For some time the 911 office has met with area groups and municipal governments about changing addresses to avoid problems with similar sounding names. Numbers are also being changed because the new maps are marked to GPS coordinates on a satellite so that police and paramedics can get to the scene more quickly. When the street numbers match the number of miles on an odometer or GPS system it can help first responders find a residence.
Jackie Ferrell said he had attended a West Virginia State Mapping and Addressing Board meeting recently and read several lengthy statements from their guidelines. Ferrell said 25 years ago he was on the town council and advised the city to do addressing. Ferrell said guidelines state that if a municipality has made accomplishments it should be respected and that the mapping should use established standards.
"This was not done," Ferrell said.
"I have been advised that Logan County opted in," he said, reading from another document about the Logan County Commission's participation in the project and rules from the mapping board. Ferrell said the rulebook was put together in 2006.
"911 came to Chapmanville and they messed up our street names and changed all the numbers on the streets," Ferrell said. "They changed the names of all the avenues and some of the roads and streets."
Ferrell said he understood that the names could be confused with other names and street numbers in Logan County, particularly in West Logan and they went down and changed Chapmanville's so they would not have any conflicts...911 went to Chapmanville and said you have to do it, it was mandated by the state and homeland security as a safety thing."
Ferrell said he wanted the Logan County Commission to rescind that order and change the street names and avenues back to what they were in Chapmanville. He said some street names in the City of Logan stayed the same. "We had ours changed for no reason." Ferrell also said he had been caused difficulties from not having a permanent address during the changeover and read from yet another document regarding city type addresses in rural areas.
Ironically what Ferrell read may keep his complaint from being acted on, as he read a document which said current city addresses should not be changed unless it is necessary for Emergency Services to respond in a prompt manner.
He then asked if the county had an agreement with the state addressing board.
Commission President Art Kirkendoll said he would have to look into it and asked attorney Tom Zamow about the agreement. Kirkendoll noted the project was initiated through the Department of Transportation which picks street names. He asked Ferrell if he had been able to get anything in writing from the state which could amount to a ruling on the matter.
"They gave me a reference guide," Ferrell said.
Kirkendoll noted the project came about as part of a state mandate in order to get firefighters, police and ambulances to the public in a quicker manner and that avoiding duplication of similar sounding addresses was part of that. Kirkendoll said that if the county had acted in error action would be taken to rectify it.
"But if it meets state criteria, it's a moot issue," Kirkendoll said. "If the state approves it, I will not remove an executive order because somebody is upset because the name of their driveway changed. Our main priority is to get people to the hospital fast. We will check with the state and see if they are satisfied."
Ferrell then said he felt there was a conflict of interest, claiming Commissioner Willie Akers lived in West Logan.
"But I don't live in West Logan," Akers corrected him. "I don't see any conflict of interest."
"Well, your son is the mayor of West Logan," Ferrell said.
"Yes he is," Akers replied, saying there was no conflict of interest or violation of the law. (Despite the allegation, street names in West Logan and numbered addresses are also being changed - editor's note.)
Kirkendoll instructed Tom Zamow to get a reply in writing from the addressing board.
Ferrell was one of the two people out of five scheduled to speak at Monday's meeting who showed up. Robert Paynter spoke about the Man Fire Department. The agenda had listed Herbert Staten to speak about the proposed annexation of the town of Man; Gerald Slone who was scheduled to speak about the Man Hospital and William Marsh who was scheduled to speak about an alleyway in Kistler, but the trio didn't appear.