Lookout Mountain's new fire engine
Mayor Walker Jones, Commissioner Jim Bentley, Chief Duane Schermerhorn, and Lt. Chris Catrett
Mayor Walker Jones, Commissioner Jim Bentley, Chief Duane Schermerhorn, Captain Brent Massey
Principal of Lookout Mountain School Ruth White has announced her plans to retire at the end of this school year, said Lookout Mountain, Tn., Commissioner of Education Karen Leavengood. Ms. White has spent 31 years in education and 24 of those at LMS. Since 2010, she has served as principal.
The community is invited to honor her contributions to the town with a meet and greet at the community center on May 2 at 6 p.m.
Update to activities that are taking place at the school, include that on Feb. 24 there was an event celebrating LMS being named as a National Blue Ribbon School with an assembly in the gym. Mayor Walker Jones said it was a special community event that included parents, teachers, grandparents and local and state dignitaries.
Field trips are back after having been suspended during the COVID pandemic. And tickets are on sale for Night Out for Lookout, which is at the Lookout Mountain Golf Club on Saturday, March 25. This year the fundraiser for LMS will be a more casual event with the attire being blue jeans to honor the blue ribbon school.
A 60-foot light pole at The Commons fell recently into Scenic Highway. Mayor Jones praised how well all the departments of the town worked together to take care of it. After it fell, the public works department cleared it up. Then Chief Schermerhorn suggested having all the other poles in the park inspected. The town’s building inspector was called and the public works department tested each. For the safety of the residents the decision was made to replace them all. The mayor gave a special thanks to Ryan Crimmins and Lawson Electric for taking care of the problems in a single day.
The town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. has finally received its new fire engine that was delivered 14-16 months late, said Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley. It should take a couple of days for equipment to be moved onto it, then the firefighters will train on the truck before it is put into service.
Several months ago a medication drop box was put in the lobby of city hall. Chief Duane Schermerhorn said he was surprised when it was opened last week and he saw how much it is being used. He found 150 pounds of prescription medicines spilling out of the 38-gallon container. Residents are urged to use this for disposal of unused medicines to keep drugs out of the Tennessee River.
The annual mailer providing information about the city in the coming year, will soon be sent. The new mountain stickers have been received and will be on sale in several weeks.
The police and fire department has recently finished another safety class for “First on the Scene” training, with 12 residents of Lookout Mountain completing it. Another class for new drivers - to teach interaction with officers - has been planned. Other classes will be offered through the year. Chief Schermerhorn said he was pleased with how good the interaction is between the officers and the residents at these classes.
During the past month, the town’s paramedics have responded to several high-profile cases and performed well, said the chief.
Two highly qualified police officers were given promotions at the March commission meeting. Brent Massey has worked as a firefighter, SWAT operator, medic, arson investigator and operations chief and trainer for the Highway 58 volunteer fire department and East Ridge before starting work in Lookout Mountain Tn. in 2020. He has been promoted from lieutenant to the rank of captain. Chris Catrett came to Lookout Mountain, Tn. in 2021 after having worked in Brevard County Fire and Rescue and the Hamilton County EMS. He has served as a firefighter, and a paramedic and has certifications including rope ops and hazmat technician. Since working on the mountain, his training has continued in the police academy, SWAT school and as a rope technician for cave and cliff rescue. Officer Catrett has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Joe Hailey, commissioner of parks and playgrounds, thanked the mountain rec board for installing three new batting cages. He said they should be in place in around three weeks, just in time for baseball to begin. Registration ends on March 17.
The public works department is busy picking up brush. Commissioner of Public Works William Valadez wants residents to know that if the work has been done by a homeowner the size of the piles left on the street should be no larger than 4’x 4’ x 8’. If a contractor does the work, they are responsible for removing it. He also reminds people that random trash such as boards, cannot be mixed with the brush. And he said that garbage must to be bagged or it scatters and can become unsightly and a safety issue. The dumpster is available on the first Saturday of each month. People are asked not to bring their items for disposal earlier than the Friday afternoon when the dumpster is delivered.
Town Manager Brooke Pippenger was the representative for Lookout Mountain at the annual Tennessee Municipal League Legislative Conference. The main concern for cities in the state now, she said, is the campaign for Tennessee to share additional sales tax with the municipalities. The discussions are on-going.
In his report, Mayor Jones said the $5.5 million project by WWTA that closed Ochs Highway has finally been completed. The work was begun two-three years ago. Before the repairs, Lookout Mountain had the highest rate of extraneous water entering the sanitary storm sewers of any city in Hamilton County, said the mayor, who is the town’s representative to the WWTA. That made up 40 percent of the water going through the wastewater system from the mountain.
Now residents should expect another disruption when Tennessee American Water repaints both the water towers. That work will begin mid-March and continue through the end of the year into early 2024. The emergency radio communications equipment will need to be removed followed by sandblasting both of the tanks. The town is warned that sandblasting creates noise. The tanks will be done one at a time in order to keep one functional and prevent disruption of service. TAW plans to paint both tanks white, however they have indicated that they would consider another color proposed by the town. Delays should also be expected on Scenic Highway from March 14-17 while TDOT is cleaning up the right-of-way.
The town lost two great community leaders in the past month, said the mayor, with the passing of Ansley Moses and Billy Mitchell. Both had served as commissioner and as mayor. He said that they both had a passion for the town of Lookout Mountain, Tn.