Council Relaxes Lawn Requirements; Lifeguards Still Needed

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You mow yours, I’ll mow mine: City Manager Darlene Burcham admitted at Monday’s Roanoke City Council meeting that there has been some flak from residents about the height of grass in the city that is maintained by public service crews.  The city is increasing the time period between mowings, due to budget issues. Meanwhile, homeowners and landlords can be fined – or have their grass mowed for them at $80/hour by the city – if the grass is more than 12” high.  Burcham promised a kindler, gentler administration for now: “we’re not going to be harsh on people if we’re not going to be harsh on ourselves.”

Lifeguards needed: with the city’s about face on the Fallon Park and Washington Park pools, which will now open this summer after money was found in the 2009-2010 budget, Roanoke is scrambling to find certified lifeguards. Less than half of the positions open had been filled as of earlier this week, according to Burcham.  Call the city if you’re interested – and certified.

Market art flap: David Trinkle reminded everyone that city council is “a tremendous supporter of the arts,” in light of the market building flap, when a Roanoke police officer arrested someone taking part in the “Must See TV” performance piece. In fact, Trinkle’s wife, an artist herself, was involved with the project, where participants gathered in various parts of downtown to stare at blank TV screens for five minutes, hoping to evoke comments. An officer who felt some were blocking the sidewalk put an end to the demonstration. “I’m hoping … that more of these events will occur,” said Trinkle.

Darlene Burcham said police chief Joe Gaskins, “was looking at the matter,” and would make a statement “shortly. He has taken this very, very seriously.” Burcham also called it “an unfortunate situation.” Councilwoman Gwen Mason was critical that it had taken Gaskins so long to issue a statement on last week’s incident: “there’s no harm in being out in the media very quickly.”