Two seek Beech Bottom mayor’s post

BEECH BOTTOM – Beech Bottom voters will choose from two candidates for mayor in the village’s election Tuesday.

The candidates in the nonpartisan election are incumbent George Lewis of 100 High St. and Rebecca Lynn “Becky” Uhlly of 3 Park Ave., a current council member.

Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Liberty University, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from Marshall University and a master’s degree in industrial safety management from Fairmont State University and West Virginia University.

“And a Ph.D. from the school of hard knocks,” he added, saying, “Most of my training comes mainly from my life experiences.”

Lewis is in his eighth year as mayor of Beech Bottom, having been elected to the position for two terms. He also served as a county coroner in Brooke, Hancock and Ohio counties.

Lewis said as mayor he worked with others for the completion of a $1.9 million project involving the extension and replacement of water lines serving more than 200 residents; renovations to the Hill Street Playground, the widening of several narrow streets; and the hiring of a regular part-time maintenance supervisor for the village.

Lewis also headed efforts to erect a monument dedicated to military veterans from the Beech Bottom and 49 Hill areas and located in front of the Beech Bottom Municipal Building along state Route 2.

He said in addition to Memorial Day services held at that site, several social events have been added during his administration. They include the village’s Christmas party for children and seniors at a local nursing home, a Christmas food drive benefiting the food pantry at a local church serving the county; and the annual village picnic at the Third Street Playground.

Lewis said he has been able to establish numerous contacts with local officials and leaders in Charleston that have benefited the village through support for the water project and other endeavors.

He said such contacts have aided in situations ranging from a collapsing sewer line to a beaver dam that caused problems for people in the Ash Run area. He said residents there may remember seeing him standing over the dam at midnight with a flashlight in his hand.

Lewis said if re-elected, he will continue to work for improvements to the community.

“My feelings are, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.

Elected to council in 2010, Uhlly said as chairman of the village’s playground committee, she worked with others for the addition of a picnic shelter to the Third Street Playground and other improvements.

She said as a member of the grant committee, she worked with Councilman Greg Sheperd and others to secure funds for sidewalk replacement, a public drop bin for recyclable material and the addition of solar panels to aid in heating the Municipal Building.

Uhlly has chaired community cleanup days, recruiting participants from Beech Bottom’s Neighborhood Watch program and other volunteers to collect litter and beautify local playgrounds, and with Village Recorder Linda Dowell, applied for the West Virginia Make It Shine award, which the village has received in each of the last four years.

Uhlly said she worked with local businesses to complete a hazardous mitigation plan for the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and has undergone training for the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, which trains volunteers to assist in community-wide emergencies according to their particular talents or skills.

Now retired, she has been employed as postmaster relief for the Beech Bottom post office, a customer service representative for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia and coordinator for the Brooke Board of Education’s Parent Resource Center.

She was a charter member and chairman of the Brooke-Hancock Family Resource Network and county chair for Read Aloud West Virginia and the Governor’s Summit for Children, Youth and Families.

A life member of the PTA, she has served as president and secretary of local PTA chapters and is a worship leader and Sunday school teacher at Beech Bottom Community Christian Church.

She said if elected mayor, “I will represent Beech Bottom in a professional manner and conduct all business of the village in an ethical manner. All residents and council members will be treated with the respect they deserve, and I will always be available to our residents.”