SELECT 2013 MONTH:
July 4th fireworks show needs community support
For many years now, the Winamac Kiwanis Club has organized and financially supported the annual fourth of July fireworks show held during the 4-H Fair in the Winamac Town Park.
In recent years, the club membership has worked with club sponsors to ensure admission is free to the public as costs continue to rise. The Kiwanis Club would like to thank the local businesses, area organizations, and individual citizens that have stepped up to help in the past.
Last year, the club paid out more than $4,000 to see that the annual community tradition continued. This year, in addition to its club sponsors, Kiwanis members are reaching out to residents to help support the fireworks show.
On Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT, Kiwanis members will be selling rib and chicken meals, compete with roll and baked potato at the NAPA parking lot in Winamac.
Presale tickets are available now until Saturday from any Kiwanis member. This fundraiser is an opportunity for the community to show the Kiwanis Club and its supporters that the fireworks are an important tradition to keep.
Show support by purchasing a meal or making a donation to the Winamac Kiwanis Club. For more information regarding the meal fundraiser, contact Kiwanis member Jon Frain at 574-946-3222. Anyone interested in being a club sponsor may contact Kiwanis member Bryce Brumm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Pulaski County Journal - June 12, 2013)
Monterey bridge progress slowed by wet weather
Recent storms have caused enough flooding to slow the Monterey bridge project for the second time but the project is still on course, according to United Consulting construction manager Bret Smiley.
The project, that began earlier this year, involves building a new bridge that spans the Tippecanoe River, just to the east of the existing narrow bridge.
“We have definitely had our woes with the river levels for April and right now. The good thing is that our contractor included built-in rain days,” Smiley said. “Right now we are still on schedule.”
Construction crews have been draining the area and are concentrating on the bridge structure of the project. Smiley said the substructure has been prepared and poured. The next step will be the retaining walls on the north side of the river.
“We are moving right along. La Porte Construction has been doing a pretty fine job of keeping things going in lieu of the weather,” Smiley said.
As part of the project, the existing bridge will continue to stay open until it’s time to connect the new bridge with CR 625 E. It will then be closed for about 60 days. The project costs more than $2.2 million and is being paid for with local and federal funds.
Smiley said the project is currently under budget.
“As with any construction project we have had some minimal change orders. We are just scratching the surface of the project,” he said.
The existing bridge, that was built in 1946, will be turned into a pedestrian bridge and deemed historic.
With weather permitting the project should be completed in November.
(Pulaski County Journal - June 12, 2013)
Decaying historic depot has future
The haunting sound of train whistles may be long gone from the Monterey area but one lone building is a reminder of days when trains helped make Monterey a booming town.
For some time the train depot that is owned by the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, has been the topic of discussion as to whether it should be torn down, restored or sold. For the past few years it has been for sale and until recently it looked as if the building would face the same fate as the train tracks that were removed in 2004.
In April, the rundown facility was purchased by Steve Newland, of Walkerton. Newland, a member of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Inc., said the reason he bought the depot with a small parcel of property was to preserve it. The parcel of property includes the outhouse, west of the depot.
“My main goal was to save it because the museum was going to tear it down,” he said.
The property was for sale for some time and it appears that whoever bought it would have to move it off the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum property because it was a liability.
Newland researched the possible purchase and found that the building could remain in place and he could purchase an additional portion of property without it being a liability to the museum.
The depot, that was constructed in 1881 by local resident Joseph E. Keller, was built with board and batten siding and a gable roof of slate with an ornamental ridge. It was designed to shelter freight and passengers, and equipped with a waiting room, small office and baggage room. It was a center to receive mail and also equipped with Morse code.
Sometime between 1910 and 1918, the depot underwent renovation when a concrete freight platform was installed replacing the original wooden structure.
West of the depot is a concrete outhouse. It offers his and hers stalls and is thought to be one of only three in the state.
“One of the first things I’m going to do is stabilize the structure of the depot. I also need to fix the holes in the roof,” Newland said.
Newland said he plans to keep the roof covered in slate keeping to the historical look. A slate roof could cost about 10 times more than a shingle roof.
“I would like to slowly paint it and make it look good again,” he said. “If I find someone who would like to buy it, I will sell it but they will have to restore it properly.”
Newland said making repairs to the structure will be a slow process because he will be doing most of the work himself. He believes in restoring the building as close to its original look as possible both internally and externally.
As for what to do with the building once it is restores, Newland said he’s not sure.
“I don’t want to restore it and turn it into a bar or something,” he said. “It doesn’t have any indoor plumbing. It’s a pretty primitive building.”
Newland is not sure how quickly he will be working on the building, but he hopes to begin soon.
“One of the problems out there has been vandalism. Every window has been broken out of that and plywood placed over them. That is one thing that when I do fix them, I would like to take the plywood off and hopefully the people will be a little more vigilant,” Newland said.
If someone would like to make a donation to fixing the depot they can contact Newland at 574-586-3342.
(Pulaski County Journal - June 5, 2013)
Winamac FWA hosts Family Fun Shooting Range Event
Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area will be hosting a Family Fun Shooting Range Event on Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Winamac FWA shooting range located on CR 200 W., a half mile north of CR 500 N.
This free event is aimed at introducing youngsters and their families to the shooting sports. Experienced firearms and archery instructors will be at each station to teach proper form and ensure that safe shooting procedures are followed. All firearms, ammunition and equipment will be provided.
Shooting stations will include .22 caliber rifle, 20 gauge shotgun, bow/arrow, crossbow and a handgun simulator.
Hearing and eye protection will be provided but participants may bring their own if desired. A parent or guardian must accompany children and the whole family is encouraged to participate. Lunch will be provided beginning at 11 a.m.
There is no cost to participate but registration is required by calling the Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area at 574-946-4422, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Space is limited, so call to register.
(Pulaski County Journal - June 5, 2013)
Mosquito apocalypse has risen
As the warmer weather moved into the area, so did an above average number of blood-sucking pests.
Pulaski County Health Department officials have been watching the irruption of mosquitoes and are warning that there’s not much that can be done to rid the county of the pests.
Sherry Fagner, preparedness coordinator/environmental health specialist, said she has been in contact with the state who advised that the onslaught of mosquitoes was because conditions were perfect, with flooding of woodland areas, for mosquitoes to lay eggs that hatched.
“We have been told that the mosquitoes we are now seeing are nuisance mosquitoes,” she said. “Those are not the carriers of the West Nile virus.”
The West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes are starting to surface and the state is conducting various tests to track the potential hazard. Mosquitoes that carry the virus flare up in the summer and continue to feast into the fall.
In 2012, all 48 contiguous states reported West Nile Virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds.
Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus show no symptoms. Older individuals are at higher risk to get severe symptoms from the illness.
Ways to deter mosquitoes include eliminating standing water where they lay eggs by emptying old tires or garbage cans. The Town of Winamac has already begun fogging streets and will on a regular basis with weather permitting. Town manager Jim Conner said the town will try to fog about once a week. Weather conditions such as rain, wind speed and heat could effect a delay in spraying.
“Hopefully things will dry out and then we will knock them down,” Conner said.
To help keep mosquitoes out of your house install or repair windows and door screens.
When outside use insect repellent and stay inside when mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn. When venturing outside wear long sleeves and pants.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 29, 2013)
Two local schools achieve elite four star status
West Central High School and Eastern Pulaski Elementary School were both included in Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz’s announcement of Indiana’s Four Star schools for 2013.
In order to achieve this designation, a school must be in the top 25th percentile of schools in ISTEP+ testing results.
A total of 313 schools received the award throughout the state.
Eastern Pulaski Elementary School Principal Jill Collins said, “I am so proud of our elementary students and staff.”
West Central Middle and Senior High School Principal Don Street said teachers, administration, students and parents should be “very proud of this positive recognition by the Indiana Department of Education.”
Street said the methodology to achieve Four Star status is to calculate the percentage passing the ECA English 10 and ECA Algebra I for the tenth-grade cohort or class of 2014.
Superintendent Ritz congratulated these schools today. “I am honored to name these schools as our Four Star Schools for this year,” said Ritz. “Winning this award required excellent work by teachers, administrators, students and parents throughout the year and on behalf of the entire Indiana Department of Education I send them my sincere congratulations.”
(Pulaski County Journal - May 22, 2013)
Flushing out the problem
There’s more than toilet paper being flushed into local sewer systems and it’s causing major concerns for local municipalities that are in charge of those systems.
At a Medaryville town meeting, maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli warned council members that the sewer pumps are being plugged by what appears to be cloth wipes or cloth pads. The wipes or pads don’t shred like toilet paper and get caught in the sewer system pumps.
“We have got to let the public know that what they are putting in there is plugging up those pumps,” said maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli. “Eventually it will burn those pumps up and then we will have to replace both of them.”
Hauptli said about every week he is pulling the pumps to ensure the wipes are not plugging the system. If the system plugs and overflows, the town will be paying for a hazardous waste clean-up.
If a pump burns up it could cost more than $2,000.
Hauptli suggests sending letters to residents explaining that if the pumps are damaged because of these wipes or pads, the cost may come back to the users. Councilwoman Carolyn Hager suggested making sure that everyone understands how much it will cost to replace a pump. It was agreed that a flyer could be made regarding the issue.
Medaryville is not the only sewer system that is being affected. Other systems such as the Star City Sewer District and the Winamac system are being plugged up in the same manner.
Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the items are flushable but not biodegradable. ‘They don’t break up like toilet paper.”
According to some packages, the wipes are septic safe while consumers are finding out they’re not. Not only are the wipes causing problems for the pumps but also septic systems and pipes. Conner said if there are restrictions in the pipes such as tree roots or uneven joints, the wipes could plug up the system.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 22, 2013)
Sheriff invites public to remember fallen officers
Remembering those who have died in the line of duty will continue under the watch of Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer as the public is invited to attend a Fallen Officers’ Memorial Day Service on Tuesday, May 28 at noon.
The tradition of the ceremony that began in 2007 is to remember those who have been killed in the line of duty not only locally but all those who protect and serve.
Gayer said the families of the descendants who have died locally come to the dedication to remember their loved ones. Those who are honored include sheriff Charles Henry Oglesby, sheriff Milo “Mike” Lewis and deputy Shadron Kiley “Shad” Bassett.
Oglesby was fatally shot on Oct. 5, 1907 when attempting to stop a gang of safe-crackers, who had robbed a store in Burnettsville, and hitched on a train that stopped in Star City.
Lewis was shot and killed by a prisoner the Pulaski County Jail was holding for another facility on Oct. 11, 1967.
Bassett died from injures caused by a single-vehicle accident on SR 39 at CR 300 N. while responding to a call on Oct. 7, 2005.
“It’s to remember them. I read each of their names and how they were killed,” Gayer said. “It’s a moment on a day in the month of May that we all stand together and remember these three people.”
Gayer also recognized Correctional Officers’ Week that was May 5-11. During the week correctional officers were recognized for their professionalism, hard work, dedication and efforts to protect those who are in custody and the public’s safety.
