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County OKs street closings for Waldron fireworks; plans to create list of ash tree contractors


Waldron is preparing for its annual Freedom Festival to celebrate the 4th of July.


And the Shelby County Commissioners have approved closing some streets for the festival parade that's a highlight of the event.


Because streets on the parade route are county roads, the commissioners must OK the closings.


One of the festival organizers, Chad Williams, made the request to the commissioners at their meeting on Monday.


“I've come to the commissioners asking to close down a couple of roads that will be a part of, part the parade route, from the time of about 1:50 til approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6,” Williams said.


The parade begins and ends at Waldron High School. Line up begins at 12:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 2 p.m.


Waldron's Freedom Festival runs for two days. It features a pedal-tractor pull for the kids at 5:30 p.m. on July 5, followed by live music at 7:30 p.m. when Trent Moss is scheduled to take the stage.


Festivities continue all day on July 6, capped by Waldron's annual 4th of July fireworks show at about 10:15 p.m.


A full schedule of events is posted on Facebook at the Public Group page of Waldron Will. The online address is –


In other matters, the commissioners heard from Scott Gabbard about the pestilence killing ash trees.


Gabbard is director of the Purdue Extension office in Shelby County. He suggested creating a list of approved contractors for homeowners to use for their ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer.


“These trees are dying from the top down, and so, when you go to cut 'em down, there's the potential for not taking them down properly, that it may actually pose a hazard to the person cutting the tree down because the tops break down, fall straight down and cause bodily harm, but then beyond that, physical, structural damage,” Gabbard said.


John C. DePrez IV, the commissioners' attorney, said he'd work with the County Plan Commission to create a list of approved contractors for the ash tree work.


And at DePrez' request, the commissioners approved an amendment to the county's Public Defender ordinance due to a new state law.


The law requires that one of the board members now must be appointed by the state Public Defender Commission rather than by local judges.


A new member of the county Public Defender board won't be named by the state until one of the two current judge-appointees leaves, DePrez said.


The commissioners also approved renewing insurance on the county's property and vehicles at a cost of $370,664, a 6 percent increase.


Brady Claxton, the county's insurance agent (pictured), said the county was able to get a fixed rate for 3 years.


Following their meeting, the commissioners said there's no word yet on the cost of health insurance for county employees next year.


A few recent high-dollar claims have driven health insurance premiums up well above average.


Convened as the Shelby County Drainage Board, the commissioners said work is continuing on a drainage problem in Gwynneville.


The board also is looking into reports of water covering County Road 800 North near 700 West north of London.


And the commissioners are asking property owners to mow around intersections where high grass and weeds can make it hard to see on-coming traffic and can hinder the flow of drainage ditches.


Attorney DePrez will be sending a letter to a property owner on County Road 1100 North near New Palestine about that problem.


When there's a continuing obstruction, the county can go ahead and mow it, and bill the property owner for the work, including attaching the cost to the owner's property tax bill.