Courthouse’s large courtroom being closed to public
Feb 05, 2014 | 1498 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Massac County’s large courtroom is off limits effective immediately, according to Massac County Judge Joe Jackson at Tuesday morning’s commissioners meeting.

Jackson told commission chair Jeff Weber and commissioner Jerel Childers — commissioner Jayson Farmer was absent — that until the large courtroom is structurally and environmentally safe for the public, it will be off limits.

Jackson said when the detention center was built, there was a room constructed with the intent that it could be used as an alternate courtroom for such things as first appearances or orders of protection.

But, for a jury trial, the county would have to use its alternate plan, which would be to use another courtroom in the first circuit. Massac’s alternate courtroom is Johnson County.

According to Jackson, a jury trial was slated to be held in Massac County, but because of issues with one of the attorneys, it was postponed. Had the trial been held, the county would have been out the expense of holding it in Johnson County.

Honeywell Systems have said there are rotten timbers in the roof. Childers, who was with a roofing expert on the courthouse roof Saturday, said he could not see any.

While there are areas in the large courtroom that have been taped off, Jackson said it is to the point where he does not know where areas of the ceiling will fall down, making it too unsafe to have the public there. Jackson said the county needs to look at establishing an alternate courthouse, if the courthouse were ever to be destroyed by a natural disaster.

Weber and Childers brought up the possibility of using Massac County Community Center, which is Massac County property. Weber will look into booking details and take Jackson to look at the facility.

Jackson noted that if the community center is used to hold court, a computer system will have to be installed for Circuit Clerk Larry Grace to use.

The commissioners and Massac County Highway Engineer Joe Matesevac discussed a letter received from Brookport Postmaster Carrie Obermark regarding the Nov. 29 vehicle accident involving rural mail carrier and Brookport Mayor John Klaffer.

Obermark said the Serious Accident Review Committee found road engineering to be a major factor and is requesting warning signage be placed on Purcell Road.

Matesevac said he would like to know who the committee members are, telling the commissioners he feels the letter might be a “knee jerk reaction,” from the accident. “I don’t necessarily agree signing is the answer,” he said.

Matesevac pointed out that there are roads throughout the county that are in the same kind of condition as Purcell Road and if the county were to oblige the Brookport Post Office’s request, then, “where do we stop?”

Matesevac also reported to the board the warning signs on North Avenue regarding the intersection with Country Club Road have been installed. The cost of a stop sign with an LED light would be $1875. While the cheapest option is a hard-wired light, the county would have to pay for the electric costs involved in keeping the sign lighted.

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