The service will begin at noon in front of the justice center at 110 E. Meridian Street, Winamac.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 15, 2013)
Tracking valuable items one serial number at a time
At a time when identifiers are needed regarding stolen items, most victims may not be thinking clearly enough to give police enough information.
As a way to help citizens keep track of their items, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with a system that allows residents to register or document information that could later be used to identify stolen property. The registration with “ReportIt” is free and helps keep track of valuable personal property.
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Detective Scott Taylor said the system is prompting people to better document their property. He used the example of someone whose shotgun has been stolen. Police will ask what type of gun it is, what the model of the gun is and what the serial number is.
“Without a serial number I can’t enter the item as stolen in the national database that we all use,” Taylor said. “More often then not people do not have it documented.”
The site, that can be accessed from anywhere with a password, allows property owners to store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures and scans of receipts that are used to identify the items in the event of theft or loss. Up to 25 items can be stored on the site. Items that could be cataloged include collectibles, jewelry, electronics, machinery and lawn equipment.
Sheriff Mike Gayer said, “we encourage citizens to take a day and go through their valuables, especially those that have serial numbers. Those that don’t can be photographed.”
Once items are documented only those with the password can access the information. Taylor said police cannot access the information.
“This is a very credible organization that we have been involved with for about a year,” Taylor said.
For more information about ReportIt go to reportit.leadsonline.com.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 15, 2013)
Don’t wait until a new school year to receive immunizations
Taking care of childhood immunizations is something many parents may want to be thinking about now instead of when the bustle of a new school year begins.
New state immunization requirements have changed for the 2013-2014 school year and Pulaski County Public Health Nurse Andrea Keller, R.N., said the change requires children to have two doses of the varicella vaccine.
“This really will probably only affect the third, fourth and fifth-graders because they were caught in the gap when they started requiring it to start in kindergarten. Those kids will need to get the second dose of varicella before they start school,” Keller said.
The state also recommends college-bound students to receive two meningococcal vaccines for adolescents 11-18 years old. Bacterial meningitis can cause serious complications such as brain damage and hearing loss. Those who are at increased risk of the bacterial illness are college freshmen living in dormitories or those who travel to different parts of the world.
“A lot of the kids who are going to be going off to college will probably be due for a booster. It depends on how old they are when they got it. There are some kids in high school that are probably due for the booster,” Keller said. “It is not a requirement for school, yet, but they are looking into it, not this school year but the following one.”
As a way to help simplify the guessing game of required immunizations, the state allows parents to have direct access to immunization records by using MyVaxIndiana and a personal identification number (PIN). The website allows parents to log in and check immunization history for themselves and their children as it is recorded in the Indiana Children and Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program. To obtain a PIN, parents must contact their local health department or health care provider.
Keller said those who need to update immunizations should do it sooner than later. New guidelines regarding insurance have complicated the process and immunizations must be filed with the person’s insurance company.
“We have a company that is actually filing the insurance for us. So people should call and ask if we take their insurance company because we do have a list that we can check,” Keller said.
Pulaski County Health Department is one only of a few in the state that will handle insurance claims, so the department is receiving out-of-county residents who are in need of vaccinations.
The health department gives immunizations Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment each week. To make an appointment or for more information contact 219-946-6080.
For more information about MyVaxIndiana email MyVaxIndiana@isdh.in.gov or call 1-888-227-4439.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 8, 2013)
Volunteer stream monitoring at Tippecanoe River State Park
The Tippecanoe River State Park will host volunteer stream monitoring of the Tippecanoe River at their canoe launch on Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m. and on Friday, June 14 at 4 p.m.
The Pulaski County Soil and Water Conservation District applied for a grant through the Hoosier Riverwatch program and received materials to use for water quality testing. They will supervise any volunteers that would like to assist in the monitoring. All ages are welcome.
Volunteers will work in teams to test for dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, pH, phosphates, nitrates and turbidity. Water temperature and biological activity will also be noted.
Please join state park staff and visitors and the Pulaski County SWCD as they enjoy the river and monitor the water quality.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 8, 2013)
Temporary road closures to affect Winamac drivers
Temporary road closings will begin on Monday, May 13 as a fire hydrant is being replaced in the area of Washington and Franklin streets in Winamac.
Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the two-day closure will cause drivers to detour from SR 119 at CR 150 S. if traveling north. Drivers will then use U.S. 35 traveling into Winamac.
Those who live in the area will still be able to access their homes, but Conner wants to keep the area clear of traffic for safety reasons to both drivers and workers.
The project is scheduled to begin on May 13 with weather permitting. Conner said it could start on Tuesday, May 14, depending on weather conditions.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 1, 2013)
Improving sidewalks takes residents’ help
Improving sidewalks takes more than Winamac Town Officials as they are offering their annual sidewalk replacement program until June 3.
The town is taking applications for replacing or adding sidewalks in the town limits as part of the program that offers splitting the costs of the entire sidewalk, 50-50, with the property owner.
Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said there is about $10,000 to be used toward improving sidewalks. Applications for the project will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis. Last year there was a lack of interest in the program.
In regards to town sidewalks, Conner said, there are “a lot that need to be done.”
When a sidewalk is replaced or installed it will be complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Conner said property owners won’t need to know the compliance regulations because those installing the sidewalks will ensure it’s compliant.
Sidewalks must be located in the public right-of-ways to be eligible.
Applications can be picked up at the town clerk’s office at 120 W. Main St. in Winamac.
For more information contact Conner at 574-946-3451.
(Pulaski County Journal - May 1, 2013)
Pulaski County property taxes due next month
Property tax statements are sent and property owners have until Friday, May 10 to pay the first installment.
Taxes can be paid at the Pulaski County Treasurer’s Office in the courthouse, at the First Federal Savings Bank Winamac branch, the First National Bank of Monterey at the Monterey and Winamac locations, at Alliance Bank in Francesville and Winamac, and at Key Bank in Winamac.
Taxpayers must present their tax statement along with their payment in order to ensure proper credit.
Payments can also be mailed to: Pulaski County Treasurer, Courthouse Room 240, 112 E. Main St., Winamac, IN 46996.
If paying by mail, be sure to include the tax statement and a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of receipts.
The second property tax installment is due Nov. 12.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 24, 2013)
Time, love stitched into Quilts of Valorp class="Body-Text">Sighs of appreciation were given as various quilts were on display at the VFW on Sunday but it wasn’t the fabric or stitching that was receiving the cheers of gratitude but the 15 men who the quilts were made for.
Those men have served in the armed forces and were injured in battle. To recognize the men and thank them for their courage and selfless service, they each received a Quilt of Valor made by local quilters and sponsored by local businesses, organizations and community members.
Gail Conner said the mission of the Quilts of Valor is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war. The quilts are to remind the men that they are loved. Numerous ladies created and completed the quilts for men that some had never met until the ceremony.
“We all put so much love into this project. We couldn’t help but think about who was going to be receiving our quilts and hope you like them,” Conner said. “We hope that these quilts will pave the way to your healing and that you share your experience with those who care about you.”
Those who received a quilt were Charles Knarr, Mick Tiede, Al Gudas, Louie Davis, Wayne Crist, Gordon Gutwein, Ed Fisher, Mike Hoffman, Dennis Redlin, Tim Troutman, Bob Graham, Archie Clark, Greg Frain, Bob Vollmer and Jay Chamness.
As part of the ceremony each recipient was able to meet the women or woman who made their quilt. The quilts were shown to the audience and information about each recipient was given such as how long the veteran served, what was his rank and what his favorite or least favorite memory was during the time he served.
Many times a short story was given about how the veteran was injured. Some of the veterans had received Purple Hearts or other awards.
Charles Knarr was one of the first to receive his quilt. “Thank you to all the ladies for doing this. Thank you to all the ladies who worked on these quilts. I’m sure all of the veterans who come up here will feel honored.”
Sponsors of the quilts were also announced.
Conner said she hopes this can happen again as many other veterans deserve to be recognized.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 24, 2013)
Winamac paying for paved patch to pathway
Finding funding to help pay for a paved connection to the Panhandle Pathway in town limits was discussed and approved at a regular Winamac Town Council meeting on April 8.
Panhandle Pathway President John Bawcum said the Panhandle with the help of Dan and Virgina Dolezal, fundraiser committee co-chairs, have raised more than $41,000 in about nine weeks.
“There was tremendous support to get this thing here in town. I knew we would get this done but not so fast,” Bawcum said. “Thanks to everyone on this, because it took a whole community effort to make it happen.”
Bawcum requested permission to pave a stretch of the trail where stone is already laid in the town limits while the final section of the pathway, south of the town limits, is being paved. The section in town connects the pathway with Burson and Superior streets.
The total distance from the town limits to the pathway is 374 feet while the town property is about 174 feet. The total cost to pave the stretch is $5,610. Bawcum asked that the town split the costs for $2,805.
“We would like to bring it around and get it finished,” Bawcum said.
The Panhandle Pathway follows the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail bed from Winamac south through Star City, Thornhope and Royal Center to Kenneth.
It was suggested the town portion of the money be taken from the Rainy Day Fund.
“I’m in favor of it. It’s going to bring people in to ride along the trail,” said John Plowman, town council president. “That’s about 22 miles one way. I think we need to go ahead with it.”
The paved trail is 10 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders. In the location where it curves in town the paving will be 12 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders.
Paving could begin next month.
Nothing more will happen with the trail in the town limits until next year. Future plans include Safe Routes to School and the Winamac Parkway but various Indiana Department of Environmental Management studies must be completed before further paving can happen. Plans also include extending the trail through Winamac.
Along with talk of the Panhandle Pathway, town manager Jim Conner said some changes need to be done to the Safe Routes to School application. Changes include the route moving to Pearl Street to cross at a stop light instead of Main Street and sidewalk repair moving from Superior Street to Riverside Drive on the west side.
A letter of the changes was approved by the council.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 17, 2013)
Eastern Pulaski awarded $68,000 technology grant
Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation has been awarded a $68,000 grant to assist with student learning in special education.
“We’re very pleased and excited at the opportunities this Department of Education grant will afford us,” said Dr. Robert Klitzman.
The Special Education Improvement Award, one of several distributed across the state, will fund iPads, laptops, whiteboards and an instructional interactive software program, along with professional development. This grant will afford the corporation the opportunity to do several projects that are “outside the box” via technology.
All special education students and many general education (K-12) students will benefit from the grant. The interactive program will allow students to touch, see, feel and hear what they’re learning with lots of different ways for them to learn the same thing.
The author of the grant was Becky Pear, special education supervisor, through the Special Education LAJSSC Cooperative with supporting help from Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation administration and staff.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 17, 2013)
Council approves numerous transfers, additional appropriations
Numerous transfers and advertising for additional appropriations were approved by the Pulaski County Council during a regular meeting on Monday.
The transfer and additional appropriations requests were made by several different departments including the assessor’s office, superior court, the highway department, human services and the sheriff’s department.
Requests from Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer caused the biggest stir with council members as they attempted to understand how the holiday pay is calculated. Gayer requested for the council to transfer funds to cover holiday pay for sheriff’s department employees in the amount of $10,000.
