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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Onalaska council honors rescuers


ONALASKA -- Two men were recognized last week during the Onalaska City Council meeting for their quick action in rescuing an elderly man from a burning car. Beau Ferro and Sidney Smith were presented with certificates of appreciation from a grateful community by Mayor Roy Newport. During the recent incident near an Onalaska service station, a vehicle was seen to be on fire, though no person could be seen through the windows from a distance. The two men ran to look inside and found an Arthur Hollen laying on the front seat, who was obviously having difficulty breathing due to the smoke-filled interior. The Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department had been called, but the two opened the door and because the victim was not wearing a seatbelt, they were able to get him out and into the fresh air. When the emergency medical and fire personnel arrived, the fire was quickly extinguished and oxygen suppled to the victim. No one was injured. In other business, a representative of the Texas Trails fishing program spoke during the open forum and reminded everyone that the event would be held at the Waterfront Lodge property on June 1-4, with weigh-in on Saturday and Sunday at approximately 2 p.m. The public is invited to come to the weigh-ins. During the meeting, Newport and Police Chief Ron Gilbert presented awards to officers for their longevity with the department and recognized that the newest officer, Jade Havard, has completed one year of active police work as required by the state regulations. Officers recognized were: Captain John Maddox, Sergeant Ryan Vasquez, Sergeant David Hernandez, Officer Tammie Heeth, Officer Jade Havard, Fire Marshal Lee Parrish and Gilbert. Gilbert also thanked the Onalaska United Methodist Church for their recent breakfast and gifts for the officers, adding the police officers needs community support for their risky occupation. In other business, Gilbert presented the 2016 Racial Profiling Report to council, which is required for all law enforcement departments yearly. The total number of stops for the year were 1,143 with 1,125 people receiving a citation. Only one was only arrested and 17 were both arrested and cited. The ethnicity of those stopped included: African American 87, Asian 5, Caucasian 955, Hispanic 94, Middle Eastern 2 and no American Indians. Regarding searches conducted during these stops, the report stated 16 searched were conducted, six with consent of the person and 10 without consent. The report is sent electronically to Austin and council accepted their copy. During April, the police department responded to 549 calls for service and 105 dispatched calls. Officers made two felony arrests, 14 misdemeanor arrests and issued 102 citations and two warnings. Officers also drove 3,325 miles and aided the fire department on eight occasions and the Polk County Sheriff's Office on 15 requests. Officers opened 38 new cases including two that were DWI or narcotics related. The Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department responded to a total of 47 calls including 37 medical in nature; three structure fires; one each of vehicle fires, grass fires and lake rescues; and two MVA's calls for assistance. Final figures from the barbecue and auction included gross sales $101,200 with a net of $68,940 after expenses. Librarian Sherry Brecheen reported the arrival of 316 new books funded by a grant from the Tocker Foundation. These have been cataloged and will be displayed on a separate bookshelf initially for patron perusal. During April, the library was open 16 days with a circulation of 784 and 147 computer users. Fines totaled $40, faxes and copies brought in $321 with $21 in new membership fees and $38 in donations. Library volunteers worked 45 hours. The registration for the summer reading program have begun; contact the librarian at (936) 646-2665 (BOOK) for information. Plans are for Thursday evenings at the park, at this time. Council accepted the consent agenda consisting of minutes, payment of vouchers and financial reports. Council conducted an executive session regarding personnel matters, but no action was taken.


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