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Woodbury County Jail Faces Safety and Hygiene Issues

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Plans to build a 49-million-dollar new jail in Woodbury County could go to a referendum vote as soon as March 3rd. County officials said yesterday that ongoing problems with the current jail are becoming more frequent.

Building Services Director Kenny Schmitz told the board of supervisors that one of those problems is a shower in a jail wing that’s been out of service for 6 weeks. He says there’s a leak in the concrete floor for the shower drain, but he can’t find the leak’s source. 

It’s turned into a cleanliness issue. Some of the inmates have been doing some rather unparticular things in that shower area since it’s been non-utilized. And we believe it’s become a slight health problem. 

Chief Deputy Tony Wingert with the sheriff’s office says the more-than 30 inmates in this section have been sharing one working shower, but issues like this are the norm for the 33-year-old building. Officials also cite inmate capacity and aging infrastructure as big problems. One supervisor, Jeremy Taylor, would like to push back the referendum till September, to give residents more time to learn about the jail’s needs.

Nebraska’s Lt. Governor Mike Foley presided over the convening of the 106th Legislature today in Lincoln.

Senators face a time crunch with a short, 60-day session.  They plan to pass major property tax legislation, flood-relief measures and more.

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