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Puns to be plentiful on Berkeley Co. street signs

May 02, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Ophelia Orndorff is not wild about Berkeley County's plans to change her street name from Hickory Court to Soft Hickory Court, but Orndorff said it could have been worse.

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Nightmare Lane, Explosive Place and Torpedo Lane are among the proposed road names that have drawn the ire of critics questioning the county's plan to rename about 500 roads as part of a revamped 911 emergency system.

"West Virginia doesn't always have the best reputation to begin with. I don't think this will help things," said Orndorff.

While the list is subject to change pending appeals to the Berkeley County Commission, the current proposed names run the gamut from simple plays on words to astrologically themed subdivisions.

What's in a name? Consider the following suggestions:

Supreme Court, Goa Way Road, Bowling Lane, Vocal Court and Dinner Belle Court can be construed as clever puns, while race fans can certainly identify with NASCAR Street and Dale Earnhardt Lane.

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Television viewers might chuckle at Baywatch Lane and fans of the Big Bopper will surely recognize Chantilly Lane.

The Pikeview Acres subdivision has looked to the stars with its suggested names, ranging from Libra Lane and Aquarius Way to Pisces Place and Zodiac Lane.

Intended to eliminate confusion when frantic citizens call 911 for help, the county's attempt to get rid of similar-sounding street names has not gone smoothly.

The county has been sued twice over the issue. Both lawsuits have been dismissed, but the matter could end up back in court if the citizen group Common Sense 911 follows through on its plans to appeal its lawsuit that would force the county to delay its 911 plan until a referendum vote in May 2000.

William Young, whose street would change from Walnut Court to Cracked Walnut Way, does not see why the county has to change his or anyone else's address.

"We have about 12 Walnuts in town. The pizza guy has no problem finding these places," said Young. "It doesn't make much sense, honestly."

Young said the intentions may be good, but the county has gone about it the wrong way.

"Some of these names have no rhyme nor reason to them. They've dug themselves a hole," he said.

Berkeley County 911 Director Mary Kackley said the proposed street names are, for the most part, the result of the democratic process.

The 911 commission asked residents to suggest names and, in most cases, went with the names that were submitted.

"So many of these names people are upset with were submitted by people who live on that road," said Kackley.

Anything "blatantly unacceptable" was rejected, she said.

"We used the names suggested by people who took the time to participate. When we didn't get a response, then we chose the name," said Kackley.

Cloverdale Drive resident Brenda Worrell said she was under the impression the county was going to leave her street name alone.

Upon learning her new street name would be Acoustic Drive, Worrell was not impressed.

"Oh, boy," said Worrell, adding she was not looking forward to the prospect of changing the address for checks and credit cards.

Worrell's neighbor, Lori Murray, also was not enamored with the change.

"It's stupid. This is just going to get more confusing," she said.

The Berkeley County Commission will continue to hear appeals for proposed street names until the end of June and has scheduled a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Berkeley County Court House to get citizen input.

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