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HPD officers heroic act recognized
WEB Susan and Scott Baker with HPD Officer Jassen Garrett
HPD Officer Jassen Garrett displays the certificate of merit he received at Thursdays city council meeting for helping to save the life of Scott Baker, right, after Bakers wife Susan, left, called for help. - photo by Photo by Randy C. Murray

Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and city council members recognized the heroism of Hinesville Police Officer Jassen Garrett as one the first items of business during Thursday’s council meeting.

On Jan. 29, Garrett was the first to respond to a dispatch call to the residence of Scott and Susan Baker. Scott had stopped breathing, and Susan couldn’t find a pulse. While paramedics with Liberty County Emergency Medical Services were en route to the residence, Garrett performed the timely CPR necessary to save Scott’s life.

“I’m very grateful to the city of Hinesville for the training it gives police officers like Jassen,” Susan said after Thomas presented a certificate of merit to Garrett and Police Chief George Stagmeier pinned a “lifesaving bar” medal on his uniform. “It’s great to know there are still people willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of a complete stranger.”

Scott Baker, who now wears a pacemaker after a long hospital stay, said, “I wouldn’t be here today if it not for him,” he said. “He really did save my life.”

Other business considered by the council included a proposed digital sign at 106 W. Gen. Screven Way. Although the design met ordinance requirements, the design review board did not recommend approval, saying it did not  meet the intent of the DRB.

Councilman Jason Floyd asked whether the city was holding the proposal to a higher standard than existing digital signs in city. In response, without much further discussion, the council approved the proposal.

Bids by Ford dealerships for the city to buy an F-150 four-wheel-drive pickup for the wastewater treatment plant also were reviewed. Again deciding against recommendations of one of its department, the council chose not to award the bid to the lowest bidder. Instead, it voted to give preference to Hinesville Ford, whose bid was $144 above the lowest bid, but lower than the highest bid made by out-of-town dealers.

After the meeting, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Vicki Davis said she appreciated the council’s decision. Whenever possible, she said, the city should give preference to local businesses. The city received bids from three dealerships: Hinesville, Savannah and Brunswick.

The council approved a recommendation to allow Robert Robbins to fill the unexpired term of Carolyn Smith-Carter on the Historic Preservation Commission. The term expires May 2013.

A decision whether to extend the moratorium on Internet gaming/sweepstakes was delayed until the next council meeting.

City Attorney Linnie Darden said the state Legislature may address that issue this month, giving the city more guidance. Since the moratorium doesn’t expire until the end of the month, Thomas said they could wait until the next meeting, while giving the state time to address it.

An update to the city’s vehicle policy was included as an information item at the meeting. Changes included exempting elected officials from vehicle rental procedures and requiring employees involved in accidents with city vehicles to undergo a breathalyzer tests.

The last major item was delayed until 4:30 p.m. A show-cause hearing for representatives of Savannah’s Mr. Pizza was scheduled due to the restaurant’s failure to submit its alcoholic beverage and food report on time for all six quarters since the restaurant received its license in 2010.

Because restaurant owner William Marks was not present, Thomas and the council held off its decision, pending more information about possible management changes, which should be presented at the March 15 meeting.

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