Gayer requested the funding be moved from the part-time deputy fund to cover the costs of holiday pay. He said a part-time deputy is not needed.
As part of the new policy regarding holiday pay, employees of the sheriff’s department are paid for eight hours without working. Those who do work are paid time and a half, plus eight hours of holiday pay.
“When it came into effect it caught us off guard because we didn’t have money in those accounts,” he said.
The money would cover the first couple of holidays this year and would be split between the dispatchers, officers, matrons and cooks.
Gayer said those accounts are almost in the red because holiday pay was not accounted for when the budget was being established. The policy for holiday pay did not come into effect until December 2012.
It was questioned why the head cook did not take the day off and part-time help be used instead to keep costs down.
Gayer said either way someone has to be paid.
“A lot of times those are holidays that we don’t take off for,” Gayer said.
The transfer for $10,000 was approved to cover the holiday costs but several other concerns were addressed.
Gayer said most of the employees at the sheriff’s department would rather take time off than be paid overtime or holiday pay.
Because of the changes to the handbook policy it appears that officers have lost the opportunity to utilize as many comp hours as they have in the past. That change could cost the sheriff’s department $123,000 in overtime.
The council requested to table the request for $123,000 until comp time can be better explained by Paula Reimers, who was the management consultant hired by the county to help with the handbook policies.
• A request to transfer funds within the assessor’s budget of $1,200 was approved by the council. The transfer was requested to pay for an employee’s social security. Councilman Mick Tiede abstained from the vote.
• A request made by Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship for an additional appropriation of $2,470 was approved by the council. The appropriation was needed to cover the cost of using an expert witness.
• Blankenship also requested to purchase a new computer that will better handle the court recording system. The current equipment does not operate the system efficiently. Along with the computer, a four-channel amplifier, a battery back-up and a larger monitor need to be purchased. The total cost is estimated to be $1,845.97 and would be an additional appropriation. Funding could be taken out of the cumulative capital fund and not the general fund. The request was approved.
• A request to transfer funds from bridge 291 to bridge 268 in the amount of $150,000 was approved by the council. The request was tabled from the last meeting because council members wanted more of an explanation. Highway superintendent Mark Fox said repairing the potholes will be a lot cheaper than a new bridge. The projected total cost of the project is estimated to be about $222,000. Council members may have to make an appropriation to cover the costs.
• A transfer to ensure a handful of highway employees are being properly paid was approved by the council. Four employees’ salaries were affected by various promotions and hirings. The transfer totaled $28,706.21.
• Because of the changes to the highway department salaries, a salary ordinance regarding the changes was approved by the council.
• A request from Pulaski County Human Services Executive Director Jacki Frain regarding additional funding in the amount of $30,000 was approved by the council in the form of an additional appropriation. Tiede opposed the request.
• RB Walters of DeGroot Technology presented the council with numerous requests involving computer related issues including putting a new phone system at the highway department, cellphone booster, a router for the highway department, a router for the commissioners’ room, a storage device for the assessor’s office and to move various servers and wires to the justice center. The council approved to advertise additional appropriations in the amount of $21,113.26 for the new phone system, the two routers, the moving of the servers and wires, and the storage device for the assessor’s office. Council members tabled the request for the cellphone booster.
• A request to total the highway department service hours of DeGroot Technology in with the county’s block service hours was approved by the council. Blocking the hours will save the county money.
• A request made by Gayer for additional appropriations in the amount of $2,046 from the county general fund into the sheriff’s department motor vehicle fund was approved by council. The $2,046 was collected when an old sheriff’s department vehicle was auctioned.
• Council members approved a transfer of $1,300 from travel expenses to office supplies, operating supplies and equipment and repair for the animal control department.
• Council members approved to move a part-time auditor’s office employee to a full-time employee. A transfer and additional appropriations may need to be done to cover the employee’s salary.
• A request to transfer $1,500 was made by auditor Shelia Garling to cover overtime. The request was approved by the council.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 10, 2013)
Troubles continue with Monterey sewer pump
Monterey Town Council members are waiting to hear the latest news as they were informed of continued problems with a sewer pump during a meeting on April 2.
The pump was recently replaced after the old pump burnt out on the equalization tank.
“They put a new one in and it failed. They took it out and they are testing it. They are supposed to send me another pump and then they are going to run some old meters to make sure that it is getting enough voltage,” said Ray Stevenson, sewer treatment plant operator. “It is grinding stuff up, it’s just not pushing it out. They don’t know why it is doing it.”
Stevenson also said chemicals need to be purchased for the year.
Council members also talked briefly about the cost of purchases made for the wastewater collection system. The newer and the older pumps were in need of new vanes that were expected to cost about $1,400 a set. Two sets of vanes were purchased along with filters for a total cost of about $3,400.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m.
• Council members approved to use the same portable restroom company that they have used last year. The price is the same as last year at $75 per unit per month. The portable restrooms are used in the park.
• The council approved to sign an agreement regarding computer software the town uses to calculate sewer bills. The cost of the agreement is more than $1,300. The contract includes a maintenance agreement.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 10, 2013)
Chamber changes dates, times of monthly meetings
Trying to assist board members by making meetings more accessible has caused the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce to change the time and dates of their meetings.
Beginning in May the chamber will meet on the third Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m.
“Some current board members were having scheduling conflicts with other meetings and we also wanted to afford an opportunity to other board members who had expressed issues with being able to meet at that time,” said Brad Conn, chamber president.
Meetings were held on the fourth Friday of the month at noon. The April meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 22 at 5:30 instead of April 15 due to tax season.
The chamber is a volunteer based organization that relies heavily on volunteers to make the chamber successful. There are 15 board members who take an active role on various committees, make policy and direct the chamber that has more than 100 members.
The board is working to contact chamber members in hopes of better understanding who they are and what they do, such as businesses facing any challenges the chamber needs to address.
To leave a message for the chamber call 574-946-6123.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 3, 2013)
Locals receive their gallon pins for donating blood
Locals are pitching in and giving blood as the American Red Cross is hosting various blood drives across the nation.
The local Knights of Columbus sponsored an American Red Cross blood drive on March 6. Local donors turned out in great supportive efforts.
There was one first time donor and Kenny Hurlburt received his two-gallon donor pin, while Todd Schmicker was awarded his five-gallon pin. Chris Shorter donated to the eight-gallon level.
Of the 48 donor opportunities the drive totaled 45 productive units. Sandwiches were donated by For Your Better Health LLC and Barb Reeves while homemade cookies were donated by the Nite-Liters Home Economics Club. The next blood drive will be May 1 from 11:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.
Since Hurricane Irene began its path along the East Coast, the storm forced the cancellation of numerous American Red Cross blood drives.
Nationwide, around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment.
When disaster strikes, this need does not diminish. And if collections are negatively impacted by a disaster, the long-term needs of these patients could also be affected.
It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives before, during and after a disaster. Platelets have a shelf-life of just five days.
Consider giving blood or platelets now by scheduling an appointment to give blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit online at redcrossblood.org. To schedule an appointment to give platelets, please call 1-800-589-8127.
(Pulaski County Journal - April 3, 2013)
Four young women to become citizens of Hoosier Girls State
Taking the initiative to learn about Indiana politics is on the minds of four local young women who were chosen to be part of the 2013 Hoosier Girls State for a week in June.
The American Legion Auxiliary #336 of Star City and the American Legion Auxiliary #71 of Winamac have chosen to sponsor Courtney Boos, Cierra Schmicker, Dagny Zupin and MacKenzie VanCoutren as this year’s Hoosier Girls State delegates. They will join roughly 560 high school juniors from across the state.
Hoosier Girls State is designed to teach young women about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
As part of the program, participants become citizens of Hoosier Girls State and assigned to one of the two political parties — federalist or nationalist. They learn the political party structure and every citizen files and campaigns for an elective office. Once elected, they serve in that office for the week.
Applicant requirements include young ladies who are juniors in an Indiana high school or state certified home school, who are ranked in the upper half of her class academically and who are sponsored by an American Legion Auxiliary unit. Delegates must be interested in government, have leadership abilities and be of good character.
Joan Henry, Hoosier Girls State Chairman for Winamac, said young women from the area have been attending Hoosier Girls State for more than 70 years. The Hoosier Girls and Boys State program began in 1937.
Boos is the daughter of Matt and Lyndy Boos, while Schmicker is the daughter of Todd and Michelle Schmicker. They are sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary #336 of Star City.
Zupin is the daughter of Kevin Zupin and Annette Zupin and VanCoutren is the daughter of Bryan and Kerry VanCoutren. They are sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary #71 of Winamac.
While the ladies are attending the sessions, they will have a chance to participate in a service project called Operation Comfort Warriors. The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors program provides nonessentials to help wounded warriors in their recovery.
They will also learn about how communities and individuals can better serve veterans.
The sessions will be held at Trine University in Angola. This is the first year in the last four decades that Hoosier Girls State has been held somewhere other than Indiana State University.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 27, 2012)
Drowning in concerns over town pool
Keeping the Winamac town pool open three extra weeks does not look like it’s possible without being over budget, according to the expenses tallied by town manager Jim Conner.
During a town council meeting on March 11, Conner said various expenses are dictating whether the pool can stay open until Labor Day. Those expenses include chemicals for treating the water and general operations.
“I went off of the 2012 expenses and projected it forward to see what we are looking at in regards to expenses. The last couple of years we bought chemicals early because it was cheaper and we had the money. In 2012 we cut some of that out of the budget so we weren’t able to buy the chemical ahead for 2013,” Conner said. “If we want to keep it open for three extra weeks, along with all the other expenses, my guess is that it will be $47,000, we have $38,000 budgeted for this year.”
The budget for the pool has also been cut over the past couple years.
For the last seven or eight years, the pool has had money left over to spend on chemicals, hence saving money for the town.
An additional expense could occur when the pool is drained and maintenance begins.
A suggestion was made to use funding from the Rainy Day Fund if needed.
Some council members wanted to know what fund the consumer money goes into and if that money can be used for operation expenses. Conner and clerk-treasurer Melanie Berger said it is moved back into the general fund. But it was unclear if the money could be used this year.
It was suggested that when the money runs out then the pool should be closed whether the season is over or not.
No decision was made by the council.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 27, 2012)
Sheriff has some unfinished business
Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer is asking those who have applied for a gun permit with the Indiana State Police to visit their local law enforcement agency to finish the paperwork.
According to Gayer, there are currently 67 pending gun permit applications that have not been finished by Pulaski County residents. Gayer said those applications are dating back to the beginning of 2012.
“People have applied online but not followed the next steps to get their permit mailed to them,” he said. “My request is that anytime you do this, you get it done within a responsible amount of time because it could be purged from the system and you would have to do it all over again.”
Applications for gun permits are available online at www.in.gov/isp. As part of the gun permit application process, those applications are sent to the applicant’s home law enforcement agency for completion. A majority of the applications are sent to the sheriff’s department, but those who live in the town limits of Winamac, Francesville and Medaryville will need to contact the town marshal’s office.
