Not much was on the agenda for Monday night's Trenton City Commission meeting but it nevertheless turned into a big night for local politickin': Trenton Mayor Alex Case used the occasion to announce he will seek another term, Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten chimed in that she will, too, and former City Clerk Lucretia Houts (left), who has already announced for the fire/utility commissioner seat to be vacated by Jerry Henegar, appeared at the meeting to ask the public for support.
The municipal election this year is Nov. 5. Candidates must qualify by next
Wednesday. Qualifying fees, which represent 3 percent of base pay for the elected offices, are $216 for the mayoral job and $108 for the commission seats, and paperwork may be filled out at the Dade County Board of Elections in the county Administrative Building Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 19, 20 and 21.
Otherwise the big excitement for the evening was a presentation by Assistant Fire Chief/Building Inspector Ansel Smith, assisted by "Dade Tree Hugger" Jennifer Blair (right). Ms. Blair, who was awarded her epithet by a Dade County commissioner in honor of similar volunteer work she is doing for the county, had petitioned the city to require businesses with large parking lots to break them up with trees and shrubs to provide shade and alleviate stormwater problems. Smith went over existing city ordinances and how they could be altered. Ms. Blair showed photos of restaurants in neighboring Lookout Valley that had used landscaping to add beauty and shade as well as prevent flooding. "I'm all for it," said Commissioner Wooten--but no action was taken at the Aug. 12 meeting.
Outgoing Fire/Utility Commissioner Jerry Henegar was out for work--his day job includes some nights--but Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell (shown at left with Commissioner Wooten) was back following an extended bout with illness and hospitals that had required him to miss several meetings. Powell thanked city employees for stepping up and carrying on in his absence. He reported that the Trenton Civics Center had been rented 120 hours in July and that the city pool had grossed a total of $16,597.45. for the summer.
Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten said her department is tackling the problem of repairing pavements in the subdivision behind Dade High School. “I know those roads over there, they’re horrible, and we’re going to do what we can do with them," she said. Mayor added that the city had committed up to 30 percent of its state LMIG (local maintenance and improvement grant) to help fix those roads.
Police Commissioner Kirk Forshee said the Trenton Police Department had collected $15,991.19 in fines in July for a year-to-date total so far of $130,907.74. He said July's Touch a Truck event had been a success and thanked sponsors and volunteers. “I look forward to next year being even better,” he said. Police Chief Christy Smith said the PD had given out 300 backpacks packed with school supplies at the event, and the mayor said they'd been a hit with the children. “They were carrying them just like they loved them and were proud of them, and they were plumb full of supplies,” said Case.
The mayor added the kids had also seemed to enjoy the tractors, cop cars and other interesting vehicles featured at Touch A Truck. Kids were crawling over the equipment, turning on the flashers and "hitting the sireens," said Case.
Abandoned demonstrations of youthful enjoyment were not so popular with Glenbrook resident Melanie Parrish, who stood up during the citizens' participation part of the meeting to ask for police help wrangling the schoolkids on her street. Leaving home early, she'd been distressed to find children waiting for the school bus swarming back and forth across the street. “I went down my street and I mean, it’s literally covered with children," she said. "I crept forward and laid down on my horn like, hey, I’m not stopping for you, and they finally parted."
Keep these juvenile offenders out of the way, she asked the city: “If they do it to me, they’ll do it to someone else.”
Mayor Case said he'd forgotten to report on the Valley Vibes music festival in Jenkins Park in June. He said the city park is not a for-profit venue but that he was pleased to report Valley Vibes had raised $200 for the Tri-State Food Bank.
Trenton Tree City President Eloise Gass reported it was too hot to plant much but pointed out that the yellow lantana around town is thriving in the heat. She said the new lights at the Trenton I-59 exit looked great and asked the city's help in inducing the Georgia Department of Transportation to plant wildflowers in the median to make it look greater.
“We’ll get started on that process and see what we’ve got to do to do it,” said Mayor Case. He added with less enthusiasm that the new lights at the interchange are costing the city about $1600 a month on its electric bill. “If they planted the seeds real thick, they wouldn’t even have to mow there,” Ms. Gass ploughed on heedlessly.
Dade County Public Library manager Marshana Sharp had a lot to say. "This is supposed to be our slow month, but it turned out to be one of the busiest months we’ve had in a while,” she said. First, the library had received a grant for nearly $40,000 to further its "Next Chapter" education program for jail inmates, aimed at reducing recidivism and helping inmates build satisfying lives for themselves.
In August, said Ms. Sharp: “We’re concentrating on getting people jobs.” On Aug. 27 from 1-7 p.m. all the major employer in Dade will be at the library's mega-job fair. “They all have jobs,” she said. “If you’re not good on paper but you’re good in person, come to the library." The library will have mock interviews on Aug. 2o to help with the process and will also have a clothing closet for job seekers who need impressive duds for their interviews.
The library in conjunction with aforementioned Tree Hugger Jennifer Blair is hosting another waste reduction event next week, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22. Nonalcoholic drinks will be served and door prizes awarded, and there will be a screening of the documentary Wasted! The event is free but please call (706) 657-7857 to RSVP.
(Photo: File shot of Ms. Sharp from a previous Halloween event.)
Along with Dade First/Family Connection, the library will host a "Parent Café" on childhood mental health café from 6-7 p.m. on Aug. 27. Dinner will be served. Again, this is a free event but please RSVP to the library or to Martha Baker at (423) 883-6938
Ms. Sharp also said the Dade Chamber of Commerce is bowing out of the Trick or Treat Alley Halloween event this fall so businesses and civic organizations who want library or outdoor space for booths should apply to the library. The event--always one of Dade's most popular public festivals--will be on Oct 26 this year, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The Trenton City Commission meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at City Hall. The public is welcome.