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June 26, 2019

Sorority lends a hand
Sorority lends a hand
Delta Theta Tau members helped register all the 80-plus contestants at this year's Baby Pageant during the recent JC Fair. Seated are sorority members Rhonda Wilder and Samantha Wilder and standing are (perhaps) future member Mia Wilder with Kathy Hearne.-Staff Photo by Barbara King

Water fun coming to park
There may not be a public pool to swim in this summer at the North Vernon City Park, but a new splash pad at the nearby Muscatatuck Park will soon provide some water fun for youth and even adults in the area - and hopefully in time for the hottest days of summer.

According to Greg Martin, Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department, the Musca­tatuck Park is preparing to open the splash pad that is adjacent to the park's playground within the next few weeks.

"The splash pad is extremely close to being completed, but we can't open it until it has passed (state) inspection," Mar­tin explained. "There have been a few delays during installment due to regulations, but other than that the construction process has been smooth sailing."

Ironically, the delay is a blessing of sorts.

"The delay will allow the grass to grow so the ground around the splash pad won't be so muddy when it first opens," Mar­tin said.

The park began installation of the pad last spring. Martin noted that some kind of water-based attraction had been in the master plan for the park for the last 20 years, but it took the Jennings County Community Foundation to bring up the idea of a splash pad in 2017 to get the ball rolling again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

JC Council to look at jail tax
The agenda has been changed for the special meeting of the Jennings County Council scheduled for Wednesday, June 26.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Israeli troops train with U.S. forces at MUTC
Indiana National Guard's 19th CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package, Israeli Homefront Command, National Rescue Unit and Indiana's Task Force 1 participated in a week-long search and rescue operational training at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville earlier this month.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Another NV building toppled
The Gosman Construction crew wasted little time Thursday afternoon in razing a condemned building in uptown North Vernon.

Within four hours, the work was done.

"We're glad to get this done so the city can reopen O&M Avenue," said Tom Gosman. "With Buckeye Street to close starting next week (for construction), this road being open again will help everyone driving through the area."

The city closed a short section of O&M Avenue to traffic on the east side of Fifth Street on May 29 after authorities became alarmed when they noted the side of the rear section of the former Greathouse Hardware building had separated from the main structure and was teetering toward the street.

Jennings County Area Plan Commission Inspector Matt Baugess condemned the structure the next day, saying it was in danger of imminent collapse.

Three weeks later, the Gosman crew arrived with an excavator and other heavy equipment after being hired by Jerry Greene, the property owner.

"We're not being mean," said Marie Shepherd, APC director, as she stopped by to watch the demolition work. "You just can't sit on a building like this. It's a danger."

Gosman agreed.

"This building probably would have collapsed on its own within a couple of weeks, and someone could have gotten hurt or killed," Gosman said. "We are just knocking down the walls for now so it will be safe for vehicles and pedestrians to pass by on the street and sidewalk. We will come and remove the debris later, and fix the spot over so it is nice and attractive."

Monday, June 24, 2019

'The JC Fair that doesn't want to end'
Call it the Jennings County Fair that doesn't want to end.

Monday, June 24, 2019

NV man caught, jailed after eluding deputies for 5 hours
A North Vernon man who ran from a Jennings County sheriff's deputy and eluded deputies for over five hours was apprehended early Wednesday and arrested on a preliminary charge of resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor.

Monday, June 24, 2019

JC Council starts budget work
A special meeting of the Jennings County Council will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, that will concentrate on the inner workings of the county budget.

Monday, June 24, 2019

City pool won't open this year
Countless weather delays and other unforeseen developments mean that the new swimming pool and aquatic center now under construction at the North Vernon City Park will not be finished before September.

As a result, the summer swimming season for those hoping to use the public facility has literally been washed out.

Chad Speer, North Vernon Parks and Recreation director, disclosed the sad news after a progress meeting on the $3.2 million project last week.

"As always, construction depends on weather," Speer said. "If the rainy weather we have been experiencing the last couple of months continues, the completion date could be pushed back into October and even further."

There is a chance that the aquatic center's splash pad could be finished and ready to open in early September, but not until after the Labor Day weekend at the earliest. And even that is a long shot, according to Speer.

Speer painted a grim picture in discussing new details about the progress, or rather lack thereof, being made in the construction of the pool and aquatic center.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Get ready for even more road construction
North Vernon city officials expect the scheduled closure of part of West Walnut Street next week to be for one day only.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The fair must go on!
The 2019 Jennings County Fair is not quite over yet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Deputies busy with drug arrests
Jennings County sheriff deputies made a pair of drug arrests involving methamphetamine and heroin the last few days.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A return to Latin at St. Mary's
For the first time in 55 years, St. Mary's Catholic Church will conduct a Sunday Mass in Latin this weekend.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Storms pound area, flood roads

Two different tornado warnings Saturday night had Jennings County area residents on pins and needles for several hours. Fortunately, there were no tornado touchdowns in the county, according to officials.

