Lena Lovegrove and Martha Driver sold their handmade items next to each other at the Nazarene Church site. The two women had a wide variety of items from hand crocheted booties to bottled candies to felt snowmen.
A sea of red engulfed the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis Tuesday. An estimated 20,000 teachers from throughout the state, including over 80 from Jennings County, were there for the Red for Ed Action Day, lobbying for more funding, wages and resources for public education. Many others, including parents and students, were there, too.
The Indiana State Teachers Association scheduled the event to coincide with the Indiana General Assembly's annual Organization Day when members of both the Senate and House make plans for the legislative session that starts on Monday, Jan. 6.
"It was a really positive day," said Molly Jones, president of the Jennings County Classroom Teachers Association (JCCTA) and a Jennings County High School teacher. "We hope ultimately that this will make a difference."
During the day, Jones and other JCCTA members along with Jennings County School Board President Pat Sullivan, who is a retired Hayden Elementary School teacher, met with State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) and others to discuss pressing issues in education.
"I talked to as many teachers as I could," said Lucas, whose 69th District includes most of Jennings County and who sits on the House Education Committee. "We had some disagreements, but all in all it went well."
State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) of District 67 and who represents the eastern half of Jennings County, also talked with numerous teachers. Wednesday, November 20, 2019
The Jennings County Sheriff's Office is proposing adding a 56-bed modular addition behind the current jail.
The addition, which Sheriff Kenny Freeman and Jail Commander Jason Bliton call a "pod" design, has an estimated cost of $2.7 million and would be used to house female inmates.
"Our first step is to get a GEO study done (site analysis)," Bliton told the Jennings County Council last Tuesday. "We have to make sure the ground behind the jail is suitable for putting up a pod."
The study, which will involve the analysis of core samples drilled at the site, will cost $3,700. The council unanimously agreed to reimburse the sheriff's office for that cost, which will initially be covered by the jail's commissary fund.
When Jennings County Sheriff's deputies and an Indiana State Police trooper showed up at a Spencer Township residence to arrest a man wanted in both Jennings and Jackson counties on multiple felony charges, the suspect fled on foot into nearby woods.
Contractors will be trimming trees around electrical transmission power lines in Jennings County and other areas of southern and central Indiana using a helicopter saw beginning Monday, Nov. 18, through mid-December.
Record-breaking snow and bone-chilling temperatures hit Jennings County this week as an Arctic cold front plowed through the region along with the middle and eastern part of the country.
What makes the frigid blast so unusual is it came so early in the year, over two weeks before Thanksgiving, the holiday that usually signals the end of the fall season. Leaves are still on some trees in the county, but many were knocked off by the snow that fell starting Monday afternoon and continuing into early Tuesday as the thermometer plummeted.
"Road conditions are good in some places, not so good in others," reported Jim Reeves, Jennings County Highway Department superintendent on Tuesday. "The snow accumulated throughout the county but spotty, a bit deeper in some areas than others." Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Joining several other school districts across the state, the Jennings County School Corp. has announced it has called off school for one day next week - Tuesday, Nov. 19.
It is a bonus holiday of sorts for students and school staffs, one that was unexpected until last week's announcement. However, the day will be made up later in the school year.
JCSC officials decided to cancel classes on Nov. 19 because about one-third of JCSC's approximately 200 teachers plan to attend a rally in Indianapolis as part of Red for Ed Action Day. With that many educators gone, it is impossible to line up enough substitute teachers to conduct school, according to Teresa Brown and others.
"We simply have to have enough adults to supervise the kids in school," explained Brown, JCSC superintendent. "With that many teachers gone, there is no way we can do that. This all comes down to student safety."
As of last Friday, more than 35 of nearly 300 school districts in the state have canceled classes for Nov. 19, including Madison Consolidated, Crothersville Community and Greater Clark County schools in southern Indiana and Indianapolis Public Schools, the largest district in Indiana.
More than 7,000 teachers, including around 70 from Jennings County, are expected to attend the rally, organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association. The rally will take place at the Indiana Statehouse where educators will lobby for greater resources for students and teachers, including higher salaries, a change in teacher evaluations and the repeal of new professional development requirements that many have seen as burdensome. Monday, November 11, 2019
Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus is hosting a special event for high school students and their parents to to learn about the college, its academic programs and other essential information to help students plan for their futures.
Building on their historic victory of four years ago, Republicans swept all four contested races in Tuesday's North Vernon city election.
As a result, the GOP flipped one seat to increase its majority on the city council from 3-2 to 4-1 and, just as importantly, retained the mayor's seat.
When the totals came in at The Barn at Willow Lake where Republicans gathered to watch the tally, the crowd erupted.
"It's a clean sweep," announced GOP chair Jeanie Hahn, prompting even louder cheers.
Mike Ochs, who narrowly prevailed in 2015 to become the first Republican in 28 years to win the mayor's race, rolled to victory this time. He garnered 65 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent, Colleen Malone.
"I've worked hard the past three-and-a-half years (as mayor) and I campaigned hard the last couple of months," Ochs said. "I'm humbled and gratified that the voters supported me."
Ochs, 72, said voters saw what has been accomplished in North Vernon the last four years, including bringing industry to the city, converting municipal buildings to solar energy, building a new city pool, adding Tripton Park and street upgrades, and are pleased with the progress. Wednesday, November 6, 2019
A lifelong resident of Commiskey perished in a fire that totally destroyed his home in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 1.
Bill Wright, 77, who lived alone in the one-story, two-bedroom wood structure in downtown Commiskey was declared dead at the scene by Jennings County Deputy Coroner Alden Rudicel.
The first inkling of the tragedy was an emergency call to 911 Dispatch at 2:20 a.m. from a passerby. Jennings County Sheriff Office Deputies Doug Brown and Cody Low were reportedly first on the scene. Fire departments from Deputy, Montgomery and Lovett responded soon after.
Montgomery Fire Chief Brad Jacobs reported that nine of his volunteers reported to fight the fire, but by the time he arrived around 2:25 a.m. the home "was 75 percent involved. It was fully involved," he said, and there wasn't anything the volunteers could do but "knock it down."
James Malcomb, Lovett trustee and volunteer fireman, arrived around 3 a.m., and said by that time, the volunteers "had it pretty much knocked out." Monday, November 4, 2019
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Indiana is processing $6,162,439 in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments for the 2018 crop year, it announced last week.
Can the Republican Party repeat the success of four years ago when it took North Vernon's mayor's office for the first time in 28 years, along with a majority on the city council?
Can the Democratic Party, traditionally the majority party in the city, take back the mayor's post and retake the council majority?
Those questions will be answered Tuesday, Nov. 5, when city voters go to the polls for the 2019 municipal election.
"I never make predictions," said Jeanie Hahn, Jennings County Republican Party chair. "But I feel good about things."
"Of course the Democrats are working hard to get out the vote," said Jack Gay, Democratic Party chair. "The higher the turn out the better chances we have."
The GOP has the advantage of incumbency with Mayor Mike Ochs and Councilors Jerry Lamb (at large) and Jack Kelley (District 1). Another Republican, Councilor Brian Hatfield (District 4), is unopposed so is assured election to a third term.
The Democrats, meanwhile, have high hopes with their mayoral candidate, Colleen Malone, who, if elected would become the first female mayor in North Vernon's history.