County Commissioners go with hiring second firm for new study on present jail facility PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcus Amos   
Friday, 16 October 2015 10:18

With the apparent blessing of the Scott County Council, County Commissioners hired an engineering firm on Wednesday, October 7, to take a look at the present Scott County Security Center.
Cost of the study will be $15,000, according to the contract the Commissioners signed that day.
DLZ has offices in both Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis. The two representatives who appeared before officials that morning were staff from the Indianapolis office. Scott Carnegie is a DLZ senior planner. He explained that the Commissioners will receive a detailed report covering the current jail's structural condition, a cost estimate of finishing out the basement below the new addition and the possibility of demolishing the old building and constructing a new one.
The contract signing came after representatives of the current architectural/engineering firm which designed and built the new addition had talked to Commissioners Larry Blevins, Bob Tobias and Kelley Robbins.
In that presentation, RQAW Senior Vice President Joe Mrak, project architect Eric Weflen and business development staffer Melvin Beeker huddled with Commissioners to talk about what Mrak described as “...misinformation that's been thrown out about the (old) jail...”
Mrak said that, all along the past 18 months or so, the project to do something about improving the present facility was a separate project. The additional $750,000 raised in a bond issue originally thought to be over and above what would be needed for the addition (and thus was to be applied to the old jail's renovation) had to be used for the addition because bids came back a lot higher than expected, Mrak said.
He added that the Commissioners were the officials that awarded the contract to RQAW and decided not to do any design work on the old jail until the new addition was nearing completion. Though it had been anticipated to open this November, now the addition won't be ready for use until January.
“If you only have $3 million as decided by the County Council (in its most recent bond issue), then you cannot plan to tear down the building because you won't have enough money to rebuild it. To get what this county needs, you will have to spend more,” Mrak told them.
In response to a question posed by Commissioner Robbins, Mrak said there could be as many as 80 beds created in the old building, depending on the option adopted. A total of 890 square feet would be devoted to medical isolation beds by converting two present cells. The existing outdoor area will be converted to program space because a new outdoor facility is available in the new wing, Mrak went on. Rooftop heating/cooling units will free up more space. Construction will be phased so that prisoners can be shifted as needed.
“What a lot of people are questioning is the high cost of this construction. We got a new factory here in Scottsburg that is costing around $400,000, so why is this construction so high?” asked Commissioner Tobias.
“You got ten pounds of stuff in a five-pound bag,” replied Mrak. “This is highly specialized construction. At a factory, you aren't trying to keep the workforce there 24 hours a day. In a jail, you are.”
He added that the cost of sequencing will also affect building costs due to the loss of productivity experienced as sequencing occurs.
The medical area is all negative air flow, too. That's a special way of keeping air in that unit instead of allowing it to flow throughout the entire complex. Plumbing is being addressed through vacuum toilets which pump waste up. Using these will allow abandonment of pipes encased in the present jail's floors, a costly mistake made by its original architects and builders.
Some issues with the present facility being integrated with the new addition were brought up by Sheriff Dan McClain. He said connecting electronics was not figured into the original contract, and his budget is having to cover some of that expense.
Weflen noted that the project's contractor anticipated connecting the two building through a load-bearing wall. “We're having a meeting this week to resolve that issue,” he quickly told the Commissioners. Tobias was disgruntled, saying, “But wouldn't the contractor have known before now that that was a load-bearing wall? Really?”
Some of these issues have arisen because no designs were done on the renovation, Mrak reminded the Commissioners. “Because no decisions were made, nothing was ever designed,” he advised.
The trio took seats in the audience to await the end of the morning's meeting. However, when Carnegie and his associate were seated and RQAW representatives learned that the new contract had been accepted, Mrak and Weflen left.
DLZ associates will have the report completed in no less than 60 days, with Carnegie advising DLZ's conclusions could come “...a lot sooner.”
Sheriff McClain reminded Commissioners that the Sheriff's Department “...has needs over there right now as well as in 20 years. We've got to have the facility to manage what we will face,” he said.
Commissioner Robbins concluded, “We know we've got a problem over there and we are committed to fixing that problem. Money has always been a problem with the County Council, and we're trying not only to spend but to save.”
Tobias noted, “Guys, the monkey's on our backs. No one is happy with the numbers we've been hearing. I've said all along we need another set of eyes to look at this. $15,000 seems reasonable to be sure what we want to do. I don't want to dance just because someone tells me to. Maybe there'll be some things that will have to be eliminated. All I know is we got an $11 million investment over there that's getting ready to open and we've got to have the answer.”
Commissioner Blevins said he's heard from several Councilmen about their unhappiness with the present situation, a new jail addition with no work being done on the old building. “They're adamant about getting another pair of eyes to look at this. It's a step that'll be better for everyone if we go through it,” he remarked.
Robbins said one way or another, he's been involved with the jail project for about a decade. “Maybe longer,” he reflected. “We've spent so much money on this (project), we should be kicked out of the Courthouse,” he added.
With Tobias's motion, Robbins seconded and the Commissioners voted 3-0 to sign the DLZ agreement.

