City Council edict honors Charles Robinson

By Thomas Wilson

   Elizabethton City Council honored Elizabethton Star publisher Charles Robinson at Thursday night's meeting with a memorial proclamation praising the newspaperman's numerous contributions to the community.
   The proclamation directed flags at city government installations be lowered to half-staff today in honor and memory of Robinson who died Wednesday after collapsing Tuesday afternoon. Mayor Sam LaPorte led the meeting speaking to Robinson's legacy of community involvement and personal devotion to his family.
   "It rarely was a charitable event he was not involved with in some way," said Mayor Sam LaPorte who read the proclamation to Robinson shortly after an emotional opening invocation delivered by City Planning Director, David Ornduff.
   The proclamation noted Robinson's service on numerous civic clubs and organizations, his involvement and support of girls and boys athletic programs, the local Boys and Girls Club, and countless academic and athletic programs in the city school system. Robinson's death personally affected many city of Elizabethton officials and city government - his wife, Angela, is employed with the city as its risk manager.
   "He was a loving and caring father and family man," said LaPorte. "No one or no thing came between Charlie and his loved ones."
   Robinson's funeral service will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in the First Baptist Church of Elizabethton.
   In other business, an Elizabethton citizen reminded the council of the opposition he and other citizens expressed last year about an ordinance legalizing the sale and discharge of fireworks within city limits.
   Carl Peters, a resident of East K Street, pointed to a police report that listed 44 complaints regarding fireworks use compiled between June 28 and July 5. The council voted 4-3 last July to legalize seasonal sales of fireworks for two weeks during the Fourth of July and New Year's Day holidays.
   Peters said he had heard fireworks discharged near his residence before the seasonal sale period began on June 20. He also produced two burned fireworks he said he found on the roof of his residence last week.
   "I should not have to be subjected to these types of things," he told the council.
   LaPorte told Peters he had met with police officials regarding the fireworks issue and expected the full council to revisit the issue later this year. He also noted that of the 297 complaints of disturbing the peace made to police through this year less than 22 percent were about fireworks.
   "There are things we need to look at," LaPorte said of the fireworks ordinance.
   Council members voted 7-0 to approve a contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to grant a new traffic signal at the Broad Street/North East Street intersection. That traffic signal was requested by the city and K-VA-T Food Store officials to accommodate an expansion of the Food City store on Broad Street. According to a correspondence from TDOT regarding the signal, the city would be responsible for maintenance, installation, and electricity to power the traffic control device. K-VA-T proposed funding the signal's purchase and installation when the request was initially made.
   In other business, the council voted 7-0 to approve the following items on Thursday night's agenda:
   -A resolution renewing the city's 2004-2005 state highway maintenance contract with TDOT. The contract totaling $56,050 reimburses the city during the fiscal year for costs incurred for maintenance done on sections of city streets that also have state highway designations.
   -A resolution accepting a $376,000 bid submitted by Tony Birchfield Construction Company to perform water system improvements in the town of Watauga. The city received a $500,000 Community Block Development Grant requiring a 20 percent match of city dollars to fund upgrading Watauga's water system infrastructure. Birchfield company bid was the lower of two bids received by the city.
   -An expenditure of $84,825 to purchase five new vehicles for the Elizabethton Police Department. The new vehicles will be outfitted with a "police package" of equipment and accessories and are being purchased with funds from the city's police equipment.