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Mabton City Council Briefs

1-Column

Lifting ban

of Saturday funerals discussed

MABTON - Council member Vera Zavala brought up the Saturday funeral ban in Mabton at Tuesday night's council meeting and would like to see it lifted.

"We had a funeral here not too long ago and those people were my neighbors when I was born," Zavala told the council. "They were not allowed to have a Saturday funeral because we don't allow them. That really hurt me.

"Those people have lived here their whole life," she continued. "They raised their children here, and we couldn't allow them something I think they had a right to."

She suggested the council look at this in the future to see if something can be done.

City Administrator Ildia Jackson said originally the city stopped having Saturday funerals because of a manpower issue.

The council agreed to look into it at a future council meeting.

Vandalism, car thefts rose in 2005

MABTON - Mabton Police Chief Raul Almeida gave the city council crime figures for 2005 at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Almeida told the council there were 1,424 cases in 2005, up from 1,373 in 2004.

Those were mostly youth problems, he said.

Vandalism rose from 34 cases in 2004 to 54 cases in 2005. "We've been seeing more graffiti," he said. "We're changing our routines and our routes."

He said by doing this he hopes to disrupt the young offenders.

Car theft is on the rise in Mabton. There were zero cases in 2004 but that rose sharply as police responded to 13 cases of stolen cars last year. Other than those two types of crime, other crimes decreased.

DUIs fell from 29 in '04 to 21 in '05. Theft cases fell from 64 in '04 to 56 in '05. Burglaries also fell. In 2004 there were 14 and in 2005 only 11 cases.

Assaults were down by two with 9 being reported in 2005, compared with 11 cases in 2004.

Domestic violence cases made the biggest drop. In 2004 there were 42 cases of domestic violence and that fell to just 21 cases.

Almeida credits programs like El Protector and the student resource officer at the high school for this decline.

Council members question phone plan

MABTON - The City of Mabton recently acquired three new Blackberry phones from Nextel, and at last night's council meeting that change was questioned by two city council members.

Council member Oping Hutson asked why the city went to a bigger, more expensive plan. City Administrator Ildia Jackson explained the new plan allows for more minutes and is a better fit.

Jackson recalled the time she was on vacation in Texas and the city needed to get in touch with her. The cell phone plan she had didn't allow for all 50 states to be covered by her phone so the phone bill was close to $180 for all the calls on her phone.

Now, she says, the new plan will cover all the states and offer more minutes.

The new phones have walkie-talkie capability and unlimited e-mails on the phone.

Hutson and council member Vera Zavala were concerned about the phones text messaging capabilities and whether that would be abused.

They were assured they wouldn't be.

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