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New leaders step in for Fourth Fest

Staff writer

Preston and Lisa Hodges addressed Peabody City Council Monday night in their new capacity of heading the traditional July Fourth Celebration in Peabody.

Longtime Fourth Fest Chairman Brian McDowell and his wife Alisa moved to McPherson almost two years ago. They remained in charge of the celebration in 2009, but felt the event needed someone who was closer to the community and the volunteers who contribute so much.

The McDowells will work closely with the Hodges to make sure the transition is smooth this first year.

“Brian created a spreadsheet for us that covers every event, deadline, and the people involved,” Lisa Hodges said. “It is a great road map for the Fourth. We won’t be changing anything this year. We are going to stick to the plan he has laid out.”

The council agreed to hire the couple and make them city employees for a day so they will fall under the city’s liability insurance, receiving token payment. McDowell is certified to oversee the pyrotechnics of the event and he will maintain that certification until Hodges can take the courses necessary for certification.

“We want to keep all of you informed about what will be going on that day,” Preston Hodges said. “Since the Fourth falls on a Sunday this year, we anticipate a good sized crowd. It will be smaller for the next couple of years because of it being at the first of the week, but this celebration shouldn’t be much different that the 2009 event.”

Entertainment for the day still will include the parade, dog show, kids games, car show, flea market, and other popular events leading up to the fireworks extravaganza at dusk.

The upcoming celebration will be the 89th annual Independence Day event.

In other business:

  • Dale Clark of Knudsen Monroe reviewed the 2009 audit with the council. He said there were only minor problems that every town is experiencing because of the economy. He thanked City Administrator Mac Manning and Deputy City Clerk Stephanie Ax for their assistance.
  • Appointments of a list of non-elected officials to one-year terms of service to the city were approved. There were no changes from the people serving the same capacities in 2009.
  • Three board members were appointed to extended terms on the Peabody Housing Authority Board. R. S. Avery and Mark Whitney each will serve a four-year term, ending June 10, 2014. Sharon Schmill will serve a three-year term, ending June 10, 2013.
  • A resolution was passed by the council for a public hearing June 1, to determine whether the residence at 509 Locust St. is an unsafe and dangerous structure, and whether it should be condemned and ordered repaired, removed, or demolished.
  • Health and safety officer Tammy Whiteside updated the council on other nuisance properties in the city. She reported the property at 607 Maple St. is in probate, but the heirs have been cleaning up some of the debris outside the house.
  • Manning and the council reviewed an ordinance passed in 2006, which established guidelines for recreational vehicle camping in the city. The ordinance requires a permit from the city clerk to park a recreation vehicle at city park. No change was made to the ordinance.
  • Economic Development Director Shane Marler requested a 10-minute executive session to discuss trade secrets of an individual proprietorship. Manning remained in the executive session. No action was taken on return to open meeting.
  • Manning reported that he had been dealing with several zoning issues in residential areas of the city. He warned the council that some community members might be unhappy about ordinances and regulations.
  • Manning also reported that APAC of Kansas has begun work on Locust Street. Millings from the street work were moved to the park track and leveled.
  • The council was reminded about a circus coming to town May 26. It was also noted that a clown from the circus will be at the HUB to greet youngsters at 10 a.m. Friday.
  • The pool has been filled and will open May 22.

Last modified May 13, 2010

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