SELECT 2014 MONTH:
Celebrating begins as Pulaski County turns 175 years old
The Pulaski County Historical Society is celebrating a birthday and those in Pulaski County are invited.
One such celebration was held during the Northern Indiana Power From the Past show on Saturday as members of the historical society and three appointed guests celebrated Pulaski County turning 175 years old.
At high noon a whistle blew indicating the recognition of the county’s birthday. Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn reminisced how the county centennial and sesquicentennial have been celebrated.
In 1939 when the county celebrated 100 years, 12 boys were picked to watch over and someday reopen a buried time capsule. In 1989 they did so during the 150 celebration.
Shurn said at that time 15 more children were chosen to place an item in a time capsule. Twelve of the children were chosen from each of the townships, while three others were considered at-large. Those 15 people were then challenged to come back to Pulaski County in 2039 and celebrate the county’s 200th birthday.
As part of the celebration, three of the 15 children, Matt Gilsinger, Bridget (Fitz) Kroeger and Megan Shurn, were invited to the ceremony at the Power From the Past event.
Matt, Bridget and Megan all said they remembered the 1989 celebration as being a cold wet day but they were a little too young to remember some of the finer details.
“I think that it is neat that our town says that we are celebrating this many years and I think that tells you about your community that they are saying ‘we are still here. We are surviving,’” Bridget said.
Megan, who traveled from Texas, said she remembers all the parades, the cake and having to stuff tissues in a chicken wire display for a parade float. She also remembers standing by the time capsule but not what was put in it.
“I think that it is neat that a bunch of us are still around or willing to come back to help out and celebrate so many years later,” she said. “It’s really nice that all of us are still around to be able to do that.”
Matt said the birthday has reminded him how much things have changed in the last 25 years.
“We all knew back then that we would graduate high school and go off to college and go do all this stuff but it makes it a full circle when you see that this person is doing this or that,” Matt said. “You remember the festivities of that year. My mom was very engaged with what we did in Indian Township and in Pulaski. To look at those photos you think, ‘Wow that was 25 years ago that we were doing that stuff.’ It just brings it all full circle.”
Shurn said he would like to have more of the 15 appointed children visit during the Monterey Days Festival and the Francesville Fall Festival.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 23, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Community support growing for extension office garden
The support for the Pulaski County Purdue Extension Office community garden continues to develop much like the growing produce — in leaps and bounds.
The community garden has been going strong for more than a month after raised beds were constructed and set by the extension office and local volunteers.
The beds are housing tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green peppers, onions and herbs, some of which are overflowing.
“I’ve had lots of people come up to me at the fair and around town who have said they have noticed it or have stopped to see it,” said family nutrition program assistant Deb Winter. “We have had several people who have been very good about coming in and volunteering.”
The garden was made possible after a grant was written by Pulaski County Extension Director and 4-H Youth Development Educator Natalie Daily-Federer and Winter.
Winter along with Sue Nies teach family nutrition in the county and teach several low-income and elderly clients on how to make better decisions in regards to healthy food. To help those families eat more fresh foods, the extension office decided to grow the community garden. Produce from the garden will be used by Winter and Nies to teach kids and clients how to grow the food and prepare it.
Winter said Daily-Federer recently obtained a grant for kids’ cookbooks.
“We are trying to figure out when we are going to do some kind of kids’ cooking school with our produce,” Winter said. “We are trying to figure out how we are going to utilize the food and were it will go.”
Some of the produce will be given to the food pantry to help those who cannot afford fresh produce.
One idea the extension office has had involves tomatoes. Winter said they may teach locals on how to make tomato juice and can it.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 23, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
EPCSC board shoots down employees carrying firearms
Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation board members voiced their concerns regarding allowing guns on school grounds and came to a unanimous decision on Monday.
During a regular meeting, superintendent Dan Foster questioned what stand the board would take regarding whether school employees could have guns on school property. During the school board meeting last month, Foster introduced a few options to school board members regarding gun carrying policy.
Those options included following what the state recommends such as firearms being allowed on school property but being concealed in vehicles, or to allow employees to carry guns in the school buildings. If an employee did carry a firearm on school property then he or she must complete training and evaluations.
“I’ve have conversations with a lot of people in the last few weeks and it’s pretty mixed,” Foster said. “There are some people who think it could be very valuable. There are concerns of safety.”
Foster said he has not heard a lot of discussion from parents and the community as to if they would support corporation employees carrying firearms.
His said one of his biggest concerns is that those who are carrying the firearm and are properly trained will have a “huge responsibility” if the weapon is drawn.
When Foster first introduced the options of gun carrying, board members had several questions. One of them was what did local law enforcement officers think about school employees or administration carrying firearms on school property.
To answer that question firsthand, Winamac Police Chief Mike Buchanan, Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer, Republican sheriff candidate Jeff Richwine and Democrat candidate Paul Grandstaff were in attendance.
Foster asked each of the men for their opinion that was a mix of understanding, support and opposition.
Gayer said there is no “magic solution to stop an intruder.” He used examples of how safety policy didn’t save those in recent school shootings. Some of his concerns include how would officers entering the building know who the shooter is if teachers also have guns and how would a school employee know if an off-duty officer was the good guy.
“There’s a lot of variables and a lot of what ifs,” Gayer said. “We would rather leave the guns in our hands and not that of the faculty’s hands.”
He was also concerned as to whether a teacher would be prepared to take the life of another person.
Buchanan agreed with Gayer that there are lot of variables. He said there are a lot of pros and cons but the reality is that during the chaos of a shooting split decisions will have to be made and that could create further problems.
“I’ve talked with my guys and they are not real comfortable with having guns in the school,” he said.
Richwine and Grandstaff agreed that with the proper training and guidance, employees or administration could handle firearms in the schools.
“I think it would take a lot of coordination between law enforcement and the schools to do it properly. I think it would have to be a very specific group of people,” Richwine said. “I think that all of us would agree that what gets these guys to stop is either a teacher unarmed confronting them or someone confronting them to stop.”
Grandstaff said both sides can be debated but there would have to be firm policy and training in place if employees were allowed to carry firearms on school property.
“You really need to take a hard look at that,” he said. “I’m like Jeff, in the fact or the event that if I become sheriff, I would be willing to help you out in any way that I could. I’m willing to help you because it takes that level of responsibility to help one another out to get the job done.”
School board members had mixed emotions but all agreed that they did not want to force school employees or administration to carry a firearm. Others said guns should not be allowed on the school grounds.
School board member John Kwiatkowski said all guns should be at home and locked up. “I don’t believe that guns belong on campus.”
School board member Larry Beach, who is a retired Indiana State Police officer, said, “I feel that we hire teachers to be teachers. We don’t hire them to be police officers. I am against any guns in the school.”
Terri Johnson and Deke DeMarco both agreed that they have heard from administrators who don’t want to carry firearms, so for that reason they would not agree with allowing employees to carry guns.
School board member Michael Tetzloff said he doesn’t think guns belong in the schools unless they are in the hands of officers, who may already be attending school events.
School board members approved to add any further policy regarding firearms on school property other than what the state law dictates.
School board president Joe Cunningham and Rhonda Heims opposed the motion.
In other business:
• Minutes of the regular meeting and the work session on June 9th, and special session on June 23 were approved.
• The financial report for the period ending on June 30, claims, payroll, transfer appropriations within funds of the 2014 fiscal year budget, and the extra-curricular financial report were approved.
• The conflict of interest form submitted by board member Joe Cunningham was approved.
• Contracts with bus drivers were approved. Foster said the slate of bus drivers will be the same as last year.
• The resignation of middle school language arts teacher Heather Pugh was approved. Pugh has worked for the corporation for about 18 years.
• A motion to consider the transfer tuition policy for the 2014-2015 school year was approved. The policy complies with Indiana Code 20-26-11-32. Estimated enrollment capacity for the elementary school is 740, middle school is 350 and high school is 460. The enrollment date has been set and approved for March 1, 2015, because of the second count date.
• The second reading and approval of school board policy regarding use of seclusion and restraints was approved.
• A request to accept a donation of $500 from the North Central Quail Forever Chapter for the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) at the school was approved. Foster said the program is now completely funded.
• The textbook fees for the 2014-2015 school year were approved. The amounts will continue to be $100 per student.
• A motion to declare items as surplus or junk and dispose of them was approved. Foster said a majority of the items such as media items are broken or cannot be upgraded. There are a couple of machines or equipment that the corporation would like to see if they can sell. Other items will be recycled.
• A motion to approve a contract for financial advising were approved. Foster said with upcoming school projects, the financial advice will be welcomed. He also believes this will help the corporation save money over the course of a year.
• A request to purchase 15 cafeteria tables for a cost of $16,637 was approved. Foster said there are funds available in the cafeteria account for the purchasing of the tables.
• A request to purchase 15 two-way radios at a cost of $4,833 was approved. Foster said the corporation is looking at grant funding to pay for the radios.
• A motion to apply for a school safety grant was approved. The grant requires a matching fund from the recipient. Foster estimates the corporation will need to fund $17,000 for the match. He would like to use the funding to purchase cameras to finish the middle and high school upgrades and additions. It was approved to purchase 15 cameras.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 16, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
West Central School Corp. welcomes new employees
A handful of new faces will be seen at the West Central School Corporation this year with a new high school principal, a new high school assistant principal, athletic director and a few new teachers.
During a regular school board meeting on July 10, school board members approved the hiring of Wes Allen as the high school assistant principal and athletic director.
Allen, who is a 1996 West Central graduate, was hired after a recommendation of a hiring committee. Superintendent Don Street said Allen’s experience as an athletic director and his administration license was a plus.
“I would classify him as a good communicator. He has emphasis and is passionate about education. He taught special education for a few years before going into administration and athletic director, so that helps as well,” Street said.
They also heard from middle/high school principal Pat Culp, who was newly hired to the corporation, as Street moved to the position of corporation superintendent. Culp, who is a 1995 West Central graduate, has been working almost every day since he began in July.
“He is learning how we do some things at West Central and getting prepared for the registration and the teacher day with students,” Street said.
Other new employees include Erin Nault, who has been contracted as the elementary guidance counselor, and Anna DeRoo, who will be the elementary music teacher. Nault is on a temporary contract as Kari Ruble is on maternity leave.
Students at the high school will also be meeting a new English teacher, Heather Beach, who was hired during a May meeting.
Two new teachers, who are not new to the corporation, include Kyle Evans, who will teach elementary and high school physical education, and Jennifer Byrne-Stasiek, who will be an elementary teacher.
“There are new ideas surfacing. There are different ways to accomplish the task. We all believe that education is changing and it’s important for us to keep up with the time, while doing what it right for the students of West Central,” Street said. “Every school is going to have to change and make adjustments. There will be different ways to approach education and how best to reach the kids.”
Those who were hired:
• Assistant football coach, junior varsity basketball coach, varsity baseball coach: Kyle Evans
• Elementary teacher: Jennifer Byrne-Stasiek
• Title I instructional assistant: Connie Dunn
• Cross county coach: Duane Dickensheets
• Varsity football coach: Marc Hall
• Varsity cheerleading coach: Jenelle Owens
• Varsity/middle school cheerleading coach: Kelsey Erb
• Middle school head cheerleading coach: Elyse Williams
• Eighth-grade girls basketball coach: Riley Cervenka
• Varsity wrestling and middle school wrestling coach: Kenny Nielsen
• Varsity assistant wrestling coach: Jason Wall
• Varsity assistant softball coach: Jennifer Owens
• Varsity assistant football coach: Wade Vyhnanek
• Middle school football coach: Ross Davis
Cooperative School Services hiring included Gretchen Heimlich as diagnostician, Amber McAdow as secretary and Kaci Conley as job coach.
Along with hiring a new athletic director and approving several coaching positions, the board re-appointed Pamela Ledford as the corporation treasurer, Bonnie Koebcke as corporation assistant treasurer, Monica Franscoviak as extra-curricular treasurer and Dumas and Mahnesmith as the corporation attorneys.
This is the first official school board meeting Street has been the superintendent. Street worked with Charles Mellon, who retired in June, during the last couple of months to make the transition between the two smooth.
“Chuck loves West Central and he wants the best for everyone. He wants a good transition for everyone,” Street said. “As he put it — he is just passing the torch.”
In other business:
• Minutes from the regular meeting on June 5 were approved.
• Requisitions for the corporation in the amount of $10,556.66 were approved along with the Cooperative School Services requisitions in the amount of $5,718.67.
• Resignations from administration assistant and athletic director Chuck Evans and physical education/health teacher and head football coach Darren Rodriguez were approved. Resignations from Cooperative School Services diagnostician Katherine Klingerman and secretary Julie Hunsley were approved.
• The transfer of elementary/high school physical education teacher Brian Pilarski to high school physical education was approved.
• The first reading of the firearms policy was accepted and approved. The policy follows the state guidelines with allowing teachers, parents and school visitors to keep guns concealed and locked in their cars in the school parking lots.
• Claims in the amount of $928,233.67 were approved for the corporation while claims in the amount of $92,577.28 were approved for the Cooperative School Services. The unusually high amount of the claims for the school corporation were because of building payments that are made twice a year.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 16, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Storm causes challenges for growing corn crops
Not only were broken tree limbs an indication of Mother Nature’s force that blew through Pulaski County during the late hours of June 30 through the early hours of July 1, but so was the amount of laid corn.
More than half a dozen farmers are seeing evidence of strong winds as they calculate just how much damage occurred to their cornfields.
Pulaski County Purdue Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources educator Chad Rushing said most of the damage is north of SR 14 but there are some isolated areas in other parts of the county.
“It’s mostly along the 14 corridor. The most consistent damage in the fields has been north of that,” he said. “Most of the damage is just laid over corn. Some of it may recover while some of it has been snapped off and the roots uncovered.”
According to Rushing, it’s hard to tell exactly the amount or extent of damage until the farmers get in the fields. He expects to see producers in Starke County report more damage than those in Pulaski County.
