SCIOTO — The Scioto County Commissioners held their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, passing all 16 items on its agenda and hearing a bid opening from the Scioto County Engineer’s Office.
In addition to the authorization of $13,000 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act to be used for its COVID-19 safety precautions, the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport received an update regarding the Iraqi tank on display at its location.
The tank has been at the location for 25 years, but a possibility for it to be moved came after receiving notice that a $1 million insurance plan was required for it to stay. After conversations with the Navy, the tank will officially become property of the commissioners, free of charge, after the paperwork is received.
“Those ladies and gentlemen served our country and don’t deserve to be drug through the mud like that,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis, where the Sciotoville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3638 would have been required to make the difference.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, visited the airport last month to speak with veterans from the Veterans of Foreign Wars post. In his view, he did not support any instance where the post would either pay for the tank’s insurance or removal.
“I might be an old Air Force guy, but I appreciate the Navy’s flexibility,” said Johnson in a Facebook post Tuesday. “This was the right decision – keep the tank on display, and avoid costs for everyone involved by not returning an obsolete tank the Navy has no use for.”
Although not originally on their agenda, the board set Thursday, June 3, as the date for when the public can attend the weekly meetings in-person.
Press attendance has been allowed for the past few weeks, but now after Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement that nearly all COVID-19 health orders would be lifted June 2, the commissioners believe the time has come after more than one year of mostly virtual meetings.
“I feel it’s necessary,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis, these subsequent meetings will continue to be live-streamed on Facebook. “I think it would be good to get the public back into our meetings.”
The decision comes when the county is reporting smaller increases of new COVID-19 cases, but also exhibiting signs of vaccine hesitancy. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the last time that more than 10 new cases in Scioto County were recorded in a single day was April 29.
On the other hand, vaccine rates in Scioto and surrounding counties continue to lag the state average. 5 million or 43% of Ohioans have received at least one dose, while 33% in the county have for the same measure as of Thursday.
While believing it is ultimately a personal choice, the commissioners encouraged residents to take the vaccine after doing research and determining what is best for them and their families.
“I think there’s a bit of apathy out there,” said Davis, lower case numbers, religious reasons, or in some cases just not wanting to listen to the government contributing to the vaccine trend.
Speaking toward their reasons for getting the vaccine, Davis and Commissioner Scottie Powell did so to protect others. All three commissioners took different kinds of the vaccine and have completed the process by either receiving one dose of the Johnson and Johnson or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna.
“It’s not lost on me that I’m sitting here because of the coronavirus,” said Powell, referring to the late Commissioner Mike Crabtree. “To pretend that’s not something real or not something deadly is absurd.”
Working in nursing homes, he was among the first to see the effects of the virus and to take the vaccine. Health orders will continue to be in-place at these locations and Powell wants to see the public continue to look out for the elderly.
Civility toward all people- those who take precautions and those who do not- Powell said is still essential.
“We don’t need to yell at people for continuing to wear a mask after the mask orders are lifted,” he said. “We should have never been yelling at people for choosing to not wear a mask. Somewhere along the lines, we got too comfortable with beating each other up over what they feel is right.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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