BEECH BOTTOM - Debbie Murdock of Beech Bottom enjoys working with children, she loves the village she's called home since 2004 and she's combined those two loves in serving her community.
On Tuesday Murdock was recognized by Beech Bottom Council as the village's 2012 Citizen of the Year.
Murdock was employed by the Head Start Center at Beech Bottom Primary School becoming a substitute aide for Brooke County Schools, so it's not surprising that many of her community endeavors involve children.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR — Debbie Murdock was recognized as Beech Bottom’s Citizen of the Year at Tuesday’s Beech Bottom Council meeting. Mayor George Lewis presented Murdock with a plaque commemorating the honor. Her name also will be added to a plaque bearing the names of past recipients of the honor and displayed at the Beech Bottom Municipal Building. -- Warren Scott
Mayor George Lewis noted Murdock has been a regular helper with the community Christmas party organized by his wife, Judy; has collected canned goods for local families in need with the help of her three children, Shelby, Steven Jr. and Samantha; and served as a site manager for teens performing various tasks for the village through the state's Summer Youth Work program.
"There were days when she was working harder than the kids," Lewis said.
Beech Bottom Councilman Bob Sadler added Murdock and her family also have participated in the village's annual community cleanup effort, which involves residents of all ages.
"The village does a lot with the community and the kids," Murdock said, and that's why she has enjoyed living in Beech Bottom.
A native of Windsor Heights, Murdock moved to the village with her husband, Steven, who had family there.
Asked if she was surprised to receive the award, she said, "Yeah, I didn't even know I was nominated."
Lewis said Murdock was one of several residents nominated by community members for the honor, and it was difficult for council to select one.
He presented a plaque, framed certificate and $25 VISA gift card to Murdock and noted her name will be added to the names of several past recipients on a plaque displayed at the Beech Bottom Municipal Building.
In other business:
Council agreed to purchase six lights, at a cost of about $2,000, for the Municipal Building's entrances and police sign. Councilman Ted Westfall said the bulbs will be light-emitting diodes, which are said to be more energy-efficient.
Westfall said work on the building is nearly completed. The building has undergone $32,000 in renovations, including the addition of a stucco-like facade aimed at improving its heating and cooling costs and covering areas where the brick was crumbling.
Lewis said he would like to have a ribbon cutting and invite representatives of Chesapeake Energy and Range Resources, which contributed funds for the project.
Council approved year-end bonuses for its employees, with salaried staff to receive $160 and hourly staff to receive 10 times their hourly rate.
Council made plans to interview a candidate for village solicitor. Joseph Barki III, the village's current legal counsel, has resigned because he will be serving as Brooke County prosecutor in January.
Asked about the presence of feral or stray cats in her neighborhood, Murdock said it continues to be a problem. She added she believes someone is trying to poison the cats because a neighbor's dog was seen with bleach on it and her own dog has died from poisoning.
Beech Bottom Police Chief Dan Casto said County Dog Warden Chuck Shreve has been alerted of the problem.
Lewis said a resident of Third Street again has requested a streetlight near her home. He said council had agreed to have a contractor trim trees overhanging the street first in an effort to make the area less dark.
Lewis said that has been delayed but will be done soon, and then council may consider whether that's addressed the problem.
Lewis said the Beech Bottom Post Office will be cutting its hours of service to 8 a.m. to noon but the lobby will be kept open until 5 p.m. so customers may have access to their post office boxes.
Judy Lewis said so far about 30 children have signed up for the village's Christmas party and donations are being sought from area businesses.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com)