Marlinton council votes to remove blue signs

Marlinton, W.Va. –

During Monday night’s Marlinton council meeting, recorder Robin Mutscheller says blue directional signs attached to light posts on Main Street should be removed immediately.

“As it has been made clear that they are not permitted by the West Virginia Department of Highways, and not legally installed – it places the Town, mayor, recorder and councilmembers at risk of liability for their placement,” she said. “In the event of an accident, due entirely or in part to the non-compliant signs, individual government members could be deemed negligent.”

Council approved Mutscheller’s motion by a 4-2 vote. Mutscheller and councilmembers Natasha McMann, Louise Barnisky, and Loretta Malcomb voted to have the signs removed. Smith and councilmember Norris Long voted against the recorder’s motion.

The mayor and Barnisky exchange opinions on the signs.

“I want to go on record that I voted against this motion because I spent a lot of time setting up a meeting with the state agencies to come in here and meet with us and resolve this,” Smith said. “I think four days wouldn’t make any difference.”

“You know, I was one of your biggest supporters,” said Barnisky. “But, when you knew that it was wrong and you’re our mayor, and you knew that it was wrong, you were told it was wrong, I was so disappointed that you just turned around and let it continue.”

“You think you’re disappointed,” replied Smith. “One, two, three, four women here – for the last three meetings – have ganged up on the men, on me personally, and had meetings behind my back. Maybe you haven’t had meetings behind my back, but you sure talk. We had a special meeting, all of you came in, except Robin, with your little book because you thought you was going to throw something in my face. But don’t tell me you all don’t talk between meetings, which is totally illegal.”

Marlinton fire chief Herb Barlow told council his department tested all fire hydrants on the Marlinton water system and color-coded the hydrants by flow. A green hydrant cap indicates a flow of 1000-plus gallons; orange – 500-1000 gallons; red – 500 gallons or below and; black – an inoperable hydrant.

The chief said low-flow hydrants on Fifth Avenue are especially worrisome and urged council to make water system repairs.

“My biggest concern, right now, is the fact that everything on Fifth Avenue is 500 gallons or below,” he said. “That’s the schoolhouse, the Board of Education and the nursing home. If we have a fire at the nursing home, we’re going to have to lay lines to the next green hydrant, across from Mitchell’s. There’s something, either the valves or there’s debris in the lines causing the problem.

“The Fire Marshall’s about to close the school down because they can’t keep enough pressure on the lines over there to keep the sprinkler system supplied.”

The mayor said he had hired an independent company to double-check the hydrants.

“I don’t mean to step on toes, Herb, but I’ve contacted an independent company to do about 12 random tests to be sure that we’re on the same page,” he said. “And I’m not going to repaint any of the hydrants or have them coded until I have some re-testing done.”

Barlow responds.

“You’re saying that the equipment that we bought and the training that we had isn’t good enough for you and the town council?” Barlow asked.

The mayor explains to council the need for re-testing.

I want to re-test the ones that is very low, that is on Fifth Avenue and what-not,” he said. “Previous fire chiefs of this department and fire personnel from other areas says that those hydrants should never have dropped from 1,000 gallons plus to less than 500. This hydrant is 1,000 gallons a minute; this one’s 500; this hydrant, 1,000 gallons a minute. That doesn’t make sense.”

Smith said the re-testing of hydrants would be completed within the next two weeks.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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