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Smoking debate continues to smolder

Smoking debate
Although two weeks ago Hannibal voters said they want a smoke-free environment in public spaces, exactly what will be defined as a “public space” was a point of comment by members of the public during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Hannibal City Council.
Ward “Andy” Shipley, quartermaster of VFW Post 2446, told the council that the post is a private facility and should not be governed by the new smoke-free guidelines, especially since a majority of the post’s members and staff are smokers.

He told the council that prohibiting smoking at the VFW would be a “travesty of justice.”
Mayor Roy Hark told Shipley that the results of the election have not been certified and that a number of issues remain to be finalized in regard to the ordinance’s implementation. Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker and Councilman James Hark both stressed that a determination of what is public and private areas has yet to be made.
Speaking in behalf of curbing smoking in all public places were asthmatics Tina Barbee and 9-year-old Kyle Murphy.

In other business:
• Approval was given a two-year power supply contract with Ameren Energy Marketing Company. The pact, which will cover 2015 and 2016, will lock in slightly lower rates. The current rate, which runs through Dec. 31, 2014, is $43.40 per megawatt hour (MWh). The future cost will be $41.69 MWh.
• A bid of $21,945 was accepted from Code Red for an emergency alert notification system that would utilize telephones. The cost will be shared between Hannibal, the city of Palmyra and Marion County, based on the number of people in the service area. Hannibal’s cost will be $13,386.
John Hark, emergency management director for Hannibal and Marion County, noted that Code Red’s bid was not the lowest of the three bids received. He explained the other two bidders failed to meet the necessary criteria to make the system work properly.
• Permission was given for the Fire Department to spend $8,806 to purchase 14 hazardous materials suits from TG Technical Services. Money for the suits comes from a Homeland Security grant. No local match is required.
• Second and final reading was given a bill that would see 21 acres of property at 8701 County Road 418 rezoned from industrial to one- and two-family.
• The council OK’d the use of city property by the Pops Club during the Kansas City Bar-B-Q and Muddy Waters Festival on June 1 and 2.
• Ed Trotter was re-appointed to the Hannibal Housing Authority Advisory Board for a term to expire in April 2016.

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