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Commissioners, organic farmers to meet

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Owners of an organic beef farm in northeastern Shelby County are to receive an invitation to meet with the County Commissioners regarding cleaning a storm water ditch.

Keith and Diane Linville own the farm off of County Road 775 East on the eastern county line; the Cotton Run ditch runs along the western edge of it.

Cotton Run goes from a point near U.S. 52 east of Gwynneville and flows south several miles to empty into the Little Blue River. The ditch is a legal county drain, meaning the commissioners, acting as the County Drainage Board, are responsible for maintaining it.

The Linvilles have objected to the county spraying herbicides on the ditch because of their farm’s organic designation.

Herbicides are used in drainage ditches to kill weeds in order to maintain an unobstructed flow of water.

County Surveyor Taylor Sumerford said at the commissioners’ meeting Monday morning the ditch could be cleaned out with machinery.

“If you went in and dipped it, that wouldn’t violate the organic,” he told the commissioners, convened as the County Drainage Board.

The Cotton Run ditch serves a large area pointed out Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R-Center District), and, as a legal drain, the county has a wide right-of-way on either side.

“We have legal control 75 feet from the top of each ditch bank,” Nigh said.

After some discussion, John C. DePrez IV, the county’s attorney, suggested asking the property owners to attend a meeting of the board to work out a solution.

The Linvilles are to be invited to the next regularly scheduled Drainage Board meeting June 25.

In other matters, the County Commissioners:

n Approved a change order related to the Fairland Road project at the request of manager Strand Associates Inc. There was no additional cost or refund with the order;

n OK’d utility requests by Rush Shelby Energy to bore at County Roads 6899 N 200 W and CR 3362 W 600 S, and a request by TDS to bore at East Michigan Road in Liberty Township;

n Appointed Commissioner Chris Ross (R-North District) to be a member of the new Safety Committee which will review workers’ comp claims made by county employees. The other two commissioners may also serve on the committee if Ross isn’t available;

n Granted a request by Sheriff Dennis Parks to sell a 2010 Crown Victoria used by the prosecutor’s office.

Acting as the Drainage Board, the commissioners:

n Heard from Vic Stickford, of Waldron, that there were soybeans planted, he said, in what was supposed to be a retention pond to help control flooding. The commissioners noted that was the jurisdiction of the Shelby Eastern School Corp. and suggested that Stickford contact the school.