Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin checks on the installation of the new light in front of the Plain Dealer & Sun office installed by Kelly Richart, left, and Garrie Ritchie of the NV Street Department. Employees of the local newspaper arrive at work in the dark during winter months and so the light is definitely appreciated! The original light was knocked down Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 (Labor Day weekend) when a police vehicle hit it. The mayor said he had ordered a new light but it has not come in yet.-Staff Photo by Barbara King
With literally dozens of historic cemeteries scattered throughout Jennings County, it is most appropriate that the Jennings County Historical Society will be presenting an expert on that subject this week.
A major hurdle was cleared when the Indiana House of Representatives Monday voted in favor of State Rep. Randy Frye's (R-Greensburg) legislation designed to alleviate jail overcrowding by giving county jails the option to relocate low-level felons.
The vote was a lopsided 74-17 with 15 Democrats joining 59 Republicans in support of House Bill 1065.
"I'm very encouraged by the support for the bill from both sides of the aisle," Frye told the Plain Dealer Tuesday via telephone from the Statehouse in Indianapolis. "The representatives who voted against the bill said it was because they don't think it goes far enough. I have to find more funding, and I think I will now as the bill works through the Senate."
Frye, who represents about a third of Jennings County, said he authored the bill after receiving numerous requests from Jennings County officials to come up with a legislative remedy for the severe overcrowding issues at the Jennings County Jail. The county has been considering constructing a new jail facility with an estimated price tag of $23 million. Officials have put the brakes on proceeding after Frye revealed his legislation in December.
Jennings County isn't the only county plagued by jails filled to over capacity. According to the Indiana Supreme Court, nearly half of Indiana's 92 counties had a jail at or exceeding capacity in 2017.
"Matt Sporleder (president of the Jennings County Board of Commissioners), Judge (Jon) Webster and Judge (Gary) Smith, the sheriff candidates last year and everybody told me to look into the issue," Frye said. "Last year, we (the state legislature) voted to allow Jennings County to build a new jail (and to adopt a new income tax to fund the project). But we found out later that wasn't what the people wanted. I knew I'd better figure out a different way." Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Because of the Presidents Day holiday, there will be no garbage pick up in the City of North Vernon on Monday, Feb. 18. The garbage collection route normally followed that day will instead be on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Tuesday's regular route will also be collected then.
What a mess, and just in time to make the Monday morning traffic even worse than usual in western Jennings County.
A semi-truck hauling a load of building material spilled much of its load early Monday in Hayden.
As a result, both lanes of U.S. 50 were closed from 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. and one lane stayed closed until 9:10 a.m.
"I don't know how many skids of material spilled off of the trailer, but it was a bunch," said Sgt. Mike Mowery of the Jennings County Sheriff's Office. "There were sacks off everywhere. I'm not sure if it was drywall material or what, but it took a good while to clean it up."
Willie Sherman, 56, of Cincinnati was driving a semi owned by Western Express of Nashville, Tenn., when he pulled into the Tempest Tool & Machine parking lot at 7235 W. U.S. 50 around 5:30 a.m. Monday, February 11, 2019
Jennings County School Corp. Superintendent Teresa Brown has again appointed retired JCSC Superintendent Dr. Terry Sargent to coordinate the 2019 Dr. Carl A. Wildey Distinguished Educator Award process.
As expected, incumbent North Vernon Clerk-treasurer Shawn Gerkin is running for re-election. A Democrat, Gerkin filed his candidacy Tuesday at the Jennings County Election Office. He is seeking a third term in office.
He did not mince words when expressing his disagreement with his governor, one of the same party.
During last Saturday's Third House public forum in North Vernon, State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) more than once voiced his displeasure with Gov. Eric Holcomb, a fellow Republican, over the issue of medical cannabis.
"I have introduced a bill to legalize medical cannabis but it can't get a hearing because the governor is against it," Lucas said.
That is because the Speaker of the House, Brad Bosma, has not assigned Lucas's bill to any committee for consideration and debate.
"I strongly disagree with the governor and am disappointed my bill isn't getting a hearing," Lucas said. "I still have hope it can get heard this session, but if not I will push for it next year. It's not good that so many insist on keeping their heads in the sand on this issue."
The legislator, who represents most of Jennings County, cited the benefits of medical cannabis.
"Medical cannabis would help reduce the opioid crisis, it would help veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome and it would improve the quality of life for many in end-of-life stages," Lucas said. Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Fire destroyed a mobile home in northern Geneva Township Wednesday morning, Jan. 30.
Temperatures were below zero when firefighters from the Spencer Township, Scipio-Geneva Township and North Vernon-Center Township volunteer fire departments battled the blaze for two hours.
The residence of the Paul Jayne family located at 2375 N. County Road 600 West was completely demolished. The structure was fully involved in flames by the time the first fire trucks arrived at 7:01 a.m., according to Lt. Ryan Richart of the Spencer VFD. No members of the family were home at the time of the fire.
"The extreme cold was hard on the firefighters and equipment," Richart said. "Some of the equipment froze such as gauges and sensors on Geneva Township's Engine No. 21. We were lucky enough to have a hydrant across the road and were able to set up our water supply with that so that we could send the unneeded tankers back to their stations so that they didn't freeze up."
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
The dangerously extreme cold weather on Wednesday, did, however, in North Vernon, Jennings County, much of Indiana and 10 other Midwestern States.
Jennings County's schools were closed for the day as was the county courthouse and all nonessential government offices. Schools throughout the state and in neighboring Kentucky were also closed.
About an inch of snow fell in the area late Tuesday as temperatures plummeted, reaching -4 as of 9 a.m. at a Weather Underground station located in the Burnt Pines area just south of North Vernon. The wind chill was listed at -22. There is a wind chill advisory in place as a result of the brutal cold that experts say is the result of a split in the polar vortex.
The U.S. Postal Service suspended deliveries in Jennings County and surrounding region, as well as other portions of Indiana, on Wednesday due to brutal cold. The postal service posted the alert on its website late Tuesday, announcing delivery would be suspended for ZIP codes starting with 472 and many other ZIP codes in the state. Wednesday, January 30, 2019