Non Toxic Chemical Spill in Niantic:  Environmental Protection Agency Notified

Niantic – On Sept. 24, 2016, at approximately 10:00 a.m. a passerby called the Macon County Sheriff’s Office to report a potential chemical spill in the Long Point Slough near the intersection of Meridian Road and Bruce Road just north of Niantic. The Niantic Fire Department responded and verified the spill. Due to the unknown nature of the spill the Warrensburg Fire Department Hazardous Material Team and Macon County Emergency Management responded to assist. 

It was later determined that the substance in the creek was a inert chemical dye being flushed from a nearby Buckeye Natural Gas terminal. The substance is used to assist in locating any potential leaks in the pipeline and preventative maintenance. The Environmental Protection Agency, with assistance from the Macon County Emergency Management Agency, have determined that the substance has no toxic capabilities and is of no harm to the water source of the Long Point Slough. There is no health hazard to either human or animal life. 

Residents are being asked to keep an eye on their potable water sources and contact the Macon County Sheriff’s Office at 424-1319 if they notice a lime green tint within their water. The public needs to understand that the EPA has confirmed that there is no health hazard to the public.

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Hatred? We’re Better Than That -- A Lot Better

City Manager Is An
Issue In Mayor’s Race... At Least For Now    

 I know the mayoral and city council election is over six months away and a lot can change in those months before Decatur voters make their choices at the polls.
    In fact, it’s only the first day of autumn and it will be in the spring of next year before the election actually takes place.  That’s three seasons away!
    We will also have to get through the Nov. 8th General Election when we will elect a new president, elect or re-elect a congressman, senator and a host of other state and county offices.
    Then, we will be totally fed up with politics for awhile after the Nov. 8th election and then we will have to get through the Christmas season and New Year’s Day holidays.  (No one wants to think of campaigns or elections during the holidays.)    
    For that reason, there aren’t a lot of people too interested in next year’s race for Decatur mayor and three city council seats. 
    Also, we won’t even know who all of the candidates are in the municipal election until a few weeks after the Nov. 8th balloting, when those who want their names on the ballot will file their petitions.
    So, until we officially have all the candidates certified for the ballot, it is somewhat pointless to spend a lot of time on the municipal election.     
    I have printed information in previous editions about the four candidates for the three city council seats -- incumbent Patrick McDaniel, Chris Riley, Chuck Kuhle and Dan Calhoun and there will be others in the weeks ahead.
    I have also printed information about appointed Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and John Phillips who are the two mayoral candidates at this time.
    Still, after a one-on-one for over an hour with Phillips last week, there is an interesting aspect to the very early part of the mayoral campaign -- and, if the election was held in a few weeks it might be one of the major issues -- City Manager Tim Gleason.
    My conversation with Phillips happened after he announced and it was too late for last week’s edition, but I found several statements that he made in the “on the record” interview that pointed to the performance of Gleason and Mayor Moore Wolfe and the city council’s relationship with him.
    Here’s some impressions I came away with after my conversation with Phillips:

    • Although Phillips told me he had no animosity towards Mayor Moore Wolfe, he said the city is not moving in the right direction and Moore Wolfe is not keeping a strong enough watch on what the city manager is doing.

    • Since Phillips’ relationship with the city manager has not been so good, because of Gleason stopping the county/library deal (Phillips is president of the library board), I asked him if that, along with the firing of the former police chief Brad Sweeney, was what triggered his decision to run for mayor.
    He said those actions alone didn’t cause him to run for mayor but they were indicative that not enough control over the city manager. is being applied by the mayor and council.
    He said that, if elected he would not fire the city manager, but would try to work with him on actions that are taken.

    • When I asked if he would be down at city hall all of the time keeping an eye on the city manager, Phillips said he would be there a lot at first in order to get things headed in the right direction.

    • Although he praised Moore Wolfe for being at a lot of public events, he indicated that would not be his style as he would be using his time to work on plans to move the city ahead.

    •  Phillips said that Jackie Goetter, former school board president, is his campaign manager.  Goetter appeared before city council a few months ago and gave a tongue lashing to the city manager for some of his actions.            
    • Phillips said he would have announced his candidacy four weeks earlier if Pastor G. E. Livingston, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor two years ago, had given him a firm answer on whether or not he (Livingston) was going to run again.  If Livingston had said yes, then Phillips would not be running for mayor because of challengers splitting the vote.  He said, since Livingston didn’t give him a clear answer, he decided to go ahead and announce his candidacy.

    • Phillips indicated that he believes, if Livingston runs again, Livingston will not get union support since he tried two years ago with union support and didn’t win, adding that Mayor Moore Wolfe worked in a Democratic position at the state level and may pick up some union support -- even though the mayoral election is non-partisan.

    • Phillips expects to be supported by both labor and business leaders because they believe the city is headed in the wrong direction.

    • Phillips said that he will reduce city property taxes 20 to 40 percent and raise the sales tax to compensate for the loss of property tax funds.  That would not mean that the property tax bill would go down 20 to 40 percent -- just that percentage of the city’s portion out of the many taxing bodies that are getting a share of the property tax.

    What I wrote above came from my  conversation with John Phillips, which leads me to believe that the performance of the city manager will be a serious issue in the debate on which candidate to choose for the next mayor...but there is a lot of time left between now and the election and the three or four months after the first of the year will be where the campaign for the municipal election will “get down to business”. 
    The next election may well be a referendum on how the city manager is doing -- at least that was the impression I got in talking with Phillips.

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY or visit our website at and also find us at our Decatur Tribune Facebook page.


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