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December 11, 2019

Christmas project boost
Christmas project boost
The Jennings County Community Foundation last week contributed $2,000 to the Jennings County Coordinating Council's Christmas Basket fund. Community Foundation Director Joanie Van Horn, center, is flanked by Coordinating Council director Bee Murphy, left, and volunteer Freda Smith. "This donation is huge for this project and is pushing us closer to what we need, but we still have a ways to go," says Murphy. Contributions can be hand delivered or mailed to the Coordinating Council office, 203 Hoosier St., telephone 812-346-5183.-Submitted Photo



Smithsonian coming to NV
The Smithsonian Institute is coming to North Vernon this week as Jennings County is the next stop on the Indiana tour of the Smithsonian's Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibit.

The exhibit's six-week run will kick off Thursday, Dec. 12, with a reception from 4 to 5:45 p.m. at the Stellar Building (also known as the Picklesimer Building), 22 N Madison Ave, at the north end of the Stellar Plaza.

Then at 6 p.m. on Thursday, the opening ceremonies continue across the street at the Park Theatre Civic Centre for a special concert and free showing of the movie "Friendly Persuasion."

As part of Indiana Humanities' INseparable initiative, the interactive display in the Stellar Movie tracks the national ebb and flow of rural America from farming to industrialization to the digital age with the local exhibit to emphasize Jennings County. The Smithsonian exhibit will continue to be on display in North Vernon through Sunday, Jan. 26.

Several local components will be among the exhibit's highlights. They include a Jennings County "identity cabinet" made by Jennings County High School students and filled with drawers of local historical artifacts and an attractive timeline display that juxtaposes local history with national events.

"This project is about building pride in our community and an awareness of where we've come, where we are and where we're going," said Joanie Van Horn, executive cirector of the Jennings County Community Foundation.

Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, a travel-through-musical history concert by the Woodshop Boys will take place at the Park Theatre Civic Centre. Then at 7 p.m., a special showing of the 1956 Hollywood movie "Friendly Persuasion," will begin.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The happiest day of the year
In this state, there are currently more than 1,500 children eligible for adoption. During Adop­tion Month, the sun shines in on this normally private legal matter and the public is allowed to witness firsthand the beauty of adopting a child and welcoming them into their forever family.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Battle against drug dealers
Jennings County Sheriff Kenny Freeman says he is staying true to his word on the battle against drug dealers after five people were arrested, four on charges of dealing heroin or methamphetamine, in North Vernon and Country Squire Lakes Thursday evening, Dec. 5.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Search leads to traffic accident victim Friday
The search for a missing North Vernon man ended Friday evening, Dec. 6, when his body was found in a crashed vehicle.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Woman dies in bus wreck
A Jennings County School Corp. employee died in a two-vehicle accident involving a school bus and a truck early Wednesday at the Highway 3 and 7 junction on the south side of Vernon.

The deceased is Mary Boyd, 74, an assistant on the JCSC School Bus No. C138 driven by Bob Ringer, 72. Ringer was not injured, according to authorities.

There were no children on the bus at the time of the accident, around 6:35 a.m. The bus is one used to transport special needs children to Sand Creek Elementary School.

The bus was only a few miles from picking up its first student of the route when the accident occurred.

The bus collided with a truck at the junction of northbound Highway 3 and Highway 7. The truck, belonging to Dave O'Mara Contractor of North Vernon and driven by Harry "Tom" Palmer Jr., 48, collided with the front passenger side of the bus. Palmer was not injured.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

NV man named to state board
Gov. Eric J. Holcomb last week announced several new appointments and reappointments to various state boards and commissions.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dressed in holiday style
City sidewalks are dressed in holiday style and downtown is all ready for Saturday's Christmas in the City festival.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Different meaning for Black Friday
Black Friday had a different meaning for a North Vernon man who was arrested after attempting to return a cell phone to a local business and the box contained his drug paraphernalia.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Entries being accepted for Christmas in the City parade
Parade entries are still being accepted for the 19th annual Christmas in the City festival that will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, in downtown North Vernon.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Cannabis crusader

While he faces a formidable obstacle in Gov. Eric Holcomb, State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) is pressing forward with his mission to legalize marijuana in Indiana.

Lucas failed last year with a bill he authored that would have approved the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state.

In the upcoming session of the state legislature, Lucas plans to put forward two measures related to marijuana.

The four-term lawmaker whose district includes North Vernon and the western half of Jennings County may be a conservative on most issues, but not when it comes to marijuana.

"Absolutely," Lucas answered when asked by The Sun if he plans to continue advocating for the legalization of cannabis during the Indiana General Assembly's 2020 session.

