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Plat books to be on sale soon: Coroner says he may have to ask for additional funds for autopsies

At the Lawrence County Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, it was announced that for the first time in two decades, a plat book would soon be available to landowners.

Peggy Reynolds, administrative assistant from the Lawrence Soil and Water Office, said that the office is in the process of reviewing a plat book for the county.

“Lawrence County hasn’t had a plat book for sale since 2000,” she said. “It will be available, hopefully, in 30 days. We have a lot of landowners looking for these.”

She also gave a storm water update, saying the mapping has been completed but it has to be put on the website as required by the EPA. She added that as soon as the wet weather breaks, they would be stenciling all the storm drains.

She said storm water plans have to be updated by September and they are working on setting up a task force meeting for July and then have hearings.

She said the office was contacted by FEMA about six sites being non-compliant with flood plain requirements and they have been working with the property owners to get them compliant with the regulations in the next 30 days.

County coroner Ben Mack spoke to the commissioners about how later in the year, he may have to come to them for more money for autopsies.

“My hands are tied, you have to do what you have to do,” he said.

He said the county has had a high number of autopsies this year including a couple of murders and four people dying in a house fire.

He added that the county normally has about 13 autopsies a year.

“We are already at 12 for the year,” he said, adding the autopsies have to be done so that no one gets away with a conspiracy or anything like that.

He said he has tried to avoid doing autopsies as much as possible by going out to things like car wrecks and doing external examinations and doing overdose screens to determine cause of death.

“So, I am doing the best I can with what I got,” Mack said. “But, budget-wise, we are getting to the bottom already, sadly. So, just bear some grace with me when the time comes” to ask for more funds.

Mack said they are looking forward to moving into the new office and hopes to be in there soon. He said he would be working to finish the landscaping on Tuesday afternoon since that was a hobby of his. He recently used a jackhammer to remove some concrete where they wanted to plant flowers.

“We got that problem taken care of,” he said.

Eric Brown, a career coach from Ohio University Southern, also spoke to the commissioners about a new program the college is offering for employers.

He said it was a new position for all the regional campuses and that the students at the Athens campus already have access to the services.

He said there is a new program called Handshake, which he called a mix of Facebook and LinkedIn but only for OU students that he asked the commissioners to join.

He said they would be able to post jobs or internships directly onto the site.

“No more emailing someone on campus and asking ‘Who do I talk to about getting some work done?’” Brown said. “You will do that directly on Handshake.”

He said they would be able to ask for people with specific skills and they would be able to see the student’s grade point average, interests and recommendation letters.

“It is a very simple site to navigate,” Brown said.

Brown said that he would also be training students on how to act in an office environment.

In the commissioners’ reports, Freddie Hayes Jr. took issue with a Facebook page called “Larry County,” which takes a satirical look the county, city and villages with memes.

“I made a promise that when we lost Bill (Pratt), we would stay positive,” he said. “But I’ve always said, you got a problem with us, come to us. Don’t hide behind the computer. I’m sure I’ll get blasted on there today for this but I don’t care.”

He said he got aggravated because they have tried to make it a positive county with things like Project First Impression.

“They made fun of us for that. We’ve put a lot of work into that, DeAnna (Holliday) especially. A lot of work. We get out here and try to do things right.”
He said he understood criticism, “but it makes us look bad. We’re trying to clean up the county, because we were the dirtiest county in the state and now, they are trying to make another joke out of us.”

He called it sad, especially when there was something like the Lawrence County EMS get an award from the American Heart Association for doing a good job of giving pre-hospital care to patients having a heart attack or stroke.

“It is really sad,” Hayes said. “And I challenge you, come out and tell us who you are. I’ll be glad to talk to you. I’ll meet you anywhere you want to meet. Don’t hide behind that computer. I don’t.”