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New DMV wins raves from public, governor

August 22, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

BARDANE, W.Va. - For some people, it seems that a well-run Division of Motor Vehicles office ranks right up there in importance with the other staples of life.

Give them a DMV office with reasonable lines and processing times and they're happy.

People at a newly opened DMV office in Bardane commented Monday about the frequent crowded conditions at the DMV office in Martinsburg, W.Va., and hoped that the new office in Jefferson County would give them a break from the crowds.

"This is the best thing that's happened to us in a long time," Charles Town, W.Va., resident Lonnie Watkins said Monday afternoon as he sat in the new DMV.

Paul Chalfant complained about the crowded conditions at the DMV office in Martinsburg, but he liked what he saw in the new location.

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"I think it's beautiful, Chalfant said.

Chalfant said he recently moved to Charles Town from Florida, where there is a very efficient motor vehicles agency.

"I just didn't think West Virginia would be doing as good of a job that they are clearly doing," Chalfant said.

The new DMV office in the Burr Industrial Park along W.Va. 9 opened last Thursday, but Gov. Joe Manchin traveled to the county Monday for a formal grand opening of the new office.

Manchin, speaking inside while patrons conducted business, said the need for the DMV office is reflective of the growth and progress in the Eastern Panhandle.

The work to open the DMV office is the result of people working together to solve problems, Manchin said. Manchin said he hears stories about people in public service saying they cannot work with certain people but "we don't need that in West Virginia. The last time I looked, we're all West Virginians," Manchin said at the DMV office Monday afternoon.

The hours for the office initially will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Pete Lake, director of regional offices and call center services for the DMV.

Some evening hours and Saturday hours might be added once officials get a feel for the demand at the new office, Lake said.

There are no evening hours at the Martinsburg or Bardane DMV offices, but night hours might be added to benefit people like commuters who are not in the area during the day, said state Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joseph Cicchirillo, who accompanied Manchin.

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