Harrison plant relocation advances

CADIZ – The Harrison County board of commissioners Wednesday cleared the way for the first step in the relocation of Lash Paving’s Cadiz asphalt plant.

The plant, which is currently located on the proposed site of Markwest Energy’s rail yard, is being torn down and, while a lease agreement is being finalized, the company asked permission to begin moving equipment into the location behind the Mine Safety Training Center in the Industrial Park.

“The property description is completed and the lease should come before the board next Wednesday for approval,” said Commission Chair Dale Norris. “This is just a good neighbor policy which allows Lash to begin moving their yard while the lease is clearing through the process.”

Norris said that the additional time will allow the paving company to get its plant back in operation prior to the busy spring paving season. Norris also took the opportunity to thank Lash for choosing to remain in Harrison County.

Bob Hooker, Harrison County bee inspector, met with the commissioners to thank them for continuing to fund, what he deems, an important aspect of the county agricultural system.

Hooker, president of the Harrison County Beekeepers Association and past president of the Ohio State Beekeeping Association, explained that the numbers of bee hives were continuing to grow. “In 2009, there were 16 registered bee keepers in Harrison County and 21 apiaries we now have 48 registered bee keepers and over 60 apiaries.”

Hooker told commissioners that he had inspected approximately one third of the hives last year and has set a goal to reach 100 percent of the county apiaries in 2104.

Ohio farmers rely on bees to pollinate more than 70 crops, including apples, strawberries and pumpkins. Nationwide, bees pollinate $14.6 billion worth of fruits and vegetables every year.

Hooker said that the inspections of more hives was essential to prevent deadly parasites and viruses from spreading into the county. He assessed the current population as being healthy with no current disease problems.

Hooker also said that with the large number of new bee keepers education is a big part of his job. The county has monthly meetings and an annual field day.

The season begins in March and runs through October, and any interested residents can contact Hooker by e-mail at harrisoncountybeekeepers@gmail.com.

Scott Blackburn, director of the Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), asked the board for an additional appropriation of $75,000 for the Children’s Service Fund. Blackburn explained that the Harrison County Public Children Services Agency administers local adoption assistance, foster care services, and child welfare intervention programs. The agency strives to reunify children with their families when possible, or find other permanent living arrangements for them when they cannot safely return home.

“While the agency has been successful in placing many of the children in the county care as one leaves, unfortunately there seems to be another to replace them,”?Blackburn said.

Commissioner Don Bethel again questioned the large number of children in the program, “We are 10 times the number of children in other counties of similar size,” Bethel said. “While I am unable to explain the magnitude of the problem, I agree that it is our responsibility to make sure that these children are cared for and have a safe place to live.”

The board unanimously passed the funding request.

Harrison County Engineer’s Office Business Service Officer Doug Crabtree brought a RUMA from AEP to the board for roads in Green, German, Archer and Rumley townships. Commissioner Norris noted that the agreement included CR 51. The condition of the route known as Bakers Ridge and Amsterdam Road has been an issue and Norris suggested that the agreement be tabled until proper contracts for the repair of the road are in place.

Norris also informed Crabtree that he had received complaints from residents that potholes on CR 45 or Merryman Road were becoming quite deep from the truck traffic. Crabtree responded that the Engineer’s office would look into making repairs.

In other business: The board approved transferring 68 hours of sick leave for an employee of probate court. Judge Mathew P. Puskarich thanked the board for providing the extra sick leave for an employee who has had an extended illness. The employee will retire at the end of the month and the judge stated that his office had no plans at this time to fill the vacated position.

The board approved allowing the sheriff’s office to charge a fee for copies. The charge will be $1 for black and white and $2 for color copies.

Treasurer Vicki Sefsick notified her office had mailed tax bills to property owners for 2014.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com.