Deputy called to temper patron complaint

A sheriff?s deputy was called in by the clerk?s office to sit in the hallway at the courthouse Tuesday, June 30, because Marion County Clerk Tina Spencer said she thought a confrontational situation during the Board of Commissioners payday meeting had the potential to get out of hand.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub twice asked Mike Beneke, of northeastern rural Marion County, to calm down and back away from the table where commissioners and the county clerk sit.

Beneke refused to sit, and continually leaned over, and put his hands on the commission table while demanding action to rebuild and rain-damaged roads he must travel with heavy farm equipment to harvest crops to provide feed for his feedlot business.

When Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford spoke to the situation, he tried to explain that his crew was undermanned to respond to all the over-soaked road situations in the county after the recent storms. Beneke said he had heard all of Crawford?s promises before.

Beneke criticized the commissioners for even considering any courthouse additions the week before when the road situation is so bad.

Crawford said his department, in addition to the continuous rain, has had to contend with having fewer personnel than in former years, much heavier trucks and truck traffic loads on the roads, not to mention bigger, heavier farm equipment.

?We have 1,600 miles of roads to cover,? he said.

Holub said at least 80 percent of the road problem is due to weather damage.

To get to his fields, Beneke said he has used his own equipment to repair dirt roads with mud holes.

Commissioner Lori Lalouette said road and bridge has been forced to prioritize work just to get people road access during the floods.

When Beneke left the meeting, commissioners turned their attention to another cattle feeder in the area, Gary Diepenbrock.

Diepenbrock said he is willing to do some road work, and buy some gravel, just he has in the past, to resolve the situation.

Holub said that wouldn?t be necessary, although the county has appreciated Diepenbrock?s volunteer contributions in the past.?Holub asked that Diepen?brock and Crawford discuss working together in the hallway while the meeting continued.

The commissioners also discussed road conditions in the south end of the county with Beth Eldridge.

In executive session with Bruce Boettcher and Craw?ford, they determined to offer $3,200 to an unnamed landowner to purchase acreage for straightening Nighthawk Road.