“I know one producer stated that he had about 30 or 40 acres of an 80-acre parcel showing signs of damage that had been laid over. Some of it may recover but some of it has been snapped off,” he said.
Overall he expects the damage to be a small percentage of the corn acres. The result of the laid corn will most likely produce less yields.
If the corn does recover it may be a challenge to harvest. “Producers may not be able to get it all harvested as efficiently as they would like,” Rushing said.
Along with laid corn, a couple of irrigators near U.S. 421 and SR 10 were pushed over.
As the growing season continues, another challenge farmers may face is the amount of rain that has occurred during the past few weeks.
“This storm really didn’t bring a whole lot of extra moisture, thankfully, because most fields have about a full moisture profile which is a good thing,” Rushing said. “If we keep getting rain like this they may not be able to water in nitrogen effectively. They could have issues with nitrogen shortages.”
Overall Rushing said the crop is doing well. “Once we get through pollination we will know more. If the weather stays like it is we should have a successful pollination like we did last year and have an above-average yield.”
(Pulaski County Journal — July 9, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Household hazardous waste collection planned for July 12
We’ve all been there. Cleaning up the garage, basement, barn or medicine cabinet and we come across some stuff that just doesn’t look right, might be toxic, maybe you just don’t know what it is. You may have kids in your home and just want to keep things safe.
That’s where we can help. For many years now the Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District has accepted household hazardous waste with very few restrictions. That service is provided at no cost to residents of the six counties we serve. We will be collecting household hazardous waste, electronics, batteries and fluorescent light bulbs on Saturday, July 12, at the Pulaski County Recycling Center, 570 West 60 South, Winamac, from 8 to noon. It’s a good time to clean out what’s under your sink, in your medicine cabinet, basement and garage.
Only non-controlled substances can be collected at this event. If you have narcotic medications you need to dispose of, please contact the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
Paint is perhaps the most commonly collected item. Latex paint, however, is not considered hazardous. It can be dried out and placed with your regular trash. The best solution is to buy only what you need and to use it up. That’s true of any product purchase. If that is not possible, this event offers an opportunity to recycle or properly dispose of the hazardous or toxic chemicals at no cost. There is a charge for tires. Call or visit the website for pricing.
According to district director Carol Stradling, “It feels good to be able to provide a service that will safely remove toxic items from our homes and keep them out of our waterways.”
Anyone who resides within the six-county district may use this service and may attend any one of the six collection events. The counties served are Benton, Carroll, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and White counties. No materials may be dropped off at the recycling center, highway garage or fairgrounds prior to the event. Items left without authorization are considered “illegally dumped” and will be turned over to the proper authorities for investigation.
For more information about the Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District’s collections or other activities of the district please call 800-856-0980 or visit our website at www.nwiswd.org.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 9, 2014)
County prepares for budget changes regarding the airport
A joint session between the Pulaski County Commissioners and the Pulaski County Council revealed changes will need to be made at the airport that will affect the budget.
During the meeting on Monday, county attorney Kevin Tankersley said there are several issues that county officials must address regarding how the county airport is operating on a financial level.
Those issues include changing the airport manager’s salary to hourly, purchasing the equipment at the airport and creating a fund to handle the fuel purchases.
In March, commissioners approved for the airport manager, Bud Widner, to be a full-time employee after there was a question of liability coverage. In the past Widner has been contracted, so he was not covered by the liability insurance.
Tankersley continued to investigate the situation and found that Widner must be an hourly employee. Widner must also be reimbursed if he is on call in case pilots need fuel.
A motion was approved by the commissioners to pay Widner at the hourly rate of about $12. It is the same amount he would receive when he was contracted. The motion also included having the aviation board members cover any on-call hours.
Tankersley also suggested the county purchase the computer, printer, copy machine and other equipment at the airport. It appears that Widner has purchased all those items using his own money instead of using county funding.
Because it is budget time for the council, it was suggested that about $15,000 be added to the airport budget to cover the costs of purchasing the equipment. A motion was approved by commissioners to purchase the items at the airport with the idea that any additional purchases will need to be made through the county.
A motion to create an additional fund regarding fuel at the airport was approved by commissioners. Any fuel that is purchased by the airport will now go through the county. If a pilot purchases the fuel it will go back to that fund.
The aviation board will now inventory what equipment will need to be purchased and present it to the commissioners and council.
The council will review the airport budget for 2015.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 2, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Summer brings a need for items at the food pantry
The Pulaski County Human Services Inc. Food Pantry is in need of help as the shelves have plenty of space for nonperishable foods. In May, 135 families totaling 404 individuals received 16,968 pounds of food in the month of May.
Pulaski County Human Services coordinators and volunteers encourage organizations, school groups, businesses or individuals to donate canned fruit, fruit cups, jelly, peanut butter, saltine crackers, canned vegetables, margarine, potato flakes, etc.
If a group is having a food drive or will be collecting food items, contact the food pantry so they can coordinate the receipt of the food items and help promote the activity.
Judy Stinemetz, volunteer pantry coordinator, reports there is also a need for diapers, shampoo, deodorant, paper products and other toiletry items.
Monetary donations can be made out to Pulaski County Human Services (PCHS) and food pantry can be written in the memo area and specify food or nonfood items or no preference. Those donations are tax deductible.
For more information about volunteering, donating goods or making a monetary contribution contact PCHS at 574-946-6500 or stop in and visit the facility at 115 W. Pearl St., Winamac.
(Pulaski County Journal — July 2, 2014)
Garnett named Pulaski County 4-H, Community Fair Parade Grand Marshal
Everyone is cordially invited to participate in the Pulaski County 4-H and Community Fair Parade that is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1 beginning at 6 p.m.
The parade will start at the St. Peter’s Catholic Church, proceed south on Market Street, turn east on Washington Street, cross U.S. 35, turn south on Riverside Drive and end at the Eastern Pulaski schools parking lot.
We are pleased to announce that this year’s grand marshal will be Miss Indiana State Fair, Alyssa Garnett.
Any entry wishing to be judged should begin lining up at 4 p.m. This year’s theme is “Rising Above the Rest.”
Call 574-270-8291 or 574-946-6166 with any questions or for an entry form.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 25, 2014)
Garage sales causing concerns for Medaryville Town Council
Garage sales became the topic of discussion at a Medaryville Town Council meeting on June 18.
Councilwoman Corrie Hauptli voiced her concern and dislike of garage sales that appear to be in yards longer in length that typically garage sales are held.
“We have, I think, some issues that are causing problems on the corner of Main Street and 421 that need to be addressed,” Hauptli said.
Her concern was that some items have been left in yards for an undetermined amount of time and not sold. Those items have been sitting there so long that weeds are growing around them.
She questioned if the town sanitation ordinance covers garage sales or if the town needs to address the issue with an additional ordinance.
The town has faced the problem before with people leaving a number of items in their yards for several weeks and calling it a garage sale. It appears that the previous problem was handled with a town official talking with the resident.
There was also a question if county zoning or ordinances had regulations against yard sales that last more than 24 hours.
Council president Derrick Stalbaum said he would first talk with the residents in hopes that the issue is resolved. In the meantime the town can work on a new ordinance to address the issue.
In other business:
• Minutes from the May 21 regular meeting were approved.
• General fund claims of $48,061.34, water fund claims of $14,042.25 and wastewater fund claims of $22,119.69 were approved.
• Umbaugh, financial advisors, presented an initial study regarding the sewer rates and different financing options for the sewer lagoon project the town is planning to undertake. Some of the options to finance the project include grant funding, loans or bonds. The town currently has two bonds that will be reimbursed in 2016. There is funding to reimburse those two former bonds, before they obtain another bond. The study indicates that the current sewer rates can support the new debt of the project. Based on discussions with the engineer, Umbaugh does not anticipate additional annual maintenance expenses. It was suggested that the town pay off the two older bonds before obtaining another one. Council members approved to allow Umbaugh to complete a state revolving fund loan application on behalf of the town. There may be some additional engineering costs for the application.
• A request for police escort for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) motorcycle ride on July 12 was approved.
• The council decided to table the discussion of a pay raise for town maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli. Council members would like to conduct an employee evaluation before approving a raise. The council will meet before the next regular council meeting for an employee evaluation in an executive session with Hauptli before making a decision regarding a raise during the regular meeting.
• Hauptli asked permission to hire an additional part-time person for mowing and weeding. He presented an application to the council. The request to hire a new part-time person was approved pending a background check on the applicant. Council president Derrick Stalbaum abstained from the vote because the applicant is a family friend.
• While talking about hiring a new employee, town marshal Brian Gaillard asked if background checks are made on all new hires. The town typically did not conduct background checks on potential hires. A motion was made that a background check must be made on all new potential employees before they are hired. The motion was approved.
• Hauptli voiced his concerns about the park shelter roof. He said the shingles are in rough shape and need repaired. The council advised Hauptli to obtain quotes for the repairs and present it to the council at the next meeting.
• The second reading of Ordinance 2014-07-01 regarding the amended salary ordinance was approved.
• The council approved the request to purchase two benches in memory of Mildred M. Spenner, who was a resident of Medaryville. A motion was also approved for the town to purchase additional benches with the understanding that those benches would be paid for in advance, so the buyers can receive a discounted rate by purchasing four benches at once. The benches appear to look like wood but are made of recyclable materials.
• The council approved to have the clerk-treasurer Judy Harwood research whether using GovPayNet is compatible with the town software and if is acceptable by the state board of accounts. Using GovPayNet would allow residents to pay with credit cards without charging the town but instead the credit card user.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 25, 2014)
State, town laws limit use of fireworks
Although there is still plenty of time for local residents to buy fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, some community members are already pushing the limits of when fireworks can be ignited.
Indiana law allows fireworks to be used anytime of the year during designated hours. In the Winamac town limits, fireworks are prohibited with the exception of certain days.
In 2008, the town passed an ordinance that prohibits the use of consumer fireworks except between the hours of 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 through July 3, and July 5-July 9 of each year.
On July 4, the hours are between 10 a.m. and midnight of each year and between the hours of 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 of each year.
Use, ignition or discharge of fireworks on days that are not specified in the town ordinance can constitute an infraction. Violators can be fined $100 and the Winamac Police Department will enforce the ordinance.
The county, along with Medaryville, Francesville and Monterey, follow state law in regards to fireworks,
According to the state, fireworks can be used between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. On Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve fireworks can be ignited or used from 9 a.m. until midnight.
As residents prepare to use or purchase their favorite noise maker, they are reminded to take extra precautions when using fireworks.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-out-of-five people each year are injured by fireworks. One-third of those who were injured are under the age of 15.
Those injuries happen when people forget they are dealing with an explosive. Sparklers are also hot enough to melt glass so children should be carefully supervised when using the firework item.
For those who don’t want to take the chance of setting off fireworks, a fireworks show will be presented by Kiwanis with weather permitting in the town park at dusk on FRIDAY, July 4.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 18, 2014)
Fair to ‘rise above the rest’
A tractor pull may not be the highlight of the Pulaski County Fair this year, but there will still be plenty to enjoy.
Pulaski County Purdue Extension Office Director and 4-H youth educator Natalie Federer said the tractor pull was dropped because the track is not up to standard with the insurance requirements. The track would need to be widened and there is a large concern of liability issues.
Last year, the fair faced the challenge of the threat of flooding and grounds that were too wet to hold trailers or tractors. Some of the events were dropped to maintain the quality of the grounds.
“We really want people to remember that this is an event for us to help and educate people about agriculture, science and animals,” Federer said. “This is an opportunity once again for those 4-H’ers to show, educate and share with their families and with the community the things that they have done and accomplished and worked really hard for all year.”
All of the 4-H shows will be run as in the past with the highlight being the 4-H recognition program on Saturday, June 28.
“We work really hard to honor them and our volunteers,” Federer said.
Another point of interest regarding exhibits, will be a display created by area fourth-graders. They completed a wildlife project in school and now have the opportunity to display what they have learned.
“This is the first time we have ever done something like this. Out of the 40-some kids there was a handful that were already in 4-H. This will hopefully pull another audience in,” Federer said.
Some of the highlights of the fair include the Miss Pulaski County and Little Miss and Mister Pulaski County pageants, live bands, pedal tractor pull, an electrical demonstration by Fulton County REMC, and the fireman water-ball challenge.
New attractions include the donkey races, a backseat driving contest, tethered hot air balloon rides, and different food vendors that will be offered from local organizations and businesses.
Teresa Calloway, Pulaski County Fair Board President, said the donkey race should be a lot of fun because locals will be riding the donkeys. There will be five heats and the top two of each heat will race in the finals. The winner will receive a trophy and bragging rights.
The backseat driving contest also includes riders but of a different sort. The driver is blindfolded while a rider is sitting in the backseat giving instructions.
“This is something new that we are going to try. We will need couples or two people. The one in the back will be directing the driver through an obstacle course,” Calloway said. “It will be timed and we will see who gets the best time. It should be a lot of fun.”
As for tradition, the parade will be held on Tuesday and follow the same path it did last year starting at the catholic church and ending in the park horseshoe on the west side of the river.
The 4-H 5K run that is organized by the Junior Leaders will be held, but this year it is a color run called “Color Me Green.” Runners will be splashed with green powder as they run.
“We have rented some inflatables and we have kids’ games that will be available,” Calloway said. “There will be face painting and games for the kids also.” Pony rides and a petting farm will be also be there to entertain little ones.
There has also been a concern about the food stand that will not be run by the extension homemakers this year and Federer knows that people are disappointed.
To compensate for the change, different nonprofit organizations and a few businesses will be cooking up a meal.
“We worked really hard to try to replace some of those little pieces,” Federer said.
Calloway said when the fair board searched for organizations that might want to be involved with cooking to raise funds, there was a good response including the rescue association, the Lions Club, the Pack-A-Backpack group and Venture Crew #2229.
Fair-goers will also see the results of a decorating competition between 4-H clubs. The 4-H theme this year is “rising above the rest.” Decorations will be inside and outside the 4-H building and may include mini hot-air balloons.
There will be tethered hot air balloon rides (weather permitting) on Tuesday.
