Pilot Mountain News

Commissioner takes issue with criticism of police

On Monday evening, the Pilot Mountain town commissioners resolved a few issues, kicked a couple of cans down the road, one of which has been being kicked for between six and eight years, depending on which commissioner was talking, and received an apology which one commissioner later characterized as slanderous to the police department.

At the beginning of the meeting when the public was invited to make comments, Tony Durham, father of Anthony Michael Durham who owns Pub 109, apologized for any inconvenience done to the town.

He said, “The ALE did not charge my son for nothing. I don’t know what we pay our Pilot Mountain Police Department but they need to be investigated.”

His comments were in response to an Aug. 2 N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement raid on the West Main Street business. At the time of the raid, Pilot Police Chief Darryl Bottoms said authorities had reason to suspect drugs and illegal liquor were allegedly being sold out of the business.

The elder Durham was charged with several alleged offenses from that raid. Those were two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of possession of non-tax-paid liquor and the felony criminal enterprise. He has a Nov. 20 court date on those charges.

“I was born and raised here. I love this town. There was no drugs in there. There was some drugs but that was in a book bag. Shame on people that think I would have drugs in my son’s business that would ruin his career. We are sorry. We do have a good clientele.”

Durham stressed that his son is in the military, mentioning it several times, and said that is why he is helping him out at the pub.

At the end of the meeting when the town commissioners were given an opportunity to make comments, Evan Cockerham said, “An apology where you slander the police department is a hollow one. The Police Department has our support.”

Also during public comments, Kim Baker of Kritter Kutts on West Main Street made a request for the commissioners to allow her to produce a dog event downtown in October 2018, tentatively named BarktoberFest. Baker proposed First Citizens Bank’s parking lot as a venue for the event.

Possible activities would include costumes, races with dogs and owners and a simple agility course. Concessions would be available and Baker has already enlisted a number of rescues to assist. Proceeds would go to rescues and the humane society. Baker explained her event as a place where “dog owners are able to do things with our dogs.”

Baker addressed possible issues of vaccinations, leash requirements and the possibility of aggressive dogs. The board expressed support for the idea.

Later, item 10 on the agenda, “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Animals at Special Events Ordinance” was introduced by town manager Michael Boaz, who explained to the board that an event such as the one proposed by Baker is illegal under Pilot Mountain’s existing ordinances. He provided the board with an ordinance for their examination that would open the door to a public event such as the one Baker proposed.

The proposed ordinance would make “pets or no pets” part of the application process for all public events. Event sponsors would indicate if they wished to allow animals or not, then the town staff would approve or not approve each application and the event permit, a copy of which is given to the police department, would indicate if the event allowed animals or not.

A long discussion ensued as to the pros and cons of animals at public events, concentrating mostly on dogs. The car shows were a special concern. Commissioner Gary Bell said, “Some of those cars have paint jobs that cost upward of $10,000. If a dog comes up and pees on one of those cars …” The remainder of Bell’s comment was lost in the other commissioner’s laughter. Bell then amended his comment to “If a dog relieves himself.”

Commissioner Evan Cockerham was concerned for the safety of dogs around a lot of cars and traffic and specified he’d like for an event that included animals to mandate at least one street being closed.

Several commissioners stated they would like the town’s ordinances to be opened up enough to make Baker’s event possible but did not want to invite problems at other events. Boaz said that’s what he thought he had done but agreed to go back and do a rewrite with the guidance given by the board. The board then kicked the can down the road.

A resolution honoring Cora Beasley — a teacher who died during the Flat Rock School fire in 1957 — was approved and Kim Baker and Laura Nichols were approved for membership on the Main Street Committee.

The board pushed their November meeting back to Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. and canceled the December meeting. They elected not to have a workshop in November and pick workshops back up in January.

Tony Durham addresses the Pilot Mountain town board on Monday, Oct. 16.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Pilot-1-1.jpgTony Durham addresses the Pilot Mountain town board on Monday, Oct. 16. Bill Colvard | The News
The Pilot Mountain town board discuss the possibility of allowing animals at town events.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Pilot-2-1.jpgThe Pilot Mountain town board discuss the possibility of allowing animals at town events. Bill Colvard | The News

By Bill Colvard