MENTONE — The monthly meeting of Mentone’s Town Council featured all the elements that would be expected from a community steeped in chicken industry tradition — potential town-saving ideas being hatched, baseball board members flying the coop and even feathers being ruffled.
Hatching an idea
Local artist Bob Hudson addressed the board with an idea that he thinks will help keep the streets of Mentone wholesome and clean as well as generate a little revenue for the municipality.
Before revealing his idea, however, Hudson, well known for his paintings, drawings and large murals in area towns, gave kudos to Mentone’s street department.
“The street department guys, when my wife and I first came to town and got the library, they helped us like crazy,” said Hudson. “I mean, every time I had a problem they gave me their cell number and I’d call them and they were nothing but gracious and kind and quick. I really appreciate that.”
Hudson told the board he grew up in Claypool and said he remembers the small town to the northeast having all the community-sustaining amenities that a resident would expect. He said by the time he was in high school and preparing to set out on his own, the town had lost businesses and had deteriorated.
“I have a proposal that I think may help save the town of Mentone, short term and long term, in a lot of different ways,” he said. “The proposal is a town constable. A constable doesn’t have any police authority and he makes a minimal pay.” Hudson said a person with this title could enforce some of the town’s smaller ordinances such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, dogs barking at night, unsightly trash or “cars up on jacks for months at a time.”
Hudson said that while a constable would not carry the legal weight of a police officer, such a person could issue citations and in addition to a small monthly stipend, would collect a percentage of every fine.
“So, his motivation is to clean up Mentone and get some pay,” said Hudson. “This town could get cleaned up relatively simple and without a lot of politics. I think it’s a good idea for Mentone and I think it could keep us from going down the dark road.”
The town board thanked Hudson and told him they would consider the idea.
Flying the coop
Town board member Tim Croy told the board that Mentone’s long-lived youth league is experiencing a staffing challenge and asking for help with finding replacements for its diminishing board of directors.
“The Mentone Youth League has a six-member board and it has four of those who are leaving,” said Croy. “They are in desperate need of four people to step up who would like to be on the board. It kind of sounds like if they can’t get four, the Mentone Youth League may go away,” he said.
Interested potential board members can contact the board on Facebook or text (574) 551-3099. According to a letter sent out by the youth league, “If we don’t get any parents and/or community leaders to step up as board members before June 1, 2018, we will unfortunately be forced to make vital decisions regarding the future of the youth league.”
Pat Walgamth of Akron Concrete Products addressed the board after having received a certified letter announcing that the town was changing companies for grave-digging services at the Mentone Cemetery.
“I received a letter from the town of Mentone on the change of grave diggers at the cemetery,” Walgamuth said. “I guess I want an explanation. I’ve been in the death care industry a long, long time and there’s only two reasons you ever get kicked out of the cemetery digging the graves — one, you tear it [the cemetery grounds] up or someone on the board’s got a personal vendetta against you or your company. So, I’d kind of like an explanation of this letter.”
Board President Jill Gross told Walgamuth that his company specialized in part of the process of creating gravesite and that the town was looking for a company that specializes in the task from start to finish.
“We’ve decided to go with someone who does the whole job, pouring the foundations and digging the graves and that was the main reason,” she said.
Walgamuth said he felt someone affiliated with the town not sitting on the board was the major driving force behind the decision.
“I don’t think there’s any vendettas,” said Gross.
“I think there is,” Walgamuth countered, adding that he knows the company that will be taking over and predicted that there will be times when graves are not filled in in a timely manner after the service.
“It will be alright for awhile,” Walgamuth said. “But, there are going to be days when it’s not going to be alright and you’re going to find a family member who’s not going to be happy. When you take my livelihood away, one guy in this room took my livelihood away, that gets me pretty upset. Other than that, I’m pretty easy to get along with.”
In other news, the board:
- Discussed the yearly trash pick-up day. The day is May 16, and Cory said there is a long list of rules and unacceptable items he hopes citizens will adhere to. “They’re only allowing one furniture item, whether it be a couch, a chair, a mattress,” Croy said. “They will not take anything that has freon or anything that ever has had freon.” The trash collectors will also not accept yard waste, although minimal amounts will be taken if they are bundled securely; tires; propane tanks, bottles or gas cans; concrete, brick, rock dirt or ashes; automotive batteries or televisions, electronic items or microwaves. Construction materials will be accepted if the items are securely tied in bundles. The collectors will also accept paint cans if the lids are off and the paint is dry. There is a list of additional pricing for certain items that can be obtained by visiting the town hall. Town Marshal James Eads also reminded non-residents that the event is held for Mentone residents only. “In year’s past, we’ve had people bring stuff from out of town to our big trash day. It is for townspeople only,” Eats said. “I don’t know how to stress that enough.”
- Water Superintendent Joshua Shepherd told the board that surveillance cameras would be installed at various locations on May 14-15.
- Croy announced the launch of the town’s Facebook page. “It’s called Mentone News and Information and will keep people updated on hydrant flushings or anything going on around town,” Croy said.