By Mark Evans
Charter Church Road was on Ste. Genevieve County’s short list of roads to pave in 2019. It was also on the short list for 2020.
A combination of spring floods in 2019, a reduction in revenues due to the pandemic this year and some required tree removal and ditch work by residents on the road, have kept the road on the county’s “to do” list.
A caller questioned county commissioners about the project last week.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson asked road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder whether the property owners had taken care of the work that needed to be done along the 1.6-mile stretch of road that will get chip and seal paving.
Schmieder said they had done nearly all the required work.
Nelson suggested Schmieder make up a checklist of everything that had to be done for the paving to take place.
First District Commissioner Randy Bahr said he had also spoken to one of the land owners and had told him the project wouldn’t be done this year.
“People are asking what we’re going to be doing next year,” Schmieder said. “If things are still like this, not much.”
Due to a reduction in tax revenue from the pandemic and the spring lock-down, the decision was made to pave only Magnolia Hollow Road and to just focus on patching and repairing roads this summer and fall.
Nelson pointed out that with “two new decision-makers” on board, (referring to Karen Stuppy replacing Bahr in District One and either Randy Ruzicka or Tony Ritter replacing Joe Gettinger in District Two) “they might want different roads done,” than the ones that have been prioritized in the past.
Schmieder said his crew had also been taking care of mowing, in addition to patching Dry Fork and other roads and digging out a bad area on Saw Mill Road.
It was agreed that he and the commissioners would examine some roads the next morning to determine which spots needed attention before winter sets in.
Nelson tried calling Pete Harnish, who will be installing metal grating on the aging Franklin Bridge on the outskirts of St. Mary.
Harnish’s wife told him the grading had been ordered out of Houston, but had not yet arrived.
Nelson suggested that Schmieder put two large concrete blocks on either end of the road, to keep traffic away while the work is being done.
The county is hoping to boost the weight limit on the century-old wooden bridge, which would allow emergency vehicles to cross it.
FOR OZORA SPOT
Sean Long, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve County Library, reported that he is still seeking an internet “hot spot” somewhere around Ozora.
Long received a grant to put several hot spots around the county, to give people outside of the city of Ste. Genevieve a better chance to have internet access. Various locations, such as St. Mary City Hall, have been designated as sites.
Meanwhile, Long also got 12 mobile devices that are checked out for two-week periods from the library. Families may take them home to gain internet access. Long said the mobile devices are “going like gang-busters.”
He and the commissioners discussed various possible locations. Topography is a concern. It would not work well to set one up in a low-lying a site.
“We’ll get something to work,” Nelson assured Long.
Long noted that “telehealth” is a big demand, in addition to students needing internet for schoolwork.
He said telehealth “is being pushed hot and heavy,” especially in rural parts of the state. This allows patients to get basic exams and talk to their doctors without having to drive in and see them in person. It also keeps them out of germ-riddled waiting rooms.
WRIGHT DISCUSSES LICENSE OFFICE
Nelson called Dale Wright, District 116 State Representative and discussed the license office hang-up.
After several months, the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce’s bid was selected as the winner of the contract for the county license office. However, just as the process of hiring personnel to man the office was wrapping up, one of the losing bidders filed a protest.
Wright said he had spoken to the state director of purchasing and the director of revenue, and had been told that each of the five bids would have to be reviewed again, according to state statute.
He promised to make calls that day.