Article Comment 

Smoking ban in the works for Caledonia skate park


Jordan Novet



CALEDONIA -- After Leslie Webber told the Caledonia Board of Aldermen about some good news for the town Tuesday, she had a recommendation to make.  


"I''m very proud to say," she began, the town of Caledonia had won the Mississippi Municipal League''s 2009 Municipal Excellence Award for public safety for a population of under 10,000. Webber, finance and planning manager at Weyerhaueser and chair of the town''s skate park committee, had driven to Biloxi to accept the award July 15. 


The plaque, with its proclamation on a piece of translucent glass, was placed in the middle of the table around which aldermen and Mayor George Gerhart sat. The town received the award because of its efforts to give skateboarders a place to ride without interfering with traffic: a skate park. 


The skate park will reside on 7,500 square feet in Ola J. Pickett Park in the town. It will feature two quarter pipes, two skate benches and three rails, among other things, Webber said. 


The grand opening will occur on the morning of Aug. 22, Webber said. She asked town officials to attend.  


In preparation for the grand opening, she recommended the board consider establishing a smoking ban at Ola J. Pickett Park, after three of her son Christopher''s friends suffered asthma attacks at the park.  


Christopher had already designed a sign stating, "Don''t smoke. It''s a joke." He held it up for all to see at the meeting. 


The board passed a resolution for attorney Jeff Smith to draw up an ordinance to ban smoking at the park. The ordinance could allow law enforcement officials to impose fines on repeat offenders. 


In other business, the board: 


  • Heard from Bro. James Godsey with the Full Gospel Worship Center, located between Vernon, Ala., and Fayette, Ala., about the organization''s desire to rent the Presbyterian church on Main Street in Caledonia. The board passed a resolution to allow the organization to rent it for a year at the cost of $125 a month. The organization will pay utilities and cut the property''s grass. 


  • Passed a resolution to give a raise to employees of the town''s water department, excluding manager Benny Coleman, who brought up the subject before the board. 


  • Passed a resolution to allow Samuel Lance Luckey to serve in the town marshals department. He will receive no monetary compensation.  


  • Passed a resolution to allow the town marshal''s department to establish service for two cellular phones at the cost of $25 per month per phone.  


  • Failed to pass a resolution to buy boots for the town marshal''s department. 


  • Tabled requests from the town marshal''s department for a Taser and two Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifles. 


  • Discussed personnel matters in executive session.



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    Reader Comments

    Article Comment hk commented at 8/5/2009 12:19:00 PM:

    How will the smoking ban be enforced?


    Article Comment JP commented at 8/5/2009 12:48:00 PM:



    Article Comment KJ commented at 8/5/2009 1:03:00 PM:

    By people with tasers, sidearms, and badges. Perhaps Ms. Webber should do a little thing I like to call "googling" and search the phrase "exercise-induced asthma." I realize it would be really inconvenient for an actual cause of asthma attacks at skateparks that wasn't second-hand smoke to be identified, but perhaps intellectual honesty could be given a chance on occasion when it comes to smoking ordinances.


    Article Comment pr commented at 8/5/2009 1:30:00 PM:

    The skate park is in an open air area with very few people around. Therefore, the impact of a cigarette would be very little - unless you're ths smoker! I am at Ola J just about every day and I rarely see a smoker that doesn't go to the parking lot or at least walk away from other spectators to smoke. Those that don't show this courtesy are usually the underage smokers from the skate park! I'm thinking that a person that is susceptible to asthma attacks might want to avoid an outdoor Mississippi skate park in 100 degree August. Duh.


    Article Comment Leslie Webber commented at 8/5/2009 3:20:00 PM:

    The rest of the story: Although I am a volunteer for the skate park and tennis court committee in Caledonia, the no smoking policy discussed Tuesday at Ola J Pickett Park has nothing to do with the skate park specifically.

    Our call to action regarding no smoking at Ola J. Pickett park came after several of Christopher's friends had asthma attacks on the SOCCER field in late April that were clearly caused from second hand smoke. This particular evening, there were 2 spectators on the sidelines smoking. After one of the children who suffered an attack told us there was smoke on the field- several parents noticed a large, clear cloud of smoke crossing the soccer field. It was not hard to determine where the smoke was coming from so the folks smoking were informed that the smoke was causing kids on the field to have asthma attacks and they moved to the parking area to smoke. Yes, you would think that being in the open air that it would not have cause any issues but it did. Our children should not be exposed to second hand smoke at sporting events in a town park. Period.