After a copy of the application has been received by the applicant’s home law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff’s office, they will conduct a background check to ensure the applicant is not a convicted felon. The background check can take a couple days or more depending on the agency.
Gayer said it typically takes the sheriff’s department a couple days to complete the background check. Those who filled out an application will need to follow up with the prospective law enforcement agency for fingerprinting and to pay a permit fee. The sheriff’s department or other law enforcement agencies will not invite applicants to complete their application.
“It’s the same for the rest of the law enforcement agencies, Winamac and the two town marshals. Once you do it, you need to get to us in a responsible amount of time to complete the process. Just the application online is not going to get a permit mailed to you,” Gayer said.
After the completed application is sent back to the Indiana State Police, it takes about 11-14 weeks to received the permit, according to Gayer.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 20, 2012)
Prepare for severe weather with tornado app
As the weather warms and the potential for severe weather increases, families can prepare for tornadoes with the official tornado app from the American Red Cross.
The tornado warning app puts everything a person needs to know to prepare for a tornado — and all that comes with it — in the palm of a user’s hand. The app also offers interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.
Pulaski County Health Department Preparedness Coordinator and Environmental Health Specialist Sherry Fagner said the app downloaded quickly and had easy-to-use settings.
“Any location your phone is at it will give you warnings there. You can put in the location you want it to set in whether you are there are not,” Fagner said.
She used the example that if someone is on vacation, they could still receive information about what is happening at home.
Some of the app features include:
• Simple step-by-step instructions to help a person know what to do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during and after require no mobile connectivity.
• Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) issues a tornado warning, helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.
• Push notification sent when a warning expires – especially important if power goes out while families are in their safe room.
• Help distant friends and family in tornado alley with ability to receive tornado watch and warning alerts based on their location from NOAA.
• Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when needed most.
• Be ready should a tornado hit by learning how to assemble an emergency kit in the event of power outage or evacuation.
To find information regarding the app visit http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app.
The American Red Cross also offers wildfires, earthquakes, first aid, hurricane and shelter finder apps.
From a mobile phone, call “**REDCROSS” (**73327677) and a link will be sent to download the app to the phone or download them directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 20, 2012)
Winamac students busy preparing for space
Floating over 230 miles above the earth, traveling nearly five miles an hour, is a sign of man’s ingenuity and curiosity with space. The International Space Station is now the largest habitable artificial body in orbit. Its first component launched on Nov. 20, 1998. The station has been continuously occupied for over 12 years, serving as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments.
Our own Winamac Community Schools now have the opportunity to become part of space exploration history with a student-developed experiment to be done on the ISS. Winamac is one of only 10 schools in the nation chosen. “We know that rural schools are underrepresented in the sciences. If we can get our kids excited about this it would be great,” said seventh-grade science teacher Dr. Darlene Gordon.
Dr. Gordon went on to add, “It’s an expensive endeavor. We have foundations and companies here in Winamac who have already donated $4,500 to us for this program but more fundraising has to be done. Our community is so good in supporting the school and helping us. This is well beyond what we would typically do but it’s exciting and who thought here in Winamac, Ind., we could have an opportunity to put something on the space lab.”
Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman sent an email to Gordon regarding the opportunity of doing minimal gravity experiments in space. That was all it took to set things in motion. Since then Gordon has been in contact with the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in Washington, D.C., talking at great length about the project. The National Centers’ core beliefs are to continue the legacy of scientific exploration, saying every generation must be inspired to learn what we know about our world and the universe, and how we have come to know it. The belief is that learners must see themselves in the stories we tell and experience scientific exploration through their own involvement.
The center had a private school in Crown Point that has been doing this type of project now for three years. Because of the changes made to increase the number of students the center wants to participate, that school is now short on numbers so Winamac is now partnering with them. The combination of experience and size works out pretty well. Unfortunately there is one spot to fill and both schools are in competition for that opening.
“I’ve been on the phone a lot recently discussing the parameters to get a better idea of the project in my own mind,” said Gordon. “I have found that one of the limitations happens to be the size of the final project. It can only be 17 centimeters long by 1.3 centimeters in circumference, so basically it’s a long skinny test tube. One option that can be used inside that long skinny test tube is a pair of ampoules (a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample, usually a solid or liquid) that can be broken by the astronauts to mix things together.”
After finding out more details the thinking has really changed. She said, “We received some parameters of what we can’t use and other constraints. There will be no power source, no light source and the astronauts cannot record data or take pictures. Upon hearing that news we have had to shift our thinking.”
Students have already begun the task of designing their experiments and are looking and sorting through all different ideas, such as rotting fruit and the fungus responsible for fruit rot, frog and fish eggs and what could impact their development perhaps causing deformities. They are picking up on all the different possibilities that are out there.
Gordon discussed a few of the expectations of the budding scientists, “Students are expected to come up with an idea and experiment their idea. I think one of the most difficult things for the middle school students will be doing the background research such as what’s been done and what can happen. From a teaching standpoint this has opened up new avenues of students doing authentic research. The iPads have proven to be a big asset in the classroom allowing students to have a fountain of information at their fingertips. Students are making better choices and using more sources to gather information.”
She finished up by saying, “I’ve always had students do science fair and the way that is done is follow the scientific methods, do these steps and they have completed a science project. This is true science. We have been given these parameters but they can open up their minds and do anything. Being able to do and complete the background research is important. For them to understand what’s already been done and what they can expect to happen if they do this type of project is the important part.”
Gordon will be busy over spring break contacting and working on securing the assistance of several professors at Purdue and Butler for their feedback on the students’ projects.
As in-depth and detailed as this undertaking is, a lot of it will be done by the end of this school year. At that time three papers will be picked from Winamac and Crown Point to be sent to the national organization. Only one paper from the six will be chosen to go into space. The winning school will be putting all the materials together next fall and shipping them off to Houston before the project is put on a space shuttle and delivered to the International Space Station.
Student experiments can be as short as one day and as long as six weeks. While the experiment is going on in space, students will be conducting the same experiment in the classroom back here on Earth comparing Earth gravity to minimal gravity.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 13, 2012)
Marketing the industrial park
Making the Pulaski County Industrial Park more appealing to industries and corporations became the topic of conversation during a recent advisory board meeting on March 5.
Pulaski County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer said the price of acreage at the park appears to be high, with a starting price of $10,000 per acre.
“I don’t think that anyone is going to bite on that when there are other locations with better logistics,” Origer said. “We are already at a disadvantage because we do not have four-lane highway access anywhere or rail fewer than 20 miles away.”
Advisory board member Tom Bonnell said the reason for $10,000 per acre is because people wanted a couple acres to build a two-car garage when the land was advertised at a cheaper rate. The board wanted industries.
He suggested that Origer list the land as having no price, but companies may then ask for financial assistance to hook-up utilities and that’s something the park cannot offer at this time.
Origer said he could leave the price at $10,000 and find some creative way to say it’s negotiable.
Although the board can suggest a price, county commissioners have the final vote. Origer said he can negotiate on behalf of the company but he cannot make any promises.
Origer suggested he request for the council to designate the property as an economic revitalization area. It would help companies bypass the first step in acquiring tax abatements.
“It’s one of the things the state asks. Is it a TIF district? Is it an ERA?” Origer said. “If we declare it now, then if someone does want to do it and is interested in tax abatement then we can cut one step of the process.”
As Origer is looking to promote the western part of the county for an industrial park, advisory board members were asking how that would apply to the Pulaski County Industrial Park. Industrial development on the west side of the county is part of the county strategic plan.
“I think that we need to clarify — are we supposed to be involved in that? Is a recommendation supposed to come from us? And where is the representative from the west on this board if that is true?” Bonnell asked. “This is an issue that we need to clarify.”
Bonnell wants to know the legal aspects of it before they get involved. He also wants to ensure that funding from the industrial park in the Winamac area is separate from money that may come from growth in the west.
The board also talked about not receiving rent revenue or the interest that should be put in the account. Bonnell said the county is responsible for moving the funding and there has been a problem before with not receiving the rent revenue from the county. Origer said he would pursue information regarding the revenue.
Bonnell asked what the board wants to do with the current funding. It was suggested the funding could be used for marketing of the area or improving the area in general. A final decision was not made regarding the spending.
• The board elected and approved new officers. Origer accepted the position of president, while Art Hoffman accepted the position of vice president and Jim Conner accepted secretary.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 13, 2012)
Star City Sewer District facing budget concerns
Members of the Star City Regional Sewer District are crunching numbers as they are trying to prepare a budget for the 2013 year.
During a meeting on Feb. 25, members voiced their concerns that a balanced budget is not possible due to various expenses. The proposed budget should have been submitted in November of 2012.
Board president Pat Heisner said, according to the proposed numbers, the budget is more than $30,000 in the hole.
“I cannot submit this. We have got to come up with something,” she said.
The numbers causing concerns were part of a rough draft budget created during a Feb. 16 work session. Board member Walter Craig said the numbers will be a little higher because of rising costs. There may be some things that can be cut.
“Our revenues are not going to increase beyond what we are projecting,” Craig said. “While everyone’s fees go up our revenues are going to stay the same.”
According to the projected expenses, the district would spend $176,349 in 2013. The estimated revenue is $144,000.
“We have to look at the rest of the budget and say ‘where else can we cut out?’ The only other place that we have is how we are operating the system,” Craig said. “We have discussed this countless times.”
Craig is frustrated with the operating costs because a current contract the district has does not cover digging or repairs. The contract only covers minimal work.
“It’s a half hour to 45 minutes per day work,” he said. “We can surely find someone that can come in and write down the numbers in the chart.”
The system consists of a pumping station that sends waste to the Winamac wastewater treatment center. It also has a generator that needs to be checked regularly. It was suggested the board submit a request for proposals to see if the costs of operation could be lowered.
One expense the district will not have to pay for until 2014 is NIPSCO but Craig said he wants some reserve built up for when the district does have to pay. The NIPSCO expense would total about $14,400.
There were a lot of questions, Craig said, the board doesn’t have an exact answer to such as how much legal fees will cost. It causes complications for the budget.
District accountant Sue Peppers said she completed an analysis and about 80 percent of the district consumers are paying their bills. The average is about 85 percent. User fees paid in 2012 totaled $129,877.
“I will try to come up with what I think your income should be by looking at some history and past collections,” Peppers said.
District attorney Dan Murphy said a rate study may have to be completed.
“You must operate on a balanced budget,” Murphy said. “You have to balance your income with your expenses. State law mandates you must cover your debt service and your operational expenses.”
The budget was tabled and the board scheduled a budget workshop for Saturday, March 9.
Other financial woes for the district include 18 liens being filed in January. The sewer district must collect from 146 properties to make ends meet. There are 158 homes and businesses that will be hooked to the system. Heisner said the district is 15 properties shy of the 158. Eight of the 15 residences are waiting for weather to change to begin installation while seven of the homes have been sent to the health department to determine if the property is unfit for human habitation. The average cost of a monthly sewer bill is $87.65.
