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Crossing work begins today

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
Repair to Railroad Crossings throughout Brewton will begin today, likely requiring patience from motorists and homeowners living on or near the streets in question.
Brewton Superintendent of Public Works Danny Howard last night presented the city council with a schedule of work planned on the city's crossings.
That work, which will entail the replacement of timber and rails, begins this morning on Cook Road. The project will require the road to be closed for about one day.
Next will be Jones Road, which will also be closed for about a day beginning the morning of Thursday, Feb. 26.
Deer Street will follow, with work scheduled to begin Sunday, Feb. 29 and last until Thursday, March 4. Then will come Lee Street, where work will begin the morning of Thursday, March 4 and last until the morning of Saturday, March 6.
On Sunday, March 7, work is scheduled to begin on the Mildred Street crossing, which will impact the city's most heavily trafficed area. Work there will last until the morning of Friday, March 12.
The East Street crossing will be repaired between the morning of March 10 and the evening of March 19, and the McLelland Street crossing will be worked on from March 15 to March 19.
Howard pointed out that weather and other factors could impact the work schedule.
In other business before the council, a committee appointed to look into the scheduling of carnivals at Burnt Corn Park this spring delivered its report.
The T.R. Miller Quarterback Club has, for six years running, held a spring carnival at the park, and another is planned this spring. Earlier this month, a second carnival, to benefit the Brewton Nutrition Center, was proposed.
The committee voted to deny the second carnival for two reasons, said committee member Councilman Dennis Dunaway. The first was consideration for the traditional Quarterback Club carnival --it's thought that holding two carnivals too close together would damage the fundraising effectiveness of each.
The second reason was that the Nutrition Center event was set to take place during planned work to the Mildred Street railroad crossing mentioned earlier. Increased traffic from carnival attendees would lend even more potential gridlock to what's already expected to be a difficult situation.
The committee was authorized at last night's meeting to continue its work, looking into general scheduling of events at Burnt Corn Park --including how close together they can be held.
Also at last night's meeting, Police Chief David Lovelace addressed issues raised at the last council meeting about his officers' patrols of school routes in the Sowell Road and East Jackson Street areas. Concerns were expressed at the last meeting that not enough was being put into these patrols.
But Lovelace pointed out to the council that his officers were spending a lot of time on the routes in question, and in patrolling the Sowell Road and East Jackson Street areas at other times.
Of police visibility in general, Lovelace said Brewton is often complimented on this, and added, "If you get in your car and ride, you'll see a police car in 10 minutes."
Back on the topic of Sowell Road and East Jackkson Street concerns, Lovelace recalled when the issue first came up. He said he told Mayor Ted Jennnings that he could come up with a plan for addressing residents' concerns, but that it would create a lot of overtime for his department. Jennings, Lovelace said, told him to move forward.
Lovelace showed the council a rundown of the overtime hours officers have logged over the past three months or so, a good deal of it while patrolling the area in question. From Dec. 2003 to the present, officers have put in 1,402.5 hours of overtime, at a total cost to taxpayers of $23,857.59.
Lovelace also pointed out during his presentation that even officers patrolling school routes may at times be pulled away for emergency calls, but there are enough officers and crossing guards that coverage of the areas is still adequate.
Also last night, Dunaway gave a report on Communities that Care, an organization that promotes positive futures for young people. Dunaway, who is trying to get the organization up and going in Brewton, said that he attended a presentation in Montgomery on the 17th which described the organization's benefits.
He also pointed out that group works alongside existing organizations, and said that he would be looking into possible grant funding to get the program started.
In other action, the council: