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The Gentry Volunteer Fire Department operates separate from the city, but a ruling by a local circuit judge said the group had so entwined itself with the city’s two-man fire department that the volunteer group subjected itself to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Judge Mark Fryauf issued the ruling Monday after listening to testimony in former Gentry Mayor Wes Hogue’s suit against the city. The suit also named Mayor Kevin Johnston and Fire Chief Vester Cripps as defendants. Cripps also is the chief of the volunteer fire department. Cripps is the only full-time employee of the city’s fire department. The assistant chief is a part-time employee and the department is manned by volunteer firefighters. Hogue filed a Freedom of Information request Aug. 31 asking for a copy of a deposit slip concerning money raised from the 2010 Fall Festival Car Show. Hogue’s request sought a copy of the checking history for 2010 and who the checks were made out to on the account into which the money was deposited.

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News, Pages 2 on 10/18/2011

Print Headline: Volunteer fire department ordered to provide records

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