By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – A former educator requested use of county-owned property to plant a community garden that could help keep kids out of trouble.
Rev. John Keeler told supervisors during a recessed meeting held last Friday that property located behind Avery Outdoors in Coffeeville would be suitable for the garden. He also explained that he would focus on getting eighth graders involved in the summer gardening project.
Keeler told supervisors he had moved back to Coffeeville several years ago and has been involved in an after-school tutoring program.
“That is how I got involved back in education. It is all about educating the young kids and keeping them out of trouble,” Keeler, explained.
Another goal of the community garden would be to get the kids involved in the county’s 4-H program. Keeler also presented a letter of support for his project from county 4-H director Mary Mason Furr.
“We want to try to get these kids in 4-H. My goal is to have a 4-H project,” Keeler explained.
After the presentation, county officials questioned the legality of providing tax payer land for private use.
“I am going to have to look at it to see if it is legal,” Crow explained, adding that the state constitution prohibits the county from giving away anything, including use of land.
“It is obviously very meritorious” Crow added.
“It could be, if you work with the 4-H club, that it might be something we could do,” District Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette recommended..
Supervisors then steered Keeler to work out a deal with Furr to make the garden a 4-H project, which would allow the county to make the land available for the garden.
Other business discussed in April meetings include:
• Yalobusha County Eco-nomic Development Dir-ector Bob Tyler reported that as Oakland-based Windsor Foods prepares to close out the CDBG grant helping fund the plant’s current expansion talk is already underway for a third expansion.
The current expansion created 35 new jobs, pushing the total number employed at Windsor Foods to just under 300.
“They are getting ready now for an additional expansion, that will take them on up beyond 300,” Tyler told supervisors. “And there are other jobs opening up,” he added.
• Approved a request from Yalobusha County Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Hyde to advertise for a rescue truck. The truck will be parked at the sheriff’s department and be available for any active volunteer fire fighter responding to a wreck or other problem in the county. The estimated price of the vehicle and equipment will be $140,000. Funding from the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Program will kick in $70,000 in grant funding for the purchase, while money already in Hyde’s budget will be used for the remainder of the purchase price.
• Approved a request from Sheriff Lance Hum-phreys to increase the salary of Thomas West after he graduated from the Mississippi Law Enforce-ment Academy. The increase brings West up to the same salary for certified deputies. West will now earn $2,150 monthly.
• Accepted a $200 donation from Shell Pipeline Company. The money was placed in the sheriff’s drug seized fund. Another $1,854 seized in an Oakland arrest was also placed in the fund. The money in the drug seized fund is primarily used to fund undercover drug purchases.