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Chris May's Last Day As Commissioner Scheduled For Nov. 21
Updated November 16, 2016 7:31 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Tuesday was Chris May's last Lawrence County Commissioners meeting.

He will be commissioner until the end of business day on Monday, November 21.

That evening the Republican Party will hold a caucus to appoint a new commissioner to replace May.

"That person will be sworn in that night and begin their duties the start of business on November 22," May says.

May has served the citizens of Lawrence County for more than 10 years, He voiced his appreciation by thanking everyone for their support over those years. He now is looking forward to his new journey as State Representative in House District 65.

In other business:

Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported that the aging guide wires securing the Kings Ridge Tower will be replaced from the turnbuckle up.

The tower, built in 1961, is 320-feet tall and has 36 guide wires securing it to the ground.

Crews are finished paving and patching until spring, but crews continue to replace culverts for spring paving. They are also hauling sand and cutting brush.

Bridge crews are busy doing routine bridge maintenance.

Bids for Bridge 25 at Otis Park by the old tennis courts are out, they are due by December 13.

"We are requiring the bridge be completed by May 23," Holmes says.

The City of Bedford has agreed to pay half of the costs.

Commissioner President Bill Spreen says he has received several compliments about the paving on Oolitic Road and Star Boulevards.

"It turned out really nice because we were able to mill the road before paving it," Holmes says. "We wouldn't have been able to do that without the grant money."

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Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 155 inmates in the county jail. Of those 36 were females, 11 were Level D felons and there were 3 Department of Correction holds.

"This number is high for this time of year," Sheriff Branham added. "Last year we were at 118 inmates."

Numbers have been holding steady the last couple of months.

To help with housing inmates the recreation room, at the jail has been being converted to house inmates and will be inspected by state officials on Friday.

"Once the area is completed we will be able to go from housing 168 inmates to 180 inmates," Sheriff Branham added. "This is a huge improvement increasing the life of the jail by at least 10 years. It was well worth the $20,000 investment."

With the new housing area, Sheriff Branham hopes to start a new program at the jail to help those dealing with addiction and mental health issues

Recovery Works is dedicated to increasing the availability of specialized mental health treatment and recovery services in the community for those who may otherwise face incarceration. Treatment and/or recovery services are intended to supplement community supervision strategies to decrease recidivism.

"The program will be state funded and we have applied to be one of 12 pilot programs in the state," Sheriff Branham added. "Promoting recovery through community support and treatment/intervention is critical in reducing the number of persons with mental health and addiction disorders that are entering the criminal justice system."

Sheriff Branham says the new LED lighting system has saved energy usage.

Sheriff Branham compared the bill from July to now and found energy usage was down by 14 percent. That is a savings of around $800 a month.

So far the department has invested $10,400 in the lighting and will see that savings back in a 13 month period.

The body scanners have been installed in the jail. The scanner is needed to stop drugs from being smuggled into the jail. Whole Body Digital Security Imaging System utilizes a unique and patented blend of micro dose fan beam, slot scanning technology and large field of view imaging capabilities that will allow officers to identify external and internal contraband that is "hidden" on or in a subject. A single whole body image of a subject takes less than eight seconds.

DLZ engineers who is overseeing repairs on the ramps at the jail will hold a pre-bidding meeting on November 29. Bids will be received on December 6 and accepted on December 13.

Sheriff Branham estimated the cost at $160,000 to repair both ramps in front of the sheriff's department to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer says her department will host a tabletop exercise with courthouse employees on Dec. 8. The incident will simulate a situation at the courthouse and have staff evacuate the building. A second exercise will be held that afternoon, simulating a situation where the staff must relocated to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

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Coroner Rob Herr reported that the floor in the exam room at the coroner's office was replaced. The floor's welds failed allowing water to leak underneath and causing damage.



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