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Virus halts visitation at Trumbull County Jail

Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe announced Thursday there will be no visitation for prisoners at the Trumbull County Jail for the next 21 days in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the county jail. Monroe said the jail’s telephone provider has agreed to provide each prisoner 30 minutes of free phone time.

The sheriff’s department also is closing its concealed-carry weapons process over the next 14 days due to the number of people who go to the office seeking CCW applications.

“We will not be releasing prisoners due to the coronavirus, but we’ve spoken to county judges about limiting the intake of people being sent into the jail,” Monroe said. “We , of course, will continue to accept people who commit felonies, violent acts and are involved in acts of domestic violence.”

The jail had 329 prisoners as of Thursday morning. It has a capacity of 286.

Kids being held at the youth detention facility in Trumbull County also will not be permitted to have visitors, said Family Court Judge Samuel Bluedorn. Kids will be permitted extra phone calls. Bluedorn said hearings on cases can be done over the phone and people with upcoming court dates should contact their attorneys to arrange this.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Court is suspending all civil jury trials until further notice. Criminal cases are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Jury service for Monday is canceled, so jurors do not need to report.

Warren Municipal Judge Thomas Gysegem said the court will for the next 30 days push back cases that receive time waivers so people will not have to appear in court. Cases that do not have time waivers and arraignments will go through the courts as required by law.

Arraignments likely will be done in the afternoons. “We will be reviewing this every 30 days to determine what is appropriate,” Gysegem said.

UTILITIES

Warren Utilities Department clients will not be able to pay their bills in person by going into the water department office, 580 Laird Ave. SE, because the office will be closed to the public due to the outbreak.

Water and sewer department clients still may take their payments by going to the building’s drive-thru drop box.

Department director Franco Lucarelli said the city decided Thursday to not allow customers pay in-person in the building to protect both customers and their employees

“This is a decision agreed upon by Mayor (Doug) Franklin, Safety Service Director (Eddie) Colbert and myself,” Lucarelli said. “We are trying to be proactive in wake of the outbreak.”

Customers also can pay online through the city’s website, over the phone and through the mail.

“We are trying to limit person-to-person contact by giving residents options to pay their utility bill without coming into contact with another person,” he said.

The city’s utilities department has an estimated 20,000 customers. Between 5,000 and 6,000 of those customers pay their bills every month by going to the water department office to pay — either through the drive-thru or interacting with a teller inside.

Lucarelli said convenience fees for electronic or over-the-phone payments will be waived during this period.

Colbert said the city has been putting in place contingency plans, which include making sure the city has enough CDL drivers available if employees of the city’s environmental services department are not available to pick up trash.

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