(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County K-9 Axel is retiring.
Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig told the commissioners Tuesday morning that Axel, a chocolate Labrador, is suffering from arthritis. On the recommendation of his veterinarian Axel will be leaving the force.
Craig asked the commissioners to approve Axel living with his handler officer Andrew Phillips.
Phillips will continue to serve as one of the department's K-9 officers and is looking into replacing Axel with a German shepherd.
The new dog will join rank with another shepherd, Suri and his handler Jordon Wheelock.
"Having the two dogs will allow the department to do more searches at area schools," Craig says. "Instead of going to a school and spending the whole day we can now go in, search for about an hour, while students are in class and be done when they are ready to change classes. This way we can be in more schools throughout the year."
In other business the commissioners:
*Opened 5 bids to replace Dunn Bridge.
Bob Dillon, county projects manager, told the commissioners that bridge number 75 on Dunn Bridge Road, northwest of Heltonville, was lowered from a 12 ton weight restriction to 6 tons.
"This is something we will have to address because it will affect school bus routes," Dillon says. "I would also like to see the bridge alignment adjusted to make it straighter, to get rid of that center pillar that catches all kinds of debris from the river. But that will cost more money."
To move the bridge, making it a straight route, Dillon estimates it would cost the county around $400,000.
The bids were taken under advisement and will be awarded at the next commissioners meeting.
* Sheriff Craig reported there were 124 inmates housed at the jail, of those 12 were Department of Corrections holds and 28 were females.
He also told the commissioners the scanning machines for courthouse security were in. One will be installed at Circuit Court in the courthouse and the other at Courthouse Plaza for Superior Court I and II. The one at the Plaza should be installed this week.
Craig also notified the commissioners that sprinklers will have to be put in a back hallway in the lower level of the jail near the office areas.
During an inspection of the jail, state and Bedford fire inspectors noticed the missing sprinklers and notified the sheriff the situation needed to be corrected to bring the building up to code.
* Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes says crews have been cold patching roadways, replenishing sand piles and adding gravel to county roads.
* Sherry Lawson, of the Lawrence County Health Department requested the commissioners to approve a contract for the Anthem Blue Cross pilot billing program which will allow the department to bill of immunizations.
* Rex Knight of the Southern Indiana Development Commission addressed the council with information about possible grant funding for city projects.
The organization will help the city seek funding free of charge and once the grant is awarded will be paid through a percentage of the grant awarded.
Knight, also president of the Lawrence County Space Board, updated the council on the progress of the Indiana Space Complex.
Currently the group is raising funds to secure 80 acres on Ind. 37 near Dixie Highway, known as the old Smith Farm. This will be the location where the Space Complex will be built.
The Space Board is available to give talks to local businesses and groups about their progress and detailed strategic plan and their impact study the facility for the region.
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