Courthouse seat wall proposal has been withdrawn


HARD members voice displeasure at talk of moving Marching Mothers bench

By Jacob Clary - [email protected]



Pictured are Jaymara Captain (seated) and Shawn Captain at Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting.

Pictured are Jaymara Captain (seated) and Shawn Captain at Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting.


Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

The Highland County Board of Commissioners announced at its weekly Wednesday morning meeting that the Bagshaw family rescinded its proposal for a new seat wall proposed at last week’s meeting. This proposal was set to build a new seat wall on the opposite side of the current one and came with the possibility of moving other monuments.

Jeff Duncan, the president of the board of commissioners, said that the Bagshaw family sent correspondence to the commissioners on Tuesday about this withdrawal.

“Due to ongoing inflation and volatility, the costs associated with the project now exceed the funds available, the Bagshaw family is respectfully withdrawing the offer to continue with the seating wall project at the Highland County Courthouse,” the correspondence said.

Shawn Captain, a representative from Hillsboro Against Racism and Discrimination (HARD), attended the meeting and said he saw the project was withdrawn on Tuesday, but still wanted to come to the meeting to discuss it and how the movement of certain monuments would affect the history of some specific ones.

He said when the final project location for the bench was decided a couple of years ago, it was agreed that the bench would not be incorporated into any other projects and be “standalone.”

“It’s my hope that the city and the county will keep their word that the bench will be its own standalone installation and not incorporate it into any other project, unless it’s an expansion on the legacy and the honor of the Lincoln School marchers,” Captain said.

Captain also said the exact spot of the bench was significant because it was the first and last spot where Elsie Young, one of the Marching Mothers, sat on the bench because she passed away last year at the age of 105.

Patrick Shanahan, another concerned citizen with HARD, said he felt “pretty emotional” when he learned about the possible movement of the monuments. He said he thought the Bagshaw family had the best of intentions with the new seat wall, but that it was a misstep.

“That bench represents recent history,” Shanahan said. “When you’re talking about the Marching Mothers, you’re not talking about someone’s distant relative that they’ve never met. You’re talking about someone’s mom or someone’s grandma, or someone’s aunt. I think it was not quite 70 years ago that the Marching Mothers did their thing. Not even a human lifetime ago that that happened. I’ll admit, it rubbed me the wrong way a little bit that the Bagshaws would come in here and try to initiate this process without having first consulted with folks like Shawn or Jaymara or Eleanor, for whom that bench represents their personal family history. They have a very deep connection to that monument, and again, I don’t think the Bagshaws had bad intentions, but I do think it was a misstep to not bring in black voices to be a part of that conversation from day one.”

Jaymara Captain, another representative of HARD, said that the Marching Mothers are Black history “but it’s history.” She said it’s not only Hillsboro’s history, but everybody’s history.

“There’s a lot more Black history that hopefully we all get to learn and be more aware of here in our county and I hope everybody would start to embrace that, including city and county officials,” she said.

In other news, JJ Van Winkle from Bid-Express attended the meeting to give a presentation on business, which he said was a web-based service that would let the county post and receive bids digitally for engineering projects. Van Winkle said the site was designed to reduce errors receiving bids and cut down on the time calculating the results.

The commissioners agreed to use the service for a couple of upcoming local projects to see if it works well before the county moves to bigger projects.

Van Winkle said that if one part of the county used the service and paid for it, other parts of the county would be able to use the service without paying for it. On the side of the contractors, he said that there were two options. The first was a pay-as-you-go option, which was $35 per bid submission. The other was a monthly subscription of $50 where the contractor would be able to submit an unlimited number of bids for that month.

Van Winkle said that some counties still accept paper bids in the early stages of using the service to allow people to get used to the system.

Highland County Deputy Engineer Christian Dunlap said he thought the use of the service would both increase the number of bids submitted as well as make his job easier. He also said that even though some of the job would start being done digitally, they would still be required to advertise in local newspapers about when the county was able to receive bids for specific projects.

In other news, Duncan said that Dave Bushelman, Highland County Emergency Management Agency director, submitted a request for money through the state capital budget for a MARCS radio tower that would increase the ability for emergency communication in the county. He said the county only has one tower and there’s a need for more.

Commissioner Terry Britton said the new tower would be located somewhere in the southeastern side of the county because that’s where the “real dead spots” are. He said that when the sheriff’s office goes into the Sinking Springs area, there are a lot of times where the radios won’t work, which he said was a “real” issue.

The request from Bushelman required a letter of support from the board of commissioners, which the commissioners signed.

Duncan also said that because of the storage issues the county has been having with its records, they have been looking into finding storage space. He said the county has contacted people in the county that had a property they might be interested in.

Britton said the storage problem is a “real, real issue.” He said the courthouse is full of files in places like the basement where they are deteriorating because of the atmosphere and that they need to be kept in good shape. He said the storage location must be close to the administration building as well as the courthouse in case someone needs to look for a record.

In other news, David Tolliver, Highland County Board of Elections director, attended the meeting to discuss multiple topics. Tolliver inquired about the possibility of using any space the county had to store some of its voting machines. However, Britton said that space was at a “premium” and that the county itself was looking for space.

Tolliver said the board also needs about 75 poll workers, but that normally in the first week of training a lot of people show up and that the matter could be assessed more at that time.

He also said some counties let county workers take the voting day off but keep their time earned, allowing those workers to be poll workers and receive both their poll worker pay and regular pay.

Commissioner Dave Daniels said the board of commissioners couldn’t review that resolution yet, but said they would talk to some of the other elected officials in the county about their staffing needs and what they’re doing.

The board of commissioners proclaimed that March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

In other news, there were several resolutions approved by the board of commissioners:

* Res. No. 22-46 is authorization for Christopher Fauber, Highland County engineer, to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and to sign and execute related contracts.

* Res. No. 22-47 is authorization for the sale of a duty weapon to a specific officer by the sheriff, which is property valued at less than $2,500 each for the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.

* Res. No. 22-48 is an authorization for the sale of a duty weapon to someone by the sheriff, which is property valued at less than $2,500 each for the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.

* Res. No. 22-49 is an authorization for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds in the amount of $502,673. The board also authorized a transfer within the Board of Developmental Disabilities.

There were also two contracts approved by the board of commissioners:

* Contract 20 is between Greystone Systems, Inc., the Highland County American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding administrator and the board of commissioners for a Standard Sale Agreement.

* Contract 21 is between Host My Sip, a phone company, the Highland County ARPA funding administrator and the board of commissioners for a Standard Sale Agreement.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Pictured are Jaymara Captain (seated) and Shawn Captain at Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/03/web1_DSC_0627.jpgPictured are Jaymara Captain (seated) and Shawn Captain at Wednesday’s county commissioners meeting. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette
HARD members voice displeasure at talk of moving Marching Mothers bench

By Jacob Clary

[email protected]