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Berkeley County Briefs

January 30, 2009

Planning, development council prepares to channel stimulus



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council is restructuring operations in anticipation of being used to channel federal stimulus dollars to Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, executive director Carol A. Crabtree said Thursday.

The council, also known as Region 9, is governed by a 23-member board that includes 12 elected officials from the region's nine municipalities and three county governments, and 11 appointed members from the respective government entities.

Crabtree said the state's 11 regional councils have been working with the West Virginia Development Office in preparation of handling federal dollars for "shovel-ready" projects that regional leaders have submitted to the state.

Crabtree said the board has advertised to hire a fiscal agent to make sure "every I is dotted and T is crossed" to account for how any stimulus money is spent.

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The board recently hired attorney Claudia W. Bentley to review the council's bylaws to insure they were in compliance with state code, Crabtree said.

The review prompted letters to be sent this week to the mayors of Ranson and Charles Town, W.Va., who were alerted that only another elected town official could attend Region 9 meetings in their absence.

"We want to make sure we are doing everything according to the (state) code," Crabtree said.

Sheriff recognized for years of service as deputy



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Kenneth M. "Kenny" Lemaster Jr. was recognized Thursday by the Berkeley County Commission for more than 31 years of law enforcement service before retiring last year to serve as Berkeley County's next sheriff.

Commission President Ronald K. Collins, who awarded Lemaster his firearm, said the sheriff's rise through the ranks and eventual appointment as chief deputy by Sheriff W. Randy Smith was "quite admirable."

Smith requested that Lemaster be awarded his weapon in a Dec. 18 memo that apparently wasn't received in the County Commission office until Jan. 23, according to a date/time stamp on the letter.

Lemaster told the Commission that he would like to continue to carry the weapon after receiving it from Collins.

-- Matthew Umstead

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