Chief Derick Coleman and new officer Patrick Shearry.
At its regular meeting on December 13, 2016, the Eutaw City Council approved a resolution accepting the streets within Branch Heights for city maintenance.
The resolution discusses the history of problems with repairs to the streets and roadways in the Branch Heights Subdivision, a predominantly Black housing area that was built with HUD funds through the Greene County Housing Authority. The subdivision is named for the first Black Probate Judge of Greene County. Some of the houses have been sold to individual families after the family had occupied them for at least 15 years.
In 2004, Branch Heights was annexed into the City of Eutaw and the city has made some repairs to the streets on an “as needed” and “as funds were available” basis without formally accepting responsibility for the streets.
This resolution officially accepts the streets in the William Mckinley Branch Heights subdivision for city ownership and maintenance and pledges to seek funds for the repair of the streets. The resolution lists the streets to be maintained as including the following:
– William McKinley Branch Drive
– Joseph Wilder Circle
– John Chambers Court
– Vassie Knott Court
– Howard Irvin Drive
– Office Lane
– Levi Morrow Sr. Court
– Harry Means Court
– Frenchie Burton Road
– Howard Brown Court
– Joseph Court
Many of these streets were named for pioneering Black members of the Greene County Commission and Greene County Housing Authority.
In other business, the Eutaw City Council:
• approved payment of November claims and bills;
• heard a report that Mason and Gardner, CPA’s were updating the city computer system to handle the digital self-reporting water meters;
• were introduced to new police officer, Patrick Shearry, of Scoba, Mississippi, who has completed officer training; and told by Chief Coleman that two other officers: Marlo Jackson and Tommie Johnson Jr. are planning to attend the police academy training in Tuscaloosa;
• approved travel for Councilman Joe L. Powell to attend a committee meeting of the Alabama League of Municipalities
• deferred the December 27, 2016 meeting due to the holidays; and set December 23 and 26 and January 2 as official holidays.
Mayor Steele reported that the city employees were working to fix leaks in the water system to increase water pressure for the system. Work will soon be starting on the major $3.1 million approved USDA Rural Development water project. The Mayor also announced that work was about to begin on the resurfacing of Prairie Avenue.
Council members reported problems with street lights on Springfield Avenue and the need to remove a dilapidated house on Tuscaloosa Street adjacent to the Eutaw Elderly Village.
Councilwoman Sheila Smith asked about the policies on vicious dogs. She was told by the Mayor and Chief of Police that vicious animals, like Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and Doberman Pinchers had to be identified and secured by their owners to prevent attacking and biting people. “Stray dogs in Eutaw, have always been a problem and we have to pay animal control from Tuscaloosa to round them up and carry them away, “ said Chief Coleman. Smith said, “ I hope this policy on vicious dogs is being carried out because people have been bitten and intimidated by dogs in recent days.”
Chief Coleman and Drug Task Force Commander, Clint Sumlin
At its regular meeting on April 26, 2016, the Eutaw City Council approved a resolution clarifying the procedure for waiving or reducing the usage fee for the City’s National Guard Armory on Mesopotamia Street by non-profit organizations.
Currently the fee is $250 for a meeting or social event. The amount is higher for activities that are raising funds. The new resolution clarifies that to receive reduced cost or a waiver, a group or organization, must submit an application for a fee waiver or reduction. The applying group must attach a copy of their IRS 501(c) 3 charitable status; and be an “organization, group or individual who have a history of providing material items to the community, such as food, clothing, health care and the like”; or, a funeral repast for local residents. “The City is willing to reduce the fee for qualified community groups that will benefit residents of the City of Eutaw, but we are now, as of the adoption of this resolution, keeping files and records to make sure that the facility is used properly,” said Mayor Hattie Edwards.
The Mayor announced that the ALDOT project to resurface Prairie Avenue from the Courthouse Square to Highway 43 is proceeding according to plans and $750 was spent on a permit to cross the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks that cross Prairie Avenue.
The project is scheduled to be bid and constructed over the next few months.
Police Chief Derrick Coleman introduced Clint Sumlin, who is Area Commander for the area’s Criminal Drug Task Force. Sumlin spoke about the work of the Task Force in interdicting the drug trade in and around our area. “The Task Force invites local law enforcement officers to ride with them and participate in activities as part of our training efforts. We do not provide insurance for the officers, who are volunteering, but we expect their home base department will help with this,” said Sumlin. He said the Drug Task Force was needed and would help keep everyone safer.
Theresa Beeker addressed the City Council about organizing volunteers to help keep the City Park and tennis court in town, next to the Episcopal Church, clean so children and their parents can use it. She suggested that each council-member organize people in their district to clean and patrol the park one week a month, on a rotating basis. Mayor Edwards said that they would take this under consideration at a future meeting.
Carl Davis asked the police to help residents in Branch Heights to stop young people from shooting each other and into vehicles and homes. “These young people know that they cannot be held in the adult jail so they are shooting guns and provoking the police. We need to work with them and their parents to stop the violence,” said Davis.
Chief Derick Coleman
With classes in the county schools ending Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Eutaw Police Chief Derick Coleman expressed a concern that parents need to get more involved with their children. “Now that schools are closing for the summer, all parents should be mindful of their child /children’s whereabouts,” he said. Chief Coleman explained that curfew laws will be strictly enforced. Juvenile curfew laws are local ordinances that prohibit people of a certain age (usually under 18) from being in public or in a business establishment during certain hours (such as between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.). Juvenile Curfew Laws and Exempted Activities Almost all juvenile curfew laws identify exempted activities or exceptions under which juveniles may lawfully be out after curfew. These exceptions will vary by jurisdiction, but typically include the following: * Minors accompanied by a parent or guardian *Minors traveling to or from work. *Minors attending official school or religious events * Minors running errands under an adult’s instruction *Emergencies Punishment for Juvenile Curfew Violations Punishment for juvenile curfew law violations also varies among jurisdictions, but can often include one or more of the following options: * Fines (usually increasing for subsequent violations) * Imposition of community service or required enrollment in after-school programs * Restriction of driver’s license privileges * Possible detention in jail or juvenile hall. * Parents who knowingly allow their children to violate curfew laws may also be subject to fines and other punishment.