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Motorcycle helmets no longer required in City of Jackson

Motorcycle operators and riders are no longer required to wear protective head gear in the City of Jackson.

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 to amend the city ordinances by removing the subsection to Chapter 39 of the City Code that reads: “Every person operating or riding as a passenger on any motorcycle upon any highway of this city shall wear protective headgear at all times the vehicle is in motion. The protective headgear shall meet reasonable standards and specifications established by the director.”

This change brings the city ordinance in line with a new state law that went into effect Aug. 28.

According to state law, persons under the age of 26 who are operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or motor-tricycle shall wear a helmet when the vehicle is in motion.

However, qualified operators who are 26 or older may operate a motorcycle or motor-tricycle without a helmet if he or she is covered by a health insurance policy or other form of insurance which will provide the person with medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle or motor-tricycle accident. Proof of such coverage shall be provided on request of law enforcement by showing a copy of the qualified operator’s insurance card. No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with these provisions.

In other action

• Appointment: The Board of Aldermen approved the mayor’s appointment of Lacey Pulley to the Community Outreach Board.

• Asphalt paving: The Board approved a $27,448.98 change order to Apex Paving Co. of Cape Girardeau, relative to the 2020 Asphalt Pavement Improvement Program. The payment is for additional work that was requested by the City because the original bid came in under budget.

• Russell Heights Cemetery: Several items of business focused on Russell Heights Cemetery.

A change order of $10,584 to Mike Light Cement Finishing of Perryville was approved for additional columbaria foundations to be installed.

A proposal from Liley Monument Works of Marble Hill in the amount of $98,864 was accepted by the Board and a contractual agreement was approved to construct the additional columbaria.

• On-street parking: The Board eliminated parking on the east side of North Farmington Road from West Main street to the first driveway. This was done as a first step to improve traffic flow on Farmington Road where it intersects West Main Street.

• Citizen complaints: During non-agenda citizen input time, Dr. Jerrell Driver presented several personal complaints and suggestions for improvements regarding the Jackson Police Department, billing for sewer usage, and enforcement of an ordinance requiring the mowing of his lawn.

He told of a time he worked late in his office and was mistaken for a “druggie” by JPD. He claimed the officers investigating did not identify themselves as police and he was afraid they might be criminals themselves. He felt he was treated unfairly during the investigation and received no apology when the matter was cleared up.

Driver felt the City’s billing for sewer did not reflect the correct usage; sometimes the charge for sewer was higher than the water charge.

Once he did not mow his lawn because he did not want to disturb a rabbit nest. However, when the City threatened him with an ordinance violation, he mowed the lawn and was saddened to find bloody body parts of mutilated rabbits.

• Dumpster diving: Alderman David Hitt challenged City Administrator Jim Roach to get something done to stop the dumpster diving behind Teen Challenge. People come at all hours of the night to rummage through items left behind the building and steal them. Police have increased patrols and tickets have been issued but the problem persists.

• Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization: An annual report from the UJRO was given by Executive Director Steve Turner.

• Lane name: Beverly Nelson, chairman of the First Baptist Church of Jackson History Committee, appeared before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to request that the long, winding gravel lane from Lee Avenue to Old Bethel Church be given a name, and a street sign be posted, at Lee Avenue to help visitors find the historic church.

When asked what she wanted to name the lane, Nelson said her committee had not selected a name, but something such as “Old Bethel Lane” or “Church Lane” would be appropriate.

Currently the address of the church is 1910 Lee Avenue. “It’s not anywhere near Lee Avenue,” she said.

On a related matter, the Board approved of the idea of naming a new street between Birk Lane and Highway 61 near Center Junction “Wanda Lee Way.” The land for the street was donated to the City by the Drury family, who wished to name it for their mother. A street on the Cape side of I-55 is named for their father.

• Mary Street bridge: In study session, the Board further discussed a replacement bridge for the low-water bridge at Mary Street in City Park.

The project will take about a year from preliminary design to completion. The estimated cost will be $96,748.

It will have sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, even though sidewalks on Mary Street do not all reach the bridge. Some stop a block or two away.

City staff was asked to add the cost of completing the sidewalks to the engineering plans.

• Rezoning: The Board discussed the three properties that are currently zoned R-3 (general residential) but are now commercial in use: Swinford & Associates, 2525 E. Jackson Blvd.; Lee Chiropractic Center, 2625 E. Jackson Blvd.; and Senior Health Care Benefits, 2737 E. Jackson Blvd. It was recommended that a zoning change be considered for these properties.

• Sewer connections: The Board again discussed making the sewer connections to city sewer mains the responsibility of the City and not of the property owners to maintain and repair. “In the long run, we think that will be better for our citizens,” said City Attorney Tom Ludwig.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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