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Shooting ordinance still a target

By By Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
The city council's recent decision to change a local law that would prohibit shotgun shooting in Madison's city limits may not stand.
The ordinance that permitted shotgun shooting was going to be changed and all of the shooting permits that had been granted were suspended a month ago. However, those residents who own the land and are involved in hunting and shooting came to the city council in an effort to retain shooting privileges.
A group of residents told city council members that safety is paramount when they hunt or shoot their shotguns.
Mill Road resident David Brown said he and several of his adjacent neighbors own almost 200 acres of mostly farmland and that is where the shooting takes place. He said they bird hunt in the middle of their land, not along the perimeter.
Men who hunt and shoot there told council members they hunt with their sons and stress gun safety.
Dan Wilkerson, who raises cattle on farmland along Mill Road, said he had been hunting and shooting in the area for 18 years. He said they sometimes have to shoot coyotes when they threaten calves.
The council directed the group to meet with Ed Collins, who leads the charge to stop the shooting. The council requested that those for and against the issue to develop a solution agreeable to all parties.
According to Councilman David Buschmann, the shooters who cause problems are people who have not been permitted to shoot, and arrests have been made.
In other business, residents who live in the Edgewater community addressed the council regarding rock concert noise from adjacent Madison Aquatic Park.
The way Charles Morris sees it, property values in the community could drop and the loud noise could present personal health problems with hearing. Another resident said with window and doors closed, it still sounded like the concert was going on inside his home.
Councilwoman Cynthia McCollum said the council is very sympathetic to Edgewater residents' concerns and didn't know there was a problem until the residents came before the council.
Gene Gezing said he had called police a total of nine times to issue complaints.
Rod Wheeler, president of Rock Divers, is contracted by the city to operate the aquatic park. He said he wants to work with Edgewater residents to resolve the issue and that a sound engineer was going to look into the problem.
The idea behind the concerts is to give back to the community, according to Wheeler. Money has been raised for the Trail of Tears organization and for an Indian museum to be built at the park, he said.
The city's contract with Rock Divers is up for renewal and McCollum said the council would be looking to modify the contract to resolve the problem.
In other business, the city council: * Went into a private hour-long executive meeting. Council President Jim Reagan's said the executive meeting was to discuss someone's good name and character. * Appointed firefighter Bobby Phillips as the CERT representative for Madison. In conjunction with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, Citizens Emergency Response Teams will be taught what to do and what not to do in emergency situations. Phillips will coordinate the local effort. * Approved installation of a new roof for the Madison Senior Center at a cost of $33,500.
* Authorized a $30,000 agreement for engineering and surveying services related to a Mill Road/Telluride drainage project. * Accepted Cedar Springs Station, Phase III and Ashley Green, Phase V into the city maintenance program. * Authorized a $7,250 agreement with The University of Alabama at Huntsville to conduct market research for the city of Madison.

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