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October 9th Starts Fire Prevention Week

WV Fire Marshall Offers Tips To Keep Your Family Safe

By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

Through the years, PutnamLIVE.com has reported dozens of fire stories. It's not something that we enjoy, especially when someone is injured or killed in the blaze.

In the news business, "No news is NOT good news." However, not having to report another fire would be just fine with us.

Recently, the smoke alarms in the home and office where PutnamLIVE.com is published underwent an inspection by an electrician. He discovered that one key smoke alarm was wired improperly-and promptly fixed the problem. Our pro-active approach may someday save a life.

What’s the best way to protect your family from fire? Be ahead of the game, of course. With more than 360,000 home fires reported in the United States in 2009, according to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), your best defense is a good offense. That’s why the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office is teaming up with NFPA from October 9th - 15th, 2011, to let West Virginians know: “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!”

This year’s campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires -- cooking, heating and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials. Additionally, it urges people to protect their homes and families with life-saving technology and planning.

“In 2009, 2,565 people died in home fires. Nearly all of these deaths could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions like having working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan. Also, keeping things that can burn away from the stove and always turning off space heaters before going to bed,” says Sterling Lewis, Jr., State Fire Marshal, and a Putnam County resident. “Fire is a dangerous opponent, but by anticipating the hazards, you are much less likely to be one of the nearly 13,000 people injured in home fires each year.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and NFPA offer the following tips for protecting your home and family from fire:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

“While preventing home fires in our state is always our number one priority, it’s not always possible,” Marshal Lewis continues. “West Virginians need to provide the best protection to keep their homes and families safe in the event of a fire. This can be achieved by developing an escape plan you practice regularly and equipping homes with life-saving technologies like smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers.”

According to Lewis' office, the following tips will help keep your family safe if there is a fire in your home:  

  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
  • If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.

To learn more about “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!” please visit NFPA’s Web site at www.FirePreventionWeek.org.

Publisher's note: A news release by Heather N. Bostic, of the West Virginia Fire Marshal's office, provided information for this article.

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Stewart Circle Finally Gets Repaired

But Only After PutnamLIVE.com Steps In To Help

By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

They're singing the praises of PutnamLIVE.com on Stewart Circle.

In early September, 2011, residents of the Hurricane neighborhood couldn't get West Virginia American Water to fix a troublesome water main leak.

Water was rushing down the hill and turning a neighbor's front yard into a swamp.

So Doug McGehee telephoned PutnamLIVE.com. We called West Virginia American Water. When they failed to respond, we published the ugly pictures. Within hours crews were patching the pipe.

However, the road was ruined. And West Virginia American Water dragged its feet again, stringing McGehee and his neighbors along. So PutnamLIVE.com telephoned Laura Jordan at WVAW. After we called, she got paving crews on the scene.

Again, we got the results that McGehhe deserved all along.

You can see the photos for yourself. The road is repaired, the neighborhood is happy, and the utility was forced to do the right thing-through the power of PutnamLIVE.com.

Related article:

McGehee Wants Water Leak Fixed

greenhouse GO GREEN: PutnamLIVE.com is only available online. We do not publish a paper edition in order to protect the environment. Please do not print this article unless it is necessary!


Old Town Hall-Four Years Later

Hurricane's Historic Landmark Remains In Disrepair

By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

It's been four years since PutnamLIVE.com first gave you a tour of Hurricane's Old Town Hall. With missing
siding, broken windows, (one had a bullet hole) even a missing electrical meter, it was real ugly.

And it's owned by Hurricane Mayor Scott D. Edwards-who said he would run the city "like a business" during his campaign.

Edwards reacted to the report by having then-Hurricane Police Captain W. "Mike" Mullins ban us from the property. Except we weren't on the property. We used zoom lenses.

One year later, PutnamLIVE.com took its camera back, and found the same problems.

So we waited. And waited. We waited a few years.

Now Edwards is in his second term. So PutnamLIVE.com went back and took the pictures in this article.

As you can see, the Old Town Hall still looks terrible.

We couldn't find the broken window. And the weeds are gone. Everything else appears to be the same. And that's the problem. Once the pride of Hurrricane, Old Town Hall is anything but something to be proud of today.

The question remains. Why won't Edwards repair Hurricane's historic Old Town Hall?

greenhouse GO GREEN: PutnamLIVE.com is only available online. We do not publish a paper edition in order to protect the environment. Please do not print this article unless it is necessary!


RESPONDENTS: Republicans To Blame For Lousy Economy

Obama And Democrats Take Second And Third

By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

When PutnamLIVE.com started our reader's survey about who is to blame for the lousy economy, President Barack H. Obama quickly took the lead. For weeks, our readers placed the blame at his feet. However, during the past week, Republicans took the lead-and kept it, passing Obama and the Democrats.

