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Friday, July 13th, 2012

Courthouse rededication scheduled

Auglaize County

By Amy Kronenberger
WAPAKONETA - Commissioners have set Sept. 16 as the date to rededicate the 117-year-old Auglaize County Courthouse following an $8.6 million renovation project.
Commissioner Don Regula told department heads and elected officials during a meeting Thursday a ceremony is planned for 2:30 p.m; a VIP invitation list is being created.
Commissioners are working with Rachel Barber of the Auglaize County Historical Society and Dan Graf of the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce to plan the ceremony. County employees will begin moving back into the courthouse after the event.
Common pleas court judge Frederick Pepple commended the hard work put into completing the courthouse. He especially thanked the workers who had the "daunting task" of moving everything out and who will move everything back in.
"I think people are amazed how quickly the last two years have gone," he said. "Especially when you look at the amount of work that needed to be done."
Technology supervisor Cameron Ruppert said all technology is installed and running. The system is now connected to the rest of the county offices.
Also at Thursday's meeting, county engineer Doug Reinhart said the June 29 storm slowed their progress of log jam cleanup in the Auglaize River. His crews needed to clear many areas of debris.
Job and Family Services director Mike Morrow thanked emergency management director Troy Anderson and his department for their work during and after the storm.
Sheriff Al Solomon said his dispatchers received a lot of 911 calls during the bad weather, but many were non-emergencies.
"I want to remind people to only use 911 in a true emergency," he said. "Emergency 911 should be used for just that - emergencies."
In other business,
• county human resources representative Pat Hire presented county officials with an overview of family medical leave. County employees are eligible for such leave after 12 months of employment, which includes any previous leave or vacation time taken, and must have at least 1,250 hours of actual work time.
An employee may be eligible for up to 12 weeks paid leave with a physician's form. If an employee goes on leave but doesn't return, he or she may be responsible for repaying the county all money received during the time off.
• auditor Janet Schuler said the county will receive the first of its casino revenue - $40,000 - at the end of July. She did not know what future revenue would be as not all casinos are open; the state estimated the county will receive $230,000 per year.
Schuler also said while county sales taxes continue to increase, state funding continues to decrease.
"We're holding our own, but we're not ahead," she said.
• board of elections director Carolyn Campbell said her department is working to get all registered voters to update their addresses, if needed. In early September, the state will be sending all registered voters an application to vote absentee. If any voters have moved in the last year, they must update their address to receive the application.
Campbell also is looking to hire and train 200 poll workers for the Nov. 6 election. She would like to hire an even mix of Republicans and Democrats, who would be paid $102 for the day. Anyone interested can call the election office at 419-739-6720.
• county prosecutor Ed Pierce reminded all elected officials whose terms end this year that they must receive Sunshine Law recertification training before taking office in January.
• juvenile court judge Mark Spees said the state now requires any juvenile being charged with an adult, felony crime the opportunity to talk to an attorney before deciding if he or she wants an attorney. Spees was able to work out a plan with public defender Gerry Siesel to provide the service at no extra cost to the county.
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