Martinsburg City Council briefs

December 10, 2004

Idoni's 10-minute absence is noted

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Beleaguered Martinsburg City Councilman Frank Idoni attended the council's meeting Thursday night, where no reference was made to a petition signed by 175 people demanding that he be removed from office.

Also, no mention was made of a unanimous vote taken by City Council members a month ago asking that Idoni resign.

Mayor George Karos did halt the meeting at one point to ask that the record reflect Idoni had walked out of the council chambers.

"At 7:47 (p.m.)," Martinsburg Police Chief Ted Anderson noted.

When Idoni returned at 7:57 p.m., Karos asked the record reflect that he had returned. Idoni said nothing.

Idoni has been the subject of several complaints to police after he was seen walking around his Ward 5 neighborhood carrying a baseball bat and yelling and making threats.


In October, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery after he alleged spit on and punched a teenager whom he felt was driving recklessly.

That case is pending.

Idoni has said that he has no plans to resign.

Pigeons' fate cause of concern for one

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg City Councilwoman Shari Knadler Persad voted in favor of a $3,300 proposal to have pigeons in the city trapped, but asked Thursday whether they are killed or released elsewhere.

City Manager Mark Baldwin said he believes all trapped pigeons are "disposed of." He said it's also possible, however, that they are released alive.

The proposal calls for workers with Ehrlich, a pest control company, to set up traps at three locations in the city.

Councilman Frank Idoni asked whether in past years pigeon trapping programs have been successful or whether the birds return year after year.

Baldwin said 200 to 500 birds are trapped a year and that the overall pigeon population has probably decreased.

Renovations at old hotel nearly complete

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Renovations at an old hotel by the train station are "98 to 99 percent complete," City Councilman Richard Yauger said Thursday.

Plans to hold an open house likely will be discussed next month, Yauger said.

The pre-Civil War train station is off Martin Street, across the railroad tracks from the Martinsburg Roundhouse.

City Manager Mark Baldwin said he has been contacted by several business owners and officials with nonprofit organizations who are interested in leasing space in the building.

Leases could begin Feb. 1, 2005, or March 1, 2005, he said.

Mural a daylight-only attraction

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - There was much ado about a mural painted on the side of the Market House, but it can only been seen during the day, Councilman Donald Anderson said Thursday.

He suggested to other City Council members that some sort of lighting be installed to make it visible at night. The lighting could be discreet and placed above the artwork, he said.

The mural, unveiled in October, depicts a young fiddler, master fiddler and contractor. Painted by William Cochran, it is titled "The Lonesome Touch" and is at the corner of Queen and Burke streets.

No action was taken on Anderson's suggestion.

- Candice Bosely

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