$250,000 OCRA Block Grant training application stymied by City Council's non-action PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcus Amos   
Friday, 16 October 2015 10:17

No action was taken by the Scottsburg City Council at its October 5 business meeting when officials were asked to pass an updated version of its present Fair Housing Ordinance.
Because of that hesitancy on the part of four members of the Council, the City of Scottsburg may lose the chance to obtain a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) available through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Completed applications for the grant are due on Friday, October 23.
The evening began with Jill Saegesser, director of River Hills Regional Plan Commission, presenting the new ordinance to the Council and Mayor Bill Graham. She said the updated ordinance had different wording in it but basically promises that people of all races, sexes and religions will be treated the same in Scottsburg.
The new Section 9 added by the federal government defines the term “family,” Saegesser explained, as a unit of people living together regardless of sexual orientation.
“We ask that you pass the new version tonight because it is a required part of the CDBG application. The City first passed a Fair Housing Ordinance (FHO) in 2003. You got a copy of the current FHO dated 2013 in your e-mails,” Saegesser stated as she addressed the Council.
Once the ordinance is passed, Saegesser said it will become a part of the completed application for the $250,000 grant. The grant, she went on, will pay for training home care and nursing home staff members who want to obtain their CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistant) titles or HHA (Home Health Aide) certification.
Many times, healthcare workers have little extra money to pay toward these certifications, which can increase their salaries and lead to better positions with more training. “This training grant is a Workforce Development program. If you don't adopt this new version of the Fair Housing Ordinance, we can't apply for the grant,” Saegesser concluded.
Mayor Graham was in favor of the ordinance adoption. “This grant can help a lot of people in our community. We have several partners willing to participate in this training,” he told the Council.
“So it's not an automatic 'rubber stamp' just to go after this grant?” asked Council President Terry Amick. Saegesser replied that passage of the new ordinance “ one of the steps you must take...”
City attorney Kerry Thompson offered his understanding on the matter, relating that the new ordinance “ definitely needed for the application to proceed. You sign off on the agreement to meet all (housing) standards.”
“So this Fair Housing Ordinance is applicable to everyone providing housing in the city?” asked Councilman Tom Lewis. Thompson clarified the matter by telling Lewis that there are some religious exemptions, adding, “...but if you are a standard landlord, then, yes, it applies.”
Lewis said he “...just has a difference in redefining the term 'family.' I don't agree with that.”
Apparently, others on the Council also had doubts. While Saegesser waited, Councilman Bill Hoagland made the motion to pass the proposed ordinance, but no one seconded the motion, despite Saegesser telling the Council that around 50 people could receive training with the money the grant would provide.
“If you don't pass this, we get cut off from all HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) grants. A good percentage of these people (which could be helped) will be low-income,” Mayor Graham said in an apparent attempt to influence the Council. “If we don't pass this, it puts the city in a bad spot.”
With the lack of a second, Hoagland's motion died. The ordinance may be revived at the Council's meeting on Monday, October 19, but, in order to meet the October 23 application deadline, all three readings must take place that evening and a resolution approving the application must also be passed by the Council.
The subject caused a brief discussion at the city's Board of Works and Public Safety meeting on Tuesday afternoon, October 13.
At that meeting, Mayor Graham divulged some of the application's background. Saegesser was also present for the board's meeting. Between comments made by them, it was learned that efforts to combine a training effort with Jackson and Jennings counties was tried. It failed because those counties wanted to address training needs in other areas.
“I was told we have a stronger application than what Jackson and Jennings has now, but I don't know about that. I do know that (Scott Memorial Hospital) officials have told me over and over again that they can't get the certified (CNA) people they need. We've got a lot of people in this community who are capable of getting this training and then advance on to something else. I know (the training) will lead to better-paying jobs for these folks,” Mayor Graham related.
Saegesser explained that Jackson and Jennings wanted industrial training and had advised that can and HHA training was provided through healthcare facilities. That is not the case in Scott County, she said.
Mayor Graham said not only is Scott Memorial interested in the city getting the grant but so is Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville. “They could be sending people up to take the training (if the program is established),” he remarked.
Clerk-Treasurer Jan Hardy said she has noticed the scarcity of CNAs in the local nursing facility where her mother lives. “Most of them do try to step up to becoming nurses, so they're always looking for CNAs to join their staff,” she offered.
Even the National Review, a magazine based in New York City, has pointed out the rising need for CNAs and HHAs in the Midwest, added Mayor Graham. “That's because our trend here reflects the aging population and its needs,” he stated.
The last time the city's Fair Housing Ordinance was upgraded by the City Council was when the city applied for a grant to help improve its water treatment facility in 2013. At that time, the Council passed the newer version by a vote of 5-0.
The Council's business meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at Scottsburg City Hall.

