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August 4, 2020

Demos fundraiser
Demos fundraiser
Members of the Jennings County Young Democrats volunteered their time at the Democrat Drive-Up Lunch. this past Saturday. Alex Smallwood, left, and Eli Everage said they chose to join the Young Democrats because they realized they needed to take action if they wanted to make a difference. Smallwood designed the flyer for the event.-Staff Photo by Kylan Higgs.

Teachers get more time to hone skills for new year
The Jennings County School Board approved the request to postpone the back-to-school date from August 6 to August 13 during the virtual special meeting held on Thursday, July 23 and, contrary to what some may assume, it is NOT because of increased concerns regarding COVID-19.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

But there's hope for chickens
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

September sure isn't what it used to be
COVID-19 continues to impact traditional events here in Jennings, including four that normally highlight the month of September.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Taggart is first to file
Incumbent school board member Earl Taggart was the first to file for this fall's election of three district members to this important board.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Demos field county council hopeful
Stephanie Schoettmer is the newest Democratic candidate who will be running for a position on the Jennings County Council at Large in the upcoming General Election in November.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Virus can't stop FLASH from serving 2000+ children
A global pandemic did not stop Jennings County's Free Lunch All Summer, Hooray! better known as FLASH, a free lunch summer program which has been serving food to those in need for 10 years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

JC EDC is determined to help
Jennings County Economic Development is determined to help small businesses survive the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Board meets at JCHS
The Board of School Trustees will hold its regular meeting Thursday, July 30 in the Cafeteria of Jennings County High School, 800 West Walnut Street, North Vernon, Indiana 47265.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Candidates can submit info
Those seeking office in the General Election on Nov. 3 are invited to subit information about their candidacy for publication in the Plain Dealer & Sun. The newspapers will run these news items free of charge if information is submitted by Sept. 11.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Officials take steps to make sure county in compliance
State guidelines were elevated last week as Indiana's cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.

Since last Thursday, local cases have increased by seven. Deaths here from the virus remains at 12, although Health Dept. office manager/Environ-mental Health Specialist Peggy Roe told county officials last week that in the case of 2 other deaths here, COVID was the "probable" cause.

This increase was reflected across the state and prompted Gov. Eric Holcomb to make the wearing of masks mandatory for businesses and individuals as of Monday, July 27, except where social distancing is possible in offices and in outdoor situations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

New economic reality sets in
Last week, both city and county officials took steps to curb spending in the 2021 budget and to prepare for what very well may be leaner funding ahead.

City officials voted unanimously at their meeting July 13 to have any department chief wanting to hire a new full-time employee appear at the City Council to have that hiring approved.

The very next night, the Jennings County Council budget committee warned the county is facing a projected shortfall of approximately $90,000 for next year and a shortfall from 15 to 25 percent of the current budget in future years. It was decided to talk with department heads and explain how important it was to hold their 2021 budgets to zero increases if at all possible.

According to the city and county officials, the shortfalls are due to several factors, including the extended deadlines for paying property taxes which has resulted in a smaller than usual distribution of spring property tax which helps fund the general budgets of both city and county.

For example, the city's June distribution of property tax was 79 percent less than in 2019. However, these deficits could be alleviated by a "supplemental" distribution in August because the spring property tax distribution was actually higher than last year; it just came in late because the deadline for payment was extended from May to July 10 due to COVID-19. (See page 4B for JC Treasurer Kitty Shepherd's report.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

In Brief...
Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pomp and circumstance thrill adult grads
The sentiment "Better late than never" was passed around during the Jennings County Education Center graduation ceremony on Saturday, July 18.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Saving historic buildings
A program set Thursday at the Jennings County Historical Society will be most timely, considering the precarious state of two historic buildings in downtown North Vernon..

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Homeless shelter still in 'relaunch' business
The North Vernon homeless shelter, Wayside Inn, located at 304 Hoosier Street, has remained open despite the COVID-19 outbreak, though their intake process has been adjusted and strict cleaning protocols have increased significantly.

Doorknobs and handles get wiped down constantly and the bathroom must get an overall spritz with a bleach solution after every use. Masks must be worn indoors and residents must wash their hands upon entering the building.

The shelter has always been health conscious, according to volunteers Jeanne and Tom Long, even before the pandemic. Residents must participate in cleanliness upkeep, not only for the shelter but for themselves, too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Indiana Landmarks saving a local home
Indiana Landmarks has intervened to save the historic Robert Leavitt home on the outskirts of Vernon. The home occupies an elevated lot overlooking the Muscatatuck River and is on two acres of land.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Downtown buildings lost?

The North Vernon City Council agreed there was nothing they could do to save one of the downtown's historic buildings from the wrecking ball at their meeting Monday night, July 13. That being the case, the issue of proceeding with razing 504 East O&M Avenue will be back on the Area Plan agenda on August 3.

It is expected the APC board will then vote to ask the court to issue an order to raze the three-story building at the corner of Fifth Street and East O&M. That building and 462 E. O&M both had previously housed Greathouse Hardware and were both purchased by Indianapolis resident Jerry Greene in summer 2017 after they went un- sold at a public auction.

Brian Hatfield, city representative on the APC board, had asked fellow APC members to give the City Council a chance to consider what, if anything, could be done to save the building when the APC met July 6.

Monday night, APC Director Marie Shepherd broached the subject, noting owner Greene had obtained a building permit to work on the building but that the permit has since expired. She also said 504 had already been condemned by the zoning board. At that time, 504's rear addition had fallen in and Greene was ordered to clean up the hazard. A video of the tear-down is on the newspaper's web site.

Greene notified Mayor Ochs in June that his dream of revitalizing both 504 and 462 East O&M Avenue had come to an end due to personal financial problems precipitated by COVID-19. He said he would put both buildings up for sale.

Monday, the members expressed their regret about the situation, but were adamant the situation needs to move forward.
"We can't let our city rot," said Baron Wilder. "If it is condemned, we need to tear it down."

The cost of the demolition would be borne by the owner, if and when the court makes the ruling, said Shepherd. A lien would be placed on their property tax record. At this point, taxes on 504 are up to date.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

It's now the law to be good neighbor
Jennings County residents now have another reason to be a "good neighbor."

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Next food pick-up
Gleaner's Food Pantry will be distributing food again on Wednesday, July 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Jennings Co. Middle School.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Thrive Alliance helping meet senior citizens' nutritional needs
COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of many, and arguably, the people whose lives have been disrupted the most are those of the elderly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Guess who is masked
Watch next week's Plain Dealer & Sun for a chance to win prizes for guessing the identity of some local people doing their duty to fight the virus by wearing masks. The top three correct guesses by readers will win a prize!
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Free food, milk to be given out
Gleaners Food Pantry will be handing out boxes of food from 10 a.m. to noon at the Middle School this Saturday, July 18. Help will be available for the pick-up, with the National Guard assisting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

PD&S giving away free ads to help local businesses
How about some free marketing help for your local small business?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Jennings hospital adds 'Ascension' into its formal name
St. Vincent Jennings held a "rebranding" photo as it incorporates "Ascen-sion" to its well-known legacy ministry names. "This shared identity best supports the deeper reality of our Mission to serve people living in poverty and those most vulnerable," explained Dana M. Muntz, administrator.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Commissioners to discuss new county law on health, safety
Commissioners are expected to hold a vote on a new county ordinance concerning health and safety issues such as noise, odor, waste and heat/glare at their meeting Thursday, July 9.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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