Randy Bowden Retiring As Lookout Mountain, Tn., Police And Fire Chief; Chuck Wells Is New Chief

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - by Gail Perry
Chuck Wells
Chuck Wells
- photo by Gail Perry

At the commission meeting Tuesday afternoon, Police and Fire Chief Randy Bowden formally announced his retirement from the Town of Lookout Mountain, Tn., effective Dec. 31. He has served in many capacities over the nearly 33 years he has worked for the town including chief for the last 12 years. Under his leadership, the town is now staffed with paramedics and the fire department has earned a class 2 ISO designation.


“The police department just continues to get better,” said Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley.


Police Officer Charles "Chuck" Wells has been chosen as the new chief, effective Jan.

1. In November, he will assume the position of chief-elect and will work side by side with Chief Bowden until the end of the year. He came to Lookout Mountain four years ago from the Chattanooga Police Department where he had been for 24 years.


Statistics for the month of August prepared by Chief Bowden show the police had 182 calls, patrolled 4,582 miles, responded to 14 burglar alarms, all false, and to 19 suspicious vehicle or person calls. During the month there were seven assist citizen calls, 26 calls to 911, 54 traffic stops and there were two autos entered where golf clubs were stolen. There were no auto accidents and no arrests. There were 14 medical calls in Tennessee and five in Georgia and six fire alarms, five were false and one was a gas can fire.


Commissioner Bentley said that traffic stops have been stepped up in the attempt to address speeding. Logs have been kept on several main roads that have shown that speeding is not as bad as was believed.


Parking continues to be a problem at Sunset Rock and on Saturday mornings during soccer matches. Parking along Scenic Highway is not allowed unless cars are completely off of the road and behind the white line. Parking is also available in the lot by the baseball field and in front of the stores. Another issue that the police are finding is children driving “slow moving vehicles” that look like golf carts. The driver of these vehicles must have a valid driver’s license, said the commissioner.


Town Consultant Dwight Montague’s financial report showed that the new parking kiosks have made $54,000 in the first one and a half months since they were installed. During the same period of time last year, the town received $20,000 from parking around Point Park. The kiosks have already paid for themselves, he said.


During the month an air compressor used to fill tanks for the fire department was hit by lightning, which cost $4,000 to repair. However, the loss was covered by insurance, said Mr. Montague. Town Hall experienced problems related to water when a broken air conditioner flooded a room. Also, the slope of the land in front of the building caused water to back up during heavy rains. Re-grading the area and putting in French drains has now been completed for the cost of $5,000. Carpet that was damaged by water will be replaced.


The town was awarded a TDOT grant for building a sidewalk along Watauga Lane from the Mountain Hospital for Animals to the school. The cost to build it is $950,000, with 80 percent covered by the grant and 20 percent the responsibility of the town, which will also have to pay 100 percent of the engineering expenses.


“The school year has started at breakneck speed,” said Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett. Coupon books are now on sale until Sept. 22. The books are a good value and help the school, which gets to keep 70 percent of the sales, he said. An after school enrichment program is taking place where students are studying the Civil War. Commissioner Stinnett also said that a new event “Enthusiasm Day” will focus on character building and showing kindness and appreciation. Fall break is scheduled for Oct. 6-13, and the school carnival will be Oct. 3.


Brooke Pippenger, commissioner of parks and playgrounds, introduced Director of the Recreation Department Scott Shell who said that soccer will be finished at the end of September. Flag football starts on Wednesday. He sees a trend that sport is growing with sign-ups of 65 participants this year, up from 40 last year.


A resident of the town, Lee Franks, announced that pickleball, a new sport, is now available on the mountain. It is played with a racquet, net and wiffle ball. The skating rink at the school is being used as an indoor court on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. until noon. He invited anyone who is interested to just show up, and said there are loaner racquets available and instruction is provided. The learning curve is short, he said. Eventually he hopes to have evening play.


A crew from the public works department spent Monday night clearing trees and storm debris from Irma, off the roads. It was a mess, said Commissioner of Public Works Walker Jones. Crews kept the roads open as well as handling an accident that occurred near the top of Scenic Highway. A lot of brush is expected to accumulate from storm damage. He would like to remind residents that if contract labor does the clean-up, they are responsible for hauling it away.


Striping the roads has been completed and the next step will be to put down new reflectors. The dumpster will be at the public works department on the first Saturday in October.


Mayor Carol Mutter introduced Ann Brown who made a proposal for Lookout Mountain, Tn. to become the first “Bee City” in the Chattanooga area. The only other in Tennessee presently is Bell Buckle. The mission of the group is to sustain pollinators through education, and raising awareness of their plight. It encourages practices to insure their survival such as reducing the use of pesticides, and getting rid of invasive species in the least toxic way. It seeks to preserve natural areas and to increase plantings that benefit the bees, butterflies, moths, ants, birds and beetles that are all important to the crops that rely on them for pollination. The safe practices that are encouraged make it safer for ourselves, as well, she said. This should also enhance the town’s status of being a bird sanctuary, said Ms. Brown.


Commissioner Pippenger, saying this would be a positive move for the town, suggested including it in the parks and playgrounds department. A motion passed to begin the process of becoming a Bee City, U.S.A.


Mayor Mutter said that work is continuing on getting a new cell tower built. She also encourages residents to patronize the business in Lookout Mountain, Tn.


The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Commission will be Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 5 p.m.



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