Forester talks with school board, other 16th section issues handled

Published 5:56 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006

District forester Mark Hamilton appeared at last night’s meeting of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District to discuss some aerial spraying and bedding for tree planting.

Hamilton told board members he would look over 16th section land at the old Picayune airport and in the Stennis Space Center Buffer Zone with board members to answer their questions.

Board chairman Reese Moody said he is concerned that the aerial spraying at the airport hasn’t done its job.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Board member Duane Wheat wondered at the necessity for bedding to plant trees. Wheat said he understood that in wet areas it might be needed to give the seedlings a dry place to get started.

Hamilton told Moody that the contractor who did the spraying guaranteed an 80 percent success rate for killing unwanted plant life with the aerial spraying and that he would walk the area with Moody to see how successful the spraying had been.

The forester explained to Wheat that bedding did more than just keep seedlings from getting their feet wet in the early stages of their growth. In dry sites, it actually improved the availability of soil moisture. It also loosened the soil and gave the seedlings a better place to get their roots established.

The board thanked Hamilton for appearing before it to answer the questions.

The board then approved a contract for bedding some 16th section land for tree planting.

The board also handled some 16th section commercial leases, one of which has been held up for quite a while.

The board had delayed approving the leases over the length of the leases. The board had been granting 40-year commercial leases and had seen several of the leases sub-leased at amounts substantially more than the original lease. The board wanted to gain some control over the subleasing.

The board learned from attorney Gerald Patch that it was not required to give 40-year leases. The law simply made 40 years the longest period a commercial lease could be granted.

The board voted to limit the commercial leases to 25 years and approved leases for Brewington Trucking and for Triple K Trucking. The board also approved a lease for Mississippi Auto Carriers after first canceling an earlier lease. The new lease is for more acreage for the trucking company. All of the leases were at the old Picayune airport.

The board also heard from a parent, Ja’Nel Barber who wanted the board either to allow her son to continue riding his bike to school or to put into the school’s handbook language saying children could not ride their bicycles to school. She said her son had been riding his bike to school for more than a year without any problems

Barber said she carefully supervised her 6-year-old’s four-block ride from their home in Nicholson to Nicholson Elementary School but had recently been told by school security that her son no longer could ride his bike to school. Barber said she and the school’s security guard have had “issues” in the past and wondered if the sudden order for her son to stop riding his bike to school had to do with that.

Principal Vera Beech said she was concerned that the child was entering school grounds through an exit.

The board told Barber it would study the issue and get back to her.

In other matters, the board:

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved consent items, including donations from Vivian Pertuit of a computer and monitor, from Funai of a learning library, from Disney of educational videos and from Capitol Steel of Slidell, La., of $100.

— A 90-day extension of the contract for reroofing the Center for Alternative Education.

— Requests to use district facilities, including the junior high cafeteria for building code classes and the Nicholson Elementary cafeteria and playground by 1st Baptist Church of Nicholson on Saturday, Oct. 14.

— Approved auditorium matters including allowing the high school and junior high show choirs to use the auditorium for practices without requiring security and for the high school show choir to use an interior door to move their equipment from storage to the stage.

— Approved a grant application for Katrina ERATE funds.

— Approved the 2nd reading of a revision to the board policy DJED on bids and quotations.

— Went into executive session on discipline and personnel following which it approved the recommendations of the disciplinary committee and settled some hourly pay rates.