Prairie Township addresses administrator position

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

The Prairie Township trustees have accepted the resignation of Township Administrator Robert Peters. The resignation was discussed at a recent board meeting.

While Peters’ resignation doesn’t go into effect until March 1, the board approved placing Peters on paid administrative leave immediately.

The board then appointed Dave McAninch as interim township administrator and agreed to pay him $120,000 a year for this position. McAninch also serves at the township’s road superintendent.

“We have some new faces up here and Rob is no longer with us,” said Prairie Township trustee Cathy Schmelzer.

At the meeting, the board also conducted business to start off the year. Among these actions included the swearing in of trustee Rodney Pritchard. The board also completed their annual reorganization, included naming Doug Stormont as the board chairman and Schmelzer as vice chair.

The board also agreed to continue to have their meetings at 7 p.m. every other Wednesday at Township Hall, 23 Maple Drive.

In other news, the county sheriff’s office provided an update on criminal activity in the region, as well as offered tips on how to safely travel this winter.

From Dec. 30 through Jan. 12 the township saw a slight decrease in criminal activity and had 430 incidents, this including 32 arrest and citations, 11 thefts, two recovered vehicles, 42 suspicious activity cases, 15 traffic stops, and two OVIs. Franklin County Sheriff Deputy Burton Haren attributed this decrease in activity due to the colder weather.

“I also wanted to talk for a minute about the traffic jam in Virginia and what you can do to prepare for winter travel,” Haren said. “You should always have a safety kit in your car that includes bottles of water, phone charger, flashlight and an empty gas can. This will protect you in case you are stuck in your car for extended periods of time.”

Deputies plan on creating a pamphlet with other tips on how to protect your car and yourself during winter travel and will be passing those out in the coming weeks.

Haren also let residents know that they have been working on a speed enforcement in area through the Traffic Enforcement Program via a grant. He warned residents to slow down and said they have seen quite a few speeders in the area.

Prairie Township Fire Chief Allen Scott also asked the board to approve renting turnout gear from Phoenix Safety Outfitters.

“We want to rent 18 sets this year with a potential increase next year,” Allen said. “The cost is $79 per set, which cost $1,422 a month and $17,044 a year.”

Allen said this agreement would provide fitted gear for part-time firefighters and would include coats and pants. He added that gear is supposed to be replaced every 10 years and should be fitted for each person wearing it. The board approved the resolution.

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