By LISA BICKNELL
News EditorOnce again, citizens desiring the opening of the Mountain Springs road came to the fiscal court meeting to ask for help in opening up the old county road. During Monday night’s meeting, Tyler Hensley and Anthony Foster reported to the court that the sign erected by the county has been moved, and the barrier across the road that was just a cable is now two gates, one an electronic push-button gate. Foster again asked the county to reaffirm the road as a county one. He insisted that Kentucky law has changed to say that any road ever included in the county’s road system remains a county road unless the county takes specific steps to remove it. Hensley and Foster emphasized the importance of the road for four-wheeling enthusiasts and said an additional 50 mile loop has been opened up that goes through Patsy and into Ravenna. The men said that the Daniel Boone Back Country Byway, of which the section in question would become a part, was recently named a top new trail, a fact that was mentioned in several publications geared toward four-wheelers. They also reminded that there is a man who can’t get to his land (Andrew Hayes), and a cemetery that cannot be accessed because of the gates and other obstructions. County Attorney Rodney Davis’ advice to the fiscal court was that they are only obligated to defend the road to the end of where the GPS says it is. After about an hour of discussion about the road, Estill County Judge-executive Wallace Taylor recommended that Davis send another letter to the landowners asking them to take the gates down. Taylor expressed reluctance for the county to sue, saying they had lost two similar law suits, and one of them had cost the county a lot of money. Taylor asked Sheriff Gary Freeman to send someone out with county workers to put the sign back where it was. A jail report was included on the agenda, but Jailer Bo Morris did not attend the meeting. Tommy Mullen, the county’s animal control officer, presented to the county about the animal shelter’s numbers. He provided a graph which showed that the number of dogs taken in 2013 was 2500, but the number taken in in 2016 was 1514. The euthanasia rate for dogs in 2013 was 360, but only one dog was euthanized in 2016. Cat intake at the shelter has remained about the same over the course of the past four years, ranging around 500 cats a year. The euthanasia rate for cats ranged from 450 to 470 each year from 2013 to 2105, but in 2016, no cats were euthanized. Mullen said those declining numbers are because of grants that pay for spay/neuter, as well as the efforts of rescue organizations that find homes for the animals. Not only does the animal shelter take in dogs and cats, but this past year, they’ve taken in 12 pet rats, one rooster, one goose, five horses, two rabbits, and currently two cows that were captured after they wandered in the South Irvine area. Attorney Davis commended Mullen for being prepared for court. Davis said because of Mullen’s efforts, they’ve been able to get some “good solid convictions.” Mullen informed the court that the shelter has several leaks in the ceiling, and it needs insulation. He said much of the dog food used there is donated from Walmart and from rescue groups. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the fiscal court is February 20, in the little courtroom, at 6 p.m.