Chester's police and fire departments appear close to realizing a longtime goal of assisting with the driver's education program at Chester High School.
During Monday's meeting of the Chester City Council, both Police Chief Ryan Coffey and Fire Chief Marty Bert explained their goals with helping out.
Coffey noted that the CPD could assist with raising awareness of distracted driving and would also conduct a mock traffic stop with students so they could see what happens when one occurs.
"We're hopefully going to do that every semester," he said. "If we do that every year, we'll get every Chester driver."
Bert said firefighters would talk about how seatbelts and airbags work during an accident, what to do when a fire truck comes up behind you and what to do when you come across an accident scene.
"That interaction is what we're after," he said.
Coffey also highlighted the upcoming Cops and Kids at Christmas event at Chester Wal-Mart on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. The Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Steeleville Police Department and Red Bud Police Department are also participating.
A total of 80 children are expected to be helped by the program. Registration will take place in the Chester Wal-Mart gardening center.
"Every (child) will have an officer to go with them," Coffey said.
Coffey also noted faculty at Chester Grade School and CHS would undergo active shooter training in January, and that his department has purchased a used speed trailer from O'Fallon (Missouri).
Location requests for the trailer are already flowing in.
"It will be making its rounds," Coffey said.
In other news, the council approved city engineer Harold Sheffer to design a new lime system for the city's water plant.
The current lime system has high-density lime that can clog water pipes, forcing someone to scale the roof to clear clogs.
Sheffer noted the EPA has a loan program that offers 20-year loans with loan forgiveness up to $500,000. Interest rate would be 1.25 percent.
Applications are due at the end of January. The catch is the design and the taking of bids on the project must be completed before the potential loan is finalized, a process that could take six months.
The aldermen, and woman, unanimously approved the project, but the project's estimated cost of $1.61 million - which includes roof repairs at the facility - gave alderman Dan Ohlau pause.
"This is the most money I've thrown at a project since I've been alderman," he said.
• The council tabled an item to approve Coffey to schedule two part-time officers to attend the police academy. During the meeting, Coffey said that item wasn't quite ready yet, but would be ready for the council's next meeting on December 18.
• Bills were approved in the amount of $30,700.82. Evergreen Cemetery had five transactions in November, totaling $1,150.
• The council approved the annual tax levy ordinance for the amount of $853,667.
• In his report, Chester Mayor Tom Page thanked city staff and volunteers for their efforts in a successful Christmas on the River event.
"I was very pleased with the entire Christmas on the River program," he said. "The parade was fantastic, probably the best it's been in many years."