• The minutes from the Jan. 28 meeting were approved with an amendment of changing the number of letters sent to the health department. The board sent seven letters not eight.
• The treasurer’s report was also approved.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 6, 2012)
Local state park named a top Indiana destination
The Tippecanoe River State Park may seem like a backyard getaway for locals but to outsiders it can be a quiet getaway with nature being the focus.
Managing editor of Outdoor Indiana magazine Marty Benson called it one of the best canoeing and kayaking destinations in Indiana. “It’s very much of a park where nature is the feature — unspoiled nature. There are some parks that are more activity oriented. This one is a no frills type of thing.”
Benson recently wrote about the park in the Outdoor Indiana magazine’s March-April issue. The featuring of the park is part of a series of one state park or reservoir property per Outdoor Indiana issue through 2016, the 100th anniversary of Indiana state parks.
Tippecanoe River State Park is about 2,761 acres of Hoosier land with an occasional sand dune, oak forests, marshes and a pine plantation. The river skirts the park that neighbors two nature preserves —Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve and the Sandhill Nature Preserve. It offers about 22.6 miles of hiking and bridle trails.
Benson said the history of the park is interesting. “There is a decent amount of history on how the park took shape. Parts of it were built by the Works Project Administration during the Depression, so there are some historical features to look at.”
Camping sites are available for hikers, horsemen and canoers. There are also rent-a-camp cabins, a recreation building and shelters, and a fire tower for a bird’s eye view.
“The paddling opportunities on the river is a big thing. It’s a very peaceful river,” Benson said. “I’m sort of a water guy and I did paddle it with the property manager and I enjoyed it. There was also a place where you take out the canoe or kayak with a fantastic picnic shelter that can be rented out for big events.”
If a person enjoys bird watching, Benson said the “habitat around there is very good for birds. It’s a very scenic river with clear water. It’s just a very peaceful place to be.”
A short video on the Tippecanoe River State Park can be seen on the Outdoor Indiana playlist at www.youtube.com/idnrvideos.
The March-April issue also features a cover feature on the massive bird migration that takes place at Indiana Dunes State Park, where bird watchers can see about 30,000 birds per day in March and April.
The magazine is available at most DNR properties for $3 a copy. To subscribe online or read excerpts go to OutdoorIndiana.org. Subscriptions also be made by calling 317-233-3046.
(Pulaski County Journal - March 6, 2012)
Training for the unthinkable
Numerous agencies gathered as the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office along with the Pulaski County Rescue Association conducted an Active Shooter Exercise on Saturday at the Monterey Elementary School building.
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Patrick said the exercise tested emergency responder efforts to respond and coordinate in case of catastrophe.
Not only were various Pulaski County responders involved but they teamed together with the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. The Pulaski – Starke CERT Team have trained to diminish events that could arise in local areas. Both Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer and Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen were present.
Pulaski County also partnered with those from Indiana State Excise, Indiana State Police and DNR Conservation Officers. Other agencies included Winamac Police Department, Medaryville Police Department, Pulaski County EMS, Pulaski County Emergency Management Agency, Pulaski County Health Department, Winamac Volunteer Fire Department, Francesville Volunteer Fire Department, Medaryville Volunteer Fire Department, Star City Volunteer Fire Department, Monterey Volunteer Fire Department, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Pulaski County REACT, Alliance EMS, United Mobile Ambulance, West Central School Corporation, Eastern Pulaski School Corporation, many Monterey volunteers and multiple other surrounding agencies.
As part of the exercise, multiple observers were on hand to learn how to better prepare work sites for an event such as this and multiple businesses were involved in the planning.
According to county officials, this exercise is the first of many trainings that will occur over the next several weeks and months to better prepare law enforcement and responders.
Gayer gave a special thanks to the Culver School Corporation for the use of the Monterey Elementary School, “it has allowed our agencies a facility to train in that is second to none.”
For more information on this event, please contact Larry Hoover at the Pulaski County Emergency Management Office, 574-946-6391.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 27, 2012)
New water rates go in effect on April billing
New rates for water usage have been approved by the Winamac Town Council as the town prepares for an upgrading of pipes on the north side of town.
During a public hearing, held by the council on Feb. 11, council members discussed the water rate increase that will happen in two phases. The first phase will be reflected on the April billing, while the second phase will be reflected on the January 2014 billing.
On Feb. 19, Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the main purpose of the water project is to replace the pipes that are aging to the point of being unrepairable.
The water project includes replacing 3-inch cast iron pipes on the north end of town. The largest section of piping to be replaced is in an alley between Market Street and U.S. 35. A new line will also be replaced under the sidewalk on the west side of U.S. 35.
Conner estimates the piping as being original or dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. He also said the piping is an odd size and has been repaired several times.
“One of these days we’re going to have a big failure and not be able to repair it,” Conner said. “That’s about the last of it in that big section.”
The project is currently in the engineering and design phase that is being completed by AECOM of Indianapolis. AECOM has worked with the town before with the new water plant project in 2004 and the sewer plant upgrade in 2008-2009.
The hope is for a May project bidding and construction to begin in mid-to-late June. Conner said the intent is for construction to be completed before winter. Replacing the line with a bigger line will show little difference in service.
“The only time there will be an interruption is when we are switching over from the old line to the new,” Conner said. “It shouldn’t be more than an hour at a time.”
According to Conner, an estimated cost of the project is $750,000. A bond was approved at a January town council meeting and bids for the bond have been accepted on Feb. 14. Closing on the bond will happen on Feb. 28.
Conner said the town has been preparing for the piping upgrade the last three years but decided to begin the project sooner because of the money saved in refinancing the existing water bond that was established for the water plant upgrade in 2004. Conner said it is saving of about $70,000.
Ordinances for the increase in rates were approved by the town council during the meeting on Feb. 11. Increases to customers will be done in two phases. One phase will increase approximately 4.2 percent and become effective in the April billing. The second phase will also be a 4.2-percent increase.
The rate increases were also needed to cover the loss of funding from customer fees that is estimated to be about $20,000. According to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the town is not allowed to charge as high a rate for users outside the corporate limits. Conner said last fall IURC began requiring municipalities to submit the higher rate to be justified.
“Rather then going through that long and expensive process we dropped the rate back to 15 percent for out-of-town limits. We had to adjust rates accordingly to make up that difference,” Conner said.
The next step for the project is to advertise for bids when the engineering and designing is complete.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 27, 2012)
Beware of potential scam
Local police are warning of a telephone scam that sounds to good to be true.
Police are sending out a warning that a Pulaski County resident recently received a call stating he won $1 million. The catch was he needed to send $1,500 to collect his prize.
Telephone scams have become quite common and elderly individuals tend to be a majority of the victims. Written correspondence, typically by email, has also claimed several victims.
Some scams use legitimate lottery names or sweepstakes to convince potential victims.
Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer said from time to time there have been various scams reported to the sheriff’s office. Gayer used the example of callers receiving news that a grandchild or relative was in jail and needed money wired.
“I would encourage people that anytime they have won something for free and they have to send money back in order to get it — that’s going to be a scam,” Gayer said.
Although the resident was a potential victim, Gayer said he has not heard, lately, of anyone who has fallen for a scam.
If a person thinks he or she has become a victim to a lottery or sweepstakes scam, call the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office at 574-946-6655 or the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at 317-232-6201.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 20, 2012)
Tournament pairings set for boys basketball
Across the state coaches, players and fans anxiously awaited Sunday evening to see who they would play come tournament time.
Four hundred three teams were drawn and placed into brackets for the 103rd Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament. Sectional games are scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 26, and run through Saturday, March 2, with the regional round slated for March 9 and semistates on March 16. The four state championship games that make up the state finals will be played at Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 23.
A total of 399 games will be played in 27 days across the state.
Faith Christian, Gary Lighthouse and Lakeland Christian will participate in the boys basketball state tournament for the first time this year. Lafayette Central Catholic Class 1A leads the state with 11 consecutive sectional championships. The state record for most consecutive sectional championships is 29 held by Lafayette Jefferson from 1944-1972.
On the home front the Class 2A sectional No. 34 will be hosted by Winamac. Sectional play will get under way on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Winamac and North Judson will do battle in Game 1 to open sectional 34. The two teams have already gone head-to-head twice this season with only three points deciding the final outcomes. Winamac won the first showdown in North Judson 57-55 and the Jays won in Winamac on Feb. 1 by the score of 44-43. This time the when the Warriors and Bluejays square off both teams will be looking to extend the season and advance to the sectional semifinal.
The Game 1 winner will face the defending sectional champion Hebron Hawks on Friday night.
The second game on Tuesday night will pit the North Newton Spartans against the Rochester Zebras. That winner will advance to play Boone Grove on Friday. Entering the final week of the season the Boone Grove Wolves are the only team in sectional 34 with a winning record.
The majority of the Midwest Conference will do battle over in Francesville. West Central will host the Class 1A sectional No.50.
Defending champion Pioneer will face off against Caston in Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday. The Panthers are currently ranked No.4 in Class A and have a 16-3 record. The Comets are sporting a 14-6 record but lost earlier in the season to the Panthers 64-45. North White will be waiting in the wings for a Friday night meeting with the winner.
In Game 2 West Central will play Tri-County. The Cavaliers enter the sectional with the third best record of the six teams. The Trojans will be trying to avenge a 76-31 loss to the Cavaliers back on Feb. 2. South Newton received a first round bye and will play in the second semifinal game on Friday.
Game 1 – North Judson vs. Winamac.
Game 2 – North Newton vs. Rochester.
Game 3 – Hebron vs. Game 1 Winner.
Game 4 – Boone Grove vs. Game 2 Winner
Championship – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4.
Game 1 – Pioneer vs. Caston.
Game 2 – West Central vs. Tri-County.
Game 3 – North White vs. Game 1 Winner.
Game 4 – South Newton vs. Game 2 Winner.
Championship – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 20, 2012)
Journal welcomes Tomlinson to news staff
The Pulaski County Journal and Independent is happy to include Amber L. Tomlinson to their staff as a news reporter and editor.
Tomlinson is a seasoned reporter, having been in the newspaper industry for more than 14 years. She has worked not only as a reporter, but also assistant copy editor, graphic designer and sales representative.
“Hearing the stories of the everyday heroes, who work hard to make their communities better, is one of many reasons I love being a reporter,” she said.
She has been a volunteer firefighter in Rensselaer for almost five years and enjoys serving her community by being involved in various organizations.
Amber is a proud mom of four kids, who keep life exciting with sports, academic events and various other activities. She is also the wife of Harley Tomlinson.
You can reach Amber at 574-946-6628 or by email at email@example.com.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2012)
Barr to receive Halleck Award
Nominations for the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Halleck Award have been accepted and one outstanding citizen, David Barr of Winamac, was chosen.
The award is presented annually by the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and given to someone in the county who devotes his or her time to improvement of the community.
“This is very exciting. I’ve known most of the people that have received it before and I’m very happy to join the crowd,” Barr said, regarding the Halleck Award. “As far as I know, it is the most prestigious award you can get around here.”
