Caraway council votes to make playground area smoke free

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Pictured are Riverside EAST students Tevin Boatman and Tas-jae Knox addressing the Caraway City Council about a tobacco free playground. Seated is Amy Whitener, tobacco prevention coordinator with St. Bernards Healthcre.

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley and council members heard a request from two Riverside EAST students requesting the playground area behind city hall be smoke free for the well being of the children.

Student Tevin Boatman chose the park as an EAST project. She and fellow students spent time at the park on Tuesday picking up tobacco litter.

Tevin had a baggie filled with 249 cigarette butts, a lighter, and a smokeless tobacco can. The debris was picked up in and around the park.

"I chose this project because of the children in our community," Tevin said. "Every day the park is filled with children playing."

Students were accompanied by Amy Whitener, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, with St. Bernards Healthcare. The students requested partnering with Ms. Whitener in the project.

"You have some great students here at Riverside," Whitener said.

Mayor Riley and council expressed their appreciation to Tevin and her team for their efforts and for bringing it to their attention.

After some discussion, Councilman Bo James made a motion to move forward for the safety of the children making the playground area smoke free.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Present were Councilmen James, John Boatman, Mitchell Tipton, Roger Williams, Marvin Browning and Mark Bell.

Mayor Riley opened sealed bids for a Mercury being sold by the city. Four bids were opened with the council accepting the high bid from Bud Reeves for $1,125.

Resident Brenda Stotts addressed the council about several issues she is concerned about.

"When I drive through Caraway I am unhappy about how the town looks.," Stotts said. "I would like to have a list of the ordinances. Do we have ordinances? Are they being enforced? I wonder if we need a neighborhood watch program. My Dad's back door was knocked down and a pistol was stolen. If I know where the drugs are, you should. I would like to help make our town better any way I can. We could organize clean up days."

Chief of Police Pete Hicks said he could not stop vehicles or go into homes just because of what he thinks he knows.

Mayor Riley thanked Stotts for her concern. He told she is welcome to come to city hall and get copies of all ordinances. He also said the city is working on clean up but when property is in probate or bankruptcy they cannot touch it.

In response to her question about a curfew, Chief Hicks said the city does have a curfew of 11 p.m for anyone under 18.

She said she would be back.

Councilman Roger Williams addressed Ms. Stotts saying he knew there were a lot of things that needed working on.

"We have a lot of good people in Caraway," he said. "I could live any where but I choose to live in Caraway. I'm glad you are getting involved. It will take more than the six of us on the council and you two in the audience."

In other business:

*Council accepted the resignations of Kenny Stallings and Brian Crews from the park commission. They voted to add Brittany Brandon to the commission.

*Mayor Riley presented the proposed 2016 budget for the council to review. He asked them to take it home and look over it and make any suggestions at next month's meeting.

*Mayor Riley said he had received an email from Rep. Dan Sullivan saying the city will receive $4,500 in General Improvement Funding. The council approved allowing Mayor Riley to use $2,000 of the money to restock the pond.

*The Fall festival was rained out and the committee moved it to a Christmas Festival which will be held Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Main Street before the annual Christmas Parade. The parade line up will be at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall area. The parade will start at 6 p.m. using the traditional route. Williams said there will be free hot cocoa and Christmas Carols following the parade and everyone is invited.

*Christmas baskets will be distributed on Saturday, Dec. 19 and toys will be given away from Dec. 20-24 at the Lions Club building.

*The council voted to purchase a overhead heater for the fire department. Fire Chief Scotty Browning said the cost will be $1,400 and tax. Chief Browning said it doesn't have to be really warm, just enough heat to keep the trucks and equipment from freezing up.

*The Caraway City Council meets at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of each month.

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