Kyle Petty ride to stop in Magee

By PAT BROWN,

The City of Magee will be the only site in the state selected to host yet another special event.

Love’s truckstop in Magee has been chosen as the only stop in Mississippi for the Kyle Petty Charity Ride.  In addition to Kyle Petty’s race car, the ride will include a motorcycle entourage of 150 bikes and a total of 250 people.  The caravan will stop at the Love’s station for lunch, which will be catered by Melinda Hart.  They are expected to arrive at Love’s on Thursday, May 9, by 11:30 a.m.  

Hart told the Magee Board of Aldermen at their recent board meeting that this will be a huge event.  Proceeds from the ride will go to help fund the Adam Petty Foundation for chronically ill and disabled children. The name of the foundation is Victory Junction.    The celebrity line-up includes the Pettys, Hershel Walker, Harry Grant, the Skoal Bandit and many media celebrities. 

The Magee Chamber of Commerce has been asked to host the local event. 

In other business, Magee Mayor Dale Berry expressed his appreciation to Leslie Eason of Southern Pine for getting the lights on at the ballfield which went out during an invitational tournament. 

Berry then announced the closing of the local Fred’s franchise on Highway 49.  He said the city anticipates the announcement that the deal has been finalized on Burger King any day now.

He said there continue to be issues with the intersection of Highway 49 and 11th Avenue adjacent to Wendy’s.  Berry said this is an issue created by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and there is nothing the city can do about it. 

During public comment Kenneth Aasand, who has consulted with the Magee Airport and is currently servicing aircraft there, reported that he had been held at bay by dogs at the facility.  He reported that he feared for his life when the two dogs hemmed him up.  He told the board that he has not been back to the airport since the incident. 

He told the board that the dogs belong to airport manager Ashley Steele.  He said the dogs had him at bay for about 10 minutes.  He was finally able to get the attention of someone in the house and they told Steele, who then secured the dogs. 

Mayor Berry responded to Aasand by asking if he had checked with the manager before going on public property.  Berry said a sign there requires everyone to do so before coming onto airport property.  Aasand responded, “She is never there.” 

There was no action or discussion by the board.  Aasand said that he had filed the complaint with the mayor and that the mayor had acknowledged having read the complaint.  He also stated that the mayor was angry with him over another matter with a friend. 

On another agenda item, it was reported to the board that they would need an engineer because of the size of the planned city paving project. The board agreed to use Mark Broom because he was less expensive.

The mayor reported that the city had issued a check to the Magee Chamber of Commerce in the amount of $10,000 for the city’s annual support of its programs. 

Under Park and Recreation  business, there had been apparent complaints about tournament operations as well as umpires.  Parks and Recreation said they have nothing to do with that, and that they only provide the fields for play.  Berry reported that issues with play or umpires are not the city’s responsibility. 

Mayor Berry also reported that the ball programs are having funding issues because the school district pulled their $10,000 contribution for use of the city field, and the county did not budget them the annual $25,000.  Berry asked that since the city had gotten the grant from the state, the board would take $35,000 of the $50,000 sewer fund and move it to parks and recreation.  Alderman Patrick Brown so moved, and the motion was seconded by Alderman Matthew Hickman.  The board voted to approve. 

The funds are to be used for lights at the field, a treatment plant by one of the fields, repairs of damage at the splash pad and   for a surface for new parking that is planned at the ballfield.  This is expected to be $20,000. 

City Building Inspector Joe Worrell reported that he was able to solve the E-911 issue for around $500 to enable the city  to improve fire ratings.  ATT said the solution would cost around $60,000 and Motorola had bid at between $250,000  and $275,000.  This will provide much better service through the CAD system to allow better response and redundancy in the program.  Worrell told the board they may have to purchase an additional computer also. 

In other good news, Alderman Whitney Baker told the board about a program called Imagination Library that will provide free books to children in the 39111 ZIP code starting at  age 3, which they may keep. 

The goal of the program is to encourage children to start reading at an early age.  It will cost the city $2.10 per child a month with a total cost of $500  to $700 per year. The total anticipated cost to the city is $5,000 over five years.   Trustmark Bank agreed to cover the registration fee of $500 for 2,500 applications.