More than 700 readers voted in the non-scientific poll. We started it August 9th, 2011, and closed it September 27th, 2011.

Of those that voted, 244 blamed Republicans, 201 blamed Obama, 192 blamed "All of the above," and 13 said the lousy economy is the fault of The Tea Party.

Please keep checking PutnamLIVE.com for reader surveys tied to issues in the news.

greenhouse GO GREEN: PutnamLIVE.com is only available online. We do not publish a paper edition in order to protect the environment. Please do not print this article unless it is necessary!


Haynes Verbally Attacks Publisher

Doesn't Like Questions About Waves Of Fun Closure

By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

When Waves of Fun was closed a week before Labor Day Weekend (to humanRaymond Joe Haynes
swimmers) in 2010, PutnamLIVE.com fought the Parks and Recreation Commission for information through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests. Eventually, after violating the law through delays and overcharging, the commission produced some documents that proved it cost more than $1,142 to maintain Waves of Fun for the Dog Swim that raised an announced $1,800.

During that Dog Swim, we asked Putnam County Commissioners Stephen H. "Steve" Andes and Raymond "Joe" Haynes how they justified preventing humans from swimming in the taxpayer-owned pool but let Haynes' wife, Karen, hold a dog swim. Andes ducked the question. Haynes rudely bellowed about how he refused to speak to PutnamLIVE.com.

That's a typical tactic for Haynes. He exhibited similar boorish behavior at Run For The Wall awhile back. And during a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting about moving commemorative bricks, Raymond "Joe" tried to get PutnamLIVE.com to say that former Parks and Recreation Commission President Sally Holliday resigned in this publisher's presence. Except that she didn't resign. Haynes, Andes, and former Putnam County Commissioner James "Jim" Caruthers signed a letter removing her from the Putnam County Planning Commission-where she never served. That's pretty insulting treatment of Holliday, who volunteered her services for 37 years and practically built the Putnam County Parks and Recreation system.

Fast forward to 2011. Despite weather forecasts for rain on Labor Day, the Dog Swim was planned anyway. When it was (surprise!) rained out, it was re-scheduled for the following Saturday. This means it will likely cost more than the $1,142 from last year because the pool's pumps had to run for several more days. Again, humans were denied the right to swim in their pool for a week before Labor Day Weekend, including Sunday when it was 88 degrees.

So PutnamLIVE.com asked Haynes the tough-but fair question of how he justified closing Waves of Fun-to humans-before Labor Day Weekend. Then Haynes responded with a raging rant: "I don't have to talk to you," he repeatedly stated. "You're borderline psycho." Coming from Haynes, that's a compliment. "You've been arrested," he added. What he failed to state for everyone within earshot is that this publisher was acquitted-twice-of politically motivated charges based on lies. Twice. And one of those false arrests was instigated by the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission.

What Raymond Joe Haynes did not state was the answers to the tough, but fair, questions.

We don't blame Haynes for not liking tough questions. Few politicians would want to tell the world why they put the rights of dogs to swim ahead of humans that own the pool. Verbally attacking reporters is an old, tired, political defense game that most of the public can see through. And we doubt Haynes wants people to think that he is repeatedly using his political power to support his wife's "pet projects." However, as long as Haynes chooses to be a public official-and make such choices, such tough-but fair-questions are appropriate.

This year, it was announced that the Dog Swim only raised $502 dollars. That's less than half of the $1,142 that it cost to maintain the pool last year-which was a shorter period of time. (Which doesn't factor in AEP's increased rates. Did we mention that Haynes worked for AEP?)

Why the lower turnout this year? Maybe people are tired of the "Joe and Karen Show." Or maybe the Dog Swim should not have been scheduled on the same Saturday as a WVU home football game, a Marshall University home football game and the Putnam County Homecoming. Whatever the reason, the support wasn't there. But the expenses will be. Even though Haynes verbally attacked this publisher instead of answering a few tough-but-fair questions.

There is a way that Raymond "Joe" can avoid such questions in the future: Let the humans swim in Waves of Fun right up until the Dog Swim starts. Or he could resign.

Instead, PutnamLIVE.com is predicting that the Parks And Recreatoin Commission (which includes Raymond "Joe" Haynes) will attempt to ban our coverage of future Dog Swims and ban this publisher from visiting Putnam County Parks.

Stay tuned.

Related articles:

Putnam Pools Closed On Labor Day Weekend

Sprayground Won't Open This Summer

County Pool Finally Re-Opens

Hurricane Sprayground Breaks Ground

County Pool Repairs Behind Schedule

County Pool Fails To Re-Open

County Pool To Re-Open This Summer

Crowds Overflow Waves Of Fun

Waves Of Fun Opens, County Pool Doesn't

Dog Swim Cost Parks More Than $1,100

Dogs Enjoy Waves Of Fun, People Can't

OPINION: Putnam Pool Politics


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