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Winona adopts curfew ordinance
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Jul 03, 2014 | 161 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Winona Board of Aldermen adopted a curfew ordinance that will forbid juveniles under the age of 18 to be out past 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and past midnight on Friday and Saturday.

For those who break the curfew, a fine of $100 will be levied.

The measure comes in response to community complaints regarding the increase in petty crime committed by juveniles and youth court being limited in how to punish area youth for misdemeanor offenses.

Tuesday, four residents from Church Street complained to the board about young people causing disturbances and littering the street. Most recently, one resident had a brick thrown through her glass door.

“What I would really like to have back is the feeling of safety I’ve had while I was in my house,” said Frances Coburn. “And that is gone. That is what they’ve really taken from me. My security was taken from me.”

Sharon Richardson complained that people walking down Church Street late in the evening have awakened her with screaming, profanity, and fighting.

“This is almost a nightly experience,” Richardson said.

Annie Smith, a resident of Cade Street who also complained about disturbances, said kids these days have no respect for the police, but an increased police presence helps.

Youth Court Judge Tarik Johnson was also in attendance Tuesday. He requested the board set a town meeting where the community can come up with a solution for dealing with juvenile offenders. He has even organized garbage pick up on Saturday morning – spending his personal time overseeing the children.

“I am trying to put some more emphasis on the parents,” Johnson said. “I am trying some unique ways to get these children’s attention.”

Attorney Ray Baum said the ordinance does allow for some exceptions – if the child is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other adult; if the child is on an emergency errand; attending group activities at church or school; or going to or from work.

The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.

Alderman David Ware, who was acting as mayor in the absence of Mayor Jerry Flowers, told Johnson the board would determine a time and place for a town meeting in the coming weeks.

In other city business:

• The board agreed to amend the city’s sign ordinance to exclude mobile businesses from the temporary sign ban. The board reasoned that for a mobile business, a mobile sign was the business’ only sign.

• The board approved the application for two Appalachian Regional Authority grants. One would fund the addition of Wi-Fi to downtown Winona, to be used by anyone in range for free. The grant would be in the amount of $9,000. The city also plans to apply to ARC to assist with the proposed sewer project. The board has already applied for a Community Block Development Grant in the amount of $400,000, but they must find funding for a 40 percent match of $400,000.

• The city is reapplying for a Small Town Grant in the amount of $150,000 to repave Powell Street.

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