Wakefield, elected new Culver fire chief, will take over in January

The Culver-Union Township fire department will have a new chief after the first of the year, according to current chief Mike Grover, who made the announcement at the Dec. 11 meeting of Culver's town council.
Grover explained the department held its election of officers recently and elected longtime fireman Terry Wakefield as the new chief.

The assistant chief will continue to be Ken VanDePutte and Dave Cooper will stay on as secretary, said Grover. Jerry Siler will also retain his post as training officer and Tim McCarthy as safety officer. The new captain will be Pete Peterson, replacing present captain Glenn Whitmarsh. Other changes included Jim Grover and Walt Hanselman's election as maintenance men, and Bryce Lindvall's election in charge of cleaning.

The council also approved Grover's requests for $883.73 worth of hose for its existing grass truck -- noting the new grass truck should be ordered after Jan. 1 -- and $750 for a refurbished deregulator for use on one of the department's fire trucks, which will facilitate one unit on the fire engine and one on the squad truck, "so we'll always have it," said Grover.

Grover was also given the go-ahead to purchase a new desktop computer for the fire station, to replace the six-year-old machine there.
Council member Ginny Munroe, near the close of the meeting, complimented Grover on his work as fire chief.

"You always came in (to council meetings) with a professional attitude and often with humor," she said. "You did a great job."

In other actions, the council passed on second and third readings a redistricting ordinance pertaining among other things to a new agricultural district in the town of Culver.

Council member Ed Pinder, following the vote, reiterated his concerns that the new zoning structures don't specify that farm animals are not allowed within town limits.

"That's a possibility the way the ordinance read," he said. "I don't want it to happen with any kind of farm animals. I think we need that (new ordinance banning them).

"I don't think any of us want animals in our front yard or the yard next to us," he added.

The town attorney agreed to work on such an ordinance.

Town marshal Wayne Bean pointed out the ordinance should specify the ban be aimed at permanent-residing animals, rather than those in town on a temporary basis, such as Amish horses or petting zoo animals. Pinder also confirmed, in response to an audience question, that he includes chickens in his definition of farm animals.

Council president Sally Ricciardi explained a council work session yielded a majority vote in favor of a three percent salary increase for town employees, which the council approved.

Utilities manager Bob Porter told the council downtown revitalization construction is "as complete as it can get until spring," and added the west face of the new town clock at Main and Jefferson Streets isn't working. The manufacturing company drove to Culver from Alabama and worked on the clock to no avail, he said, but will order a new motor for it.

Council approved requests from EMS director Bob Cooper to pay two Plymouth EMTs to staff the Culver area so the Culver EMS can have its Christmas party Jan. 12, as well as purchase of 12 new uniform coats for the department at $300, and $3,000 total for new pants and sweatshirts for department members. He noted sweatshirts purchased in 2009 are becoming ragged.

The council opted to wait to vote on Cooper's request for two shock-resistant laptop computers on the department's ambulances, which he said would allow staff to complete and send reports for records and billing immediately, eliminating the extra step of hand-writing reports and transposing them into a computer later. The laptops would also give EMTs immediate access to available medical records on a patient, said Cooper. The total cost of the machines is just under $4,000.

Town clerk Karen Heim said the town employee party will take place Jan. 4, funded by money from the town hall soft drink machine and scrap metal collected by Porter during town-wide cleanups this year.
She also reminded the council and audience that the next council meeting, which would normally fall on Dec. 25, was rescheduled for Thursday, Dec. 27.