Despite the rain falling Monday, a crew from CenturyLink was expected to move a utility pole that had threatened to delay the new county jail project.

Project manager Dwight Ramsburg of Septagon told commissioners Monday morning that a large crew and a pole truck were at the site.

“There’s a bunch of them down there. I can’t see them working in the rain but they’re supposed to move that pole today,” he said, later adding, “I’m hoping it leaves today, but if not I figure tomorrow.”

Ramsburg complained last month that that CenturyLink has been uncooperative and has “used almost every excuse” since last October to avoid moving the pole. The county is paying $29,000 for the work.

“They had plenty of time since last year when we got that (contract) finally worked out,” said Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles. “They should have had it done a long time ago. I’m just glad it’s being done.”

Ramsburg also reported that all the jail cells have been delivered and all except one have been installed.

Street Closure

Temporarily Rolla Street between Iron and Water streets will be partially or, at times, completely closed starting the first week of August, he told commissioners, to allow the moving of gas utility lines. He is awaiting a firm date from the gas company. The street will be fully closed to traffic when dirt excavation work is underway, he indicated.

Feral Hogs

Skiles offered a public reminder that the deadline for comments on a proposed ban on hunting feral hogs in the Mark Twain National Forest is July 24. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than July 23 for consideration.

Submit comments via email to SM.FS.MTFeralSwine@usda.gov or to the mailing address at: Forest Supervisor; ATTN: Feral Swine Comment; Mark Twain National Forest; 401 Fairgrounds Road; Rolla, MO 65401.

“For landowners who have property next to the forest and have feral hogs, personally I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect them to not end up over on the Mark Twain National Forest shooting those hogs if they get an opportunity,” he said.

“They don’t have near enough trappers to address the problem when landowners find themselves with hogs, and if you’ve got hogs tearing up your property, you’re going to want to go after them or get somebody that wants to hunt them down and shoot them.”

He said private landowners shouldn’t be faced with threats of arrest, prosecution and fines for killing hogs that are destroying their property.

First District Commissioner Dennis Purcell said he hired hog hunters to clear his property of feral hogs and they were successful. He first contacted a conservation agent in Shannon County but was told it might take weeks to assess the extent of the problem and strategize how and where to trap the hogs.

He said a cooperative effort is needed to address the feral hog issue. “It’s going to take a partnership of hog hunters and the department to eradicate the problem,” he said. “I think it’ll be a stretch or a struggle to even do it then. It will be hard to get ahead of those numbers.”

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a used 2015 Chevy 2500 three-quarter-ton truck for the road and bridge department for $15,775. It has 197,000 miles on it, but was highway-driven, well-maintained and used by a company doing work for the Conservation Department, Purcell said. Eight bids were received.

Under commission reports, Purcell said rain might delay any work scheduled for Monday, but weather permitting, grading was planned on county roads 6670 and 6400 with material added to 4090. Chip and seal repairs were scheduled on 6380, 6180 and 4210.

Second District Commissioner Gary Larson said grading was planned, weather permitting, on county road 4380, which had been torn up by big truck traffic, with brush cutting on 4300. Two grader operators teamed up last week and did work on 18 different county roads, he said. Tractor No. 6 is also being serviced.