Commission clears way for installation of new courthouse entry doors

EMD taking steps to inform public about opt-out option for severe weather notices

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 5/6/21

HERMANN — Craftsmen have been given the green light to begin work on installation of new entry doors on the Gasconade County Courthouse, a move that’s part of the effort to curb the …

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Commission clears way for installation of new courthouse entry doors

EMD taking steps to inform public about opt-out option for severe weather notices

Posted

HERMANN — Craftsmen have been given the green light to begin work on installation of new entry doors on the Gasconade County Courthouse, a move that’s part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

County administrators in recent weeks approved the use of about $40,000 in remaining CARES Act money to purchase new doors for the three entrances — the main entryway on the south side of the building and entrances used mostly by courthouse employees on the north and east sides.

The County Commission Thursday morning gave the go-ahead to contractor Glen Englert and Mike Leroy of Big Spring Millwork Incorporated near Rhineland to acquire the necessary materials for replacing the existing doors and woodwork on the entrances.

Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, said it’s hoped the new woodwork will reflect the building’s history.

“We want new that looks old,” he told Englert and Leroy, who attended last week’s session. Leroy said his company can use plantation-grown mahogany to match the building’s historic appearance. The old-growth pine that’s being replaced is no longer available, Leroy said, in explaining the use of an alternate wood.

Leroy presented artwork of a type of door that could be placed on the main entrance, calling it the “Cadillac” model. But that was a bit much for county administrators.

“We’re Chevy people,” Miskel said.

Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, noted Leroy’s work at other area structures, including Hermann’s Stone Hill Winery, and his ability to match a building’s existing appearance.

“It needs to be done right; it’s historic,” Lairmore said of the courthouse.

The main entrance will be equipped with an automatic opener — the primary defense against the spread of COVID-19 — but the south and east entrance doors will not be fitted with an automatic opener.

Leroy said once the doors and associated woodwork are ready, the replacement of the door should be finished within three to four days. There was no timetable given for the start of the project. Englert, who has done extensive work at the courthouse in past years, was authorized to draft the specifications for the doors for prospective manufacturers.

Meanwhile, Emergency Management Director (EMD) Clyde Zelch Thursday morning told the Commission he has taken steps to further inform the public about the opt-out option regarding the county’s automated severe weather alerts. The notification program was rebooted by Zelch after being out of operation for more than a year. It was discontinued by a previous EMD as complaints mounted about repeated calls regarding the same approaching storm cell.

Zelch, who succeeded Dan Dyer in the position in January, has been working with the county’s provider of the alert system to clear up the repeated calls and the public’s response to the alerts issued thus far this year has been largely positive, officials said.

The EMD said he has placed ads in local newspapers and offered information on the Emergency Management Agency’s website about the process of opting out of the alert system.

Zelch said he wants to better inform the public of the various tasks performed by the county’s Emergency Management Agency, in addition to the weather-alert system. One thing he has been busy with in recent days has been updating the necessary paperwork with state government regarding flood plain management. Indeed, Zelch presented the Commission with the latest set of paperwork — identical to the last set of documents  — to be filed with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

He also has been working to develop a more effective method of notifying residents of Morrison about any threatening situation that might occur at Ameren Electric’s Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. A more-reliable method was needed because of limitations resulting from the location of cellphone towers in the area.

Also, Zelch said he has been busy lately with placing emergency materials at strategic locations throughout the county. Those items are both large and small, he said, ranging from generators to communications equipment. “I have radios…and there are other things” being placed throughout the county that can be pressed into service in the event of an emergency, he said. “Some people might think we keep these things in one place,” he explained. “That wouldn’t be wise.”

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