Those who do attend the fair may notice some improvements made to the buildings. Federer said some areas will be painted and some minor repairs made.
Fliers with fair information are available at the extension office and a number of local businesses, or you can see their ad in this week’s Independent.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 18, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Mural unveiled at Eastern Pulaski Elementary School
By themselves they are three simple words, but together, “You are beautiful,” will send a message from this day forward to anyone who passes through the Eastern Pulaski Elementary School.
The nearly 600 students and teachers in the elementary school are represented self-portraits on the 5-foot high letters that now adorn one entire wall of the cafeteria. The mural is bursting with color and upon closer inspection one will see smiling faces and positive words that best describe each individual.
Principle Jill Collins first saw the project after the school received a congratulatory card being named a 4-star school. On the back of the card was the “You are beautiful” mural. “I thought what a cool idea,” she said. “I contacted the Arts for Indiana about the logistics and cost. Through a generous grant from the Pulaski County Community foundation and the PTA we were able to fund this project.”
Arts for Learning professional teaching artist Holly Combs spent a week with the EPES students during their art time, conveying why the project is so powerful. She talked about creating art and the art of being a better person and how every person has a particular trait that makes them unique. “Choosing the words is part of the message. It’s not about what you look like, it’s about what’s on the inside,” she said.
Students then used their time to work on a self-portrait and come up with a word that best described them. The words used focused on the positive not only on the outside but those things that are inside each one of them.
Once the portraits were finished they were shipped to Combs and her husband Dave who is a graphic artist. The images were scanned and placed onto mosaic tiles.
On Monday, June 2, the last day of school for students, EPES celebrated the culmination of all their hard work with an official mural unveiling ceremony.
It took two drafts before third-grader Chase Keller was happy with his self portrait that eventually ended up in the mural. He had quite a few words in mind for his artwork before deciding on “athletic.” “The neatest thing for me is that the artist got all these kids to do something so big,” he said.
“Looking at this is pretty powerful and sends a great message,” Collins stated. “We hope our students take away from this is we all have beautiful things on the inside and out. We should be focusing on building people up.”
When asked what she hopes future generations will see, Collins commented, “Years from now when these students bring their own children back to look at this work of art they helped create with the work of their peers. I want them to see and remember that looking for good in everyone is a life skill that we all need to carry with us.”
(Pulaski County Journal — June 11, 2014 • Story by Paul Hettinger)
First floor of Vurpillat Opera House receiving face-lift
A dumpster outside the Vurpillat Opera House is a good indication of better things happening inside.
On Saturday, members of the Pulaski County Historical Society and Pulaski County work release workers were seen emptying the first floor of the brick building as renovations began.
Kathi Thompson, historical society president, said the ceiling above the first floor will be torn down and the brick wall on the west side of the building will be uncovered.
“When we are finished we are going to blow in a ceiling and seal off what is upstairs and make it a more attractive finish,” Thompson said. “We just hope to have a more attractive interior.”
While the work is being complete, the building will not be rented. According to Thompson, the first floor is rented often and she hopes they will be able open it soon.
The opera house was constructed in 1882. The first floor was divided into three commercial spaces. The second floor housed office rooms while the third floor is a large open area with a stage. Many locals remember the first floor as being a drug store.
The renovations are made possible through historical society fundraisers and a community foundation grant.
Thompson said the building is a historical landmark but “we are not trying to maintain a historical look except for along the walls. Our biggest priority is to seal off the ceiling and keep dust from filtering down from upstairs.”
Renovation could take several weeks. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact 574-595-7562.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 11, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Community garden to take root
A community garden will soon be taking root as the Pulaski County Purdue Extension Office is building it.
Extension office administration recently announced a community garden would be grown after receiving permission from the Pulaski County Commissioners to place raised garden beds near the annex building on South Riverside Drive.
Pulaski County Extension Director and 4-H Youth Development Educator Natalie Federer and family nutrition program assistant Deb Winters wrote a grant to cover the costs of the garden. The project was awarded a Carroll-White REMC grant.
Winter said she and Sue Nies teach family nutrition in the county and teach several low-income and elderly clients on how to make better decisions in regards to healthy food. To help those families eat more fresh foods, the extension office decided to grow a community garden. Produce from the garden will be used by Winter and Nies to teach kids and clients how to grow the food and prepare it.
“They can learn how to build a community garden. They can work in it and provide for people who are less fortunate,” Winter said. “We are using it for lessons and using it for people who need the help. “I just think it’s a really good program that can help people.”
The gardens will be managed by volunteers and the food will be used to teach healthy eating with the excess food being donated to the food pantry.
“It’s about connecting young people to gardening, to food production, teaching them where food comes from and about healthy food,” Federer said. “Because it is a community garden, any leftover produce that is not used will benefit the food pantry as well. The food pantry may not get their hands on fresh produce a lot because of the shelf life.”
Winter said there will be beds of different sizes that will house produce plus herbs. “There are a lot of different ways that we can go with it.” She hopes to teach kids something simple like making salsa.
“We are teaching kids in hopes that maybe they will go back home and teach their parents,” Federer said.
The public is invited to learn how to build a raised bed garden on Saturday, June 7 at 9 a.m. The raised bed gardens will be located behind the Purdue Extension Office at 125 S. Riverside Dr. in Winamac.
The beds that were constructed by local high school students, will be built on June 7 and volunteers will start planting shortly after.
Some of the bed will be made to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We will need lots of volunteers. A lot of people don’t have money to donate but this offers them an opportunity donate their time,” Winter said. “We will also take donations of plants if anyone has started them.”
Those who are interested in volunteering can contact the office at 574-946-3412.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 4, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
File offers important info to emergency responders
The more information emergency medical responders know during a health crisis the better they can help those who may not be able to help themselves.
Because of the need to serve locals in the best way possible, the Pulaski County Health Department has teamed together with Pulaski County Emergency Medical Services to offer the File of Life program. File of Life contains basic identification information, and if a person has allergies, medical conditions, or is taking medications, both prescriptions and over the counter.
“It’s a program for older adults or for a person that has special needs or special medical requirements,” said Pulaski County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist Sherry Fagner. “It’s for those who can’t speak for themselves. All of the information should be in the packet and that is huge for medical responders.”
The File of Life program is nationwide and used by numerous communities. The File of Life program requires the resident to complete the information sheets and place the sheets and any additional documentation in a bag or envelope that should be set on the refrigerator. Emergency responders will look for a sticker on the front entrance door or window indicating there is a File of Life.
“The File of Life contains the medical history needed by the responding emergency personnel, such as existing medical conditions, allergies, medication currently being taken, and emergency contact information,” said Pulaski County EMS Director Nikki Lowry.
An example of when File of Life is needed includes someone who has suffered from a stroke and takes a number of medications. It will give emergency responders background information as to whether the person has fallen or may have had another stroke. Emergency responders will look for signs of stroke.
“It’s the right thing to do. We never know when something could happen and you could need assistance. Speak for yourself when you may be unable to do so verbally,” said Pulaski County Health Officer Dr. Rex Allman. “Keep your forms up-to-date, and keep them visible on your refrigerator. Simple steps will keep you prepared to help responders if the time ever comes. If you need assistance completing the forms consult with your local doctor.”
Forms could also be used for small children who have allergies or special health needs.
Fagner said the department is keeping a list of those who have received a File of Life packet. She said they will check up on those who have received a packet in hopes of it being filled out and a sticker being placed on the window or door.
For more information contact the health department at 574-946-6080 or Pulaski County EMS at 574-946-0630.
(Pulaski County Journal — June 4, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Medaryville weed, grass ordinance to be enforced
Concerns of housing mosquitoes and the unaesthetic look of unkept lawns has Medaryville Town Council members preparing to enforce the weed, grass and rank vegetation ordinance.
During a regular meeting on May 21, town maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli said a few lawns are becoming an issue.
“The biggest issue is that we have to stop the breeding mosquitoes in town,” he said. “With all the water we have got and without mowing and the woods, it is just a breeding ground. We have to stay on top of it.”
Councilman Derrick Stalbaum said the ordinance regarding weeds, grass and rank vegetation was changed last year.
“We have an ordinance for a reason,” he said. “It is very specific about what the expectations are and that is that all grass and weeds need to be under 6 inches in height. It does say within in town. It does not say with the exception of wooded areas. As far as I’m concerned that wherever it is in town it is expected to follow that ordinance.”
Stalbaum said the ordinance needs to be enforced and that property owners will be charged for how much it costs to be mowed or removed.
According to the ordinance, property owners can be fined $125 or more for each violation because costs incurred by the town will be charged to the property owner. Those who are accused of such a violation have a right to appeal the notice.
Stalbaum gave Hauptli permission to send letters to property owners who are not following the guidelines of the ordinance.
To help combat mosquitoes, the town does spray.
Councilwoman Corrie Hauptli was not present at the meeting.
For more information regarding the weed, grass and rank vegetation ordinance go to www.medaryville.net.
In other business:
• Minutes from the April 16 regular meeting, the April 24, April 28 and May 14 special meetings, and the May 12 public hearing were approved.
• The April 2014 claims for the general fund in the amount of $43,184.65, the water funds in the amount of $12,883.93, and the sewer fund in the amount of $25,262.90 were approved.
• The utility report adjustments in the amount of $239 were approved.
• Town marshal Brian Gaillard presented a report to the council and said although four new tires were placed on the police car, an additional tire was bought after an office hit a culvert. Stalbaum said he has noticed an increase in patrolling and appreciates it.
• Town maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli said the new tile in the area of Farm Bureau has been placed. It took longer than expected and could cost the town more than anticipated but at the time of the meeting he was unsure of the amount.
• The final reading of Ordinance 2014-05-04 regarding town employees an opportunity to make up compensation time for each day lost because of town hall being closed due to a state of emergency was approved.
• The first reading of ordinance 2014-07-01 amending the 2014 salary ordinance to increase the rate of the deputy clerk-treasurer was approved.
• A few options regarding park benches were presented by councilwoman Carolyn Hager. The council began looking at different park benches after a family donated money to purchase a bench in memory of a family member. The costs of the benches were between $300 to more than $500. Town council members discussed purchasing a bench made of recycled items. The bench looks like wood but is plastic. The bench would be engraved or stamped with the person’s name or “in memory of.” Those who are interested in a memory bench can contact the town council.
• A letter from the Pulaski County Public Library was received asking for a donation to help with the summer reading programs. Last year the town donated money that was earmarked for the Medaryville branch. The town approved $150 for the library reading program.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 28, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
County building department targets unsafe buildings
Buildings that could be considered unsafe are the recent target of the Pulaski County Building Department.
Pulaski County Building Inspector David W. Dare Sr. and assistant David Weber are focusing their efforts on buildings that could be deemed as unsafe specifically in the Medaryville area.
Two hearings were recently held at Pulaski County Commissioners’ meetings in regards to two buildings in Medaryville. Those buildings include the Drummer House next to the Everett’s Hotel and a house on U.S. 421.
On April 21, an extension was given in regards to the rehabilitation or demolition of the Drummer House. The property owner, Brian Capouch, said he needed time to work on the structure and if it is not salvageable then he will demolish the building.
A second hearing on May 19 regarding the home on U.S. 421 was held because the roof appears ready to collapse and could cause damage to a neighbor’s home it the walls fall out. Building department officials are currently trying to contact the owner.
During a Medaryville Town Council meeting on May 21, president Derrick Stalbaum said the council has been contacted by the Pulaski County Building Department about their push to clean up the unsafe buildings.
Stalbaum was told that a list of unsafe properties would be established and county ordinances would followed in regards to the unsafe buildings.
“We are working on a grant to demolish houses,” said Weber, during the commissioners’ meeting on May 21.
Dare said the department is following up on unsafe homes, when complaints are made.
An unsafe building violation complaint form can be found online at www.pulaskionline.org for those who are concerned with an unsafe building.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 28, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
American Legion, VFW Memorial Day schedules
The annual veterans’ Memorial Day program will be held at the Pulaski County Courthouse lawn at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 26.
The guest speaker will be Jon Frain, of Frain Mortuary. The invocation and benediction will be given by David Broad. Greg Henry will be the master of ceremony. Commander of the guard will be Ken McFarland.
The American Legion and VFW Auxiliaries will place wreaths at the memorial and a salute to the war dead will be given by the combined firing squads of the American Legion and VFW. Rick Dilts will play taps.
Buck Cemetery 9 a.m.
Pro Cemetery 9:15 a.m.
St. Joe (South) 9:30 a.m.
Pulaski Presbyterian 9:40 a.m.
St. Joe (West) 9:55 a.m.
Star City West, Inc. (I.O.O.F.) 10:15 a.m.
Star City Town 10:25 a.m.
Mount Zion (Franklin Twp.) 9:30 a.m.
Reed Cemetery (SR 14 E.) 9:45 a.m.
St. Peter’s (SR 14 W.) 10 a.m.
McKinley 10:15 a.m.
Winamac 10:20 a.m.
All time are Eastern Daylight Time.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 21, 2014)
Sheriff’s department to remember fallen officers
As the Indiana State Police recently honored officers who have died in the line of duty, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to remember three local officers on Tuesday, May 27, at noon.
Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer is inviting the public to a Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Memorial Day Service that will honor sheriff Charles Henry Oglesby, sheriff Milo “Mike” Lewis and deputy Shadron Kiley “Shad” Bassett, who all died while serving Pulaski County.
Not only will officers remember those who have passed, but their families are invited to the ceremony.
“One of the many traditions I brought with me from my career with Indiana State Police is to honor the memory of fallen comrades. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has lost three on-duty officers since the department was organized some 175 years ago,” Gayer said. “The month of May is a time in this country we honor those who wore a uniform and fought a battle for freedom or a battle for justice. We, as a department, honor these three men and invite their families to join us in reflection of who they were and what they meant to us and this community. We again will come together on May 27 to remember these men and to spend time with their families in remembrance.”
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 injuries caused by a single-vehicle accident on SR 39 at CR 300 N. while responding to a call on Oct. 7, 2005.
