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Courts may soon be connected online

GETAWAY — The Lawrence County Commission accepted a correspondence from Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper regarding research into whether it is feasible to merge the county municipal court’s probation department with the county common pleas court’s probation department at its meeting Tuesday at Collins Career Technical Center.

Capper, along with Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard, were at the meeting to talk about the importance of such a move, emphasizing that communication between all of the adult courts in the county, Lawrence County Common Pleas, Lawrence County Municipal and Ironton Municipal, is currently lacking.

Capper said that in 2017, his court handled around 6,000 cases with only one probation officer. He said that as it is now, all three of the courts are on separate computer systems, making it difficult to communicate or see individuals’ court history at any of the other courts.

“If we were linked, more information would be available, and I think it would really help with this drug epidemic,” Capper said. “We would be able to share more resources and be more efficient and effective. I think we need to collaborate to be more transparent.”

Ballard also spoke, and said that there “definitely is a communication breakdown between the courts.”

“Right now, we can’t see if anyone in our felony court has had any probations or anything from Lawrence County Municipal Court or Ironton Municipal Court,” he said.

Ballard also added that he would like to eventually see all of the courts in the state of Ohio be able to be connected through the Ohio Supreme Court, although that is something that would need to take place down the road at the state level.

“What we can do right now is make it easier here at the local level,” he said.

Capper also added that the move has the support of Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson as well.

“Lawrence County has not been effective with change in the past, and I always say that if you’re not changing, you’re getting left behind. Change is inevitable,” Lawrence County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday said. “…I think this is a change that will lead us in the right direction and progress our county.”

Lori Morris, Lawrence County EMS finance administrator, updated the commission on the agency’s January numbers, stating that although overall county EMS runs were up in January, the number of overdoses during the month were down from a year ago.

She said county EMS had about 1,054 runs in January this year, compared to just over 800 during January 2017. As far as overdose runs go, the county EMS went out on 24 overdose runs in January this year, compared to 53 in January last year.

She did add, however, that out of the 24 overdose runs last month, there were two deaths compared to none in the month last year.

The commission also approved three items on its agenda regarding its support for a possible new affordable senior living facility just before the Chesapeake Community Center on State Route 7.

The possible facility, called Rockwood Landing, would be closely related to Proctor’s Landing affordable senior living facility in Proctorville, but would contain roughly 20 more units.

Commission President Bill Pratt said the need for such housing is there, as there are more than 100 people on the waiting list for Proctor’s Landing. The three items show the commission’s support for the project in order to get the necessary grant funding.

The commission approved the following items on the matter:

• Signed the letter of support to Mr. Kelan Craig regarding Rockwood Landing Senior Housing Development in Chesapeake.

• Signed the letter regarding Rockwood Landing Senior Housing verifying the past five-year and future five-year investment within one mile of the project.

• Approved a resolution that would reaffirm the Chesapeake, Bradrick Revitalization and adopt the Revitalization Plan as a five-year update.

In other action, the commission:

• Received and filed the correspondence from the Wayne National Forest regarding the Land Management Plan.

• Approved one floodplain permit renewal.

• Approved Lisa Pine as Operator of Record for Collins Career Technical Center, effective Feb. 9, 2018.

• Received and filed the resignations of Chelsey Keathley, effective Feb. 12, 2018, and Patrick Stapleton, effective Feb. 9, 2018, from the Lawrence County EMS, as requested by Mac Yates, LCEMS operations administrator.

• Received and filed the LCEMS January reports, as presented by Lori Morris, LCEMS finance administrator.

• Approved and signed the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services (LCDJFS) Child Enforcement Agency Title IV-D Contract with McCown and Fisher LPA to provide legal services to the LCDJFS CSEA contract term, Jan. 1, 2018-Dec. 31, 2018.

• Approved one transfer fund.

• Approved the final change order for CO14U County/Township Joint Resurfacing 2017.