Collegedale Awards Civilian Medal Of Appreciation To 17-Year-Old Yameli Gomez

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - by Gail Perry

The Civilian Medal of Appreciation from the American police academy was awarded to Yameli Gomez on Monday night at the Collegedale Commission meeting. Assistant Police Chief James Hardeman and Detective Jamie Heath presented the tribute to the 18-year-old Collegedale Academy student for her “invaluable service in assisting the police department” in locating her aunt who had been violently kidnapped from the parking lot of Angelica Textile Services where she worked.

The event occurred in 2010 when Ms. Gomez was 15. For days following the event, she became the translator and spokesperson for the family. During the investigation she answered phone calls and kept the lines open long enough for the FBI and police in Hattiesburg, Miss., to track the GPS of the cell phone being used, which led them to her aunt and the kidnapper. Nine days later the captor, who was the estranged husband, was arrested. This is only the second time that award has been given by Collegedale.

In regular business, the commissioners approved, on second and final reading, an ordinance to amend commercial and multi-family residential standards for the city. Also, a rezoning request for 1.5 acres on Apison Pike from Agricultural to C-2 commercial zoning was passed on first reading.

City Manager Ted Rogers gave the financial report, saying that 29 percent of the expected revenue has been received to date which is on average for other years. Several expenditures that are customarily done toward the end of a year were instead performed at the beginning of this fiscal year which make expenses seem a bit high. Paving work done by the Public Works Department, and $160,000 used to purchase a new garbage truck show up on the report. Also, said Mr. Rogers, some reserve police officers have made up for a shortage of officers in the department and the costs of doing so will need to be shifted in the budget.

The city manager reported that Collegedale has $2.4 million in cash accounts and $1.7 million in the contingency account which provides for unexpected expenditures, and around $150,000 in the capital outlay account.

He also told the commissioners that since interest rates are at record lows, the city has refinanced the capital outlay fund as well as a $2 million bond. Now all the city’s debt is invested in fixed rate accounts at or below three percent, which is locked in for a 12-year term he said.

Commissioner Larry Hanson addressed issues raised at a recent meeting he attended in Cleveland. The first was to encourage commissioners to let state legislators know the importance of the Hall Income Tax to the city. The current thinking, he said, is that the Hall tax would be going away. Mr. Rogers agreed with that sentiment saying it is his understanding that is a goal of Governor Bill Haslam. He explained it is difficult to predict the amount of income to expect from that tax since it is based on interest on dividends from investments. In the past, the city has received anywhere from $30,000 to $500,000.

Concerning grants that are available to cities, Mr. Rogers told Commissioner Hanson that currently, Collegedale has no participation in Community Development Block Grants, but is planning to apply for a new Parks and Recreation Grant to begin a new project.

Commissioner Hanson also questioned what the city’s policy is regarding the determination of legal residency during a traffic stop. Police Chief Brian Hickman answered that officers make no stops to ascertain legal status, but, if an arrest is made during a stop, the person is taken to the Hamilton County and at that time a check is done.

In the segment of the commission meeting devoted to citizen comments, one resident asked if there would be an extension of the greenway in the city. He asked the commissioners to consider expanding it to join three additional neighborhoods, Wellesley, Downing Green and Chestnut Cove, encompassing 245 families. This would require extension of the sidewalk of only seven eights of a mile, and could use existing sidewalks from each development to join to the new one.

Mayor John Turner answered that there are no firm plans to expand the greenway, but he said there is a commission retreat in January and that topic will be discussed. He further explained that Collegedale’s greenway system was built using grant money from TDOT’s alternative transportation program.

gailaperry@comcast.net

 





Case Of Bathtub Strangling Goes To Grand Jury

The case against JaMichael Harris, charged with criminal homicide, was bound over to a grand jury after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning. Harris, 20, is charged with the death of Inez Burney. Police said Ms. Burney was strangled in her bathtub and had bruises on her neck. Harris also had scratches on his face, consistent with the woman defending herself ... (click for more)

Nissan Altima Crashes Into Cleveland Habitat For Humanity ReStore

A white 1999 Nissan Altima crashed into the Habitat for Humanity's ReStore at 4605 North Lee Highway in Cleveland on Tuesday. The incident happened at 2:30 p.m. The driver, identified as Betty Rutledge, 77, and the passenger, Francis Swafford, 79, were both transported to SkyRidge Medical Center with minor injuries. No other individuals were injured in the crash. Property ... (click for more)

I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.    My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)

Vols Open 2018 Season Against West Virginia In Charlotte

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced Tuesday that the Tennessee Volunteers will open the 2018 season on September 1 against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. All information related to kickoff date, time and tickets will be announced at ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Williams Signs With Northwest Missouri

Ooltewah’s Mike Williams, one of District 5-AAA’s most respected wide receiver threats in 2013, has signed a football scholarship with Northwest Missouri State, the defending NCAA Division II national champion. Williams chose the Bearcats, members of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Conference, over Carson-Newman, in Jefferson City, Tenn., and Paine College, in Augusta ... (click for more)