Wheeling and Ohio County officials will get their chance to publicly express concern about a plan to expand the countywide smoking ban.
Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department administrator, said the board of health Tuesday decided to invite the officials to a noon Oct. 18 meeting to discuss the matter.
The board of health is proposing expanding the existing ban to include the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, along with gambling areas inside of bars and gambling parlors. The proposal also calls for prohibiting smoking in some outdoor areas, such as Heritage Port, and 20 feet outside of public and government buildings' doorways. At the casino, the ban expansion would be ''phased in over a two-year period by 25 percent each six months.''
A public hearing date has not been set, nor has a date to consider final approval.
Gamble noted Lorie McClung, an electronic cigarette personal trainer, again asked the board to consider not including e-cigarettes in its proposed expansion of the ban.
Meanwhile, Gamble said Dr. William Mercer, county health officer, announced a planned public meeting about Marcellus Shale drilling and public health. The meeting opens at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 with a cocktail hour and speakers starting at 7 p.m. at Ohio Valley Medical Center, 2000 Eoff St., Wheeling. Scheduled speakers include Mercer; Lou Vargo, Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director; and Dr. Alan Ducatman, chairman of the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine.
Ducatman said he plans to talk about the potential health issues related to Marcellus Shale drilling. One problem patients talk about, he noted, is noise. Vargo said he plans to talk about emergency agencies' roles in responding to gas well emergencies and related health issues for first responders.
The event is being organized by the Ohio County Medical Society and the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce.
In other matters, the health department received an $8,000 grant from Smoke-Free Initiative of West Virginia. The money will be used to cover sanitarians' salaries while they do afterhours and weekend inspections.http://www.news-register.net/page/content.detail/id/559353/Officials-to-Vent-Their-Smoking-Ban-Concerns.html?nav=510