Signs Recognizing Graduating Class Of 2020 To Be Placed On Courthouse Lawn

(BEDFORD) – The Lawrence County Commissioners approved a request from the Bedford Chamber of Commerce to place 375 yard signs, furnished by Mikel’s Signs, on the courthouse law to recognize the Bedford North Lawrence High School graduating Class of 2020.

The signs are being paid for by Dr. Jim Sowders, United Way of South Central Indiana, and other private donors. The cost of each sign is $10. The total cost of the project is $3,750.

Dr. Sowders has been in touch with the school to ensure no senior is left out and a Facebook campaign has been launched to “adopt” each senior and pay for their picture.

Plans are being made to do the same thing for Mitchell seniors.

The signs will be given to the graduating seniors after they are removed from the courthouse lawn.

“The lawn will be a fantastic place to put them, as people can then drive around the courthouse parking lot, not in traffic, and view the senior photos,” said Zarod Myers, Membership and Communication Director of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.

In other business:

The commissioners heard a request from Angel Hawkins, of Turnkey Enterprises, regarding road issues in the Judah area at Timberland Trace.

Hawkins requested that the county take over maintenance of the roadways. But the commissioners said they could not do that because the roadways are not up to county specifications and are divided by two other private roads.

“We did not create this problem and you are asking us to step out on a limb and I am not going to do that,” said Commissioner Rodney Fish. “You are asking us to take over two roads with no way to come up with the ability to take over the other two roads. I personally am not going to do that. It is not in my realm of logic to take them over.”

“This is not the first housing development with problems,” said Commissioner Dustin Gabhart. “There are a number of developments that were done this way; developers begin a project and don’t complete the work.”

Lawrence County Highway crews are finishing up paving in District 1 and District 2. Crews will begin mowing right of ways next week.

Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 107 inmates in the jail. Of those 88 are males, 19 females, two Level 6 felons and two Department of Correction holds.

“Over the last month numbers have been between 105 to 115,” he added. “Our numbers are down 35 percent from the beginning of COVID-19 in February. But once things return to normal and the courts are up and running, I am expecting numbers in the 200s by July.”

Sheriff Branham said no staff members, officers, or inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sheriff Branham says things will begin to turn back to normal on Monday.

“We will be open for normal business,” he added. “But protocols will still be in place.”

The commissioners also agreed to pay for 16 UV lights for the jails air handler. The UV lights kill bacteria. Any air going through the air handler/furnace is treated before circulating into the jail cells.

Sheriff Branham will pay for a new heat pump which has stopped working and needs to be replaced at a cost of $6,515 in addition to a new HEPA filter which will cost $2,500.

The commissioners agreed to pay for the 16 UV lights at a cost of $1,500 per light. The Sheriff will be responsible for the cost of replacing the lights in the future.

Sheriff Branham also asked permission to cut down an old pear tree along the back parking lot of the jail. The cost to cut down the tree is $250. The commissioner would like Sheriff Branham to come up with a possible plan to replant a new tree to replace it.

Sheriff Branham is also accepting bids to repair the railing on the ramp in front of the jail. Once the rails are repaired or replaced work will begin on fixing the concrete ramp.

Emergency Manager Director Valerie Luchauer continues to work on meeting the needs of emergency workers and first responders during the COVD-19 crisis. She has submitted an $80,000 bill to FEMA for expenses spent on battling the pandemic.