Reserve officers honored by council

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In recognition of National Police Week, which runs from May 10 to 16, Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin brought his department's six reserve officers before the city council at Tuesday's regular meeting.

Sutherlin introduced Jerrett Query, Heath Smiley, Kyle Lee, Kyle Gibbons, Clyde Siddons and Jim Amis, who have served the department for anywhere from four months to 12 years.

The city's reserve officers have volunteered 653 hours for the city from January to April

"All of these men have full-time jobs, and when they come to work for the city, it's free of charge," Sutherlin said. "Each time they're out there with the full-time officers, they're putting their life on the line, just like the full-time officers.

"We greatly appreciate all they do for our department," he added.

Sutherlin also recognized officers Ed Wilson and Eric Vaughan, who are in charge of the reserve program.

Sutherlin also said that the county police agencies will come together Friday at the Putnam County jail and have a cookout for all county law enforcement officers.

All council members as well as Mayor Sue Murray expressed their appreciation for the reserve officers, with councilor Jinsie Bingham suggesting that everyone present give them a standing ovation.

Putnam County Economic Development Director Bill Dory appeared before the board requesting approval of yearly funds for the development center.

The board annually transfers funds from its industrial development fund to the development center. The Citizens Advisory Commission for Industrial Development recommended that $40,000 be transferred, the same amount as 2008.

The council approved the measure unanimously.

With an ordinance making the Greencastle Sustainability Commission a permanent entity, the council had to choose two appointees to the commission as well as appointing one of its own members to the board.

Councilor Bingham proposed John Garner, while Councilor Mark Hammer proposed Brian Pohler. Councilor T.J. Smith proposed that Bingham, who has already taken an interest in the board, be the council's representative. All three nominations were unanimously approved.

In department reports, Utilities Superintendent George Russell reported that his department is still working to find leaks in the city's water system. They recently detected a total of 13 leaks in the system and have corrected five of these so far.

One faulty valve in particular was likely losing about 50,000 gallons each day. Russell said steps like this should be having a positive impact on the city's water usage.

"I think we're heading in the right direction," he said.

Cemetery Superintendent Ernie Phillips presented a picture of the Memorial Gardens at Forest Hill Cemetery and the original artist's rendering to show how true to the original vision the actual structure is.

He also encouraged all council members and citizens to attend the official dedication of the Memorial Gardens, which will be 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, following the 10 a.m. veteran's ceremony.

Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk reported progress on the trees being planted at Robe-Ann Park and on the Greencastle Aquatics Center.

Greencastle High School teacher Matt McComish will be the center's director this year. They are in the process of filling the pool, and Spear Corporation recently completed the replacement of drain covers in the pool.

The aquatics center has a target opening date of Saturday, May 23, but the air and water temperature must be at least 70 degrees for this to happen.

City Planner Shannon Norman reported on the progress of a local group that has been pursuing the possibility of a community garden. She came before the board requesting the use of space at the city's lot at the corner of Spring and Franklin streets.

"This is land, that every few years, we have discussions of selling it, so this would be a good use of it," City Attorney Laurie Hardwick said.

Under the group's plan, it would be used as a test garden from June to October of this year. The idea is to divide up a few small parcels of land in the space to see what might grow well in the area.

Additionally, the group sought permission to pursue grant opportunities in establishing a permanent community garden.

The council approved Norman's request unanimously.

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