Pulaski County Commissioners Approve New Name for Former Winamac Masonic Lodge

Pulaski County Commissioners: Mike McClure, Jerry Locke, Kenny Becker

The former Winamac Masonic Lodge officially has a new name. The Pulaski County Commissioners voted Monday to name the building the “West Annex.” The county bought the building back in June. It will house the Coroner’s Office and Emergency Management Agency.

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Pulaski County Commissioners Recommend Pay Raise for Recently-Rehired Chief Deputy Coroner

Pulaski County Chief Deputy Coroner Jon Frain is apparently back on the job, after resigning amid a wage dispute. Coroner John Behny told the county commissioners Monday he rehired Frain, when the Coroner’s Office found itself short-staffed a couple weeks ago. “I was away for an autopsy, had to leave the county,” Behny explained. “We got another call. Fulton County assisted Mr. Frain. So we were grateful that he was there and was able to respond in a very timely manner. That helped EMS and first responders and our sheriff’s deputies.”

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Pulaski County Chief Deputy Coroner’s Resignation Leads to Heated Wage Discussion

The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is facing a staffing shortage, following the resignation of the chief deputy. Coroner John Behny told the county council last week that his lone deputy Jon Frain had “had enough.” “I not only lost my chief deputy,” he said. “I also lost a facility for which to check the bodies over and do our autopsies and so forth. I’ve lost all of that. I’ve lost storage of our files. I’ve actually gone backwards. I’ve gone from having an office. I got displaced. I have nothing. Our building isn’t going to be ready for some time.”

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County Offices to Move into Former Winamac Masonic Lodge by End of October

The conversion of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge into a county morgue and office building will be done by the end of October. Pulaski County Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Johnston told the county commissioners last Monday that the construction phase of the work should wrap up by the end of this week. “The cooler and all of that equipment will be installed as soon as that’s done,” he explained, “and then, we’ll start moving offices in.”

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One Dead, Following House Fire near Medaryville

A house fire in rural Medaryville has claimed a life. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office says it happened Monday afternoon around 2:30, in the 9000 block of County Road 300 North. When Medaryville firefighters arrived, they reportedly found a deceased victim inside the home. The victim’s name has not yet been released. The Sheriff’s Office is helping with the investigation.

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Coroner’s Office Fees Approved by Pulaski County Commissioners

Cremation will soon require a $25 disposition permit in Pulaski County. The county commissioners Monday adopted a pair of fee-related ordinances recommended by the Coroner’s Office. One of them creates a formal system of releasing bodies for cremation, according to Coroner John Behny. “Any time someone would be cremated, they would contact us and we would authorize, and they would send the money to the Auditor’s Office,” he explained.

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Pulaski County Officials Continue Working on Masonic Lodge Purchase

The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is pushing the county council and commissioners to finalize the purchase of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge as close to the original deadline as possible. Last month, the council and commissioners approved a joint ordinance to purchase the building for $50,000 from the Royal Center Masonic Lodge. The plan is to convert it into a dedicated morgue and coroner’s office, which the county has lacked until now.

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Coroner’s Office Fees Considered by Pulaski County Council, Commissioners

The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office continues to explore the possibility of charging for copies of certain reports. Coroner John Behny and Chief Deputy Jon Frain presented a few fee collection options to the county council and commissioners last week. “We’re talking about the autopsy report, the toxicology report, the coroner’s summary, or the coroner’s verdict,” Frain explained. Continue reading