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Middlebourne council honors Smith’s memory

By Staff | May 15, 2013

Members of Middlebourne’s Council reflect on the life and legacy of former city servant Dave Smith, who recently passed away.

A moment of silence was held in remembrance of former Middlebourne Chief of Police and Treasurer David Smith Monday night at Middlebourne’s Town Council meeting.

Mayor Gayla Fisher stated Smith was a “big supporter of the town” and “wore many hats.” “He will be dearly missed,” she stated before initiating the moment of silence.

Following the solemn honor, Fisher outlined plans to celebrate, June 21-23, the 200th birthday of the town Smith loved and supported.

She was excited to announce that Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform that Saturday night at the Tyler County Fairgrounds. Murphy, whose hometown is in Logan, W.Va., is perhaps best known for his victory on America’s Got Talent in 2011. Murphy, besides his vocal talents that have been compared to Frank Sinatra, also is known for his “rags to riches” story. Murphy was once reduced to homelessness. He would sleep in his car and worked as a car washer during the months leading up to his TV performances.

He was down to his last pair of pants and jacket when he arrived to sing at his America’s Got Talent audition.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform June 22 at Middlebourne’s Bicen-tennial Celebration.

After Murphy’s free performance from 7-9:30 p.m., Zambelli Fireworks will then put on a show. Fisher stated that food would be provided by the ladies of the fair board, though she does not know yet if these will be finger foods or not.

Otherwise the celebration will begin on June 21 with a dinner in front of the senior center, as well as entertainment by Mountain State Bluegrass Express. Fisher said the music will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will include hamburgers, hot-dogs, cobblers, and ice cream, sponsored by the Tyler County Senior Citizens. The weekend will also include a quilt show at the senior center.

Fisher stated that on June 22, a parade will begin at 1 p.m., with a 12-12:15 p.m. line-up at the senior citizens’ building. On this day, there will be a soup beans and corn bread dinner, and the library will be selling foods also. Fisher stated Patty Cooper will be portraying Belle Boyd, who was a Confederate Spy during the Civil War.

The weekend’s festivities will also include face painting, balloon animals, a slideshow of Middlebourne at the fire hall, bubbles, fiber art spinners, bagpipe players, and birthday cakes, in honor of Middlebourne’s birthday celebration.

Plans are for a big tent to be erected by the senior center, along with tables and chairs so people can enjoy their meals and get out of the sun. Also, inflatables will be available for kids, including a bouncy house and slide. The National Guard will also be bringing a rock climbing wall for children. “We are hoping to add more as we go along.”

The mayor said a baked steak dinner will be held at the log cabin on June 23, from 11-2 p.m. From 2-4 p.m., Goldwing Express, out of Branson, Mo., will perform. Fisher stated the group sings “country and gospel” and “does comedy and a little bit of everything.”

She wanted to emphasis that Middlebourne’s Bicentennial celebration is being strictly done through grants, specifically a $500 grant from Long Reach Credit Union, $500 from Stone Energy, $5000 from West Virginia Culture and History, and $50,000 from the Stealey Community Fund. “No town funding is involved,” Fisher stated, saying she wants to make sure everyone knows that the celebration is funded through grants.

Fisher did confirm that all three shows are free and stated that the biggest thing people will be paying for is concessions. Fisher stated that with it being Middlebourne’s Bicentennial, she wanted many people to be able to celebrate it. “It’s open to everyone who wants to come in and help celebrate, and we are very thankful for grants we have received that have helped us to be able to do this sort of thing.”

Fisher said plans for Middlebourne’s Bicentennial Celebration are still being made and a meeting of the Bicentennial Committee will take place Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

In other town matters, Fisher said the flushing of the fire hydrants has been completed. She added that hydrants are flushed on a six-month basis, and this seems to be working out well for the town. Fisher further stated that more work is to be done on the hydrants. She stated that one hydrant will be put online and repair work will be completed on the other hydrants. The Governor’s Community Participation Grant, which provides $10,000 in Local Economic Assistant Funds, will be used for this hydrant project.

A request from the Middlebourne library was granted by the council: on May 24 the library will shut off Broad Street, beginning at 8 a.m., for their barbecue.

Fisher stated that the town of Middlebourne has also recently received its town entrance signs and that it is time to do “footers and pillars and that kind of thing.” Fisher said only one person responded to the bid, Gary Tuttle out of St. Marys. Bids were due by 7 p.m. that evening; Tuttle requested 50 percent payment upfront and 50 percent at time of completion. It was determined that the town’s attorney, Gary Rymer, would work on a contract.

Lastly, Council member Suzanne Farhatt brought forth a concern that had been expressed to her by a citizen. Farhatt stated a citizen was concerned over a trailer on Dodd Street, in front of the old high school. Mayor Fisher stated she had spoken to the owner of the trailer previously, and the trailer was supposed to have been moved this previous weekend. Fisher said she would follow up with a call. Farhatt’s primary concerns appeared to be the possibility that other citizens might begin doing similar things. “Not that I’ve seen it, but I think it’ll open it up to people to do the same thing.” Farhatt also stated that the trailer might make it difficult to see traffic when coming out of Head Start. She also stated the trailer takes up parking.

Also at the Middlebourne Town Council meeting, the minutes of April’s meeting were read and approved by the council.