The Wayne County Fairgrounds will soon feature a gazebo.

Wayne County Farm Bureau will purchase for about $35,000 and donate a 16-foot-by-32-foot gazebo for the fairgrounds. Commissioners voted 3-0 during their Aug. 16 meeting to grant Farm Bureau naming rights to the livestock show arena for five years in return for the donation. Farm Bureau will also be able to place a plaque at the gazebo recognizing the donation.

“They’ve been very generous,” said Commissioner Brad Dwenger, who worked with the Farm Bureau to facilitate the donation. “They were determined to do something to improve the fairgrounds.”

Commissioner Mary Anne Butters said: “That is a generous and valuable addition to the fairgrounds.”

Commissioner Jeff Plasterer also expressed his thanks to the Farm Bureau.

Three trees were removed Aug. 17 from the Wayne County Administration Building’s south parking lot. Removal of the trees and bricks will create six new parking spaces. The trees had caused sap damage to parked vehicles. Photo by Mike Emery

Where the gazebo will be placed has yet to be determined. Drainage issues will be analyzed to find the proper location.

Farm Bureau follows First Bank Richmond by having a fairgrounds building named after it. First Bank agreed to provide $1 million over 10 years to name First Bank Kuhlman Center and First Bank Expo Hall.

Health insurance

Cathy Dunn, president of the county’s health insurance plan administrator Dunn & Associates, provided commissioners information about the plan to help determine employee costs.

She indicated the plan is financially healthy, and recommended there be no increase to employee contributions for the new plan year. Changes did take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

“I think in this type of environment that we didn’t have to raise it is a win,” Dwenger said.

Commissioners did increase the vision benefit from a $300 maximum payout to a $400 payout, and they voted to immediately join True RX’s Ontrack program. Ontrack allows plan participants identified with diabetes or prediabetes to voluntarily have their conditions monitored and managed. It costs $50 per participant, with hopes the management improves health and reduces risks for serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke or kidney disease.

Deed sale

Commissioners will again try Sept. 8 to conduct a deed sale that includes 14 properties.

A previous attempt was disrupted by fraudulent bidders who did not pay for properties after winning the bidding. The county has been forced to maintain the unclaimed properties while investigating ways to prevent the group, which has also sabotaged other Indiana sales, from undermining another local sale.

Bidders will be required to pay a $500 registration fee to receive a bidding paddle. That’s the minimum bid for an improved property. Winning bidders also must pay for the properties within an hour of the sale’s conclusion, or the sale will continue and the unclaimed properties auctioned again.

Commissioners hope an arrest warrant issued in another county will dissuade the disruptive group’s leader from appearing at the Sept. 8 sale, which will be at 10 a.m. in the Wayne County Administration Building chambers.

Sister City Hagerstown Day

Friday, Aug. 18, was Sister City Hagerstown Day in Wayne County.

Commissioners unanimously approved a proclamation declaring the day to honor the sister city connection between the county’s Hagerstown and Hagerstown, Maryland.

A Hagerstown, Maryland, delegation was visiting its sister city during Jubilee Days. Plasterer was to attend an Aug. 18 program at Willie and Red’s to deliver the proclamation and present plaques to each city.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 23 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.