Highway Committee approves naming of bridge after World War II soldier

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, October 3, 2023

BY ROBERT SORRELL
STAR CORRESPONDENT
The Carter County Highway Committee has approved a family’s request to name a Gap Creek bridge after a fallen World War II soldier while it heard from another family asking to close a short road in Stoney Creek.
The family of Ira Lynn Meredith, 29, appeared before the Carter County Highway Committee on Monday to speak about having a bridge named after the man.
Meredith was born on Dec. 2, 1914, to William G. Meredith Jr. and Lizzie Hammett. He was killed in action on June 9, 1944, while serving in France, according to his family.
He was a member of the 4th Infantry Division, according to Rick Meredith. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.
Meredith was wounded by German gunfire, but he continued to fight and killed a crew of a machine gun nest that had his men pinned down. Meredith later died of his wounds.
Rosemary Meredith said the family would like a bridge on Gap Creek Road, not far from Meredith Cemetery, to be named after the soldier.
The committee unanimously approved plans to name the bridge, which will next be considered by the full commission. The state will also consider the request.
Commissioners also scheduled a public hearing for next month regarding a small portion of Judge Don Lewis Blvd. along the Watauga River.
A resident requested that an approximately 100-yard section of the narrow road near the industrial park be closed to the public. Only a couple of properties would be affected, the resident said. He said there have been issues of theft and vandalism along the road.
In addition, the committee reinstated Jason Rasnick as chairman.
The Education Committee also met Monday evening and reinstated Kelly Collins as the chairperson. Assistant Director of Schools Diana Bowers provided an update on various programs in the county schools, including the growing welding program. She also shared data on state assessments and said Carter County students have done exceptionally well this year.
Bowers informed the committee that the school system is also experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, which has led to some principals, teachers and aides who have commercial driver licenses to cover some bus routes.
The assistant director also informed commissioners that ground was recently broken on construction at Hunter Elementary School. The district recently approved a $17.6 million expansion at the school.
The Landfill Committee also met Monday and chose a new chairman. Commissioner Steve Burrough, who previously served as vice chairman, will replace former Chairman Gary Kemp.
Chris Schuettler, who currently serves as the landfill’s director, provided the committee with a detailed update on the department.
“We have a lot of stuff that needs maintained,” Schuettler said.
Schuettler also told the committee that “employees are taking pride” in their work at the landfill.
The director said the landfill has received quite a bit of help with various tasks from the Carter County Highway Department and the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
Schuettler said he has one current truck driver position that still needs to be filled.

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