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City EMS to buy 4 new ambulances

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

On a day when they talked about Santa Claus coming to town, Christmas came early for New Castle Emergency Services.

Members of the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety unanimously approved a plan proposed by EMS Director Josh Russell to purchase four new ambulances.

“Essentially it’s the same as replacing one a year,” Russell said. “We decided due the maintenance and increase use of them it would make more sense for us to make a five-year four-ambulance purchase. It’s a larger number up front, but I think it’s the same annually and it would help us tremendously, I think, from a maintenance perspective.”

Russell estimated the new fully-equipped units would cost $392,000 each.

The board’s action allows Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Grider to seek quotes on the ambulances. Board members emphasized any final action would have to come from the City Council.

Meanwhile, board members learned new portable hand-held emergency radios are in for both police and EMS.

“Most of guys on the road are utilizing them already,” New Castle Police Chief Matt Schofield said. “These hand-helds are a lot clearer and easier to use.”

With new radios here, Schofield ask for and received permission to sell old radio equipment to neighboring small towns who could put it to use.

“I’ve had some smaller agencies inquire about buying our old radios,” Schofield said. “Kennard and Cadiz officials want to buy a couple and the sheriff is interested in buying some for short term use until they get their new radios.”

City Attorney David Copenhaver, a Board of Works member, made the motion approving old radios be sold to other public emergency services as they request “for an amount the chief feels is fair given their negligible value.”

Schofield suggested the radios be sold for $200 each.

“They are, in essence, scrap, so I don’t want them going to anything other than a public emergency service,” Copenhaver said. 

Christmas parade coming up

Members on the New Castle Board of Public Works and safety may have ensured their spots on Santa’s “nice list” Monday morning when they voted unanimously to clear the way for his arrival during the 30th annual Knights of Pythias Christmas Parade 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Denny Adams, representing the Knights of Pythias, asked for and received permission to have barricades from the street department placed at each end of Main Street in Baker Park and also at P Avenue and Roosevelt to prevent traffic from entering the parade forming area.

Adams said the parade line-up will begin forming at 2 p.m. in the park. The parade starts at 4 p.m., going from Baker Park down Main Street to Broad Street and then left at 12th Street where it will end.

“We have a special liability insurance policy with the Pfenninger Agency for the event,” Adams said. “Henry County Sheriff Reserves have been notified that we will need their assistance plus any others that are available for traffic control along the parade route.”

Adams said that recently retired Hall of Fame New Castle wrestling coach Rex Peckinpaugh will be this year’s grand marshal.