Barr has been involved in numerous community activities and organizations for more than five decades. Not only did Barr own and work at Winamac Cleaners and Laundry and was president of Snow White Laundry Inc., but he also had a partnership in the local car wash.
“At the laundromat I would watch moms come in with their little kids and then I was there long enough that those kids came in with their kids. When you meet that many people, it gives you good memories of stuff,” he said.
Barr is and has been a board member at Bethel Bible Church, was a charter member of Winamac Jacees, is a member and past president of the Kiwanis Club, a past chairman of the school board when the middle school was being built and a former Boy Scout who helped with various community projects.
As a past chamber of commerce member and past president, he played an active role in bringing Control Company to Pulaski County, helped with the paying off of the swimming pool note, re-activated the city hostess program and helped complete the drainage of the chamber of commerce grounds.
Barr also served the community as a volunteer fireman for 40 years, serving as chief for 11 years.
Those who know Barr could describe him as someone willing to help anyone in need and willing to give time to various projects. He’s also ambitious and friendly.
Barr and his wife, Virgina, have been married for 61 years and have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His interest in flying led him to learn to fly planes.
Barr will be honored at the Halleck Award Recognition Dinner and Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Friday, March 8, at the Event Center in Winamac.
The Organization of the Year will be announced on Friday, Feb. 22.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The annual meeting will be at 7:15 p.m. with the Halleck Award and Program beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Reservations are $20 each and can be made by calling the chamber office at 574-946-6123 or Angie Anspach at 574-270-0016 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2012)
Reinstatement of art, music programs at West Central
Art and music programs at West Central School Corporation will begin again as school board members approved the reinstatement during a school board meeting on Thursday.
A motion was made to reinstate the elementary art program and expand the elementary and middle school music program beginning in the fall of 2013. Those programs had been cut or cut back due to financial restraints.
Superintendent Charles Mellon said he believes the school corporation is improving financially and “those are one of the first things that you want to do is hire back those things that you cut. We only cut two things through this whole thing and those are presented here with the art and music programs.”
The corporation kept licensed teachers for art and music, but those teachers were paid as instructors and volunteered time while working in other departments.
Currently art is taught at the elementary level for only kindergarten through third grade. With the reinstatement fourth and fifth grade will have an art class.
In other news:
• West Central students Samantha Black, Kourtney Nine and Brenna McKay were honored as students of the month. Black was the student of the month at the middle school, while Nine was the student of the month at the high school and McKay was the elementary school student of the month.
• Board members approved the appointment of Jeff Lowry to the board. Lowry was appointed to the vacant seat after his father, Dean, who held the seat since 1986, passed away on Dec. 21. Lowry will serve the remainder of his father’s term and is eligible for re-election in 2014.
• Several coaching or employment positions were approved by the board including: Kyle Evans as assistant baseball coach, Jennifer Owens as assistant softball coach, Darren Rodriguez as the 5/6 spring football coach, and related service counselors for Cooperative School Services.
• A maternity leave request was approved.
• Four conference requests regarding Linda Ferguson and Joanne Stevens to attend the State BPA Leadership Conference; Rodriguez, John Hruskocy and Marc Hall to attend the Glazier Clinic; Chuck Evans to attend the Indiana School Safety Conference; and Evans to attend the Indiana Athletic Directors Conference, were approved.
• Field trip requests made by Ferguson and Stevens for members of the BPA to attend the State BPA Leadership Conference, and Janet Kruger for members of the student council to have the annual lock-in at the high school, were approved.
• Several revisions were, recently, made to the corporation’s strategic plan during a work session. Those revisions for the 2013-2015 strategic plan were approved.
• School board president Jeff Tanner made several board appointments for the 2013 year.
• Principal Dan Zylstra introduced new textbooks for the reading programs from kindergarten through sixth grade. Zylstra said K-2 will have textbooks that focus on phonics, while the third to fifth grade textbooks will teach Common Core Standards. Sixth-grade students will see a different series. Mellon said the corporation is trying to keep the textbook fees down and it appears the new textbook rental will be about the same. Zylstra said the first grade fee is higher because of additional supplemental materials students will require.
• A request to create a part-time data coach position was approved by the board. The position will be funded through Title II and Pace Grants. Mellon said he would like to hire someone with an education background for the position.
• Expenditure goals for 2013 were approved by the board.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2012)
Monterey Council listens to private school vision
Members of the Monterey Town Council listened politely to a resident who wants to open a Christian school in the community but did not offer a formal blessing to his plans.
Eugene Berg told the board he would like to reopen Monterey Elementary as a private school. The building belongs to the Culver Community School Board, who closed it in 2010 in an attempt to cut costs.
Berg has also spoken with St. Ann Catholic Church officials about possibly using the former parochial school building but said it needs some repairs first.
“I would hope that this will be viewed as a good thing for the town,” Berg said. “I love this little town. I love Monterey.”
Winamac attorney Dan Murphy, who represents the town, told the board they cannot legally endorse such a proposal.
Board president Jim Fleury qualified his comments as a “personal opinion” before telling Berg he needs to solicit input from the public.
Fleury said a lot of people are terribly disappointed that the school closed and said many former Monterey Elementary students have transferred to the Eastern Pulaski School Corporation in the ensuing two years.
“If I had a child in school, I can tell you personally I would not put my child through another school change,” Fleury said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen necessarily,” Berg said. He’s spoken to Culver Community Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt about the building and said the matter is on the agenda for their next board meeting.
In other business before the Monterey Town Council, members discussed a sidewalk replacement policy but deferred action until they can look into requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The discussion was prompted by an inquiry from a resident as to whether the town offers any sort of 50/50 match to help pay for repairs.
Council members also voted to join in the Pulaski County Floodplain Zoning Ordinance, which was passed in 2005. Doing so provides guidelines for property owners within the town limits and makes them eligible for flood insurance and other programs. Murphy notes that the county is revising its ordinance, and the revision will cover Monterey once it is complete.
He said the town’s other option is to draft, pass and enforce its own ordinance. Council members agreed it would be easier and less expensive to be governed by the county’s policy.
In other business, council members are still waiting for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to sign off on their compliance with an agreed order for ammonia discharge levels from the wastewater treatment plant after a state inspector reviews their recently submitted December report.
The next Monterey Town Council meeting is scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Members recently changed the meeting date from the first to the last Wednesday of the month. However, this will present a conflict in November and December due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Council members have yet to reschedule those meetings.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 6, 2012)
Pleasant View Rest Home caretaker replaced
Pleasant View Rest Home will soon have a new live-in caretaker.
Pulaski County Commissioners convened an emergency session Friday afternoon to hire a replacement for Joan Smith, who was recently let go. State law allows for an emergency session to be called without the minimum 48-hour notice in the event of “actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of governmental activity under the public agency’s jurisdiction.”
In this case, the lack of a caretaker to look after the residents in case of an overnight emergency warranted such an action, according to county attorney Kevin Tankersley.
The commissioners voted unanimously to hire Patrick Cavanaugh, who just moved back from Mishawaka with his wife, Melissa, and their new baby. He will not be paid a salary by the county but will be compensated with a free four-bedroom, two-story apartment. It is unfurnished, but kitchen appliances are provided, and utility and cable bills are covered by the county.
Cavanaugh’s shift begins at 8 each night and continues until 7 the next morning.
“He is very aware of the hours, and it is not a problem,” president of the commissioners Tracey Shorter said. She also noted that he is a trained paramedic and his wife is a nursing student who is presently completing her clinical residency at the hospital in Jasper County. Pleasant View director Sandy Hurd said Cavanaugh’s medical background will be an asset to the residents.
Shorter added that Cavanaugh agreed to undergo a background check, and no problems were discovered. “We had an immediate vacancy, and we need to be diligent. If we’re not looking at this person, we need to be looking at other people,” Shorter told fellow commissioners Larry Brady and Terry Young prior to the vote. Brady, who is an Eagle Scout with a medical background from his years in the Air Force spent last Thursday night at the home to ensure the caretaker’s shift was covered.
Hurd arranged for Friends of Pleasant View volunteers to staff the home over the weekend. Cavanaugh’s start date is fluid, as the refrigerator and stove in the caretaker’s apartment need to be replaced, and Hurd said Friends of Pleasant View volunteers wanted to lay new tile in the kitchen before the new appliances are delivered. They had planned to do the work over the weekend, but it might require a few days next week to wrap up.
Meanwhile, Tankersley said he would draw up a contract for Cavanaugh and Hurd to both sign outlining his duties as the caretaker for the facility.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 30, 2012)
NIPSCO schedules electric transmission line meetings
A new 100-mile electric transmission line between three regional NIPSCO substations will likely come through Pulaski County.
NIPSCO officials stress that the $270-million construction project is in its earliest planning stages, and no route has been selected yet to connect the Reynolds, Burr Oak and Topeka substations. However, the route is expected to avoid cities and towns, as a 200-foot wide path, or right-of-way, will be needed for the project. The steel transmission towers will be 130 feet high and spaced an average of 880 feet apart.
The new line will enhance system reliability, increase access to wind and solar energy by allowing them to feed into NIPSCO’s power grid and give customers greater access to low cost electricity, according to NIPSCO.
A series of four initial public open houses to provide an informal introduction and overview of the project are scheduled regionally. The first will take place Monday, Feb. 4 from 3 until 7 p.m. at Tiffany’s Restaurant in Topeka. Next is a Tuesday, Feb. 5 gathering at the Nappanee Elementary School Cafeteria, also from 3 until 7 p.m. EST. Wednesday, Feb. 6 a meeting is slated from 4 until 7 p.m. in the Plymouth High School Cafeteria. The final session will take place Thursday, Feb. 7 from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Best Western Brandywine Banquet Facility in Monticello.
There will not be a formal presentation of the project at these meetings, according to NIPSCO officials. Project team members will be available to answer questions one-on-one, review maps and provide an overview of different aspects of the project. Attendees can come and go as their schedules permit during the allotted time.
These first meetings are a key factor in the route planning process, as they will give the utility company an opportunity to discuss potential routes with stakeholders in order to gauge their willingness to cooperate.
NIPSCO plans to acquire easements through affected properties rather than purchasing land. That will give them the right to use the property to build and maintain the transmission line and also allow the owner to continue using it for purposes such as farming as long as doing so doesn’t interfere with NIPSCO’s facilities and maintenance.
Another series of public open houses is tentatively planned for July, and the route should be selected and finalized by the end of the year. Right of way acquisition is slated to start in early 2014, and plans call for construction to begin the following year and conclude in 2018.
NIPSCO also plans to use local labor to construct the line and purchase materials like gravel and concrete from nearby suppliers. Officials estimate the project will create about 100 multi-year jobs.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 30, 2012)
Tax abatement approved for local business expansion
A local business is poised to expand after the Winamac Town Council unanimously approved a sizable tax abatement for the owners of the property on which it sits.
Winamac businessman Don Galbreath, doing business as Galco, Inc., owns the property on SR 14 west on which Galfab sits. Galbreath recently transferred ownership of GalFab, Inc. to a new company, Wastebuilt Environmental Solutions, LLC, in what GalFab CEO Greg Podell described as an “estate planning decision.”
