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Council approves Christmas celebration

By Staff | Oct 13, 2017

Journal file photo by Ron Agnir Gionni Genovese, 3 ½, marvels at the Shepherdstown Christmas Tree in 2016.

As the monthly meeting of the Corporation of Shepherdstown Town Council commenced Tuesday evening, many items padded the agenda. However, the conversation over the annual Christmas in Shepherdstown event dominated the meeting.

Director of the Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center Marianne Davis was on hand to request the council make a motion to approve the upcoming celebration, along with some additions to the regular festivities.

“This year we are putting a toe in the 18th century water, in addition to the Civil War-era celebrations. One of the professors here, Dr. Ben Bankhurst, is going to be doing some speaking for to recognize the Revolutionary and Rumseian period,” Davis said.

Davis also went on to mention the Jefferson County Historic Landmark Commission’s interest in honoring the Battle of Shepherdstown.

“They county was already going to the cement mill, so they decided to do the battle as well,” Davis said. “Ghosts may come and ghosts may go, but history lives on forever in this town.”

Speaking of ghosts, Davis also reminded the council of the upcoming “BOOFest” at the end of the month.

“And even Halloween is going to be celebrated on actual Halloween this year,” Davis said.

In the flow of dialogue, the conversation quickly returned to the annual holiday lights which regularly illuminate downtown. Davis reported the visitor’s center is in need of extra funding to ensure the lights shine bright once more.

Council member and local business owner Deb Tucker urged her fellow council members to consider contributing to this cause.

“I assume the town will contribute to the lights again this year, as we have in years past,” Tucker questioned.

Mayor Jim Auxer assured Tucker, and Davis, that funds would be available again this year.

“At the finance meeting we set aside some money for Christmas in Shepherdstown. The bill is to be sent directly to us with a maximum of $2,000,” Auxer said.

With that, approval for the annual Christmas in Shepherdstown event was given.

The meeting also saw comment from members of the community concerning proposed and upcoming issues.

Adam Solich, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, addressed the council with his hopes of establishing a charter of the group within town limits.

“There is a stigma surrounding the club that it is a drinking club for old men,” Solich said. “We are tired of that stigma. We want to establish a post that can draw from Maryland and West Virginia. Shepherdstown would be a great location for that charter.”

Also stepping up to the podium was Shepherdstown captain of the WV Women’s March Jessie Ward, who discussed an event coming up on Saturday.

“Hands Across the Potomac is (our event) to show our opposition to the pipeline in the panhandle. The pipeline is supposed to come within 500 feet of my house, so this is a very personal cause for me,” Ward said. “We are going to rally at the ampitheater on Shepherd’s campus and march to the Rumsey Bridge to join hands with others from Maryland into West Virginia to show solidarity. I am inviting the town council to come out to show support.”

Other items on the agenda, which received approval were as follows:

Approval was given to hold the annual CASA Bike Ride on May 19, 2018

Approval for a second reading of an ordinance to amend Chapter 10, Title 9 of the Code of Shepherdstown

Approval to a Recycling Task Force to rid the town of plastic and styrofoam in favor of biodegradable products

Approval to a resolution for the town to join with the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Plan

Approval of a reading to adopt domestic violence and stalking ordinances per the recommendation of the Shepherdstown Police Department

Approval to commence with funding the CATF Economic Impact Study in the sum of $10,000 – $5,000 in 2017, and $5,000 in 2018. This motion was overwhelmingly approved

Christopher Cafiero and Terence Fulton were approved to join the town’s Planning Commission, appointing each to three year terms

Approval was given to council member David Rosen to head up an investigation into the viability of permanent lights on the buildings downtown.

Mayor Auxer concluded the meeting by addressing the efforts of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club, along with other various volunteers, across the town.

“The Rotary Club did a fantastic job of cleaning up the Rumsey Bridge during the United Way Day of Caring event last month,” Auxer said. “Everyone has done a great job with all the events this year as well. We have had great volunteers in Shepherdstown.”

With that, the Town Council adjourned until November.