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The Ronceverte Women’s Club

 

 

In honor of the Federation of Women’s Club in Ronceverte, established in 1946, Mayor Gail White read an ordinance marking Apr. 24 as Federation Day in Ronceverte. On behalf of the city council, she expressed appreciation for all the work the ladies of the Ronceverte Women’s Club do for the benefit of the community.

Every year the Women’s Club schedule an annual volunteer clean-up day, together with the Ronceverte Development Corp., in Ronceverte’s downtown public areas as one of their contributions to the community. This year’s clean up day is scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 16. All volunteers are asked to show up by 8 a.m. at the Depot across from the post office.

But the ladies had more to say about the state of Ronceverte’s city streets. Out in force at the Monday evening city council meeting, the Ronceverte Women’s Club members came to register their collective protest to Ronceverte’s downtown litter problem described as “disgusting” and “aggravating.” As Kathleen Williamson said, speaking for the nearly two dozen club members present at the meeting, after their clean-up efforts, “…the very next day it’s as if we hadn’t done a thing!”

Citing cigarette butts as the most prevalent litter item, club members were vociferous and adamant in their complaints to council members. Remarks overheard in the crowded council chamber included, “This is a negative image for Ronceverte!” and “Personally, I’m embarrassed to say I live in Ronceverte!”

In addition to the downtown areas, several owners of rental properties were also named by club members and termed “slum lords.” Photos were presented to the council displaying a number of residences which have consistently shown no improvements.

Mayor White said a city ordinance calls for trash and litter to be in cans and set out the night before trash pickup dates, but she admitted that some of those properties lie beyond the city limits.

Asst. Chief of Police Rusty Byers, weighing in on the matter, said the city has a law on the books requiring homeowners to clean up consistent and excessive debris and trash on their property. They are fined every day they remain in violation of the law and if the property is not cleared by a deadline date, the house is condemned.

The mayor said the City Administrator Pamela Stevens would draft a letter to all the downtown business owners, as an initial step to encourage responsible action on clearing the sidewalks and gutters in front of their places of business.

Williamson said, “We hope this problem can be taken care of on a regular basis.” In other business:

• This Apr. 10 the annual state clean up project, Make It Shine Clean-Up Day, conducted by Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River, will focus on the river front and Island Park. Volunteers are asked to come to the park at 1 p.m.

• The Second Reading of the Pawn Shop Ordinance was approved, paving the way to aid the police in investigating thefts of stolen goods by requiring detailed listings of all items bought and sold in pawn shops. The ordinance parallels one issued by the state.

• The traffic pattern on Pocahontas Street, locally referred to as “Brick Street,” was on the agenda with a plan to change it from a two-way to a one-way street, with the direction of traffic going up the hill. The downhill traffic would be routed to turn left at the intersection of Chesapeake and Pocahontas, and then down toward Greenbrier Avenue. Council member David Smith moved to table the action so that a public meeting could allow residents a say on the issue. The public hearing is set for Apr. 19 at 6 p.m.

• A special meeting to Lay the Levy was set for Apr. 19.

• The Ronceverte Municipal Election is June 11. The mayor said last year only 70 Ronceverte residents voted. A larger turnout is hoped for this year.

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