LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Last night it was a full house for the LaFollette City Council Workshop when several citizens came out to discuss concerns.

Tammy Milner with the Beautification Board approached the council about the caboose located in LaFollette. Milner posed to the council that it be restored and used as a welcome center for the city. Councilman Mark Hoskins told her that the caboose belonged to Joe Arnold and the land belonged to CSX.  Public Works Director Jim Mullens interjected that he had been contacted by a demolition company out of Corbin who told him the caboose was being bid out for removal. Mullens said he didn’t have a lot of details but would be willing to contact the company and get more information.  Milner asked if the caboose was still here, could it be decorated for Christmas.  The council said would be up to  Arnold.

Next was Thelma Welden who voiced concerns about the ATV’s around Ivydale Church on Water Plant Lane. Welden alleged that some of the ATV’s were slinging gravel onto the church steps and were riding at late hours. Welden told council that in 2017 there was a law enacted that ATV riders could start riding 30 minutes before daylight and stop 30 minutes after dark.  The city is currently patrolling the area but promised to increase patrols.

Jerry Seals was  concerned about the lack of police enforcement through the LaFollette Elementary and LaFollette Middle School zones. Seals said he had almost been hit several times in the school zones by people not obeying the speed limit. Police Chief Bill Rhoel said they were currently working to address the issue and encouraged Seals to reach out to him, if has any other concerns.

The final citizens to speak were Robert and Tara Tucker. The Tuckers live on Loop Road and have recently been cited by the codes officer for their property being unkept. After the Tuckers failed to act on the issue, the city mowed and cleaned up the property. The Tuckers claimed they were not notified of the issue, until they came home and found the property cleaned. Mrs. Tucker alleged that what the city considered to be overgrown were actually wild herbs that she used for medicinal purposes and as a food source.  When questioned what the wild herbs were Tucker said they ate the ragweed seeds, because they are a source of protein.  They used the Mimosa trees for tea which she said was good for stress.  The Tuckers said they were due in court in November for the citation. Code Officer Daniel Foster said the issue had been going on since June and said the owners were aware of the issue. City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries requested they go to court and then come back to the council, at this point they will further explore the herb issue.

Items for next week’s regular monthly meeting will include promoting Aaron Adkins to a full time level II patrol officer at a salary of $30,437.13 effective Nov. 9. Resolution 2019-17 authorizing the City of LaFollette to participate in Public Entity Partners (Property Conservation Matching Grant Program) through the loss control matching grant program. Acceptance of the bid for the Downtown Revitalization Project.

Final items discussed last night were the postponement of Trunk or Treat, due to predicated inclement weather.  Trunk or Treat will be Fri., Nov. 1 behind city hall.

Sen. Ken Yager will be in downtown LaFollette in the parking lot behind the breezeway at 1:30 pm Tuesday to discuss the Central Avenue Bridge project and speak with merchants.

It’s worth noting that embattled Council Member Ann Thompson attended Monday’s workshop.  It’s the first public meeting for the city since Thompson was indicted earlier this month on 34 counts of wiretapping and electronic surveillance and two counts of official misconduct.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED  10/29/2019 6AM)