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Kent City Council honors Mayor Fiala on 70th birthday

By Lance Lysowski correspondent

KENT: The City Council honored Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala on Wednesday, as the longstanding city employee celebrates his 70th birthday.

Councilman Wayne A. Wilson presented Fiala with a certificate honoring the time the latter has spent as an active participant in the City of Kent. As both President of Kent City Council and Mayor, Fiala has seen the city’s drastic facelift since he began his life in the once quiet college town.

Fiala accepted the award in front of his family, and the council chambers erupted in a tradition singing of “Happy Birthday”. After handing Fiala the certificate, Wilson announced July 11, 2013 as Jerry T. Fiala Day in the city of Kent.

Wilson cited Fiala’s philanthropic history around the community; participating in his church functions, introducing Kent’s newest businesses through ribbon cutting ceremonies and overseeing the progress the city has made since he became the head of Kent’s highest governing body.

“We urge all citizens to help celebrate Jerry’s hard work on his 70th birthday,” Wilson said.

During the meeting, City Council also addressed the issue of fracking run-off entering the city’s water supply. Gene Roberts, Director of Kent’s Public Services Department, addressed Council on the measures used by the city staff to preserve and protect Kent’s water resources.

Roberts gave a presentation on Kent’s Wall Head Protection Program, which included a discussion on the sustainability of the city’s high-yield deep wells; especially Well No.12, which is located off of State Route 59; east of SR 261.

According to Roberts, while the city has been especially conscious of the side effects of fracking, the issue is the least of his worries when it comes to the city’s water supply staying clean.

Roberts said that the railroad tracks—located 15 feet above Well No.12—could possibly cause contaminants to enter the city’s busiest well. The well produces an estimated 3 million gallons per day.

“We do have the best water in the world for a reason, and that is because of the Wall Head Protection Program,” Roberts said.

The Environmental Protection Agency monitors the city’s water by testing for 93 possible contaminants in the water, including microbiological and inorganic chemicals. The city also runs an estimated 240 tests per day.

While there are no plans for fracking to take place within city limits, council asked Roberts to address the issue in updated emergency plans.