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Solution sought for confusion over 911 numbers

by Paul Leakan

STAFF WRITER

Harrison County Commissioners have been concerned that a local private ambulance company's phone number could cause confusion with the county's 911 emergency system.

Now, commissioners are hoping they can resolve the situation through communication and a possible amendment to the state code.

Commissioners Thursday asked Prosecuting Attorney Ed Matko to draft a letter to officials at Jan-Care, a private ambulance company that has been advertising its services.

The company's phone number is 622-6911, and commissioners believe it could confuse some residents who want the county's 911 service.

Matko said his letter would likely ask Jan-Care officials to either change their phone number or refrain from advertising it in a way that could cause confusion with the public.

Commissioners point out that the county's 911 service handles several types of emergencies, such as police and fire services. Jan-Care, however, provides only medical service.

"If someone would become confused and dial Jan-Care, and they had a police or fire emergency, those minutes could prove to be fatal," said Commission President Roger Diaz.

Aside from the letter, the commission may see if state legislators can amend a state code that currently prohibits the use of the numbers "911" in a company name.

Commissioners want to see if the code could be amended to also prohibit private companies from using "911" in their phone number or in advertising.

In other business Thursday, the commission received three proposals for the construction of a hotel and conference center.

The first proposal was submitted by a team comprised of Saad Mossallati, Lee Gustafson, Rick Schlicker, Thrasher Engineering, J. Cecil Jarvis and Ocean Hospitality.

The first group proposed building the hotel/conference center at the planned White Oaks community in Bridgeport.

The second proposal was submitted by a team comprised of Humphrey Hospitality Trust, Inc., Ken Lowe Management Co., C.E. Compton Trust, Ann's Run, LLC, Gordon and Greenberg Architects, Baker and Associates and the TMARO Corporation.

The second group proposed building the hotel/conference center adjacent to Interstate 79 at the FBI interchange and the proposed Route 279 North Bridgeport Bypass.

The third proposal was submitted by a team comprised of Platinum Properties, LLC, Petroplus and Associates, the March-Westin Company, Evan Terry Associates and the Interstate Hotel Company.

The third group proposed building the hotel/conference center at a continuation of Platinum Drive in Bridgeport.

Commissioners are in the process of reviewing all the proposals.

The hotel/conference center would be used for large meetings, conferences and conventions.

"Central West Virginia is a place on the move," Diaz said, "and we need a place where we can have meetings and discuss business projects.

"The nearest place is either Flatwoods or Charleston. Clarksburg is right in the center of the state. Why not have one here?"

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