Elkins City Council chooses new Second Ward member

Elkins City Council appointed a new council member Thursday, naming Gene Ochsendorf to the Second Ward seat vacated by Mayor Van Broughton after the March election.

“I was on the Parks Commission for many years, and I was on the police Civil Service Commission for as long or longer,” Ochsendorf said after the meeting. “I feel that, since I live in the town, I should be involved in the town.”

Ocshendorf is currently the project coordinator of Veterans Upward Bound at Davis & Elkins College, and was formerly the director of YouthBuild in Elkins.

Council entered into executive session immediately after the beginning of Thursday’s meeting to discuss the vacant council seat. After half an hour, council emerged and then Councilman Mitch Marstiller made a motion to appoint Ocshendorf to the Second Ward seat. All council members voted to approve the motion.

After the vote, Ocshendorf was sworn into office by City Clerk Sutton Stokes, and then took his seat at the council table.

During his comments at the end of Thursday’s meeting, Broughton welcomed Ocshendorf to City Council and said he would soon assign him to council committees.

Also during Thursday’s meeting:

– Operations Manager Bob Pingley said the town’s street sweeper and brush chipper are both out of operation currently, until repairs can be finished.

“We hope to get them back up and running very soon,” he said.

Broughton noted that he’d received many calls lately from people complimenting the streets department’s work.

– Pingley also noted that there was a fire at the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill Wednesday.

“One of the high voltage electric lines strung over there snapped in half and landed in the dry grass and caused a brush fire,” he said. “So we had to get the fire department out there to put that out. No harm, no foul.”

– In more positive news, Pingley said he’d been told by state Division of Highways officials that the state plans to pave Worth Avenue in Elkins.

He also gave council members copies of a letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection, advising Broughton that no deficiencies were noted during the latest inspection of the city’s water treatment plant.

“You and your staff are to be commended for your commitment to proper operation and maintenance of your treatment facility,” environmental inspector/supervisor Robin Dolly wrote in the letter.

“It’s not often that you get an ‘atta boy,'” Pingley said. “We all appreciate it.”

The next Elkins City Council meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. June 6 in City Hall.