CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council heard plans Thursday for the city to mark the holiday with its annual Christmas parade, tree and lighted star, and council members noted the tree will be decorated in honor of a community volunteer who died suddenly.
Fire Chief Buddy Smith told the council that the Christmas parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m., with an estimated time expected of 30 minutes to make the route. Smith said the parade will line up at the rescue squad building at 5:30 p.m., in no special order. Certificates of appreciation will be handed out to entries at that point.
The route goes west on Highway 118 to Elegant Event (the old Kelly's Furniture) at NW Third Street, goes north one block and goes east by City Hall, then takes a left on Nauvoo Road. It will continue up to Fourth Avenue at the playground, over the hill by the nursing home, down Sixth Street to Third Avenue between Meadowview Apartments, and then back on Widows Lanes to where the parade started.
Smith said the city participates with Nauvoo's parade (that was held yesterday), followed by the Eldridge parade on the second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m., followed by a chili dinner there.
Police will be out in numbers, so no traffic issues are expected, House said.
In a related matter, city event planner Anita Hill told the council that the city's Christmas tree will be lit by Dec. 7, before the parade. The mayor noted the lighted hillside star overlooking the city is usually turned on the night of the parade.
Also, Hill noted the Nov. 21 death of Betty Tidwell Sparks, who helped with the Christmas tree and other city events. Sparks died of a heart attack, getting ill about an hour after Hill had last texted with her.
"That is why we are late with the tree," Hill said, as she had begun some planning on the tree. The tree will be decorated in honor of Sparks this year.
Mayor Mark Chambers paid tribute to Sparks, saying she was originally from Slidell, Louisiana, where she served as a councilwoman in that area. "She knew more about being on a council and being a mayor more than all of us could ever imagine. She was really a sharp person, and if she said she was going to do something, she did it," he said.
Hill said Sparks volunteered to take over the Christmas tree project, as Hill had a rough summer.
In other action Thursday, the council:
• decided to appoint Billie D. Jenkins to be on the Utility Board over the person currently holding the seat, Terry W. Mason. The mayor noted both had applied to have the seat. No discussion was held before the 4-0 vote.
Three members of the council were absent from the meeting: District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough, District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron and District 6 Councilman Greg Anderson. As a result, the mayor was allowed to vote.
• voted to get a microwave for the dispatchers, as the old one quit working.
• heard a plea from Mark Chambers to help find a craftsman to carve names into the city's veterans monument, as the city is behind in carving the names in after they have been paid for. "We've got a list of names, hundreds of names that need to be added to that. It's been a couple of years," he said, noting one person had complained, as they had paid $100 to have three names added. "He's tired of waiting on it, and I don't blame him. We need to get this done and make it happen in the next couple of weeks."