Several local firefighters promoted to full-time were honored in a ceremony last month during a Somerset City Council meeting.
Firefighters Tyler Crabtree, Zeke Reynolds, Phillip Rogers and Nathan Thayer during the Sept. 23 city council meeting were sworn in by Pulaski Circuit Judge David A. Tapp.
“We always want to remember our first responders, whether that be firemen, police or EMS ... we lift all of them up,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler before the ceremony. “Sometimes it’s difficult to express how we appreciate the service they do.
“Here in Somerset we are very pleased with our first responders and emergency personnel,” Girdler added.
The four were recently promoted from part-time to full-time as part of an effort to bolster the ranks of the Somerset Fire Department. They took their oath of office before a packed city council chamber filled with friends, family and fellow firefighters.
“This is the place that I chose to make my home ... this is the single finest place I’ve ever lived, and it’s in part, if not in large part, due to the quality of people we have in this community,” Tapp told the four young men. “ ... You all represent the best of that.”
Tapp thanked the four newly-promoted firefighters and other emergency responders for their service.
“It’s unfortunate that in this country, to often it’s the tragedies ... when we’ve had some kind of horrible occurrence in our communities, when we take the time out to say thank you to those who serve,” said Tapp. “Thank you for your service ... there will be many times in your career when you will no doubt be placed in harm’s way in carrying out your duties ... we thank you in advance for that.”
Two other firefighters, Doug Burns and David Volz, were promoted from the rank of lieutenant to captain during the meeting.
“This is not be the end. This (is just) starting,” said Girdler, about the fire department’s upcoming promotions and new hires.
In other news from the Sept. 23 Somerset City Council meeting:
• Somerset Fire Department Chief Tyler Jasper told the council that the fire department is ready to bring on two volunteer chaplains for the fire department.
“It’s going to provide another asset for the guys, just for times in need and other things like that,” said Jasper.
Jasper introduced Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Pastor Paul Hines during the meeting. Jasper said Pastor Dusty Phelps will also volunteer with the department.
• Councilor Linda Stringer said she’d received a call from a local business owner planning to locate in downtown Somerset who was concerned about parking.
Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese said the city is currently working to provide signage to help clarify downtown parking, including to ensure that judicial center parking doesn’t spill over into other parking areas.
“We are working on that,” said Wiese. “There are some reserved spaces there (behind businesses facing Mt. Vernon) for what was supposed to be essential employees and owners of the businesses.
“If everybody would just kind of bear with us and let us get the signs up and see how it’s going to work ... just come to my office if you need more spaces ... we’ll make it work,” Wiese added.
• Stringer said a Richards Court resident complained of a strong sewage odor at her home. Girdler said the city would check the problem out.
• Councilor Mike New asked that the city look into providing a traffic officer in the Barnett Street area to help with school traffic flow.
“They need some help,” said New.
• Councilor Pat Bourne asked about the possibility of installing a traffic light at the Bourne Avenue-Murphy Avenue intersection. A traffic light must be approved by the Kentucky Department of Transportation before it can be installed — something Girdler said isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
“You’ve been dealing with (getting a light on) Jarvis Avenue for years,” said Girdler.
Girdler said the state highway department is getting “extremely difficult” on issuing permits for events such as 5k walks and runs. He noted that the local cabinet isn’t the issue, but those in Frankfort.
Girdler said organizations wishing to hold events on state roads must get state approval first, along with city approval. Wiese said the state must receive an approval letter from the city and a certificate of insurance before the state will consider issuing a permit.
“It’s not our police department that’s making them do that now ... I just want everybody to know that. So don’t get mad at those guys, they’re just doing what they’ve been told by the state,” Wiese said.
Girdler said the city has wrestled with state officials on finishing up the greening of U.S. 27 medians as well.
“It’s amazing the amount of red tape and bureaucracy they’re making us go through just to beautify the community,” said Girdler.
Councilor Tom Eastham later in the meeting suggested that citizens who want to see the median work finished on U.S. 27 contact state officials in Frankfort.
“It’s not the local people that’s the problem, it’s the state,” said Eastham.
• The city announced that leaf pick-up should begin by mid-October.
• The city set Halloween Trick-or-Treat hours for Thursday, Oct. 31, from 6-8 p.m.
Girdler said the city is considering having some type of “Trunk of Treats” gathering at SomerSplash Waterpark in an effort to bring several local churches together in one place.
“Think about how many churches can come there and set up and have a huge crowd and kids are not on the streets, they’re not driving from place to place,” said Girdler.