By: Cassady Rosenblum
The Parsons City Council met to approve its invoices for the previous month totaling $37,285.28, and hear reports from city employees. Police Chief Keplinger noted he recently responded to a call about a 12-year-old girl threatening to hurt herself and her mother with a knife at 3 in the morning. Fire Chief Kevin White reported that drone training will begin next month to teach law enforcement and emergency services how to perform tasks such as remote search and rescues. White also noted the drones will be useful in the event of a storm to check to see if rivers or flooding, or to provide FEMA with real-time photographs and videos of any storm-related damage.
John “Red” Lipscomb informed the council that he recently discovered and resolved 5 major water leaks, meaning that the city of Parsons can now pump water four hours a day, compared to the 7 or 8 it was doing before. He also thanked the council for purchasing a new vacuum truck, which the city used its federal relief money to buy. “It’s a beauty to have,” said Red. “It has twice the sucking capabilities and is ten times better what we had before.” He then asked the council to considering using the remaining relief money to install radio-read water meters, so that city employees no longer have to check them manually. Former city administrator Jason Myers acknowledged checking water meters by hand is a task both time-consuming and sometimes fraught with risk: once, Myers recalled chuckling, he watched Red kneel under a porch to check a water meter only to stand up covered in dog poop. “And you can’t do anything about it,” said Red as the room howled with laughter. “You can’t go home and change. You gotta grass-wipe it and hope a good neighbor gives you some hand sanitizer.”
The council also voted to build an observational deck at Pulp Mill pond not exceeding $10,000, and decided to allow Trick-or-Treating to take place this Halloween, although the city will not be passing out candy.
Finally, the council also voted to hire Stephanie Murphy as city manager, thus filling the vacancy left by Jason Myers. Murphy is a Tucker County resident and has a background in public relations and non-profit management. She graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University in 2012, and was the director of the Elkins Public Library for four years. Myers acknowledged that while she has “big shoes to fill,” she plans to bring a sprit of enthusiasm and teamwork to her new role. Murphy’s first day is October 1.