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City Council re-convenes with heightened security screening

 

In the aftermath of the tragic Bo Ward suicide several weeks ago, the City Council convened for the first time in new but temporary quarters to finish the prior agenda and continue managing the city’s business.

On. Oct 4, after a ruling to table a zone change request, Ronald ‘Bo’ Ward, claiming the decision had ruined him financially, pulled a handgun from his trouser pocket and shot himself before the Council and an audience of about 50 people.

I empathize with those who witnessed this tragedy; early in my career I was in a courtroom — in the days when security and metal detectors weren’t even on the radar — when a gunman began waving a weapon in open court. I hit the floor as police stormed the courtroom and wrestled the gun away, arresting its owner. With years of “police beat” and “court beat” behind me, it sadly no longer surprises me when tragedy strikes. I don’t like it, but it is not a surprise.

So it came to pass that Mayor Johnny Piper, with good cause, permanently closed the former Chambers and sought new quarters. So it came to pass that attendees at Monday’s City Council meeting were screened via metal detectors, but according to reports purses and cell phones were not allowed in chambers.

While I empathize with the need for security, I could not help but find the concept of withholding of purses from chambers a bit over the top in the paranoia department. And a bit discriminatory. «Read the rest of this article»

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Cars seized over packs of cigarettes

 

Revenue agents surveil Tennessee residents who buy cigarettes in neighboring states. Those found in possession of two cartons +1 pack will have their car confiscated.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announcing his plans for a smoke free Tennessee.Tennessee revenue agents will be watching, ready to accuse residents of the new crime of driving with 21 packs of cigarettes purchased across state lines. Those carrying just over two cartons of smokes in their car might lose their vehicle for good. The crackdown announced late last month is part of an effort to defend a July hike in the cigarette tax from 20 to 62 cents per pack from nearby states with much lower levies.

The net result is that Tennessee will confiscate and sell cars worth thousands or tens of thousands each over a claimed loss of tax revenue of $13.02. Cigar lovers likewise become criminals under the statute and face six months in jail if accused of driving with 51 cigars. A heavy smoker carrying a three-month supply — enough to evade an alleged $155.62 in cigarette tax — is guilty of a felony under the Tennessee law. The penalty, in addition to car confiscation, is up to six years in prison and an additional $3000 fine. Earlier this month Governor Phil Bredesen (D) embraced an official anti-cigarette policy to complement the confiscation program.

“It’s also a historic occasion as Tennessee becomes the first traditional tobacco state to enact such a comprehensive statewide smoking ban…”- Phil Bredesen

«Read the rest of this article»

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SECURE website charts path for gang awareness, pro-active youth resources

 

Build it and they will come. Kevin Costner said those words in the modern film classic, Field of Dreams.

In Clarksville, a dedicated group of citizens, social activists and area ministers gathered together to build a program and tonight, when the doors finally opened, the people came.

S.E.C.U.R.E., the acronym for Safe and Effective Community Using Resources for Empowerment, is the brainchild of Pastor Tommy Vallejos, director of Hispanic Outreach for Progress and Education (HOPE) and former gang member.

Vallejos bears the internal and external scars of gang life: the 20+ year old tattoos he wants to strip from his skin and the ever-present heartfelt loss of more than 20 family members and friends to gang violence.

Vallejos was the perfect answer to a difficult problem.

“When the kids come here, they have to talk to me first. They have to listen. And we have a lot for them to do,” Vallejos said. «Read the rest of this article»




Alternatives to Violence Program: Releasing the anger

 

“I would not volunteer my time for such a long weekend if I were not convinced of the efficacy of the program.” — Polly Coe

With those words, Coe said it is not too late to register for the next offering of the Alternatives to Violence Program, a transformative weekend program designed to break down the barriers of suppressed emotions and thus learn new strategies to break the cycle of anger and violence.

Coe, a licensed therapist, is once again offering this three-day workshop October 12-14 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 3035 Highway 41A South. The $30 fee includes food and facilities costs. «Read the rest of this article»


City Council seeks new meeting space following ‘Bo’ Ward suicide

 

One of the issues facing the City of Clarksville in the fallout from the October 4 suicide of Ronald ‘Bo” Ward in City Council Chambers is security.Ward, 60, a popular local businessman and owner of Bo’s Barber Shop on Fort Campbell Boulevard, was denied a zone change for his Madison Street property, a move he believed would be financially devastating for him. He pulled out a gun and killed himself before the Council and an audience of about 50 people.

Mayor Johnny Piper, with full support of the Council, said the present 2nd floor chambers would not be used again and that plans to relocate the Council to new quarters would proceed immediately. Any new meeting place must meet one key criteria: hi tech security in the form of a metal detector.

Piper has been adamant in his statements that no further city meetings will be held in locations without metal detectors. Possible meeting sites include the County Commission chambers or the School Board facilities. The city had already begun a search for large quarters prior to the shooting; no one questions that a return to the scene of the shooting would acerbate the trauma for all involved. «Read the rest of this article»

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Details emerge on ‘Bo’ Ward suicide; City Council Chambers closed

 

Businessman Ronald “Bo” Ward was a walking a tight financial rope when he sought a commercial re-zoning of his Madison Street property, a move that would have increased the value of that property and would have leveraged additional financing to offset the expense of the new business building he occupied on Fort Campbell Boulevard.

