Lightning strike packs a punch

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus


The lightning strike that knocked out phone services at the Houston County Courthouse July 13 also smacked the county with some unexpected expenses.

Tess Arrick-Kruger, human resources director, reported that the weather event blew out a control module for one of the ventilation units. A new module and its installation set the county back about $3,000.

Arrick-Kruger said the other air conditioning units remained operational, which helped keep the environment tolerable in last week’s heat.

The strike also disrupted links between the county and state agencies as well as the wireless bridge from the courthouse to the highway department. A copy machine was also zapped by the sudden current.

“There was considerable damage,” Arrick-Kruger said, adding, “I was not on site during the storm; however, I don’t believe there’s any structural damage at all.”

County personnel are working to put together an insurance claim.

The building does have a generator in the event of a power failure, though it was not needed during this event.

In other related business, Arrick-Kruger asked the county board to approve the purchase of a privacy fence at the east end of the new parking lot.

“The request is based upon wanting to be good neighbors,” she said.

Headlights coming and going from the parking lot beam into nearby residences creating a nuisance for the property owners.

Commissioner Steve Schuldt said he entertained a complaint regarding “significant lighting issues from private property owners.”

County personnel received estimates to construct an eight-foot by 144-foot-wide fence from Phillips and American Fence Company. Multiple material options were offered and included both composite and wood products.

The county board agreed that the frugal option with American would suffice at a cost of $4,800. The expense will come out of the existing operations budget.


Contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]