Keona Johnson, Joplin, and Leanne McAtee, Carthage, were driving their separate ways when fate brought them together to help a small child.

Keona Johnson, Joplin, and Leanne McAtee, Carthage, were driving their separate ways when fate brought them together to help a small child.

On Tuesday, the Carthage City Council honored Johnson and McAtee for the assistance they rendered to at the scene of a horrific vehicle crash on Feb. 6 that left two people dead.

The two women, traveling separately, stopped to see what they could do to help after the crash, but the two drivers, Julie Cartwright and Brandon Stuckey, were dead.

However, they found Cartwright’s infant grandson, Hayven Cartwright, strapped and unharmed in his child safety seat.

“While first responders arrived on scene, we focused on the vehicles and the job at hand, these two women consoled this small child for nearly two hours while we waited for family to arrive,” Thompson told the council and the audience at Tuesday’s regular council meeting. “All too often, we, as a society, fail or ignore these incidents and fail to step in and intervene while we wait for first responders to arrive. Tonight we will honor these two women for their acts of bravery and acts of kindness they exhibited on Feb. 6.”

Carthage Mayor Mike Harris presented the women with plaques honoring them for stepping in at the accident and the council and audience gave the women a standing ovation.

In other business, the council gave its tentative approval to a contract to build a disc golf course in Kellogg Lake Park.

The bid was $4,680 to install 12 disc golf baskets in the park. Disc golf involves players throwing discs, similar to Frisbees, on a course and trying to get the discs in the baskets in as few a throws as possible.

Disc golf courses have already been established at McClelland Park in Joplin and in parks in Neosho, Lamar and Pittsburg.

The winning bidder, Russell Burns, owner of a company called Disc Golf Monkey, is to meet with Parks Director Alan Bull and City Administrator Tom Short next week to present a design for the course.

Burns’ company was the only one to submit a bid and he submitted bids for nine baskets, 12 baskets and 18 baskets.

The bid will be accepted after the design is approved.

The council also heard on first reading a contract from Bennett Inc., to complete all three phases of the North Main Street storm water project for $362,785.
The project will reduce flooding in the industrial bottoms area near the levy along the Spring River.

The city had budgeted $359,000 for the first two phases of a three-phase project with the first two phases to be finished before July and the third phase to be finished in the next fiscal year that starts in July.

The bids that came in were for all three phases, so the Public Works Committee recommended taking money from other projects that came in under budget and finishing all three phases this year.

The council will give final consideration to the contract at its next meeting.

Bike track
City Administrator Short said he met with bicyclists to discuss the future of the proposed single-track bike trail in Walnut Bottoms.

The Council voted to accept a donation of about a quarter of an acre of land in the area to go with the city’s 25 acres it owns along North Garrison Street and along the Spring River.

Short said the volunteers he met with are willing to hold fundraisers to raise the estimated $5,000 it would cost to professionally design and build a bicycle track in the area.

Carter Park
The council also approved a plan to close the south entrance of Carter Park and cut down a small wall along one of two pillars at that entrance.

A wall along the second pillar at the entrance has been hit several times in the past few years by large trucks from Leggett and Platt, turning north on River Street from westbound Chestnut Street.

Carthage Resident Judy Goff spoke passionately about preserving what was left of the historic park, although she said she didn’t really oppose closing the entrance.

Goff talked about the history of the park from when Dr. Carter donated it to the city in 1897, and her own memories of meeting and exploring old stone cabins that used to form a motor park for travelers along the old Jefferson Highway and Route 66.

“In the 1950s, I and many other Girl Scouts met in those cabins and hiked around the area now known as the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site,” Goff said. “In the 1960s, my mother took her troop of cub scouts there. The cabins are gone, the wading pool is gone, and now the stones are at risk. What the park was is gone. Chipped away, bit by bit. What’s important, still to me at least, is its history, history that over the years wasn’t protected or preserved.”

The city’s plans call for closing off the vehicle entrance at the corner of River and Chestnut streets and installing a crosswalk with curbs compatable with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The remaining little wall will be removed, but the two pillars, with their plaques, will be preserved.