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New Three-Way Stop At Wallner Quarry And Bartlettsville Roads
Updated August 9, 2017 7:12 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday morning to make a three-way stop at the intersection of Wallner Quarry and Bartlettsville roads.

"This was in the best interest of public safety," says Commissioner President Gene McCracken. "We have revamped the road making it safer, but decided we needed to take this step to make it even safer."

In other business:

Lawrence County Clerk Billie Tumey says Election Board study committee has drafted a plan to establish voting centers for Lawrence County.

Tumey says with centralized voting centers, the number of voting sites would be reduced to around 10.

During the last election, there were 25 voting sites, with some sites serving multiple precincts. With voting centers, votes would still be tallied based on precincts, but voters could visit any voting center in the county.

The plan will be available for public view on August 21st in the Voter Registration office at the Lawrence County Court House. It will be opened to public comment for at least 30 days. The election board will then review the public's comments and bring those results to the commissioners.

Tumey says the voting centers will not affect early voting.

She added the state mandated Odyssey Case Management System is up and running. All courts had to switch to Odyssey, following the recommendation of three review committees which oversaw a 10-month procurement process, the Indiana Supreme Court chose Tyler Technologies Inc. to provide its Odyssey Case Management System (Odyssey) to Indiana Courts and Clerks.

She asked the commissioners to approve a contract for a new credit card service at Gov-Pay.

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Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes says he hopes to hear from the Indiana Department of Transportation by mid-August about the Community Crossing grants.

"They (INDOT) received more than 24,000 applications for funding," Holmes says. "There are more applications than funds available. Communities won't get everything they applied for."

Lawrence County submitted applications for $1 million. Last year the county requested a half a million and received it.

Highway crews are finishing up with chip and sealing, cutting brush, mowing and replacing guard rails.

"Chip and sealing is like laying shingles on a roof," Holmes says.

Crews pour oil on the highways. That oil then runs into the cracks and coats the roadways. The roads are then covered with No. 9 or 11 rocks.

"We usually use 11," Holmes added. "As the oil soaks down into the cracks it carries the rock with it sealing off the cracks. This shields the road from the elements."

Chip and sealing extends the life of the road by 5 to 10 years depending on the condition of the road when it was chip and sealed.

"When it is first done it is nasty for a few weeks and sometimes leave a rougher ride, but it only cost about $8,000 a mile compared to $50,00 to pave a mile."

INDOT approved Butler Fairman Seufert to do the design work on Bridge 67 in Lawrenceport. They also approved the engineering firm to consult on the historic Bridge 150 over Mill Creek.

Work continues on Bridge 133 on Sand Pit Road.

"Work is progressing right on scheduled," Holmes added. "I am guessing it will be another seven weeks before the bridge is open."

Bridge crews worked at the railroad underpass at Fort Ritner.

"The heavy rains we had washed a lot of debris under the overpass," Holmes says.

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Sheriff Mike Branham reported that there were 171 inmates in the county jail on Tuesday morning, of those 46 were female, 19 Level 6 offenders and one Department of Correction hold.

Sheriff Branham wanted to clarify why he reports how many females are held in the jail.

"We began doing this several years ago under the direction of former Sheriff Sam Craig," he added. "We have a limited amount of space to house females, so housing becomes difficult when the female numbers increase."

Sheriff Branham is working to paint and fix the lighting at the jail. Thhose was two of the major suggestions during the recent jail inspection.

"All of the common areas have been painted, but the cell blocks and day rooms still need to be addressed," Sheriff Branham added.

Commissioner Dustin Gabhart asked if inmates could be used to paint the cell blocks.

"We have thought about that," Sheriff Branham shared. "But concerns of contraband and tools being taken are a concern and we can't risk that."

If a contractor paints the areas, inmates will have to be moved to another holding area.

"Currently that can't be done with the numbers we have," Sheriff Branham says. "If the numbers drop by about 20 we would able to do to. We are hoping to see that as winter approaches."

Bloomington Glass is in the process of repairing a large window located between the cell blocks.

"An inmate busted it," Sheriff Branham added. "The cost to replace the section will be around $1,200. The repairs will be paid from from the jail's building repair fund."

The commissioners asked if there was any way to collect the funds.

"A criminal investigation is underway," Sheriff Branham added. "We have an idea who did the damage and once the investigation is completed it will be forwarded to the prosecutor to seek criminal charges of criminal mischief and restitution for the damages."

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Greg Jones of Southern Indiana Development Commission (SIDC) presented the commissioners with the organizations annual budget request.

"We are doing a lot more transportation work and traffic counting for the 10 counties we represent," Jones says. "Since 2005 we have paid the matching fund for that work but now it has become burdensome for us. We are asking each county to give a little bit to cover the matching costs."

The commissioners anticipated the request and have budgeted $2,500 for 2018.

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer reported she attended the VA Title 6 meeting in Vincennes.

Work continues on Lawrence County's animal disaster plan.



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