FOLLANSBEE - Follansbee City Council on Monday recognized two residents who have been named to a state Hall of Fame for their many years of public service and learned of a drop box set up at the Follansbee City Building for discarded prescription drugs.
Mayor David Velegol Jr. announced that during the West Virginia Municipal League's conference last week in Snowshoe, W.Va., City Attorney Michael Gaudio and former city clerk and councilman Jim Mirasola were named to the group's Hall of Fame.
City Manager John DeStefano explained the Hall of Fame is reserved for elected officials who served the public at least 20 years and the two were nominated by Councilwoman Kathy Santoro.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION — Follansbee City Council recognized former city clerk and councilman Jim Mirasola and current city attorney Michael Gaudio for being named to the West Virginia Municipal League’s Hall of Fame Monday. On hand for the presentation were, from left, front, 2nd Ward Councilman Tom DiBattista, 4th Ward Councilwoman Iris Ferrell, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro, Mirasola, Mayor David Velegol Jr., Gaudio, Councilman at large Jim Andreozzi and City Manager John DeStefano; and back, City Clerk David Kurcina, 5th Ward Councilman Tom Ludewig and 1st Ward Councilman Jim Miller. -- Warren Scott
Santoro said Gaudio has provided invaluable legal expertise to the city for about 25 years, fielding questions from council members during and outside regular meetings when needed.
She noted Mirasola has worn various hats for the city. He served as city clerk from 1965 to 1982 and again from 1993 to 2000, following that stint by serving as councilman at large for several years.
For many council members and other officials, Mirasola was a source of information for actions or issues undertaken by council in years past.
When the city was between city managers, he served as acting city manager, and in addition to ensuring the city's day-to-day operations ran smoothly in that interim, initiated improvements to local ball fields.
He has been a member of the Friends of the Follansbee Library and of the West Virginia Municipal Clerks and Records Association, of which he was an officer.
Both he and Gaudio have been members of the municipal league also.
The two are among 21 current or former elected officials from throughout the state, including former Weirton mayor and state Sen. Ed Bowman and former Wellsburg councilman Kenny Fletcher, named to the Wall of Fame.
Council also heard from Jason Rine, a drug-free community coordinator for Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention, who told council about a drop box for discarded prescription drugs established in the entranceway to the city police department at the Follansbee City Building.
Rine said in light of an increase in prescription drug abuse in the area, the boxes allow for the safe and proper disposal of medications that have expired or are no longer needed.
Similar to the large blue mailboxes found in front of post offices, the locked box is one of five funded by a federal grant awarded through the West Virginia Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.
Others are located at the Brooke and Hancock county courthouses and in the village of Chester, with another coming to Weirton soon.
Rine was accompanied by Brooke County Magistrate Robin Lunsford and Paul "Bud" Billiard, who have been working with Rine as members of the Governor's drug abuse prevention task force.
Billiard asked council to name a representative to the group, which meets at noon on the second Thursday of each month at the Family Resource Network office in the former Edgewood School in Weirton.
In other business, council:
Agreed to seek bids for a new pumper truck for the city's fire department at the request of Fire Chief Larry Rea. Rea said the current truck, a 1994 model, is due for retirement, and the department can contribute to the new one's cost, which he estimated at $400,000.
Heard from Sharon Kowalik of Blosser Lane, who said her driveway and yard were flooded during the heavy rain a few weeks ago. She has arranged for DeStefano and other local officials to meet with her to discuss the problem, which she said may be due in part to a clogged storm drain along Allegheny Street.
In related business, Councilman at large Jim Andreozzi said culverts along the street have become clogged, creating a risk of flooding if more rain occurs.
Authorized Mary Kimberland, coordinator of a youth basketball program in the city, to proceed with plans for a Halloween event for youth at Follansbee Park. Details of the event will be announced.
Agreed to provide a pizza party for summer help at the park. Second Ward Councilman Tom DiBattista suggested the move, saying the teens helped to make Follansbee Community Days and its kickoff a big success through their efforts to assist with activities and keep the grounds clean.
Third Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro said staff with Jefferson Security hired to patrol the park and adjacent neighborhood also helped to make the festival free of incidents at its new location.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)