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Emotions ran high at the Dec. 4 Orrick City Council. Meeting for the second time in as many months was Terry Callaway, Orrick resident and teacher for the Lawson School District.
Last month he met with the council requesting reimbursement for attorney fees and lost wages incurred as a result of being misidentified in a protection order, which resulted in his name being incorrectly published in the Lawson Review. The name should have been Terry Stapleton, Callaway’s nephew.
Callaway approached the city council by stating again, “How did my name get into it? Where did the idea that there were two Terry Callaways come from? You are my elected officials. Your city attorney, Kevin Baldwin, did all the talking for you. Not one elected official gave me the courtesy of talking with me personally.”
Mayor Shirley Taylor responded, “We can’t talk to you.” At that point, Baldwin spoke up before Mayor Taylor could say any more. He said, “Mr. Callaway, when you made the statement last month, ‘Or I’ll get my lawyers involved,’ that was a statement of potential litigation. Believe me, the council wanted to talk to you and it was hard for them not to respond, but when you threatened legal action, it became a potential litigation. I directed them not to speak with you.”
Callaway responded, “Again…this is not something that I want to do. I tried meeting with Officer Troy Sims and Mayor Taylor on the day of Homecoming, but I was hampered by the 30-day time constraint. I have brought with me tonight Cindy Cazzell who was an eyewitness to these events. I hope by hearing her this will clear up some of your questions.”
At that point, Cazzell stood and introduced herself to the council.
“Ruth Williams lives with me and she is the one that had the restraining order placed. She had to work tonight or she would be here herself to speak with you.”
She continued by saying, “Ruth’s son was being continually harassed at school. Ruth and I went to Dortons’ [convenience store] and talked to the policeman there. We asked what we could do legally to get the harassment stopped.
He looked in his patrol car for a form to fill out for a restraining order. He did not have one. Another police officer pulled in. I think he was from Ray County, and he had a form in his car. He gave it to Ruth. She was told that in order for the police to take action they would have to catch the fight in progress. At that time (the Orrick) policeman kept saying there were two Terry Callaways when we were identifying the other person harassing Ruth’s son. I said I was sure there was just one and the restraining order should be placed against Terry Stapleton because his brother Chris had also been involved in harassing Ruth’s son. I was sure it was not Terry Callaway who they were talking about, but the police kept saying there were two people by the same name.”
Callaway then reminded the council that the address listed on the restraining order was not his address but that of Terry Stapleton.
Cazzell said the harassment with Williams’ son continued, so the mother went to Richmond and had a judge sign the restraining order. At that point, Cazzell sat down after finishing her statement.
Callaway reiterated he would be happy to just have his attorney bills paid, and would prefer to be reimbursed for the entire amount, which includes three days of lost wages and travel expenses, totaling nearly $3,000.
He then asked the council, “Are you going to do anything, or not take any action?” Attorney Kevin Baldwin replied that they would have to discuss that in closed session. Callaway replied, “They could do what is right. If your (referring to the council members) name came up, you’d want to have the right thing done for you. You need to protect your citizens.” He then inquired as to who was advising the council to take no action. Attorney Baldwin replied that it was he that was doing so. When asked by Callaway what gave him the right to do this, Attorney Baldwin replied that “years as a prosecutor, and also as a private attorney.” He then went on to say, “The city can not just give away money. There needs to be a sound basis for doing so. This restraining order was a private action. The city of Orrick is not liable in this case. When you file a restraining order, it is the responsibility of the individual filing it to know the facts.”
Callaway again mentioned the need of the council to protect the citizens. He reminded the council of Cazzell’s statement. Baldwin said, “I don’t believe you.”
Cazzell responded, “So. you’re calling me a liar?” Baldwin replied, “No. I just don’t believe your story.”
After that retort, Cazzell and Callaway left, saying the stress was not something she should be experiencing, as it might have an adverse effect on her health. After their departure, Baldwin said, “I want it to be clear. I did not call Mrs. Cazzell a liar. I just don’t believe she has the correct facts in her statement.”
• In other news, Robert Smith approached the council in regard to water leaks on his side of the line. He requested permission to pay his excessive water bill in payments rather than one lump sum. The council agreed to give him credit for his sewer and allow him to make payments.
• Rhonda Wilson of Wilson’s Grocery requested a renewal of her liquor license and it was renewed.
• Mike Keith of Mike Keith Insurance met with the council in regard to continuing their coverage of insurance for the city of Orrick. It was also approved.
• Bill Hall, city collector, discussed the 2009 tax law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.
• Ed Sherwood, Public Works Director, also gave a report to the council. One of the items discussed was the retiring water and sewer lines of properties that have been razed. He stated the meters were broken and if sewer lines weren’t capped, rain water, mud, etc. will get into the line. It was decided that when properties are razed, condemnation paperwork must be filled out and inspected by the water department.
• The council then voted to close the open session of the meeting, and moved into closed session.
Those in attendance were: Attorney Kevin Baldwin, Mayor Shirley Taylor, Police Chief Troy Sims, City Clerk Jeanette Hensley, and council members Steve Tietsort, Zoe Davis and Christie McGlothlin. Not present was Jim Eubank, councilman.