Dr. Scott Terry, left, a local dentist, assists Dr. Kirk Hearne, a local optometrist, in moving equipment to the new Hearne Vision Care office on Friday. Hearne Vision Care is now open at 130 N. State St., just west of its previous location on East Poplar Street.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
Willie Steele and Harold Risner have seen a lot of horrible scenes during their military service. Both have had to deal with post traumatic stress disorder, both have come close to suicide.
Steele, the new Vet to Vet coordinator in Jennings County, and Risner talked about their brushes with suicide the other day.
Suicide is a big problem for military veterans who have PTSD. Steele and Risner know that better than most people. That's why Steele underwent training to become a Vet to Vet coordinator. That's why Risner was among those attending the open house earlier this month for the new Vet to Vet office in North Vernon.
"We understand what other veterans are going through," Steele said. "We can talk to them without them worrying about being judged."
Steele, who has lived in North Vernon for 15 years, retired from the U.S. Army in 1996. He served with the 82nd Airborne, an airborne infantry division, and was sent to Panama, Philippines and many other places to serve. He was part of the American forces that invaded Panama and captured dictator Manuel Noriega in late 1989 and early 1990. In the Philippines, he helped recover bodies after a military plane crash, a horrific duty.
At its last meeting before four new recently-elected members are seated, the Jennings County Council Tuesday revisited the controversial jail tax that it adopted in October. It's an issue that definitely will be visited again after the new council is seated next month.
After a lengthy discussion, the current council's most vocal critic of the special-use property tax, Howard Malcomb (R-at large), called for a vote on rescinding it. The council then voted 4-2 against Malcomb's proposal.
Malcomb was joined by Paul Belding (R-at large), while the four other councilors present - Tony Eder (D-District 4), Mike Kelley (R-District 1), Larry Maschino (D-District 3) and Dave Woodall (R-at large) - dissented. Josh Yeager (R-District 2) was not in attendance.
"We're moving toward starting a work-release program with Jackson County, there is talk of getting a drug rehab program and the state is looking at taking back low-level felons," Malcomb said. "With all of those, the jail's overcrowding won't be near what it is now. I don't think we should be borrowing $28 million for a new jail. It's not fair to charge taxpayers 65 cents (the rate is .65 percent of gross income) with this tax."
Woodall countered that even if the county commissioners decide not to build a new jail, funding would be needed to upgrade and remodel the current county jail.
The Affordable Christmas Store received an unexpected and welcome boost from Scipio Elementary School students. In an effort led by the school's Student Council, the youngsters collected over $2,000 in toys for the special store.
It is that time of year when the true meaning of giving comes shining through. Several not-for-profit groups are counting on residents to help them make their organization's Christmas dreams come true.
Police arrested a North Vernon woman on a pair of felony counts late Sunday afternoon after she allegedly fired a shot from a handgun during a verbal disagreement.
"There were no injuries at the scene," said Sgt. Andrew Richmond of the North Vernon Police Department.
Marla Hankins, 49, faces preliminary charges of intimidation while armed with a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony, and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, a Level 6 felony. Police also found drug paraphernalia on Hankins, resulting in another preliminary charge, this one for possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. Monday, December 10, 2018
The Jennings County Service Extension of Salvation Army has announced that JoAnn Giles is the new co-coordinator of the Jennings County Red Kettle campaign. She joins Eric Jarboe in undertaking the organizational duties of the effort where both work on a volunteer basis.
This week's featured cat is Aladdin, a one year old male. He is available immediately but will need to be brought back to be neutered. According to the Animal Control staff, Aladdin is a lover. He climbed up on this reporterís leg so she could take his picture without all the fuss. Wednesday, December 5, 2018
The ARC of Jennings County, in conjunction with the of St. Mary's/St. Ann's Knights of Columbus Council, will host its annual Christmas party for any individual having an intellectual or developmental disability and their caretakers next week. The gala will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at St. Mary's Parish Center, 212 Washington St., North Vernon. Wednesday, December 5, 2018
All but one of Jennings County's schools earned what might be called honor roll and honorable mention recognition.
The Indiana Department of Education has issued its annual letter grades - officially known as School Accountability Grades - for all schools for 2017-2018. These grades, which also include a percentage number with them, are based on results of Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-plus (ISTEP) exams taken by students in grades 3-8 and 10 last spring.
Six of the eight schools in the Jennings County School Corporation (JCSC) system increased their grades from the previous year while two dropped but only slightly.
"Our schools gained 243 total growth points," reported Katie Brennan, JCSC's director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, reported to the school board Thursday. "I commend the JCSC staff and students. Great job."
School board member Earl Taggart agreed.
"I give my heartfelt thanks to the students, teachers, administrators and our superintendent (Teresa Brown)," he said. "This improvement just didn't happen. They all need to be congratulated." Wednesday, December 5, 2018
By a 4-3 decision Thursday, the Jennings County School Board voted to proceed with adopting a pair of $5 million bonds - $10 million total.
One of the bonds is to fund a facility for the Jennings County High School wrestling program. The other bond is to upgrade other athletic facilities - baseball and softball fields and tennis courts - at the high school.
The projects will not result in any additional taxes and now is the time to go ahead with them, said the majority.
"Our kids deserve top-rate athletic facilities," said board member Amy Pettit. "Two years ago, we (JCHS) had to give up hosting the baseball sectional because of our field. Our kids deserve support for great athletics just like they do for great academics."
Pettit, Earl Taggart, Pat Sullivan and Steve Elmore voted in the affirmative. Tony Daeger, Travis Shepherd and Warren Lucas dissented, though all three said they support the proposed projects.
Daeger said he thinks more time is needed for planning. Monday, December 3, 2018