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Derrick, Water Tower Climbers Face $500 Fine

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 Meeting in regular session, Monday, March 19, the Hawkins City Council passed a new city ordinance prohibiting the "climbing of any city structure." There was intense discussion of another relatively new city ordinance that allows the burning of leaves and brush. And, the council adopted a resolution proclaiming the observance of "Jaarvis Christian College Week."

The No Climbing ordinance was passed to discourage more incidents like the one that took place last month when the lighting system on the oil derrick in Hawkins City Park was damaged by one or more individuals. Apparently someone climbed the structure and painted over the lens of a large light and damaged other lighting devices. Such an act will result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $500 for those caught from this point on under the new ordinance.

The council heard complaints from several residents regarding problems with the city's burning ordinance. Former mayor Wayne Kirkpatrick and his sister Gail Kirkpatrick both registered complaints that the practice of burning within the city limits poses a health threat. Gail said she has chronic breathing problems that are complicated by smoke. She said a rash of outdoor burns in her neighborhood have resulted in the need for doctors visits and purchasing of medications for treatment of irritations from the smoke. The new law suggests that those who burn must be aware of any neighbors who are "sensitive receptors" and must burn down wind from them. Kirkpatrick said she called the Hawkins police department on more than one occasion with complaints regarding burning in her neighborhood with very poor response and no apparent action being taken.

Wayne Kirkpatrick challenged Mayor Sam Bradley, the council and police officials to enforce the rules for burning in the city. "But," he said, "the only way to protect city residents from the harmful smoke is to return to a complete ban on burning within the city limits. Period"

Fran Smith, a homeowner on Glazner Street said she can't afford to hire someone to haul leaves and brush from her property. She favors the current burn ordinance.

Mayor Bradley read the rules for burning as follows:

Burning of tree limbs, branches and other natural vegetation is allowed on the property where it was generated and may be burned by the property owner or a person authorized by that owner.

Burning must be down wind from any sensitive receptor.

The initiation of burning shall commence no earlier than one hour after sunrise and be completed on the same day no later that one hour before sunset.

The burning shall be attended at all times while the fire is progressing.

Burning shall be conducted only when wind directions and other meteorological conditions are such that smoke and other pollutants will not cause adverse effects to any public road.

Should the smoke be dense enough to hamper traffic on a roadway, the responsible party must either post flag persons or extinguish the fire.

Burning shall not be conducted when the wind speeds are less than six miles per hour nor higher than 23 miles per hour.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Hawkins City Council is scheduled for Monday, April 16 at 6 p.m. A special meeting of the council can be called with 72 hours public notice.


Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2009 16:56  

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