Responding to the news release issued Tuesday by Health Commissioner Jared Warner concerning the coronavirus, Highland County commissioners reassured the public that their office is involved in necessary planning to meet any challenges should the disease surface in the county.
“We had a chance to visit with Dave Bushelman yesterday (Monday) from Highland County Emergency Management,” commission president Jeff Duncan said. “He is putting together some meetings with the local fire departments and first responders, since it was first responders from Seattle that had to be quarantined because they didn’t know at the time they were dealing with someone who had the virus.”
Duncan said there is work going on behind the scenes to formulate strategy to combat any occurrence of the disease if cases were to materialize in Highland County.
The proposed Imagination Library will soon be a reality in Highland County, with Duncan saying that it was the desire of first lady Fran DeWine to have all 88 Ohio counties participate in the program created by entertainer Dolly Parton in her home state of Tennessee.
He said an announcement would be forthcoming Friday from the Highland County District Library concerning what has been called a “children’s book of the month club,” where children from birth to age 5 receive a free age appropriate book every month.
“They had met with us earlier about trying to get this program in the county,” Duncan said. “Our concern was there had to be some money, and there was going to be some match money, but we were a little concerned as to where the funding was going to come from.”
He said that in the meantime, a third-party entity stepped forward to provide the necessary funding for the program.
A proclamation for Ohio 4-H Week in Highland County was presented by commissioners, with junior leader Sara Newsome sharing what the program is and how young people can become members.
“4-H is so much more than just farming,” she said. “We’re going to go out into different communities and schools, and share the many projects and opportunities that there are, and what we’re striving to do.”
Danielle Combs, a 4-H educator, said that to coincide with Ohio 4-H week, local clubs would be involved in promotional activities such as window decorating at area businesses to bring awareness of the program, which began in 1902.
Commissioners also accepted quotes from Sheriff Donnie Barrera for replacement of a cruiser that was severely damaged in a recent accident.
A decision to move forward on window replacement at the Highland County Administration Building was made Wednesday, with plans being made to proceed with replacement of one window so the contractor could then provide an accurate estimate of what it would cost to replace the others.
Commissioner Terry Britton noted that the windows in question were from when the building was originally constructed in 1976.
An HVAC replacement project at the Highland County Justice Center was discussed, with Britton saying that Weller’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning had been “band-aiding” the unit that serves the kitchen area for several years.
He said the air-conditioning unit in question was installed when the facility was built in 2001.
In other matters, a pair of resolutions were approved, one being a memorandum of understanding that establishes a negotiating committee to conduct settlement discussions in the pending opiate litigation and the other a maximum fee schedule for court appointed cases in Highland County.
A total of three contracts were accepted, one a renewal of an operating agreement between the sheriff’s office and Aramark for food service operations at the justice center, with another authorizing The Barn and Cabin Friend, LLC to take down an older building at the former county home property on SR 124 east of Hillsboro.
Duncan said the company would remove the old barn for any recyclable contents at no cost to the county.
One other contract with Superior Dental Care was approved for county employees so that it and the county health insurance policy will renew at the same time.
Britton said that the county health insurance program was up for renewal in August, and he and Duncan listened to a brief presentation that was submitted from Assured Partners employee benefits sale representative Nicholas Beatty.
Following Wednesday’s session, a meeting described previously by Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley as “routine in nature” was scheduled with auditors from the state for the purpose of review of county funds and operational expenses.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.