Council asked to support tornado relief effort

FOLLANSBEE – The Follansbee Chamber of Commerce and a local business owner asked Follansbee Council Monday to assist them in raising funds for an Oklahoma family who lost their home in one of the recent tornadoes to hit the Sooner State.

Council was asked to approve a tag day at area businesses for the collection of donations for the family of Brandon and Amey Barrett of Newcastle, Okla.

The pair have two children – Draik, 4, and Addison, 6 – said business owner Vito “Skip” Cutrone, who joined Chamber President Tony Paesano in making the request.

Paesano said the chamber learned of the family through a Wellsburg couple who had lived in Oklahoma and moved back to Brooke County before the disaster.

Cutrone said his daughter, Kayla, suggested helping the tornado victims the same day members of the chamber were discussing ways to help at their regular meeting at his restaurant, Vito’s 2.

Cutrone said proceeds from desserts sold at his restaurant through this month will go to the family, and so far that has raised $225. There are plans also to hold a spaghetti dinner for the cause in July.

He added Charlotte Kolenc at the Follansbee WesBanco branch has helped the chamber to set up a fund at the bank, and contributions may be made to it through any WesBanco branch. They should be sent to: FC of C Disaster Relief Fund C/O Barrett Family.

Anyone with questions may contact Kayla Cutrone at or (304) 527-4440.

Paesano said a boot drive also may be held, noting that a collection by Follansbee firefighters along state Route 2 following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 raised $10,000 for victims of the attacks.

“A small community can make a difference,” he said.

Council voiced support for a resolution supporting the tag day that it will consider at its next regular meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Follansbee City Building.

In other business, council:

Heard from Tom McMillan of Main Street, who asked city officials to address high grass in the street’s 400 block. He said the area is populated by rats, and he’s concerned that children who play there will be bitten.

Police Chief John Schwertfeger and City Manager John DeStefano said owners of the property have been advised they must cut the grass within a designated period of time or the city will cut it and bill them for it.

Heard from Richard Rees, who thanked DeStefano for responding to concerns he aired about crossing signals along state Route 2.

Rees had questioned whether signals on the south end were working, saying he and others pressed them and waited a long time for the walk signal.

He said crews with the West Virginia Division of Highways came to check them the following day at DeStefano’s request.

It’s not clear whether the state highway crews needed to adjust them.

Discussed the weekly collection of grass clippings by the city’s sanitation crews. DeStefano said Public Works Director Steve Meca has expressed concern because the collections require a second truck and take crews away from other work in the city and residents have been leaving heavy cans of clippings that are difficult for crews to lift.

A few council members suggested even if the city were to discontinue the collections, the clippings would be left in residents’ garbage. Fifth Ward Councilman Tom Ludewig suggested the city sell cans of a manageable size to residents who want to put out grass clippings.

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