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Hospital, Berkeley Springs come up winners in federal budget

November 23, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Visitors to Berkeley Springs, W.Va., will soon find that the town has a better sidewalk system and is easier to navigate.

Seniors at Berkeley Senior Services will be able to surf the Web, doctors at Jefferson Memorial Hospital will be able to use new technology, and local employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be able to track down international gun smugglers.

They all can thank U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who helped to secure $1.275 million in funding for four local projects.

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Capito's press secretary, R.C. Hammond, said Monday that funding for all of the projects has been approved by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, and should be signed by President Bush sometime in December.

Funding should then be dispersed within months, Hammond said.

All of the funding consists of federal tax dollars West Virginians have already paid, and that is being returned to the area, Capito said.

The biggest allotment was $1 million, which the Martinsburg ATF office will use to help America's allies track down and stop international gun smugglers, Capito said.

"This funding is critical to combating international money laundering, drug cartels and terrorism," Capito said in a news release. "Today, ATF has the authority to assist foreign governments in firearm tracing, but lacks the resources. This funding helps fix that problem and strengthen law enforcement's efforts in combating international money laundering, drug cartels and terrorism."

On a lighter note, the town of Berkeley Springs will receive $200,000 to help make it more friendly and accessible to tourists. Officials with the town - which is renowned for its spas - plan to use the money to add lighting, sidewalks and signs to help better direct visitors, the release said.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital will use an allocation of $57,000 to create a computer-based medical chart and order system. Improvements also will be made to the Ranson, W.Va., hospital's parking lot, Capito said.

"Jefferson County is one of the fastest-growing counties in West Virginia, (and) these funds will help the hospital address several short-term problems while they continue to provide critical health care to local residents," Capito said in the release.

Lastly, Berkeley Senior Services will use its allocation of $18,000 to complete renovations at its High Street building - including adding a new computer lab for seniors, office space for the staff and a storage room.

A ramp will help with access to the building's lower floor, and new bathrooms will be installed, Capito said.

Capito spent the past year meeting with local groups and officials and asking what she could do to help meet their needs, Hammond said. Money also was awarded to other agencies throughout the state, he said.

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