However, Galbreath retained ownership of the property and sought a 10-year, 100-percent tax abatement on an assessed value of $150,000 worth of building improvements.
That means Galco, Inc. will not pay taxes on any improvements to the local manufacturing facility. If no improvements are made, the company will not receive the tax break.
However, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced last week that GalFab plans to invest $720,000 to lease, renovate and equip the existing 100,000-square-foot facility, which is located on 14 acres of land.
In addition to the local abatements, the state offered the company up to $700,000 of conditional tax credits based on its job creation plans. Those tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company cannot claim them until employees are hired.
This includes the “rehiring” of 65 current GalFab, Inc. employees by the new management as well as the addition of up to 20 new positions, which are slated to be filled over the next year.
GalFab manufactures a full line of waste handling equipment, including roll-off hoists, roll-off containers, compactors and self-dumping hoppers.
Podell said the company is looking to grow its market share by acquiring other companies that manufacture and distribute waste handling equipment.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 23, 2012)
Winamac Council weighs water rate increase
Winamac Municipal Utilities customers may soon see an increase in their monthly water bills.
The town council approved on first reading an ordinance to raise rates due to the water project. A public hearing on the proposed rate increase is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. prior to the council’s regular monthly meeting.
A second public hearing on the proposed 2013 sewer rate is also set the same evening after passage of a rate ordinance on first reading.
Council members also passed on first reading a bond ordinance to realize savings on bonds let in 2004 to finance additions and improvements to the town waterworks.
In other business, council president John Plowman had to cast the tie-breaking vote for his reappointment to that position for another year after James DeArmond and Dan Vanaman voted in favor of the appointment and Tom J. Murray and Richard Denney voted against it.
Council members also made the following appointments for 2013:
Town Manager: James Conner
Town Attorney: John Kocher
Chief of Police: Mike Buchanan
Park Manager: Richard Dilts
Electric Superintendent: Doug Shorter
Water & Street Superintendent: Kevin Roe
Wastewater Superintendent: Bradley Zellers
Board of Finance President: John Plowman
ABC Appointment: Judy Heater
K-IRPC Appointment: John Simmermaker
Northwest Indiana Solid Waste: John Plowman
Pulaski County YMCA Representative: Melanie Berger
Mainstreet Representative: Melanie Berger
Winamac Economic Development: John Plowman
Board of Zoning Appeals: David Sparks
Board of Zoning Appeals: Don Clouser
Airport Board Representative: Jeremy Wegner
Plan Commission Council Representative: Tom J. Murray
In other business, Roe reported that the fire hydrant behind First Christian Church that was damaged last month by an individual joyriding through the snow piled in the parking lot has been repaired and that the driver has been billed for the charges.
Roe also advised the council that the roads were cleared within two to three hours of the year’s lone snowfall.
Buchanan told the council that officers from the Winamac Police Department are working with Eastern Pulaski Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman and the Pulaski County Sheriffs Office to ensure the school is safe. Buchanan said his officers will also take part in next month’s active shooter training in Monterey.
Wastewater superintendent Brad Zellers reported that his department is working at the town office and putting in a sewer line to ensure ADA compliance for the restroom.
Electric superintendent Doug Shorter advised that he interviewed four applicants for the open lineman position and hired Jake Berger. Shorter also told the council that his crews replaced one pole that was hit during the ice and are working on line clearance. Council members also discussed putting electric underground at West Win but did not take any action.
Park superintendent Rick Dilts said people are starting to book events for 2013. The Pulaski County 4-H Fair will run from June 28-July 5, and the Northern Indiana Power from the Past is scheduled July 18-21. Council members agreed to keep the back of the park locked but remain in contact with the fair board so they can access it if necessary.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 23, 2012)
Pulaski County Council sets changes in motion
The reorganized Pulaski County Council approved a part-time hourly wage for the new animal control director that greatly exceeds what most longtime county employees earn, deferred action on a sweeping revision to the county’s salary ordinance even though most of the EMS employees are on the verge of quitting due to low wages and took the first step to spend nearly $4,300 on four iPads for each of the county commissioners and the county attorney.
President of the commissioners Tracey Shorter asked for the iPads, which would be purchased locally through Venture Wireless, to help the commissioners do their jobs more efficiently. She said they don’t have enough time prior to their meetings to review information auditor Shelia Garling photocopies for them and places in their information packets. As a result of not reviewing copies of the three bids Sheriff Mike Gayer obtained from local dealerships for a truck, which were in their packets, before voting to purchase it from Braun Chevrolet, they inadvertently spent more on a half-ton Chevrolet than the comparable Ford model on which Steve Dobson of Jim Dobson Ford had bid.
Shorter contends this and other costly mistakes could be avoided if the commissioners received electronic copies of all documents on Friday prior to their meetings on the first and third Monday of each month so they could review them over the weekend.
Garling would still have to scan and email the documents, which would not save a lot of time. She said she can do this now and email information to all three commissioners for review, but Shorter said the tablet devices are less bulky than laptop computers and are therefore more portable.
The cost includes four 64 GB iPads, activation and insurance coverage under a plan that will buy the devices back for 25 percent of the original purchase price after 20 months if they have not been damaged or replaced. A monthly shared 10 GB data plan for the four devices would add an additional $100 to the county’s Verizon bill, assuming there are not data overages, which can be prevented by connecting wirelessly to the Internet.
Some wireless connections, such as the one at the courthouse, are secure and require a user name and password to log in, while others, like the free wi-fi at McDonald’s, are public and can be accessed by anyone. This also makes data that is sent and received over such a connection vulnerable to hackers. One of the advantages of iPads, according to Shorter, is that the commissioners will have information at their fingertips when constituents ask them questions.
Council members voted to advertise an appropriation for the iPads. They still have to vote at their February meeting to proceed with the purchase.
Shorter also appeared with newly named animal control director Sarah Thompson and asked the council to set a part-time wage for her. She was the commission’s unanimous choice to replace longtime animal control director Deb Tiede, who was a full-time employee with an annual salary of $27,000. Thompson agreed to work part-time, as she owns another local business, but the position did not have a part-time wage set.
Shorter sought a wage of $15.17 per hour for Thompson, which is equal to the animal control director’s full-time salary broken down by hours. It’s also $5.77 more than the county’s current wage for non-experienced new employees as defined by the policy manual, and almost one-third more than councilman Mick Tiede makes as a part-time employee in the assessor’s office with 16 years experience. Shorter argued that Thompson has 16 years of experience with animals and is saving the county money by working part time and keeping animals at her house unless they need to be taken to the shelter in Starke County. Council members finally settled on an hourly wage of $13, which will be paid at 90 percent for her first 640 hours, in keeping with the handbook.
“I want it understood if we do this it’s for this person and this person only,” Tiede said.
“I completely agree,” Shorter responded, and said that should Thompson be replaced the new animal control director’s wage would be based on his or her background and experience.
Council members stressed that their concern is that employees in other offices who have years of private sector experience but are new to the county will expect the same consideration Thompson received.
“Gentlemen, we also have to look at the fact of the danger aspect of this job compared to paper cuts,” Thompson said.
EMS director Nikki Lowry, who attended the meeting with several members of her staff, spoke up and noted that she has an applicant for a full-time paramedic position who has 20 years experience that will be making $10 per hour to start if he takes the job.
“I’m not saying she does not have training,” Lowry said referring to Thompson, “but we have just as much training, and we put our lives on the line when we go out on calls.”
Lowry and the other EMS employees were hoping for a vote by the council on a proposed salary ordinance overhaul that would bump their hourly rate up. The council deferred a vote until they can meet jointly with the commissioners at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3 prior to the regularly scheduled 6 p.m. commissioners meeting.
In other business, the council approved building inspector Dave Dare’s request to advertise an appropriation for part-time help in his office. Members of the county planning commission and board of zoning appeals recently approached the commissioners on his behalf to ask for an administrative assistant since enforcement of county zoning is one of his duties.
They also asked Dare to look at the building currently occupied by attorney Crystal Sanders, who is shuttering her law practice to take a job with the Tippecanoe County court system. Commissioners previously gave Pulaski County Assessor Holly VanDerAa their blessing to seek $77,000 from the council to purchase the building and move her office. The council tabled action on doing so pending a closer inspection of the building to get a better idea of the shape the building is in and what needs to be done to make it compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dare said if asbestos floor tile is found under the carpeting it would mean expensive remediation costs.
Councilman Ron Powers suggested the assessor’s office look at relocating to the commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the courthouse, as it is only used three times a month for meetings. No action was taken on the building purchase or other potential office space for the assessor’s office.
Council members also shot down a recommendation from the commissioners that the county recycling center once again purchase aluminum cans. JSI Steel owner Bobby Rugg told the council that the state requires any business that pays for scrap of any sort to obtain a copy of the seller’s driver’s license or other photo identification so the police can track down suspected scrap metal thieves. Recycling center director Ed Clark has neither the funds nor the necessary manpower available to do so.
The Pulaski County Council and Commissioners will meet in joint session on Monday, Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. in the county commissioners room at the courthouse to discuss county employee salaries. The next county council meeting is Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 16, 2012)
PMH CEO retires after nearly three decades
Being the hospital CEO in a small, rural county has its own set of challenges, and after almost 28 years of successfully meeting those challenges, Richard H. Mynark retired on Jan. 11 from Pulaski Memorial Hospital.
Mynark took over as CEO in February of 1985 and immediately set about planning, developing and implementing a long overdue facility renovation and modernization project.
The overhaul started in 1986 and has been phased in to ensure 100-percent operational continuity at all times. Additionally the hospital utilizes in-house construction personnel whenever possible, which has led to high-quality workmanship and significant savings in program costs.
The newest addition, the medical office building that opened last year, opened on schedule. The new surgical suite, started under Mynark’s watch, will be completed during 2014.
Mynark’s knowledge of the health care business has also paid off for PMH during his tenure. He aggressively pursued Critical Access Hospital status for PMH to offset potential Medicare shortfalls. In 2000, PMH became one of the first hospitals to successfully achieve this goal. As a result, PMH receives Medicare reimbursements which allow the hospital to continue providing medical and surgical services to Pulaski County residents. PMH is currently on a sound financial footing with a favorable liquidity position and minimal debt.
When Mynark was hired, the hospital had very few medical specialists available for local residents. The Winamac Specialists’ Clinic now provides local coverage in the areas of cardiology ENT, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, urology and more. In addition, PMH now employs primary care providers, general and orthopedic surgeons and a pulmonologist.
Mynark also oversaw the expansion of the rehabilitation services department, the addition and improvement of many new clinical services and community outreach services and collaborations can be added to the list of health care achievements.
He has also been actively involved in several community organizations, including the Pulaski County Chapter, American Cancer Society, Pulaski County Community Development Board, Pulaski County Community Foundation, Pulaski County Human Services, Winamac Area Chamber of Commerce and Winamac Kiwanis Club.
