EMA adjusts severe weather alerts

PLYMOUTH — What is more dangerous, a storm “watch” or a “warning?”
These two terms, along with “advisory,” were recently redefined on a statewide level in response to last winter’s heavy snowfall. Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director Clyde Avery visited the county commissioners meeting to present the redefined categories. The traffic alert definitions are being adjusted partly so that all counties in the state agree on how they are determined.
According to state law, a storm advisory is the lowest level of traffic advisory. It means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in certain areas due to hazardous conditions. Individuals should use caution or avoid those areas when traveling.
A watch means that weather conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a watch, only essential travel is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.
A warning is the highest level of traffic advisory. During a warning, travel may be restricted to emergency workers only. Individuals are directed to refrain from all travel, comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with public officials, and comply with directions of officers.
The county commissioners passed an amendment to the current traffic advisory ordinance adopting the redefined terms.

In other business:
• County highway superintendent Neal Haeck discussed a road cut made by NIPSCO at 5B and King Road. The cut was not approved by the county, nor did they give endorse the work currently being done in that area. Commissioner Jack Roose said that he would like to hear from a NIPSCO representative at the next meeting about the situation. Commissioner Greg Compton agreed, stating, “They (NIPSCO) need to explain their actions and convince us that it’s not going to happen again.”
• Commissioner president Kevin Overmyer received the Commissioners Legislative Service award from the Indiana Association of County Commissioners. He was unable to attend the conference held in Indianapolis last week because of a foot injury, so Commissioner Roose presented him with the award at the commissioners meeting Monday. According to Roose and Compton, many well wishes for recovery were sent his way by attendees of the conference.
• Jeff Million of DLZ Engineering discussed final touches on the 13th Road bridge project, which was opened in mid-November. He said that Jack Isom Construction may go to court against INDOT to appeal the $375,000 they have incurred in liquidated damages since the project was originally scheduled to be completed in July. A $5,000 daily fee for damages has been charged to Isom since August 10. Commissioners expressed concern that INDOT had given Isom too many extensions on the project. They received a total of 45 extra days to do the work.
“I still believe they squandered several good days last fall and this could have been done on schedule,” said Roose.