Latest News, Morgantown Council

Bob Pirner, Milan Puskar Health Right recognized to open council session

MORGANTOWN — Bob Pirner is, among many other things, a Navy veteran.

So it’s somewhat fitting he would be recognized to open the Dec. 7 meeting of Morgantown City Council — not specifically for his military service or what occurred on that infamous day 80 years ago, but for the service he’s provided to this community and the state of West Virginia for more than three decades.

Pirner and Milan Puskar Health Right were recognized Tuesday with the individual and group/organization Human Rights Awards from the Morgantown Human Rights Commission.

The awards are presented each year in recognition of International Human Rights Day, on Dec. 10, which council commemorated with a resolution.

Executive Director Laura Jones accepted the award on behalf of Health Right, which has served the city’s most vulnerable populations since it opened its doors in 1984, and has become a full-scale primary care clinic addressing physical, emotional and behavioral needs and providing services that include harm reduction and peer recovery support.

Following the award presentations, HRC members, award recipients and others headed just down the street for the  official observance, held at the Mon Arts Center.

Once down to business, council approved the purchase of new ladder truck for the Morgantown Fire Department at a cost of $1,501,717.

Fire Chief Eugene Deem explained that the truck will be equipped with a 100-foot aerial tower and will replace a 25-year-old truck operating out of the South High Street Station.

The older truck will be placed on reserve status and will be kept in the Norwood Station, in Sabraton.

Also on Tuesday, council passed on first reading various changes to the city’s traffic code, including several that pertain to bicycles.

The amendments include implementation of the “stop as yield” provision for cyclists at stops signs and traffic lights as well as alignment of the city’s helmet law with state code (only mandatory for those 15 and under). The updates would also remove language preventing cyclists from riding on sidewalks citywide.

In other city news, council passed a resolution supporting the human right to food.

Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble pointed out that the resolution is a positive step, but does little to actually feed the needy.

“Attention to this cause is a great thing, but we need to remind ourselves to engage with the people doing the work and seeing how we can actually best assist them,” she said. “Attention is a great thing, but the work has to get done … This isn’t a solution. This is attention.”

Lastly, council approved a $32,450 bid from Franklin Integrated Interiors for new carpeting in the Metropolitan Theatre as well as $48,131.72 bid from City Neon for the replacement of the theatre’s electronic marquee.

Council also approved a $336,780 expenditure for a new elevator and equipment for the city’s Public Safety Building.

It is anticipated the purchase, from Kone Inc., will be included in a future bond issuance aimed at addressing aging city facilities.

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