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Mooneyham named chief
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Mar 20, 2014 | 134 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WINONA - Brad Mooneyham, a 15-year veteran of the Winona Fire Department, was named the city's new fire chief during Tuesday night's regular meeting of the Winona Board of Aldermen.

Last week, the board interviewed Mooneyham and two other candidates to fill the position vacated by longtime fire chief James "Smitty" Smith, who retired at the end of January.

Mooneyham was hired after a motion by Alderman David Ware and a second by Alderman Mickey Austin. The measure passed 4 to 1 with Alderman Franklin Seals casting the dissenting vote.

Mooneyham will take the helm of the fire department on March 27.

In other city business, the board voted to allow the city to seek cost estimates to replace a portion of the city's sewer system.

According to City Clerk June Williams, she and Winona Water Superintendent Frank Faulkner have met with representatives from North Central Planning and Development District about the possibility of acquiring grant funding to help pay to replace city's sewer lines. Williams said if the city wanted to apply for a Community Development Block Grant, the maximum amount awarded is $600,000, but the city would have to match the grant funds dollar for dollar.

Williams said after meeting with engineer Alan Scott, even if the city received and matched the maximum amount of grant funding, there would not be enough money to replace all the city's sewer lines.

"Alan Scott said it would cost like $5 million to replace the lines for the entire city," Williams said. "But we can pick one part of the city to focus on. [The area around] Simpson Drive is the most critical area."

At the suggestion of Mayor Jerry Flowers, the board voted to allow the city to get cost estimates for the project before committing to apply for grant funds.

• Randy Dees with Mission Hope informed the board that his non-profit was looking to build a new building on a lot located on Middleton Road in Winona. He said as Mission Hope is a part of the Carroll-Montgomery Baptist Association, the organization hopes to one day build a new office for the association behind Mission Hope.

However, a portion of the lot is not zoned for commercial, and Dees asked if the city would consider changing the zoning to allow a commercial building.

Austin, who lives in the neighborhood behind the lot in question, said he did not think his neighbors would approve of the zoning of that area changed to commercial.

"That piece of land acts as a buffer between the houses and the [Hitching Post] motel," Austin said. "But I will ask my neighbors and let you know a the next board meeting."

• Belinda Bodie with C-Spire informed the board that her company would like to lay a fiber optic line from Sterling Street on the east side of Summit Street to just past Webster Street. The project would include boring a trench.

City attorney Ray Baum said C-Spire would have to sign an agreement with the city before work could begin.

• Interim fire chief Ronnie Huffman obtained the board's approval to apply for a $50,000 grant to help with the purchase of a new fire truck."

• Huffman also said the Winona Fire Department has two new volunteers, David Eldridge, Jr., and Danny Jefcoat.

• Winona park director Mike Narmour informed the board that the youth soccer season will begin today, March 20.

• The board approved the Winona Street Department to hire two seasonal employees to help mow city property during the spring and summer months.

• Winona street superintendent Andy McCorkle told the board that the bridge located on South Central is out, and the street has been closed until it can be repaired.

• Baum told the board that the city does have the right to pursue condemnation proceedings against the railroad companies for tracks and railroad buildings in disrepair in Winona. However, due to the extensive nature of the two rail systems crossing through the city, certain areas in need of repair will have to be pinpointed, and the process could take much longer than the usual condemnation process.

• The board voted to declare April as "Safe Digging Month" and reminded all residents to call 811 before digging to locate utility lines.

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