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Hamilton County Board Tackles Ambulance, Sam McPeak’s Salvage Yard, and Cannabis Tuesday Night

Tuesday night’s Hamilton County Board meeting was another marathon, despite changes to their agenda to seemingly help things move along a bit more quickly.  Through the guidance from Bellwether Administrative Services, Hamilton County was able to move many of their agenda items to a consent agenda for bulk consideration rather than individually.  With many hot button issues to cover however, the meeting on the second floor of the McLeansboro courthouse last night didn’t adjourn until nearly 8:30, 2 and a half hours after it began.

Victoria Woodrow, CEO of Hamilton Memorial Hospital broke down for leaders the issue of ambulance transfers for the healthcare facility.  She says every month since she has served as CEO, coming up on 2 years at the end of September, that quality metrics on transfer times for patients from Hamilton Memorial Hospital to Mt. Vernon, Evansville and St. Louis hospitals have fallen.

She says the critical access care hospital can only attempt to fix the issues that they have control over and will therefore be inviting requests for proposals to about 6 ambulance services to contract with HMHD to help meet specific response times and quality metrics they’ve laid out.  The issue is born out of Hamilton County having only the one ambulance service in Harre and because they’re contracted to serve as the county’s ambulance, they’re often unable to handle transfers because a rig has to be available within the county.  Couple that with the fact the service is mainly volunteer and their typically aren’t enough tandem teams available to man a second rig so the first can handle the transfer.  Woodrow urged the county to evaluate its ambulance situation and welcomed collaboration in helping to take care of the county’s own in a better fashion.  There’s certain to be more on this in coming months at meetings.  We’ll have more as soon as we get our paws on Woodrow’s presentation, which should be later today.

Also at Hamilton County last night, Sherry Henderson stepped forward to speak on behalf of other Dale residents she says are displeased with what she calls an eyesore in Sam McPeak’s salvage yard he operates.  She was frustrated the ordinance didn’t seem to have any teeth and that Sheriff Lakin seemed unwilling to get involved because what Henderson describes as the nuisance is completely contained on McPeak’s property.  McPeak was at the meeting which seemed to change Henderson’s tune expressing that she was speaking on behalf of others that had come to her and that it didn’t bother her that much as she doesn’t drive by it often, she said.  State’s Attorney Justin Hood said he, the Sheriff, board members, McPeak and Henderson along with anyone else who has a gripe should get together in a private meeting to discuss it further.  The jury is out on whether that will materialize.

Sheriff Lakin says he plans to hire and add Devin Elliott to his drastically understaffed department on September 1st.  Some Board members expressed even with the hire, they feel like another Deputy is ultimately needed.

Cannabis Regulation was also on the agenda at last night’s Hamilton County Board meeting leading board member Chad May to give an impassioned, emotional 10 plus minute address to other board members and those gathered in the gallery.  He spoke confidently in his opposition to the law saying the state’s leaders are followers and have failed the people.