Pentecostal Bridge salvage begins

By H.B. Dodds, Staff Writer
Posted 9/9/21

Brenneke Construction has begun the removal of the wreck of the Pentecostal Bridge from the Maries River. 

Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker has arranged to haul off much of …

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Pentecostal Bridge salvage begins

Posted

Brenneke Construction has begun the removal of the wreck of the Pentecostal Bridge from the Maries River. 

Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker has arranged to haul off much of the roadbed material, planning to use it as fill on repairs to the creek bank near CR 423. 

Osage County Western District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes was especially pleased with that arrangement. “We sure need that material,” he commented. 

Brenneke planned to have a crane in place on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Kempker has maintained a file of his expenses, dealing with the wreck of the Pentecostal Bridge. He showed how it includes inspections and repairs dating back to 2019, a year before the accident.

Kempker reported progress on bridge repairs mandated by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Due to coronavirus concerns, MoDOT is behind on filing some inspection reports but Osage County has done everything possible while waiting for them. 

“We still need to get some of this work done,” Kempker said, adding he’s trying to work ahead, anticipating what some of the reports will note.

Recently, a county citizen’s car was damaged in an accident caused by a Road and Bridge employee on the job. Commissioners approved proceeding with repairs to that car. An insurance claim will be made to the county’s carrier and coverage is expected. 

Kliethermes has also paid close attention to this year’s Volkswagen (VW) Grant cycle. Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) is writing the county’s grant application, and commissioners are optimistic, along with Kempker, this one will help the county get another truck. “We don’t want to miss this opportunity,” said Kliethermes.

Department employees hauled rock on CRs 201, 432, 501, and 602; crew members removed trees on Crs 303, 432, 508, 731, and the Osage County Administration Building (Annex) parking lot; crews replaced a culvert on CR 501; mowers worked on CRs 303, 305, and 516; the department made MoDOT-mandated repairs on a bridge on CR 508; employees cleared a log jam from a bridge on CR 432; and graders worked on CRs 201, 203, 303, 403, 432, 514, 516, 526, 723, 726, and 805.

OCHD

Osage County Health Department (OCHD) Administrator Kim Sallin reported 2,135 total COVID-19 cases, with 51 active. Two more county citizens have lost their lives, and one of those had been fully vaccinated.  There have now been 44 total breakthrough cases in the county. Despite a few dramatic and tragic cases, that remains a very low rate. One unvaccinated citizen was hospitalized and on a  ventilator. The individual is from a family in which all members of which have tested positive.

There has been a major increase of cases in children under 12, the minimum vaccination age. Sallin has noticed even a few infants and toddlers testing positive. Not many young people are getting sick with the disease, but “it can happen,” she said. 

Many school children are now under quarantine, especially in Westphalia. “They’ve had quite a significant hit,” said Sallin, noting there are also quarantined children in Linn.

Sallin reemphasized the importance of reporting positive cases from home testing. 

“We can’t take reports from a month ago,” she explained. “You have to call at the time of the illness.” 

Isolation times are skewed otherwise, and often can’t be used for prevention.

Sallin presented an “Authorization Request for Hire of Two Part-Time Nurses,” which commissioners approved and signed. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will be used to pay the nurses during the duration of their employment. 

“Approval for these positions will greatly increase productivity at the OCHD and decrease pressure and stress for current staff,” said Sallin, who already has resumes on hand and expects to hire quickly.

“Whatever it takes for you,” said Osage County Eastern District Commissioner John Trenshaw. “We don’t want you to be working 90 hours per week. We don’t want you all getting sick.” 

Trenshaw was responding to Sallin’s report one of her nurses had indeed clocked 90 hours in a recent week.

MRPC, consulting the county on the use of ARPA funds as it did the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, has requested the county’s pay schedule for extra nurses. MRPC is documenting pay, benefits, and taxes carefully to prepare for the statutorily required audit of the county’s stewardship of those funds. “We need to keep it as [accurate] as we can,” commented Trenshaw.

“Auditors are looking at everything to make sure we’re following procedures,” Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin agreed. “They’re reading our minutes. They don’t just audit our numbers. They audit our procedures.”

SHERIFF

Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham presented a draft ordinance required to collect Proposition P sales taxes on utility purchases in the county. The lack of this ordinance was an oversight at the beginning of the Prop P enforcement. It went unnoticed until revenues appeared to be running below expectations. With the research done and the draft passing legal muster with the Missouri Department of Revenue, commissioners signed it. Ordinance 08-21 is, unfortunately for county law enforcement, not retroactive; however, it will provide an estimated $85,000 additional income per year. 

“We researched it with everybody combined before we brought it to you,” said Bonham.

The sheriff was pleased with active shooter exercises at two of the county’s schools. The drills revealed areas in which he thinks improvement can, and must, be made but, it’s going to take some time, he noted.

“I think everybody thought it was good for them and the kids,” added Kliethermes, who observed one of the drills.

One problem that really stood out was electronic communications. Upgraded radios will help, and Bonham already has some grant purchases planned. 

“That seems to be the best option for us,” he explained. However, some of the county schools have sturdy basements that hinder radio transmission and reception for even the best equipment.

One of Bonham’s favorite activities with youth is the Junior Deputy Program. Those activities will start on time this year. Some of the early graduations will occur as soon as October.

MISCELLANEOUS

Commission approved paying bills from Aug. 17 through Aug. 30 as follows by department: 911/EMA ($5,924.94), Assessor ($4,072), Building & Grounds ($385.73), Circuit Clerk ($235.09), Commission ($450), County Clerk ($80), OCHD ($1,871.35), Miscellaneous ($10,889.30), Road & Bridge ($68,330.05), Lease Purchase ($74,959.22), and Sheriff-Jail ($5,716): for a total of $172,913.68.

Income report from the county clerk for August showed a total of $2,521.58, including liquor license ($280), notary ($70), plat books ($70), and election ($2,101.58).

Commissioners approved and signed the final 2022 county property tax rates presented by Osage County Clerk Nikki Kammerich. 

Commissioners ordered Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy to fly the Osage County Courthouse flag at half-staff until Monday, Sept 13, acknowledging the 13 service members killed recently in Afghanistan and on Patriots Day in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Trenshaw announced the El Carnaval Restaurant had set an empty table to honor those killed in Afghanistan.

Commissioners signed outgoing checks.

Basic MRPC annual membership dues of $5,420.84 were approved for payment by commissioners paying.

The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) annual dinner is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 21, at State Technical College. The 2020 dinner was canceled, so there will be two years worth of awards given. Local government and other community leaders will be invited.

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