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Pulaski curfew remains in force

PULASKI — Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell cast the deciding, tie-breaking vote that left the town’s curfew ordinance intact Tuesday.
Worrell said it appears to him that the ordinance is “being used as it was intended” when it was amended in 2006.
He added that Pulaski County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge H. Lee Chitwood is “adamant we leave (the ordinance) in place.”
The ordinance was put onto Pulaski Town Council’s work session agenda for Tuesday night after new Councilman Morgan Welker suggested earlier this month that the curfew ordinance should be repealed. He contends the ordinance dehumanizes area youth and gives them such a poor opinion of the community that they have no desire to stay here after high school.
Welker went on to question whether the ordinance has some “constitutional issues” and added that he thinks it unfairly targets lower-income youths who cannot afford cars and, therefore, have to walk to get to their destinations.
He also contends the ordinance discourages businesses that would cater to youth from locating in town.
The ordinance prohibits youth under age 18 from being on the streets of Pulaski after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after midnight Friday and Saturday, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Worrell said it’s his opinion that youth under 18 shouldn’t be out on the streets at that time of night.
However, Welker said that is a parental decision, and he doesn’t think it is appropriate for the town government to assume the jobs of parents.
Other council members disagreed, suggesting too many parents are not doing their jobs.
If there was no desire to repeal the ordinance, Welker suggested the language of the ordinance be altered to prohibit loitering on the streets by being stationary in one spot for more than 15 minutes.
Referring to an earlier comment from Welker that some 16-year-old youth have jobs and have to walk home from work after curfew hours, Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he does see the merits in youths being able to walk home after work.
Town Attorney David Warburton said he has no opinion on what should be done to the ordinance, but he said he sees no language in the ordinance that would “criminalize walking to or from anywhere.”
He added, “I don’t think a person who is walking can be loitering.”
While he acknowledged always being concerned about anything that uses the words “loitering” or “impeding” since they’re subjective terms, Warburton said there is nothing unconstitutional about the ordinance.
Welker said he’s just trying to remove some of the “ambiguity” from the ordinance.
In a memorandum to Town Manager John Hawley, Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche said, since Jan. 1, 2006, his department has issued summonses to “children” in only 23 of 953 calls for service involving juvenile problems.
Welker’s motion to repeal the ordinance was seconded by Burchett, who then voted against the motion, along with Councilmen Larry Clevinger, David Clark and Robert Bopp. New Councilman H.M. Kidd abstained from voting.
Welker then made a motion to amend the language as he had suggested. Burchett again seconded the motion, but this time he voted “yes,” along with Kidd and Welker.
“No” votes cast by Clark, Clevinger and Bopp, resulted in a tie, which required Worrell to vote.
With Worrell voting “no,” the ordinance remained unchanged.

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Pulaski curfew remains in force

PULASKI — Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell cast the deciding, tie-breaking vote that left the town’s curfew ordinance intact Tuesday.
Worrell said it appears to him that the ordinance is “being used as it was intended” when it was amended in 2006.
He added that Pulaski County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge H. Lee Chitwood is “adamant we leave (the ordinance) in place.”
The ordinance was put onto Pulaski Town Council’s work session agenda for Tuesday night after new Councilman Morgan Welker suggested earlier this month that the curfew ordinance should be repealed. He contends the ordinance dehumanizes area youth and gives them such a poor opinion of the community that they have no desire to stay here after high school.
Welker went on to question whether the ordinance has some “constitutional issues” and added that he thinks it unfairly targets lower-income youths who cannot afford cars and, therefore, have to walk to get to their destinations.
He also contends the ordinance discourages businesses that would cater to youth from locating in town.
The ordinance prohibits youth under age 18 from being on the streets of Pulaski after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after midnight Friday and Saturday, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Worrell said it’s his opinion that youth under 18 shouldn’t be out on the streets at that time of night.
However, Welker said that is a parental decision, and he doesn’t think it is appropriate for the town government to assume the jobs of parents.
Other council members disagreed, suggesting too many parents are not doing their jobs.
If there was no desire to repeal the ordinance, Welker suggested the language of the ordinance be altered to prohibit loitering on the streets by being stationary in one spot for more than 15 minutes.
Referring to an earlier comment from Welker that some 16-year-old youth have jobs and have to walk home from work after curfew hours, Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he does see the merits in youths being able to walk home after work.
Town Attorney David Warburton said he has no opinion on what should be done to the ordinance, but he said he sees no language in the ordinance that would “criminalize walking to or from anywhere.”
He added, “I don’t think a person who is walking can be loitering.”
While he acknowledged always being concerned about anything that uses the words “loitering” or “impeding” since they’re subjective terms, Warburton said there is nothing unconstitutional about the ordinance.
Welker said he’s just trying to remove some of the “ambiguity” from the ordinance.
In a memorandum to Town Manager John Hawley, Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche said, since Jan. 1, 2006, his department has issued summonses to “children” in only 23 of 953 calls for service involving juvenile problems.
Welker’s motion to repeal the ordinance was seconded by Burchett, who then voted against the motion, along with Councilmen Larry Clevinger, David Clark and Robert Bopp. New Councilman H.M. Kidd abstained from voting.
Welker then made a motion to amend the language as he had suggested. Burchett again seconded the motion, but this time he voted “yes,” along with Kidd and Welker.
“No” votes cast by Clark, Clevinger and Bopp, resulted in a tie, which required Worrell to vote.
With Worrell voting “no,” the ordinance remained unchanged.

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