Staff is still working to repair or replace electronic equipment that had been damaged after a bolt of lightning struck the Jasper County Courthouse last week and subsequently shut down offices and services for one day.
Ryan Eaton, the county’s network administrator, told the Jasper County Board of Supervisors during its meeting Tuesday morning the lightning strike damaged eight cameras, one power supply on a server, three network switches, the link to Jasper County Public Health, 10 network drops (Ethernet wall outlets) and the copier machine in the Jasper County Recorder’s Office.
The lightning struck the courthouse Tuesday night. Eaton said one day later the county activated the disaster recovery plan. A minimal amount of computers were up and running by then. Staff was aiming to fix the issues within four hours, but it ended up taking six hours to be partially functional.
“By the end of the day, we had every office back up and going (and) connected — not at any high speed, but (it was) functional,” Eaton said. “Day two we went ahead and borrowed some switches from another county, which was also part of the disaster recovery plan. We had all offices up and running.”
Secondary assessments determined there were still damages that had to be dealt with, such as the county’s cameras. By the third day, crews had Jasper County Public Health back online. New switches had been ordered, configured and put in place by Friday night.
“We’re still making adjustments and tweaks,” Eaton said, acknowledging he had made one such tweak Tuesday morning that had shut down the system very briefly. “We’re continuing to find items and no data was actually lost. We were down and couldn’t access it for a while. We are almost recovered.”
Prior to the meeting, the county had six dysfunctional phones in the building; but that number has since increased to seven.
Although several county offices had closed, the Newton Daily News previously reported the courts were still up and running Wednesday, the day after the storm hit. Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma was in the building at that time when he heard a series of lightning strikes hit the courthouse.
The board of supervisors praised Eaton and his colleagues’ work to fix the electrical damages and system malfunctions to the courthouse since the storm. Talsma said they did “a great job” of keeping elected officials and staff informed.
Doug Cupples, vice-chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, said, “I was thinking about this on a very micro scale what would happen to society if this happened. It literally shut us down. Pretty crazy how we’re all connected like that.”
In other action Tuesday, the supervisors:
• Approved the hiring of an assessor clerk position in the Jasper County Assessor’s Office. Human Resources Director Dennis Simon said both county appraisers had retired. One appraiser position had already been filled while the assessor clerk was promoted and filled the second opening. Reanna Fitzgerald will be hired at a pay rate of $18.44 an hour, to be effective Oct. 14.
• Approved the Portland Cement Concrete overlay plans for Highway F62 — also known as Diamond Trail — running between Highways 14 and 163. Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt said it runs about 4.15 miles long with about seven inches of concrete, similar to the T38 and F36 jobs.
• Approved the hirings of auditor clerks positions in the Jasper County Auditor’s Office. Leyna Noah and Michele Ergenbright will be hired at a pay rate of $14.94 an hour, to be effective Oct. 14.
• Approved a $620,000 transfer order in order for the county to purchase a building at 315 W. Third St. N. in Newton. Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott confirmed the purchase price of the building was $616,093.
NDN reporter Dustin Teays contributed to this report.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org