By Michael Howell
Stevensville Police Chief James Marble was presented with an award at last week’s Town Council meeting from the DUI Task Force and Prevention Coalition for his handling of last summer’s Creamery Picnic celebration. On hand to make the presentation were DUI Task Force leader Glenda Wiles and Prevention Coalition coordinator Charmel Owens. Wiles told Marble that he was getting the award for “making the Stevensville Creamery Picnic a safe family atmosphere with your vision, dedication and leadership.”
Wiles told the council that the task force exists through leveraging the money it gets through the driver’s license fees with grants to do work in the communities. She said they pay for overtime runs by local law officers, for compliance checks, for responsible alcohol sales and service training, and other legislative and educational activities. She said it was important for them to work with communities and that Stevensville has been a recipient. The task force has donated money to help them purchase tasers as well as for law enforcement at the Creamery Picnic.
“We always know when things work because my cell phone rings,” said Wiles, “and what I heard from the community this time was how great the Stevensville Picnic was because there were cops everywhere.” She said that normally lots of cops were not necessarily a welcome presence, but in this case it was different and it made everybody feel safe and feel like they had a place that for two or three days they could take their family.
“So we really appreciate that this guy actually called us to say, ‘What can you do for my community?’ and we really like that when someone is proactive and we can leverage those dollars. So we thought, this guy really needs an award.” She said individuals do not often take that kind of initiative.
Owens noted that on that same weekend, a family traveling from out of town was hit in Missoula by a drunk driver leaving an event. She also noted that Marble had helped coordinate the Highway Patrol DUI enforcement trailer to be parked at the Super One parking lot at the highway. She commended him on his forethought and noted how many compliments she had heard about the Creamery Picnic this year and the safe atmosphere at the celebration.
“I appreciate that,” said Marble.
In other business, the Council received a request for a waiver of application of the building code from Stevensville resident Gary Knapp. Knapp said that he was just interested in doing some repairs to an 80-year-old barn on his property and considered it “onerous, unnecessarily costly, and excessive” to be required to meet the Stevensville residential building codes. He said the state does not impose residential building codes on outbuildings and he questioned the logic of Stevensville’s regulations.
Knapp argued that he was only trying to improve an 80-year-old structure and that any improvement should be better than none. However, to meet residential code makes the project too expensive, increasing the cost by 30 percent with a $355 permit fee in addition. He called applying residential codes in this case “overkill” and asked the Council to waiver the project. His adjoining neighbors were in agreement with him.
In other business the Council suspended its rules and set different meeting dates for December. Meetings have been scheduled for December 5th, 6th and 20th.