Rink approved as Berwick 's fire chief
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
The Berwick Town Council has concurred with the wishes of the Berwick Volunteer Fire Department’s general membership and named a 24-year-old eight-year veteran as its new fire chief.
Allen “Noonie” Rink, who was elected without opposition during Monday’s election held by the BVFD, was approved unanimously during Tuesday’s council meeting.
He replaces Mike Touchet as the fire department’s chief.
Despite his youth, Rink said he knows of fire chiefs that are younger than him.
And Rink does have experience — he has been involved with the BVFD since age 16, when he joined as a junior member.
He said the real, on-the-scene experience, rather than training he has received, has helped him the most throughout his career.
“There’s no experience like hands-on experience,” he said.
Rink said he has spoken with Touchet, who still is a member of the department, and Touchet has agreed to assist him with the transition.
The new chief is the only paid member of the department. He also has served as a volunteer in Morgan City for about four years.
He will lead a department that has about 30 members in it, but always welcomes more members.
As the new chief, he said he would like to see the fire department become closer with the community through such activities as coming to council meetings. He said it’s something that has been tried in the past, and he thinks can be more successful now because they have more members.
In other action, the council:
—Learned from Reid Miller of Miller Engineers in Franklin that they are working on the design of Phase 5 of Renwick Subdivision, which they expect to have complete within a month. Once complete, the plans will be presented to the Planning and Zoning office.
—Learned from Town Superintendent Allen Benoit that 10 more galvanized frames and grates have been ordered to replace the curbside drain boxes on Snead, Hebert and Palmer streets. These should be complete prior to this summer’s rains. He said crews probably would be pouring concrete today. Utah and California streets were overlaid by the state Department of Transportation and Development and new shelled shoulders were laid on Utah Street. He also reported that street cave-ins at Willowcrest Subdivision recently occurred and have been repaired.
—Learned from Benoit that a major leak occurred on Canton Street at the Bellevue Front Street Seawall gate opening. He said the repair was difficult due to the characteristics of the old pipes in this area directly against the old seawall footing. On Dec. 17, crews were on site for about 17 hours working to slow down the leak until the proper materials could be gathered. The repair was made with little interruption to the rest of the town.
—Benoit also said plans are in the works for the upgrading of the overloaded Hogan Street Sewer Lift Station, which Benoit hopes to have rehabilitated before Mardi Gras if all goes well with the equipment proposal.
—Amended its ordinance to raise the monthly service fees for collection and disposal of garbage and trash from $18.50 to $19 per month for homes and businesses due to an increase by SweeDee. No comments were offered during a public hearing held during the meeting.
—Approved a parade permit for the Krewe of Dionysus, which will run in Berwick this year on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. The parade will begin on Gilmore Drive and end at Berwick Junior High School.
—In Recreation news: The Berwick Walking Trail replacement with concrete between Boudreaux Street and Gilmore Drive along La. 182 is complete, and all that remains is dress-up work with dirt to make the edges safe and minor culvert crossing modification to make this safe for the public, too. Also, a new scoreboard at a Dixie Youth field is being replaced soon. The old scoreboard will be moved to a new tee-ball field and will be ready for the coming season.
—Learned from Berwick Police Chief James Richard that during December, his department recorded 54 traffic citations and 26 arrests. For the year, the department recorded 671 citations and 350 arrests.
—Approved a resolution for the town’s application to the state Office of Community Development for water meter improvements.
—Learned that the BVFD responded to five calls during the past month, three at homes and two vehicle incidents.