Whitesburg KY

Jenkins council votes to remove Dunham sign that caused controversy

The Jenkins City Council voted unanimously at its July meeting this week to remove a stop sign on Straight Row, which is the main street in Dunham.

In addition to removing the stop sign, which was highly unpopular among Dunham residents, the council specified replacing it with signs warning people to drive slowly as they approach the intersection of Straight Row and Improvement Branch and to examine speed limits. Several Dunham residents said they believe warning signs will be more effective because so many people ignore the stop sign.

The council also voted to place signs near the Dunham Children’s Park to alert motorists that children are present and playing, and to address a water problem that causes water to run down one of the streets almost constantly and freeze in the winter. Jenkins Mayor Todd Depriest said he believes the water is the result of an old culvert that has collapsed or been damaged.

The action satisfied most of the Dunham residents who attended the meeting, although Depriest said he had another petition signed by 40 people who wanted to keep the stop sign. Depriest suggested installing another stop sign and making it a four-way stop instead of removing the offending sign and several council members said that might be a good idea. But that suggestion was very unpopular with the Dunham residents. Councilmember Rebecca Amburgey suggested the compromise of a sign warning people to slow down.

In other business, Jenkins resident Chris Anderson asked the council to consider accepting a surplus caboose from CSX Railroad that he hopes will become a tourist attraction. Anderson, who works at East Kentucky Broadcasting in Pikeville and contributes to The Mountain Eagle, described himself as a railroad history buff and said he had spoken with officials at CSX who are making a list of surplus equipment. He said the caboose would be given to the city at no cost, although he wasn’t sure about transportation costs.

Anderson said the caboose might fit in well with the Dave Zegeer Coal and Railroad Museum in Jenkins and it could be used as a tourism center or maybe as extra office space for city workers. The council gave him the okay to discuss the matter with CSX and said it will take it under consideration.

Harold Kelly of Nesbitt Engineering reported that the request to complete the sidewalk to Jenkins Middle High School was resubmitted to the highway commissioner’s office. Kelly said the state has revealed concerns about the way the city will match the state funds. Municipalities are usually required to pay some matching funds for state grants, although in the past, they have been allowed to use “in-kind” actions such as using city employees and equipment to do the work.

Mayor Depriest said that about $20,000 of mostly unused TV broadcasting equipment is missing from the upstairs control room and that the Jenkins Police Department has sent the serial numbers to state and federal authorities to help locate them if they are resold. Depriest said the matter is currently under investigation.

The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department made 19 calls in June, including one for emergency medical service and five vehicle accidents. It made nine public service calls, two of which were weather-related, answered one false alarm and attended to one brush fire. Five Jenkins firefighters attended state fire school in Lexington and a fire prevention class was held for the summer camp.

Mayor Depriest commended firefighters for turning out for a fire on the day of the meeting. He said the house was a total loss, but 20 to 25 volunteer firefighters turned out on a day with 90-degree temperatures to fight a very hot fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby structures.

Depriest also cautioned all-terrain vehicle riders and the parents of juveniles riding ATVs to obey city laws. Depriest said the city has tried to maintain an ATVfriendly status but if ATV riders continue to abuse the privilege of riding on city streets, Jenkins police officers will begin to make arrests and write citations to the parents of juveniles.

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