The first remembrance ceremony was held in 2007.
The service will begin at noon in front of the justice center at 110 E. Meridian St., Winamac.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 21, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Francesville Volunteer Fire Department receives grant for new gear, tools
Finding funds for new gear and rescue tools can be tough for local fire departments, but grants from the Indiana Homeland Security Foundation offer a little financial boost.
Because of the Indiana Homeland Security Foundation grant, the Francesville Volunteer Fire Department was able to purchase helmets, flashlights and rescue tools, costing $3,965.98.
The Indiana Homeland Security Foundation approved more than $400,000 in grants to aid public safety agencies statewide.
Awards were given to 112 recipients in 62 counties. Recipients include local fire departments, emergency medical services, law enforcement and emergency management agencies in all 10 Indiana Department of Homeland Security Districts.
The focus of the foundation is to support the future of public safety and to provide grant funding to local agencies for critical needs across Indiana. Grants provide up to $4,000.
Examples of items that current grant approvals funded include protective equipment, fire gear, defibrillators, fire hoses, computer and communication equipment, thermal imaging cameras and rescue mannequins.
“Local public safety agencies play a critical role in the safety of Hoosiers across the state,” said Gov. Mike Pence. “This grant money allows our first responders to replace and upgrade equipment vital to daily operations. By improving equipment and capabilities, our emergency response personnel statewide will have the tools they need to help keep Hoosiers safe.”
The Indiana Homeland Security Foundation is funded through the purchase of “Secure Indiana” license plates. These funds provide grants to public safety agencies and scholarships to students statewide.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 14, 2014)
Bridge receives plank-lift
Before the planks of the Winamac Town Park swinging bridge broke in two, town employees have given it a lift.
Over the past couple of weeks, weather and time permitting, the planks on the suspension footbridge were replaced.
Town manager Jim Conner said he is not sure when the last time the planks were replaced.
“Some of them were beginning to get soft and weak, so it was time to replace them,” Conner said.
The cost of the repairs included the lumber and the supplies. The lumber is treated and should last several years.
The Memorial Bridge that spans over the Tippecanoe River and connects the town park with the downtown area, was dedicated on July 4, 1923, in honor of the soldiers and sailors from Pulaski County.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 14, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
West Central, Winamac announce top graduates
West Central High School and Winamac Community High School have announced the two top graduating seniors from each school’s class of 2014.
Trevor Putt has earned the distinction of being named class valedictorian at West Central High School.
Upon graduation Putt plans to attend Purdue University to study animal science.
While attending West Central Putt has been active in National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, student council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and 4-H.
His awards and honors include Top Scholar for sophomore and junior years, four years of high honor roll, anatomy and physiology awards and the U.S. history award.
In his spare time he has been involved in the school play and stays active in his church youth group. He enjoys playing sports and spending time with friends.
Trevor is the son of Brian and Tami Putt of Francesville.
Katie Isch, of Francesville, will be the West Central High School 2014 class salutatorian.
She has stayed busy in high school at West Central as a four-year member of student council, Sunshine Society and two-year member of the National Honor Society.
Isch enjoys time in the kitchen baking and when she is not spending time with family and friends, she is involved in her church youth group and church choir.
Outside of the class room she teaches 3 and 4-year-olds at Kingdom Kids Class twice a month and works as an aide at Parkview Haven.
Isch’s future plans are to attend IUPUI for Spanish and pre-medicine, with the hope of becoming a doctor of oncology.
Katie is the daughter of Burt and Karlene Isch.
At Winamac Community High School, Eric Newman, son of Marilyn and the late Ed Newman of Star City, has been named valedictorian and Courtney Boos, daughter of Matt and Lynndy Boos of Winamac, is the salutatorian.
During his four years at WCHS, Newman has been busy with countless activities including National Honor Society, National FFA Organization and 4-H Junior Leaders. He has also been a part of the Academic Super Bowl, Quiz Bowl, Midwest Conference math contest, Spanish quiz bowl, Science Olympiad and a four year member of the robotics team.
Newman has been an active member of the St. Joseph Religious Education and Key Club.
He has been a three-sport athlete while attending high school with participation in cross-country, track and soccer. He has been named soccer top-team player and received the captain’s award.
His honors and awards are numerous including the Lilly Endowment Scholarship, Presidential Award for Service and the DAR Good Citizen Award. During his time in 4-H he has been recognized as the ultimate showman and served as achievement royalty.
His future plans upon graduation are to attend Purdue University and major in animal sciences.
Winamac Community High School Salutatorian Courtney Boos has been an active member of the Sunshine Society where she has served as president and has been the student council vice president. She has also been an active member of the National Honor Society, Midwest Conference math team, Spanish quiz bowl and a member of Key Club.
Boos was a member of the Lady Warrior volleyball and softball teams for three years and played one season of basketball.
Her name has appeared on the distinguished honor roll all four years of high school and she has been named MWC Academic All-Conference.
Boos has been crowned snow coming queen and prom princess.
After graduation, she plans on studying business with a minor in Spanish at Butler University.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 7, 2014)
New principal hired at West Central schools
2014-2015 West Central Middle and High School students will be seeing a different face during the school year after the school board approved the hiring of Patrick Culp.
Culp was hired as the new principal of the middle and high schools with a unanimous vote from the West Central School Board during a regular meeting on May 1.
The principal position became available after current principal Don Street was hired as the school corporation superintendent. Superintendent Charles Mellon is retiring at the end of the school year.
Mellon said Culp, who is the son of Bonnie Culp, of Francesville, and the late Darrell Culp, has been with the same school corporation for about 12 years.
“He interviewed very well. We were very impressed,” said board member Dennis Gutwein.
Mellon said there were six applicants who were interviewed, three of which were contacted again for a second interview.
During the second interview, the applicants faced a panel of teachers, administration, guidance counselors and principals.
Culp is a graduate of West Central High School.
Street said he spoke with Culp who is hoping to meet with teachers and staff before the end of the school year.
Board members also approved the hiring of media instruction assistant Alicia Cotner and Cooperative School Services Kathleen Peters.
In other business:
• Minutes from the April 3 regular meeting and from the April 3 executive session were approved.
• Requisitions 14089-14112 in the amount of $81,619.77 for the corporation and requisition 14137 for the Cooperative School Services in the amount of $193.76 was approved.
• The transfer of middle school teacher Rebecca Reed to high school Spanish teacher was approved.
• Resignations from Cooperative School Services employees Alicia Hickman and Pama Schreeg, and high school custodian Amanda White were approved.
• Field trip requests for students to attend the FFA State Convention at Purdue University, and the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., were approved.
• Superintendent Charles Mellon gave an update on the school safety grant the corporation is receiving. He said the corporation has received the agreement to sign. He is hoping security upgrades can be completed this summer.
• Board meeting dates for the 2014-2015 school year were approved. The 2015 budget calendar was approved.
• Information regarding the employee pay dates for the 2014-2015 school year was presented to the board.
• A recommendation by superintendent Charles Mellon to not increase the price of breakfast but to increase the price of lunch by 10 cents was approved.
• A request by Mellon for the renewal of the student accident insurance plan with Student Assurance Services for the 2014-2015 school year was approved.
• Changes to the 2014-2015 student handbooks were approved. Changes included immunization requirements that are determined by the state, media center policies, definitions regarding student absences, athletic policy, and proposed daily schedules. Some of the changes applied to the elementary handbook, while others applied to the middle and high school handbook.
• Increases in the classified staff contracts were approved. Mellon said he hopes to have the contracts to the employees before the end of the school year.
• Claims 349-474 for the corporation in the amount of $380,464.45 and 942-1030 for Cooperative School Services in the amount of $206,545.95 were approved.
(Pulaski County Journal — May 7, 2014)
Police warn residents to be on the lookout for burglars
Police are warning southern Pulaski County residents to lock their doors and secure their belongings, as a rash of burglaries have hit the area.
Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer said a number of burglaries and thefts have been reported in Cass and White counties and it appears the suspect or suspects are now targeting the Star City area.
“It is starting to spill over into our county. We have had a couple of residential break-ins in our county and now a car stolen,” Gayer said.
The vehicle was reported stolen on April 24 in Star City. Gayer said it appears that three burglaries and a stolen vehicle are all connected with the same suspect or suspects.
“We do have a person of interest that we are watching,” Gayer said.
Witnesses in the three counties have all reported a similar looking vehicle that is suspected of having a connection with the cases.
Gayer said officers will increase patrolling in the area.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 30, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Winamac investigating utility rate increase
Planning for future utility projects and how to cover those costs could include a rate increase according to the end-of-the-year financial reports that the Winamac council reviewed on April 14.
During a regular meeting, the Winamac Town Council heard from Eric Walsh, H.J. Umbaugh and Associates, in regards to the end-of-the-year utility reports.
The reports included a narrative section that details the findings, the end-of-the-year cash balance and operating revenues and disbursements, and a comparison of utility rates compared to area towns and cities.
Walsh started with the water utility that he says is financially in good shape due to a rate increase last year that offset costs of a rate change for outside users and refunding water bonds saving the town money.
The increase in the cash balance was about $66,000.
Walsh said the utility is “moving in the right direction. Water should be healthy going forward the next couple of years.”
When looking at the sewerage utility, Walsh advised council members that they need to consider a rate increase to cover the costs of capital improvements and equipment.
Future plans for the utility include purchasing a new vacuum truck in 2015 and constructing a new lift station in 2016.
Walsh suggested a 10 percent rate increase that would generate about $100,000 a year. The increase would take care of projects in 2014 and 2015. It would help reduce the new lift station costs.
He suggested that a two-phase increase might be the best option. The utility finances are sustainable so a minimal increase would be acceptable.
“You really don’t have revenue to do capital projects without a rate adjustment,” Walsh said.
The electric utility finances are also in good shape. Walsh said one of the main reasons the utility is financially sound is because the town uses a tracker to keep revenues in line with costs.
It was suggested that council members continue to discuss the rate increase before making a decision whether to pursue it because there are several other projects including a storm water system.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 30, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Taxpayers to receive credits and refunds
Pulaski County property owners will be receiving a credit or refund due to incorrect tax rates.
The county recently announced that approximately $1,050,000 in credits or refunds will be given to those who are eligible for a refund of property taxes due to incorrect Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) Property Tax Replacement and County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) Homestead Credit rates.
During a county council meeting on April 14, Pulaski County Auditor Shelia Garling said there was a difference between the rate the county used and the state rate.
“We have the money sitting there and we have to refund all the county taxpayers at that time that they were charged a higher rate,” she said.
To make the refunds, the county is applying it as partial payment toward the first installment of the 2014 tax statements that will result in a lower amount. The second installment may be higher due to the refund being applied towards the first installment.
Some refunds were also given in manual checks if a change in ownership occurred that will be mailed at the same time as the tax statements.
The first installment of taxes are due on May 12 and the second installment is due on Nov. 10.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 23, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Property tax statements will be arriving soon
Tax statements will be mailed on April 23 with the first installment due May 12.
This year property taxes are due May 12 and with the second installment due on Nov. 10 at any of the following locations:
• Pulaski County Treasurer’s Office — courthouse
• First Federal Savings Bank — Winamac branch
• First National Bank of Monterey — Monterey and Winamac branches
• Alliance Bank — Francesville and Winamac branches
• Key Bank — Winamac branch
When paying at these locations, taxpayers must present his or her tax statement along with the payment.
Payments may also be mailed to: Pulaski County Treasurer, Courthouse, Room 240, 112 E. Main St., Winamac, IN 46996. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is required for return receipts if a person wishes to have it mailed.
Please feel free to email the treasurer’s office with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 574-946-3632.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 23, 2014)
Pipe replacement project requires U.S. 35 closure
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently announced the closure of U.S. 35, between CR 800 S. and CR 900 S., about 2 miles south of SR 10 in Starke County, just north of the Pulaski County line on Monday, April 14.
Crews are replacing a pipe across the road. U.S. 35 will reopen in late April.
Southbound drivers will be detoured west on SR 10, south on SR 39, east on SR 14, and back to U.S. 35. Northbound drivers will be detoured west on SR 14, north on SR 39, east on SR 10, and back to U.S. 35.
Drivers in Northwest Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the district’s social media channels at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest, Twitter @INDOTNorthwest, or visit http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise traveler information service.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 16, 2014)
Monterey Council prepares for sewer rate increase
With the first reading of an ordinance, the Monterey Town Council is preparing to increase the sewer rates that will help cover the costs of a system upgrade.
During a regular meeting on April 9, council members approved Ordinance 2 of 2014 that establishes a new schedule of rates and charges to produce a revenue to pay expenses of maintenance and operation including the upgrading of the current sewer collection and treatment system that is about 14 years old.
Council members approved a $9.90 increase after a rate study indicated the town was collecting enough funding to pay for sustainability but not enough money if an emergency occurs or major upgrade is needed. The current rate for residents is $48.10; with the rate increase it will be $58.
Because of the rate increase, a public hearing will be held on May 14 to address any concerns from the public. An additional public hearing will be held the same night as part of the grant process the town is undergoing.
The town is planning on a $200,000 project to upgrade the sewer system and sewer treatment plant. Town officials are looking at grant funding to pay for a majority of the expenses. If the town receives the grant funding, it will have to make a $40,000 match.
The town is receiving $10,000 from the Nature Conservancy and the Pulaski County Council has pledged to help with $10,000 although it has not been decided if it will be through a loan or a donation.
Town council president Jim Fleury said he will be meeting with county council to discuss the options.
The new rates are expected to start in July. Residents who have paid in advance will still need to pay the difference in the rate.
In other business:
• The minutes from the March 12 regular meeting were approved.
• Fleury said he will call about the installation of a second street light at the new bridge crossing the Tippecanoe River. A pole is already in the ideal place where the light could be installed. There was also discussion of the reflectors being knocked off the bridge because of the snow plowing. The reflectors appeared to have been adhered to the bridge. Fleury said he understood the county would need to repair the reflectors.
