Council congratulates citizen academy graduates



The 17 graduates of Oneonta’s first citizen academy pose with Oneonta police lieutenant Steven Gunn and officer Mike Harris in the city’s council chambers for their official photograph. Standing behind Gunn (kneeling, left) and Harris are (left to right) Joseph Huie, Tom Ledford, Joan Ledford, Diane Smith, Martha Holloway, Tony Hoeppner, Sheila Gargus, Jim Nelson, Sarah Earl, D.F. Payne, Mary Rushing, Sheila Marbut, Lori Stidham, Barbara Anderson, Dolores Johnson, Jay Johnson, and Kayla Wade.

The 17 graduates of Oneonta’s first citizen academy pose with Oneonta police lieutenant Steven Gunn and officer Mike Harris in the city’s council chambers for their official photograph. Standing behind Gunn (kneeling, left) and Harris are (left to right) Joseph Huie, Tom Ledford, Joan Ledford, Diane Smith, Martha Holloway, Tony Hoeppner, Sheila Gargus, Jim Nelson, Sarah Earl, D.F. Payne, Mary Rushing, Sheila Marbut, Lori Stidham, Barbara Anderson, Dolores Johnson, Jay Johnson, and Kayla Wade.

Oneonta police chief James Chapman, lieutenant Steve Gunn, and officer Mike Harris conducted graduation exercises for members of the police department’s first citizen academy at Oneonta City Council’s latest meeting. Chapman noted he had wanted to begin the academy several years ago but found, as with so many good things, it had been pushed to the back for a time.

The chief praised the 17 participants, some of whom could not attend the ceremony, for their dedication over the 12- week program. He said he and his planners learned from the “guinea pigs” what should be added and what should be deleted. He indicated he had planned to offer two academies a year but that the next one will not begin before 2012. Council business

In session before the recognition, the council authorized procuring a line of credit for the city. That action allows the city to continue its practice of securing funds on a temporary and as needed basis, should revenues require an additional cushion.

Mayor Darryl Ray read a proclamation honoring retiring Blount County Children’s center director Jerry Renno. With his retirement, Renno completes 15 years heading the center.

Board chair Marlene Stroud announced the September beautification winners, Nadean Boggs (residential) and Dr. Stephen Avram (commercial – Mountain Springs Plaza). At Ray’s recommendation, the council tabled the agenda item to consider hiring a full-time police officer.

Oneonta Business Association representative Darrell Edwards detailed association plans for upcoming months. He reported businesses had very good days with the Saturday yard sale Sept. 10 and the association plans to host another. He also reviewed plans for Halloween trick or treating for Saturday, Oct. 29; Dog Days, Nov. 12; and a Dickens Christmas story, Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. Edwards said the association is seeking matching state tourism grants to promote the area and local businesses.

The council held the Sept. 13 meeting in the town hall break room, because workers were laying tile in the council chambers. The tile will replace carpeting damaged by flooding from the 10- to 11-inch rains that brought flooding to the chambers over the Tropical Storm Lee Labor Day event. All councilors (Hal Buckelew, Mark Gargus, Tim McNair, Ross Norris, and Danny Robinson) joined Ray for the meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.