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Lawrence County Sheriff Donates Vehicle To North Lawrence School Corporation

Last updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Commissioners Tuesday gave the sheriff permission to donate a vehicle to North Lawrence Community Schools.

Sheriff Mike Branham approached the commissioners about the possibility of allowing the school system to use one of his former patrol car as their security vehicle.

"Their vehicle is on its last leg," Branham says. "I have a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, with less then 100,000 miles, which has a trade in value of $500. This is not a vehicle the department can use, because of its age I would not want to run it hard or fast, but it would work for their purpose."

The commissioners voted to donate the vehicle to the school corporation.


The commissioners opened five bids for Bridge 25 at Otis Park near the tennis courts. Those bids were taken under advisement. County officials are requiring the bridge be completed by May 23.


The commissioners opened two bids to make repairs to both ramps in front of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bids were taken under advisement.


Sheriff Branham reported the jail count continues to be higher than this time last year.

On Tuesday there were 127 inmates at the jail, of those 22 were females, 10 Level 6 felons and 1 Department of Corrections hold.

"The number is down from two weeks ago, but last year on this date we were below 100 inmates," he added. "It is a concern, because there is a cost with every inmate we house.


Phillip East requested to lease the old Huron School. East has been living in a camper on the property. However the commissioners do not own the property.

Southern Indiana Development sought a Brownfield Clearance grant to demolish the old school. The building and property has because an eyesore in the community. The plan was to demolish the building and restore it to green space, but due to lack of funding they were not awarded the grant.

Officials hope to apply for the grant again next year.

But, East wants to lease the property to restore it, calling it the "Ark of Huron."

"We are not going to back you on this," says Commissioner Dave Flinn. "It is not going to happen with this group of people (the commissioners)."

"Everyone wants the building to come down," Commissioner Bill Spreen added. "The building is in a terrible state of disrepair."

County Attorney Dave Smith told East that he had a change to purchase the building which he did at a certificate sale, but he failed to meet his obligations to secure the proper title requirements and pay the more than $42,000 in back taxes.


Residents on Steve Earl Road are concerned with the conditions of their dead-end road and requested help from the commissioners.

Michael Kwakey and Amanda Childers presented two pages of signatures requesting their road be repaired.

Childers says the roadway is so bad motorists can not travel more than 10 miles per hour because of the ruts and pot holes. School buses will not go up the road to pickup children because the road is narrow and conditions make it impassible.

Kawkey says it is like driving on a "washboard." He has concerned fire engines and ambulances can not reach residents in an emergency.

Commissioner Rodney Fish, who lives not far from the road, drove it on Sunday and agreed with the residents and said he and Highway Superintendent David Holmes would see what could be done.


Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are ready if winter hits.

Crews continue to do cold patching and cut brush.

Crews have removed Bridge 54 on Jasper McKeaigg Road. The truss bridge will be sold.


The commissioner approved a contract to allow ECS to perform an assessment on Kings Ridge Tower. The cost of the assessment is $9,575 and will be paid for with 911 funds.

The tower, built in 1961, is 320-feet tall and has 36 guide wires securing it to the ground and without the tower the Sheriff Department, fire departments and emergency crews will have no communications in the Huron area.

Holmes says some of the guide wires securing the tower need replaced from the turnbuckle up. Officials have removed several of the old microwave dishes that were once on the tower reducing the tower's weight load, hoping they will not have to replace all 36 guide wires.

Officials will now more once the assessment is completed.


Kelly Higgins, of Centerstone, presented their annual 2015 report to the commissioners


Resident Carol Edwards shared concerns that areas of the county does not have high-speed internet availability.

The commissioners agreed it was a need, especially for school children who are now using Chrome books and need the internet to do assignments. They said it would be something for them to look into.


Lawrence County Treasurer Paula Stewart reported 11 limestone benches will be placed around the courthouse thanks to generous sponsors.

Indiana Cut Stone will begin fabricating the benches in January.


Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer reported that the tabletop exercise with courthouse employees on December 8 went well. The incident simulated a situation at the courthouse and staff evacuated the building. A second exercise was held that afternoon, simulating a situation where the staff must relocated to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

"It went really, really, really well," she added. "We came up with some solutions and found some areas we need to work on."


The commissioners voted to renew a contract with Flynn & Sons Excavating and Paving company for snow removal from the courthouse, courthouse plaza and the annex.


The commissioners voted to renew their contract with the White River Humane Society to house stray animals in the county.


The commissioners voted to renew a contract with AT&T to provide service to the counties fax machines.

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