• It appears that the old gas station tanks, across from town hall, will be removed and about five area wells will be drilled as part of the cleanup. The start of the project will depend on when the state gives the go-ahead.
• The town voted to have Port-a-Johns placed at the park from now through October. Council members voted to use the same as they did last year at a cost of $135 per month for two units that will be placed at the two town parks. Picnic tables will also be moved to the park area.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 16, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Local health department prepares commissioners for all-hazard incidents
Preparing for the worst is one of main focuses of the Pulaski County Health Department and sometimes getting everyone on the same page before a tragedy strikes can take a motion and approval from the Pulaski County Commissioners.
During a regular meeting on Monday, Pulaski County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist Sherry Fagner presented commissioners with an all-hazard county measure dispensing plan. Fagner requested the commissioners acknowledge they received the plan and sign it.
“Each of our planning partners have received a packet that looks similar to yours but is different. Each of them are customized per their agency,” Fagner said.
She said the information includes what roles and responsibilities each planning partner has during emergencies involving the health department.
Commissioners signed the plan.
Along with the information regarding the all-hazard county measure dispensing plan given the commissioners, Pulaski County Health Department Director of Environmental Health Terry Hansen said obtaining a generator for the annex building has become critical because of the more than $80,000 of vaccines that could be spoiled because of a power outage.
“We have been asking for a generator for years,” Hansen said. “We want to get this ball rolling.”
The electric has gone out about four times during the last several months, causing major issues for the employees. Hansen was advised that the county will begin finding out how much power the building needs to operate and then obtain a generator to fit it.
Several other infrastructure or maintenance issues were also asked regarding the fire alarms at the building, whether a panic button can be installed there and why not all of the security lights work property.
County maintenance director Jeff Johnson said the changes come down to funding and needing to find better options or equipment.
In other business:
• Jeff Johnson, county maintenance director, spoke with the commissioners regarding bids for a concrete pad at the recycling center. Recycling items need to be placed on cement pads, according to state codes. The bid in the amount of $10,450 was approved for the construction of the pad.
• Johnson also requested to pay for two bullet-resistant glass windows at the justice center. The cost is approximately $2,100 and a portion of the costs will be paid for by the inmates that damaged the window. His request was approved.
• Crystal Williams, director of the Pulaski County Department of Child Services, requested permission to use the courthouse lawn in regards to the Child Abuse Awareness ceremony on Tuesday. The request was approved. She also requested that figurines representing child abuse awareness be placed on the courthouse lawn for about a month.
• Ed Clark, recycling/transfer station director, presented a quote to the commissioners regarding a skid steer for the cost of $3,000. The skid steer is needed as an additional vehicle to move the recyclables. Money for the skid steer is available in the equipment funds. The request was approved.
• Clark also presented quotes to repair the horizontal baler. A quote in the amount of $2,502.60 was approved. The repairs are planned to happen in May.
• Clark also said he would like to bid on a recycling trailer that Winamac is auctioning. He said the trailer will be used often and it could be used by Winamac residents to drop off their recycling. The funds for the trailer would come from the Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District funding. The request was approved.
• Debora Girton, county home superintendent, presented commissioners with a prospective new county home resident. Girton said he is currently living at a nursing home and does not like it. The request for the new resident was approved.
• Girton also asked if she could be issued a county cellphone. She ran out of minutes on her phone. The request to give Girton a county cellphone was approved. Commissioner Tracey Shorter is to work with Girton and auditor Shelia Garling to obtain a phone.
• RB Walters, who has worked for the county as the main IT expert, no longer works for DeGroot Technology that services the county. There was discussion regarding whether Walters could continue to contract work with the sheriff’s department because he is familiar with the systems. County attorney Kevin Tankersley said there are several issues that need to be addressed if he is to continue. Commissioners approved for Walters to be temporarily contracted for IT service at the sheriff’s department until further issues are addressed.
• Pastor Brent Smith, of New Beginnings Family Fellowship, requested using the courthouse lawn for a prayer walk on Saturday, April 12. The walk will end on the courthouse lawn. The request was approved.
• A request by Garling to transfer funds into the county general to cover various costs was approved. Garling is concerned with the amount of money that has been spent since the beginning of the year and that funding from the state will not come until later this year.
• A conference request for Natalie Federer and Chad Rushing, of Pulaski County Purdue Extension Service, was approved.
• A recommendation for Margaret Manikowski to be appointed to the Monterey-Tippecanoe Library Board was approved.
• Minutes from the March 17 regular meeting, March 10, March 17 and April 1 executive sessions, and from the March 10 public hearing were approved. Payroll and claims were also approved.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 9, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Construction of recreational trails could begin this summer
Permits are being obtained and Winamac town officials are preparing for the next steps to be taken in the Winamac Recreational Trails Program and the Winamac Safe Routes to School project.
Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the town is in the permit phase.
The Winamac Recreational Trails Program includes a 12-foot wide asphalt trail similar to the Panhandle Pathway that travels between Main Street, at the old depot, to SR 14, approximately 0.66 miles. Conner said it will cost about $65,000, with about $50,000 funded from a grant and a $12,000 match from the town.
“The recreational trails program that is the section from Main Street to 14 West, we are hoping to do that construction this summer,” Conner said.
In regards to the safe route school project, Conner said because it is an Indiana Department of Transportation project, the town has to go through their engineering and bidding process.
“Right now, we are on schedule to let bids on that project in September. I doubt that we will see construction on that project this fall. It will depend on what kind of weather we have,” Conner said.
The Safe Routes to School project includes a 12-foot trail that will travel between Main Street south and the Panhandle Pathway. The total length of the project is 0.41 miles. Sidewalks along Pearl Street and Riverside Drive will also be upgraded and meet American with Disabilities Act guidelines including ramps. The project is estimated to cost about $249,996 and be funded by the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Future plans that will need additional funding include constructing linear parks along the Winamac Recreational Trails Program. The parks could include shelters and picnic tables.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 9, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Voter registration ends April 7
With six county races being contested, voters are being reminded of several important dates before primary day on May 6.
Monday, April 7, is an important date for residents, who want to vote but are not registered, because it is the last day for voter registration.
Those who are interested can fill out a voter registration card at the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office. A driver’s license or BMV issued ID card is needed to register.
If a person has moved since he or she has registered they must update their voter registration at the clerk’s office with the current address by April 7.
Absentee voting begins Tuesday, April 8, at the courthouse. All absentee voting in the clerk’s office will be conducted on voting machines. Voters must have a valid photo ID. If a person is unable to vote at the polls or in the courthouse, he or she may request at the clerk’s office to vote by mail.
Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 6. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters must have a valid photo ID.
Acceptable forms of ID include a valid driver’s license, a BMV issued ID card, a passport, or a photo ID issued by the State of Indiana or a government issued ID.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 2, 2014)
Medaryville sewer project roughly estimated at $850,000
Residents who are serviced by the Medaryville sewer system may soon be asked questions for an income survey that will be used as part of a grant to help fund an imperative, upcoming sewer project.
During a special meeting on March 10, town council members Derrick Stalbaum and Carolyn Hager approved to hire University Research Consultants to conduct a town income survey that must be completed in accordance with the Community Development Block Grant guidelines per the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The survey will take about eight weeks to complete and could cost more than $2,000.
The grant is needed for the sewer treatment system to continue to be in compliance with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management guidelines. In 2013, the town was advised of being in violation of the wastewater permit in 2011. According to town officials, the state made changes to the permit but the town did not receive it, causing the data to appear as noncomplaint. Violations include the lagoons not consistently meeting the current E. coli limits because of excess algae.
Because of the noncompliance threat, the town has been a part of a pilot bio-dome wastewater treatment that has been proven to work. The town submitted a compliance plan with the state that was approved.
The town is now looking for funding and a grant is one of the best ways to pay for the project without raising sewage rates.
Along with the special meeting, a public hearing was held on March 10 to discuss the federally funded Community Development Block Grant. It was estimated that the project could cost about $850,000. The cost was an initial estimate to ensure enough funding was being asked for, as the McMahon Engineering and Architects completes the engineering. As the engineering continues on the pilot program, the costs could be reduced.
The town match is estimated between $400,000 and $450,000.
Medaryville has been working for more than a year to comply with state regulations regarding the sewer treatment lagoons. If the town fails to comply with the state, then a penalty of $2,500 per day could apply.
The town is also seeking assistance from Medaryville residents in regards to writing letters as to why the upgrade is needed.
Further information will be given on the town’s website.
(Pulaski County Journal — April 2, 2014 • Story by Amber L. Tomlinson)
Tippecanoe River State Park staff, friends honored with awards
The DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs recently honored employees and volunteers for their commitment to conservation in 2013.
The Tulip Award, the highest honor within the division, went to John Bergman, assistant director for operations, for his leadership in administration, staff support and development and new initiatives such as mountain bike trails over his 42-year career.
Volunteer of the Year awards were presented to Tim Barnes for his construction and maintenance of Harmonie State Park mountain bike trails, and to Jon Chapman and John Wheeler who provided leadership in building a river overlook and other projects at Tippecanoe River State Park.
Three Partnership Awards were presented. The Falls of the Ohio Foundation received an award for raising $5.5 million for new exhibits in the Falls of the Ohio State Park interpretive center. Indiana Dunes Tourism and the Town of Porter were honored for leadership in connecting Indiana Dunes State Park to the South Shore commuter train station with the Dunes-Kankakee Trail. Pioneer Oil was honored for a donation to Harmonie State Park to replace its aging gatehouse.
Two Innovation and Leadership Awards honored creativity and problem-solving. The staff at Pokagon State Park was honored for redeveloping Oak Hill Camp into the new Trine State Recreation Area. The staff at Prophetstown State Park was honored for leadership in opening the Prophetstown Aquatic Center in summer 2013.
Two Property Achievement Awards honored work on special projects or initiatives. Recognition went to the staff at Lincoln State Park for building a new seawall on Lake Lincoln at half the cost of contracting the work. An award also was presented to the staff of Spring Mill State Park for managing park concessions for product suitability and customer service.
Property manager Vernon Gillum and the staff at Tippecanoe River State Park were recognized with a Natural Resource Management Award for promoting, managing and protecting natural resources through prescribed fires and the removal of invasive plants.
The Cultural Resource Management Award went to property manager Sam Boggs and the staff at Chain O’Lakes State Park for restoring the interior of the Stanley Schoolhouse, built in 1915 and located in the park.
The Inn Employee of the Year award went to Lou Huff and the staff of the Indiana Inns call center for customer service and supporting Mother Nature’s Mercantile, DNR’s online store.
The Director’s Award is offered to a person outside the division who supports State Parks & Reservoirs. It was presented to Greg Sorrels, director of assets and facility management, for coordinating capital/rehab funding, vehicle management and other administrative tasks for the division.
The division also recognized the winners of two awards presented earlier in the year. Brad Bumgardner of Indiana Dunes State Park received the Lucy Pitschler Award, presented to a full-time interpreter by his or her peers. Marjorie Hershman of Pokagon State Park received the Monarch Award, presented to a seasonal interpreter for outstanding service.
The division also awarded 95 employees with service milestone awards. Among those, Robert Felix, property manager at the Brookville Lake and Whitewater Memorial State Park complex received a 40-year service award; and Dennis Weber (Brookville/Whitewater complex), Jeff Cummings (Fort Harrison), Doug Baird (Brown County), Michael Dalgliesh (Clifty Falls), Howard Draving (Mississinewa Lake), Pam Wrightsman (Cecil M. Harden Lake), Ted Tapp (Mounds State Park), Mark Young (Spring Mill State Park) and Daryl Hildebrand (Brookville/Whitewater Complex) received awards for 35 years of service.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 26, 2014)
Funding Strong Kids Campaign supports community children
Giving a little to the Pulaski County Family YMCA 2014 Strong Kids Campaign can go a long way in enhancing the lives of those in the community.
One of the most important goals the YMCA has is to enrich the lives of those in the community. To ensure that everyone has that opportunity, the 2014 Strong Kids Campaign is underway.
“The Y never turns anybody away for the inability to pay,” said Mike Banta, YMCA director. “We have a lot of community support that really helps us with this program allowing us to offer discounts through membership and programming. It’s basically us trying to do fundraising to help support our community efforts.”
Financial assistance is based on an individual’s ability to pay. It is the policy of the Pulaski County Family YMCA that no person be denied membership or program participation because he or she cannot pay the fees.
The funding supports youth sports programs, memberships, family programs, senior activities and other activities. It is also used toward participation fees so children can participate in the YMCA sports such as basketball and soccer.
The drive is something they have done for the last few years.
“With the growing need of support in the community it’s something we really strive to let everyone benefit from and make sure that we really can support everyone who comes through the doors whether it be for programming or membership or other needs,” Banta said.
YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Locally, there are about 500 YMCA members. During the year more than 450 children enjoy the YMCA programs and activities.
The 2014 Strong Kids Campaign goal is $25,000. Last year the goal was also $25,000 and more than $26,000 was raised through donations.
For more information contact Banta at 574-946-4150.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 26, 2014)
Snow days causing problems for EPCSC
Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation officials are looking at ways to keep Winamac Community High School seniors on track for graduation and new technology may be the solution.
During a regular meeting on March 12, school board members held their meeting although the hallways were empty because of a snow day.
Superintendent Dan Foster said the latest snow day has forced the corporation to extend the end of the school year by one day.
The corporation is looking at the option of E-learning day for the seniors, but not all the students, because Eastern Pulaski is not a one-to-one corporation.
“I’m just investigating the possibility of maybe trying to do something with that senior class so they would not have to come back after graduation,” Foster said.
E-learning will take some cooperation with teachers. Seniors would also need Internet access for their iPads.
Foster said he knows of a couple other schools who are looking into E-learning. He plans to contact those schools and see what the state is requiring.
If additional days are added or E-learning will not be permitted by the state, seniors may have to attend school on June 2. They would attend commencement on May 30, but would not receive their diploma until June 2.
“I would like, and I’m sure a lot of people would like, the seniors to be done on May 30 and not have to come back,” Foster said. “We are going to try and see what we can do to make that happen. At this point it would be for seniors only.”
