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Baker, Etherington seek Ward I seat on Martinsburg council

June 07, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Only one of Martinsburg's five City Council ward seats on the ballot in Tuesday's municipal election is a contested race.

Democrat Jason W. Baker of 735 W. John St. and Republican Dennis J. Etherington of 501 Georgia Ave. have been campaigning for the support of a little more than 2,100 registered voters in precincts 8 and 9 of Ward I.

Baker, 25, said he would advocate for a farmer's market that would operate Friday through Sunday between the Easter and Thanksgiving holidays, more police bicycle patrols through neighborhoods, recreational use of the water-filled quarry off West Martin Street known as Lake Thomas, and completion of other ongoing projects, such as the Raleigh Street Extension.

"We own the Market House downtown, maybe we can actually use it for a market again," Baker said. "Shepherdstown did a wonderful job with their farmer's market (at the War Memorial building) and it's really helped their downtown area."

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Etherington, 57, said he learned more about the city's need for the Raleigh Street project, along with growth-related needs at City Hall and the city's west side after being appointed to the council in January to fill an unexpired term.

"When I first applied (for the seat), I had no agenda," Etherington said. Since being appointed to council in January, Etherington said he also realized the importance of building a downtown parking garage.

Etherington cited his work as a longtime Berkeley County educator, and currently is assistant principal at Eagle School Intermediate.

Baker owns JWB Contracting, a construction business that specializes in concrete and excavation.

Council members Richard L. Yauger, Max G. Parkinson, Roger Lewis and Betty B. Gunnoe are unopposed in the election. Mayor George Karos also is unopposed.

Elected to a four-year term, council members receive $200 per month.

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