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NEWS October 4, 2015

Getting the work done
Getting the work done
North Vernon Police Department took matters - or should we say brushes? - into their own hands last week to paint the exterior of their new work­out room in the old city garage next to the Plain Dealer & Sun. Completing the work were, front to back, Chief James Webster and Officers Luke Newsom and Casey Jones.-Staff Photo by Barbara King

City, Jennings Water talking
In figurative terms, the water has run hot and cold in recent years between Jennings Water Inc. (JW) and the City of North Ver­non.

At Monday's City Council meeting, the tap turned a bit warmer as Jennings Water representatives asked the city to consider hooking onto its water supply.

"Does it make sense to spend money on the quarry (a proposed project) and still have questionable quality water, or spend a lot less and have reliable, good quality water?" Dave Bees­ley, JW board president, asked the council.

A nonprofit membership-owned utility, JW serves much of the area outside the city. Its water comes from a well field and treatment plant at Red­dington in eastern Jackson County, a few miles west of the Jennings County line.

The city has been studying for years the possibility of using a large, abandoned quarry on former Hanson Aggregates property off Fifth Street as a water supply reservoir. That plan calls for the Indiana Depart­ment of Transpor­tation, which acquired the Hanson property as part of the U.S. 50 east bypass project, to give the quarry to the city. Then the city would install infrastructure to fill the quarry with water from the Muscatatuck River and connect that reservoir to the nearby city water works for treatment and distribution to customers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last July's floods will aid Saturday's river sweepers
What does the recent discovery of liquid water on the surface Mars have to do with the Shady Sweep river cleanup set for Saturday in Jennings County?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

College Fair to include 20 schools
As we went to press, 20 colleges and universities have committed to attend the upcoming College Fair at Jennings County High School.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EDC works to boost education levels
With focus turning to college entrance examinations and scores for local students, the Eco15 of the Jennings County Economic Development Commission (EDC) is looking at statistics within the county as far as education of workers is concerned.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

JCHS stands out in ACT scores
The results of the ACT, known as the college readiness test, are in and Jennings County High School students taking the test scored higher than the state average in all testing areas.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Police: Mother of abandoned baby in danger

Police are looking for the mother of an eight-pound newborn baby boy left outside a North Vernon church Thursday afternoon.

"It is extremely important that the mother of this child is located due to medical concerns following the delivery of the child," said Lt. Randall Marshall of the North Vernon Police Department.

The baby, whom police are calling Baby Boy Doe, has an infection and is being treated at Columbus Regional Hospital.

"Our concern now is the fact that since the Baby Boy Doe has this infection, his mother most likely has the same infection," Marshall said. "According to information we received it is imperative that the mother immediately go to the nearest hospital for treatment. This infection could be life threatening if not treated soon. This infection is above and beyond any of our earlier concerns of complications, which could cause the mother health issues."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bypass junction still hazardous
A recent traffic accident at SR 750, the new bypass, and U.S. 50 was eerily similar to a 2014 mishap that resulted in a fatality. This time, however, the one person hurt was treated for minor injuries at the scene by Rescue 20 paramedics.

Monday, September 28, 2015

NV candidates in spotlight
The 2015 North Vernon election campaign will undoubtedly rev up considerably on Thursday, Oct. 1, when candidates in the Nov. 3 city election will participate in the Political Forum at the Park Theatre Civic Center.

Monday, September 28, 2015

2-hour standoff ends in arrest
After a two-hour standoff, police were able to coax a North Vernon man into surrendering outside a Country Squire Lakes home Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 23.

Monday, September 28, 2015

South State project in limbo
Road crews have not been on South State Street for over four months. Yet a $3.9 million project that began two years ago to widen and add a center turn lane to a mile long stretch of the busy roadway remains unfinished.
The work was supposed to be completed by May 15, over four months ago. All that basically remains to be done is the laying of a top surface of asphalt over the intermediate layer, striping of lane markings and a few other minor finishing touches.
Like numerous other unfinished road maintenance projects around Indiana, this one is in limbo. The issue is deficiencies in one or more layers of material on the roadways.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Preserving Jennings history
Preserving Jennings County history is important, which is obvious to most everyone.
It is so important that several county officials teamed up with a group of students to restore a state historical marker that signifies the birthplace of Hannah Milhous Nixon, the mother of a former United States President Richard Milhous Nixon.
"I've never got to do anything like this before," said Savanna Michi, a Jennings County High School art student. "This was neat, helping save a part of our history. I am proud to be part of it."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Day of Caring to kick off JC United Way drive
Every spring for the last 14 years, the Jennings County United Way has conducted a Day of Caring to help those in need in the community.
This year, the United Way will also hold its first Day of Caring in the fall to kick off its annual fund-raising campaign.
"We want to double the impact with a second Day of Caring this year," explained Cheri Massey, United Way director. "This will be a great way to start our campaign while joining hands to work together and care for one another in a very tangible way."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bridge problems continue for Jennings County
The Geneva Ford Bridge remains closed to traffic four months after Jennings County highway crews put up barriers to keep vehicles off of it.
The repairs would cost an estimated $225,000 and take two months to complete, Michael Obergfell told Jennings County commissioners recently.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2 jailed for threats at JCHS
On Friday, Sept. 18, schools throughout the Jen­nings County School Corp. (JCSC) district were operating on a modified lockdown as a precaution following the arrest of two Jennings County High School students on Thurs­day.