Students have missed a total of eight days since Christmas because of the weather. Two days were waived by the state. Two days were built-in snow days that have already been made up. Students will also attend school on April 21, a built-in make-up day.
Foster said parents were surveyed regarding using Friday, March 21 and Good Friday as make-up days. A majority of the parents agreed.
“We were set until today. We were about to break even,” Foster said.
School days have also been affected by several two-hour delays. Foster said there have been more than a dozen delays since Christmas this year causing about 24 hours of instruction time to be lost.
In regards to instructional time that has been lost, Foster said, “I think all the teachers have really done an outstanding job of trying to juggle what is a priority. They are trying to balance what they think is important and trying to hit what they really need to.”
The last day of school will be June 2, instead of May 30.
In other business:
• Minutes from the regular meeting and work session on Feb. 12 and a special meeting on Feb. 26 were approved.
• A financial report for the period ending on Feb. 28 and claims through March 12, along with the payroll claims for February were approved. Foster said the condition of funds is “very good,” with about 43 percent of the appropriations remaining for the year.
• Retirement requests for elementary school music teacher MaryAnn Fritz and high school English teacher Pam Agnew were approved. Fritz has worked for the corporation for 27 years. Agnew has worked for the corporation for 15 years.
• A recommendation to purchase two school buses at the cost of $87,801 with trade-ins of $5,200 and $7,500 was approved. Money in the bus replacement fund will be used for the purchases.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 19, 2014)
Heater wins Republican Caucus for town council
Pulaski County Republican Party Chairman Blair Todd has certified Judy Heater as the winner of the Republican Caucus for Winamac Town Council Member (District 2).
The caucus was held pursuant to the resignation of James DeArmond as the district 2 town council member effective Feb. 14.
Todd held the caucus on Monday, March 10. Heater won unanimously on the first ballot. The results were certified with the county clerk the following day.
Pulaski County Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship swore Heater into office on March 11.
Todd said, “The Republican Party thanks Mr. DeArmond for his years of service and dedication to our community. I congratulate Judy Heater on her success in the caucus and wish her well in her new position as the Winamac Town Council Member for the Second District.”
(Pulaski County Journal — March 19, 2014)
Creating an inviting quality of life
Pulaski County businesses and community leaders have plenty to be proud of after hearing about several economic development achievements during the 2014 Pulaski County Economic Development Summit on March 4.
Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer listed a number of achievements that included about 100 new jobs being created in the county over the next few years and partnerships that are developing localized incumbent-worker training programs.
“Things are looking great here,” Origer said.
Because of local businesses expanding and acquiring vacated facilities, Origer said there are few places new businesses can obtain that offer railroad or major highway access. To ensure further economic development, two feasibility studies are being completed on the county’s west side.
Origer said Pulaski County is primarily a home-grown economy but to compete for businesses, the county “must be able to offer infrastructure-served industrial land.”
Guest speaker Richard Heupel echoed some of the same thoughts but from a quality of life aspect. He said if the state does not continue to build better communities, it will not attract and retain talent.
“We believe that the two keys to sustainable economic development in the 21st century are quality of place and human capital,” said Heupel, who is the Ball State University Building Better Communities Director of Economic and Community Development.
He said 50 years ago, people moved to where the jobs were. Now the jobs are moving to where people want to live.
He encouraged those at the summit to take a look at what Pulaski County has to offer in regards to the quality of life that can include schools, government, tourism, businesses, community wellness and culture.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 12, 2014)
West Central School Board names Street as superintendent
West Central Middle-High School Principal Don Street has been named superintendent of the corporation becoming effective July 1.
During a regular school board meeting on March 6, board members approved to employ Street as superintendent after his contract was advertised.
Superintendent Charles Mellon will be retiring at the end of the school year.
The motion to approve Street as superintendent was unanimously approved.
The board also approved the make-up snow days. Mellon said the corporation will stick with the current calendar using the two built-in snow days and use Good Friday as a make-up snow day. Students would also attend school an additional two days at the end of the school year.
Graduation will remain scheduled for May 25, but students will not receive their diplomas until the last day of school.
In other business:
• Minutes from the Feb. 6 meeting were approved.
• Requisitions in the amount of $170,639.02 for the school cooperation and $5,953.28 for Cooperative School Services were approved. The requisitions included the costs of a phone system for the schools at the cost of $85,963.50. The current system that is more than 14 years old, will no longer be supported if problems should occur. The costs includes installation of the system and new phones.
• A request to hire Mike Harter as the summer drivers’ education instructor was approved.
• Six retirements that will become effective at the end of the current school year were approved. Those who will be retiring include technology director Rob Evans, Spanish teacher Alice Hierlmeier, elementary teacher Linda Moncel, and cafeteria worker Evelyn Garling. Cooperative School Services Diane Smith and Kathy Mroczek will also be retiring.
• The resignations of teacher Laura Hillger and cafeteria worker Stacy Anliker were approved.
• One medical leave request was approved.
• The student council annual weekend lock-in was approved.
• A technology plan with three main goals was presented by West Central Middle and High School Principal Don Street, technology director Rob Evans and assistant technology director Kris Aschbrenner. Goals of the plan include implementing the use of Parent Connect, providing technology access to all students to aid in the improvement of their reading and writing skills, and providing teachers the means to design and implement instructional strategies that integrate technology. To help reach those goals the board also approved the purchasing of 65 Chromebooks, 60 iPads, and protector accessories for the devices for a total cost of $67,549.43 as part of the requisitions. Storage carts will also be bought for the devices.
• Claims in the amount of $375,551.44 for the school corporation and $219,073.97 for the Cooperative School Services were approved.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 12, 2014)
CDC initiating young professionals organization
Pulaski County Economic Development committee members are rounding up business professionals as part of a potential young professional organization.
The idea behind the young professional organization is to encourage young professionals to network while also enhancing career development. It would be volunteer-led by the young professionals, who will give their input into the group.
PCED would help develop the young professional organization (YPO) to meet the needs of the community’s young professionals.
Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer has been thinking about how to engage young community professionals for about the last year. Several ideas have crossed his mind but starting a young professionals organization is a “something that I think has a lot of potential.”
CDC is working to establish a small steering committee made up of not just CDC members but community professionals. The steering committee would set some initial guidelines.
“We would just like to set some basic guidelines so that when we go reaching out to the broader pool of potential members, we know how loosely or strictly we are going to define professional, age ranges and that sort of thing,” Origer said.
Origer has been talking with a handful of people who might be interested in serving on the committee. The committee will then invite young professionals to join the organization.
The organization would give young professionals a chance to network with mentors.
“They may get together outside of some formal group activities and the younger professional can ask questions of the older member and get some one-on-one guidelines such as what to be looking for in terms of career opportunities,” Origer said.
Origer hopes the young professionals will not only network but also get involved in community events.
If all goes well, Origer would like to have a committee established by late March or early April. There is not a set timeline for when young professionals will be asked to join the organization.
Those who are interested in being a part of the organization or more information, contact Origer at 574-946-3869.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 5, 2014)
ISP plan strong presence to deter drunk driving
Just as basketball is stirring up a great deal of activity this March, more than 250 Indiana law enforcement agencies are planning to launch action of their own as part of Operation Pull Over.
Now through Sunday, March 23, the Indiana State Police will be among those agencies and will initiate a major enforcement effort to crack down on impaired and dangerous driving. The enforcement effort will include saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the entire state.
“We will have a strong and visible police presence aimed at deterring dangerous driving and getting impaired drivers off Hoosier highways,” said Doug Carter, ISP Superintendent. “If you plan to drink alcohol — don’t drive. Designate a sober driver.”
From Feb. 28 through March 23 in 2013, there were a total of 388 crashes on Hoosier roadways where alcohol and/or illegal drugs were considered a contributing circumstance in the crash. Of those, 114 involved injury with 158 persons injured and four crashes involved fatalities killing four.
(Pulaski County Journal — March 5, 2014)
Star City Sewer District seeks refund for services that were not rendered
After council with Star City Sewer District attorney Dan Murphy, board president Walter Craig informed board members what options they could take in regards to services they paid for but felt were not done.
During a regular board meeting on Monday, Walter said the board could request a refund from USIC for services that were not rendered.
In December, the board voted to not pay a bill because board members felt the company has not located underground utility lines that they are contracted by the sewer district to find.
On Monday, Walter said he had spoken to Murphy who advised him that the board could request a refund. The board would need to submit a letter to the company requesting proof of the work. If the company refuses to show proof, then litigation can occur.
Councilwoman Pat Heisner asked what proof could be given to the board.
Craig said the company should have pictures of their work along with details regarding the times of services. He said the burden would be on the company to show what work they have completed.
The board did meet with a representative of the company in January. After the meeting they still did not feel the proper work had been accomplished.
Councilwoman Mary Craig made a motion to pursue writing a letter and requesting a refund. The motion passed with a 3-to-1 vote. Heisner opposed the motion.
After the meeting, Heisner said she is concerned the letter might cause further problems with the company that she wants to continue to be in good standings with.
“They are the only ones around us that do this type of work,” Heisner said.
The town, along with the help of Murphy, will compose a letter requesting a refund.
In other business:
• The minutes from the Jan. 27 meeting were approved.
• The treasurer’s report was approved.
• Concerns of an absent board member who was sworn to the sewer district in November was discussed. The commissioners appointed Lisa Hunt to the board but she has missed the last three meetings. The commissioners appointed the position so they are responsible for terminating the appointment if Hunt does not resign. The board must wait for a resignation or for the commissioners to terminate the appointment.
• The board reviewed several outstanding accounts and will file liens against the accounts that are more than 90 days late. Accountant Sue Peppers suggested the board contact landlords because of three accounts that need to be paid.
• A suggestion was made for board member Heisner to pursue the price of a copy/fax machine/scanner for the office. She said she will send the board members a number of quotes so they have a variety of options.
• Craig would like the district to purchase a metal detector. He said because of the harsh weather several valves have frozen and with several feet of snow it was hard to locate the valves. The detector would also locate the valve boxes. Andy Zehner, of Zehner Excavating, who is contracted with the town to service the system, will obtain some quotes regarding the price of a metal detector.
• Along with purchasing a metal detector, Craig would like to see how much permanent markers for the pits cost. The markers would give a clear indication of where the sewer pits are and hopefully keep people from hitting them.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 26, 2014)
Summit to focus on quality of life
Focusing resources on improving the quality of life in rural communities is the focus of the 2014 Pulaski County Economic Development Summit on Tuesday, March 4.
Pulaski County Community Development Commission board members and executive director Nathan P. Origer are inviting business owners and community leaders to the summit that will feature Indiana economic-development veteran Dick Heupel, who is the director of economic and community development for the Ball State University Building Better Communities (BBC) programs.
Heupel will highlight the Primacy of Place (POP) Initiative that is part of the BBC programs and demonstrates a community’s strategic choice to dedicate resources toward improving the quality of life in the community, particularly in terms of impact on economic performance.
Origer said Heupel “will offer commentary on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to quality of life particular to rural communities and to Pulaski County specifically, with suggestions on how to better to take advantage of what we have to make Pulaski County a more attractive place for residence, business operations and tourism.”
Origer will also address the state of the county economy.
The summit that is a free event and includes dinner, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Winamac Event Center, 221 S. Logan St.
For more information or to register contact Origer at 574-946-3869.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 26, 2014)
Town council votes to close pool for 2014 season
With a three-to-one vote on Friday, the Winamac Town Council decided the town pool will not open for the 2014 season.
During a special session on Friday, councilmen briefly talked about options for the pool and heard from Gary Novitski, who was representing RenoSys, a company that refurbishes commercial pools.
Council president John Plowman said council members want to know what options are out there in regards to a new pool or refurbishing the current one that was built in 1963. He said the town is looking at different options such as fixing the pool, renovating it or a brand new pool.
The pool plumbing needs upgrading along with meeting various codes such as being American with Disabilities Act compliant. There are also problems with the fiberglass that was installed in 1984 coming loose from the concrete walls that are also crumbling.
The costs to fix the fiberglass could range from $30,000 to $40,000.
Novitski said most of the pools built “back in the day” are pretty strong structurally. The company will assess the pool and then decide how to renovate it within the town budget. He said renovations should save the town money in the long run because of the new automated equipment and any new pool features. His initial thoughts of renovation costs were about $350,000-$500,000 including the renovating of the deck.
Construction or renovation wouldn’t start until 2015. Novitski said obtaining a permit to begin the project would not happen until later in the summer because of the state backlog. When the project does begin it could take two to three months.
Council members voted to close the pool for the season because of the current fiberglass popping loose from the walls and not wanting to put potential construction money toward repairs that will only last a year.
Plowman opposed the motion because he would like to see the pool open.
Along with discussion regarding the pool, Plowman announced that the council has received a resignation letter from Jim DeArmond. Plowman said he is “sad to see him go and we are thankful for his service.”
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 19, 2014)
Students demonstrate benefits of ‘real time’
Integrating classwork and web-based programs has allowed teachers to provide students with real-time feedback before the work is completed for a grade.
During an Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation meeting on Feb. 12, seventh-grade students demonstrated how they are benefiting from using iPads and the Internet.
Middle school teachers Heather Pugh and Cody Hook have teamed together to teach a Discovery class that combines social studies and language arts.
As part of the class, teachers and students use Google Drive to create documents, PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets.
“It’s a tool for collaboration. People can be in different locations working on the same project at the same time,” Hook said. “It’s all web-based. The pros about it include that it’s real time.”
Hook used the example that when creating documents, the information is saved automatically and it doesn’t have to be printed. Hook and Pugh can access the students’ work and comment as students complete it.
Pugh said using the program has saved a large amount of paper.
“We can see their progress and we can see their typing. We can add comments and feedback — pointing them in the right direction,” Hook said.
During the demonstration, students Jada Collins and Jillian Brumm worked in another room typing while Pugh and Hook added comments with the board members watching.
