What began last year as a concern over the lack of AEDs at the Jefferson County 4-H Fairgrounds, has developed into a strategy to have the life-saving devices available in governmental buildings throughout the county.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Morgan told County Commissioners at their meeting on Thursday that a need for at least 30 AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) has been identified for governmental facilities throughout the county.
“We put a work group together and everybody sees a need for a defibrillator in their area, and I don’t disagree with that,” Morgan said. “I think they should be in every room in every building. But financially, it would be a challenge to do that.”
With with the purchase of 30 AEDs, which Morgan estimated would cost approximately $57,000, the county could have at least one in each building. The Commissioners were in agreement with the purchase but the decision would still need approval of the Jefferson County Council.
Morgan said the timeline for delivery of the devices would be eight to 12 weeks which means that they would likely not arrive in time for this year’s Jefferson County 4-H Fair scheduled for July 7-14. He said the longer delivery time might be impacted by the high number of 30 AEDs the county hopes to order.
If only a couple of the devices were ordered initially, Morgan said they might could arrive within two weeks and be available prior to the fair. He thinks two of the devices could be purchased for about $2,200 each plus $200 per unit for a maintenance contract, and an overall estimated immediate cost of less than $5,000.
Morgan suggested one of the units could remain at the Community Building at the fairgrounds year round due to the number of activities that take place there with the other possibly being kept at the extension office or another location at the fairgrounds.
Morgan suggested the remaining AEDs could then be designated by County Council into the budget for next year and beyond.
The Commissioners concurred with Morgan’s assessment about purchasing two AEDs that would be available in time for the fair and delay purchasing more AEDs until later.
In other business:
• Jefferson County Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Faith Weir introduced Anita Sproessig as the assistant county VSO. “She’s been a huge asset to the office and a very big help,” said Weir. “I’m really happy that we were able to hire Anita and that I could train her as a true assistant county veterans assistant officer.”
Sproessig is a veteran who served in the Indiana National Guard.
Weir also presented a first quarter report for the veterans service office, noting there was a high number of recent visits to the office with 246 in-office appointments and 402 walk-in appointments. In February, she said there were 239 veterans in the office and in March, there were 207 veterans despite the office being closed several days for training in March. She said much of that is because of the PACE Act and the Camp Legeune Justice Act which both address exposure to toxic substances during military service.
• With a total solar eclipse scheduled for April 8, 2024, Morgan said the community emergency plan committee will be meeting in preparation for that event and the huge number of visitors that are expected to descend on the region to witness the event.
• Approved the amendment to the Unsafe Building Ordinance that is intended to better define procedures for the county for enforcement.
• Appointed Marilyn Imel to the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission, representing the town of Brooksburg, through the end of this year.
• Tricia Parker, animal shelter director, said the animal shelter has been approached about becoming a National Safe Place where a young person can go for help and wait in a comfortable place within 30 minutes of a qualified Safe Place volunteer or agency staff member arriving to assist.
“I just think it would be a great opportunity to help the community a little more by letting us be a Safe Place,” she said.
The Commissioners were in agreement on the value of offering that service, but want the county attorney to review for possible liability issues before final approval.
A groundbreaking for the Clifty Woods subdivision was held Thursday that will create six new Habitat for Humanity homes on Madison’s hilltop.
“We are thrilled to break ground on this subdivision,” said Shelby Wilson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Indiana.
The new subdivision is located behind Habitat’s ReStore, 931 Lanier Drive, located off Beech Grove Street and Green Road.
Wilson said she was grateful for the support of the city of Madison and engineering firm Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz (JTL). The City of Madison’s Redevelopment Commission committed $150,000 to provide the infrastructure necessary to create the lots for the subdivision while JTL is donating its services for the engineering work. “We certainly could not have done it without them. Habitat relies on everyone in our community from our board, to you, to our volunteers and our staff to make things like this possible.”
Work on infrastructure will begin immediately and is slated to be completed by mid-summer. The city’s pledge to subdivision includes streets, curbs, storm sewers and other utilities to locate six homes on a cul-de-sac. Once that’s done, work will begin on the first of the six homes that will be built in the subdivision.
The first home in the new subdivision will be for Anastasia James and her two children, Tobias and Ezekiel. Groundbreaking on that house will be held after the infrastructure is complete, possibly in late July or August. Wilson said the house will be partially supported by Trinity United Methodist Church and stated more partners are still being sought to provide full funding for the project.
Tony Steinhardt III, the city’s economic development director, called the groundbreaking “an exciting opportunity in Madison in what’s going to be a neighborhood with new homes. Housing is an important strategy in economic redevelopment for attraction and retention of talent at all levels of income in a community. It is certainly great to be able to help those who need it the most with Habitat.”
Steinhardt said that without adequate housing, the community cannot be fully successful. “We know that housing in Jefferson County is an important topic,” he said, noting that Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency reports indicate Jefferson County is 3,000 housing units short of its needs.
Madison Mayor Bob Courtney said, “I’m super excited about today. We’ve had this partnership for 2-1/2 years. It takes a long time to really firm up the agreement, the partnership, the initiative and the financing. Housing is so critical to our community. The policies and the mission for Habitat and the city of Madison are so closely aligned for what we want for our city,” a place where “we want families to live in great housing and revitalize our neighborhoods.”
