Upcoming circus draws criticism at ES meeting

Friday, September 26, 2014

Controversy arose during Monday night's meeting of the Eureka Springs City Council over the Carson and Barnes Circus' scheduled Nov. 5 performance at Lake Leatherwood Park.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Rachel Brix presented her case for stopping the performance.

"On Nov. 5, eight semis worth of circus paraphernalia will be at Lake Leatherwood for two 1,500 seat shows," Brix said. "Since the implementation of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act, Carson and Barnes has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for dozens upon dozens of safety violations."

According to a packet provided by Brix, Carson and Barnes has been cited dozens of times with violations that include runaway animals, harsh treatment using clubs, electric prods, blow torches, baseball bats, fists and bull hooks to force animals ranging from dogs to elephants into compliance. She brought a replica of a bull hook, a pole affixed with a hook used to train elephants, as a visual aid. Also cited by Brix was Eureka Springs Animal Care Code 604.05, which protects animals from abuse and overwork.

Brix asked the council to review its guidelines for events at Lake Leatherwood and enact a policy that prohibits animal circuses from using the park as a venue. Later in the meeting, the circus was added to the agenda for discussion on Oct.13.

There is good news for library patrons as the council passed

ordinance 2218, which changes the one-hour parking on six spaces between Crescent Springs and the library to two-hour time limits. The extended time reflects the needs of patrons who must wait to use a computer and those patrons who enjoy taking their time reading in the library's comfortable atmosphere. New signage will be forthcoming.

Five citizens voiced their support for Alderwoman Mickey Schneider to send a Freedom of Information Act request to Boone-Carroll Water District asking for the exact contents of the fluoride to be added to the Eureka Springs water supply.

"The biggest thing we do by making the FOIA request is to show due diligence," Schneider said. "We want to get the best fluoride possible."

According to Schneider, Chinese fluoride is made industrially and often contains impurities such as arsenic and lead. The current provider has no requirement to disclose the contents of the mandated additive.

Schneider said the FOIA is step one of a two-step process to keep Eureka Spring's water fluoride-free.

'It's a matter of getting our ducks in a row," Alderwoman Joyce Zeller said. "As of last month, fluoride will no longer be manufactured in the United States."

With no American fluoride, all new orders will come from China.

The council encouraged Schneider to make the FOIA.

Alderman Dee Purkeypile reported on the status of the city's efforts to either buy a new sewer-cam/jetter or contract an outside pumping company to do the work of keeping the city's sewer clean. It was reported at the last city council meeting that a used jetter would cost the city at least $50,000. Purkeypile said B and B Plumbing has made an offer to lower their rates if they are given a contract for all the city's business.

Purkeypile said there are concerns that most plumbing cameras are too small to be effective in the the city's largest lines, that the city would need its own licensed operator on site whenever the contractor was being used and that the city would need its own insurance policy to cover damages and liabilities to a contractor's equipment. Public Works Director Dwayne Allen is getting more details. No decision was made.

Schneider requested that City Attorney Tim Weaver draft guidelines for tree trimming in the city. Weaver said that most of the alleged damage to trees during recent trimming was done on private property, and that the city has no say in a matter between a business and a private property owner.

Alderman Terry McClung reported on the status of the new public works building. According to McClung, Allen has taken the plans to the state for approval.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 13.

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