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Carthage-Wilna Fire district amends membership process

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CARTHAGE — The Carthage-Wilna Fire District board of commissioners has decided to change its membership approval process.

District secretary Linda R. Prashaw brought to the board’s attention that if the approval process takes more than 40 days, a prospective member may have to be granted membership by default. Therefore the board decided at its meeting Wednesday to require the Carthage Fire Department to present a complete membership application packet for approval.

“This way we can get all our ducks in a row and have the background checks within the time frame,” said Jon W. Storms, fire district chairman. “We don’t want to be caught in between meetings and have a member approved by default.”

Under the new process, only the completed application including an arson check, physical and driver’s license review will be reviewed by the board to consider inclusion in the fire department’s probationary process.

Because of the change in policy, two prospective members’ applications were rejected. However, once completed, the applications for Okiche Hernandez and Ricardo Falcon can be resubmitted.

Mr. Storms said the new procedure should not affect membership growth.

During the meeting, Fire Chief Sean P. McHale said the department’s membership fluctuates but averages 40 to 42 active members.

In a show of support for the newly reactivated Nighthawks drill team, the board approved the storage of the team’s vehicle in the fire department garage. The Carthage Nighthawks have two captains, Cole Pacella and Joey Kuehnle, secretary Erik Mikkleborg and treasurer Robert Roberts. The group will have a pancake breakfast fundraiser Dec. 22.

Fire district elections are set for 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Carthage Fire Department, 685 S James St. On the ballot will be one fire commissioner position for a five-year term starting Jan. 1. Incumbent Norman L. Barkley Jr. is running for the position.

All residents within the Carthage-Wilna Fire District who were registered with the Jefferson County Board of Elections by Nov. 18 are eligible to vote.

The next meeting was rescheduled for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 26 because the regular meeting date falls on Christmas.

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