April 15, 2009 Edition

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Preliminary work begins
on communication tower



Herb Ginn (from left), Mary Jane Callahan and Bryce Baldridge were among Lawrence County Extension Service staff who served a meal to Quorum Court members including Doug Wayland (right) on Monday night.
TD Photo ~ Leslie Ginn

Leslie L. Ginn
Staff Writer

At Monday night's Quorum Court meeting, County Judge Alex Latham reported that preliminary work is underway on the construction of a new 330-foot communications tower.

He reported that a survey has been completed, and the Public Safety System bid of $75,400 was accepted. Construction on the tower should begin in about two weeks and, if the weather cooperates, be completed six to eight weeks later.

An insurance check totaling over $30,500 to pay for the old tower will be applied to the cost of the new tower. The county is seeking support from FEMA to help defray the cost, as well.

"The work order requesting financial help from FEMA has been submitted," Latham said. "If approved, it will reimburse the county for damage caused by the ice storm that is not covered by the insurance company."

Steve Jones was approved as health and safety officer to implement a new health and safety program for employees that meets workman's comp program standards. Jones will be reimbursed $150 per month for his services.

Justices also approved a cleanup ordinance that appropriated funds to pay for past raises, merit pay and other items. The ordinance was suggested by county auditors.

Overtime pay verses compensation time was discussed, and justices emphasized the need to be flexible and keep the county financially solvent. The budget committee will further discuss the issue.

Sheriff Dan Ellison was invited to submit suggestions, since it mostly affects sheriff's department employees. Certified officers are allowed to accumulate a total of 480 hours before cash pay is mandatory. All sheriff's department employees are presently working with somewhere between 150 to 350 hours of compensation time.

A second reading was completed of the ordinance proposing an additional $20 fine from each defendant upon each conviction. The money collected would be used to defray costs associated with the county jail. The ordinance will not go into effect until after a third reading and necessary legal approval.

Extension staff honors court

Quorum Court members were treated to a pre-meeting dinner and program hosted by the Lawrence County Extension Service staff.

The program by county agents Bryce Baldridge and Herb Ginn highlighted efforts on improving agriculture. Baldridge has been with Extension for more than one year and focuses 50 percent on agriculture, specializing on livestock. Ginn, who has been an extension agent for more than four years, spends 75 percent on agriculture, focusing on row crops.

Both discussed how Extension has impacted county residents through such programs as training certification, production meetings, pesticide collection, verification fields and certain vaccination services, among others.

Extension Staff Chair Martha May concluded by saying, "We appreciate the support the county has given Extension. We are pleased to provide a very healthy agriculture program."

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