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Berkeley County briefs

August 03, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Bank provides space for Red Cross chapter



MARTINSBURG - Cross Lanes, W.Va.-based City National Bank has offered to provide office space to the Berkeley County chapter of the American Red Cross, a branch loan officer in Martinsburg confirmed on Thursday.

Todd Beckwith said he was not aware of the specifics of the arrangement, but confirmed that the Red Cross was provided space in the bank's property at 617 Winchester Ave.

City National recently closed the branch office there and celebrated the opening of a new location at 1700 W. King St. The company's Eastern Panhandle headquarters also relocated to the West King Street office.

Berkeley County Commission President Steven C. Teufel said the bank's assistance relieves the county of its plan to reconfigure the former CVS store off Raleigh Street for the relief agency.

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"We don't have to rush to make the investment right now," Teufel said.

County leaders have provided the Red Cross chapter with office space since 1976. Earlier this year, county commissioners had offered space at their newly acquired former drugstore property, but only guaranteed it for up to two years.

In announcing the bank's assistance on Thursday, Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield said the Red Cross would not have to pay rent, but would be expected to pay utilities.

Karen Sumner, the Red Cross chapter's executive director, did not immediately return a message left at her office on Thursday.




Rainfall totals are lacking in county



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Commissioners were told on Thursday that precipitation tallies for the county were more than 5 inches below average so far this year, according to data recorded at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport.

Ed Dashiell, who described himself to commissioners as a "high intensity amateur" weather watcher, said precipitation data actually shows deficits in precipitation also were recorded in 2005 and 2006, amounting to an overall shortage of more than 11 inches through July 2007.

Following Dashiell's presentation, Commissioners decided to ask neighboring Jefferson and Morgan County leaders if they want to sign onto a request that the three counties be added to a 44-county drought emergency declaration announced by Gov. Joe Manchin on June 28.

Commissioners also wanted to move forward with implementing some sort of outdoor burning restriction because of the drought, but have been told that the state's forestry division alone is empowered to put such a rule into effect.

"I'm really surprised that the Commissions don't have this authority," Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield said.

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