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Town OKs new fire chief, clerk

WESSON – The fire department and the municipal court will soonbe under new leadership following a unanimous vote Tuesday by theboard of aldermen.

The board accepted a resignation from Randle Drane, who hasserved as fire chief for almost three years and has been a memberof the fire department for over 20 years. After Drane’srecommendation for nine-year veteran Dustin Brewer to take over theposition, the board approved the personnel change.

“I’m excited about it, and I’m glad to have the opportunity,” saidBrewer. “I hope I can keep it (fire department) going in the gooddirection it’s going in now.”

Drane recently accepted the position of Emergency ManagementDirector of Copiah County, fire coordinator and head of thecounty’s Homeland Security.

“I still want to be involved in the fire department, and I want toserve as an advisor to Dustin,” said Drane.

Town officials praised Drane’s dedication and the hard work he putinto the fire department and wished him well in his newposition.

A new face in the town’s municipal court will be the Rev. PhillipSterling, a local law enforcement officer and pastor. Sterling willserve part-time as the court clerk, a position that had previouslybeen combined with the town clerk’s duties.

Mayor Alton Shaw was excited to have someone with Sterling’sbackground apply for the job. Shaw noted that Sterling was involvedin the start of the successful drug court program in LincolnCounty.

Another new addition to the town will be a $60,000 backhoe for thestreet and sewer department to replace a late 70s model backhoe inneed of serious repairs. Aldermen voted to buy the backhoe on a60-month lease-purchase plan.

“We foresee paying it off a lot sooner than that,” said Shaw,mentioning funds being freed up when other town loans are paid offin the next few years.

The backhoe has a four-in-one bucket, along with many otherfeatures, that will increase efficiency in several areas, saidShaw.

In other financial matters, the chamber of commerce has pledged$5,000 toward the renovation of the old electric building, saidMinnie Wooten, representing the chamber.

A few years ago the town deeded the building to the chamber, whichhad plans for turning it into an historic museum with a parksurrounding it. Entergy donated $5,000 to the project, but it nevercame to fruition.

Several months ago, the chamber turned the building back over tothe town, with hopes that the area might still be improved. Townofficials have plans to renovate the building, which will need anew floor, some beams replaced and other structural work.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of months we’ll be able to getsomething done,” said Shaw, mentioning that the building might beused for meetings, such as Boy Scouts.