City of Onalaska curfew renewed
Polk County Enterprise - February 25, 2007 - March 4, 2007
By VALERIE REDDELL
Special Sections Editor
ONALASKA – Onalaska City Council members unanimously voted Tuesday to reinstate a nocturnal curfew that bars minors from public places after 11 p.m. weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday and ordered a May 12 city election.
Onalaska Mayor Lew Vail said he gets frequent calls every week from parents asking about the curfew ordinance and they tend to support it.
The curfew not only short-circuits any juvenile mischief in public areas in Onalaska, Police Chief Ronald Gilbert said, but it ensures that minors with nighttime jobs or other legitimate reasons for being out can take care of business and get home safely.
Exceptions to the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew include youth in the company of their parents or other designated adult.
Juveniles are also permitted on the sidewalk or property adjacent to their home, on a direct route home after an organized school, church or civic group event.
Onalaska police Sgt. Thomas Moye said the department still handles a lot of juveniles during the day.
“With only one officer on duty at night – or sometimes two – it can be stressful to have to sit in the office waiting for a parent to come pick them up,” Moye said.
Onalaska Police typically detain four or five juveniles a month.
The officers said truancy laws help curb daytime incidents.
Gilbert said officers read the riot act to a 16-year-old who smoking in front of a convenience store during school hours.
He told officers he attended school in Livingston and avoided detention when an adult sister arrived at the store and officers turned him over to her.
The curfew has a positive impact on the city, Gilbert adds. Most juveniles are “tucked away” at night, leaving officers to focus on other safety issue and emergency calls, Gilbert said.
Filing packets are now available for candidates seeking one of three council positions up for election May 12, Vail announced.
The three expiring positions are those currently held by Carl Cruse, Patsy Goins and Shirley Gilmore.
The council unanimous passed an ordinance called for the election and an interlocal agreement with Polk County for equipment and services for the election.
Vail also announced that some residents had expressed confusion about the agenda item accepting the annexation of Stowaway Bay subdivision by the Onalaska Fresh Water District No. 2.
“We can’t annex them yet,” Vail said. “The city limits doesn’t touch them. We have to approve the water district annexation since they’re in our extraterritorial jurisdiction.”
The annexation resolution passed without objection.
The independent auditing firm, Sandersen Knox & Belt gave high marks to Onalaska’s financial reports at Tuesday’s meeting.
Auditor Nathan Krupke said the financial statements were free of material misstatement and all required disclosures had been given.
With total revenues of $935,000 and expenses of $855,000 the City of Onalaska was able to increase fund balances by about $200,000, Krupke said.
“That’s one of the main things we look at,” Krupke said.
During departmental reports, Chief Gilbert said police were able to clear 48 old warrants this month that dated back as far as 1999.
A total of 73 warrant arrests were made.
New cases included 10 felonies, two involving juveniles and 67 misdemeanors, eight with juvenile suspects.
Onalaska firefighters answered 18 calls in the city and 31 Polk County calls in January.
Medical-related emergencies continue to be the biggest demand on the department, Fire Chief Roy Newport said.
OVFD handled one structure fire, two vehicle fires and two motor vehicle accidents.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council also approved permits for the 5K Leprechaun Walk that will follow a 3.1 mile route through Old Town Onalaska.
Participants will follow green dots going out and orange dots coming back to complete the route, Vail said.
“We’ll have search and rescue available if needed,” Newport joked.
Registration is now under way.
The wheelchair/power chair division starts at 9:30 a.m., under 18 begins at 9:45 a.m. and all others begin at 10 a.m.
For more event information, visit http://cityofonalaska.us/texas-roundup.htm, or call 646-5000.
Onalaska residents will have a chance to show off their Easter finery in a parade through downtown March 31.