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published on 07/12/2005

Captain Bo Veal Promoted to Chief of Police

By staff writer

Mayor Leonard, Mr. Boyd H. Veal, Chief Bo Veal, and wife Sue Veal
All I can say is WOW! What a great Town Council Meeting the Town of Signal Mountain held, Monday, July 11, 2005. As Mayor Bill Leonard stated, there was SRO, “standing room only.” It began with the Pledge of Allegiance, the opening prayer, and roll call. Councilmember Lizetta Paturalski and Vice-mayor Steve Ruffin were absent. Councilmembers Robert White and Bob Linehart were present along with Phil Noblett, town attorney and Diana Campbell, town recorder.

The first order of business was for the Town Council to appoint Diana Campbell as acting Town Manager effective immediately. The second was to appoint Captain Bo Veal as Police Chief of the Town of Signal Mountain. Present to witness this promotion was the entire Signal Mountain police force and families. After the reading of the resolution, Mayor Bill Leonard called up Captain Veal, his wife Sue and his father, Mr. Boyd H. Veal to pin the Police Chief pins on, noting that Captain Veal, now Chief Veal, is following in the foot steps of both his father and grandfather who served as Signal Mountain Police Chiefs.

Chief Veal thanked the Town Council, and Hershel Dick, former town manager. He asked all the officers to be present at this meeting so he could personally recognize the contributions they make to this community noting that it is a team effort on the part of all the force; that the Town is lucky and he is blessed to serve with them. He then called up Officer Greg Hall, who has served as second in command for years without formal recognition. Tonight Chief Veal promoted Officer Hall to Police Captain.

According to Chief Veal, the Signal Mountain Police Department has supported the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program for years and to date it has been the only connection with youth in the community. At tonight’s meeting, he announced a new program that has been phased in during the summer called Youth Community Relations and appointed Officer Greg Hill, who has been the D.A.R.E. officer as the new Youth Community Relations Officer. Chief Veal told how every year at the end of the D.A.R.E. courses, thousands of students from all over the state turn in essays. It was his pleasure to call Officer Hill to tell him that one of his students, Shelby Lockhart, a student at Nolan Elementary, had won First Place in the Tennessee State essay contest. Officer Hill and Shelby joined Chief Veal in front of the audience at which time Officer Hill presented Shelby with her certificate and a check for $100 to spend in Gatlinburg, TN where the D.A.R.E. ceremonies will be held this summer. Next Shelby’s teacher at Nolan,
, came forward and praised Shelby saying she exemplifies every one of Hamilton County’s character traits. Then Chief Veal announced that one of the things Shelby wanted to do in Gatlinburg was ride in the parade with the D.A.R.E. officers but the parade had been moved to the day before the banquet and the cost was not covered in the prize so the Town of Signal Mountain Police Department wanted to give Shelby and her family that extra day in Gatlinburg so she could ride in the parade. (Look for a picture of Shelby and her essay in another section of the paper.)

Well, if you thought the Town was through honoring people, you were mistaken. Next came a resolution to honor Betty Fassnacht, winner of the “Woman of the Year,” an honor bestowed on women since 1969 by the Signal Mountain Community Guild. According to Mayor Leonard, it is the Council’s intention to honor each winner every year so included in this resolution is a list of all previous winners, two of which Lou Oliphant and Jean Dolan were present at the meeting. Mrs. Fassnacht thanked the Town Council for honoring her and all the women who have received the designation as “Woman of the Year.”

And finally, the Town Council read a resolution honoring town manager Hershel Dick having served the Town for forty years, the last five as the town manager. Mr. Dick announced his resignation at the June council meeting, which became effective July 1st. He was not present at the meeting to hear the resolution.

Next came a presentation by two Dixie League teams both all-star teams; one nine year old and the other ten year olds. They came forward to present to the Mayor and Town Council their winning trophies. Councilmember Robert White noted that these boys represented the Town of Signal Mountain as gentlemen; good winners, good losers, and good sportsmen all round. Present to witness the team’s presentation were their coaches and families. Also present was Mr. Mark Feemster, who upon his election will be the next president of the baseball league. Mayor Leonard responded to the players by thanking them and calling them ambassadors for Signal Mountain.

