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Lawrence Co. Sheriff To Purchase Radar Speed Signs
Updated April 19, 2017 7:29 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham told the commissioners Tuesday morning he is purchasing four radar speed signs.

The post mounted, solar power signs are interactive, generally constructed of a series of LEDs, that display vehicle speeds as motorists approach.

The purpose of radar speed signs is to slow cars down by making drivers aware when they are driving at speeds above the posted limits. Not only will the signs tell motorists to slow down, they will provide the sheriff's department with valuable data, like motor vehicle counts.

"That is one of the nice things," Sheriff Branham added. "We will gather data and can use a Bluetooth device to download that data and print off graphs and charts to see the traffic changes."

The signs are being paid for with the department's safety funds - which is generated from Bureau of Motor vehicle title check fees and from fees for copies of accident reports.

These signs are often used in school zones, in construction zones, or on busy residential roads.

Sheriff Branham says the first two signs will be place on Star Boulevard on the north and south side of Bedford North Lawrence High School.

"This area is very busy with pedestrian traffic with soccer and cross country going on," Sheriff Branham added. "It has become a dangerous situation with pedestrians crossing from the parking lot at all areas of the roadway."

He is currently working with school officials to create a crosswalk for pedestrians to use. School officials will create and maintain the crossing. David Holmes says he has two signs for the cross walk and is just waiting for the call to place them.

Two other signs will be placed on Sieboldt Quarry Road.

"I have looked at the roads where we have had the most complaints of speeding vehicles and Sieboldt has the highest number of complaints," Sheriff Branham says.

Sheriff Branham reported there were 159 inmates in the jail, of those 41 were females and 21 were Level 6 felons. There were no Department of Correction holds.

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The commissioners opened 4 bids for road paving. Those bids were taken under advisement.

Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are using hot mix to patch county roads and is crack sealing them.

Crews are milling Old State Road 37 and will start paving Friday, weather permitting. The road will be paved from the Monroe County line to Washboard Road. It should be completed by next week, weather permitting.

Work continues on Bridge 25, the Brent E. Steele Bridge, located on Leatherwood Road near Otis Park. Crews are working on the concrete and asphalt approaches and will work on the guard rails next week.

"We are hoping to have it open in a couple of weeks, hopefully before the big soccer tournament on May 15," Holmes added.

Crew continue to work on Jasper McKeigg Bridge, pouring walls and hauling shot rock.

Crews are also washing county bridges.

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Lawrence County Veteran Affairs Officer Brad Bough requested to host a Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Ceremony on Sunday, May 7th at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

Bough will pay from the celebration out of his budget.

The public is invited to attend.

"We will be honoring POWs and MIAs," Bough added. "This is the official date the Veterans Administration declared was the end of the war."

On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Reims, France, to take effect the following day, ending the European conflict of World War II.

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Matt Parker, with BBQ at the Quarry, requested permission to use the courthouse and courthouse lawn June 29-July 2. The festival will run from June 30-July 1. June 29th will be used to set up for the 7th annual BBQ at the Quarry with July 2 used to tear down, after the event. The courthouse will be open on July 1st - for judges only.

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Clerk Billie Tumey asked the commissioners to pass a resolution so she could form a study committee to look into developing voting centers.

Tumey says the study does not mean the county will pursue the option.

With centralized voting centers, the county would save money by having fewer poll workers and voting machines.

Once the study is complete the committee will draft a plan for the project. After the draft is completed, it will be opened to public comment for at least 30 days. Then the election board must approve the plan, and fill it with the state.

"We will only do this if we find it cost effective," Tumey added.

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The Commissioners heard from Jenny Dearwester of The Southern Indiana Development Commission, that provide assistance with community and economic development.

Dearwester says the county has an opportunity to apply for a grant to assist county residents - that meet the guidelines - fix up their homes.

The maximum grant allowed is $350,000. If awarded, 14 homeowners could be assisted.

To qualify the person must meet income guidelines, must be purchasing or own their home. No land contracts and no trailers are allowed, modular homes do qualify.

Each homeowner would be allowed between $18,000 to $20,000 for improvements from new roofs, windows, making the home handicap accessible, bathroom remodels and other improvements.

The commissioners will discuss the proposal and asked Dearwester to come back in two weeks so they can narrow down a location of the county where the funds will be offered. A few years ago the offer was made to Williams and Tunnelton residents.

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Jane Miller, of the Bloomington Diocese of Catholic Church, requested to park the Hope Mobile on the west side of the courthouse. The Hope Mobile helps those with crisis pregnancies and other health-related problems.

The commissioners asked that the Hope Mobile be parked on the west side of 15th Street near Harp Commons so as not to take up needed parking around the courthouse.

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Tunnelton River Road resident Charles Goen addressed the commissioners about the condition of his road.

"The road is terrible and damaging vehicles," Goen says.

Goen wants to see the county keep up with grading the road or to pave it.

The gravel road is 8.5 miles long and is prone to flooding.

"There are some issues with it," says Highway Superintendent David Holmes. "Don't know what we can feasibly do to fix it because it is prone to flooding."

Holmes added it would cost more than $130,000 to chip and seal the roadway.

"And that is not something we can afford to do," Holmes says.

Goen says there are other roads in the county that are prone to flooding, but they are paved and he gave Lawrenceport Road and the Medora Bridge Road in Jackson County as examples.

Holmes told Goen that he would call Jackson County to see how they maintain that road.

Goen also complained about the 4-wheelers damaging the road.

"There is not much we can do about that," says Sheriff Mike Branham. "Most of the motorists are legal and have purchased DNR stickers - allowing them to ride on county roads - so there is nothing for us to enforce."

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer says she is continuing to work on the county's hazard mitigation plan. She asked the commissioners to sign a contract with IU Resources to assist with the project. Their services will cost $26,656.06 and will be paid for with a grant.

She is also seeking volunteers to assist with animals that would need evacuated in an emergency.

There will be a free Severe Weather Spotter Class with the National Weather Service on May 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Christian Church. Those attending are asked to use the main entrance.



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