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County roads dominate commission discussion

By Jonathan Pleasant
With the courthouse heating system malfunctioning and outside temperatures in the single digits, local officials had a chilly night conducting business at last Thursday’s county commission meeting. Not surprisingly business was carried out briskly. Moving through the approval of last month’s minutes, this month’s notaries, committee reports and budget amendments, the commission swiftly dealt with the typical items on the agenda before moving into issues that required more deliberation.
Most of the lengthy discussion concerned the abandonment of a short section of county road at the request of Maymead and a request to rename Prison Camp Road put forth by resident Mel Melisarus. Both items were held over from previous months and had already been reviewed at length. As the sole private property owner accessing McCarty Road, Maymead’s Wiley Roark made the initial request for the county to abandon the short segment to allow the company to build a new access road which would be gated.
However, since the road does currently provide access to the Potter Cemetery there was some concern about access, especially for the property’s groundskeeper. The commission ultimately decided to allow the abandonment pending any conflicts would be resolved. Returning this month, the only question remaining involved when the gates would be closed and locked, with one resident requesting that it remain open during daylight hours. Maymead’s representative believed that this would not likely be an issue, and also noted that the new access road would actually be much safer and easier to travel. With this in mind the commission reiterated their approval of abandoning the county’s claim to the road, thereby turning it over to Maymead.
The other road issue put forth by Mr. Mel Melisarus involved the naming of Prison Camp Road, which was formerly Ed Potter Road. Noting that he is the only private resident on the road, and disliking the negative connotation that comes with the current name, Melisarus asked that the county change it back to Ed Potter. However there were opposing responses put forward by a resident claiming the historical significance of the prison camp that did once exist in the area. 911 Director Jerry Jordan was present for the meeting and put forth a possible solution when he suggested that Melisarus declare his driveway a private road of his own naming, which would be recognized by the post office. Although Melisarus indicated he would rather the county road name be changed, the commissioners largely saw the private drive option as a compromise and determined unanimously to leave Prison Camp as the name.  Mr. Melisarus ultimately accepted this decision and indicated that he would work with Director Jordan to officially name his private drive.
County Road Superintendent Daryl Reece was present throughout the meeting and submitted a list of items to be approved as surplus. Receiving approval from the commission, Reece explained that he is hoping to sell the items to be able to fix or purchase a new snowplow, as four of the county’s machines are now down with transmission problems. Reece said that his department has been doing everything they can with the recent bad weather but equipment problems have been a challenge.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.