He said the investments that are being made are the best way to achieve that, and this neighborhood in the city’s fifth council district “has been begging for new investment for a really long time.”
Courtney said he believes in strengthening families “by investing in neighborhoods and revitalizing neighborhoods. When you have a strong vibrant neighborhood, your community is strong and vibrant. We’re extremely proud to be a part of this development because it’s not only building housing here, but it’s revitalizing a whole neighborhood.”
The hiring of a former Louisville police officer who likely fired the fatal shot that killed Breonna Taylor in 2020 by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office resulted in a small protest Monday in downtown Carrollton.
A small group of protesters — many from out of town — displayed posters and chanted “Myles Cosgrove, he’s got to go” on the Carroll County Courthouse Square while an equal group of reporters covered the event as local and state police were on standby in a bank parking lot overlooking the scene.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday confirmed the hiring of Cosgrove, who was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in January 2021 for violating use-of-force procedures and failing to use a body camera during a March 2020 no knock raid on Taylor’s apartment that fatally wounded the 26-year-old Black woman.
When news of Cosgrove’s hiring broke on Saturday, two local activists — Amy Tyler and Destiny Kelley — quickly organized the protest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. hoping to persuade Carroll Sheriff Ryan Gosser to change his mind about the controversial hiring.
Kelley and Tyler both said their intent was to stage a peaceful protest, saying that if the people of Carrollton want to march then they will march, if they want to chant then they will chant but they have no intention of any scenario involving rioting, looting or violence.
“I desperately hope only one protest is all we’ll need,” Abbi Warren Wickersham, who said she would be protesting Monday. “Hopefully our numbers will be enough to convince Ryan Gosser this is not something that the people of Carrollton want … the idea that we could possibly have somebody who has a history of showing up at the wrong house and killing people, that terrifies” us.
Wickersham said she and her husband feel safe with the knowledge that they know everyone in Carrollton and that “Cosgrove working in this town is going to throw a wrench in people being a close knit community.”
Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite had no role in Cosgrove’s hiring — his department is totally separate from the sheriff’s department — but Carrollton Police Department was exercising due diligence to provide safety and security for the town and the protesters by coordinating with Kentucky State Police for a stronger presence of officers on Monday.
“We have activated our plan to respond to events of this nature,” Willhoite said. “We support the right of people to peacefully assemble and protest while we also protect property and people.”
The protesters, numbering approximately two dozen, stood at the corner of Fifth Street and U.S. 42 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., shouting various chants with no violence or destruction of property.
At one point one of protesters, Summer Dickerson, of Louisville, crossed to the east side of Fifth Street to talk briefly with Carrollton Police. “We let them know that we’re not here to tear their city up or anything like that,” Dickerson said. “They need to understand that the person they just hired is not a good person in any way shape or form. On a national level people understand this is not a good idea, so why can’t Carroll County?”
Dickerson said she felt that the protest was an important way to communicate that message “to let them know that, ‘I’m not upset at you. I’m upset with the powers in your city that they allowed this to happen.’ ”
Dickerson said the police officers offered no response. “I understand that. I’m a protester. They’re on-duty and they can’t say anything,” she said. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”
At the same time Dickerson noted that what happened in the death of Taylor is not OK, and she’s passionate about that. “What they did to her and what they did to our neighborhood — they caused so much trauma for children and families,” Dickerson said. “And Breonna’s family, obviously. It’s not OK what they did.”
Cosgrove was one of several officers who fired into Taylor’s apartment while serving a no-knock warrant on her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. An FBI investigation determined that Cosgrove fired 16 shots into the residence with one of his bullets the likely shot that fatally wounded Taylor.
The FBI probe found that other superior officers had crafted a faulty drug warrant that contained false information about Taylor. U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland said in August that the officers who went to Taylor’s apartment with the warrant “were not involved in drafting the warrant affidavit and were not aware that it was false.”
In November, the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council voted not to revoke Cosgrove’s state peace officer certification. That meant he could apply for other law enforcement jobs in the state.
Robert Miller, chief deputy in Carroll County, pointed out that Cosgrove was cleared by a state grand jury and the state law enforcement council when speaking of the hiring on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
In an interview with the Carrollton News-Democrat later on Monday, Gosser noted that Cosgrove is a veteran law enforcement officer who brings experience and investigative skills to the sheriff’s office.
(Information for this story was gathered by Madison Courier staff writer Bob Demaree, Paxton Media Group regional reporter Sara Finley of the Carrollton News-Democrat and The Associated Press.)
Voting for this year’s May 2 primary — now only a week away — will only take place for the Republican nomination for Madison City Council District 1, which is the only contested local race.
Incumbent Patrick Thevenow is being challenged by Lisa Ferguson in the GOP primary.
Early voting will be Saturday, April 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to noon, both at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 300 East Main St, while voting on primary election day is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2 at the precincts involving voters in District 1 and only for the Republican primary.
All voters in precincts 1-1 and 1-2 (held at American Legion Post 9) are eligible to vote with 701 voters in precinct 1-1 and 548 voters in precinct 1-2. Some voters in precincts 2-1 and 3rd ward (held at Lydia Middleton Elementary School) may also vote in the District 1 race. In precinct 2-1, 604 of the precinct’s 823 voters are eligible while in the 3rd ward 44 of the precinct’s 639 voters are eligible.