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July 17, 2019

Sowing the seeds of recreation
Sowing the seeds of recreation
A workman got a jump on sowing grass seed late last week at Tripton Park, taking advantage of the clear weather. The seed was a combination of grasses, a spokesman said, to increase the chances of germination and survival. Notice the new tree in the center of the picture. A number of trees and pines have now been planted, with many more yet to be planted.-Staff Photo by Barbara King

Jennings County 4-H Livestock Auction
Over 130 animals and two special items were sold at the Jennings County 4-H Livestock Auction at the Jennings County Fair.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

It's easy-everyone can pitch in and help save the pollinators
For pollinators, there genuinely is strength in numbers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

County eyes jail tax rescission
While all seven members of the Jennings County Council say they are against the proposed new county jail, they voted 4-3 last week on a motion to rescind the controversial jail tax.

Yet clearly, the Council is headed in that direction.

"I said at our last meeting work session (on June 26) that I was going to bring this up for a vote at our next meeting," said Dave Woodall (R-at large) who was joined by Mandy Creech (R-District 2) and Bob Ellis (R-District 3) in the minority. "If we're not going to build the jail, we don't need the tax."

The four who voted to keep the special income tax for now -Paul Belding (R-at large), Howard Malcomb (R-at large), Mike Gerth (R-District 1) and Charlie Weber (R-District 4) - say they did so because there is no need to do so before Aug. 31 at the earliest, the deadline to make a rescission effective on Oct. 1. The deadline to make a rescission effective Jan. 1 is Oct. 31.

"We need more information on what it will cost to refurbish the current jail, which we will get that in plenty of time," Weber said. "Plus this wasn't on the agenda. I believe something of this importance should be known to the public before we vote on it. We want to do this correctly."

Gerth cited state law, claiming that the council could not have rescinded the tax at the Tuesday, July 9, meeting anyway.

"In order to enact or rescind a tax, public notice must be given before the meeting is held," he said. "The Council did not give notice and did not even put on the agenda that we would discuss the jail tax at our July 9 meeting. That made any vote on the jail tax that night null and void."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

NV man jailed after toddler found alone walking in roadway
Jennings County Sheriff's deputies arrested a North Vernon man on multiple charges after finding a 2-year-old boy walking alone in a County Squire Lakes street Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Time for a big celebration
Since its founding in 1994, the Jennings County Community Foundation has come a long way. From an initial collection of $67 from five individuals, the Founda­tion's assets now total $6,418,00 and climbing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Disaster relief for JC farmers

Jennings County area farmers are getting some help from the government as they struggle with getting crops planted after a what may be the wettest spring and early summer on record here.

On Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the state is requesting a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretarial disaster designation for 88 counties, including Jennings, due to losses caused by flooding and excessive rain this planting season. The designation would allow emergency low-interest loans to be made available to farmers.

Also last week, several Indiana lawmakers helped secure the extension of the USDA crop reporting deadline to July 22.

"This is welcome news from Gov. Holcomb and the USDA," said Brad Ponsler of North Vernon, Indiana Farm Bureau regional manager for Jennings, Jefferson, Ripley, Switzerland, Dearborn and Ohio counties. "This year's planting season has been one of the most challenging for all farmers across the state, not just Jennings County."

The state is requesting a USDA Secretarial disaster designation for Jennings County and 87 other counties due to losses caused by flooding and excessive rain this planting season.

"Heavy and persistent rainfall has saturated fields across the state, hurting Indiana crops and our farmers," Hol­comb said in a news release. "As I continue to monitor this situation, Hoosier farmers can rest assured that we will keep a close eye on the long-term effects of these relentless rains."

Ponsler says farmers need all the assistance they can get.

"This year has been very stressful for area farmers with the various decisions that needed to be made during planting season," he noted. "With the tight farm economy and this spring's challenges with rain, farmers have had a lot on their minds.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Toddler critically injured in lawn mower accident
A 2-year-old North Vernon boy is undergoing treatment at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis after being severely injured in a lawn mower accident Saturday.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Deputies arrest 5 people on drug, other charges
Jennings County Sheriff Office deputies arrested five people on drug charges after finding around 90 grams of methamphetamine, four firearms, $2,200 in cash and drug paraphernalia at a Columbia Township residence last week.

Monday, July 15, 2019

'Amazing opportunity for students'
Jennings County High School, in partnership with the Jennings County Historical Society, has been awarded a $4,500 grant through the Smithsonian Institu­tion's Museum on Main Street Stories: Youth Engagement and Skill-Building (YES) program.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fired VSO offered job back

Jennings County officials are keeping mum on the status of Nolan Stanley, who was dismissed last month as Veterans Service Officer.

The Board of County Commissioners met in an executive session last Wednesday, July 3, on a matter dealing with a personnel issue. According to several anonymous sources, this involved Stanley.

"I cannot talk about what we discussed," said Matt Sporleder, president of the commissioners, adding that he is following the advice of acting county attorney Chris Doran.

According to credible anonymous sources, the commissioners offered Stanley his job back provided he met certain conditions. One of those conditions reportedly is that Stanley submit to and pass a drug test before he is reinstated.

Whether or not Stanley will agree to those terms is unknown. He did not return phone calls or text and email messages sent to him by the Plain Dealer before press time.

