From Staff Reports
The Webster County grand jury empaneled last week has issued a report of its investigations.
Grand jurors were empaneled Jan. 23 on the opening day of the Webster County Circuit Court term that ended Friday.
The jurors investigated two reported violations of the law and questioned two witnesses, resulting in two true bills on one indictment, according to their report. The grand jury also inspected county buildings and reported as follows:
“We, the January 2014 Webster County Grand Jury, would encourage the Webster County Board of Supervisors to move forward with a new Webster County Courthouse as soon as possible.
“While we understand that the current accommodations (in the Webster County Office Building) are intended to be temporary, they make if difficult for Webster County Circuit Court and those involved with Webster County Circuit Court to function in an orderly and efficient manner.”
“There (are) water-damaged ceiling tiles and light fixtures throughout building that need to be repaired. There is loose countertop trim. The roof leaks in the medical exam room and the clerical office. The interior needs to be repainted. There is mold throughout the building. Fire alarm at main desk has been taped over and needs to be tested.
“Medical exam room needs hot water. Hot water takes over two minutes to reach exam room. All cabinets and counters were not properly installed and are falling off of walls. Broken windows in foyer/entry need to be repaired.
“Exterior drainage problem needs immediate attention. The drainage problem has made it a safety hazard. Annie Patterson in DHS office has water leaks around window. These are all problems that were pointed out during previous inspections and have not been fixed. In addition, there is water in the light fixtures. An exit light is not working in the rear of the building. The trees need pruning. There is mold on the outside as well as throughout the interior of the building.
“In the food specialists office, there are two lights that are not working, the cinderblock is cracked and has a hole, and one commode does not work and that room is being used as storage. The ladies restroom has no hot water, the vanity is coming apart, the wallpaper is coming off the wall and is filthy. There is broken glass in the foyer. There are outside draining problems.
“The water fountain is filthy and broken. There are several stained or loose ceiling tiles in the conference room. The restroom by the exam room had no paper towels and was filthy. There are broken ceiling light fixtures. The roof in the clerical office leaks. Several windows throughout the building leak and do not open.
“The Grand Jury is concerned that the smoke alarms are not functioning and feel that this needs immediate attention. The Grand Jury also would describe the overall condition of the building as filthy and needs immediate attention to remedy the mold problems.”
“The Exit light at both exists do not work. Light covers and switches are needed in several offices and a blank cover is needed over old electrical outlets. Ceiling tiles throughout the building are discolored or missing while some are loose and sagging.
“There is no hot water in restrooms. Judge Ellison’s office has a hole in the ceiling that needs repair. There are broken lights in the bathroom. Several of the HVAC vents through the building are stained or causing the ceiling tile to sag or become discolored. There are loose tiles in the clerk’s office and the storage near the bathrooms.
“There are lights out in the hallway and in the storage near the bathrooms. The men’s restroom has no hot water and the cold water faucet leaks. The weather stripping is loose on the back door. The water fountain by the restrooms is broken. The rubber base on the ramp is loose in several areas. There are several exposed wires that need to be addressed.
“The Grand Jury also notes that it is difficult to find departments in a given location due to the courthouse occupants being relocated while a decision is made regarding the courthouse.”
“We find the jail sufficient for the safekeeping of a limited number of prisoners. The lights in the hallway contain three lights and two of them are not working. In the Female Zone, there is chipped paint, several lights are out, there are missing light covers and there is a water leak around the toilet. In the deputy’s shower, there are missing tiles, no showerheads and rotting wood. There is tape holding the breaker box closed; this needs to be fixed.
“In Zone A, the lights are out in the hallway, the paint on the walls is chipped, light covers are missing, the red lights are not working and there are excessive extension cords attached to outlets running throughout the zone. The Grand Jury is concerned that this is a health and safety concern that needs to be remedied.
“In the Juvenile Zone, there are missing light covers, missing outlet covers and several light bulbs need replacing. In Zone B, there are excessive extension cords, missing light covers, light bulbs need replacing. In Cell 3 there is no toilet, in Cell 5 the hot water does not work and the light bulbs in Cell 6 need replacing.”
Foreman Jimmy Caffey signed the report. The grand jury will be recalled May 20.