Commissioners Discuss Need for Quick Response Training

Commission Chairman Tom Claussen started the Mitchell County Commission meeting this morning by thanking Commissioner Mike Cooper for all the work he put in helping during the tragic event that happened at the Waconda Lake a week ago last Saturday evening. He extended condolences to the family of Timothy Griffiths of Hunter.

Commissioner Cooper thanked Claussen but said he was only one of many who helped out during the major tragic event at the Waconda Lake on the evening of August 25. Cooper said he wanted to acknowledge every one who helped in any way. He especially named Sheriff Doug Daugherty and his staff, Ed Debesis and his EMS employees, and the county employees who were on hand to help. He especially mentioned Roger Emerson, Roger Goff, and Ron Sporleder. Many of these people were just volunteers who stepped in to help either with manpower or boats, Cooper said.

"I think Ed and Doug and I learned a lot throughout the course of that search and rescue effort. We had a debriefing meeting last Thursday night and most of those who helped were present. We have a 12,000-foot body of water in our county and thousands upon thousands of people use those facilities every year."

"We are fortunate not to have had more accidents take place but we all agreed that we need to have a disaster plan in place. In particular a water rescue plan. We would like to see a Disaster Board put back in place and create a rescue team under the direction of the EMS department." Cooper said he was asking the County Commissioners actively assist in getting this done.

Debesis said, the Wildlife and Parks Department already has a protocol in place for this and that they just need to expand on it and get people trained to do this work. He said actually Sheriff Doug Daugherty and the County Sheriff's department is named to be in charge of this type of procedure because of the fact it is always a possible crime scene. However, the Wildlife & Parks Department is to work closely with them.

The Wildlife & Parks Department has a rescue boat that they use in doing these procedures but unfortunately the person that needed to give the orders for them to use the boat was on vacation and they had a hard time getting the key. It was discussed that there needs to be a boat available that the Sheriff's Department has access to immediately so they can get out on the water as soon as possible. The Beloit Fire Department and others will be working to try to find a grant that will make it possible to purchase a boat. Cooper and Debesis said there would have to be a 30-hour training session for members of the Quick Response Team to qualify and it would take a lot of commitment on each of their parts.

Cooper asked for a 15-minute executive session with the County Commissioners, Ed Debesis and County Clerk Chris Treaster present to discuss non-elected personnel. Chairman Claussen announced that no decisions were made during the meeting.

EMS Director Ed Debesis announced that EMT-1, Weston Dent, has resigned from his staff. Dent had worked there 4 years and he hated to lose him. He will be looking for a replacement. Debesis asked for a 15 minute executive session with the Commissioners to discuss non-elected personnel. No decisions were made during the meeting.

County Clerk Treaster asked if anyone knew if Murray McGee, Community Development Director had finished up the paper work on the Neighborhood Revitalization program. Commissioners signed the necessary paper work but she wonders if something else needs to be done. Chairman Claussen will call and find out about this. Commissioner Virgil Palen who serves on that committee said he thinks they have selected a replacement for McGee but nothing definite has been announced yet.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, received a message from spokesman Johnston saying they will start Mitchell County Bridge Inspection next week. He said, "We are under contract with KDOT to perform fracture critical bridge inspection on a bridge in your county. We will be using a Snooper Truck to get an arm's length inspection of the fracture critical members. This will require temporary closure of one direction of bridge traffic." They will do their own signing and flaggers for the partial closure.

Therefore, the public is advised that the bridge over Waconda Lake will be partially closed during daylight hours from approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12.

Emerson said, according to Engineer John Cashatt, the Fisherman's Bridge inspection might have to have to be an underwater inspection. The inspections are done every two years. Mitchell County is under contract with Cashatt. The full inspection will cost the county between thirty-five and forty thousand dollars. They pay Cashatt $40 a bridge to inspect the bridges so this runs about $1,200 overall.

Chairman Claussen said he feels the new bridge on Jasmine Trail should not have to be inspected since it will be under a year old. Emerson said they have all the pilings driven and are ready to start plating the bridge today. They are finished sealing the roads and started mowing this week. It will take them from 3 to 5 weeks to do all the county roads.

Emerson said he is still looking for a used Bull Dozer. He found one in Aurora, Colorado at an equipment dealers It is a 2002 model with a ripper on it and they want $162,500 for it. If they purchase this it would eliminate having to hire the Technical College to do any of this work. He will report back when he heard about this machine. He thinks they can get around $25,000 for the old one they have now.

They had a grass fire in the tire pit at the landfill. They were able to put it out the first time but it came back and they had to call the fire department.

Kathy Webster, a member of the Pawnee Mental Health Board of directors brought in a proclamation for the commissioners to sign. It is to help celebrate National Recovery Month by drawing attention to the fact that prevention does work and acknowledge that people can be helped and overcome substance abuse.

Chairman Claussen asked it they had discussed KANCARE yet and Webster said not much this year. She said they plan to discuss KANCARE at their September board meeting in Manhattan. She said a lot of people are taking a wait and see attitude and keep an open mind. They want to give the program a chance but had an alternative in mind if it doesn't work.

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