The next session, which starts Monday, Jan. 6, and is scheduled to end March 11, is the so-called "short session," in contrast to the "long session" held every other year. In 2020, legislators are limited to five bills they can introduce. Two of Lucas' proposals will involve marijuana, he told The Sun.

"I will reintroduce my bill to legalize medical cannabis and I will also have a bill that reduces the penalty to a Class B misdemeanor for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana," he said.

Monday, December 2, 2019

350 properties on county tax sale list
Nearly 350 properties will potentially be up for bid at the Jennings County Commissioners Property Tax Certificate Sale on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Task force tackles jail issues
A state task force is uncovering data that State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) believes will greatly help lawmakers craft solutions to relieve overcrowding in many of Indiana's county jails, including Jennings County's.

"We are dealing with severe issues here," Frye said. "We are compiling very important information that I think will help us come up with legislation to address the issues."

The County Jail Overcrowding Task Force was formed as part of Enrolled Act 1065, a bill authored by Frye that passed during the 2019 legislative session and was signed into law by Eric Holcomb earlier this year. The law was born out of his discussions with Jennings County officials about the serious overcrowding at its jail, according to Frye, who represents part of Jennings.

The law allows county sheriffs to transfer inmates convicted of low-level felonies to state-operated regional holding facilities in order to reduce overcrowding in county jails.

"The state created the problem," Frye said, referring to a 2016 law requiring convicted Level 6 felons to be incarcerated in county jails instead of state prisons. "The state should fix it."

The task force, which began its work in July, has met three times to investigate the problems. More than any other, one detail it uncovered surprised Frye and other task force members.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hall of Famers
Members of the Jennings County High School Alumni Hall of Fame Committee have announced the JCHS Hall of Fame's newest members.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Space heater ignites fire
It's that time of year again when space heaters that have been mostly unused since last winter can cause problems - big problems sometimes with destructive and even tragic consequences.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Broadband coming to western Jennings
Broadband internet service is coming soon to large areas of western Jennings County currently unserved.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced Thursday that Indiana's Next Level Broadband program has awarded an additional $6.3 million in funding to bring the first round total to $28.4 million for 14 broadband expansion infrastructure projects across the state, including one with the Jack­son County Rural Electric Membership Corporation (REMC), which serves nearly 7,000 members in Jennings County.

"This grant gives our project quite a boost," said Kaylee Bennett of Jackson County REMC. "We're very happy to get the grant."
Jackson County REMC's grant amount is nearly $1.3 million with a local match of nearly $4 million for a total project cost of nearly $5.2 million.

Jackson County REMC's not-for-profit high-speed broadband internet division, Jackson Connect, is making a broadband internet connection, up to 1 gigabits per second (Gbps), available to all 20,000 members in its service territory.

"We plan to open in stages, starting with subzones," Bennett explained. "Work on installing our main line is actually ahead of schedule, but it will take longer to hang the fiber optic lines (to households and businesses that order the service.)"

The first zone for connecting members to the service is Reddington where work will begin Monday, Dec. 2. That zone includes western Spen­cer Township in Jennings County.

Other zones are Hayden, which includes eastern Spen­cer Township and western Center Township; and Gen­eva, which includes parts of Geneva and Center townships.

Bennett estimates that the final stage will be complete by fall 2021.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Large amount of fentantyl found as 2 are arrested
When the Jennings County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team and Narcotics Team went to search a North Vernon home late Tuesday, they found a large amount of suspected fentanyl, a highly dangerous narcotic according to Maj. Dave Turner.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Time for kids to write letters to Santa
All the arrangements have been finalized for the Plain Dealer & Sun to deliver Christmas wish lists for children in the Jennings County community to that jolly old man who resides at the North Pole.

Monday, November 25, 2019

No trash pickup in NV Thursday and Friday
Because of the holidays on Thanksgiving Day and the day after, there will be no garbage pick up in the City of North Vernon on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Newspaper office to be closed Thursday, Friday
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Plain Dealer & Sun office will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Illegal dumping at Recycling Center
Except when holidays are involved, the Jen­nings County Recycling Center is open five days a week. That includes Saturdays. Sunday and Tuesday are the only days of the week that the center, located at 4800 N. Highway 3, is closed.

Monday, November 25, 2019

JC teachers add to sea of red
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

A pre-Christmas tradition
The show must go on.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

City lifts water usage restrictions
North Vernon is no longer under mandatory water restrictions. On Monday, the city's Utility Service Board voted to lift the mandate that had been in force since Aug. 22.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bells will be ringing in NV again
Bells will be ringing ... for a good cause starting next week in North Vernon.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

$2.7M jail addition proposed
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.

Monday, November 18, 2019


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