Town business leads to grammar talks

Grammar was a hot topic for the Catawba Town Council on Monday as the board discussed the grammatical correctness on a historical marker they want to display by the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 12.

The sign will read, “Depot built here at siding on Western North Carolina Railroad, 1859; village organized as Catawba Station, 1872; market center for locally produced tobacco and flour; incorporated as Town of Catawba in 1893; base for building nearby Lookout Shoals Dam in 1914.”

The short statements and incomplete sentences made some council members uneasy.

“As an educator, I’m not happy about the wording,” said Catawba councilman Jeff Isenhour. “I’m not knit-picking, but I think we can do complete sentences.”

Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett said the current price quote would increase if complete sentences were used and delay the sign’s completion date.

“We bounced around with the wording, and we had some issues, but we always came back to this particular wording,” Barnett said.

Though the sign doesn’t appear to have perfect grammar, the town’s historical association and some board members said the grammar is correct formatting for a historical sign.

“These (historical markers) aren’t designed to have full sentences,” said Catawba councilwoman Karen Ester.

A representative from Catawba Historical Association showed Isenhour and other questioning council members examples of other towns’ historical signs, which had similar grammar.

All the council members voted for the sign to be left as it was since it did follow appropriate grammar for historical markers.

In other business

Grammar on the historical marker wasn’t the only issue tripping up the board members, as they discussed some hazardous sidewalks in.

Barnett recommended a technique to reduce costs and eliminate hazard by shaving the sidewalk rather than completely repaving them.

“This won’t deliver you a pristine-looking sidewalk, but it will take care of the bad spots,” Barnett said.

The board did not decide on the technique to be used, but agreed certain areas did need to be fixed. The board will revisit the topic at its August meeting.

Council will also further discuss backing up the town’s information into Catawba County’s virtual servers at the August meeting.

Barnett strongly believes the town needs its data backed up. If there were an accident, such as a fire, data would be lost, he said.

Town attorney Crystal Davis questioned the confidentiality of the information on the Catawba County server.

“Whatever space we have is ours; we have access,” Barnett said.

“(Information Technology department) has access if help is needed, but it’s something we need to look into.”

Davis agreed the town needed to have a system to backup its information, but she said a confidentiality agreement was needed before using Catawba County’s servers.

Catawba maintenance director Cary Broadwell was asked to investigate Shannon Moose’s yard to determine whether her neighbor’s pecan tree crossed her property line. Moose has spent $2,000 on trimming her neighbor’s tree, which littered leaves, pollen and pecans into her pool and yard.

The town council decided to hire an officer to impose code enforcement with Catawba Police Chief Mike Nash. The completed code enforcement agreement will be ready in August for council approval.

An animal shelter agreement will require the county will take stray animals in Catawba to an animal shelter to be adopted and cared for with a $2,007 annual fee. This agreement is intended to help with ongoing animal control problem in the county.

Photo identification cards will be enforced for town employees as a safety measure to identify who employees are and what they are certified to do. Council members are not aware of past safety issues with identifying town employees, but want to take preventative measures.