News for Thursday, July 8, 1999

Ashcraft seeks to modify city plan

by Troy Graham
Clarksburg's comprehensive plan contains several provisions designed to beautify the city. But some of those provisions are a bit too strict and have become a hindrance to local businesses, said City Manager Percy Ashcraft.
Ashcraft will ask city council at today's 4:30 p.m. conference session to consider changing two aspects of the comprehensive plan in order to correct some of the more stringent, aesthetic rules.
"Like any good plan, you have to go back and modify it as the public responds to it," Ashcraft said.
As it reads now, the plan practically disallows businesses or residents from displaying banners, he said. Many businesses use banners to advertise and generate revenue. Ashcraft will ask the council to adopt an ordinance that will allow banners as long as they meet certain standards.
The ordinance would also set guidelines for the banners that are regularly strung across Main Street to advertise various festivals and events.
Ashcraft will also ask council to pass an ordinance that will change the comprehensive plan's requirement that all commercial parking lots must be paved.
Some business owners felt the cost of paving their lots "wasn't worth the investment," while other business owners, such as warehouse owners, felt the requirement shouldn't apply to them, Ashcraft said.
The comprehensive plan required all lots in the downtown area to be paved by last December and all remaining lots to be paved by the end of this year.
The ordinance would create a second business district outside the central, downtown business district. Any business in that district would have until the end of next year to pave its lots. Any lot outside that district would not have to be paved unless it is used exclusively for paid parking.
"Basically what we're saying is the closer you get to the heart of the central business district, the stricter the paving requirements," Ashcraft said.
The second business district will include: Pike Street, from city limits east to Second Street; Main Street, from Broadway to Second Street; Buckhannon Pike, from Haymond Highway to East Main Street; Milford Street, from city limits, north to Pike Street; Chestnut Street, from Mulberry Avenue to Washington Avenue; Pike Street, from Chestnut Street to U.S. Route 50 at Adamston; Main Street, from Chestnut Street to Pike Street; Clark Street, from Fourth to Sixth Street; Baltimore Avenue from Fourth to Sixth Street; Fourth Street, from Clark Street to Baltimore Avenue; Fifth Street from Werninger Street to Baltimore Avenue; Sixth Street from Werninger Street to Baltimore Avenue; Werninger Street, from Fifth to Sixth Street.

Electric company breaks record

by Troy Graham
Residents battling an oppressive heat wave across the East helped Allegheny Power break its company record for electricity demand Tuesday.
And, unlike New York, where flaming transformers and melting power lines left more than 100,000 Con Edison customers without power, Allegheny's system largely sustained the peak demand.
In the five-state area served by Allegheny, including West Virginia, blown transformers left between 1,200 and 1,300 customers periodically in the dark, said company spokesman Allen Staggers.
Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Allegheny customers used 7,775 megawatts of electricity, breaking the company record for demand "by quite a bit," he said.
"Today's much more normal," he said Wednesday. "The cold front that went through yesterday caused the heat and the humidity to go down."
To ease the strain on Allegheny's system, as well as on customers' wallets, the company offers several tips to stay cool and conserve energy.
 For families that have air conditioning, Allegheny recommends:
-- Setting the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
-- Making sure air flow from air conditioners is not obstructed.
-- Controlling humidity by using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans while cooking or showering.
-- Checking the air conditioner filter at least once a month.
-- Increasing attic ventilation.
-- Installing proper insulation.
The power company also offers these tips to beat the heat:
-- Use a microwave to cook rather than the oven.
-- Keep drapes, blinds or shades drawn.
-- Schedule activities that produce heat and humidity, such as showering or doing the laundry, for the early morning or late evening.
Use awnings or overhangs to block your windows from the sun.

Bid for Lewis project over budget

by Shawn Gainer
Lewis County Board of Education members are going back to the drawing board in their effort to finalize a contract for a new athletic complex at Lewis County High School.
At a meeting Tuesday night, members postponed action on a bid from the Charleston-based construction firm of Williamson, Shriver and Gandee until July 15 because the school system is $50,000 to $60,000 short on contingency money for the project, which will be funded entirely by the county school levy.
Board members asked contractor Greg Williamson to give them a cost breakdown of complex's facilities in order to trim the project to fit the school system's budget, said Joe Mace, Lewis County superintendent of schools.
"I think the board did the prudent thing," Mace said. "We'll have to scale back the project a bit. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep the major components and proceed."
Williamson, Shriver and Gandee submitted a $1.4 million bid for the project. While the board of education originally budgeted $1.2 million for an athletic complex, school levy receipts are expected to surpass earlier projections for the past and current fiscal years by $180,000, Mace said.
The original design for the complex included a football field with 3,000-seat bleachers, an eight-lane track and a baseball field with dugouts, bleachers and lights for night games that would double as a soccer field. The complex would also be surrounded by two fences, Mace said.
"We could cut seating at the football field to 1,500 or reduce a 6-foot high fence to 5 feet and save thousands of dollars," he said. "We could also wait on the baseball field and continue to use the facility at Robert L. Bland Middle School.
"We do want to have a state-of-the-art football field and an eight-lane track. It's hard to add lanes later. If we cut seating, we might be able to keep the baseball field."
Mace said a new athletic complex at the high school is necessary because the athletic field at Robert L. Bland Middle School is overused.
"Everybody from Little League to junior high to high school teams use that field now," he said. "We've added boys and girls soccer, too. We end up with 42 events on the field by November, and it gets really torn up from all the games and the fall rains."

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