Commissioners Take Steps to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

(BEDFORD) – Effective immediately, officials at the Lawrence County Courthouse are restricting people entering the facility.

Commissioner President Gene McCracken

“The courthouse is not closed,” said Commissioner President Gene McCracken. “But only time-sensitive essential issues will be addressed.”

If you have a matter at the courthouse, you must first call ahead.

The security officer at the courthouse will meet you at the door, ask a few health-related questions and then let you meet the employee you have business with at the door.

Commissioner Dustin Gabhart

“Most all business can be done online or over the phone without any direct contact,” says Commission Dustin Gabhart.

The commissioners also passed a COVID-19 policy for employees. A copy of the policy is available to all employees in the Human Resource office or available from the head of your department.

In other business:

The commissioners opened three bids for paving projects. Those bids were taken under advisement.

Sheriff Mike Branham says everyone being booked into the jail is being screened for the virus. He reported there are currently 160 inmates in the jail; of those 130 are males, 32 are females, seven are Level 6 felons, nine Dare epartment of Correction holds and there are no parole holds.

Sheriff Mike Branham

“The DOC numbers are currently a little high because the DOC is backed up,” said Sheriff Branham. “They are no longer transporting inmates; we have to take them to DOC and we can’t do that until the end of the month.”

The Sheriff’s Department has “tweaked” their policy on COVID-19.

“We make changes every day,” he added. “Things are continuously changing.”

Sheriff Branham received a bid from Duke Energy to purchase street lamps for outside the jail.

“That bid came in too high,” he added. “We did receive a bid from Bailey Hawkins that was reasonable and now are waiting on what it would cost to install them. I should have that in two weeks for you to look over.”

Highway department crews are working on patching roads and waiting for the asphalt plants to open next week.

The bridge work is moving forward on Bridge 120 on Williams Silverville Road.

Work on the historical Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road is stalled while officials wait to hear back from state officials.

The commissioners praised the dedication and hard work of Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer who was not at the meeting but attending an emergency management video meeting.

Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer

“She always goes above and beyond the call of duty,” says Commissioner Rodney Fish. “She worked her self to the death on this cyber situation and now on the virus outbreak, not to mention the many other things she does to keep our community safe. I don’t know what we would do without her.”

Commissioner Rodney Fish.

“She never stops working; we receive emails from her during the day and night – around the clock,” added Commissioner Gabhart. “She does a great job.”

The commissioners remind residents this week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana. 

The National Weather Service asks residents to make a plan of action to be taken in the event of severe storms this year.

There is a scheduled statewide test tornado drill on Wednesday.  The 15-minute alert set for 10:15 a.m. will be done to ensure the state Emergency Alert System is working properly in the event of an actual tornado.  In the event of actual severe or threatening weather that day, the test will be rescheduled and held on Thursday, March 19th at the same time.