The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

August 5, 2012

County forced to mop up levee problem

WASHINGTON — “It gets a major piece of this issue resolved.”

Those were the words of Daviess County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber after a joint meeting of the Daviess County Commissioners and the County Council on Tuesday. During that meeting, the two entities voted to accept a partial settlement of $445,000 to fix a part of the Bennington Levee.

The county, along with the Bennington Levee Authority, have sued three people and a construction company for digging a mile-long ditch next to the levee that may or may not have caused the levee to fail in 2011. We say “may” because fault has not been determined.

The money to fix the north section of the levee, which the settlement is for, is estimated to be $532,407. This will leave the county saddled with $87,000 or more for repairs, provided both boards vote for a joint resolution on Tuesday.

It is unfortunate that we all will probably share some of the burden due to the short-sidedness of entities on both sides of this legal battle.

We think the defendants, including Indiana Farm Bureau President Donald Villwock, should have at least consulted someone before they started digging ditches next to levees.

Anyone who has ever played in a sandbox can see when you start taking away sand at the bottom of the sand hill, the hill starts going away.

But fault alone should not fall only with the defendants, the Bennington Levee Committee should bear some of the blame in this debacle. This committee saw its levee decertified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007, and although they were given funds in 2008 from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, they are left passing hats around today to fix the levee. Unfortunate.

And $87,000 is just the beginning. We have not seen a settlement or continued litigation of the south breach of the levee. Repair estimates for that side are more, up to $2 million.

The shortsightedness of few leaves the county mopping up the mess, literally and figuratively. In a time when we see less dollars going to local government due to property tax reform, less dollars can be used for county projects, or for its workers.

We are surprised that everyone involved in this case, who are supposed to be well-versed in land management practices, find themselves in the position they are in today.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Thursday's police report CITY REPORT Wednesday 11:28 a.m. - A female caller, 820 Axtel Ave., said a license plate was taken from her vehicle the night before. The tailgate was also scratched. 10:17 a.m. - An employee of Personal Finance Company said a female had parked her v

    July 23, 2014

  • Area author to hold book signing at Touch of Heaven Greene County author, former newspaper publisher and pastor Ralph W. Roach will be at A Touch of Heaven on Main Street Aug. 2 from 9:30 a.m. until noon for a meet and greet and book signing. Roach has published three books, "Ramblin' With RWR," a mem

    July 23, 2014

  • Capture.JPG DOCUMENTS: Barr-Reeve Teachers' complaint

    Here is the complaint the Barr-Reeve Classroom Teachers Association filed with the state Education Employment Relations Board earlier this summer against the Barr-Reeve School Board and Superintendent Travis Madison.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - WT072414 - HarbstreitMug - NBS Harbstreit settles in as Indiana Sheriff's Association president FORT WAYNE — Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit had the interim tag removed from his title as president of the Indiana Sheriff's Association during the state convention in Fort Wayne. The Indiana Sheriff's executive board had elevated Harbstreit

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two dead after Bicknell shooting BICKNELL – At approximately 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, Indiana State Police, Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Bicknell Police responded to 707 Durbin Street in Bicknell after a 33-year-old Knox County man was shot and killed during an argument with an

    July 23, 2014

  • Police Reports CITY REPORTS Tuesday 12:30 a.m. - Police were called to investigate the theft of a cell phone at 703 SW Fifth St. 4:14 a.m. - A resident reported someone got into a vehicle at 501 Lincoln St. ransacked it and left the front passenger door open. The o

    July 22, 2014

  • Music camp pic 1 Band season starts with music camp While a lot of high school students are finishing up the summer break, the members of the Washington High School Golden Pride Band are back in class and getting ready for the fall, by taking part in music camp. "We're excited," said Washington High S

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • B-R teachers union sue Madison, Board Members of the Barr-Reeve Classroom Teachers Association have filed charges of unfair labor practice (ULP) against Superintendent Travis Madison and the three elected members of the school board; Joe Cummings, Galen Graber and Scott Lottes. The docum

    July 22, 2014

  • Field day to educate livestock producers WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University-sponsored Indiana Beef Integrated Resource Management program will hold a field day to showcase the benefits of bringing water to livestock grazing paddocks.The field day will run 2-6 p.m. Aug. 21 at the M

    July 22, 2014

  • North Daviess School Board approves handbook revisions North Daviess Superintendent Robert Bell updated members of the school board Monday night about progress on the corporation buildings. Several projects have been taking place at the elementary and junior high/high school buildings over the summer. Be

    July 21, 2014