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Investigated deaths up in 2018

The number of deaths investigated by the Lawrence County Coroner’s Office is up this year from last, according to county coroner Dr. Ben Mack, who gave an update at this week’s county commission meeting on Tuesday.

“Currently we have 55 cases in county that have been dealt with by our office, which is exactly the same number we had all last year,” Mack said. “And since we’re a month ahead, that’s about a 10 percent increase.”

Mack added that one of the issues causing that increase was that there have been more traffic fatalities in 2018, three of which were handled by his office.

“The other two were sent back out of state,” he said. “I think both of those went to Cabell County (West Virginia).”

Mack said that the biggest cause, however, continues to be deaths caused by overdose.

“The overdose deaths again are the biggest thing,” he said. “Right now, we’re one short of a 25 percent increase for the year.”

He added that the number of deaths caused by fentanyl have dropped recently, with more of the deaths being caused by “more typical” substances, but said that the sample size was not large enough to notice a trend.

“We have 19 total overdose deaths so far, and last year we had a total of 15,” he said. “But those are just the ones who were pronounced dead in our county. The number is about 45-50 people who were transported to other hospitals outside of the county before they died. That’s the difference between the prosecutor’s numbers and ours.”

Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens also reminded that 2019 dog tags go on sale Dec. 1, and cost $12.

“It doesn’t matter if your dog is an inside dog or an outside dog. All dogs are required to have their dog tags,” Stephens said. “And again this year, we’ve saved the No. 1 dog tag for the winner of the Top Dog essay contest, which was sent out to all of the elementary schools.”

Stephens also informed the commission that at a recent meeting of the County Auditor’s Association of Ohio, he was appointed the third vice president of the group, adding that next year he would be the second, the following year the first, until eventually becoming the president of the association.

In other action, the commission:

• Received and filed the Dog Warden Reports dated Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2018.

• Approved one appropriation.

• Approved 32 transfer funds.

• Approved the status change for Nathaniel Miskar from part-time paramedic to full-time paramedic, effective Nov. 18, 2018, as requested by Mac Yates, Lawrence County EMS operations administrator.

• Approved the resignations of William Sawyers, effective Nov. 18, 2018, and Krista Jenkins, effective Nov. 25, 2018, as requested by Mac Yates, Lawrence County EMS operations administrator.

• Approved the termination of Jessica Griffith for not fulfilling minimal hours of work per policy.

• Approved and signed the Ohio Division of Liquor Control permits for 243 Pit Stop LTD and Hughes Carryout LLC.

• Approved and signed the Grant Contract for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) under the Ohio Airport Matching Grant Program for the Lawrence County Airpark in the amount of $62,545. The FAA grant project number is 3-39-0107-010-2018, as approved by Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Mack Anderson.

• Approved the Invitation to Bid for the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services (LCDJFS) to any interested contractors to provide process serving of eligible Title IV-D child support cases for the Child Support Agency.

• Approved the Invitation to Bid for the LCDJFS submissions for any interested contractors for legal services for the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

• Agreed to be a sponsor for a Chesapeake Buddy League team, which supports children  with disabilities. Sponsors make sure teams raise enough money for T-shirts and other needed equipment.

• Met in executive session with LCDJFS Director Terry Porter regarding personnel; hire, fire, reprimand.

• Met in executive session with Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens regarding real estate.

• Met in executive session with Jason Smith regarding real estate.