SELECT 2014 MONTH:
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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