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Morgantown litter law passes first reading, annual archery hunt begins Saturday

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Council on Tuesday provided first reading approval for code amendments targeting reoccurring trash and litter issues in the city’s downtown and beyond. 

The changes pertain mainly to code sections 539 (litter) and 1139 (solid waste collection). 

As previously reported, one of the additions to section 1139 is a definition for “infectious medical waste,” which covers a number of items and materials, including blood and blood products and sharps, or needles. 

The code amendment also specifies that depositing hazardous waste or infectious waste in any public place without a valid permit would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than $500 or up to 30 days in jail, or both. 

The penalty for litter not including hazardous or infectious waste is a fine of no more than $500. 

The changes also stipulate that hazardous and infectious waste is not permitted in public trash cans. 

Milan Puskar Health Right has operated a clean needle exchange program out of its Spruce Street clinic since August 2015. 

Health Right Executive Director Laura Jones told The Dominion Post in 2021 the agency was probably distributing 50 pounds of syringes monthly in its service area, which extended beyond Monongalia County. 

Members of council clarified that these ordinance changes impact the people doing the littering in public places, not the property owners where litter may be found. 

“It’s designed that when trash goes into the wrong place that someone be held accountable – that the person who puts it in there be held accountable,” Mayor Jenny Selin said. 

The new code also specifies that it is illegal to place construction waste in a public trash receptacle. 

Further, it adds city fire marshals and the city’s development services director to parking authority and code enforcement personnel deemed “special litter prevention officers” able to issue citations for littering. 

In other city news, urban archery hunt organizer Rick Bebout said the 2023 hunt kicks off Saturday and runs through the end of the year. 

It’ll pick back up Jan. 8-31. 

This will be the 13th year for the hunt, which has thus far removed 1,129 deer from the city and resulted in the donation of 11,706 pounds of ground venison to local feeding programs. 

The hunt will include 93 hunters on 46 properties, including BOPARC land for the first time since 2015.  

Bebout previously said hunters will have nine tree stands across four park properties — Marilla Park (1), Dorsey’s Knob (2), White Park (3) and Krepps Park (3). 

Lastly, council designated 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31 as Trick or Treat in the city of Morgantown.