The Litchfield Police Department and members of the Litchfield City Council took time out of the council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, to honor a young lady who went above and beyond in assisting the police earlier this year.
Shawnee Boerckel was recognized with the American Police Hall of Fame's Civilian Medal of Appreciation, which was presented to the Litchfield 18-year-old by Litchfield Police Chief Kenny Ryker.
Boerckel was honored for her part in finding a male juvenile who was reported missing from the Hillsboro area on July 27, 2019.
"This case quickly spread throughout social media produced a high level of public interest," Chief Ryker said to the council. "Because of this attention, the Litchfield Police Department began receiving information from many sources, much of which was found to be inaccurate."
Investigators began meeting with the missing individual's friends and co-workers and it was quickly determined the missing individual had willingly ran away. Boerckel was a co-worker of the individual and agreed to notify investigators if she had any contact with the missing individual.
Eventually, the person contacted Boerckel, who informed the police and agreed to help them find his location. She escorted a member of the Litchfield Police Department to a pre-arranged location and assisted in the identification and recovery of the missing person.
"Her actions went far above and beyond her civic duty and her assistance brought a safe and successful end to this investigation," Chief Ryker said. "The Litchfield Police Department, City of Litchfield and its citizens thank Ms. Boerckel for her brave actions on this date."
In regular business, the council approved 11 motions, only one of which drew significant conversation.
A motion to expand deer hunting in certain areas near Lake Lou Yaeger passed by a 7-1 margin, with Alderman Ray Kellenberger voting against the measure.
Alderman Kellenberger, who lives in the area, asked what the reasoning was for the expanded bow hunting. Lake Superintendent Eric Lamb said that it is nothing to see 20 to 30 deer in the area when driving through and the expanded hunting would cut down on the numbers and help prevent disease among the animals and vehicular accidents.
Kellenberger asked if Lamb believed that the deer lived in these specific locations.
Lamb said that he had spoken with Conservation Officer Matt Lentz about the matter and believed that there were high concentrations of deer in these areas.
Alderman Woody Street asked if Lamb had spoken to any of the residents affected by the expansion of the hunting area. Lamb said he had not, but the area isn't heavily populated and he did know of one farmer who had applied for a nuisance waiver due to deer eating his crops.
Lamb pointed out that the diagram given to the council was not the final say on hunting boundaries and that hunters would be required to follow state laws, which set limits on how close they can hunt to residences and roadways. Mayor Steve Dougherty said that he believed that bow hunters are more cognizant of potential issues around homes and other areas.
Just before the vote, Alderman Street asked if this was a one time deal for the city. City Administrator Tonya Flannery said it was, with the option to renew through the council each year.
The council also approved a purchase of a Tri-State Carport from Nail's Power Equipment for $2,731 to cover the salt bin at Lake Lou Yaeger and approved the purchase of a replacement fluoride chemical feed pump from Hydro-Kinetics Corp. for $1,404.
In building and zoning business, the council approved the start of the condemnation and demolition process for a residential structure located at 911 East Ryder.
At the wastewater treatment center, purchases of a five horsepower scum pump and repairs to a ten horsepower Flygt pump were both approved, for a cost of $1,957 and $1,721.40, both from Equipment Pro Inc. The council also accepted a proposal for the new lake sewer system for design and construction administration engineering from Crawford, Murphy and Tilley for an amount not to exceed $101,600.
The council also approved the acceptance of a burn container training unit through a DCEO grant for the fire department and the purchase of an annual subscription for emergency reporting for the amount of $2,400 annually, with a one-time set-up fee of $720. An advertising contract with Heartland Outdoors for 12 months was also approved at a cost of $185 per month.
The council would go into closed session at 6:48 p.m. with no action taken afterward. The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17.