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CURRENT STORIES


Weston candidates speak out on priorities

by Nora Edinger

REGIONAL EDITOR

WESTON -- The mayoral and chief of police positions and several city council slots are being contested in the June 5 Weston election.

Three incumbents are running unopposed, as well. They are City Clerk Becky Swisher, Street Commissioner Stanley Lewis and Councilman Paul Taylor, Second Ward.

Weston has an open election, according to Swisher, meaning there may be more than one candidate per party for any position.

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Here is a preview of contested races:

Mayor

Terry Cogar -- Incumbent Cogar is the owner of Cogar Custom Auto Body in Weston. He has served as mayor since 1999.

Cogar says he doesn't want to give false promises to voters. He does wish to have Weston and Lewis County working together better and wants to bring jobs into the old Weston State Hospital.

Jon Tucci -- Tucci is an oil and gas consultant for Title Pro Inc. of Clarksburg. He served as a city councilman from 1996-99.

He says he has a three-point agenda that would feature changing Weston government to include a city manager.

He is also interested in annexing land into the city and taking advantage of growth at the intersection of Interstate 79 and Corridor H to create new jobs.

John Williams -- Williams is chief executive officer of Natural Lifeways Corp. of Weston, which develops environmental businesses.

The first-time candidate says his agenda was developed through citizen-input meetings and includes improving infrastructure, specifically roads and water and sewer lines.

He is also interested in small-business development and creating park areas.

Chief of Police

George Blake II -- Blake is a first-time candidate for Weston chief of police.

Blake is an employee of Lambert's Ambulance Service in Clarksburg. He says he would like to follow in the footsteps of his father, George Blake, who served as Weston chief for 25 years.

Blake wants to return the downtown foot patrol to the Weston Police Department. He feels that bringing discipline and leadership to the force will bring respect to the police department.

Rob Clem -- Incumbent Chief Clem has served two, two-year terms.

He says he would like to continue a number of programs and listen to citizen needs if re-elected.

Clem is specifically interested in continuing his neighborhood watch program, to which he partly attributes a 33 percent drop in crime between 1997 and 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Steven Fallon -- Fallon is a former security guard and corrections officer. A first-time candidate, he is an employee of Trus-Joist Macmillan of Buckhannon.

Fallon would like to do more programming in schools if elected, specifically in violence prevention and drug/alcohol awareness.

He also believes he could help improve officer morale, which he believes was lowered following incidents such as the paintball vandalism of the old Weston State Hospital and a fire that killed five children.

Council, 1st Ward

David Bush -- Bush is a Lewis County High School teacher of history and psychology.

He wants more strict enforcement of city ordinances. He also hopes to work with state officials to find a tenant for the Weston State Hospital. He would also like to work toward preservation of Weston's historical district.

Vicki Kerrigan -- Kerrigan is a first-term incumbent. She is volunteer coordinator at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston.

Kerrigan says she would like to maintain the same goals if re-elected. Specifically, she would like to make government more community-oriented, serve as a liaison between her ward and the council, and help keep the community informed about city issues.

Charles Stover -- Stover is a first-time candidate who co-owns Nationwide Insurance Agency of Weston.

His goals, if elected, include consideration of hiring a city manager. He would also like to address road conditions and pay issues for city employees.

Council, 3rd Ward

Betty Brooks -- Brooks works through Manpower as a full-time employee at Trus-Joist Macmillan of Buckhannon. Brooks served as Weston city clerk for four years and as city treasurer for 112 years. Brooks says she is running for council so she can have a vote and voice her opinion.

Brooks wants enforcement of city ordinances to be increased. In her area, grass is too high, houses need to be condemned and stray cats run around at large, she says.

Allan Evans -- Evans is a one-term incumbent. He is retired from the former Consolidated Natural Gas.

His goals, if re-elected, include seeing a couple of city projects to completion. He would like to see a lawsuit concerning the city's business and occupation tax resolved and would like to see the McGary addition storm sewer project completed.

Evans says he would also like to build a better working relationship between city administrators and downtown merchants.

Council, 4th Ward

Robbie Parks -- Parks is a one-term incumbent.

He says he would like to see city administrators build on financial growth achieved in the last couple of years. He would also like to see more business and job growth within the city limits.

Rudy Pascasio Jr. -- Pascasio is a technician for Gilbertson and Associates in Weston. He is enrolled at Glenville State College to become a licensed land surveyor.

A first-time candidate, Pascasio would like to see city government run more efficiently. He also would like to find a tenant for the Weston State Hospital to bring more jobs into the community.

Debra Wright -- Wright is a first-time candidate. She is a Realtor.

She is interested in preserving the historic appearance of the downtown and would like to see an ordinance that bans new mobile homes/trailers from being located within the city limits enforced.

Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at nedinger@exponent-telegram.com.

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