to mourn the loss of April Keating, a West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) professor and iconic member of the community who had long battled with cancer. Mayor McCauley gave some remarks about Keating. “April was a zealous activist, determined to make a positive difference for our community and more broadly for our world. She possessed a spirit of grace, a soul of kindness, and a mindset of genuine compassion for her neighbors and fellow citizens,” McCauley said.
The Buckhannon Elks Lodge #1736 were special guests of the night and led the meeting’s Pledge of Allegiance. The Lodge was named the 13th recipient of the Buckhannon’s “BEST” Award. According to the Mayor’s proclamation, the Lodge donated $2,250 towards the Stockert Youth and Community Center’s capital campaign throughout the past couple of years. They have frequently hosted canned goods food drives for the Buckhannon Parish House. In the past, the Lodge also sponsored veterans for Honor Flights. Among their many other community causes, they sponsored the Elks Youth Recognition Program and also supported Upshur County’s Backpack Programs. McCauley also noted that this was the first organizational recognition for the BEST Award.
Several students from WVWC attended the meeting and stood up to announce who they are, where they are from, and what major they are currently studying. As for Amanda Frame, she is originally from Gilmer County, WV and is currently majoring in Accounting. Jessica Gardner stated she is from Fayette County, WV and is studying in Political Science and History. Originally from Anmoore WV, David Robertson mentioned that he is majoring in Business Administration. The many students attending WVWC were acknowledged for showing pride by the work they are putting in for their studies.
The council also introduced Dixie Green, Buckhannon’s new horticulturist, who is very pleased to conduct her planting around Buckhannon. Green is an Ohio native who graduated from WVU and is now going to fill the position as the city’s new plant caretaker. The Mayor made a silly, yet very true, remark about gardening and this year’s long hot weather. “Green wants to introduce some tropical plants to our area and the way the weather has been, I think it’s going to be all natural here pretty soon,” McCauley humorously added. Despite the natural tropical plants in Buckhannon, it has indeed been quite the extensive summer. The dry weather has been harsh on farmers and their crops.
Before ending the meeting, Councilman Robbie Skinner addressed the ongoing problem of cyclists riding on the sidewalks. “I had asked Matt Gregory about trying to get some extra patrolling in the downtown area during the day because the bicycles on the sidewalks have got to stop. I have seen some near catastrophes with people coming in and out of stores all the time,” stated Skinner. “If you’re a cyclist, please stop riding on the sidewalks, which is part of the city ordinance structure, and you’re supposed to be on the streets riding with traffic and not against it.”
Safety and awareness on all spectrums cannot be stressed enough for the city of Buckhannon and its inhabitants. The next city council meeting will be Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m.