New faces begin the year in Barnesville

T-L Photo/MIRANDA SEBROSKI New Barnesville Village Council member Jamie Betts, right, participates in his first meeting of 2018. Seated next to him is Brad Hudson, who was named president of council.

BARNESVILLE — Barnesville has a new council member and president as the village enters 2018, and a new police chief soon will be added to that roster.

Jamie Betts was introduced Monday as a new councilman and Brad Hudson was named council president during a regular council session. Members also voted to grant the village administrator and operations manager each raises of a $1 per hour.

Police Chief Dave Norris announced his retirement, which will be effective Feb. 28. Norris received praise from the council for his years of work in the village.

“It’s been a great place to be,” Norris said. “You guys have been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work.”

Norris recommended Rocky Sirianni, a current village officer, to take his place when he retires. All of the council members voted “yes” except for Jamie Betts, who wanted to keep options open.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’m grateful for the chief’s recommendation and mayor’s approval,” Sirianni said. “It’s something I’ve always strived for. I am honored to step up my service at that capacity.”

In other news, the Belmont County Squad and Fire Officers Association applied for a grant of $500,000 that will be provide the Barnesville Volunteer Fire Department with two Physio-Control LUCAS 3 Chest Compression devices. The devices cost $15,000 apiece, and every department in the county was given at least one; some got more, depending on the size of the department. The LUCAS machines perform automated CPR and fit American Heart Association standards. The battery lasts 30 through minutes of continuous compressions, and the machines can be paused if needed. Barnesville’s department received six batteries. The LUCAS device cannot work with pediatric patients, those with an extremely low weight or patients over 300 pounds. A demonstration of the LUCAS device was provided at the council meeting.

Meanwhile, the issue of malfunctioning traffic lights was discussed at the council meeting. A plan was made to replace old traffic lights with new electronic lights. The electronic lights will flash to show there is an issue, rather than the lights going completely out like the older models. Traffic light boxes more than 25 years old will be replaced. This will cost an estimated $12,900 plus the cost of hiring electricians. A safety meeting was called for 9 p.m. Jan. 20 at the firehouse.

Also, new plans will be devised with the water treatment plan to address the algae bloom problem the area and the entire state of Ohio has been facing. One test for a village reservoir showed that the water was free of the algae bloom, but other tests are still being processed. Testing for the algae has been going on for four years, but this year the growth was prominent enough that you could physically see the algae in the reservoir, village leaders said. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will be contacted in the spring to see what the agency advises to do about the issue.

Council also discussed the fireworks display for the July 4 holiday. Since the holiday falls on a date in the middle of the week and the Beast of the East baseball tournament is at the same time, council concluded the annual fireworks display will be held July 7 with a rain date of July 8.