In the meantime, services to the county's veterans are being covered, according to Spor­leder and Nicci Lucas, the Jennings County human resources officer.

"There has been no lapse in service," Spor­leder said. "Nicci is coordinating with veterans service officers in neighboring counties who are providing coverage for our veterans."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

More fireworks ahead
The smoke has barely settled from last week's Fourth of July fireworks show at the North Vernon City Park.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Senator: More accountability for organ donation system
U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that aims to deliver more life-saving organs to patients by establishing clear, accountable metrics for organ procurement organizations (OPOs). Currently, the 58 OPOs in the United States maintain control over the organ procurement process, but questions surround the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of these organizations, according to Young.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Summertime is fun time
What has become a summertime tradition for Jennings County area children will take place next week at the North Vernon City Park.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Homeless shelter closes temporarily
The Wayside Inn Homeless Shelter is temporarily closed until Thursday, July 18, its board of directors has announced.

The shelter, located at 304 Hoosier St., closed on Friday, July 5.

"This is to allow volunteers and several local organizations to do much needed cleaning and repairs to the facility and to conduct software and policy training for volunteers," explained Steve Graham, vice president of Wayside's board. "We will be painting, building new shelving to store clean clothes, bed linens, towels and food supplies, as well as organizing donated clothing for issue to new residents."

In addition, a water line is being installed to support a new fire suppression system - a sprinkler system - on both the first and second floors.

"The old line the building was connected to before was not big enough to provide enough pressure for the sprinkler system," said Tom Long, the homeless shelter's manager. "That line came under the street and would have been expensive to replace. We were able to connect to another main on our side of the street, which saved us a bunch of money."

Monday, July 8, 2019

1st responders train at MUTC
Eleven urban search-and-rescue teams from the United States, Can­ada and Australia converged on the Musca­tatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville last month to participate in one of the largest tactical training exercises of its type.

Monday, July 8, 2019

2 arrested with large cache of meth
Indiana State Police arrested a North Vernon man and Crothersville woman on preliminary drug charges after a traffic stop Wednesday on Interstate 65.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Young: Legislation will increase investment in small businesses
U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced the Investing in Main Street Act last week that they say will increase investment in small businesses by permitting banks to invest up to 15 percent of their capital in Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC).

Monday, July 8, 2019

County jail tax quandary
The jail tax question is posing quite a quandary for the Jen­nings County Council.

The council spent nearly two hours during a work session Wednesday, June 26, discussing the issue without coming to a resolution.

The debate is over whether to completely eliminate the special income tax, scale back the tax rate or keep it as it is currently.

"I say we cut the tax rate back to one-third or one-fourth of what it is now," said Howard Malcomb (R-at large), council president. "We can always adjust the rate every year. But if we eliminate it, we'll have to start all over."

The County Council last October enacted the jail tax, a special income tax, after the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill in March 2018 to allow the county to consider it. Gov. Eric Holcomb then signed the legislation into law.

The jail tax took effect on Jan. 1 at a rate of .65 percent of gross adjusted income and is expected to generate $3.2 million this year.

The jail tax revenue is designed to fund a proposed new county jail, which proponents say is needed because of severe overcrowding at the current jail. The controversial project, with an estimated cost of $28 million, has been put on hold since last November.

The jail tax revenue can only go toward a new jail, according to terms of the state law. However, if the jail tax is eliminated any funds collected would go to the county's Rainy Day Fund. From there, the money could be used for anything related to county government.

"Any discussion is premature until we decide what we are going to do," said Charlie Weber (R-District 4), referring to whether the county is going to construct a new jail or not.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Farmers are scrambling
Farmers in Jennings County have been busy during the recent dry weather, literally making hay while the sun shines and planting corn and soybeans.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

3 arrested for attempted robbery
North Vernon police arrested three people Thursday, June 27, on preliminary felony charges involving attempted robbery and intimidation with a deadly weapon.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

City police: Drinking and UTVs don't mix
City police arrested two North Vernon men Saturday evening for allegedly driving utility track vehicles (UTVs) while intoxicated.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Campbell sewer board to meet
The Campbell Town­ship Regional Sewer District (CRSD) Board now meets quarterly. Meetings are on the second Monday of every third month.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Holiday means no trash pick up
There will be no garbage or brush pick up in the City of North Vernon on Thursday, July 4. The garbage collection route normally followed that day will instead be on Friday, July 5. Thursday's regular route will also be collected then.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Vets rally around fired officer
The Jennings County Board of Commissioners had little to say about the reported dismissal of Nolan Stanley, the county's veteran service officer.

Stanley said he was dismissed three-and-a-half weeks ago for violating one of the rules in the county employee handbook.

Matt Sporleder, president of the commissioners, would neither confirm nor deny, following the advice of Chris Doran, who is serving as county attorney while Ellie Bright is on maternity leave.

"I can't comment on that because this is a personnel issue," Sporleder said.

However, the commissioners have set an executive session for 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, apparently to discuss the issue.

Around two dozen people, almost all of whom are military veterans, showed up at the Thursday, June 27, commissioners' meeting to voice support for Stanley.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Morrison elected to JC school board
Opting for "generational diversity," the Jennings County School Board has unanimously elected 29-year-old Chel­sea Morrison to fill in the District 1 seat left vacant by the recent resignation of Warren Lucas.


Monday, July 1, 2019

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