Scipio Elementary School third graders Adelyn Eaton, left, and Cami Harmon are all smiles for the first day of the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Judging by their faces, they were are happy to be back in school and ready to learn after the summer break.-Submitted Photo
A special meeting of the Jennings County Area Plan Commission Monday, Sept. 16, will look at proposed changes in zoning and other areas involving that regulatory agency being recommended by a special subcommittee.
"Our subcommittee reviewed everything from zoning ordinances to processes and protocols," said Tyler Stock, an APC board member who chairs the subcommittee. "We are going to recommend changes to make the APC more effective, improve efficiency and update procedures so they are better suited for today's world."
Monday's meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. at the conference room in the Jennings County Government Center, 200 E. Brown St., Vernon.
The APC board will review the recommendations at the meeting but will not vote on any of them, according to Stock. None of the proposals can be enacted without approval from the APC, the City of North Vernon, the Town of Vernon and the Board of County Commissioners.
Stock anticipates none of the recommendations will be controversial.
"I won't be too specific until we roll out our recommendations Monday," he said. "There are easement issues, for example, that can cause big headaches down the road, which we have addressed. There are enforcement issues which seem like no-brainers, but if there is not a law on the book the APC office can't enforce them. Wednesday, September 11, 2019
The Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC) will be a busy place next week. It won't be soldiers training at the Indiana National Guard facility's Butlerville site, as is often the case. Instead, civilians from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will be involved.
Thanks to a $100,000 donation from Donald Miller, acting as trustee of the Dr. Frank Miller estate, and the Hoosier BMW Motorcycle Club, a new restroom will soon be constructed at the Muscatatuck Park.
Ironically, legal red tape that has delayed the opening of a splash pad at the park paved the way for the new restroom, a true silver lining behind a gray cloud.
"Getting the new bathrooms will be worth the wait on getting the splash pad open," said Greg Martin, director of the Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department (JCPR).
The new restroom building will be constructed on the south side of the splash pad and playground area in the park. Bradshaw Building Specialties is the contractor with work expected to begin this month.
The total project has an estimated price tag of $126,000, including installing water and sewer connections.
The Miller-BMW donation is being facilitated through a Jennings County Community Foundation grant.
"We are happy to be part of this," said Barb Shaw, Community Foundation director. "It's very exciting to see people step up like this. The new splash pad and restrooms will add another great attraction to the Muscatatuck Park." Monday, September 9, 2019
The polling location has been changed for the North Vernon 1A and North Vernon 1B precincts in the 2019 city election. Voters in these precincts will vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Grateful Grubb Event Hall, 412 S. Madison Ave. (This was previously the Veterans of Foreign War Hall).
The good news is that the Jennings County Jail received favorable ratings on its recent annual inspection in all areas except two categories.
The bad news is the jail's inmate population remains above its rated capacity.
Sheriff Kenny Freeman says the addition of 24 bed spaces earlier this summer has greatly relieved the jail's overcrowding, the main issue that led to a now tabled proposal to consruct a new jail facility.
"We currently have bed space for 154 inmates," said Freeman, who is in his first year as sheriff. "The number now counted by the state is 124, but this will change once I submit a letter of request with the details of the changes to the areas where the new beds are located."
On the day of the inspection, which was conducted by Kenneth J. Whipker of the Indiana Department of Correction on July 26, the jail population was 158.
Eight triple-tiered bunk beds were added to the jail in July. In addition, six beds for inmate trustees that previously were not counted will be included in the jail's official capacity.
The other category where the jail fell short in the inspection was in the shower-to-inmate ratio. The state requires one shower for 12 inmates.
The public is welcome to join Dr. Eric Tannenbaum, M.D., board certified orthopedic surgeon from the Columbus Regional Health Joint and Spine Center, as he discusses the latest research on shoulder joint pain management, surgery and getting the best outcomes for returning to an active lifestyle.
Officers from five different law enforcement agencies teamed up on Wednesday evening, Aug. 29, in a countywide enforcement sweep that resulted in 28 arrests.
Officers from the North Vernon Police Department and Jennings County Sheriff's Office aided Jennings County Circuit Court and Superior Court probation officers and Indiana State Parole officers with compliance checks and conducted saturation patrols in high crime areas.
Charges for arrested persons ranged from possession of methamphetamine, possession of syringes, possession of marijuana, active warrants served and compliance violations for both probation and parole.
"These sweeps allow the departments to pool their resources and perform functions no one department could do on their own," said North Vernon Police Chief James Webster. "They also strengthen the working relationships between the departments. The results speak for themselves. A great amount of planning goes into bringing the elements together to have a successful operation like this one." Friday, August 30, 2019
While it operates out of the Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department, the Jennings County Technical Rescue Team includes volunteers from throughout the county, include other fire departments, and serves all of Jennings County.
Brad Monday and others on the Rescue Team have been asking the Jennings County Board of Commissioners to enact an ordinance that would give the group authority over jurisdiction throughout the county for water rescues and other rescues.
Instead, the commissioners and Jerry Shepherd, director of the county's Emergency Management Agency, are looking for an alternative.
"Ellie (county attorney Ellie Bright) and everyone else I've talked to think this (ordinance) would be a bad idea," said Commissioner Matt Sporleder (R-District 3) during the commissioners' semimonthly meeting last Thursday. "It would drive a wedge between the fire departments and cause turmoil."
Sporleder and fellow commissioners Dave Lane (R-District 2) and Bob Willhite (R-District 1) directed Shepherd to set up a meeting with the Rescue Team, the county's fire chiefs and 911 Director Britt Burgmeier. The commissioners want them to come up with a viable plan to ensure rescue operations are handled properly.
Our Hospice of South Central Indiana proudly announces that Survivor whose Grammy award winning hit, "Eye of the Tiger" was the No. 1 song for 7 weeks in 1982, will perform at the Our Hospice 33rd annual Free Summer Concert on Saturday, Aug. 31.
The current highway closure south of Turkey Run on South State Road 7 will move north this week as crews begin work on the second of four box culverts between the Jennings-Jefferson County line and Vernon, according to Natalie Garrett of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).
Because of the Labor Day holiday, there will be no garbage pick up in the City of North Vernon on Monday, Sept. 2. The garbage collection route normally followed those days will instead be on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Tuesday's regular route will also be collected then.
After a valve was mistakenly left open at the Brush Creek Reservoir, the water level dropped to eight feet below its normal summer pool.
The valve was closed on Tuesday and the water level is slowly rising following recent rains. Nevertheless, the City of North Vernon enacted mandatory water conservation requirements on Tuesday.
"The situation is not critical, but we are taking steps to conserve as much water as possible until the reservoir can recover more," said Will Spencer, the city's water superintendent. "Brush Creek Reservoir is our secondary source of water, so we felt we had to take this step."
The valve probably was accidentally opened during routine maintenance, according to Sgt. Brad Staggs of the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.
"We believe this occurred during routine maintenance," Staggs said. "What happened is when someone was closing the valve, they overcranked it. That left it open for about a week. As soon as we found out, we closed the valve and put a double lock on it so something like this can't happen again. It was an easy fix." Monday, August 26, 2019