Present in the audience were Anne and Kay Ozburn representing members of the Signal Mountain Fourth of July Parade committee. Mayor Leonard thanked them and their committee noting that the Shriners, riding in the little cars, were asked to ride in other Fourth of July parades but turned them down to ride in the Signal Mountain parade. Anne in turn responded by thanking the Signal Mountain Police department for their support during the event.

The Council did cover some important business at tonight’s meeting. Most significantly was the Ordinance changing purchasing requirements for the Town of Signal Mountain. Currently items under $3,500 have to be bid on, however, after this ordinance is passed, only items over $10,000 will need to receive bids before purchasing. According to attorney Phil Noblett, state law allows municipalities to increase the dollars at which bids must be advertised. Doing so will make it easier to negotiate smaller contracts, according to Mayor Leonard. This ordinance passed on the first reading.

In other business, Mayor Leonard introduced the new engineering consultant for the Town, Mr. James Cauthen, a resident of the Town. The Town Council also voted to accept the agreement with the Hamilton County School Board’s offer to lease the old Signal Mountain School, now known as the MACC (Mountain Arts Community Center) for $1 a year for the next twenty years. The mayor reminded everyone that signing this lease meant that the Town is responsible for upkeep of the facility and that this Council is dedicated to keeping it safe and useable and now with a twenty-year lease, a more formal commitment can be made to address the issues that need attention.

Scott Cook, recreation department director, was called upon to make an announcement about approved recreational activities. In his statement, he read what the policy is and what activities the Town of Signal Mountain sanctions. Here is the statement:

The Town of Signal Mountain would like to take this opportunity to inform the public that any recreation-related activity, organized or informal, that desires to use the facilities of the town of Sign Mountain for practice and/or organized play must receive approval by the Signal Mountain Recreation Advisory Board and Recreation Director. The Recreation Advisory Board meets the 3rd Thursday of each month.

The activities that currently use our facilities and in which the Town of Signal Mountain endorses as promoting positive influence on the young people as well as adults include: Flag Football, Boys Baseball, Girls Softball, Youth Basketball, Adult Softball, Swim Team, Gymnastics, and Soccer. Any activity not listed above has not been sanctioned or approved by the Town of Signal Mountain Recreation Advisory Board.

The last hour of the meeting consisted of citizen’s taking the opportunity to address the Council. Resident Jim Galloway asked the Council why Shoal Creek Road is closed every Sunday and complained that as a taxpayer he should be allowed to use the road when he wants. The Council responded that the road was closed at the request of citizens who have enjoyed strolling along Shoal Creek which is designated a park even though the road itself is public and that until Mr. Galloway, nothing but positive remarks have been made about the decision to close the road, however is it was not being used then the Council would reconsider opening it back up on Sundays. Residents of Albert Road, whose spokesman was Adam Bock, asked the Council to consider alternatives to slowing down traffic on their street. This led to a larger discussion of all the feeder streets from James to Taft Highway, all of which have become dangerous because they are heavily traveled and in poor condition. Finally the mayor promised the residents to send an officer of the police department to hear their stories and asked resident Shawn Craig to research what other small municipalities do to handle traffic problems around neighborhoods, schools, and shopping centers. The Signal Mountain Lions Club was praised for their contribution to the community especially the annual Fourth of July barbecue and fireworks. And resident Joe Dumas asked the town council to publicly state that they do not agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow imminent domain laws be used to obtain private property for commercial public use. Attorney Phil Noblett responded that Tennessee state law does not allow that now anyway so it is a non-issue.

Finally, Councilmembers had an opportunity to address the citizens. Councilmember White thanked Mayor Bill Leonard for serving as mayor and filling a void when Mr. Dick left as town manager. Councilmember Bob Linehart questioned the use of temporary signs popping up around town to which Greg Goodgame, a member of the Design and Review Committee responded by saying it is that committee that gives approval for signs. Lou Oliphant noted that the town inspector, Bill Wagner, monitors such use. Mayor Leonard reminded everyone of the contest to landscape Althaus Park and Diana Campbell thanked the Council for their support in appointing her Interim town manager. The meeting end at 9:20 PM.
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