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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The signs, they are a changin'

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. HENRY - Village workers will be cruising the streets at night checking signs for reflectivity, thanks to new government regulations.
Council members on Monday approved the appointment of seasonal workers Tom Laux and Bill Woods as sign inspectors. The pair were trained for the task by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
"They will decide whether our signs need replaced," village administrator Ron Gelhaus said. "Older ones can lose their reflectivity over time."
Every six months Laux and Woods will canvas one of three established zones in the community to ensure each of the village's approximately 200 signs meet reflectivity standards. The men will use Gelhaus' SUV for the project.
"The rules say we have to use a 2000 year model or newer SUV," Gelhaus said.
The replacement price per sign varies depending on the size or type; a stop sign typically costs about $35. The new regulations do not include state highway signs within the village limits or street name signs, although the latter could be included in the future, officials said.
By 2015 all cities and towns must have a plan to maintain minimum reflectivity levels of all regulatory and street signs such as stop signs, speed limits and yield markers, according to new standards added to the Federal Highway Administration 2009 manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
The community was given other options such as replacing all signs every 10 years or developing a rotating system of replacement. However, Gelhaus said he'd rather replace the signs when the inspectors feel reflectivity has deteriorated.
About half of traffic fatalities occur at night, the FHA reports. Although intoxication and fatigue contribute to the high rate of nighttime crashes, driving after dark is inherently hazardous because of decreased driver visibility, the federal agency states.
The retroreflective signs prevent roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver's eyes. The materials used for the signs make them appear brighter and easier to see and read.
Also on Monday, council members heard second reading on an ordinance setting compensation for the pool manager, lifeguards, park and recreation and other summer employees.
The ordinance includes a $100 raise for the pool manager, who will earn a salary of $4,100 for the season, and a $50 increase for the returning recreation director for total wages of $2,050. Lifeguard salaries increased by 25 cents per hour and now range from $5.75 to $7.25 per hour based on years of service.
Salaries for other positions and the price of swimming pool tickets remain the same. If purchased by May 4, pool season tickets per family are $75 and individuals, $40. After May 4, family tickets are $80 and individuals, $45. Single admission is $3 and children 3 and younger are free.
Also remaining the same as 2012 are rental costs for the shelter houses and ball diamonds.
In other business, council members,
• approved the appointment of Amber LaGuire to a five-year term on the park and recreation board.
• learned village crews are working to erect permanent informational signs at North and South Park.
• learned a new statue of a boy and girl reading together on a bench recently was placed at the village library with the help of town workers. The Heritage Club sponsored the "village beautification" project, Gelhaus said.
• learned branch pick-up throughout the village starts April 1 and will continue on the first working day of the month.
• learned the annual St. Patrick's Day parade and festivities on March 17 went well with only a few minor incidents investigated, according to village Police Chief Bob Garman.
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