It was a good turnout for the spring Hazardous Collection Event for Jennings County on Saturday. Held twice a year by the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District (SEIRD), the event provides a safe alternative for residents to clean out such items as household cleaners, oil-based paints/stains, pesticides, mercury items, etc. Twenty-three residents participated, which was "a larger turnout than what we normally see," reported Mandy Creech of the SEIRD. Among those taking advantage of the collection were Greg and Nikki Bach of North Vernon who noted they wanted "to get rid of items safely."
The training has been rigorous and intense during Guardian Response 19, a massive military homeland emergency response exercise centered at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville.
"It's very intense because it has to be," said Lt. Col. Joe Junguzza of the U.S. Army's 78th Training Division. "The idea is to create a lot of stress. We want to test the limits of our capacity in a (Hurricane) Katrina-type setting involving active and reserve Army units, the National Guard, FEMA and other federal and state agencies."
Around 3,500 military personnel are training in the exercise that is now in its second phase. Over 100 civilians are working as role players.
The second phase's mock scenario is the aftermath of the detonation of a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in Phoenix, Ariz. The first phase, which started May 1, involved a mock disaster of a 20-kiloton nuclear explosion in Detroit.
Jennings County has been swarming with soldiers from Army and National Guard units from multiple states since mid-April. Military crews are not only involved at MUTC but also at the Indiana National Guard's Contingency Operating Base adjacent to the North Vernon Municipal Airport, where soldiers are being housed, and at the Jennings County Fairgrounds, which is being used for a staging facility. Guardian Response is scheduled to wrap up in two weeks. Wednesday, May 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Greg Pence (R-6th District) spoke about his first piece of legislation from the House floor Thursday, May 9, highlighting his efforts to reduce what he calls "unnecessary and burdensome regulations on hardworking truckers, farmers and producers in Indiana, and across America."
Jennings County may soon be getting another judicial officer to help with the case load for the county's Circuit Court and Superior Court.
Circuit Court Judge Jon Webster came to the Board of County Commissioners Thursday requesting and receiving support for the proposal to add a magistrate judge in Jennings County.
"The case load in both our courts is off the chart," Webster said. "I have been in discussions with Sen. Chip Perfect and he plans to introduce a bill to establish the position of magistrate in Jennings County."
Perfect, a Republican from Lawrenceburg, represents Indiana Senate District 43, which includes Jennings County.
According to Webster, the magistrate will officiate at cases involving minor criminal and civil matters in both courts. Monday, May 13, 2019
With planting season underway for most Hoosier farmers, state officials remind every motorist to be on the lookout for slow-moving farm equipment on Indiana's rural roads. Over the next couple of months, Hoosiers are encouraged to exercise caution and patience, as they share the road with these large vehicles.
First-time candidate Matt York scored a decisive victory in the North Vernon City Democratic Party primary election Tuesday.
In the only race in either party, York collected 74 votes, 57.4 percent, to earn his party's nomination for the City Council at-large position. York's opponent in the Democratic primary, Annie Payne, received 55 votes, 42.6 percent.
York will now face Jerry Lamb, the Republican Party incumbent, in the general election on Nov. 5.
"I owe a lot to family, friends and the voters, and the many Republicans who crossed over to vote for me in the primary," York said. "I couldn't have done it without them."
York faces a formidable opponent in Lamb, who is finishing his first term on the city council and previously served one term as North Vernon's mayor from 1988 to 1992.
"I've known Jerry for years," said York, who works at Walmart in North Vernon where he is the manager of the meat department. "It's going to take a lot of hard work for me to have a chance against him in the fall. But I think the voters are ready for a change and will agree with me on the need to continue making progress in the city." Wednesday, May 8, 2019
The trucks have moved in, soldiers in gas masks are clearing roads, and helicopters can be heard overhead. Guardian Response 19 has officially kicked off at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville and other sites in the Jennings County area.
A large assortment of fine feathered friends will be the focus of this weekend's 21st annual Wings over Muscatatuck Bird Festival at the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge near Hayden. In fact, activities will spill over into the nearby Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday.
The two members of the Indiana House of Representatives who represent Jennings County are, for the most part, pleased with what was accomplished in the legislative session that just ended.
Both State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) and State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) expressed satisfaction with the legislation passed by the 2019 General Assembly, but not totally.
"We came away with a good budget, increased funding for education and for opioid addiction treatment, maintained a needed cash reserve and kept taxes low," Lucas said. "Can we do better? Of course we can. But I'm very happy overall and we will keep pushing for what didn't get passed this time."
Frye was most pleased that legislation he authored, House Bill 1065, not only passed but also was significantly strengthened in the Senate. That legislation, which was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Eric Holcomb, is designed to combat overcrowding at county jails in the state by allowing county sheriffs to contract with the Department of Correction to send low-level felons to regional holding facilities.
Frye said the impetus for the bill came from Jennings County where officials are considering constructing a new jail because of severe overcrowding at the current facility.
With the return of warmer weather, road work is ramping up again in Country Squire Lakes.
Not only is paving now underway, so is other work related to the Geneva Township community's streets - including the installation of new street and stop signs.
"We will be putting up approximately 380 new street signs plus many new stop signs by the end of the summer," said Mike Miller, the CSL Community Association's court-appointed receiver.
The laying of new asphalt pavement on roadways will continue to be a top priority, according to Miller.
"After this current session of paving, we will have completely repaved 6.9 miles of streets along with another 2.43 miles of partial paving of streets that weren't in need of total resurfacing," he said.
In addition to the paving and street sign installations, CSL is beginning work to repair ditches and replace clogged and broken culvert pipes.
"The blocked ditches and culverts have caused much of the damage to the streets over the years," Miller said. "Fixing them and removing standing water conditions will help a lot." Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Jennings County High School has a new football coach.
The Jennings County School Board named Justun Sharp as the coach at its meeting Thursday, selecting him among the over 20 applicants for the position.
"I'm extremely excited, humbled and ready to get to work," Sharp said. "I know it's going to be a huge challenge to turn the football program around, but I fully believe we can do that."
Sharp, 38, is no stranger to Jennings County. He grew up in the county, has family here and is a 1999 graduate of JCHS where he played football for four years.
Sharp has been an assistant football coach since 2006, coaching at Columbus North, Southport, Lawrence Central and Indianapolis Cathedral high schools.
"Being from Jennings County, I've always been interested if the opportunity came up to give back to the community that gave me so much and helped build my foundation," he said. "It's always been a dream of mine to come back to Jennings County. I care a lot about the kids who are just like me when I was in high school. I want to give them a good experience."
Sharp played at linebacker and tight end his final two seasons with the Panthers under then-coach Jerry Bland. Monday, April 29, 2019