It's Marc Lindeen's turn to head the county board of supervisors
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
There has been a change in officers among the Henry County Board of Supervisors as of Thursday, Jan. 2.
Marc Lindeen, who was vice-chairman of the board, was appointed chairman and Greg Moeller, board member, was appointed vice-chairman during the meeting.
“We don’t do anything special to change places here,” said former chairman Gary See. “Some counties run for the position, but we just rotate and it seems to work out that way.”
During the meeting, the department heads gave their monthly/year end updates.
“Well, it’s mainly business as usual,” said CPC Sarah Berndt. “Hillcrest Family Services is ready to move in and the remodel is almost done. “They are now working on their own plans. To clarify, Hillcrest will provide outpatient services to the county.”
Walt Jackson, county emergency management director, discussed his year for 2013.
“We had one disaster (spring flooding) that was named a presidential disaster this year,” Jackson said. “That disaster was covered by FEMA and taken care of.”
Jackson was awarded a service award for 2013 and finished his baseline certification for emergency management.
“I had to finish 16 courses and we are given about five years to do that. I finished in two, so I’ve been busy,” said Jackson. “I even helped to rewrite a course.”
Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee began his report by apologizing for missing last month’s meeting, but had good reason.
“Sorry I didn’t make it, but that was when we got our warrants to search two homes in New London and one in Mediapolis which led to the arrest of six people and 20 charges in a drug bust. We still have a lot of business there, but it was a good thing. Everyone did a great job,” McNamee said.
According to McNamee, the department had 17,231 calls made through the dispatch center, 367 arrests and 321 citations.
“The girls are great in dispatch and everyone has been doing really well this year,” said McNamee.
The foundation for the storage building at the sheriff’s department has been completed, and the flooring will follow as soon as the weather warms up.
“There are new driver’s license laws that came into effect as of Jan. 1,” said Henry County treasurer Ana Lair. “First off, if a teenager goes in to get their intermediate license, their parents have to fill out a form allowing them (the child) to drive with more than one person, otherwise there is a restriction,” Lair explained.
The new law will help to reduce the amount of distractions in the car in order to make it safer for those who are inexperienced — the first six months of driving with the new license. The law will limit the young driver to one unrelated minor passenger who can ride with an unsupervised driver during the first six months after being issued an intermediate license, but this can be waived with the parent’s signature.
The minor school law is the same way; the driver will only be able to allow one unrelated minor to ride with them to school. There is no waiver for this.
Department of Transportation (DOT) officials stated that an unrelated minor child is defined as someone that is not the young driver’s brother or sister, stepbrother or sister, or a child living in your household.
“In my opinion, this is a good thing. There are statistics to back this up that it works. Parents can waive it, but I would encourage them not to because it makes the road safer for them and others,” said Lair.
Another new law taking effect will allow DOT officials to transition from driver’s licenses that are valid for five years to ones that are valid for eight years – a change that they say should save customers time and money.
“When the customer comes in, they won’t know what year they are getting. We won’t even know until we go through the process. It will take some time and I know people will have questions,” added Lair. “We’ve been busy with these changes, but we will get through it.”
Jake Hotchkiss discussed snow removal and quarry blasting with the board.
“We have been busy yet again with snow,” said Hotchkiss laughing. “We have been out since 5 a.m. trying to get roads cleared. I will definitely be glad for a break as we’ve had more snow this year already than usual.”
According to the county engineer, Preston Ready Mix is a little behind on the quarry-crushing project due to the cold weather and snow, but should finish up next week. Once they are completed, they will have crushed 150,000 tons of rock and will have created a three-year supply.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors will meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 9 a.m. in the boardroom at the courthouse.