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July 16, 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.



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

Get PPE
Jennings County PPE Marketplace is still open and available for local businesses to re-apply for supplies at any point they are needed. Submit a request online at www.jenningsedc.com .
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Covid Update: deaths increase
The Indiana State Department of Health says the number of confirmed cases in Jennings as of Wednesday morning was 176, 7 more than last week. Deaths are now 12, up 2 from last week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

JCCF fundraiser goes virtual this week
The Jennings County Community Foundation (JCCF) is not about to let the Coronavirus negatively impact their organization.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Help available for paying rent
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced on June 24 the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. This program is designed to help Indiana renters whose income has been adversely affected by COVID-19 avoid eviction by providing up to $2,000 in assistance to help cover monthly rent payments or late fees.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New Selmier forester finds fulfillment in managing renewable resources
Forests are once again covered in vibrant green foliage as spring blossomed and cleared the path for summer throughout the state, and many people are in desperate need of fresh air. For those who reside in Jennings County, there are plenty of places to take a walk and enjoy the scenery. If you find yourself at Selmier State Forest, near St. Annes Golf Course on 905 E CR 350 N in North Vernon, you may run into the new property manager Ben McKinney.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Candidates set for 2020
Candidates for the 2020 General Election have now been finalized, re-ports Election Deputy Brenda King.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

COVID grants awarded to Las Chalupas, 5 others
Representatives of the Jennings County Economic Development Commission (JCEDC) and Jennings County Community Foundation (JCCF) say they are thrilled to award the $5000 COVID-19 Relief & Assistance Grant to Las Chalupas, North Vernon's well-loved Mexican restaurant.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Youths to benefit from partnership

A partnership with the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) of Seymour and local elementary schools has emerged from a pilot program that launched earlier this year.

Now, the two organizations plan to bring quality children's after-school programming to several elementary schools here, as well as in Jackson County.

In January 2020, the Seymour BGC began a pilot program for reading and math in Hayden and Graham Creek Elementary Schools, which was provided free thanks to local donors. The Seymour BGC did not see a reduction in attendance despite COVID-19 and have not had any outbreak cases among its members, though the Hayden and Graham Creek programs were cut short due to the pandemic.

Until now, BGC did not have a lasting presence in Jennings County, though the Jennings County Youth Foundation has extensively tried to start an initiative to bring the Club to JC.

According to JC Youth Foundation President Casey Ernstes, the JCYF began the initiative to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Jennings County several years ago. There are several steps that are required to get a Boys & Girls Club. Andre Arrington, the BGC of America representative for JCYF, helped them through the process.

Ernstes said they began by doing a Community Readiness Assessment and that 83% of those surveyed agreed the community needed a youth center here.

After evaluating other data-driven factors within the school system, such as approximately 60 percent of students in almost every JC school using the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, it was evident that an after-school program offering physical and emotional support to children is necessary.

In order to proceed, the JCYF had to make some changes to strengthen their organization and get their name out in the community more. Last year, it was announced to the public that they were working to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Jennings County and the foundation began working with Ryon Wheeler, Executive Director from the Boys & Girls Club in Seymour.

"We worked with Ryon to identify where we could use programming and helped him launch the (Hayden and Graham Creek) program," said Ernstes. "We also raised the $15,000 needed to start the program in January."

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

School plan provides options
"Have some patience," was the sage advice given by School Board President Pat Sullivan at the special meeting to approve the school reopen plan on Thursday, June 25.

As the Aug. 6 open date for local schools quickly approaches, parents, teachers, administration and students alike will all need to practice that virtue as they maneuver the frontier of matriculating during a pandemic. Patience and flexibility will be key watchwords to move forward as situations which the school corporatoin has no power to control fluctuate.

The school reopening plan was revealed Thursday, right after the Pledge of Allegiance was pronounced. Sullivan asked the 20 or so community members gathered to hold any questions until Super- intendent Teresa Brown summarized the plan.

Before the plan could be outlined, one man present stood to commend the composed dedication and resourcefulness shown by teachers and others last spring when COVID-19 unexpectedly forced the closure of traditional schools and necessitated e-learning.

Just 30 minutes of summarizing and answ-ering questions later, the Jennings County School Corporation's "Panthers' Prepare & Care" plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year was approved.

Parents will now have the choice to register their child for a re-imagined traditional school model or an online school model. Links to parent guides with details of the plan for the elementary, middle and high schools are available on the JCS website and Facebook page. Once parents review the guide in its entirety, they can begin registration for their child July 1-10. Transportation and internet forms will also need to be completed during registration.

Students' first day is scheduled Aug 6.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

'Hands-free' talking in car now the law
Starting July 1, most of the bills that were enacted earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly will officially become law. JC Prosecutor Brian Belding wants you to be aware of one that will affect just about everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

COVID-19
The Indiana State Department of Health reports the number of confirmed cases in Jennings as of Wed-nesday morning stood at 169, 5 more than last week with 1519 people tested. Deaths are now at 10.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PPE items are still available
Anna Walker, special projects coordinator for the EDC, reports 61 local businesses and non-profits (not including NV City Departments) have been served in the PPE giveway funded by the NV Redevel-opment Commission. Eighty-one gallons of hand sanitizer and 3600 masks have been given away. The PPE marketplace welcomes businesses to apply online at www.jenningsedc.com and order sanitizer and face masks. The market will be open while supplies last.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Local company celebrates success
Four generations of an expanding company broke ground last month with promises of even more growth in future years.

Layman Fabrication, Inc., founded in 2003, announced in February it had landed a sizable contract with Honda and thus needed to expand to a larger facility. The North Vernon Redevelopment Commission embraced the project and obliged with an agreement to grant the locally owned company 10 acres it owned adjacent to Layman's current facility at 350 North and 75 West; to provide a tax abatement; and to purchase its current facility for $510,000, which the NVRC will now use as a site to attract new industry.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fireworks set to celebrate freedom
Fireworks will light up the sky here in Jennings thanks to the determination of a new organization spearheaded by local businessmen Trent Wisner and Kyle Layman.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

School Board Reopens
The JC School Board voted on Thursday, June 25 and the school reopen plan has been approved. Below is an introduction from Superintendent Teresa Brown with a brief summary of the Jennings County School Corporation's "Panther's Prepare & Care" plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

Links to the full parent guide book for elementary, middle and high schools can be found here: https://www.jcsc.org/news#upcomingplans

Friday, June 26, 2020

At long last, reservoir tapped

Fresh, clean water should never again be a concern for those lucky people who are customers of the North Vernon Water Department.

That is because after almost six years of overcoming seemingly one "pitfall" after another, water from the new North Vernon reservoir is now flowing trough the taps of utility service customers, providing a much cleaner product than the utility's former source, the Muscatatuck River.

"This is a monumental occasion," said USB President Terry Thompson to those gathered shoulder to shoulder at the reservoir Thursday afternoon. What began as the most economical solution to safeguard the city's water supply from any hazardous spill occurring on the bypass morphed into a six-year $5,044,751.74 project.

Back in March 2016, the former Hansen 80-acre quarry and entire 160-acre property was sold to the city for $2.5 million. The Indiana Department of Transportation paid $2 million of the cost while the NV Redevelopment Commission chipped in $500,000.

From that point, it was up to the city and its Utility Service Board to develop the quarry into its sustainable water source.

Plans were formulated to pump Muscatatuck River water up to the quarry to replenish and stabilize its water level, as well as plans to bring the quarry water over to the North Vernon Water Plant on Ninth Street.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


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