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Population At Lawrence County Security Center Continues To Increase
Updated May 3, 2017 9:06 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The population at the Lawrence County Security Center continues to increase.

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham reported to the commissioners on Tuesday morning that there were 161 inmates housed in the jail, of those 41 were females, 20 Level 6 felons and 3 Department of Correction holds.

"We arrest them and then let the system work," says Sheriff Branham. "Well over 80 percent of those inmates are in the jail on drug related charges."

The jail population has increased steadily over the last year.

"We are averaging 158 inmates daily," Sheriff Branham added. "This time last year it was 126 and the year before 125."

The average number of days an inmate is incarcerated is 29.1 an increase from last year at 25.6 days.

With the increase of population, there is also an increase in utilities and medical bills.

The department is being billed more in medical cost because the negotiated contract only covers 130 inmates.

"So we are receiving a second bill for any inmates over that number," Sheriff Branham added. "We are also seeing increased in utilities. The water bill was up significantly."

In other business:

Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer was named 911 Director of the Year during the 911 Conference in Indianapolis.

"I was totally shocked and humbled," Luchauer wrote in an email.

She was out of town Tuesday attending a net conference, a federal initiative to provide broadband to rural public safety agencies, in French Lick.

She also attended an introductory meeting with the IDHS Director and continues to work on the county's disaster plane.

Luchauer will also be assisting with District 8 Health and Hospital retreat at French Lick next week.

She also reminded the commissioners that there will be a hostage situation drill at the Lawrence County Courthouse the evening of May 16th.

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Sheriff Branham reported that he received two quotes to replace the pump on the cooling tower for the department.

"Four have been replaced over the years, but now the fifth one is failing and we can't get parts to replace them," Sheriff Branham added.

The pump will be purchased from Meadows Heating and Cooling for $4,900.

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Lawrence County highway crews have been busy sealing cracks on county roads.

"We have District 2 done and District 3 almost done and will be starting on District 1," Highway Superintendent David Holmes says. "This really extends the life of the roads."

Crews are also using hot mix to patch pot holes.

The commissioners also accepted all of the paving bids.

Crews will begin paving Wallner Quarry Road on June 1, weather permitting. The road will be closed until June 7.

Work on Old State Road 37 is complete, except the stripping. The road was paved from the Monroe County line to Washboard Road.

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Work on Bridge 25 is nearly completed.

The Brent E. Steele Bridge, located on Leatherwood Road near Otis Park, will be finished on Thursday.

Crews continue to work on the guard rails, but were set back a few days waiting on parts to making equipment repairs.

"It looks fantastic! As soon as the guard rails are in place we can open the bridge," Holmes added. "We will be planning a grand opening in the near future."

Crew continue to work on the approaches at the Jasper McKeigg Bridge.

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The commissioners granted permission for Jenny Dearwester of Southern Indiana Development Commission to move forward with taking applications for homeowners to repair or improve their homes.

On May 15th from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. and May 23rd from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. residents can apply for the program.

The grant will provide rehabilitation on houses owned by low to moderate income persons living within rural areas of Lawrence County.

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. Residents must own the house, be living in the house.

Commissioner Rodney Fish will be helping in the application process.

Once all the applications are received the commissioners will then decide which part of the county has the most need and then pick an area to concentrate the rehabilitation efforts.

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Lawrence County Veteran Affairs Officer Brad Bough reminded residents that a Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Ceremony will be held Sunday, May 7th at 2 p.m. in the Lawrence County Courthouse.

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.

He also requested permission to use the courthouse lawn during the Memorial Day celebration, organized by Council member Mark Mathis.

Most of the events will be held in Harps Common. There will be live music and other activities.

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The commissioners voted to spend $3,400 to repair build a sidewalk on the southside of the courthouse.



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