County board approves road project; hears Oak Hill updates

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners met Monday and their first action was to approve the awarding of a contract to build a bridge on the Long Lake Road tributary to Maeystown Creek to the low bidder, Perry County Construction of Herrin.

The commissioners approved an expenditure of $167,836 for the project in Road District 8. The Illinois State Township Bridge Fund is providing $135,000 of that amount.

Monroe County Zoning Director Mike Fausz next presented resolutions approving flood plain variances for two projects. Roger and Eva Schaeffer will be allowed to build a machine shed at 9442 Taake Road and B&J Grain and Livestock will be allowed to construct a 40,000-bushel grain bin at 4909 Bluff Road.

Fausz and the commissioners also discussed the possibility of developing an ordinance to ensure proper clean-up of properties in which meth labs are found before the property may be occupied again.

Fausz noted he was examining an existing ordinance that has been implemented in Columbia as a possible model for the county.

Oak Hill officials Kim Keckritz and Julia Olszewski updated commissioners on the county-run elder care facility. Keckritz said the census for Oak Hill has remained relatively static for the last three months, although there are a couple of vacancies as of Monday, with one currently being filled.

Olszewski, who heads up the Whispering Pines unit for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, introduced a program being implemented there called “Music & Memory,” a non-profit program.

“Music & Memory” recognizes the benefits of making individualized music programs available to patients suffering from memory loss. The program focuses on iPods because they are relatively plentiful, easy to use and inexpensive. Developers of the program have noted that making music that is pleasing to patients available, results in reduced pain, anxiety, aggressive behavior and sleeplessness. In fact, this growing trend is reflected in these tools being mandatory in homes in Wisconsin.

Oak Hill has been approved for entry into the program and will be looking for donations of iPods in a future campaign.

“Many of them are languishing in closets, with people movingtheir music to smart phones,” she noted.

Oak Hill will also solicit no-longer-used music CDs to be used to produce tailored music for patients. Watch the Republic-Times for future notices on this campaign.

Keckritz also reported that the walking trail at Oak Hill will be officially opened Wednesday, Sept. 24, in a program from 4 to 7:30 pm.

The commissioners also approved the following: Daryl Gates of Columbia was reappointed as a commissioner to Fish Lake Drainage and Levee District 8; Dan Kettler of Waterloo was reappointed to the Community Mental Health 708 Funding Board; Dennis Rodenberg of Fults was reappointed as a commissioner to Stringtown Drainage and Levee District 4; and David Krebel of Prairie du Rocher was reappointed as a commissioner to Fort Chartres and Ivy Drainage and Levee District 5.

The next county board meeting will take place Tuesday, Sept. 2 due to Labor Day.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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