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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2007
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Lawrence to spiff up courthouse

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

MOULTON — The Lawrence County Commission faces higher insurance costs if
courthouse employees don't clear boxes and other fire hazards from hallways and stairwells.

The commission has given employees two weeks to clean up the building in order to avoid consequences from the state fire marshal, who has threatened to alert the county's insurance company.

Commissioner John Terry said Monday the fire marshal plans to re-inspect the courthouse either this week or next week. Most of the boxes are filled with overflowing records from the office of Revenue Commissioner Tommy Praytor, he said.

The county is required to keep the records in the courthouse until they are scanned and saved in a digital format. Commissioner Alma Whitlow said a courthouse employee is working 40 hours per week to scan the documents, but in the meantime, some boxes could be stored at the county annex. Whitlow said the junk-lined hallways are not only unsafe, but also unsightly and even disrespectful.

The cardboard boxes, some empty, cover award cabinets and veterans' displays.

"I had to go over there on some business, and it's an embarrassment to me. Those nice cabinets are covered with ugly cardboard boxes. On the inside, they're covered with bugs," she said.

Whitlow said she was shocked to see displays of veterans' monuments covered with dust and debris.

"I have a special place in my heart for veterans. They don't get enough recognition, and it's disgraceful to see their monuments like that," she said.

Chairman Mose Jones asked Whitlow to spearhead the effort to clean the courthouse and find a place to display county and veterans' awards.

She has recruited Tommy Hollingsworth, a Chamber of Commerce volunteer, and Hillman Locklayer, a Vietnam veteran who works in the voter registrars' office, to help.

"I don't mind doing it myself, but I want it done," said Whitlow. "We think the three of us can find a place for our new monuments, and then we want to get the boxes out of the way. I'd like for the records and everything to be preserved, but I think we need to step it up a notch and get it done."

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