Storm blew over communications tower


The old communications tower at the Highland County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of being replaced, according to Dave Bushelman, director of Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.

Bushelman said that last Thursday afternoon at 12:27 p.m. the county was put under a high wind warning. He said that at around 1:30 p.m. that day, he received a call informing him that the main communications tower at the sheriff’s office had blown over. Bushelman said this was the tower that holds the 20 antennas for all of the county’s police, fire and EMS communication systems.

After the tower blew over, Bushelman said multiple Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District personnel responded, and alongside Liberty Township’s bucket truck and the sheriff’s office’s armored vehicle, were able to “pretty much” get the tower winched back to close to its former location. Bushelman said a private contractor lashed the tower to a crane.

Bushelman said that on Friday morning he talked to the Ohio EMA, which then sent down a temporary communications tower that all of the county’s antennas were moved onto. He said after the antennas were moved to the temporary tower, the old communications tower was taken down to be replaced.

He also said it would probably be about three to four weeks until the new communications tower was able to be fully completed. He said the footer for the new antenna was poured on Tuesday, with the first 20 feet of the tower being set on Wednesday.

Bushelman also said it will cost from $30,000 to $35,000 to replace the antenna, all the co-ax cable and everything on the tower, but that they have “no idea” how much it would cost for the contractor erecting it, the crane or anything else they might find wrong as it’s going back up.

On another topic, Bushelman said he anticipates no local water contamination issues from the recent train derailment and resulting chemical spill along the Ohio River in East Palestine.

“To my knowledge, from everything that I have heard, it would be so dissipated by the time it would even get here that it’s gonna not even be a factor,” Bushelman said. “I was talking to my counterpart in Hamilton County yesterday, Hamilton County Emergency Management, and they’re saying that because Cincinnati gets their water from the Ohio River, that they’re not even anticipating any problems at all. They’re monitoring it, but it’s gonna be so diluted that it won’t even be traceable by the time it gets here is what they’re saying.”

Board president Terry Britton said that in an earlier meeting the board of commissioners discussed building a MARCs communication tower in Marshall Township. He said the commissioners gave the Marshall Township Trustees some time to think about the location of the tower. Following that time, Britton said the trustees decided to turn the board of commissioners down on the tower. Due to that refusal, Britton said they were in the process of looking for another location.

Commissioner Brad Roades said he thought the community was worried that a lot of people in neighborhoods there would complain about having the tower in their backyard. He also said the county was looking for a spot with a footprint of 100 feet by 100 feet, in the middle of that being the 300-foot tower.

Damon Lucas, director of transportation for Family Recovery Services, said that the organization added a survey link to its website. He said its goal was to get a gauge of the community’s needs as the organization evolves from what it was before to what it is now with its bigger scope.

He also said that while the organization hasn’t had problems keeping drivers because they are “ahead of the game,” vehicle resources are where it’s having trouble. Lucas said the Ohio Department of Transportation usually provides FRS with a majority of its vehicles, but that they’re struggling to find them because of national shortages.

Lucas said ODOT is saying it’ll be about 18 months for anything they’d be awarding. However, he also said FRS got “lucky” and found six vehicles from a manufacturer they were able to obtain.

The board of commissioners also approved an authorization to execute an electronic signature for new National Opioid Settlement organizations: Teva, Allergan, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.

The board of commissioners also agreed to put one authorization on hold for now. That authorization was for precision painting with “Shark Grip Additive” for the new dog pound.

In other news, there were five resolutions approved by the board:

* Res. No. 23-29 is an agreement for the board of commissioners to re-appoint Larry Nartker to the Highland County District Library Board of Trustees for a seven-year term, expiring in 2030.

* Res. No. 23-30 is authorization of a three-year renewal for FRS Transportation of Highland County as the grantee for rural public transit in Highland County.

* Res. No. 23-31 is authorization for a request for an additional appropriation from unanticipated revenue Victim Witness in the amount of $1,958.

*Res. No. 23-32 is authorization for a request for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds to county court in the amount of $1,700.

* Res. No. 23-33 is an agreement for the board of commissioners to vacate a length of 514 feet of Rocklick Road located in Jackson Township.

There were also two contracts approved by the board:

* Contract 18 is between the board of commissioners and the Ohio Department of Agriculture for a grant agreement for Highland County Agricultural Extension Relocation.

* Contract 19 is between the board of commissioners and Greystone Systems for the Highland County Dog Pound Telephone System Lease.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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