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Washington County 4-H Gives Annual Report to County Board

By Todd Marver

The Washington County 4-H gave its annual report to the Washington County Board at its Tuesday, March 14 meeting.

Amanda Fox-Clark, program coordinator, said 4-H offers youth the opportunity to join clubs under the direction of community volunteers. She said they are very grateful for the county’s support of 4-H.

“The youth in our 4-H clubs enjoy hands-on opportunities in the area of service projects that can lead to career exploration and most importantly, leadership. We are very fortunate to be part of an organization that is providing these life skills to the youth who will hopefully serve as the leaders of our community in the future,” she said.

Fox-Clark said there are six community clubs in Washington County located in Ashley, Hoyleton, Nashville, Oakdale, Okawville and Venedy and there are also six special interest clubs. She said this year there are 72 new members, which brings the total enrollment to approximately 230 youth.

“Some of our popular programs recently have been our partnerships with local libraries where we’re teaching kids about growing their own food and how to cook with that food. In addition, they’re participating in some service learning projects. We’re also really looking forward to a new partnership with our soil and water conservation office here in Nashville,” she said.

Four Washington County 4-H students spoke in front of the board.  Lily Emge said she has been a member of Oakdale Four Leaf Clovers for six years.

“4-H has given me countless learning opportunities and has helped me gain life skills. I have learned dedication, responsibility and time management skills while working with my animal project, and leadership, social and communication skills while attending workshops and conferences. Because of 4-H, my family has become closer and I have met some of my best friends,” she said.

The board accepted a bid from Korte and Luitjohan Contractors for an upgrade to the county jail in the amount of $294,780.

“We had the bid opening for the jail renovations. We only came up with one bid. It was within the parameters of what we thought the bid should be. The base bid is for $289,830. There’s an alternate bid to resurface the metal flooring back in dispatch and the jail area. That’s for $4,950. The committee’s recommendation is to accept both of those bids,” said county board member Gary Suedmeyer.

County Board Chairman David Meyer reported the inmates will be moved out of the jail in order to do repairs.

“The jail will be vacated and we’ll find locations in surrounding counties for the inmates,” he said.

The board approved a resolution to appropriate township aid at a total cost to the county of $7,835.

County Engineer Kiefer Heiman reported the Ashley and Johannisburg Road Districts both requested the county appropriate township aid under Illinois statutes for two culverts in each road district.

The culverts in Ashley Road District are on Louisiana Road and Florida Road. The cost to the county is $2,052 for the Louisiana Road culvert and $1,700 for the Florida Road culvert.

The culverts in the Johannisburg Road District are at Main and Franklin Streets, and Main Street about 750 feet north of Franklin Street.

The cost to the county for the culvert at Main and Franklin is $1,508 and $2,575 for the culvert on Main Street about 750 feet north of Franklin Street.

The board approved new national opioids settlements with Teva, Allergan, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.

State Attorney Daniel Janowski reported the county received payments recently due to a settlement with some distributors of pharmaceuticals in the country and the total is currently approximately $24,000.

“Our attorneys on that litigation as well as the attorney general of Illinois have reached a settlement agreement with some other pharmacies. We might be getting some more money in order to help combat the opioid epidemic,” he said.

The board approved the appointment of Andrew Chambers to replace Kenneth Kleeman on the Methodist North Prairie Cemetery Association. The board also approved the following reappointments: John Luessenheide, Ron Luessenheide, David Hake and James Wacker to the Methodist North Prairie Cemetery Association; Jim Weeke and Gary Reynolds to the Washington County Board of Review; and Earl Schnitker and Jim Weeke to the Washington County Farmland Assessment Review Board.

Circuit Clerk Andrea Renken reported that in August, the circuit clerk’s office signed up with a collections company. She said they currently have about $379,000 pending with collections and since August, the agency has collected about $24,000.

“We’ve never used collections before for unpaid fines and fees. We thought it might be beneficial to try to recoup unpaid fines and fees that are out there. Hopefully we’ll keep collecting and getting that paid. We don’t pay a fee for the collections agency,” she said.

Renken also reported that the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts offered another technology modernization grant that the circuit clerk’s office put in for and was granted a little over $200,000.

“That will go to courtroom technology upgrades and new computers for our office and other areas in the building. We’re going to possibly implement an online juror questionnaire program,” she said.

Heiman reported that the county will be starting milling and paving on County Highway 10 from Oakdale to Elkton.

“The road will remain open the entire time on a limited basis. You might have to drive on a milled surface for a few weeks while we get that all taken care of. With good weather, we’re going to have that paved well before May. We will be adding two-foot paved shoulders the entire way from Oakdale to Elkton. Also in Oakdale we will be putting in four-foot shoulders along the road,” he said.

County Clerk Shari Hempen reported her office is getting ready for the election. She said her office mailed out over 500 permanent vote by mail ballots and has gotten about 160 ballots back.

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