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Berkeley County Commission briefs

May 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

First affordable housing program recipient recognized

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Blue Ridge Community and Technical College employee was recognized Thursday as the first person to qualify for the county's affordable housing assistance program for public employees.

Elizabeth Woolaston, a college admissions counselor, and her husband, Damion, are expected to close on a three-bedroom house later this month. The couple have two young children, who she said now will have a fenced-in yard to play in.

"I'm excited," Woolaston said as Berkeley County Commissioner Steven C. Teufel presented her with a certificate.

"We're glad to see this work," Teufel said.

Woolaston said the $9,229 affordable housing grant made possible through the Eastern Panhandle HOME Consortium was a big help.

"... Having the grant money, we were able to get a lower interest rate," Woolaston said.

For information about the county's affordable housing program for public employees, call 304-263-1923.

Pigeon, feces control measures approved

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A health hazard posed by pigeons roosting on top of the Berkeley County Judicial Center can be tackled in-house at a substantial cost savings, the county's facilities director said at Thursday's Berkeley County Commission meeting.

"We really need to do this now," Jay Russell said of plans to install bird-control netting around the building's air-handling systems, which he feared could suck droppings and nesting debris inside the center at 380 W. South St. "With all these birds and feces up there - I think we need to just go ahead and put this netting up."

After researching material costs, Russell said he estimated the work could be done by his staff for $1,500, a significantly lower cost than a $15,715 estimate provided by a company in October.

County leaders had struggled for several years to stop birds from roosting on the historic courthouse at King and Queen streets. A successful deterrent strategy to reduce potential human exposure to bacteria and microorganisms from feral pigeons now is in place there.

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