FARMINGTON — The public will soon have easier access to Franklin County information once a new website is up, Sheriff Scott Nichols told the county commissioners at a Tuesday morning meeting.

Nichols said the site will cost about $200 a year to maintain and be paid for out of the sheriff department budget. His wife, Lorna Nichols, a New Sharon selectwoman, is buiding the site.

Information that residents now must go to county offices to seek will be displayed on the site, and arrest and dispatch logs will be accessible on the new website, he said.

Later Tuesday, Nichols said that his wife, who has experience putting together websites, has been working on it for the last two weeks.

He said his original intention was to just do one for the sheriff’s department, but he realized it would cost the same to expand it to include all of county government.

He said he and Lorna Nichols will meet with county department heads Friday so they can give some input on what they’d like to see on the site.

Commissioners also were updated on an agreement that will allow Maine State Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officials to use spare office space at the Franklin County district attorney’s office in Farmington.

District Attorney Andrew Robinson told commissioners that the state is ready to go through with an agreement that will allow state police and DEA officials to use vacant space on the second floor of the building that the Franklin County district attorney’s office has been occupying since 2011.

The building, at 124 Main St., is owned and maintained by Craig Jordan. Robinson told commissioners that the lease for the upstairs space is between Jordan and the state, so the county will not be involved in that leasing agreement. The office space will be open for the two state agencies to use as of Feb. 1.

The county’s five-year lease for the Main Street location is up Dec. 31, and it would be required to notify Jordan of any intention to renew the lease by this summer. Robinson said the state signed a short lease with Jordan, which also expires Dec. 31.

Once the district attorney’s office decides if it wants to enter into another five-year lease, the state will make its decision to enter into a longer lease for the space.

Commissioners also heard from representatives from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, which presented an update the county’s 4-H program, which is the youth development program for the UMaine Cooperative Extension.

Franklin County’s 4-H is one of the stronger in the state “if not the strongest,” John Perry, president of the executive committee that oversees county funding of the cooperative extension, said at the meeting.

The program’s youth development professional, Dave Allen, stressed that while the 4-H program, especially in Franklin County, is rooted in educating youth about farming and livestock, it also is expanding science education in the county.

“Four-H can be about nearly any project,” Allen said.

Starting in February, 4-H will pair with the University of Maine at Farmington to start the UMF STEM Masters program, which will send UMF students into local elementary schools to act as science educators within the community.

Nichols told commissioners about the resignation of Franklin County Deputy Colt Bernhardt. Nichols said Bernhardt is leaving the department, and police work as a whole, to find a job with better pay.

The sheriff’s department is accepting applications for a replacement.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

 


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