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Commission bids farewell to Van Baker

By Walter Geiger At its final meeting of the year Dec. 20, the Lamar County commission bade farewell to Van Baker who completes a four-year term Dec. 31. Baker, a Republican and retired Norfolk Southern railroad executive, decided not to seek reelection. Ryran Traylor, another Republican, ran unopposed for Baker’s post and will take office Jan. 1. ’It has been my pleasure. I had no idea what I was getting into. It has been a learning process. I have great appreciation for all the men and women on this board and who work on county staffs. In four years, I have seen tremendous positive change. I have been proud to be a part of that,’ Baker said. Baker received a proclamation honoring his service. In other action, the commission: ’¢Individually and collectively wished Merry Christmas to the entire community. ’¢Approved the following beer and wine licenses: Ronald Horton, Horton’s Rendezvous; Betty Ann Wilson, C& B Store; Vinay Patel, T.J. Outfitters; Hugh L. Mangham, Deer Trail Country Club; and Junior Hamrick, VFW Post 6542. ’¢Okayed the purchase of a Caterpillar skid steer loader for $56,123 under state contract. The equipment will be ideal for working the proposed walking trail at the new 75-acre Hwy. 36 recreation complex, county administrator Bob Zellner said. ’¢Learned DOT will replace the Ruffner Road bridge over Potato Creek. Bids for that project have been let. ’¢Received a check from FEMA for flood damage that occurred in December 2015 in the amount of $77,931.03. ’¢Heard DOT will spend $368,317.21 on road paving projects here in 2017 as part of the TMIG program. Priorities are Industrial and McCollum roads. ’¢Heard an update on the CDBG grant application for a new health department facility from Ivan Minks. ’¢Heard a complaint from Olin Dobbs about cars and trucks turning around at Ebenezer Church on Hwy. 18 West near its intersection with Hwy. 109. The commission agreed to ask DOT for more signing on the east side of the intersection to alert drivers of the junction. They will also ask that DOT cut back underbrush in the area. Made the following appointments for 2017: Bennie Horton, vice chairman; Robert Heiney, E911 committee; Horton and Irvin Trice, Three Rivers RC; Nancy Thrash and incoming commissioner Traylor, solid waste authority; Charles Glass and Sandra Puckett, IDA; Betty Smith Banks and Claire White, tax assessors board; James Butler, county surveyor; Smith, Welch, Webb & White, county attorney; Scott Mayfield, open records custodian; Drs. Lee Woodall, Terry Wilson, Haley Manley and Aaron Buice, county physicians; and Traylor, board of health.

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