Two taken into custody on drug and alcohol charges after wreck near Austin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcus Amos   
Friday, 16 October 2015 10:15

Two young men, one from Little York and a second from Ellettsville, were taken into custody by sheriff's deputies after a side-swiping accident on Van Campen Road south of Austin on Saturday, October 10.
Charged in Scott Superior Court were Victor Isaiah Vires, 19, and Nathan Forrest Gates, 20.
According to the accident report and a probable cause affidavit filed by Deputy Shawn Mayer, he, Deputy Jac Sanders and Reserve Deputy William Best were dispatched to the scene of a two-vehicle accident that occurred in the curve of Van Campen around 2:30 p.m. that Saturday approximately 1,400 feet north of the road's intersection with York Road.
A 17-year-old youth from Austin was driving a 1996 Honda Civic west on Van Campen Rd. The youth told Deputy Mayer that he “...went wide...” in a sharp curve in the road and struck another Honda Civic being driven by Misty D. Collins, 27, of Underwood. No one was injured in the mishap, but Collins told the officer that, while everyone was waiting for deputies to arrive, she noticed Vires “...making a lot of movement....” and appeared to be trying to hide items.
When Deputy Mayer tried to talk to Vires, he said he could smell alcohol and that his speech was slurred and eyes were bloodshot. Vires allegedly said that he had drank a shot of vodka earlier.
Vires gave the officer permission to search the vehicle prior to Deputy Mayer placing him under arrest for illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.
Deputy Mayer's canine, Arina, indicated that drugs may be in the car, the affidavit related. When Deputy Sanders attempted to search Gates, a small bottle of whiskey was found in the young man's pocket. Drug paraphernalia was also found on Gates, it was noted.
While they were being processed by a jailer at the Scott County Security Center, Vires allegedly registered a .203 blood alcohol content (BAC), well above the Indiana's legal limit of 0.08. Gates' test was below the legal limit, it was noted.
Vires was placed in the jail's padded cell after it was determined he may harm himself. While in that cell, Vires allegedly caused damage by tearing up pieces of the floor near a grate.
Charges filed against Vires in Scott Superior Court include maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony; criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor; possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor; and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor and illegal possession/transportation of alcohol by a minor, both Class C misdemeanors.
Gates' charges include visiting a common nuisance, a B misdemeanor; and C misdemeanors of possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal possession of alcohol by a minor and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.
Both had initial court hearing on Tuesday, October 13. Not guilty pleas were entered for them. Vires was assigned bail of $15,000 by corporate surety bond or $1,500 by cash and a jury trial date of January 7, 2016.
Vires filed a cash bond that same day and was released to await trial.
In Gates' case, his bond was set at $5,000 by corporate surety bond or $500 cash, and his jury trial was set for December 10.
Gates was released on home detention, having given officials an address of a residence in Scottsburg, court records indicated.

New shopping mall planning under way at Scottsburg Interstate 65 interchange PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcus Amos   
Friday, 16 October 2015 10:12

A new shopping mall may soon transform the interchange at Interstate 65 in Scottsburg.
A developer, Scott D. Coots, president of Coots Development Group L.L.C. in Charlestown, met with Scottsburg utility department superintendents and Mayor Bill Graham on Wednesday morning, October 14, at the Mid-America Science Park.
Under discussion was a plan for Coots to develop two adjacent pieces of property on the north side of State Road 56 and east of the interchange. Those properties may be remembered as the sites of the former Dowd's Chevron and Julian's Standard, later BP. Both were primarily gas stations, and buildings which once stood on the land have been torn down and underground tanks removed.
What Coots wants to do is purchase the old Dowd's Chevron from owner David Church and the Julian site from owner Ken Temple and build a shopping mall which may contain 16,000 to 17,000 square feet. Coots declined to advise what anchor retailer is interested in the site, but he did say that a restaurant is anticipated to occupy 5,000 square feet.
Coots' business is completing two similar malls on State Road 62 in Jeffersonville near the booming River Ridge Commerce Center. One of the malls features a stand-alone Dollar General Store, El Nopal and Jimmy John's eateries, a beauty salon and a bakery. Early plans indicate that all buildings will connect in the proposed Scottsburg mall and feature attractive stone-and-brick facades.
Coots had hoped to get letters from all of the city-owned utilities and Midwest Gas Corporation indicating that the city's systems could accommodate the commercial addition. However, department heads wanted to know approximately how much electricity, water and sewer would be used by tenants, and those figures were not available at the Wednesday morning forum.
Plans to be on the agendas of the Scott County Board of Zoning Appeals and Area Plan Commission in November may not be possible, it was learned. Coots stated he wanted the mall “up and going” by July, 2016.
“We are very excited that the mall may become a part of our family here in Scottsburg and Scott County,” stated Mayor Bill Graham. “We will do everything we can to facilitate the process for the developer.”
David Church was also present at the forum. He commented that several businesses had been interested in the site, since it is so close to the interchange and S.R. 56 is heavily traveled. “We didn't want just anyone to get the property. We want something that will be attractive and inviting for travelers and local residents to see and visit when they drive into the community,” he said.

Drivers in separate accidents now face several felony charges filed against them PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 08:24

Serious charges have been filed against the drivers in two injury accidents that occurred in the county in 2014 and this past February.

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