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Civic leaders 'jailed' for funds

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

BURLINGTON, Ohio -- It may be less than a month before the election, but local politicians, principals and business people are going to find out just how much a crime it is to have habitual hand shaking and baby kissing as part of a fundraiser for the old Burlington jail.

The Burlington Concerned Citizens is trying to raise $10,000 to help put in new floors and a stairway to the second floor of the old jail located along County Road 1. The fundraiser is planned for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Commons Park adjacent to the old jail and the Josiah Riley Log Cabin, said Ed Moellendick, chairperson of the fundraiser.

"We sent out 120 'warrants' to local politicians, school principals and local businessmen and women," Moellendick said. "All funds raised at this event will go to the restoration of the last remaining structure of Lawrence County's first county seat. I'm excited about this project."

The long-range goal is to house a museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad and to the county's early history. Burlington was the first county seat in 1816. Burlington remained the county seat for some 35 years before the county seat was moved to Ironton in the early 1850s.

Among the "warrants" sent out were charges against Lawrence County Commissioners Les Boggs, Bill Pratt and Freddie Hayes Jr. charging them with "habitual hand shaking and baby kissing."

It could have been worse, though. They could have been charged with excessive hand kissing and baby shaking.

"The people of Burlington have a great heritage and care deeply about their past and the present," Boggs said. "I am proud to be involved in the fundraiser."

Boggs is among those who will try to come up with a $100 donation before he can get his mug shot taken behind bars before being released on bond and good behavior.

"I'm a big supporter of the jail project," Hayes said. "They've worked hard to get this done and we need to help them out."

Moellendick said the concerned citizens already has a good start on their fundraiser with a $1,000 grant from Sam's Club.

He said a fire in 2000 gutted the interior of the old jail. A project to renovate the old building started more than 10 years ago to put a new roof, doors and windows in the building. More work remains to be done, Moellendick said. "It's just a shell right now. We hope to raise enough money to put in a floor on the ground floor and the second floor and put in a stairway." Long-range, the group wants to add electric and water to the structure, he said.

"We have an elevator we can install to make the building handicapped accessible," he said.

The fundraiser is open to the public. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be available for sale.

"We want the public to see the old jail and the log cabin," Mollendick said. The log cabin was once located along Greasy Ridge in the Bradrick area.

Donations to the project can be mailed to: Historic Jail Preservation Corp., P.O. Box 1266, Burlington, OH, 45680.