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 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
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
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
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.
ó 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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