Health board hears complaint, annual report

Friday, February 26, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A local business owner went before the Putnam County Board of Health Thursday to lodge a formal complaint.

Ty Sutherlin told board members he did not know his food permit for Little Dude Ranch, located on U.S. 231, was set to expire Dec. 31, 2009 and needed to be renewed.

"I never received anything in the mail about it expiring and needing renewed," Sutherlin told the board. "Last year was my first full year with the permit."

During a conversation with environmental health specialist Darrell Brackney, Sutherlin was told the permit would cost $100. When Sutherlin arrived the next day to renew the permit, public health coordinator and environmental health specialist Doug Ehmen told him it would be $125 to renew the permit.

"I filled out the application and was then told by Doug there was a $25 late fee," Sutherlin said. "Doug took an abrasive tone and I shouldn't have to put up with it."

Beth Glaze, administrator and registrar with the Putnam County Health Department, told Sutherlin the department was not required to send a notice of renewal and it was up to the permit holder to know when it is due. However, as a courtesy letters are sent out to permit holders and Sutherlin should have received one.

Glaze further noted she sits within a close proximity of Ehmen and did not hear raised voices the day Sutherlin came to the office. She said she thought everything was done according to policy.

Health officer Robert Heavin offered Sutherlin an apology for any confusion and frustration in the situation.

"We will leave the matter with Dr. Heavin," said board chairman Gary Salsman. "(But) it's good to know as a board what is going on."

Glaze promised to get back with Sutherlin in writing and assured him he was in the system to receive a courtesy letter this year.

"I don't know why you didn't receive a letter the first time," she said. "It never came back to us."

Representatives from the Putnam County Health Department were at Thursday's meeting, and presented a number of items, including the findings contained in its 2009 annual report.

Vital records in the report showed there were 201 births in Putnam County with 93 females and 108 males and 235 deaths were recorded in the county with 121 females and 114 males.

Also, out of the 92 counties in the state, Putnam County was ranked No. 11 in health outcomes in a report published by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The county is ranked No. 29 in health factors.

Counties receive the two rankings and each represent a weighted summary of a number of measures. Health outcomes represent how healthy a county is while health factors are what influences the health of the county.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute put together a collection of 50 reports, which reflect the overall health of counties in every state across the country.

For the first time, counties can get a snapshot of how healthy their residents are by comparing their overall health and the factors that influence their health, with other counties in their state.

To see how Putnam County has been ranked in any of the 50 reports, visit

In other business, John R. Scamahorn was introduced as a new board member. He will be replacing the late Donald Brattain, who passed away Nov. 14.

Scamahorn is a veterinarian at the Animal Medical Clinic on North Jackson Street.

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  • I'm always amazed that people try to get out of paying fees by blaming it on the system. Be in charge of your own life and business affairs it is not up to others to make sure that you get your own business work done. An apology from the board is more than enough.

    -- Posted by greencastleparent on Fri, Feb 26, 2010, at 10:02 AM
  • I am always amazed at the number of fees the government can come up with and their amounts.100 bucks for a food permit seems kind of steep!

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Fri, Feb 26, 2010, at 1:07 PM
  • I may be wrong but i believe the Food Permit is to be posted in plain sight and on it is a experiation date.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Fri, Feb 26, 2010, at 1:51 PM
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