Mynark retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force Active Reserves with a career that spanned parts of five decades. His military career began on active duty, as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1968 and ended in 2003. All of those years were spent in the operation and administration of various types of U.S.A.F. medical units. During his service career, Mynark received the Air Force Commendation Medal twice, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and is a graduate of the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College.
He is also a 1967 Ohio State University graduate and holds a master’s degree in health care administration from Xavier University. His professional affiliations include American College of Healthcare Executives (Fellow), National Rural Health Association, Member; IHHA Board of Directors; and IHHA Small/Rural Hospital Council. Before coming to Winamac, he held executive level positions at hospitals in Buffalo, N.Y. and Willingboro, N.J.
Mynark’s son, Richard G Mynark, is on the medical school faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington.
He and his wife, Judith, will continue to reside in their home near Winamac. His plans for retirement include many options, and he’s looking forward to exercising all of them.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 16, 2012)
Nominations for Halleck award sought by chamber
Every town, every city is blessed with a handful of individuals who selflessly donate their time, energy and hard work to make their community a better place for everyone to live. Such individuals often give this time and energy for years without the gratitude and recognition they deserve.
In order to recognize such outstanding individuals, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce awards the H.J. Halleck Community Service Award to one deserving individual each year. Currently nominations for the award are being accepted through Feb. 1, 2013.
Criteria for the award are as follows:
• The award recipient must be a resident of Pulaski County.
• The recipient should have an identifiable and successful record of service to the community in a variety of public service endeavors.
• The recipient may be male or female of any adult age.
• The recipient need not be retired.
• Posthumous awards will not be given.
If you know of someone deserving of this prestigious award, call, stop by the chamber office at Refined, 102 N. Monticello St., Winamac, or email the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce for a nomination form at email@example.com. Nomination forms are also available online by visiting the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce website at www.pulaskionline.org.
The recipient of this award will be honored at the Annual Meeting/Halleck Award Recognition Banquet. Past recipients include Dan Frain, Don and Dee Galbreath, Tom Shank, Lawrence and Elaine Parish, Christine Smith, Alladean Clouser, Wayne and Mary Lou Bonnell, Don Good, Jay Kopkey, Judy Heater, Steve and Lin Morrison, Michael Shurn and Tom Murray, Sr.
The award was established in 1979, and the inaugural award was presented to Winamac physician and community leader H.J. Halleck.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 9, 2012)
Pulaski County Commissioners Appointments 2013
Alcoholic Beverage Board (1-year term): Carroll Lange
Ambulance Service (3-year term): Larry Brady (replaces Michael T. Tiede)
Arrowhead R.C.&D. (1-year term): Commissioner’s Appointee - Tracey Shorter; Commissioner’s Alternate Appointee - Terry Young
Board of Health (4-year term): Chad Watts & Tim Murray
Community Development Commission Executive Board (1-year term): Larry Brady
Computer Systems Manager (1-year term): Holly Hoover
Emergency Management Agency: Lawrence Hoover
Flood Plain Management Commission (1-year term): Dave Dare, Jay Sullivan & Terry Young
IOSHA Representatives (1-year term): County Courthouse - Lawrence Hoover; County Highway - Kenny Becker; County Home - Sandy Hurd; County Sheriff’s Department - Mike Gayer; County Recycling/Transfer Station - Ed Clark; County Annex - David Dare
Industrial Park Advisory Board (4-year term): Representative of Organized Labor- Arthur Hoffman; Rep. of County Government Unit - Edward Clark
Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (1-year term): Tracey Shorter & Nathan P. Origer
Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Transportation Advisory Board (1-year term): Kenneth Becker & Tracey Shorter
L.E.P.C. (1-year term): Tracey Shorter
Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District - Board of Directors (1-year terms, all appointed by commissioners): Council Representative - Michael D. (Mick) Tiede; Town Representative - John Plowman; Commissioners Representative - Terry Young; Commissioners Alternate Representative - Larry Brady; Council Alternate Representative - Thomas J. Roth; Town Alternate Representative - Mark Haring
Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District Citizens Advisory Board (members serve until replaced): Jeff Linback & Larry Brady
Personnel Committee (1-year term): Commissioners Representative - Larry Brady; Courthouse Representative - not filled at this time; County Annex Building Representative - Teresa Hansen; Highway Garage - Lyn Morrison; Sheriff’s Department - Joan Schultz; Ex-officio by Office - County Auditor Shelia Garling; ;Ex-officio by Position - Payroll County Deputy Auditor Regina Peck
Positions (1-year term): Part-time Microfilm Department Officer - Janet Onken; County Attorney - Kevin Tankersley; County Highway Supervisor - Kenny Becker; County Highway Assistant Supervisor - Terry Ruff; County Home Medical Officer - Rex Allman, M.D.; County Home Superintendent - Sandy Hurd; County Veterans Service Officer - Ed Fleury; Maintenance Director - Morry DeMarco; Recycling/Transfer Station Manager - Ed Clark; Building Inspector - David Dare; Animal Control Officer - Sarah Thompson; Animal Disease Control Emergency Coordinator - Sarah Thompson
Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (1-year term): Board Member - Jerry Sullivan; Board Member - Allen Cotner; Certified Level 2 Assessor’s Appointment or Board Member - Michael White; Certified Level 3 - County Assessor Holly VanDerAa (by office)
Pleasant View Advisory and Review Board (1-year term): Terry Young, Tracey Shorter, Becky Dixon, Emily Hizer, Kerry Baker & Sherry Fagner
Pulaski County Community Planning Commission (4-year term): Terry Young
Pulaski County Integrated Public Safety Commission, 800 HHz Radio Network (2-year term): Health Department - Sherry Fagner; Fire Dept. (Francesville/West Side) - Tim Wuethrich; Fire Department (Monterey/East Side) - Doug Klausing; Hospital and EMS - Deb McDonald; Public - Howard Conner; Sheriff - Michael Gayer; Board of Commissioners - Larry Brady; Ex-officio by office - Emergency Management Agency Director Lawrence Hoover
Pulaski County EMS (Ambulance) Board (1-year term): Pulaski County EMS Manager - Nikki Lowry; Pulaski County First Responders - Emma Lee Bailey; Pulaski County EMS - Stacy Beckner; Pulaski Memorial Hospital & West Side - Rhonda Kletz; Pulaski County EMS Control - Tabled; Pulaski Co. Citizen East Side of the County - Brian Young; Pulaski County Commissioners - Larry Brady
Pulaski Co. Jail Lease Corporation Board: Terry Young
ADA Compliance Board: Building Inspector - David Dare; Maintenance Supervisor - Morry DeMarco; Pulaski County Health Department - Sherry Fagner; Pulaski County Auditor - Shelia Garling; Pulaski County Clerk - Tasha Foerg; Veterans Service Officer- Ed Fleury; Pulaski County Commissioners - Tracey Shorter; Pulaski County Council - Jay Sullivan; Citizen Representative - Emily Hizer
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 9, 2012)
Braun Corporation gives gift of mobility to Winamac woman
The Braun Corporation family and the Ralph Braun Foundation recently came together to make the Christmas holiday one to remember for a very deserving member of the Winamac community.
Rachel Williams, 33, was surprised with a wheelchair van from the Ralph Braun Foundation on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Representatives surprised Rachel with the news outside of St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital in Lafayette where she was recovering from recent health complications. Her reaction was priceless, and even though she is still recovering her speech, her facial expression says it all.
The Braun Corporation, headquartered in Winamac, is a worldwide leader of wheelchair accessible vans and wheelchair lifts. Earlier this fall, an employee came to the management team and suggested that a used vehicle in possession of the corporation be donated to someone in the community rather than being sold to one of the company’s mobility dealers.
The company sent out a notification to all employees that the van would be donated from the Braun Corporation to the Ralph Braun Foundation, but that the foundation would accept nominations from employees if they’d like to see it donated to someone locally. The only stipulation was that the individual nominated needed to reside in a county where a Braun employee resides, and the nominee needed to rely on a wheelchair for daily mobility.
The response was astounding. A total of 39 individuals were nominated, each story as touching and deserving as the next. Eleven employees were asked to serve on a selection committee to narrow the number of submissions down to a more manageable number, and from there, the final submissions would be sent to the Board of Directors of the Ralph Braun Foundation, who ultimately selected Rachel as the recipient.
Rachel, 33, has been a lifelong resident of the local community and graduated from Winamac Community High School in 1997. She is the mother of three children, ages 13, 10 and 4 years, and was well-known as a teller at a local bank.
Three years ago Rachel was paralyzed in a car accident that left her a quadriplegic with little movement below her upper arms. When she returned from the hospital and her months spent at a rehabilitation center, she and her husband divorced. Rachel had to quickly adjust to her new life as a quadriplegic, single mother of three children.
Through all of these trials she stayed strong as an example for her children and continued to smile. She could not afford a vehicle on her own, but a friend helped her make payments on a wheelchair van, although it was barely functioning. Its floor was nearly rusted through, and it was riddled with electric issues.
Sadly just days after the Braun Employee Give Back program was announced, Rachel became very ill and unresponsive. Just as family and friends were preparing for the worst, Rachel began to show signs of brain activity and was able to recognize family members and answer questions by blinking her eyes.
She still has a long way to go before she is as healthy and strong as she was before her recent illness, but the Braun family hopes knowing she has the gift of mobility waiting for her when she returns helps motivate her recovery.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 2, 2012)
Include Indiana’s state parks in your resolutions
As Hoosiers craft their New Year’s resolutions, they should take a cue from two Indiana University graduate students and a pair of Sheridan High School teachers.
Laura Harman and her boyfriend, Nathan Haffner, both originally from Fort Wayne, resolved this time last year to visit all 24 state parks in Indiana in 2012. They completed their resolution in late December when they visited Brown County State Park, the last on their list.
Jesse and Abby Linville, the teachers, visited every state park in 2011 and plan to hit every state forest in 2013.
Coincidentally, both couples accomplished many of the most common resolutions that Americans set for themselves. They exercised, spent more time with each other, traveled to new places, learned new things and de-stressed.
Harman and Haffner spent at least a day at each park, hiked and bird-watched, visited nature centers, read interpretive markers, took hundreds of photographs, played basketball and tennis and camped.
“I always tell people how much fun it is to get out and camp and also how inexpensive it can be,” Harman said. “Camping brings friends and family together. But it doesn’t cost that much.”
Haffner said he appreciated the history lessons that state parks offer. At Turkey Run and elsewhere he learned about the conservation movement. At Mounds Haffner learned about pre-historic Native Americans. At the Gus Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park he learned about space exploration.
“There’s so much more in Indiana than people realize,” Haffner said. “I feel like I know a lot more about my state and take more pride in my state.”
The IU couple said they will return to several of the parks in 2013 to discover attractions they missed the first time and rediscover the things they loved.
Harman and Haffner already know what their 2013 resolution will be—to organize the hundreds of photographs they took in 2012.
And the Linvilles will be on the trail again, visiting Indiana’s 13 state forests.
While you don’t have to visit all the state parks and state forests in one year, resolving to make Indiana’s state parks and state forests a part of your life in 2013 is a surefire way to start the year right.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 2, 2012)
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