A few Elm Grove residents said Wednesday a neighborhood bar needs to be declared a public nuisance and shut down, but the owner said she's trying to run a clean, respectable business.
During the annual Citywide Neighborhood Watch meeting at Louis' Hot Dog at the Elm Terrace Shopping Plaza, residents complained about noise and other activity they claim comes from the Market House Bar and Grill on Kruger Street.
Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball said the police department has talked with the bar's owner, Shawna McKeever, and she has assured officers that she is taking steps to stop problems from occurring.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Wheeling residents wait for door prizes to be given out during the annual Citywide Neighborhood Watch meeting Wednesday at Louis’ Hot Dog in Elm Grove.
''If it creates problems, just because you kick it out the door that doesn't mean it isn't your problem anymore,'' Kimball said. ''As far as closing it down, it's a long process. It involves compiling statistics and calls and then it's presented to the city manager. It's his decision on whether to shut it down.''
Before the city manager can shut down a business, it first must be declared a public nuisance. In previous cases, City Council voted on whether to declare a property a public nuisance during a public hearing.
After the meeting, McKeever said she purchased the bar two years ago, but she said the same few residents in the neighborhood have wanted the establishment closed for years.
''Every time they hear a little peep, they call the cops. Then the cops come and they ask, 'Why am I here?' ... There's always two sides to every story,'' McKeever said.
McKeever said she has regular customers who frequent the bar every day and that she's trying to ''eliminate the night crowd.'' She said she now has her last call for drinks at 1 a.m.
''I want to address everything I can. ... There's crime other places - not just here but at Patterson ballfields and rental properties that are right around this area,'' she said. ''I'm not running a drug place. I have a nice, clean business. I'd like to keep my business.''
Meanwhile, before the meeting Councilman Robert ''Herk'' Henry, who was the lone City Council member in attendance, said compared to last year he believes things are improving in his ward, which includes South Wheeling and a portion of East Wheeling. But Henry noted he is concerned about a house near Ritchie Elementary School where he believes drugs are being sold. He also said there are several properties in his ward that should be included on the city's demolition list.
During the meeting, Henry said he wanted people to know that he favors keeping the city's two-officer per cruiser law in place. Residents are scheduled to consider rescinding the measure during the November election.
Meanwhile, other residents expressed concern about natural gas drilling vehicles and weight limits on roads, along with vehicles being run off roads by wide loads. Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler said heavy load vehicles are supposed to receive special permits from the state Department of Transportation.
Residents also noted a number of people continue to move into the city who are using vehicles with out-of-state plates. Both Butler and Ohio County Assessor Kathie Hoffman said they are trying to address the plate issue.
They also are seeking some clarification about related state codes from legislators.
Downtown resident Charles Ballouz suggested that curfew times be placed on street signs in the city. Elm Grove resident Betty Duvall also complained about juveniles being out too late, in addition to people speeding in her neighborhood. And Harry Croft, a retired sheriff's department detective, asked people with tips about unsolved crime cases in the Ohio Valley to contact the Ohio Valley Cold Case Task Force at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-359-3599.
A few public officials either running for re-election or election also attended the meeting and introduced themselves to the crowd: Butler, a Republican who is seeking re-election; Hoffman, a Democrat who is seeking re-election; Tom Burgoyne, a Democrat who is running for the sheriff's seat; Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby, a Republican who is seeking re-election; Rose Humway, a Democrat who is seeking a magistrate position; Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, who is running for re-election; Orphy Klempa, a Democrat and current state senator who is seeking an Ohio County Commission seat; and state Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, who is seeking re-election.