However, a series of torrential rains pounded Jennings County starting Saturday and into Sunday, flooding roads and causing widespread damage.

"We've had a lot of road washouts in our area," said Brian Ponsler, Jennings County Highway Department's District 3 foreman, as he and a crew worked to fill gaping holes in roadways near Zenas left by the flash flooding.

Saturday evening's storms forced the postponement of several events on the closing night of the Jennings County Fair. The Fireworks Extravaganza pyrotechnics display, concert by Back in the Day and karaoke contest have been reset for Saturday, June 22, at the fairgrounds.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Driver survives truck-train collision
A Medora man miraculously escaped serious injuries when the truck he was driving collided with a CSX Transportation freight train in Hayden Friday morning.

Monday, June 17, 2019

JCSC changes kindergarten enrollment date
For the 2019-2020 school year, the Jennings County School Corporation (JCSC) is extending the date for kindergarten enrollment, JCSC.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Police issue warning after ATV wreck
A North Vernon man suffered serious but nonlife-threatening injuries Tuesday afternoon, June 11, when he crashed an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) he was driving on a city street.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fair brings in big crowds
The fairgrounds have dried out and people are flocking to the Jennings County Fair to enjoy a pleasing plethora of activities this week.

"We had nearly 2,000 people at the fair on Monday (opening night) and probably just as many Tuesday," said Randy Shepherd, fair board president. "With the good weather and the new midway, so many positive things are going on. Everything has just come together."

That is, indeed, good news, especially after heavy rains hit the fairgrounds Sunday and several days before, and after last year's fair that was hit with thunderstorms and tornado warnings on multiple evenings.

The sun came out early afternoon Monday and hasn't been covered by clouds since then as of midday Wednesday.

Fair officials and others worked overtime Monday to get the fairgrounds ready for the fair's opening night. The biggest effort came on the track at the grandstands.

"At 1 p.m. Monday, I thought there was no way we were going to have the track dry and in shape enough to hold the tractor pulls that night," Shepherd said. "I was very pleased that I was wrong."

Credit Matt Sporleder, president of the Jennings County commissioners, for making that happen, according to Shepherd.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

'Proud' inmates at work
On Thursday, June 4, a crew of male inmates and female inmates from the Jennings County Jail armed only with paint brushes and buckets began their handiwork at the Jennings County Fairgrounds.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

'Built to respond'
When Sheriff Kenny Freeman and two of his deputies took out his office's brand spanking new utility task vehicle (UTV) for an inaugural drive last Friday, they ended up giving the 2019 Polaris Ranger Crew a baptism by, well, mud.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Madison RR lands $4.2M for Graham bridge
The Madison Rail­road's plans to replace the old Graham Creek railroad bridge in Jennings County moved a huge step closer to reality this week. The U.S. Depart­ment of Transportation announced this week that the railroad has been awarded a $4.2 million Consolidated Rail Infra­structure and Safety Improvements grant for the project.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Madison RR lands $4.2M for Graham bridge
The Madison Rail­road's plans to replace the old Graham Creek railroad bridge in Jennings County moved a huge step closer to reality this week. The U.S. Depart­ment of Transportation announced this week that the railroad has been awarded a $4.2 million Consolidated Rail Infra­structure and Safety Improvements grant for the project.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Vacancy on JC School Board

After two-and-a-half years on the Jennings County School Board, Warren Lucas has resigned his District 1 post, he announced Thursday.

Lucas, of Butlerville, stepped down to take the job as the Jennings County School Corp. (JCSC) transportation and safety director. Currently an emergency medical technician with the Jennings County Emergency Medical Service/Rescue 20, Lucas will take the JCSC position on July 1. JCSC's conflict-of-interest policy prohibits school employees from serving on the school board.

"It was a big decision for me and my family," Lucas said. "I did a lot of soul searching, talking with my family and praying. I will miss being on the school board, but this is an opportunity I just couldn't pass up."

Lucas was elected to the school board in 2016, unseating three-term incumbent Glorianna Robbins.

"I'm very proud of my time on the school board," Lucas said. "I hope the voters realize that I always tried to do what I thought was best for the kids of Jennings County. That was always my priority."

Monday, June 10, 2019

Dry weather ahead for fair?
Rain washed out most of Sunday evening's activities at the Jennings County Fair, but the forecast looks good for the rest of the week.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sheriff, deputies break in new UTV with chase, arrest
He was in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Road work to start on U.S. 50 East
Just as road work is being completed on State Road 3&7 in the Vernon area, motorists will now have to deal with another highway project in Jennings County starting this week.

Monday, June 10, 2019

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