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Clay Council swears in new councilor Dean Kirkner

By Crystal McGough, copy editor

CLAY – During its pre-council session on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, the Clay City Council swore in Councilman Dean Kirkner, who will be filling the position of Place 2 on the city council, previously held by Don Baker, for the remainder of the council’s term.

Clay Mayor Charles Webster and City Manager Ronnie Dixon swear in Dean Kirkner to the Clay City Council

Kirkner previously served on the council from 2000-2008, holding the position of City Council President/Mayor Pro Tempore from 2004-2008.

“I feel good about it,” Kirkner said of being back on the council. “I feel qualified. They needed someone to fill in, at least for this last year-plus of the vacated term by Mr. Baker. I was glad to come back and help, knock the rust off a little bit, if you will.”

The next election will be held in 2020, and when asked whether or not he plans to run for city council again, Kirkner said, “Ask me this time next year.”

“We want to welcome Dean as part of our council for tonight,” said Mayor Charles Webster. “Thank you for serving with us. Look forward to it.”

City Manager Ronnie Dixon announced during pre-council that Clay City Fest will be held on Friday, July 5, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Clay-Chalkville High School football field. The event will include local entertainment, bounce houses, food trucks and a firework show.

“At nine o’clock, we’ll have a firework show,” Dixon said. “It will be done by the same people that do Thunder on the Mountain the night before. The mayor, this is something that he wants to do and build it into something bigger.”

Tony Berenotto, commander of The American Legion Post 205 (East Jefferson County), gave the council an update on the new Legion post, which is based out of Clay.

“It is named after Staff Sgt. Michael Wesley Hosey, who everybody here, I think, knows was a Clay-Chalkville High School student and resident that we lost in Afghanistan,” Berenotto said. “His father and family have given us permission to name the post after him and we’re very honored to have done that.”

Post 205 held its second meeting Monday night, May 13. The American Legion meets at the Cosby Lake house on the second Monday of each month, and the Sons of the American Legion meets on the third Monday of each month.

“Just to give you a quick update, we have partially moved into the old library (the historic Jayford Ware house),” Berenotto said. “Just some furniture that has been donated to the post at this time. It’s not being used operationally yet. As some of you know, we are continuing to meet at the Cosby Lake community building at this time because it has room for 40 members.”

Berenotto said that once some basic renovations have been done, Post 205 plans to make the Jayford Ware house, which was the former location of the Clay Public Library, its post home. The post will use the building for its offices and administrative business, as well as holding smaller meetings such as executive committee meetings. Post 205 may also use the location to host events, however the rooms in the house are not large enough to house regular meetings, so the post will continue to hold its meetings at other locations.

“We want to express our appreciation to both the mayor and to the city manager, and to the city council, for the hospitality that you have shown Post 205 in welcoming us into the community,” Berenotto said. “We hope that we can do good things here in the community, both for our veterans, their families, and the community at large.”

A bid opening for the construction of a tennis and pickleball facility was also on Tuesday night’s agenda, but the city received no responses to the 18 bid requests it sent out.

“We will continue on with the construction of our tennis/pickleball facility with the city acting as the general contractor,” Dixon said. “We’ll have a budget of $350,000 to do that. If it doesn’t rain us out, we should be finished before school starts again. It’s something that the kids at the high school have wanted since 1996…so it’ll benefit the school and the community.”

Dixon said that the design calls for four lighted tennis courts and four covered, lighted pickleball courts.

In other city news, the council passed three resolutions:

•Resolution 2019-06, contracting with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society for animal control and pound services.

•Resolution 2019-07, awarding a bid for the demolition of unsafe buildings/structures at 7153 Cabin Lane to Milam and Company for the amount of $8,800.

•Resolution 2019-08, declaring weeds to be a public nuisance at 6482 Chrissy Drive.

Additionally, Councilor Dennis Locke announced the April $500 School Grant award winners:

•Clay Elementary – Christina Sutton will use her funds to purchase books for the school media center; specifically two copies of books from Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King award winning and honor books.

•CCMS – Tina Hamrick, Family and Consumer Science teacher, will use the funds to purchase Chromebooks and/or foot pedal/power supplies for sewing machines.

•CCHS – The award winner for the high school is Principal Michael Lee.

“Normally we do the principals in May,” Locke said. “We’re going to go ahead do Mr. Lee for April, and then if he gets me an applicant for May, we’ll turn that one through for next month.”

Upcoming events in Clay:

May 23 – Girls’ softball community interest meeting, at Clay Community Center, 6 p.m.
June 4 – Freedom from Addiction Coalition Event, at Trussville Civic Center, 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.
June 7 – City of Clay Movie Nights: Wreck It Ralph 2, 7 p.m.
June 14 – City of Clay Movie Nights: Into the Spider-verse, 7 p.m.
June 21 – City of Clay Movie Nights: Lego Movie 2, 7 p.m.
July 5 – Clay City Fest, at CCHS football field, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The next Clay City Council meeting will be held at Clay City Hall on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at 6:30 p.m., following a pre-council session at 6 p.m.

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