'Heat' gets to Clay jail kitchen

Staff Writer

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Former President Harry Truman used the phrase to advise people to get out if they couldn't take the pressure.

The saying took on a more literal meaning for Clay County Jail staff last week when the air conditioning unit that serves the jail kitchen burned up.

"Cooking three meals a day, you couldn't stay in the kitchen with the heat," Sheriff Eddie Scott said, asking the Board of Supervisors to approve a $2,326 expenditure to replace the five-ton unit.

It was among just a few of the hits the department suffered in the last two weeks.

Lightning strikes knocked the repeater on the county's west tower and east tower. Combined, the damage cost $3,100 to repair.

"These expenses are eating us alive," the sheriff said, referring to the tens of thousands of dollars the county has spent in the last decade keeping the repeaters and related parts working in the communication system.

For months, the city and county have been studying joining the statewide MSWIN radio system. That decision may be finalized in September.

In other business, Emergency Management Director Torrey Williams told supervisors the state has reactivated a $104,000 grant the county filed in 2016 for 14 six-foot-by12-foot storm shelters -- 12 in the county and two in the city. If the grants are approved, it would bring to 28 the number of shelters spread across the county, Williams said.

"They've asked us to update some information and redo some parts but apparently it's being looked at again," Williams said of the grant.