“One of the things that we like about this is that students who are struggling, we can get in there and give them assistance without anyone knowing,” Hook said.
Another example, demonstrated for school board members, included a PowerPoint presentation created by the entire class. Each student was given the assignment to finish one slide, while working together.
“This will be a really good tool for when they get in the workforce and they are asked to collaborate with other employees,” Hook said.
Hook and Pugh are looking at other ways to use Drive. They are encouraging students to use it in other ways.
(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 19, 2014)
Pulaski County out of recession, moving toward economic growth
Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan P. Origer was the bearer of good news during a regular county council meeting on Monday.
Before attending the county council meeting, Origer was at the Winamac Town Council meeting supporting tax abatements for Antares Trailer, LLC, a supplier of flatbed trailers and intermodal chassis equipment. Antares Trailer will move into the former Tippecanoe Beverage property and is expected to create up to 42 new jobs by 2017.
“They have already hired a handful of people,” Origer said.
Along with the news of a new business making Winamac its hub, Origer requested the final approval on the proposed Winamac Coil Spring $150,000 forgivable loan.
Instead of a tax abatement, the community development commission offered the idea of a forgivable loan that would help the company make repairs to the former Chesapeake building and purchase new equipment.
Origer said a contract is being created for the loan and will be presented to the commissioners.
County council president Jay Sullivan questioned whether an interest rate has been decided on.
Origer said that rate is part of the contract that is in the company’s possession. The contract has been reviewed by county attorney Kevin Tankersley.
Winamac Coil Spring will move about 10 jobs to the new site and plans to create an additional 10-20 new jobs over the next five to 10 years.
Origer said if 10 new jobs are created during the next several years the county will net about $63,000 in revenue.
“Even though the CEDIT (County Economic Development Income Tax) fund will take a hit, what is made up in income taxes and property taxes will net positively over that period,” Origer said.
The forgivable loan was approved with councilman Doug Roth abstaining from the vote.
With the announcement of economic growth happening in the county, Origer also added that “Pulaski County has beaten a lot of communities across the county in officially getting out of the recession. We have as many people employed now as we did in December of 2007.”
He said those who are unemployed are actively seeking employment.
“Slowly but surely Pulaski County employers and those working in the labor pool of Pulaski County, have been hiring and finding jobs,” he said.
In other business:
• Jacki Frain, director of Pulaski County Human Services, requested an additional appropriation of $35,000 to compensate for funding cuts from other entities. Permission to advertise for the additional appropriation was approved.
• Pulaski County Assessor Holly VanDerAa requested an additional appropriation of $500 continued education pay for an employee who became level I certified. The $500 additional pay is annual and mandated by the state. Permission to advertise for the additional appropriation was approved. Councilman Mick Tiede abstained because he works for the assessor’s office.
• Pulaski County Treasurer Lynette Wilder requested a transfer of funds in the amount of $7,000 to pay for the outsourcing of tax statements. The transfer was approved.
• RB Walters, who is contracted by the county to handle technology issues, requested the replacement of eight XP systems that will no longer be supported. Councilman Doug Roth suggested waiting to change the computers out until there is a problem. Walters said when it’s not supported then information is not protected. There are a total of 21 systems that need to be replaced at the cost of $800 a piece. It was suggested that five computers be purchased in the amount of $5,000. Those computers can be on hand for when a computer breaks down. The council approved for an additional appropriation in the amount of $5,000 to be advertised.
• Pulaski County Clerk Tasha Foerg requested an additional appropriation in the amount of $800 to replace a computer in the clerk’s office that is continually needing repair.
• Mark Hamilton, who was representing Pulaski County Drug Free Council, requested an additional appropriation in the amount of $5,585.67 which was approved to be advertised.
• Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Mark Fox requested several additional appropriations be made to cover overtime pay. These appropriations include a rough estimate of what he thinks will keep the budget in the black through the rest of the year. Because of the weather, the department has already burned through the overtime budget. It will take about $32,000 to cover the overtime to get the department in compliance with the policy handbook. Fox also asked for an additional $50,000 to cover future overtime costs. The council approved $50,000 to cover the current costs with a little cushion.
• Pulaski County Recycling/Transfer Center Director Ed Clark requested purchasing a $5,000 conveyor with a metal detector that will separate aluminum from tin. The decision was made to get the funding from the solid waste district. The request was approved.
• Minutes from the Dec. 9, 2013 regular session, and the Jan. 13 regular session were approved and signed.
• An additional appropriation from the county general fund of $2,700 for part-time clerical help during the election time was approved.
• An additional appropriation from the county general fund of $83,200 for liability insurance was approved.
• An additional appropriation from the County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) fund of $150,000 for the purchasing of a new ambulance was approved.
• Additional appropriations from the Cumulative Bridge Fund in the amount of $40,050.75 for Bridge 291 and $7,800 for Bridge 268 were approved.
• An additional appropriation from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) fund in the amount of $765 for Social Security/Medicare of the sheriff’s department was approved.
• An additional appropriation in the amount of $8,462.71 from the pretrial diversion fund for the prosecutor’s office was approved.
• An ordinance regarding the speed limit on CR 950 S. was tabled until further direction by county attorney Kevin Tankersley.
• Encumbrances for 2013/2014 in the amount of $170,272.61 were approved.
• A transfer of appropriations in the amount of $172.91 within the county home general fund was approved. The transfer was made to cover overtime that occurred in December of 2013.
• A transfer of appropriations in the amount of $5,098.60 for the county home was approved. Funds will be transfered into the county home fund to cover overtime, cable and Internet costs for the year, and service and maintenance.
• A transfer of appropriation in the amount of $31 in the pretrial diversion fund was approved.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 12, 2014)
Options for missing school days in the works
Although no decisions have been made at this time, the West Central School Corporation is looking into different ways to recuperate canceled school days.
During a regular meeting on Feb. 6, West Central Superintendent Charles Mellon said six days have been missed because of the harsh winter weather and road conditions.
Mellon said two of the days were waived by the state, while two more can be covered by make-up days, Feb. 17 and April 21, leaving two days to be made up.
Typically, days are added to the end of the school calendar.
“We are not making any real plans yet until we get through the winter,” Mellon said. “We are not are making any commitments right now.”
Mellon said there was a time when graduation was held and seniors were given a blank diploma. Those students had to return to school to complete their last days of school.
A decision on how to make up the days will be presented to the board and also the teachers’ association.
In other business:
• School board member Kerry Miller presented Alyvia Faler with a student of the month certificate for the elementary school. Faler’s teacher said she is “nice to everyone in the class” and “always takes pride in her work.”
• Board member Gary Gudeman presented Shelby Powell with a student of the month certificate for the high school. Powell was nominated by the business department because she has excelled in the internship class.
• Jennipher Durham was recognized as the middle school student of the month but was not able to attend the meeting.
• Requisitions 14010-14029 for the corporation in the amount of $24,125.11 were approved. Requisitions 14100-14111 for Cooperative School Services in the amount of $4,027.60 were approved.
• A recommendation to employ Caryn Yochum as the girls’ seventh-grade basketball coach was approved.
• The resignation of Susan Bergens, who is a media aide for the elementary school, was approved. The resignation will be effective at the end of the school year.
• A request for the football coaches to attend the Grazier Football Clinic in Chicago was approved.
• A request for Joanne Stevens and members of the Business Professional of America (BPA) to attend the BPA State Leadership conference in Indianapolis was approved.
• No public comments were given regarding a potential contract for a new superintendent, Don Street, and the school board. Superintendent Charles Mellon is retiring at the end of the current school year.
• Conflict of interest forms were signed by the school board members and will be sent to the state.
• School board president Jim Bergens made the board appointments for the 2014 year.
• A maintenance contract with SUREnergy for the wind turbine in the amount of $23,000 was approved.
• Claims 37-120 for the corporation in the amount of $294,194.35 were approved.
• Claims 675-749 for Cooperative School Services in the amount of $192,448.78 were approved.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 12, 2014)
Indiana ranks first in number of clandestine labs seized
Recent state reports of methamphetamine labs being seized in Pulaski County have added to a state total of 1,808 labs in 2013.
The Indiana State Police recently released the 2013 clandestine lab results that indicate six labs were seized in Pulaski County, compared to seven labs that were seized in 2012.
Pulaski County ties for second with LaPorte County in District 13 that includes Pulaski, LaPorte, Jasper, Lake, Newton, Porter and Starke counties. Starke County tops the District 13 list with 21 labs seized.
“It’s been discouraging because I don’t know how to combat this problem. We are taking steps with new dogs and sending guys to school to better detect if there are drugs during a traffic stop without the dogs,” said Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer. “We have done just as much as any other sheriff’s department.”
He said one of the biggest problems is the social networking between the suspected drug users.
“They are so loyal to each other that it takes a tragedy of losing someone’s life before the others are snapped to attention. With their addiction problem they go back to the same state that they were before,” Gayer said. “They cannot free themselves from it.”
Across the state, Vanderburgh County had the most labs seized, 115 labs, by the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Section and other agencies.
Total labs reported in the state continue to increase with 1,726 in 2012 and 1,437 in 2011. With the continual increase in lab seizures it appears that Indiana will be first in the country in clandestine lab incidents for 2013.
Along with the number of labs seized, the type of lab has also been recorded. Of the labs seized by the Indiana State Police, 87 percent (1,511) were the one-pot method.
A concern for law enforcement is also the number of children and adults who were in the clandestine lab environments. In 2013 there were 458 children who were exposed to meth labs. Two children died either due to a fire or medical issue relating to the labs.
Two hundred and thirty-six adults were injured in clandestine lab incidents, while 100 police officers also received injuries. There was also a report of 27 adults who died related to clandestine labs.
With the increasing number of labs, officers are arresting and identifying more suspects. In 2013 there were 1,551 arrests made, while in 2012 there were 1,482 arrests made.
Locally Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department Deputies have made 20 arrests relating to meth in 2013.
Gayer said there were a total of 70 drug cases last year and 20 of them were meth related. Those arrests are for possession of meth, not offenses such as visiting a common nuisance.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 5, 2014)
Unemployment hits lowest point since 2008
December 2013 unemployment rates appear to be a positive sign for 2014 as the state rates dropped at the lowest point since October 2008.
Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points in December to 6.9 percent. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the nonseasonally adjusted rate is as low as 6.3 percent but does not compensate for the increase in temporary employment around Christmas.
Locally, Pulaski County has seen nonseasonally adjusted rates drop from 6.4 percent in November 2013 to 5.4 percent in December 2013. Pulaski County is one of six other counties that reached a 5.4 percentage rate.
In the past year, Indiana’s unemployment has declined 1.4 percent that is the seventh-largest decrease in the nation. Indiana ranks second in the nation for the number of manufacturing jobs added and third in percentage of growth (14.8 percent), since July 2009 (low point of employment). The labor force increased by nearly 6,000 in December and has grown by more than 21,000 during the past three months.
In Pulaski County, unemployment rates have fluctuated during the year with the lowest rates in October (5.7 percent) and December (5.4 percent) of last year. Pulaski County is fairing better than surrounding counties where the nonseasonally adjusted rates are 6 percent or higher.
(Pulaski County Journal — Feb. 5, 2014)
Sheriff’s office honors 175-year anniversary
As Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer is serving his last year of his term as sheriff, he has the honor of recognizing the 175-year-anniversary of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
To commemorate the anniversary all uniformed personnel will wear a gold anniversary badge and all marked patrol cars will have a 175th anniversary decal and license plate placed on them.
“This year will mark the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. From Sheriff George P. Terry, the first appointed sheriff of the county, to sheriff David Clinger, the first elected sheriff, the office of sheriff is bigger than the men and women who wear the sheriff’s badge. It stands for a symbol of commitment, duty, honor and service to the community,” Gayer said.
The first sheriff of Pulaski County, George P. Terry, was appointed in 1839 as the county was being organized. The second sheriff, David Clinger, was elected in October of 1839 to replace Terry. Clinger served as sheriff until August of 1844.
Since 1839, two sheriffs have been killed in the line of duty, Charles Oglesby and Milo Lewis, while one sheriff died in office in 1983, Bayne Ward. The office has also seen history made as Charlotte Ward was the first female sheriff. She was appointed to the position after her husband died and then won the election for a term. She has been the only female sheriff, to date.
The department has also lost one officer in the line of duty. Deputy Shadron Bassett was responding to a call when he was killed in an automobile accident on Oct. 7, 2005.
Along with a long line of sheriffs, the department saw a new jail in 1956. Sheriff Ralph Galbreath was the first to occupy the building that also housed his family in 1958. The last sheriff believed to have lived in the jail was George Riley in 1979.
The current facility that houses the sheriff’s office, jail and superior court started under the supervision of sheriff Carl Freeman in July 1996.
Gayer is completing his second term as sheriff.
“Only 92 individuals in this state are known as the sheriff of their county. A responsibility they and I take very seriously in providing a well-trained, equipped, and motivated agency who stand by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to be on the front lines when everything around you is falling apart. To answer your distress call, investigate your incident, to bring justice to those who have taken from the innocent and weak, to maintain peace and order in an ever changing world,” Gayer said. “A sheriff must plan for the unexpected, prepare for the unknown, and sacrifice all things to ensure his people are safe and victimless. It has been my honor to serve in this position for these past seven years, and I will continue to do what’s right for my people even when it’s not popular with those who are ignorant and take a blind eye to their surroundings.”
The sheriff’s office currently employees 13 officers including the sheriff, 11 dispatchers, one matron, one head cook and 16 jailers.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 29, 2014)
Polling place changes for upcoming election
Voters in Pulaski County will see Election Day changes this year, but the Pulaski County Election Board says these changes will make polling places more accessible to residents.
The election board was faced with the task of evaluating polling places for ADA compliance last year. As a result, several locations were found to be inaccessible.
“We had to make some changes in order to comply with ADA standards,” said election board chairman Jon Frain.
Those changes include:
• Combining all four Monroe precincts to vote at the Pulaski County Highway Garage.
• Harrison and Indian Creek precincts have been combined with Van Buren and will vote at the Star City Community Building.
