Castle Rock City Council Meeting: Focuses on Shop with a Cop, Treatment Plant Repair Project

by Nolan Patching

The Castle Rock City Council met on February 22nd and was called to order beginning with old business. Representatives from the Festival of Lights in Castle Rock spoke about their idea for a spring bazaar saying the last one in November was so successful, the vendors came asking for one in the spring. The council gave their permission to have one and the idea was granted to the Festival of Lights committee. The spring bazaar will be in Exhibit Hall on April 30th from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Officer Worley from the Castle Rock Police Department came to the council with a presentation about their program Shop with a Cop, which has become very popular around the area. This program gives middle school age students in low income homes or other poor situations an opportunity to go shopping for free. Middle school age students are preferred because at this age kids are still very influenced by their environment and the officers like to show these students the human side of the policemen in their area. Thousands of dollars have been donated by the community and by Wal-Mart which has become the shopping center for this program. This program was started about 15 years ago in Castle Rock by Police Chief Robert Heuer and has grown from 4 to 5 kids to "About 20 to 25 kids as the total during the last event." Wal-Mart donated $150 to each kid who participated last year. This on top of the donations of the community was put into Wal-Mart gift cards for the kids to spend as they chose. Officer Worley said this is the part which surprises the officers the most. He said, "90% of the kids we get, when we give them that gift card, they may have a list but it's not for them." Most of the kids choose to buy for the members of their families before themselves. The kids are never told they must buy for family and are encouraged to do whatever they want with the money, yet they still choose to buy gifts for the family. Worley went on to say since the beginning of the program, the departments in Longview, Kelso, Woodland, and Kalama have called for information on the program and the idea has spread throughout the state of Washington. When speaking about the future of the program, Worley said "We will do this as long as we are here."

The council moved on to approve the minutes of the February 8th meeting and also approved the Park and Recreation plan. The next item was about the review of bids for the water treatment plant repair project. RCAC funding showed there is $126,000 left over and there is engineering costs on top of this. One concern is the engineer's estimate and the actual bid cost showed a huge gap. There was an 18% difference between the bid and the engineer's estimate. The estimate is not an exact science, of course only being an estimate, but the gap was larger than expected. After discussion, the motion was made and approved to award the water treatment project's base bid only.