Andrew Dean gets a look of approval from his mother, Pamela Dean, after she pinned him as a firefighter Monday. Battalion Chief Scott Pink is in the background.

City welcomes newest firefighter, Andrew Dean

Anthony Dean officially joined the Webb City Fire Department Monday during a pinning ceremony at City Hall.

Dean, originally from West Palm Beach, Fla., is a 2015 graduate of Joplin High School. While playing ice hockey at Springfield with several firefighters, he heard about their experiences and the passion all of them had for their career.

He met two members of the Webb City Fire Department while he was attending the fire academy at Missouri Southern State University. He volunteered with the Baxter Springs (Kan.) Fire Department, where he lives. After finishing the fire academy, he obtained his EMT certification at MSSU.

Dean was hired here in April and has completed his probationary period. He was pinned by his mother, Pamela Dean.

Streetcar tracks are getting 25 ties replaced in time for Polar Bear Express rides

With the Polar Bear Express coming up, making sure Streetcar No. 60 has secure rails to ride on around King Jack Park is crucial to passenger safety.

In fact, Mayor Lynn Ragsdale authorized Pryor Track & Hoe Co., of Pryor, Okla., to begin replacing ties on an emergency basis on Nov. 4 to ensure the job is done before the Polar Bear Express rides begin next month.

NOTE: Polar Bear Express tickets for all three weekends were sold out in record time when they went up for sale online. This was the first year the $2 tickets didn’t have to be purchased in person.

On Monday, the City Council agreed to pay the $23,975 contract, which includes installation of 25 new ties and the resurfacing of 60 feet of track. Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) said many of the ties being replaced were in bad shape, and there will still be more that need to be replaced in the future.

An item not on the council’s agenda was discussed briefly – the long awaited grocery store to be built near Daugherty and East streets in the Centennial Retail and Industrial Park.

City Administrator Carl Francis said he wasn’t at liberty to make an official announcement, but he divulged that representatives of the store are to hold a pre-construction meeting next week with city staff. 

A deal for the city to sell property for a new grocery store has been talked about for more than a couple of years.

The council voted to approve a contract renewal with the Joplin Humane Society despite an $8.62 increase per animal. Under the new contract, which will take effect Jan. 1, the city will be charged $63.70 for each dog or cat taken to the humane society, regardless of the length of stay.

Francis estimates the city’s annual cost will increase from $13,000 to $15,000.

Animal control is a function of the police department. Police Chief Don Melton said the department tries to help residents avoid having to pick up lost pets at the humane society by holding them temporarily. 

Ragsdale said the first place pet owners should check when they can’t find their pet is the police department.

Melton added that microchips help because the department has a chip reader to quickly identify and notify pet owners.

In other action, the council:

• Approved by resolution a collective bargaining agreement with the Service Employees International Union Local 1 for the new fiscal year.

• Voted to allow the police department to accept a $9,000 grant from the Arvest Foundation to replace eight outdated desktop computers.

• Voted to allow the police department to accept a $14,895 grant from the Missouri Department of Public Safety-State Homeland Security Program. Melton applied for the grant to purchase a portable programmable message board for use in response to security threats and local hazards.

• Voted to allow the budgeted purchase of three police-rated, all-wheel-drive SUVs. The only bid received was from Joe Machen Ford, of Columbia. Bids were also solicited from 11 area dealerships.

The cost per vehicle is $41,816 for a total of $125,448, minus $7,000 trade-in allowance for two 2014 vehicles. With a $600 delivery fee, the total cost will be $119,048.

Like others on waiting lists for new cars, Melton said he has been told to expect a 35-week wait.