The Astoria City Council recognized the 90th birthday of former Mayor Edith Henningsgaard, swore in two new officers for the police department, saw two other officers recieve recognition for excellence in performing their duty, and saw updated plans for the Astoria Senior Center rennovation project Monday night. Those were just a few items the council delt with. It was a busy meeting and a full house at city hall.
Deputy Chief of Police Brad Johnston read the commendations awarded to officers Ryan Sissely and Chris McNeary for their actions on February 12, 2012 when they were called to a room at the Lamplighter Motel where a suspect claimed to have an explosive device. Later it was found that the man had intended to force police to shoot him and this was confirmed when he was safely taken into custody and a note of apology was found in his pocket. Johnston noted that Officer Sissely was new to the froce at the time and Mcneary was his training officer. The commendation recognized McNeary's decision to allow Sissley to remain the primary officer on scene and inspite of the fact Sissely was getting conflicting instruction from another officer on scene both Sissley and McNeary remained calm and professional throughout the call which resulted the suspect being taken into custody without injury to anyone.
Following that item, Mayor Van Dusen said he had a very important announcement saying that former Astoria Mayor Edith Henningsgaard, who he refered to as "Astoria's greatest Mayor" was celebrating her 90th birthday Monday. The surpised henningsgaard stood as the Mayor led the audience in a rendition of Happy Birthday and promptly recessed the meeting so everyone could enjoy a slice of birthday cake. Mayor Van Dusen asked henningsgaard if she had anything to say to the city. She replied " Yes. This is probably the least important matter to ever come before the city council" Van Dusen disagreed, jokingly saying it had been a while since Henningsaard had attended a meeting and there have been plenty of those matters of far less importance coming forward.
Folllowing that breif celebration the council got down to business, listening to an update from the design firm working on the $1.5 million rennovation of the Astoria Senior Center and viewing some preliminary plans for the new layout. The main floor will be remodeled to allow for more windows, spaces for reception, a lounge, a dinning/dance hall and a new kitchen facility that will also be used by the loaves and fishes program. The plan includes new stairs and an elevator to the lower level which will have another lounge area, a classroom that can also be used for board meetings, and a game room. Senior Center Manager Larry Miller invited the public to attend an open house at the center on october 24th and 1pm to view the plans and find out more about fundraising efforts that will be necessary to furnish the facility. The rennovation money is in the form of a grant for $1.5 million but that money can not be used fror anything that can't be "bolted down" according to Miller.
The council heard a plan cooked up between the city parks department and two women at Columbia Memorial Hospital working on breast cancer awareness for the month of October. Begining on the evening of October 18th the Astoria Column is going pink. The white lighting that reflecs off the column at night will be changed to pink lights and will stay that way through the month as a reminder of the importance of early detection and the battle against breast cancer.
The Council gave the nod to three liquor service applications. One for a change of ownership at the Blue Ocean Thai and two for new businesses. The Casa De Tamales going in at 1426 Commercial street and Albatross at 225 14th street. Final approval must come from the OLCC but the advisory vote fro the city carries weight in that decision.