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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, was busy working to repair damage to county roads when the county commissioners met last Thursday afternoon.
The meeting, like this Thursday’s, was held at 1 p.m., rather than 8 a.m., due to other conflicts.
The western part of the county was pummeled by thunderstorms and powerful straight-line winds that downed threes and did other damage on Aug. 5. Storm damage was also inflicted on Aug. 2.
“The Ste. Genevieve County Commission would like to express their deepest thanks to the county road and bridge department for their extensive efforts during repair and cleanup from the August 2 and August 5 storms that left widespread damage in western and southern sections of the county,” the county commission said in a press release. “While no tornados were reported, intense straight line winds led to a vast area of downed trees blocking roads in an unprecedented series of storms. Torrential rains created washouts throughout the area with emergency repair operations being conducted from early Thursday morning to late Saturday afternoon. As road and bridge is on a four, 10- hour a day schedule, working on Friday and Saturday amounted to overtime when the employees are normally off from work.
“A special thank you from the county recognizing Fischer Quarries for service above and beyond for operating on Saturday, August 5 to allow the road and bridge department to haul badly needed material to the Boyd Road rebuild on that day.”
The commissioners expressed delight in the previous evening’s town hall meeting at Progress Sports Complex. All three of them spoke, along with District 145 State Representative Rick Francis and State senator Elaine Gannon. About 50 people attended, despite rainy weather.
Presiding Commissioner Randy Ruzicka congratulated Second District Commissioner Mark Marberry, who put the forum together, noting that he was pleased with the attendance.
“All in all, I was impressed with the level of civility,” Ruzicka said.
Marberry agreed, while noting that one attendee got “a little squirrelly” in debating Gannon over an abortion bill she had opposed. (See stories on Page 3A.)
“Everybody I spoke to thanked us and asked if we’re going to have another one” Ruzicka said. That answer, he said, is “probably.”
“It went really well,” First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy agreed.
Marberry was glad Gannon and Francis didn’t bog things down with too many details of legislative bills.
“Rick and Elaine didn’t get deep in the weeds,” Marberry said. “That’s when you start losing people.”
“I heard a lot of positive comments,” Stuppy said.
They agreed that with 2024 being an election year, there should be even mote interest in such an event.
ST. MARY SEWERS
A St. Mary resident had complained to the commissioners about sewage seeping into yards.
Ruzicka called St. Mary Mayor Carl Wyatt to pass along the complaints.
Wyatt said it had been too wet to use pumps and noted that, “We’re doing as good as we can.”
LOOKING AT TOOTS HILL
Chris Crocker of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) came in to discuss the Toots Hill situation.
Toots Hill, a short stretch of road near Highway M and I-55, near Ozora that connects to New Bremen Road, was discussed in early July, when a property owner approached the commission about fixing a pothole.
Crocker said he found a maintenance agreement dated Dec. 9, 1968 that said the county would maintain it.
The county, however has never worked on it – at least not during Schmieder’s 23 years with the road and bridge crew. In fact, MoDOT has paved it and plowed it over the years.
Crocker proposed deeding the road to the county and the land around it to the neighboring property owners.
Ruzicka said he had trouble with the notion of taking over what, in essence, “has become a driveway.”
While there, Crocker reported that the county was approved for an Off-system Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation (BRO) grant to replace Franklin Bridge, near St. Mary, but not for replacing the bridge on North Main, by the old mill. The circa 1920 Franklin Bridge had to be removed after the banks eroded too much to support it. It was sold to the Fischer Family Fun Farm and moved to its new location. A longer span will be needed to replace it.
• Derek Welker of McCoy Construction & Forestry delivered the county’s new 2023 John Deere grader. The price tag was $350,479, minus the $117,000 guaranteed buy-back price on the old one, bought in 2018.
The new grader comes with a guaranteed buy-back price of $129,000.
• The commissioners approved Bob Mueller’s request to set up between the courthouse and the Chamber of Commerce building on Saturday, Aug. 16, when the local sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War group reenacts the 1864 take over of the county courthouse by Federal Troops.
• Stuppy reported that the fair board laced a quorum at its meeting that week and will meet again Aug. 21. She said it was agreed that the 2023 far “went really well.”
• Grayco Roofing Consultants said that some sealant was not installed during recent roofing work, leading to condensation issues. Subcontractor Bade Roofing will come back and fix the problem at no additional cost to the county.