2005-12-29 / News

A changing of the guard

In May, Jamestown got a new fire chief. It’s still Chief Bryer, but a new generation of Bryers has taken over the Jamestown Fire Department.

James R. Bryer Jr., 45, a member of the all-volunteer fire department since he was 16 years old, took over the reins from his father, James R.“Bob” Bryer, who chose not to seek re-election.

The younger Bryer, who most recently served as the captain of Engine 2, said that it was time to make some changes in the fire department.

In the department’s recent past, the leadership has been from men in their 60s, the new chief noted, adding that “the buzz” lately has been “to get in some young blood, and to see some different energy.”

Due to a number of new recruits, “This is the youngest department I’ve seen in years,” Bryer said. “The platform” of the new leadership is to focus heavily on training to make the new generation of firefighters the best they can be, he added.

Churches see new leadership

The Rev. Robert MortonRanney announced his retirement from Central Baptist Church last July, effective at the end of October. He arrived in Jamestown in 1988 and the Central Baptist Church was the third church he worked in.

“The congregation is so open and accepting,” said MortonRanney. “They don’t have expectations about how people should live or think.”

Seeing that principle in action has been one of Morton-Ranney’s greatest satisfactions during his tenure, he said.

The church has not yet replaced Morton-Ranney, but a pastoral search committee has been formed.

At St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, they will soon welcome the Rev. Kevin M. Lloyd as their new rector. The election of Father Lloyd completes a lengthy search process that began following the retirement of the Rev. Frederick Spulnik in January 2004.

Father Lloyd, 34, is currently serving as assistant rector in the Church of the Ascension located in Hickory, N. C. He will begin his ministry in Jamestown on Feb. 1.

Postmaster retires

Longtime Jamestown Postmaster Ed Booth handled his last piece of mail in January. The 27year postal veteran spent 12 years in the Jamestown Post Office after working in the postal service in Newport and Providence.

A modest, soft-spoken man for a person of his great height, Booth said what he liked most about his position was that he had “one of the best crews around.”

Whereas many other postmasters deal with labor relations issues or attendance issues, “there are no negatives here,” Booth said about his crew of 13 employees.

He said he knew when he took the Jamestown job “I’d have no desire to go anywhere further” in the U.S. Postal Service.

On Sept. 20, Jamestown installed its 19th Postmaster at a ceremony held at the Portuguese American Citizens’ Club. Charles V. Burns took over the post from Booth.

Burns began his career with the post office in 1979 as a parttime flexible city carrier in Newport. In his last position, he served as a supervisor of customer services in Portsmouth.

As postmaster, Burns will oversee the operation of the Jamestown office, which was established in 1850. It has 689 P.O. boxes and 2,890 possible deliveries.

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