By Kathy Jefcoats
FOREST PARK — Community activist and regular attendee of City Council meetings Carl Evans got a laugh Monday night as he once again took advantage of his three minutes to address board members.
Evans has never met a public comments portion of a meeting he didn't like and is a familiar sight at the podium. Residents were taken aback Monday night, however.
"I have nothing to complain about," said Evans, turning to walk back to his seat. Swirling around back to the microphone, he announced, "April fools."
On Evans' agenda were improperly installed mailboxes and his continuing battle with Waste Management.
"When the sidewalks were installed, the mailboxes were installed into them and that's wrong," he said. "They are supposed to be 6 to 8 inches from the curb so letter carriers don't have to exit their vehicles. Right now, they're driving up on the sidewalks to get to the mailboxes."
Evans told Council he is "sick and tired" of dealing with the "incompetence" of Waste Management employees. The waste disposal company handles garbage and recycling pick-up for Forest Park.
"I'm constantly having problems with them," he said.
Four members of Teen Council addressed Council to thank leaders for their support. Amoni Ethridge, Ky'Wan Parker, David Hickson and Anastasia Star spoke in turn during the public comments portion.
"We appreciate being here and we want to be a whole part of Forest Park," said Ethridge. "I enjoy the things I can do to help the community and people around me."
Parker said his participation has helped him develop leadership qualities.
"I can actually speak in front of all of you and feel comfortable," he said.
Hickson agreed, saying he will be able to use the skills learned in Teen Council throughout his life. Star said Teen Council has taught her more than most organizations would have been able to.
"I am in only one other extracurricular activity," said Star. "Teen Council has helped me do better in a way not a lot of other programs could have."
Mayoral candidate and attorney David Lockhart followed the teens to the podium and said he thought the group should expand its broad base.
"Teens need something more than institutionalized education," he said. "The development of life skills doesn't happen in a brick and mortar classroom. (Teen Council) allows them the opportunity to participate in activities."
Residents encouraged to address Council
The public comments portion of the Forest Park regular meetings are limited to three minutes for each speaker. Residents who want to address Council are required to sign in before the meeting starts and identify themselves at the podium by name and address.
Council made a change in how residents address the board at the April 1 meeting. The work session, held prior to the 7 p.m. regular meeting every first and third Monday of the month, will begin at 6 p.m. starting April 15, Mayor Pro Tem Linda Lord said it is a way to give residents more opportunity to address Council with issues.
Residents who can't make the work session can still address Council during the public comments portion during the regular meeting.