By MARK EVANS
Ste. Genevieve County Library director Shawn Long has declared amnesty.
His declaration had nothing to do with migrants crossing the U.S. border, but rather readers who have been delinquent on returning books and other checked-out items.
“Our biggest update is that effective July 15 the library has gone fine-free on all books and DVDs,” Long told the County Commission during a periodic report last Thursday.
“Current research indicates that fines serve as a barrier to use rather than a way to encourage return,” long said. “We are still keeping fine sin place for our bigger ticket items like Playaway Launchpads, Hots pots, etc.”
Long also reported that the library has various kits available. One type are reminiscent kits, geared for patrons with memory issues and their caretakers. Another is the healing library kit set, which includes dealing with death of a parent, death of a pet and dealing with separation and divorce.
Also, outdoor bags with tracking kits from the Missouri Department of Conservation, plus geology and bird watching.
Meanwhile, a new microfilm machine was obtained with a state grant.
It will make printing and saving specific articles much easier and takes up less space than the old microfilm reader – which is still in use.
He also reported tat he received an American Library Association grant to hold a community talk. Long said he and Mary Bleckler at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital are interested in doing a community talk on the COVID-19 pandemic and how the county has responded to it.
Long also said the Summer Leading Program ends Aug. 14. As of last week, 139 children, 84 adults, 63 Pre-K and 16 teenagers had taken part.
With road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder on vacation, there was no roads report given. The short agenda was covered quickly.
Sheriff Gary Stolzer reported that road and bridge crews had hauled of dirt from the detention center, where work continues. It will be put on a stockpile and used by the crew as needed.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson reported on Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SEMO RPC) and Southeast Missouri Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings.
He said at the RPC meeting the American Relief Act money was discussed. However, there has still been no clear guidance given on exactly what the funds may and may not be used for.
“Nobody knows anymore on the criteria,” Nelson said.
He also reported that Delta Regional Authority grants are on hold until a federal co-chairperson is appointed.
He also said that Drew Christian of the RPC will be sending out ballots for voting on the TAC priorities.
The TAC represents seven counties. The commissioners in each county rank their top priorities for road projects during the coming year. The TAC then votes on these 21 and puts out a priority list for the Missouri Department of Transportation to operate off of.
Adding a turn lane to Industrial River Drive at Highway 61 continues to be the county’s top priority.