The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

August 1, 2012

Partial settlement made on Bennington Levee

WASHINGTON — A partial settlement has been reached in the dispute over fixing the Bennington Levee.

The Daviess County Council and Commissioners voted in a rare joint meeting on Tuesday to accept $445,000 from defendants Donald Villwock, Randall Bowman, Cindy Lamar and Shepard Construction. Both votes were unanimous, but council members Jo Arthur and JoAnn McCracken were absent.

Villwock is the current president of the Indiana Farm Bureau.

The partial settlement is for repairing the north breach of the levee, estimated at $532,407. A separate agreement between the commissioners and the Bennington Levee Committee saying the county would pay the remaining costs of the levee repairs of the north breach was tabled.

“There are some points that need to be clarified,” Commissioner President Tony Wichman said during the meeting.

County attorney Grant Swartzentruber and attorney Bruce Smith, representing the Bennington Levee Board, said the suit is still pending on the larger breach on the south portion of the levee.

“It gets a major piece of this issue resolved,” Swartzentruber said. “It is a big problem and we have addressed a major portion of it with the north breach (settlement).”

The south breach is estimated to be $2 million to repair, according to earlier reports. Smith and Swartzentruber said negotiations are still ongoing with settlement on the south breach.

“Before (Bennington Levee) can bid for work on the south breach, they have to get permits from the (Army Corps of Engineers) and the (state Department of Natural Resources),” Smith said. “They have not got these permits yet, but are trying to get them.”

When the bids and permit process are finished, then settlement talks could begin on the south breach, Smith explained.

Swartzentruber said work will begin soon on the north breach and everything should be finished by the end of the year.

“There’s nine issues that the corps is requiring to be back in compliance. (The repairs on) the north, south and the nine items have to be completed this year,” Swartzenbruber said.

“Bennington Levee has made a resolution that would happen.”

According to court filings, Villwock and Bowman own land next to the levee and on December 2010they contracted Shepard to dig a mile-long ditch at the base of the levee, destabilizing the levee. After heavy spring rains, the levee broke on March 6, 2011. Lamar was later added to the suit this June.

The defendants are alleged to not have informed the county or conducted any engineering studies before digging into the levee.

Wichman said after he is “glad to be at this point,” but could not say much due to the continued litigation for the south breach.

“We feel like it is an advantage on where we’re at,” Wichman said.

Council President Mike Sprinkle echoed Wichman’s sentiments.

“I wish we could have got a full settlement in the full amount to fix these problems, but at this point and time, this might be the best we can do to get the issues resolved and get the repairs to Bennington Levee,” Sprinkle said.

Attorneys for the defendants involved were contacted and either were unavailableor refused comment due to the ongoing negotiations for the south side of the levee. A message was left with Villwock for comment.

The county dropped its suit with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service in June.

Wichman, Sprinkle and the attorneys are meeting with the Bennington Levee board in mediation on Monday to discuss further repairs.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - WT072614 - Theater6 - NBS VIDEO: Coming Attractions

    The Indiana Theater in downtown Washington is under new owner Brent Barnhart and plans to open this fall after being closed for over three years.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ruth Gilmore Ruth Gilmore, 80, of Washington, died at 4:38 p.m. at Prairie Village Nursing Center, with family by her side. Born Nov. 10, 1933, in Knox County, she was the daughter of James Howard and Blanche (Chadd) Weibel. She worked for 10 years as a certified

    July 26, 2014

  • Shoe Sensation gives back to Cops and Kids Shoe Sensation has presented Cops and Kids with $468 in donations collected from its customers during a drive to assist Cops and Kids. Cops and Kids works with children in the community to ensure that they have basic necessities and toys. This progr

    July 26, 2014

  • Friday's police report CITY REPORT Friday 10:27 p.m. - Jerry Gaither, 1422 Brett Cabel Road, said his mailbox was damaged. 5:14 a.m. - Ladonna Abel, 622 S.W. Sixth St., said a purple Harley-Davidson motorcycle was stolen. A report was made and a tip said they believed a ma

    July 25, 2014

  • New school security system going into place in Daviess County From the outside looking in schools in Daviess County don't appear to have done much to upgrade security this fall. There are no new fences, no gates, no guard shacks, but officials say the School Guard system is being put into place and should be re

    July 25, 2014

  • NWS - WT072614 - Theater1 - NBS Coming Attractions Arguably the question on many minds in Washington is what's happening at the Indiana Theater? Many slow down or even stop on Main Street to see the work that is being done. Some have stopped to ask the contractors of SMart Construction to see what is

    July 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • Colts getting healthy as training camp opens ANDERSON — Reggie Wayne’s arrival Wednesday in an IndyCar driven by two- time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter drew national attention.But the most important news coming out of reporting day for the Indianapolis Colts concerned the wide rece

    July 25, 2014

  • TRI-CAP RSVP offering Nashville Show Trip TRI-CAP RSVP is sponsoring a Nashville Show Trip through Diamond Tours from Nov. 10-12. The spacious, video and restroom equipped motor coach will leave Jasper for a three day, two night trip. The incredible price of $305 per person is based on doubl

    July 25, 2014

  • Bixler DCCF grant Community Foundation awards grants to help youth A pair of projects designed to help take on some of the problems faced by youth in Daviess County will receive a financial boost from the Daviess County Community Foundation. The Daviess Community Hospital and southwest Indiana PowerHouse each receiv

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Friday's police report CITY REPORT Thursday 6:42 a.m. - Melissa Bath, 105 Mill St., reported her dog was stolen. Animal control was contacted. Wednesday 8:54 p.m. - A male caller said a black Pontiac convertible hit a utility pole near 810 W. Van Trees St. The driver is fa

    July 24, 2014