• 68°

Board hears Springfest dates, agrees to return police dog

By Jeremy Weldon

The weekend of May 15-16 was approved by the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen this week for the 22nd annual Springfest, organized by the city’s Main Street Program and held on the Downtown Square each year.

Main Street director Mamie Avery also asked the board to approve Saturday, April 25, for the 11th annual Show Off on the Square, an open car show that attracts visitors from surrounding counties each year.

Avery also informed the city board she is working with the Batesville Police Department to move the fencing used during Springfest further from the center of the Square to create more room for the two-day musical festival.

That action will mean additional road closures around the Square, and those details will be announced when finalized.

In other business, the board approved travel expenses for Police Chief Jimmy McCloud to attend National Police Week in Washington, D.C., the week of May 11-17, where the service and sacrifice of fall law enforcement officers will be memorialized.

The annual week of honors for police will be highlighted by a May 13 candlelight vigil where the names of officers killed in the line of duty in 2019 will be read. The newly-engraved name of the late Panola County Constable Raye Hawkins will be read during the ceremony.

McCloud also told aldermen that a police dog purchased last year for the city’s K9 Unit is not performing adequately in on-going local training and must be returned to the company in Indiana that made the sale.

“He’s freezing up in training,” McCloud said. “He gets to a certain point and then doesn’t go any further. Sadly, it happens sometimes. That’s why you buy a dog with a warranty.”

The board approved three days of travel for the K9 Unit handler to exchange the dog.

As he finished his monthly report, McCloud added that aldermen should expect to receive complaints from residents unhappy with the city’s recent aggressive enforcement of the city’s ordinance that governs unkept, or cluttered, properties.

“We’ve been working closely with the Code Enforcement Office as the board has asked,” McCloud said. “Some people really like it, and some people really don’t like it.”

Aldermen commended McCloud for the proactive approach in working with the code office and assured him they would endure any complaints.

“A lot of times a clean street is a safe street, so we will continue this approach,” he said.