Residents want four-wheelers on streets stopped

Baldwin residents complained Thursday about four-wheelers tearing through neighborhoods that aren’t being dealt with.
Long Street, Rod Lane and Batiste Street were the main areas citizens complained about. Police say that they have tried to stop the drivers but they flee off-road and officers cannot pursue them.
The disturbances seem to start after 3 p.m. week days though earlier on weekends, indicating youngsters out of school, but witnesses say there are a few adults involved too.
One resident said the drivers go so fast they would not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a child or pedestrian. They also speed through stop signs.
Chief Gerald Minor said police are trying to catch the offenders, and have cited those they have caught so far.
Also Thursday, Bernadette Stewart asked the fire department to help elderly Baldwin residents remain safe from fires. Stewart was badly burned in 2010 in a fire.
Alderman Gene St. Germain, who is also fire chief, said he has new smoke alarms equipped with batteries that last 10 years, and he plans on distributing them to the elderly in Baldwin as soon as he has a list of those persons. St. Mary Council on Aging Director Beverly Domengeaux volunteered to provide St. Germain with that list.
He said the fire department must install the detectors because in the past detectors were given out but residents never installed them. Alarm recipients will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire.
After the elderly are equipped, other Baldwin residents will be able to obtain the alarms.
Stewart also asked what the elderly and others should do if they smell natural gas. St. Germain said in that event they should call 911 and the fire department will respond along with Baldwin public works personnel to check for a gas leak. Baldwin operates its own natural gas service.
Mayor Wayne Breaux reported that flood protection rights of way for Bayou Choupique continues; he also reported that dialogue with federal officials for the fire substation under the U.S. 90 overpass is continuing to progress; and the street overlay project in the Bayou Choupique area is under way.
Alderwoman Margaret Coleman asked the fire chief about an application for a volunteer fire department position that she said a person had submitted but had never been approved.
St. Germain said he did not recall an application from the person Coleman named and told her to ask that individual to meet with him. He pointed out that the department no longer has a paid fireman on duty because of budget cuts. There are about 25 volunteers.
Coleman asked St. Germain if the department practices timing of arrival to a fire scene, and a member of the audience questioned why during a recent fire it allegedly took an hour for Baldwin firefighters to arrive on the scene. She said neighbors were trying to put out the fire with garden hoses, and Chitimacha fire personnel arrived on the scene first.
St. Germain denied that accusation and said he would produce 911 records to prove otherwise.
That resulted in a debate over the 911 system’s effectiveness since when a call is placed it is dispatched by the 911 office in Morgan City to Chitimacha fire headquarters and they dispatch Baldwin volunteer firemen. Since there is no full-time paid fire personnel in Baldwin, dispatch has to come from Chitimacha, St. Germain said.
Residents argued that this was a time-consuming process that results in delays.
Also Thursday:
—The board appointed Trunisha Marks as town treasurer.
—Hiring of police officer Michael Lopez was approved.
—Legal counsel is researching the town’s liability for bucket drives and a possible release form that participants must sign off on, Breaux said.
—Chairman of the new beautification committee Alderwoman Margaret Coleman is seeking volunteers to serve on that committee.
—Breaux read from an announcement that the town’s Martin Luther King Day March will be Jan. 20 with lineup at 9 a.m. at Special Providence Baptist Church and the march to Trinity United Methodist Church. A commemorative ceremony will follow at Trinity church.

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