By ALLISON HEFNER
The Lewis County Commission approved Director of Courthouse Security Dave Harris to hire three part-time, on-call security officers due to being understaffed during the days when the other part-time officers are unavailable.
The current part-time security officers work other full-time jobs, dictating what their security schedule will be.
Other reasons why the security team is running short-handed some days is due to having to have two officers bailiff during Circuit Court, having someone monitor the security desk, logging and bringing inmates in and out for court, attempting to do foot patrols in the annex and courthouse and part-time officers are only allotted 20 hours per week to work.
Three jails bring inmates to the annex for court hearings. Sometimes the correctional officers bring the inmates in all at one time and sometimes they bring them in at the different times. This too, effects the jobs of the security officers.
At the moment Harris said he is having to utilize some of the deputy sheriffs when there is not enough security staffing available.
Harris believes the cost will be minimal. At least one uniform will have to be purchased per officer hired, ranging at around $300 a piece for all the gear they are equipped with.
Harris said "Adding a few more officers would help with the staffing issue."
Another issue Harris addressed was the different abstractors coming into the courthouse before 8 a.m., behind employees. Harris expressed to the Commissioners that he felt that this was a security issue due to security officers not being on duty until 8 a.m., in case something were to happen.
The Commissioners agreed with Harris and made a motion to only allow courthouse employees into the courthouse before 8 a.m.
Another problem facing the courthouse is overcrowding in the hallways due to people needing to see the County Clerk, the assessor or another elected official. Only so many people can be helped or allowed into the record room at one time. Somedays there are as many, if not more than 30 people waiting in the hallway to have access to the records.
In the case of a code emergency staff is required to clear the hallways and locate to a room. If there are too many people to fit into the rooms in the courthouse, this could cause chaos.
The hallway in the courthouse will become increasingly crowded in late April and early May due to early voting and the primary election soon approaching.
County Clerk Mary Lou Myers said "This is why we need to have the records scanned and put online, so there isn't this problem."
Commissioner Agnes Queen said "We are working on seeing if the scanning and placing the records online is legal and then we can proceed."
The Lewis County Commission proclaimed April 14 through April 18, as Emergency 911 Telecommunicators week. Commissioner Pat Boyle said to the telecommunicators, "That's a stressful job and we appreciate what you all do."
Patricia Moran was honored as 2013 Telecommunicator of the Year. Moran logged 8,300 calls and in July will become a supervisor after being a telecommunicator for three years now.
The Commission granted the request of Sarah Weaver and Mary Hendricks to utilize the Courthouse plaza for observance of the National Day of Prayer on May 1, 2014. Hendricks said that some children from St. Pat's will be singing at the beginning of the service.
The County Commission read a proclamation declaring Monday, April 14, 2014 as Children's Memorial Flag Day. The flag symbolizes the thousands of children and teenagers in the United States who die violently each year.
Approximately three million children are reported abused and neglected in the United States every year.
The first reading of the Lewis County Comprehensive Plan was held. There was nobody from the public present to speak out against it or for it.The Comprehensive Plan can be found on the County page under the minutes tab.
Cyndi Whetsell said "The plan is not a law or an ordinance. It is a living working document that focuses on ways to help the County."
Boyle said, "The plan gives the County a place to start."
The Lewis County Animal Control responded to 83 complaints and picked up 23 dogs in the month of March.
The Commission approved County Surveyor Mary Hogan to have a key to the courthouse for after hours.
Executive Director of the Economic Development Authority in Lewis County Mike Herron reported that the new industrial park located in Jane Lew will have a combination of work going on that will be completed in 2015. The road will be widened, a turn lane will be established and a road will be built going to the top of the hill. Completing all three projects at the same time Herron said is the most cost effective.
Herron is working with Jenny Larsen with Region Six workforce to do a job fair in Lewis County in either June or July that will focus on different industry segments.
The next meeting of the Lewis County Commission will be held on Monday, April 21, at 5 p.m., at the Lewis County Courthouse.
"I don't think people realize that we do not do this as a fundraiser. We just want to encourage healthy lifestyles so we really don't make much money. The long-sleeve shirts cost close to $9 and the chips for the runners cost about $3 each. So when we are only charging $12 for a registration, you can see that we don't make too much extra money," said Julia Spelsberg, race coordinator from the City of Weston in the race.
