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Four seek school board seat
City council decision likely at June 11 meeting

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Four city residents are being considered to fill a vacancy on the Martinsville School Board.

Nancy Baker of Hunting Ridge Road, Rives Coleman of Mulberry Road, Victor Correa of Sam Lions Trail and Elizabeth Rivera of Forest Street asked to be appointed during a Martinsville City Council public hearing Tuesday.

The council interviewed the four during a closed session called to consider possible appointments to local boards and commissions.

By law, school board appointments cannot be made until at least seven days after the hearing. Therefore, the council is expected to appoint the new board member during its next regular meeting on June 11.

Whoever is appointed will succeed Bill Manning on the board, effective July 1. He or she will serve through June 30, 2016.

Having served three consecutive three-year terms, Manning was ineligible to be reappointed.

Manning currently is the school board’s chairman. The school board will elect a new chairman after the new member comes on board.

The four hopefuls made brief comments upon asking to be considered for Martinsville’s board.

Baker served three consecutive terms on the board until 2011. She taught in the city schools for 26 years before retiring in 2002.

She said she loves working with children and her philosophy has been to “take each child ... and see how far I can lead them” as an educator.

Coleman and Correa said being able to provide students with a quality education is important to economic development and community prosperity.

Rivera, who speaks both English and Spanish, said she would like to bring a minority perspective to the school board and “be a voice” for those who may not be heard in local affairs.

She told the council she has ideas for making students want to be in school and encouraging them to expand their intellects. She did not elaborate.

Rivera added that having a quality education at all levels, including middle and high school, ultimately is important to a student’s success.

Also Tuesday, the council unanimously approved changes to the Martinsville Transportation Safety Commission’s bylaws.

That panel also is appointed by the council.

Under the changes, 51 percent of appointed commission members will constitute a quorum for decision-making purposes and the council will be able to recruit Henry County residents for the panel.

County residents “drive on our city streets” so they should be allowed to serve, said longtime commission member Ralph Lawson.

It will be up to council members to decide how many county residents are appropriate for the commission.

Henry County does not have a similar commission. Councilman Danny Turner indicated that the panel eventually could be turned into an official joint city-county commission.

The commission advises city officials on transportation and safety matters. It is supposed to have nine members, but recently average attendance at meetings has averaged three or four members, a report shows.

Lawson said the most people he remembers having served on the panel at any time is five.

Some recent members have resigned or moved into the county, and efforts to recruit new city residents so far have failed, according to city officials.

Officials had considered giving the commission’s duties to the Martinsville Planning Commission.

However, the planning commission recently decided not to take on those duties because it normally does not get involved in transportation projects and members thought it would be “a little too much for them,” said Wayne Knox, the city’s director of community development.

Also Tuesday, the council:

• Heard from Alfonza Martin of Independence Drive, who asked the city to let snow plows and other large vehicles use that street to get to Brookdale Street in wintry weather to help clear the route.

City Manager Leon Towarnicki said trucks leaving the city’s workshop usually use Fishel and Fisher streets to get to Brookdale. He said Martin’s wish can be easily accomplished, though.

Generally, major thoroughfares are cleared of icy precipitation before lesser traveled streets, Towarnicki noted.

Martin also asked that trucks using Independence stick to the posted speed limit of 25 mph. He noted that a lot of children live on the street.

• Heard from Ethan Harr of Ridgeway, who said he would be willing to build more amenities for the skateboard park at J. Frank Wilson Park.

He met privately with Towarnicki after the council meeting to discuss the matter.

• Recognized city employees who will receive longevity of service awards through June 30.

More coverage of Tuesday’s council meeting will be in the Martinsville Bulletin on Thursday.


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