Ward was a well-liked businessman whose business, Bo’s Barber Shop near Gate 1, had strong patronage from the military at Fort Campbell. He was a strong supporter of the soldiers based at Fort Campbell.

With the 5-7 denial of a second reading on that request Thursday night and a City Council moratorium on zone changes in that area, Ward apparently felt he would lose everything he worked for and chose to take his own life in front of his wife, the city leaders who denied his request, and a room full of residents attending that meeting.

As the reality of that denial set in, Ward stood up, walked toward the Council, was told by Mayor Johnny Piper, who serves as the President of the City Council, that he could not speak. Ward acknowledged that he could not address the Council, but told Piper the ruling “put him under” and that he [Bo] was “out of here.” He placed the barrel of a small silver handgun in mouth and pulled the trigger, falling at the feet of the audience as his wife, screaming, threw herself over him. «Read the rest of this article»


UPDATE: Suicide in Council Chambers leaves witnesses shocked, shaken

 

“And that’s when the gentleman just looked at the mayor and said, ‘I just want you to know that you’ve killed me.’ And about that time, he pulled the gun from his right pants pocket, stuck it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.”

— Charles Cureton to NewsChannel 5/Nashville

Cureton was in City Council Chambers when Clarksville businessman Bo Ward, owner of Bo’s Barber Shop on Fort Campbell Boulevard, committed suicide Thursday evening before the Council and an estimated fifty people attending the meeting after a zoning request he was seeking was denied a reading.

Few words can adequately describe the horror that unfolded in City Council chambers tonight as Clarksville businessman Bo Ward, proprietor of Bo’s Barber Shop on Fort Campbell Boulevard, pulled out a handgun and shot himself to death before the council and approximately 50 other people.

“People were screaming in disbelief. Horror. The room was pretty well packed and there were a lot of elderly people there. They were pretty shaken up.” — Cureton

The City Council councilors voted down Ward’s request for a zone change on his Madison Street property, a move that Ward felt would sink him financially. Last month the Council voted favorably on the first reading of the requested change, but apparently in further discussion shifted their decision out of Ward’s favor. «Read the rest of this article»




Suicide in Council Chambers; follows “no” vote on zone change

 

Few words can adequately describe the horror that unfolded in City Council chambers tonight as Clarksville businessman Bo Ward, proprietor of Bo’s Barber Shop on Fort Campbell Boulevard, pulled out a handgun and shot himself to death before the council and approximately 50 other people.

The City Council councilors voted down Ward’s request for a zone change on his Madison Street property, a move that Ward felt would sink him financially. Last month the Council voted favorably on the first reading of the requested change, but apparently in further discussion shifted their decision out of Ward’s favor.

According to reports, Ward then pulled out a small silver gun and shot himself in the head as onlookers watched in shock.

In addressing the Council Ward said his business “would go under” without a favorable ruling, implying that his business and finances may have been overburdened. Ward then approached the council members and Mayor Johnny Piper after the vote, saying he “was done” [Leaf Chronicle 10/4/07] and implying that his business would become insolvent. «Read the rest of this article»


CDE launches Lightband techonology: Welcome to the future!

 

CDE’s New FTTH sign DesignAt first glance it a was step back in time; vintage cars including a bright blue Camaro just begging to be taken for a ride, and members of the Roxy Theater’s production of Grease holding open doors at the end of a long red carpet.

In reality, there is a certain synchronicity to merging images of an era that saw the origination of television with the reality of fiber-optics “lightning express” [in this case, Lightband] into the future of telecommunications. It is the kind of creative, futuristic thinking that fueled 1950s imaginations in Disney’s Tomorrowland, that erupted and amazed in the futuristic exhibits at World Fairs. Many of us are old enough to have read about “the future” of technology in books by authors like Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov. Yesterday’s imaginings turned reality today.

Tuesday evening, the Clarksville Department of Electricity stepped into the future with the unveiling of their new logo, sign, branding and price information for their new Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services that place Clarksville, Tennessee on the cutting edge — nationwide. CDE Lightband is the culmination of years of planning and design, an informational campaign, and legalities including an endorsement by the voters of Clarksville on the referendum question that allowed this far-reaching development to occur. «Read the rest of this article»


A Talking Points Primer On Title VI

 

USA FLag PerpendicularWhenever local public officials are asked about Title VI, invariably they respond that they don’t know anything about it. They say they must check with the city or county attorney or some other ‘unavailable’ person. They are aware Title VI requirements exist, but are not versed in the details of those requirements and regulations. This should not be.

As we are now 43 years into the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being the law of the land, perhaps a brief primer is in order.

“Simple justice requires that public funds to which all taxpayers of all races contribute not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial discrimination.” — President John F. Kennedy, in his message calling for the enactment of Title VI, 1963.

On August 3, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Federal regulations and rules were formulated to effect its compliance and enforcement. «Read the rest of this article»

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