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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - July 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

Onalaska says smoking in restaurants is OK
Polk County Enterprise - July 2009

Onalaska – City Council members voted three to two against an ordinance prohibiting smoking in eating establishments Tuesday. General public participation was practically nonexistent with three speakers signed in during the public forum portion of the meeting. One of the speakers was Jeanne Ann Byrd owner of a local restaurant that permits smoking. Byrd spoke before council members about the ordinance last month also. She reiterated her concerns asking council members to consider her position as the only restaurant within Onalaska city limits to be affected by the ordinance. Byrd also questioned enforcement of the ordinance as outlined, stating she would be responsible to report violations of her customers to authorities.

Council members discussed pros and cons of the ordinance with Brandon Smith and Carl Cruse stating public health issues as their position in favor of the ordinance. Members Patsy Goins and Tom Edwards cited the public’s choice to frequent a business that allows smoking along with restrictions of government into private business issues. Both members stated smoking in eating establishments should be the decision of business owners. Shirley Gilmore questioned the size of the smoking area versus non smoking areas of Byrd’s restaurant. The smoking ordinance vote failed with Smith and Cruse voting in favor and Goins, Edwards and Gilmore voting against the ordinance.

Ridgeview Subdivision Property Owner’s Association makes donation toward city’s fireworks Clyde Stewart, president of Ridgeview subdivision property owner’s association, spoke during the public portion of the meeting and presented council members with a donation toward the annual fireworks display. Stewart made comments about the smoking ordinance adding his support for the smoking restriction. Police Chief Ron Gilbert addressed council members recognizing the city, school district and local businesses for the success of the wrestling event last month. Gilbert reported construction of the police department is complete with an invitation to council to inspect the improvements. Gilbert presented the June police department report to council. Gilbert reported OPD handled 123 calls in June. Gilbert reported one felony arrest and 18 misdemeanor arrests were made. Citations issued were 95 with 39 warning citations issued during the month.

Gilbert reported OPD responded to three Onalaska Fire Department assistance calls, 16 Polk County Sheriff Office calls and three DPS assistance calls in June. Officers logged 5,214 miles on patrol during the month of June. Gilbert reported 62 warrants were issued during the month with 32 warrants cleared. Mayor Lew Vail presented the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department report for June to council members in Chief Roy Newport’s absence. The department responded to 40 calls with 33 medical related calls during June. OVFD responded to five structure calls and 13 grass fires. Also during June, OVFD responded to three lake calls, five land calls and six assistance calls. OVFD also responded to four motor vehicle accident calls during June. The department logged 147 man hours within the city limits and 39 man hours in the county for the month. Mayor Vail also presented the building and inspection permit summary to council members. The report included $260 in permit fees collected during June.

Three additions or modifications were reported along with one mobile home permit and two commercial sign permits for the month. Vail reported the building permits added $15,600 in value to city tax rolls. To date, current improvement values for fiscal year 2009 is over 1.5 million. Council member Patsy Goins presented the June library report to council members that included 643 in book circulation. Goins reported 853 patrons visited the facilities during the month. Computer usage was down slightly from May with 285 computer patrons for June. Collections by the library were $112.10 that included $97.10 accounting for copier and fax usage and $15 in fines for the month. Goins reported library personnel along with community service assistance, are removing books that have never been checked out from the library collection. Goins reported construction between the police department and the library including a new ceiling and duct work is now complete. Consent items approved by council included approval of past minutes, payment of vouchers and acceptance of financial reports. A review of the burn ban was deleted from the agenda and not considered by council members. The burn ban remains in effect in Polk County. The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for August 10 at 7 p.m.



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