OUT WITH THE BOYS Winans hangs up road manager hat

Published 11:28 am Monday, January 9, 2012

Richard Winans’ days at the county barn are over.

It’ll suit his wife, Helen, and two grandsons just fine.

“He’s better than a woman with the cooking and the cleaning,” she said. “And the kids would be absolutely lost without Richard.”

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Winans, 62, retired at year’s end after 22 years in the Warren County Road Department, the past seven as road manager.

His work crew of 70 is now a play crew — grandsons Jacob Lee Winans, 7, and Justin Landon Winans, 6.

“It was just time to retire and take care of the grandkids,” he said. “I had a good run.”

Assistant road manager Eugene Deyamport heads up the department while the job is advertised internally and then publicly.

“Richard’s a dedicated, very good man to be in charge,” District 5 Supervisor Richard George said.

Maintaining road conditions in Warren County listed and rated annually was tough in the past six years, and only will get more expensive to do in an age of fairly high energy and materials prices, he said.

“Take your pick off that list and it needs work,” he said. “They’d have to do a bond issue for about $20 million to take them up to county standard,” Winans said.

Sections of 11 roads were resurfaced this year and financed by the county road fund, expected to be buoyed in 2011-12 by about $2.1 million in revenue-based taxes from Vicksburg’s five casinos. State subsidies based on population financed a new bridge on Redbone Road and works in progress on new bridges on Fisher Ferry Road across the Big Black River and on Bazinsky Road.

Raising the pay for pilots on the county-run Kings Point Ferry has proved elusive in recent county budgets, but Winans concedes it’s inevitable if the service is to continue.

“The board just has to say, ‘This is the direction we want it to go in,’” he said.

The immediate future isn’t so heady. It’s just about keeping Jacob and Justin active and away from those addictive video games.

“They’ll be in sports soon,” said Winans with wry smiles. “And I’m sure Helen will find something for me to do.”