Wintersville welcomes new council member

WINTERSVILLE — The village of Wintersville has a new council member after Thursday’s meeting.

Dr. Michael Ross, a local chiropractor, was approved to replace Councilwoman Phyllis Foreman. The vote to approve Ross was four to one with Councilman Randy Spence voting against the move.

Foreman’s resignation from council became effective July 1.

Council also welcomed new officer Paul Wheeler to the village’s police department. Wheeler is a 2011 Indian Creek High School graduate who served three and half years in the Army, much of that time overseas. Wheeler started his probationary period on Sunday.

“He is capable and he has the heart and will to do this job,” Police Chief Art Fowler said.

Oscar Herrera spoke to council about the efforts of the group he represents, Sensible Wintersville, to decriminalize marijuana.

The local organization is a part of a larger group, Sensible Ohio, which is working to have marijuana decriminalized in the village and, ultimately, the state.

“We want to see marijuana decriminalized with zero dollars and zero time,” he told members of council.

Herrera said he thinks Wintersville could help lead the way in changing the way marijuana crimes are handled in the state.

Mayor Bob Gale took Herrera’s information and said administration would review it.

Gale later said it is really not up to the village to make those kinds of decisions.

“Those are state laws,” Gale said. “They have to be dealt with by the legal community — the judges and courts.”

Gale said, personally, while he does not think that one crime should scar someone for the rest of his or her life, and believes in rehabilitation, he is not in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use or changing current laws.

Gale did praise Herrera and Sensible Wintersville for following the proper channels in their attempts to bring about changes either way.

“I commend him,” he said. “It’s good to see young people exercise their rights.”

The village announced its paving projects for the remainder of the year, but Village Administrator Walt Ziemba warned the large amounts of rain the area has received since March will push the schedule back.

The streets that are on the schedule for this year include Meadowbrook Drive, Squirrel Hill, Grandview Drive and striping on Cadiz Road.

“(The pavers) are saying late October or early November, if they can get to it at all this year,” he said.

The second half of Luray Drive was moved to 2020 in order to come in on budget with the project.

Fernwood Road also is scheduled for 2020.

Ziemba reported the tonnage of refuse collected during the village’s annual cleanup has increased 75 percent during the past three years.

Gale said the village needs to look into ways to keep the collection boxes secured until the cleanup day is scheduled.

He said that the boxes are filled before the cleanup actually begins, often with the trash of non-residents.

Gale said when the boxes are filled before the actual cleanup day it costs the village extra money to order additional containers and an extra day of staffing.

Council’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 in council chambers, 200 Grove St.

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