FOLLANSBEE - Follansbee Council heard Monday from two businesses that will be involved in charity efforts in November.
Vito "Skip" Cutrone told council he again will offer a free Thanksgiving buffet at his restaurant, Vito's 2, on Thanksgiving and will be conducting nonperishable food drives at his other businesses, K&J's Skip 'n' Go and the Java Shoppe for the R.E.A.C.H. Program, a local food pantry.
Cutrone said everyone is welcome to the dinner, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, regardless of need. Those interested in coming are asked to call (304) 527-4440. Cutrone said the callers need not give their names, just the number who will be attending.
He said about 250 turned out last year, the first year for the dinner, and he hopes to double that this year and possibly deliver meals to those unable to come.
Cutrone said any monetary donations made during the meal will be given to the R.E.A.C.H. Program. He said about $300 was raised for the food pantry last year. Food leftover from last year's buffet was taken to the Anderson Children's Home, he added.
Cutrone said there is a larger number of hungry people in the community than many might guess. As the owner of businesses in Follansbee for 23 years, he said he sees it as a way "to give back to the community."
Council also heard from Eric Fithyan, owner of Chambers and James Funeral Homes, who said the funeral homes in Wellsburg and Follansbee will be accepting donations of sweaters and gloves for veterans living in local nursing homes and in state facilities for retired veterans.
Fithyan said the sweaters and gloves may be left in red and blue boxes found outside the two funeral homes from Nov. 1-12. He said the Ohio Valley Veterans Memorial Squad has agreed to distribute the items to the local veterans, while he and his staff will deliver to the state veterans homes.
Fithyan said he also will accept monetary donations for wreaths to be placed on graves of veterans at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville, Pa.
In other business, council:
Heard from Sharlee DeMaria, who requested a handicap parking space near her home in the 900 block of Virginia Avenue. There is a handicap space in that block, and council normally limits them to one per block, but DeMaria said parking spaces in her block and two adjacent ones often are filled by people going to the Brooke County Senior Center nearby.
DeMaria said residents have blocked the spaces with chairs to ensure they have a place to park but were told by City Police they can't do that.
City Attorney Michael Gaudio said the spaces are on a public street and may be used by anyone. But he said he's noticed some vehicles in a city lot nearby that haven't been moved in some time and he and City Police Chief John Schwertfeger will look into whether they can be moved or other measures taken.
Approved the hiring of Shane Siranovic of New Cumberland as a city police officer. Schwertfeger said Siranovic is certified, so the city won't have to pay for him to attend the state police academy.
Third Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro asked Schwertfeger if the new hiring will reduce the need for part-time officers hired earlier this year.
The police chief said it will to some extent but the part-time officers, many of them employed by other local law enforcement agencies, will continue to be scheduled for weekend patrols.
The city police department now has six full-time and three part-time officers.
Announced the city's fall cleanup will be held Monday through Oct. 27. Bulky items may be left out by residents on the days their garbage is normally collected. The city won't accept construction materials, oil, paints, tires, batteries, televisions or computers. For information, call (304) 527-1330.
Announced Trick-or-Treat hours will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.