The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Hancock County Board

Judge Clark Swears In Rachel Mast, States Attorney

Joy Swearingen, Correspondent

Rachel Bloom Mast was sworn in as Hancock County State's Attorney Wednesday, March 21.

Mast was appointed to the position at the Hancock County Board meeting March 20, recommended in a letter by the county Republican Central Committee chairman, Kathy Sparrow. Sparrow was present at the meeting along with many members of the committee.

Mast will serve until a new state's attorney can be elected to replace Jason Pohren, who died Monday, March 19, at his home in Carthage.

Mast has served as assistant state's attorney in Hancock County since November 2016. She was previously an ADA in McDonough County for three years.

Judge Rodney Clark conducted the installation Wednesday morning in the main Hancock County courtroom.

"It is difficult to wrap our minds and hearts around the events that have led us here today," Clark said, stressing the importance of having a person in place in the county with the authority to act.

"I had the opportunity to see Mrs. Mast (in court) in McDonough County, and right away I recognized her competence. I am proud of the Hancock County Board and the Republican Central Committee to have acted so promptly on this matter.,"

In other business at the county board meeting, four measures were passed to continue the Hancock County Public Transportation System through June 30, 2019.

Nathan Cobb, director for the transit system, explained the budget and ridership of the service since 2011. The board approved the public transportation applicant ordinance, and three resolutions related to the 5311 federal grant which provides partial funding of the service.

A large portion of the funding comes from an annual Downstate Operating Assistance grant, as well as service contracts with the Mental Health Center of Western Illinois, Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging and Memorial Hospital, and fares from some users.

Cobb noted that in the year ending June 2017, the service gave 11,746 in-county rides and 313 out of county rides.

A ride is defined as a one-way trip. The system gives scheduled door-to-door public transportation to all residents of Hancock County on a first come first served basis. Out-of-county non-emergency medical trips are allowed for essential medical service not available in Hancock County within two hours of Carthage.

Some examples of the service noted by Cobb were trips in Carthage to County Market, from Dallas City to R&D Foods in La Harpe, from Warsaw to dialysis in Keokuk, from Nauvoo to Memorial Hospital, and medical trips from the county to Quincy, Keokuk, Springfield and Galesburg.

For information about the service or to arrange a ride, call 877-371-4278.

The board accepted a bid of $499,379 from W.L. Miller Company to resurface the west three miles of the Ferris Road, using restoration funds given by Dakota Access Pipeline.

They approved a bid of $95 mowing by Mental Health Centers of Western Illinois for mowing the Highway Department grounds.

The board approved a resolution of supplemental budget amendments which included line item transfers and other budget corrections.

There was discussion but no action on the request by the Hancock County Preservation Society to deed the old county jail back to the county.

The board discussed but took no action on the labor agreement with the EMS employees. The union approved the agreement in February.

The Miscellaneous and Health Committee had identified two places where wording changes were considered necessary for accuracy. The full board chose to wait until the union approved those changes before giving its final approval on the contract.

A safe boating month proclamation for May 2018 was approved with May 19-25 being Safe Boating Week. There will be activities calling attention to boat safety as well as free vessel exams by the Hannibal Flotilla.