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Macoupin County Board Chairman Mark Dragovich opened the board’s April meeting with a moment of silence in honor of longtime board member Robert Vojas, who passed away March 19.

Because Vojas had been the chairman of the Road and Bridge Committee, the board appointed Francis Wieseman to fill that position and Robert Quarton to take Wieseman’s spot as vice-chairman.

A vacancy was also declared in Vojas’ district, District 1, in the Staunton area.

Courthouse lighting

Todd Armour noted that the lighting project at the courthouse is largely complete, other than some minor adjustments. “For those of you out of town, I suggest you go grab some dinner, drive around town, go to Walmart, wait until the sun goes down, because it’s a beauty to behold,” he said. “Sheriff Kahl had some of the trustees out there, doing some of the work, and we should all thank Sheriff Kahl for the work that they put into it, because it’s long overdue and it’s beautiful.”

“It is impressive,” said Harry Starr.”

Other discussion

Kent Tarro, administrator of the Macoupin County Public Health Department, discussed two free upcoming events the department is hosting. Dr. Craig Backs will discuss “making future strokes and heart attacks a thing of the past” from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, at Gillespie Civic Center. The department will hold a community informational meeting about heroin and prescription opiate addiction at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 2, at Cross Church in Carlinville, with a showing of the documentary film The Heroin Project.

Three resolutions were approved: one certifying that elected officials are working the necessary hours to be eligible for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund benefits, as is now required every two years; one authorizing Tarro to apply for an Illinois Department of Transportation grant for the purchase of new vehicles for the public transportation program; and a resolution of support for West Central Development Council requesting an increase in funding for the FY 2015 Partnership Planning Assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Association.

The board appointed Rick Filson and William Hays to the South Palmyra Rural Water District Board of Trustees for three-year terms expiring April 3, 2020; Brian Thibideau, Richard Campbell and Suzanne Wolfolk to Panther Creek Cemetery Board for six-year terms ending Jan. 1, 2023; Marty Jones to the Virden Fire Protection District Board for a term expiring May 1, 2020. In addition, they reappointed Ronald Dustman to Staunton Fire Protection District for a term expiring May 1, 2020, and reappointed Earl Nixon and Earl Bailey to Medora Fire Protection District for three-year terms expiring May 1, 2020. The appointment of two trustees to the Bunker Hill Fire Protection District Board was tabled pending a recommendation from the district board, as there were three applicants.

The board approved the annual report for Special Service Area #1 (Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service); a minor subdivision just outside of Benld; a high speed rail local roads engineering review agreement, which provides the county with a maximum reimbursement of up to $15,000 for engineering costs incurred associated with the high speed rail project; a bid of $4,187.48 from Danny Cox for tiling work on county-owned farmland north of Carlinville; the claims and officers report; mileage and per diem; March communications, including the revolving loan fund report, county clerk report, animal control report, a notice from Ameren regarding tree trimming in Brighton and a memo from Judge Deihl regarding security cameras monitoring court facilities; and minutes from the March 14 regular meeting, March 29 Environmental and Health Committee meeting, April 3 Public Safety Committee meeting, April 5 Road and Bridge Committee meeting, April 5 Executive Committee meeting, April 5 Economic Development Committee meeting and April 6 Finance Committee meeting.

It was noted that April 22 is the Macoupin TAILS banquet, which benefits the county animal shelter. “The animal control facility is basically supported by fundraisers, volunteers and donations,” said Dragovich. “The county doesn’t really put any money at all in that operation, so it’s a good deal for all the residents of the county.”

A recently completed lighting project has improved the illumination of the Macoupin County Courthouse, making the grounds both safer and more visually impressive at night. Photo courtesy of Harry Starr.