Clean Air Act Review Renewed by Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health

Ohio County will consider future at Oct. 10 meeting

Photo by Scott McCloskey A patron smokes while playing a slot machine at a local limited video lottery parlor.

WHEELING — The Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health will hold a special meeting Oct. 10 to resume its review of the county’s current clear air regulation.

The revised and expanded clean indoor air regulation — which continued an exemption that allows smoking in specified areas at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and in limited video lottery rooms — took effect in March 2016.

The board began a first-year review of the measure in April. However, since that time, half of the board members have been replaced by their respective appointing entities.

Dr. John Holloway, board chairman, suggested Tuesday that a special meeting be scheduled to address the matter and bring new board members David Croft, Christian Turak and Terry Sterling up to speed on the issue of smoking in the casino and video gambling sites.

Noting “wholesale changes on the board,” Holloway said the review has been sidetracked because of the turnover.

“This issue is somewhat complicated,” he said. “It involves a lot of discussion.”

Sterling was sworn in Tuesday, while Croft and Turak joined the board in July. The Ohio County Commission appointed Turak and Sterling to the board, while Wheeling City Council chose Croft.

The continuing board members are Holloway, Thomas Tuttle and Wheeling Vice Mayor Chad Thalman.

Holloway said the Oct. 10 special session will be “purely a hearing.”

“I would not seek a vote” that day, Holloway said.

The board conducted a public hearing on the regulation April 11. Several employees and patrons of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and local video lottery parlors urged the board to keep in place those facilities’ current exemption. The board heard more public comment regarding the exemption at its regular meeting on May 9.

Howard Gamble, administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, distributed copies of the current clear air regulation and a proposed revision to eliminate the exemption. Gamble said he will make copies of all material that the board has received this year regarding the smoking ban and will send it to the three new board members.

In an unrelated matter, Holloway said that on Oct. 10, the board also will consider a proposal to strengthen its policy on seasonal influenza vaccination for health care workers. Gamble presented the proposal to the board in July, but no action was taken.