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
Add the Jennings County Farm Bureau membership to those who want to see the county's controversial jail tax rescinded.
Leaders of the group spoke to both the Jennings County Council and Board of County Commissioners in the last few days to voice what they say their membership wants.
"We represent 3,083 Farm Bureau members in Jennings County," said Don Biehle, president of the Jennings County Farm Bureau. "We think it is important to go on record with this local policy recommendation."
That recommendation calls for the total repeal of the jail tax before Oct. 31 if the county commissioners do not approve the construction of the new jail by that date.
The Jennings County Farm Bureau's board of directors approved recommending abolishing the jail tax at its Aug. 1 meeting.
"I can tell you straight up that we won't be announcing a new jail by Oct. 1," said Matt Sporleder (R-District 3), president of the commissioners.
Whether or not to rescind the jail tax or to lower its rate is up to the Jennings County Council, the fiduciary body that enacted the tax last year, not the commissioners. The board of commissioners, however, is the body that decided two years ago to begin the procedure to plan a new jail, stipulating that the total cost of planning and construction not exceed $28 million. Wednesday, August 21, 2019
The review and signing of claims is usually a mundane, cut-and-dry procedure - "the boring part," as Matt Sporleder describes it - at the semimonthly meetings of the Jennings County Board of Commissioners.
The Jennings County High School Athletic Department invites baseball players interested in a Jennings County 15u/16u summer travel tournament team to attend an information session next Thursday, Aug. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced a Jamaican man to 34 months in federal prison last Thursday for devising a lottery scam that swindled elderly victims, including one person from Jennings County who lost around $20,000.
Oraine Gray, 23, who pleaded guilty to the charges, also made a death threat to the Jennings County resident during the scam, according to authorities.
"Normally, we don't take on a (scam) case involving less than $100,000 because there is so much of it," Russell Warlick, a special agent with the FBI, told The Sun. "We took this one on because of the death threat."
The victim may get some of the $20,000 back since the FBI froze the account Gray, also known as "James Cooper," was using in the scam, according to Warlick.
"Whatever has been frozen will eventually be distributed back to the victims," Warlick said. "We normally don't recover anything in cases like this."
The Jennings County victim also unwittingly became involved as a "money mule" in helping Gray launder money amounting to around $80,000.
For the past three weeks, the Jennings County 911 Emergency Dispatch Center has been working shorthanded - severely shorthanded.
The staff, normally numbering 15 dispatchers, is down to 11 after four employees recently left for other jobs in the private sector.
"We are getting by for now and we have some quality applicants for the open positions," said Britt Burgmeier, 911 director. "We are hopeful we can complete the hiring and training so we can fill those spots soon."
All four of the former dispatchers quit at about the same time. Yet the 911 staff has not missed a beat and continues to perform its essential service, noted Nicci Lucas, the county's human resources director.
"Britt and his staff have been amazing in how they have stepped up," she said.
A 21-year veteran of the county's 911 Dispatch, Burgmeier has been the director for five years.
"This is a prime example of the teamwork my staff demonstrates on a daily basis," he said. "We have worked overtime and switched schedules around to ensure adequate staffing. The crew at 911 is second to none. They face challenges daily that would make most rethink this career choice."
A large natural gas leak in a North Vernon residential area caused some very anxious moments for emergency workers late Wednesday morning, Aug. 7.
Thanks to the speedy efforts of Bruce Campbell of Midwest Natural Gas and others, the threat of an explosion and fire was avoided and the situation came to a safe end.
"This leak was in such close proximity to several structures, it created the potential for a much larger problem for first responders on the scene had this leak ignited for any reason," said Jerry Shepherd, Jennings County Emergency Management Agency director.
A spark of any sort could have ignited the gas, causing catastrophic results, according to officials.
Around 10:52 a.m., a riding lawnmower struck a natural gas meter between Bethel Baptist Church and a home. The impact severed the meter at the base, resulting in a large amount of natural gas being released into the air. The person mowing immediately called 911. Monday, August 12, 2019
Jennings County sheriff deputies on Thursday arrested a pedestrian in Country Squire Lakes carrying a handgun in his pocket after they found out he was a convicted felon and did not have the necessary gun permit.
U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) will host a series of Academy Day events to serve as informational sessions for current high school students interested in attending one of the U.S. Military Service Academies.
Hundreds of people donated school supplies Saturday for the Stuff the Bus campaign in Jennings County headed by the Salvation Army and assisted by other groups and individuals.
"We collected 1,980 school supply items to be distributed to the Jennings County School Corp.'s elementary, middle and high schools," said Eric Jarboe, a Salvation Army volunteer who served as the event's organizer. "We are very thankful to all the people who contributed and all the volunteers."
The Indiana Salvation Army and the Indiana Walmart Corp. sponsored Stuff the Bus. Local community members donated the items which were placed by voluneers in JCSC Bus No. C1, which was parked in front of the North Vernon store.
Twenty-five volunteers representing the Jennings County Salvation Army Extension and Disaster Relief Team, Jennings County Youth Foundation, North Vernon Kiwanis Club, Jennings County High School Key Club, the Jennings County Red Kettle Bell Ringers and Bethel Baptist Church collected the donated items.
Donors were entertained by live music during the day performed by Deer Creek, Eagle Ridge and the Scattertack String Band next to the bus. Jerry Caudill provided the sound system. Wednesday, August 7, 2019