By MARK EVANS
Scott Schmieder, county road and bridge foreman, reported to the Ste. Genevieve County Commission last Thursday that he had already gotten some work done on Lawrenceton Cutoff Road before heavy rains hit. He said his crews would be back at it as soon as weather permitted.
The crumbling road is the county’s first priority this paving season. A week earlier Schmieder and the commissioners met representatives of Jokerst, Inc. and Vern Bauman Contracting at the road and discussed the upcoming project. They also visited some other roads the local rivals will probably be bidding on, including the intersection of Roth Road and Highway Y.
Schmieder told the commissioners that he had also met with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) maintenance supervisor Shawn Lelaumondiere, at the site.
“It went well,” Schmieder said, adding that Lalumondiere suggested the county obtain a state permit for the project.
The commissioners and Schmieder are hoping MoDOT may provide some help in improving the dangerous intersection. Motorists turning off of or onto Y have to make a sharp turn and immediately face a steep incline.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson called Jordan Dalaviras, MoDOT traffic specialist, to discuss the project. Dalaviras suggested Nelson send photos and/or drawings of the intersection that showed the problems and potential solutions.
Schmieder also reported that the city of Ste. Genevieve had borrowed the county’s crack-patcher. Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka asked whether he meant the DuraPatcher. Schmieder said it was a different patching device.
As rain continued, Schmieder said crews were also fixing holes on Dry Fork, Crave, Village and Roth Cemetery roads “in between the showers.”
He also discussed a location on Roth Cemetery Road where a resident would like an 18-inch culvert pipe replaced with a 24-inch one. Schmieder said he agreed that it would be better.
If the property owner will purchase the pipe, Schmieder’s men will install it.
Schmieder reported he will have to wait on ordering grader blade tips. He received two bids, but one didn’t match the specific product requested. He said the two packages offered “are not apples to apples” and cannot fairly be compared. A resubmitted bid will be required.
Don Heil Oil Company had the lowest bid on fuel for road department vehicles and was awarded this month’s contract.
Meanwhile, a discussion took place on the county’s use of the county’s annual summer tractor rental.
In past years the county would rent a tractor from Wm. Nobbe, Inc., to pull its bat-wing mower. Nobbe, however, was bought out a year or so ago and is now Sidenstricker-Nobbe. It was believed for some time that the new management would drop the rental program, putting the county in a bind.
Word has been received, though, that Sidenstricker-Nobbe will continue the program.
The county annually rents a tractor for 300 hours of use. It typically costs about $4,500, with a per-hour fee added on if the hours used tops 300. The number of hours has tended to work out perfectly to match the county’s needs during recent summers. It is then cleaned up and picked up by the company in the fall.
Since this option appears to be open after all, the decision will have to be made on continuing the county’s participation in the program.
MUELLER CALLS IN COVID NUMBERS
Jennifer Mueller, county health department administrator, called in her weekly COVID-19 report.
The county had 1,741 cumulative cases since March 2020. There were 239 probable current cases, up just slightly, while the actual confirmed cases dropped to just three.
There had been 18 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and three probable deaths.
Mueller said she expected to be getting 100 vaccine doses per week from Missouri’s Region C. Currently, Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital is not receiving any, leaving those 100 doses the only supply locally.
Mueller said that 50 local teachers had received shots the day before and that 50 more would get them that day.
She also informed the commissioners that she will be coming up with a comprehensive plan to battle the coronavirus.
STUPPY, SKAGGS TOUCHED BASE
First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy reported that she and county fair board president Keith Skaggs had exchanged texts regarding the youth building at the fairgrounds. Also used as the meeting spot for the fair board, the building has had flooding issues during heavy rains. Stuppy said she had wanted to touch base with Skaggs to make sure steps were being taken to prevent water from getting into the building with the continued heavy rains being predicted through the weekend. She said Skaggs had assured her the building would be safeguarded against flooding.
“I appreciate that,” Nelson told Stuppy.
Meanwhile, Stuppy and associate county clerk Michele Gatzemeyer said they would attend the March 16 fair board meeting and explain the county’s position on fairgrounds insurance. The commissioners have had concerns about the fairgrounds’ insurance coverage.