Somervell County has officially assumed ownership of the Charles and Juana Barnard bronze statue.

During Monday’s regular Commissioner’s Court meeting, Par Barrow with the Somervell Historical Foundation, passed ownership of the statue to the county.

The statue, titled “Barnards of the Brazos: First Family of Glen Rose,” sits on the courthouse lawn and is made out of local bronze.

The statue’s creation began in 2000. Original committee member Bonnah Boyd also attended Monday’s meeting and watched as the statue was handed over to the county.

Commissioner’s opened the floor for public comments. Citizen Grace Stewart addressed her concern with excessive cigarette smoking at the Expo Center.

Stewart, who has been a vendor during events at the Expo Center, said there are ashtrays positioned near the entrance and by the bathroom doors. While the arena itself is designated as a no smoking facility, she is concerned about people and children who are forced to walk through the smoking areas to gain access to the building and the bathroom.

County Judge Walter Maynard said the center is a non-smoking facility with designated smoking areas. However, Commissioner Mike Ford said they would evaluate the situation and discuss possible solutions. Mike Dooley, who manages the Expo Center, said a few “No Smoking” signs have gone missing over the years and he is working to get new signs in place.

Squaw Valley Golf Course is holding a food drive all month long to benefit the Somervell County Food Bank. Any golfer that brings in four or more non-perishable food items will receive a free sleeve of floating golf balls.

The commissioner’s voted to join the National Association of Counties (NAC) by a 4-0 vote. The county will have to pay $400 in dues for this year and next.

The main perk of joining NAC is county residents who are not on a drug program will have a chance to apply for a prescription card. The program even offers benefit options for pets.

Cecilia Van-Campennhout addressed the court regarding the 2010 census.

Forms will be mailed out in March 2010. In the meantime, the government is working to educate people about the importance, ease and safety of filling out the census form. Campennhout said one of the biggest changes this year is that the form has been reduced from 60 questions to fewer than 10.

“We don’t care why you got here or how you got here. We just want to know you are here,” Campennhout said.

In addition to gauging the population of the county, the census will also determine how much money the county receives in federal aid for public works, schools and other projects.

Campennhout said the government will also recruit temporary workers when it is time to gather the census information. Approximately 75,000 temporary part-time workers will be needed in the tri-state area. Local workers could earn more than $12 an hour.