• Rich Grove and Jefferson precincts have been combined and will vote at the Bethel Bible Church Family Center.
• Cass and White Post precincts have been combined and will vote at the Medaryville Christian Church Annex building.
• Beaver and Salem precincts have been combined and will vote at the Francesville Fire Station.
• Franklin and Tippecanoe precincts remain unaffected by recent changes.
In accordance with Indiana Law, combinations of precincts must be approved unanimously by the board and relocation of polling places must be approved by county commissioners.
Frain also notes that “the county bought state-of-the-art voting equipment about 10 years ago. These voting machines are more than capable of handling these changes. The Pulaski County Election Board remains dedicated to making Election Day open to all voters. These recent changes should improve Election Day efficiency and save the county money as well.”
On Election Day, voters will see one inspector, two judges, two poll clerks, and two assistant poll clerks helping voters.
If someone is interested in being a poll worker or volunteer they can contact either Blair Todd (Republican Party chairman) at 574-946-3665 or Bill Reutebuch (Democratic Party chairman) at 574-595-0719.
For more information contact the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office at 574-946-3313 or follow the Pulaski County Election Board at www.facebook.com/Pulaski.ElectBoard.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 29, 2014)
SilverSneakers does a body good
New Year’s resolutions were not the drive behind locals joining the SilverSneakers classes but getting healthier and feeling better was.
Little did the participants know that physical activity twice a week would have greater than expected impacts. Some participants, Martha Krohn, Margaret Steinacker, Carol Zaley and Jean Thompson, are not only feeling better but are seeing additional results.
Steinacker has been attending the classes since November 2013. When weather permits, she attempts to attend both classes per week.
“I was a mess. I couldn’t even walk from the parking lot to my church,” said Steinacker, who underwent four surgeries in the last four years. “Somebody suggested that I come to this. I was taken completely off one of my blood-pressure pills and cut three of my other medications in half after one month of coming here.”
She now has the energy to clean the house. “It also encourages you to do more at home. Lots of times I do the ankle movements trying to stay stretched out.”
SilverSneakers, sponsored locally by the YMCA in Winamac, is a nationwide program designed for individuals to take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and social events.
Anyone can participate in the class but it is geared toward older generations, both male and female. Classes include one hour of nonstop physical activity using elastic bands, dumbbells and rubber balls.
Thompson said she didn’t think it was going to be much of a workout because chairs are used.
“You can make the workout to suit yourself. You can use heavier weights or a stronger band. You can really get a good workout and I really enjoy it,” said Thompson, who joined the class early last year. “I feel a lot better.”
Thompson isn’t sure that she has lost weight because of the classes, but she does feel more toned. She also has better dexterity in her hands where she suffered from arthritis.
The workout includes a warm-up, main workout and a cooldown. Movements include working on stability and range of motion.
Because the workout is specifically designed to be low impact, participants are not only local but also from North Judson and Knox.
Zaley, who is a survivor of breast cancer, said exercise was emphasized as part of the recovery. She has attended the class off and on for the last couple years.
“I feel so much better. It’s very good for us,” she said. “I was hesitant but with cancer it can improve by 50 percent with exercise. It has really helped me.”
The number of participants in the class fluctuates but there is a steady group that attends throughout the year. Not only is the class about physical activity but there is also a social aspect. Many of the SilverSneakers goers look forward to seeing each other and have formed solid friendships.
Krohn said a couple of her friends invited her to attend the classes. “It was very enjoyable. My friends attend the class and felt that I needed to join them.”
Currently the class is taught by Marlene Fox. She started as a participant in the class and is now a certified SilverSneakers instructor.
Fox said the class focuses on building strength and increasing the range of motion. The results she has seen from those who attend the classes assure her that the class is worthwhile.
She said one woman who attends the class went from using a walker to being able to move more easily. The woman also had her medication reduced.
“It does help and I truly believe in the class,” Fox said. “I feel that if I can reach one person, to get in here and get out of their house, then I’ve made a difference.”
As more individuals join the class, the YMCA is hoping to add more classes. Not only would it decrease the class size but give those who are interested more chances to work out.
For more information about SilverSneakers contact the YMCA in Winamac at 574-946-4150.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 22, 2014)
Skate park closer to reality
Winamac Community High School student Clark Gudas has gathered prices and is continuing to move forward with his Eagle Scout project of a town skate park.
During a regular town council meeting on Jan. 13, Gudas approached the council with an update and an account of donations that have been made, along with the design options he is reviewing.
“As I’m entering into the final stages of planning the skate park, there are some loose ends I haven’t tied down yet. The main reason is fundraising, and before I can spend any money I should know how much I have,” Gudas said.
The skate park will be open for skateboarders, BMX bikers, roller skaters and rollerbladers. The plan is for the park to be located in Rhinehart Park, adjacent to the Pulaski County YMCA. It will be open to the public as other park equipment is.
Gudas has raised about $27,000. He is continuing fundraising and is waiting to hear the results from two different grants. Those grants could supply the project with $2,000-$10,000.
Gudas said he is looking at two options. One option will be a 50-by-100 concrete pad with different structures. The concrete would be constructed by a local company with help from volunteers. It will cost about $50,000.
“There are still several companies that I am talking to for construction supplies at a discounted price,” Gudas said.
Option two involves a company from Missouri that has given Gudas three different options with three different prices. With this option volunteers are still needed to help with the construction. If he decides on this option a contract will need to be signed by May.
Town council president John Plowman questioned where exactly Gudas was hoping to construct the skate park. He would like to use the first option that will be south of the playground. The length would run east and west, “so that the YMCA will still have room for their activities. They use that field a lot.”
If Gudas decides to go with the second option, the price changes.
Councilman Tom Murray congratulated Gudas on “doing a good job.”
Councilman Richard Denney questioned how the liability of the park affects the town. “I think that we need to take a look at that.”
It was suggested the town receive information on how other towns or cities handle the liability issue.
In December of 2011, the council approved the project and at the time said the town would maintain the facility after it was constructed.
To become an Eagle Scout, Gudas must complete the project before he turns 18 in July.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 22, 2014)
Snowstorm causes damage to equipment, overtime budgets
Not only did the recent snowstorm wreak havoc with more than 9 inches of snow and a polar vortex but it is also to blame for the damage of local municipality overtime budgets and equipment repair.
As municipalities across the state are calculating employee overtime and equipment repair, local agencies such as the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Winamac are reporting their numbers to the state in hopes of recovering some of the loss.
Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said 172 man hours were spent moving snow and keeping roads clear starting Sunday through Tuesday. Town employees keep 15 miles of road clear during the storm, using about 20 tons of salt and sand. No accidents or injuries were reported involving town crews.
“We did have a water main break in the middle of all of it, but we got it taken care of,” Conner said.
At the county level, commissioners closed the county roads for two days after being updated on the road and weather conditions by Pulaski County EMA Director Larry Hoover, Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer and Pulaski County Highway Department Superintendent Mark Fox.
The decision to issue a snow emergency was made to allow emergency responders and highway snow plows to travel throughout the county without having to worry about stranded vehicles.
“I give credit to residents when the county commissioners issue a snow emergency. People for the most part stayed home,” Gayer said.
To help those who were stranded, the sheriff’s office used military vehicles in lieu of the patrol cars. Gayer said even the four-wheel drive vehicles weren’t performing well in the snow and ice.
“If it had not been for the military vehicles there would have been a lot of people who would not have gotten milk, water, medication or transportation. We also checked on people.”
According to Gayer, the use of one military vehicle saved the life of a man and his child who were stranded in a vehicle in the Star City area. The vehicle the two were traveling in ran off the road into a field. The two were rescued after a six-wheel drive 5-ton military truck driven by Pulaski County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Patrick with REACT member Jon Thompson responded to the scene.
“They got it hung up three times. Each time they freed themselves and finally reached the two. That was when there was a minus 45 degree wind chill factor,” Gayer said. “Without the use of that military vehicle that man and his child probably would not have survived.”
Officers responded to about 30 calls for service while also pulling out stranded vehicles. Gayer said additional manpower wasn’t needed and at any given time there were four officers on duty, along with REACT members.
“Jon Thompson and the REACT people performed outstanding. They handled a lot of the missions of delivering the prescriptions, milk and water,” Gayer said. “Their help kept officers on stand-by in case they were needed. I can’t say enough about REACT and how they were very dedicated to doing a service to the people.”
Although the blizzard-like conditions caused the county to shut down, the weather did not cause any power outages in Pulaski County. Gayer said the department did receive reports about furnaces not working but not power outages. Because of the power outage threat, warming stations were established in various parts of the county.
Ambulance crews weren’t as busy with about four calls. During a Pulaski County Commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 10, Pulaski County EMS Director Nikki Lowry said no additional manpower above the normal shifts was needed.
At the county highway department, Fox is trying to figure out how the county will cover the overtime without using a majority of the overtime budget. During the commissioners’ meeting, Fox asked commissioners if they could look at increasing the compensation hours, so that employees can use it instead of the overtime.
During the meeting Hoover said funding may be available if the storm caused $9 million in damages and costs of man hours, fuel and supplies, across the state. If the county chooses to change the overtime to comp time, then funding reimbursement will not be available to cover the man hours.
The commissioners opted to wait and see if reimbursement will be available, while also looking into the exception of changing the comp time limits that are written in the handbook.
The highway department also suffered a snow plow accident. The driver is OK, but Fox said the vehicle is totaled.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 15, 2014)
Chamber seeks nominations for annual Halleck Award
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, 2014.
• 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 someone is deserving of this prestigious award, call, stop by the chamber office at Refined, 102 N. Monticello St., 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. 15, 2014)
Medaryville fire department looks to purchase building
The Medaryville Volunteer Fire Department is taking steps for a new station and purchasing property has become one of the initial steps.
During an end-of-the-year Medaryville Town Council meeting, Medaryville Fire Chief Shaun Hauptli said purchasing the property could hurt the department as they try to obtain grant funding.
“We feel that we have to move on it now, otherwise we are not going to get it,” he said.
The town council approved to donate $10,000 to the department.
Clerk-treasurer Judy Harwood said she didn’t have a concern with donating money to the fire department but the council should decide how the money will be used. If there are stipulations put on the donation then paperwork must be given to the town to verify the stipulations are followed.
Council members questioned how the fire department would prove they used the money according to the stipulations. Harwood said there must be paperwork or the state will question it. The town has received a write-up before regarding not having proof of stipulations.
Council members voted to make the donation without any stipulations, trusting that the department would use the money accordingly.
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 8, 2014)
Superintendents to receive policy handbook training
A suggestion for Winamac town superintendents to attend performance management and employee handbook communications training was approved by the council on Dec. 30, 2013.
Clerk-treasurer Melanie Berger made the suggestion to help ensure that the superintendents know how to relay the handbook policy changes to the employees and how to administer those policies. The training would consist of two three-hour sessions.
Councilman Tom J. Murray said it was money spent foolishly because the employees have signed a statement stating they have read the handbook.
Council president John Plowman disagreed.
“This is a tool for everybody. For Jim too. For him to evaluate the supervisors as well,” Plowman said.
The training could also be applied to the council members who appoint the superintendents at the beginning of each year.
Councilman Dan Vanaman suggested that this would be good reinforcement for when something happens in hopes that employees will know the handbook better.
“This could shed more light on what they need to look at or do,” Vanaman said.
The training would be for six employees and the council if they want to sit in.
Plowman said the council spent the money on the handbook to bring it up-to-date, now it is time to ensure that policies are being followed.
Council members made the approval with the hopes that the training could be completed in one session instead of two.
• The minutes from the Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 meetings were approved.
• Ordinance 21, regarding the clerk-treasurer’s salary and raises, was approved by the council after some discussion of words and the amount of money. Councilman Tom J. Murray questioned the wording regarding “experience.” He questioned whether experience meant experience with the Winamac clerk-treasurer’s office or with any clerk office. If a new clerk-treasurer is elected then the current rate will retro back to the starting rate. There were also concerns that if the ordinance was in place, then the clerk-treasurer would receive a raise, while other employees may not.
• Ordinance 18 in regards to salaries was approved.
• Ordinance 19 in regards to police officers’ salaries was approved.
• Resolution 4-2013 in regards to end-of-the-year transfers was approved.
• Councilman Dan Vanaman questioned if there is a problem with the service of the private garbage company that could begin collecting garbage by March, can the contract be canceled? Councilman president John Plowman said it would be handled like other contacts with an attorney. “It would be a breach of contract.”
(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 8, 2014)
Theft charges dismissed against Winamac businesswoman
Charges have been dropped for good against a Winamac woman who was accused of two felony counts in 2012.
The charges stem from allegations that Diamond Lill’s owner, Shirley Williams, defrauded the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City in 2012.
While Williams was at the casino she played a slot machine that gave her substantial winnings. A few days after the winnings, representatives from the Blue Chip came to Winamac and told her there had been a computer malfunction and they wanted their money back. They said she should have known she was winning too much.
The Indiana Gaming Commission accused Williams of “manipulating a slot machine as a result of a malfunctioning program.” The alleged incident cost the casino more than $100,000.
The case was being handled in LaPorte County. According to court documents, the charges were dismissed on Sept. 24, 2013, but then again filed on Sept. 26, 2013. The charges were then again dismissed on Nov. 4.
LaPorte County Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Donna Wood said the charges would not be refiled.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 1, 2014)
Former Winamac teacher featured in art show
A unique art exhibit by Linda and Skye Leasure, grandmother and granddaughter, is now at the Fulton County Public Library, 7th and Pontiac streets, Rochester, through the end of January.
Their show is titled, “Family Ties” and includes the first oil painting that Linda and Skye created together along with other works that speak of family — theirs and yours — past and present.
Linda lives in the Kewanna area and was a teacher in the Winamac schools. She has won awards in the past for her paintings at various area shows. Skye is currently pursuing a degree in fine art education from Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis.
The exhibit is open during regular library hours, and is sponsored by the Akron Area Arts League.
(Pulaski County Journal — Jan. 1, 2014)
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