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KINGSBURG – Kingsburg’s Fire Department has three new firefighters, thanks to funds from the recently taxpayer-approved Measure E funds.

Interim Fire Chief Tim Sendelbach described it as an honorable day not only for himself and the department, but for the City and the new firefighters and their families.

“This is a big day. I also want to express my appreciation for the City staff. It’s an honorable day for Kingsburg Fire Department. We’re bringing on a 25 percent increase,” Sendelbach said.

Firefighter/paramedics Jeff Loyd, Nicholas Cassel and Diego Rodriguez were sworn in as Measure E is funding their positions and Firefighter/paramedic Adrian Bavery was also recognized. He is filling out a shift with the department and is currently serving as a reserve.

Measure E was approved in the June 5, 2018 primary election with a 70.34 percent approval rating. The 1 percent sales tax has been in effect since Oct. 1 and is expected to add an additional $940,000 annually to the City of Kingsburg’s budget for public safety services.

Sendelbach said the new firefighters have already undergone some initial training and described them as “outstanding men.”

As a Fire Chief, Sendelbach said he’s interviewed prospective firefighters all around the United States and is used to hearing the typical response when asked why they want to join the ranks.

“I say that’s nice to want to help somebody, but in Kingsburg we want to be plus one. I asked them, what makes them plus one?”

The responses, he said, gave him confidence that the new recruits will serve Kingsburg well.

“The answers you hear couldn’t be rehearsed. They come from the heart of these gentlemen. Things like humility, professionalism, taking care of people and community service. I hope that means to you what it means to me. That means you, mayor, are hiring the best of folks who want to make a difference. So when people are in their dire needs, these are the kind of people you want helping you.”

In other matters, Council also heard an update from Trinity Construction’s Josh O’Bannon on remodeling and construction work taking place at the former Swedish Mill.

While some work is taking place inside and out, the rainy weather is stalling some work on the parking lot. They’re also looking at how to best incorporate a new bathroom design that is ADA compliant. Another update will be given at the April 17 City Council meeting.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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