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Jenkins official says some police officers are harassing public

Jenkins official says
some police officers are harassing public

The Jenkins City Council went behind closed doors earlier this week to talk about whether or not some of the city’s police officers are harassing citizens.

Mayor Charles Dixon called the council into executive session at the council’s July meeting Monday after council member Terry Braddock accused officers of harassment during an incident Braddock said he witnessed on Sunday.

Braddock said complaints of harassment by the police department are becoming an “everyday thing.” He said he witnessed bad behavior by officers himself after a man and woman had been pulled the council an arrest was made after the stop Braddock mentioned. Dingus said his officers are in Jenkins to enforce the law, adding that if people are not breaking the law they have no reason to fear dealing with the Jenkins Police Department.

“People need to know we’re not going to put up with it (harassment),” answered Braddock.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Dixon announced that residents will see a two percent increase in their water and sewer bills beginning this month. Dixon said the increase will not apply to the first 2,000 gallons used by customers and

is necessary because of increased

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Dixon also said a public hearing on rate increases and complaints of poor television cable service from Inter Mountain Cable of Floyd County will be held half an hour before the city council’s August 13 meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Jenkins City Hall.

Dixon cautioned that while questions will be taken from citizens who attend the hearing, there will be no shouting or disruptions allowed.

The council voted to put two more pieces of property on the blighted and deteriorated list for posting and eventual action by the city and heard reports of bears harassing residents of the Overlook Terrace neighborhood. One Overlook Terrace resident told the council she lives in fear of a large female bear with cubs which regularly gets into her garbage.

District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming, who represents Jenkins on the Letcher County Fiscal Court, told the council he had spoken with representatives of the state Fish and Wildlife Commission about concerns over the increasing bear population, and was told the best course is to “embrace the bears.” Fleming said he declined the advice.

Council member Carol Anne Litts agreed and said if officials wait until someone is mauled or killed by a bear it will be too late to do anything about it. Mayor Dixon said he would ask Police Chief Dingus to increase patrols in the Overlook Terrace neighborhood to look for roaming bears.

Council member Rebecca Terrill said Fish and Wildlife has a program to capture and relocate bears, but is not putting it to use in Jenkins. Letcher County Extension Agent Shad Baker, who is a member of the Blighted and Deteriorated Property Committee, told Mayor Dixon he has the telephone number of the wildlife officer who is in charge of bear relocation for the region at his office and would provide it to him.

Council member Rick Damron said while he sympathizes with the residents of Overlook Terrace about their bear problem, it is good they only have bears to fear instead of drug abusers and criminals.

“But you can shoot them,” Concil member Terrill replied jokingly.

The council also learned that negotiations are complete with contractors for the Joe’s Branch Water Project and work will begin soon. An agreement has also been reached with the Mountain Water District of Pikeville to begin construction of a line connecting the Jenkins water system with the Mountain Water District. Mountain Water District will do the actual construction work and use its personnel and equipment for the previously agreed on amount of $339,000, which is within the budget.

Magistrate Fleming told the council the connection, along with a tank located at the Gateway Industrial Park, might make it possible for Jenkins to provide water to residents of Payne Gap and Kona. Fleming said the lines would be paid for by coal severance tax funds and the Fleming- Neon sewer plant could handle the sewage from the area.

Fleming said he had been in early discussions with 94th District State Representative Leslie Combs about the possibility of locating a water park at the industrial park which would serve as a tourist attraction as well as entertainment for local residents. Fleming praised Combs for her willingness to work with local officials to improve the quality of life in her district.

“We have the best state representative we’ve ever had,” said Fleming. “She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen.”

Rebecca Terrill said she was equally pleased with Fleming’s work in representing Jenkins in his third term on the fiscal court. She thanked him for all the projects he has helped with and said she appreciates everything Fleming has done for the city.

“We have a strong voice (in Fleming) on the court,” said Terrill.

While unaccounted-for loss of treated water is dramatically down for the June water report, Water Department Superintendent Bo Hopkins told the council that water leaks accounted for the loss of more than six million gallons of treated water. Utilities Committee member Tracy Goff, an engineer with Summit Engineering of Pikeville, told the council that the more important number is not the amount of water which is unaccounted for but the amount of water which was produced as opposed to the amount of water which was sold. By Goff’s reckoning, the numbers were still slightly better than last month, with 15,414,000 gallons produced and 5,190,000 gallons sold in June with a difference of 10,224,000 or 66.3 percent as opposed to 15,140,000 produced in May against 4,210,300 gallons sold with a difference of 10,929,700 or 72.1 percent.

The council also:

+ Learned in the Mayor’s report that a Civil War skirmish by re-enactors will be held during the Jenkins Homecoming Days Festival on Sunday, August 26.

+ Learned that the Cumberland Mountain Bluegrass Festival will be held July 12- 14 at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre.

+ Discussed alternative ways of removing lily pads from Jenkins Lake after Tracy Goff said a chemical proposed at last month’s meeting will not be allowed by the Kentucky Department of Water for use in a lake which provides drinking water. Council member Damron suggested using fill dirt to build a road out into the lake to get equipment to dredge the lake, thereby getting rid of the lily pads and improving capacity of the lake as well as getting rid of silt.

+ Received an invitation to attend the July 23 meeting of the Letcher County Airport Board, to be held at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg at 6:30 p.m.

+ Learned the emergency medical technician program for the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department is still on hold pending further contact with state officials. Fire Chief Rick Corbett told the council that until EMTs are trained, there will be no possibility of obtaining an ambulance service for the city.

+ Met Andrew Robinson, a recent graduate of East Ridge High School in Pike County, who is working with Volunteers in Service to America to help the city locate sources of grant funding.

+ Learned the Jenkins Planning Commission will hold a “brainstorming meeting” on July 9.

+ Accepted the single bid to provide asphalt to the city from Collier Paving for $74.75 per ton for paving and $100 per ton for patching.

+ Voted unanimously to invite representatives of Kentucky Deferred Compensation to discuss retirement planning with Jenkins City employees.

+ Approved Mayor Dixon’s suggestion to charge a single
flat fee for rental of city parks for birthday parties, reunions, and other
single day events at $25 instead of requiring a $15 refundable deposit along
with the $25 rental.

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