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Jefferson County commissioners recognize Black History Month

PROCLAMATION — Jefferson County Commissioners Thomas Gentile, left, Dave Maple and Thomas Graham, right, presented Delores Wiggins, president of the Ohio Valley Black Caucus, with a proclamation recognizing Black History Month during Thursday’s meeting. -- Andrew Grimm

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Commissioners presented Delores Wiggins with a proclamation in recognition of Black History Month during their weekly meeting Thursday.

Wiggins, president of the Ohio Valley Black Caucus, said that a lot of progress has been made in her lifetime, but the work is far from done.

She praised the commissioners for their actions and noted that the battle for civil rights touches everyone.

“Civil rights do not belong to one specific group,” she said. “They belong to all people.”

Commissioner Thomas Graham commended Wiggins for her work and echoed her sentiments.

“We have come a long way, we still have a ways to go on people of all races, all colors,” Graham said. “(Wiggins) has been the first to tell us that over the years. Thank heavens we have people like her who have been out there fighting for civil rights for many, many, many years.

“We appreciate all that you’ve done for Jefferson County and the city of Steubenville.”

The commissioners discussed questions about bids for projects at the Jefferson County Justice Center with Mike Siebieda of McKinley and Associates of Wheeling, the county’s engineering consultant.

Questions about the bids for the roof replacement were raised by Commissioner Dave Maple. He requested further information about bids before proceeding, tabling the recommendation of N.F. Mansuetto and Sons so it can be revisited at next week’s meeting with additional information from McKinley and Associates.

That bid was $493,850 for replacement of the entire roof.

Prout Boiler Heating and Welding of Youngstown provided a missing document from its original bid for the cooling tower project. The commissioners accepted that recommendation last week on the condition the document was provided. All four companies that bid for the project omitted required documents.

Also discussed with McKinley and Associates was a jail renovation project. Bids for that project came in more than 10 percent higher than estimates and no action was taken at the Feb. 6 meeting.

The details of the project and potential to re-bid it were discussed with Siebieda and Joe Colabella, the juvenile court administrator.

The commissioners granted a request from Jodi Scheetz, director of A.L.I.V.E. Inc, about the awarding of a Violence Against Women Act grant that was approved for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Scheetz stated the sheriff’s office has been receiving funds from the grant for about 20 years, funding a specialized detective for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and teen dating violence cases victims.

She also stated that the use of the specialized detective has led to an increase in convictions in such cases.

“When we have a better investigation, we don’t have to rely on the victim’s testimony as much,” Scheetz said, adding that victims can sometimes become hesitant about testifying. “When we have a better investigation, we can move forward without testimony. We’re moving along. We need to be a little bit better, but we’re getting there.”

She noted the facility now also shelters male victims and members of the LGBTQ community.

The commissioners received bids for various bituminous and concrete asphalt products, which received three bids, as well as well as various aggregates, four bids, both for the engineer’s department.

The commissioners approved the forwarding of those bids to county Engineer Jim Branagan for review and recommendation.

In his weekly reports, water and sewer Director Michael Eroshevich updated the commissioners on the Smithfield water tank project, among other things.

The commissioners held a budget meeting with the board of elections following the meeting.

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