CHESTER - Chester City Council is putting city resources behind the cause of organ donation and organ transplants.
At their Monday meeting, council members heard a plea for organ donor awareness from Chester native Steve Logston, whose girlfriend's daughter, Chelsea Lingenfelter, 21, of Wellsville, died Feb. 18 during liver transplant surgery at Cleveland Clinic.
Logston, wearing a "Team Chelsea" T-shirt, told council he needed a venue for an organ donor awareness event in Chester on March 23, the same day a similar event is being held in Wellsville.
"If we can get one person to sign up as an organ donor, that could potentially save eight people's lives," Logston said. "I think that would be an awesome accomplishment."
Council agreed to let Logston use the Chester Municipal Building for the sign-up event. City Clerk Sandi Parkins also read a statement from Mayor Ken Morris, who was absent, expressing condolences for Logston and Joni Lingenfelter's loss.
Chelsea Lingenfelter lost her battle with liver disease after waiting a year and a half for a suitable donor organ, Logston said. A month and a half ago, her liver failed and she was put on dialysis, he said.
Then, on Feb. 17, the family learned that a potential match had been found. She was in surgery for four hours on Feb. 18 when her heart stopped, Logston said.
"She was too weak. Her body couldn't take it," he said.
Logston said he wants to spread the word about the importance of organ donation because not enough people are registered as organ donors. In the United States, 100,000 people are on an organ transplant waiting list, and every 12 minutes, someone gets added to that list, he said.
The March 23 event will be held in cooperation with the Pittsburgh-based Center for Organ Recovery & Education.
Council went into executive session to discuss property issues. No action was taken.
2nd Ward Councilman John Woodruff said he is awaiting a reply from the West Virginia Department of Transportation regarding his plan to have flashing lights and a crosswalk installed on Carolina Avenue between the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. The lights would be similar to the ones in front of East Liverpool City Hospital and would run on solar energy.
Woodruff said it will be difficult to get state support for such a project.
5th Ward Councilman Steve Shuman reiterated his complaint about Waste Management garbage trucks damaging city curbs and yards. He said the company has a smaller truck it should use for its garbage collection routes in the city.
Shuman also wants the city to look into buying a used salt spreader as a spare. He identified a 10-foot-long, stainless steel spreader that is "like new" and costs $2,000.
3rd Ward Councilman Mike Dotson said April 13 will be "Make it Shine" day - a day devoted to cleaning up the city. He said more details will be forthcoming at future council meetings.
Parkins said she plans to invite Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie to talk to council about expanding "home rule" authority for cities in West Virginia. Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling are in the process of completing a pilot project on expanded home rule.
City Solicitor April Raines said she wants the city to increase its penalties for violating the city ordinance on maintaining one's property.
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