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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

County meeting brings plans

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Helicopters, prisons, and website domains aren't topics of general discussion in Brazil, but the County Commissioners tackled all three subjects and more in a two-hour meeting yesterday.

After approval of minutes and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting began. Under county business, they discussed many topics:

-The replacement of elevators in the courthouse to meet new criteria. The current single-piston layout is no longer protected under code, so it must be changed. "I'm sure Indiana's elevator regulators will inform us," President David Parr said after explaining the apparent lack of a set date to perform the change.

-Discussion on the hiring of a new information person in the courthouse. Several options were reviewed, including appointment, resume-taking, and contacting Rose-Hulman and Indiana State University for recommendations. The topic was spurred by the fact that Clay County will be testing the new Judicial Technology and Automation technology, and will need someone with know-how to make it work. The commissioners were silent as to the purpose of the technology, only saying that the Indiana Supreme Court would be sending out a press release soon.

-The change of the Clay County website's domain name. The address, which is now http://www.claycountyin.gov, was changed at the request of the state government to "streamline things," according to Parr.

-FEMA and aid Clay County could receive after recent storms. Clay County Highway Department Supervisor Ron Chamberlain said that there was minimal damage and flooding caused by the storms, but agreed that aid should be applied for in case it is needed. Vice President Daryl Andrews pointed out that the aid could be refused after the admission process, so there were no disadvantages to filing early. Approximately 60 Clay County residents have applied to FEMA due to July storms.

-A $25,000 dollar grant recently awarded to Clay County. The money must be spent by Sept. 14, 2004, and must be spent on equipment for the county. In return for the grant, ClayCounty must supply the state with a record of all purchases made with the money. The best route to take, the commissioners decided, was to form "planning committees" made of members of the health board, police board, and other boards in the county.

-Damage done by the aforementioned storms. Chamberlain said that there was some shoulder damage to the roads, but nothing major had been done. "I don't know what the Eel River's going to do," he said, "though I don't think that this is a 'disaster situation.'"

-A report on current attempts to repave county roads. Several have been chip-and-sealed, and there are plans to lay asphalt in October. "We're doing well for this time of year," Chamberlain said, "and we plan on taking advantage of all the good weather we can."

After county business, Rich Johansen of the Clay County St. Vincent Hospital took the floor. He came not as a member of the hospital, he said, but in support of a new company that wants to base itself in Brazil. Air Evac, a hospital airlift company from West Plains, Missouri, is interested in setting up a branch at the Clay County Airport.

"This has potential to be a huge benefit to the community," Johansen said. "I'm not pursuing to benefit the hospital, but the county and airport."

Johansen said that it would cost the airport approximately $105,000 to make it suitable for Air Evac, citing need for both a $75,000 hangar and an additional $30,000 for fuel tanks and crew's quarters. The branch would give an approximate 14 extra jobs to the community, he said, though pilots would be moved to the area.

"Air Evac wants to be in Clay County," said Johansen, "right between Terre Haute and Indianapolis." Most patients, he said, would be airlifted to one of those towns, though some cases would be sent to St. Vincent.

He continued that Park, Putnam, and Hendricks Counties are also interested in obtaining their services.

"They're flying every day," Gary Rogers of the Clay County Airport Board said, "be it for practice, work, or public relations. They'll take the helicopter to the schools to show the kids, not to mention other things they do."

Johansen said that on the whole, the company loves to be in the public eye and that speaking as a citizen, he is nervous for the Indiana medical system.

"Indiana, as a whole, needs to increase its medical system," he continued. "Air Evac really is a win-win situation."

The board agreed to hear a 15-minute presentation from the company itself during October's meeting. Andrews in particular said that they "might be able to make this a pretty decent business proposition."

Lauren Matthes and Rich Starkey, of Umbagh & Associates and Barnes & Thornburg, respectively, were signed on to help with the bonding section of the new jail's construction. Matthes represented a company that provides financial advisory services, then marketing and selling help with bonds. Starkey, who specializes in bond law, offered to help with documentation. Both were accepted by the commissioners.

The Jail Board ended the meeting, giving the commissioners an update on their work with the new jail. They said that a survey on the jail's land should be completed by a week from Friday, and that construction is expected to begin in the spring. Final plans should be ready, they said, by the October meeting.

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