Weston and Lewis County residents are advised that there will be some closures of streets in town during the race. All of Court Avenue from First to Seventh Street, as well as part of North River (one lane) will be closed.
Tickets are on sale now for a major fundraising event of the Weston Volunteer Fire Department, the second annual Gun Bash, set for October 4.
Although the event is several months away, Assistant Fire Chief Keith Talbert wants to get the word out as tickets are on sale now for the popular event. "This is our second year for the bash, and last year was so successful we want people to know about it now. We depend on money raised at this event for our survival," Talbert said.
Not unlike an elimination dinner. the way the gun bash works is that people buy tickets, which cost $30 dollars, for a chance to win all types of firearms. Approximately $50,000 worth of guns will be awarded and one ticket gives the buyer three chances to win. Fifty one guns will be given away, two guns every 10 minutes.
The bash will take place at the Weston National Guard Armory beginning at noon on Oct. 4 and lasting until the grand prize winning ticket is drawn at 6:15 p.m., Ticket holders need not be present to win. However, there is one exception to that rule. The winner of the grand prize must be present at the last drawing at 6:15 p.m. to win. The grand prize is a Barrett M82 - 50 Caliber with Leupold Mark IV Scope and 50 rounds of ammunition, valued at thousands of dollars.
In addition to the 51 guns, another 20 will be on display with chances to be sold at the bash. The cost of those tickets will be $5 for five chances. Chances will also be sold at the bash for a gun safe with a gun inside. The type of gun is a surprise.
Those who purchase tickets before July 4, will also be eligible for an early bird drawing to be held during the fire department's July 4 celebration held at the Robert L. Bland Middle School.
Guns for the bash will be supplied by McFly Outdoors, and they will be on-site during the bash to complete necessary background checks for winners. Free food food, soft drinks and beer will be served for ticket holders. A ticket is required for entry.
Tickets may be purchased at the Weston Fire Department on Center Avenue, from any Weston firefighter, and online at www.westonvfd.com. Call 304-269-2349 for further information and visit the fire departments Facebook page for updates. The Facebook page can be found by using the title Weston Vol. Fire Department.
By JOHN G. WOLFE
Numerous defendants appeared in Lewis County Circuit Court last week, with most in court for violating the terms of their probation or for noncompliance with community corrections program requirements. One man was sentenced and sent to the Anthony Center for Youthful Offenders.
Raymond Joseph Roselle, in court for a probation violation, admitted those violations and pled guilty to information on a recent new charge of misdemeanor fraudulent schemes. Judge Kurt Hall sent Roselle to Anthony for a term of six months to two years. Should he not be successful at Anthony, Roselle will be facing more time in jail.
Amy Emily Johnson will be held in jail for violating her probation until a May 1 adjudication. She was not admitted to bail due to testing positive for drugs while pregnant. Judge Hall told Johnson that waiting in jail until the May 1 hearing would be a form of "forced sobriety."
A motion to reduce the bond of Matthew Jones, charged with first degree sexual abuse of a six year old female was denied by the judge. Hall said that given the seriousness of the charge against Jones and possibility he might flee, the bond of $27,500 cash or surety set in Magistrate Court was not excessive and was "actually on the low side given the charge." Jones is being held in jail pending further court action and is awaiting a mental competency examination.
A motion to revoke or modify community corrections participation by Laura Beth Smith was taken under advisement by the judge for a month. Hall told Smith that her compliance with the program would be monitored for a month and that she needed to show "forward progress," or face prison time.
Judge Hall agreed to modify the bond of Nicholas Gould, charged with DUI, obstructing and possession of a controlled substance. His bond was set at $5,000 cash and $5,000 surety. Noting his ties to the community and the fact that he had showed up in court for all of his hearings, Judge Hall reduced the cash amount to $2,500.
Rachel Davisson was sent to jail for ten days for violating community corrections rules.
A motion to revoke the bond of Connie S. McCord was put on hold by Judge Hall, but the judge warned McCord that should she test positive for drugs again she would be going to jail.
Thomas R. Pratt was released on a $2,500 post conviction recognizance bond. He had been held in jail for violating his probation. Adjudication is set for May 1.
A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of Gayle Billings Lowther, facing drug charges, for failure to appear in court.