According to Dr. Terry Sargent, JCSC superintendent, the North Vernon Police Department arrested the two students who reportedly had made serious threats against the high school, students and staff.

"The school administration immediately began an investigation in cooperation with the North Vernon Police Department, the Jen­nings County Probation Office and the Jennings County Sheriff's Office," Sargent explained. "Both students have been placed in a juvenile detention facility, and the school is seeking to expel both students."

The investigation continues as law enforcement authorities attempt to determine the possible involvement of any other students.

The modified lockdown meant that in addition to the doors entering the school being locked, which they are now done throughout school hours, classroom doors are also closed and locked.

The two 16-year-old males are currently being held at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center in Brownstown.

"They will continue to be retained there until further hearing," said Jen­nings County Prosecutor Brian Belding.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Change in voting location
Voters in North Vernon city precincts 2A and 2B will be going to a different place than they did in the primary to cast their votes in the city election in November.

Monday, September 21, 2015

2 JCHS students jailed for threats
On Friday, Sept. 18, schools throughout the Jennings County Schools district were operating on a modified lockdown as a precaution following the arrest of two students on Thursday.
Friday, September 18, 2015

LOIT controversy ignites
The Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) was supposed to be a solution for Jennings County's cash-strapped volunteer fire departments. Now it is turning into another source of discontent for the rural departments.

Half of the $1.5 million LOIT revenue - $750,000 - that the county is receiving in 2015 must go for public safety. The other half is for property tax relief.

According to the proposed 2016 budget recommended by Reedy and Associates to the Jennings County Council, $120,000 of that, or 18.9 percent of the county's LOIT revenue, will go to seven fire departments. Each has been earmarked to receive $20,000.

On the other hand, the Jennings County Sheriff's Department's share of the LOIT revenue is proposed at $486,784, including $140,000 for inmate meals.

"It's horrible that feeding the jail inmates is more important than helping firefighters who volunteer their lives," said Ben Hamilton, assistant chief of the Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Department (VFD).

"We're not happy with it," added Mike Burkman, chief of the Scipio-Geneva Township VFD.

One councilor, Josh Yeager (R-District 3), said the council is caught in a Catch-22 position.

"No matter what we do, we aren't going to make everybody happy," he said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Homecoming excitement at JCHS
It's been a week filled with homecoming celebrations at Jennings County High School and it will all culminate on Friday when the 2015 JCHS Homecoming King and Queen are crowned at halftime of the football game.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Donkeys, pigs and more coming to Commiskey
The Commiskey Fall Festival is well known for its donkey races, and not just in the Montgomery Township and Jennings County areas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mercy Rescue BarkARoo Music Festival Satuday
There will be music, food and even a few lovable dogs at Mercy Rescue and Adoption's fourth annual BarkARoo Music Festival and fund-raiser on Satur­day, Sept. 19. The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Animal Sanc­tuary located at 6870 W. CR 300N (Erich K Road) west of North Vernon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

School board considers 2016-17 calendar options
At their meeting on Monday night, the Jennings County School Board was presented with two different calendars for them to consider for the 2016-17 school year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New contract reflects discrepancies between poorer and richer districts

Teachers within the Jennings County School Corp. (JCSC) agreed to no raises during the upcoming school year as part of a new one-year contract that was approved by the school board during a special meeting on Wednesday.

Instead of an increase in their salary, teachers will be receiving a $20 stipend monthly to assist with paying for their health insurance.

"The insurance package went up about 10 percent for the entire plan," explained Jeannie Koelmel, JCSC administrative assistant. "That is pretty significant. Some saw an increase as much as $175 additional per month."

In an attempt to keep insurance costs down, a higher deductible was implemented beginning June 1.

One area that is governing teacher contract negotiations, is that Indiana legislators have agreed that if a school corporation is operating at a deficit, they can only have a one year contract with their teachers. They are also not allowed to give raises which puts JCSC teachers in a holding pattern.

JCSC continues to lose state support financially due to new formulas that are being put into place. For example, a huge change for JCSC deals with the students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches. JCSC has a total of 4,487 students and of those, 2,131-47 percent or nearly half-receive free or reduced cost lunches.

Monday, September 14, 2015

JCHS Homecoming Week here!
The parade route will be different but that won't hamper the fun during this week's 2015 Jennings County High School Home­coming.

Monday, September 14, 2015

They've got the meats and facelift
Twenty-five years ago, Arby's opened their newest restaurant in the chain and it was in North Vernon.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CSL 'czar' eyes lofty goals
For years, Michael T. Miller heard the despairing talk about Country Squire Lakes, how the Geneva Township development where over 3,500 people reside was a growing cancer on Jennings County and would only grow worse over time.

"You are looking at it all wrong," Miller told people. "You're thinking negative instead of positive. Country Squire is a beautiful area with woods and lakes for boating and fishing. It should be a showplace where anyone would want to live."

A chorus of those predicting an ongoing and steep downward spiral for CSL often drowned out Miller's words of hope, but that all changed last May.

That is when the North Vernon man became receiver of the CSL Community Association.

"Yes, I was retired," said Miller, who formerly managed and co-owned ComPonX, a plastic injection molding factory in North Vernon. "I didn't have to do this.

"But I care about Jennings County. That is why I took this position."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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