Marlin and Mary Knepp were fined $2,587.50 by county commissioners Monday morning. The fine came as the result of charges brought by County Nuisance Officer Jason Boggs for violating the county ordinance regarding public nuisances in March of this year.
This is half of the original fine issued of $5,175. The remainder of the fine will be held in abeyance until after a final hearing in the matter which was continued until Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m. Knepp agreed to pay the fine before Dec. 17 and to further remove items on his property at the direction of Officer Boggs and County Commissioner Larry Miller.
Boggs restated his case in the nuisance hearing reconvened Monday. He stated that there is still debris that constitutes a nuisance on the Knepp property, that it is visible from the public right of way, and that Knepp has not complied with the previous commissioners’ orders issued in April and July 2 of this year.
Knepp replied that anything on his place can be found on any Amish farm. “Things behind my fence are not scrap,” he stated.”It doesn’t matter what I have done or what I say here today.”
Commission President George Bachman said that his biggest disappointment is Knepp’s failure to contact the nuisance officer and plan commission and keep them posted on progress being made. It was noted that Knepp has made significant progress in cleaning up the scrap around his property.
Miller, Boggs and Knepp agreed to meet Monday, Oct. 22, at 8:30 a.m. to review the property and contents and determine what needs to be done to satisfy Officer Boggs.
Commissioners voted to keep the county burial allowance for veterans at $500. Several counties in the area allow a lesser burial amount while state law allows up to $1,000. LaGrange County will no longer allow a $100 tombstone base reimbursement. Auditor Kay Myers told commissioners that to date in 2012 the county has paid out $23,410 from this fund and that it has been necessary to transfer some funds to bring the line item into balance since only $15,000 was allowed last year. For 2013, the county council has appropriated $22,000 for the burial of veterans.
Jean Fremion-McKibben reported to commissioners that 10 veteran headstones have been set in 2012. “Two of these were for veterans who served in the War of 1812 and the other eight served in the Civil War,” she reported.
Fremion-McKibbon reported that there have been significant changes in the policies at the Veterans Administration and the procedures necessary to secure replacement headstones for veterans. Pre-1917 government issued headstones can still be replaced at no cost, according to Fremion-McKibben. She reported that graves for 16 of these veterans have been identified and that the project for 2013 will be to replace eight tombstones. “It will still cost us some $100 per stone for the base,” she said.
Commissioners were asked to fund $300 of the project for 2013.