    Article Comment A. commented at 8/5/2009 4:05:00 PM:

    No smoking ban is a great idea. Being able to enjoy the outdoors smoke free, as it was intedned, it great. It is a shame that people are so caught up in there smoking that they think it is better for people to stay inside. That is awful to say that. It is the outdoor, I have asthma and I love to be out biking outside, in august, in 110 degree heat. Smelling smoke is not fun when exercising and it is about time the smoking ban makes it to the area. Both columbus and caledoina should all be smoke free in my opion. You have a choice to smoke and I have a choice to make comments. if you cant handle it than stop smoking because you aint going to kill me with your habit!!


    Article Comment hk commented at 8/5/2009 5:45:00 PM:

    it is OUTSIDE people--the problem is from playing outside in dust and heat! Asthma can be induced by that.. it is outside--it is not like they are locked in an inside arena with the smoke.. it is in the great big outdoors!


    Article Comment A. commented at 8/6/2009 10:34:00 AM:

    It is the Great Big Outdoors. And it is so because it is big and has fresh air. So why ruin that, if you must smoke go smoke indoors and keep the smell and carcinogens to yourself. Lots of places are outdoors and lots of those places are smoke free. Why should this place be any different. Dont look at it as Asthma people should stay inside, but rather look at it as a way to make smokers healthier. You know its a bad habit so just look at the positive. Keep the outdoors clean for everyone!!


    Article Comment Ann commented at 8/6/2009 11:39:00 AM:

    I think you all need to worry more about all the trashy places right down the road from your school. work on cleaning up town like columbus. were you pick up the elmentry kid . The trash around the houses need to keep yards and trash cleaned up.


    Article Comment A. commented at 8/6/2009 12:49:00 PM:

    Well it is the paretns job to look after the safety of childeren, you are right. I have asked smokers to extinguish thier smokes and guess what....most get defensive and get diarreha of the mouth. Like I said before if you cant hanlde the words than stop smoking. What I hate is when I see helpless children couped up in a car filled with smoke by their parents. Then the parents wonder why their kids have health problems like asthma.


    Article Comment Kj commented at 8/6/2009 3:01:00 PM:

    I agree that Ola J Pickett should have a smoking ban. It isn't just about kids with asthma. It is about everyone that is at that park for all functions who want to enjoy it without having to smell smoke. This includes the adults and kids that are smoking. There have been many times that there have been smoking on the sidelines of the soccer games. There should not be smoking around children. It is a bad habit for our children to be observing. You would think that if you smoke you could come to the park for a few hours without lighting up a cigarette around impressionable young people.


    Article Comment Sports Player Parent commented at 8/6/2009 5:58:00 PM:

    Thank you for the smoking ban at Ola J Pickett park. I have asked for this for a long time. Kids do not need this exposure nor do parents that come out to watch their kids. In Texas and North Carolina smoking at kids activities is not permitted.
    I have witness my child's coach have an asthma attack while in the middle of a game both soccer and baseball.
    With this ordinance then people regardless of age can be fine and if you are underage then you will face that charge too. People just need to respect others around them. Before you light-up you should ask people around you if they mind. If they answer YES then don't light-up. Thank you Leslie Webber.


    Article Comment Caledonia Resident commented at 8/6/2009 11:46:00 PM:

    Mrs. Leslie,
    I think the smoking ban at Ola J Pickett park is a wonderful idea. Young innocent kids should not have to suffer from second hand smoking while playing sports or other activities. I believe this park should be a fun family park and smoking does not make anything fun. I would never let my kids be exposed to smoking and I wouldn't think any other parent would want they're kids being exposed either. Some people that disagree should make a good argument instead of making it personal in her life and this smoking ban has absolutely nothing to do with her family. I would be very offended if someone commented about my family on the web. Even though the park is outdoors people can still receive asthma attacks and breathing problems from second hand smoke. Asthma attacks and such are not something you should be worried about going to watch your son play baseball or any sport. I personally have asked smokers to move away from the sporting fields while smoking and have received a negative response, therefore I do think making it smoke free is a good idea because nicely asking doesn't always work. Once again thank you for stepping up Mrs. Leslie.


    Article Comment old fred commented at 8/7/2009 7:46:00 PM:

    lets get a chopper a fighter jet. and snuff out the grill at the park. so the smoke don't cause health issues. patrol the park with a chopper. and air strike violaters with the jet.and by the way i need size 9.5 boots and a new deer rifle please santa george. NO NEED FOR A TASER!!!!!!


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