News for September 18, 1999

Residents can speak out on Meadowbrook Road expansion

by Paul Leakan
Staff Writer
Area residents will once again have an opportunity to voice their opinions over proposed plans to upgrade Meadowbrook Road in Bridgeport.
Officials from the state Division of Highways will discuss a handful of proposals for the road during a public meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Benedum Civic Center on 164 W. Main St. in Bridgeport.
Time will be allotted for residents to make formal statements about the advantages and disadvantages of upgrading the road from north of its intersection with U.S. Route 19 to Mall Road near the I-79 Meadowbrook Road interchange.
DOH officials have performed a study on the proposed improvements, detailing several plans that include the possibility of widening the existing two lanes or expanding the road to four lanes.
Despite some stiff opposition from several residents who live in the area, DOH officials prefer plans to expand the winding, heavily traveled road to four lanes.
 "We deem that it needs four lanes because of the traffic and safety," said James Sloan, co-unit leader in the consultant review section of the DOH's Engineering Division. "It's a very dangerous road right now."
The current width of the road ranges from about 10 feet to 12 feet, and some of the shoulders are either around 4 feet wide or nonexistent, Sloan said.
One proposed plan would give the road two 12-foot lanes and widen the shoulders to 8 feet.
That plan would cost about $5 million, around $30 million less than plans to widen the road to four lanes, Sloan said.
But Sloan points out that the two-lane improvement plan would force 34 homes to be torn down or moved while one of the plans for a four-lane road would displace about seven homes.
Either way, Sloan and other DOH officials believe it's important for residents to comment on all of the plans.
Public comment forms can be filled out during the meeting or they can be sent to Jim Sothen, P.E., Director, Engineering Division, Division of Highways, Capital Complex Building 5, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV, 25305-0430. All written comments must be received on or before Oct. 22, 1999.

Volunteers measure, cut and stitch to make patients more comfortable

by Shawn Gainer
Staff Writer
For some people, a pillow or hat can mean a lot more than just a way to cover or cushion one's head, said Kerri Smith, owner of the Pine Tree Quilt Shop in Bridgeport.
That's why Smith and several volunteers set aside Friday and today to make special comfort pillows and hats for hospice patients, chemotherapy patients and people recovering from surgery.
"The hats are stylish. They're something people wouldn't be embarrassed to wear," Smith said.
"They're nice for people going through chemotherapy because wigs are expensive and they are kind of rough on sensitive scalps," she added.
"The pillows are used a lot by people who need support under the arms. They're especially good for people who've had mastectomies, because they're very sore and the pillows help ease the pain a little bit."
The activities at the quilt shop are a part of an observance of National Comfort Day. Volunteers at more than 115 chapters of the American Sewing Guild are working toward a national fund-raising goal of $1 million for breast cancer research, Smith said.
"People can either come in and help make them or stop by and buy the patterns if they don't have time to stay," she said.
Smith added that the pattern booklets can be purchased for $1.25 and all but 25 cents will go to Sew for the Cure, a non-profit trade foundation that will collect the money raised for cancer research.
Volunteer Dianna Olson said Friday that community response to the effort was strong.
"We've had a full house all day. We've made about 25 hats and 40 to 45 pillows," Olson said. "It seems like a good idea and it's a worthwhile cause.
"I've worked with a girl who had multiple forms of cancer, including breast cancer," she added. "She always had pillows and wigs that got too hot for her to wear. All of us can relate it to someone we know."

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