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NEWS July 27, 2017

Working on the bypass
Working on the bypass
Crews with Dave O'Mara Contractor of North Vernon work along the U.S. 50 bypass near the former Hanson Aggregates Quarry, which can be seen in the background. The top layer of pavement remains to be laid and other work still has to be completed on the eastern section of the bypass, which the Indiana Department of Transportation says it expects to open to traffic in late September.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer

Tentative site for new jail
After a three-month search, the Jennings County Jail Committee has found property for the proposed new jail.


A verbal sales agreement between the county and the property owners is contingent on two factors: approval by the Jennings County Council and the real estate appraisal coming in at no more than the offered price.

The property, located north of NVIC, is a 42-acre tract at 4665 N. CR 75W owned by Richard L. and Verna Martin of India­napolis.

"It's not my 100 percent best pick," said Jen­nings County Commis­sioner Matt Sporleder (R-District 3), also a jail committee member, "but it's the only one we've been able to find that I believe will appraise out."

"It's a little far out but I think it's workable," said Sheriff Gary Driver, another committee member. "It's in the right price range and it backs up to county property (the fairgrounds)."

A joint meeting of the county commissioners and council will be held Tues­day, Aug. 22, to discuss the proposed sale.

"We have got to make sure everyone is on board with this," Sporleder said.

"We need the full support of the Council and the commissioners," added Councilor Dave Woodall (R-at large), who is also on the jail committee. "Our committee is just the advisory group that is doing the research so the county does this the right way. But we know we won't be able to please everybody."

Sporleder, Driver and Woodall would not divulge how much the county is offering the Martins, saying he did not want to derail the proposed deal.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A very rude awakening
A North Vernon woman sleeping in her bedroom received a rude awakening Monday morning.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

School board interviews candidates
The Jennings County School Board will be deciding Wednesday, July 26, during a special meeting who will be joining them on the board after they interviewed three candidates on Monday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pet population explosion
When a North Vernon man was left with three cats last year, abandoned by their former owner, he failed to do the wise thing.

"The guy neglected to get the cats spayed and neutered," said Anne Poore of Mercy Rescue and Adoption. "In less than a year, those three cats turned into 21 cats."

It's a classic case of the pet population explosion that Poore and others with animal groups see all the time.

"People so often have no idea how fast cats reproduce," Poore said.

Steve, whose last name is being withheld, came to Mercy Rescue for help.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

'Next Level' projects coming
Construction plans for the first five years of a new 20-year program to improve Indiana's roads and bridges will include $4.9 million in projects in Jennings County.

The state's Next Level Roads initiative, announced last week by Gov. Eric Holcomb, calls for 24 lane miles to be resurfaced and four bridges to be rehabilitated or replaced on highways in the county from 2018 through 2022.

"This funding was made available thanks to a responsible and comprehensive plan passed by the legislature this session," said State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), who represents North Vernon and most of Jennings County. "These local improvements will help keep Hoosiers safe as they travel on our roadways, while also helping to secure Indiana's position as the Crossroads of America."

State Rep. Randy Frye, who represents eastern and northern portions of Jennings County, was equally effusive.

"It is great to see that more than $200 million is being invested in local road and bridge improvements in our area," Frye said. "Over the next five years, we will be resurfacing crumbling roads, installing traffic signals and rehabilitating bridges. This local funding ensures that our communities are included in our effort to take our state to the 'next level' while making Hoosier safety a priority."

Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Commissioner Joe McGuinness detailed the construction plans, which total $4.7 billion, that were formulated after the General Assembly advanced legislation this session that provides funding for a long-term, sustainable, data-driven infrastructure plan.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Spotlight on airport
When the U.S. Army Air Corps constructed an airfield for military training on the north side of North Vernon in 1943, only a few local residents were involved.

Monday, July 24, 2017

School board seat to be filled
The Jennings County School Board has released the scheduled meetings they have planned for the upcoming week.

The schedule has been altered as the board begins the process of selecting one of three candidates to fill the seat left vacant by Susan Taylor. Taylor resigned from the board on June 30 so she could accept a position as a Jennings County High School guidance counselor. Taylor's seat requires the board member to reside in Center Township.

Three people will be interviewed for the position. Zack Campbell, Amanda "Mandy" Creech and Amy Pettit all submitted applications to be considered to fill the remaining time of Taylor's term.

On Monday, July 24, the board will begin the night by meeting in executive session at 5 p.m. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the board will interview each of the three candidates during a public meeting.

The regular meeting of the board will begin a half-hour later than normal to allow for plenty of time to interview the prospective board members. This meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, July 26, the school board will have a special meeting to appoint the new board member. This meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m.

All the meetings will be held in the Jennings County School Corpora­tion's Central Administra­tion Office located at 34 Main St., North Ver­non.

The application process for applying to be considered for the vacant set on the school board included submitting your views on a number of different areas.

Below are the answers provided by the three candidates to those questions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bring on the sweet corn
Sweet corn and juicy tomatoes have been available at the Jennings County Farmers' Market for a couple of weeks, though in limited amounts. Shoppers snap up the produce quickly, leaving latecomers to the morning market out of luck.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Man hunt ends with arrest
A 13-hour search for a North Vernon man wanted for allegedly committing a strong-arm robbery ended Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vernon to host JC200 dinners, parade
Jennings County's yearlong bicentennial celebration will continue this weekend in Vernon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CSL Community Cleanup this weekend
It will be cleanup time in Country Squire Lakes this weekend.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Square dancing in Vernon Friday
Get out the dancing shoes and head to the historic Jennings County seat.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

3 candidates for school board
Three Center Town­ship residents have applied to be considered for one of the District 4 seats currently vacant on the Jennings County School Board.

The candidates are Zack Campbell, Mandy Creech and Amy Pettit.

Teresa Brown, Jen­nings County Schools Corp. superintendent, explained three individuals had applied to fill the seat left vacant when Susan Taylor resigned from the board last month to accept a position as a Jennings County High School guidance counselor.

Taylor's resignation was effective June 30 and Indiana statute requires the board fill that vacant seat within 30 days. All applications were due by last Friday, July 14.

"I need to talk to the president of the board (Steve Elmore) about how we will be handling the interview process," Brown noted. "Ideally, we would have the candidates come in for interviews before the school board's next regular meeting on Mon­day, July 24.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Training helps keep tree trimmers safe
Around 50 employees of H&L Tree Trimming did some unique hands-on training Thursday high in trees outside the firm's headquarters in North Vernon.

Monday, July 17, 2017

'Double dipper' must pay $30K
Double dipping did not pay off for a North Vernon man.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Rural Community Fellowship to meet Thursday in Deputy
The Rural Commu­nity Fellowship will meet at Pisgah United Methodist Church in Deputy at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 20.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Medical Assistant training program coming to NV
Vincennes University will offer a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Training Program this fall in North Vernon.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Here comes the sun
North Vernon's time in the sun is fast approaching, with terms of the loan to finalize its transition to solar now finalized.

"It's one big step," summed up Clerk-Treas­urer Shawn Gerkin.

According to Gerkin, the city will borrow $5.399 million from MainSource Bank at a 2.45 percent interest rate to convert all of its facilities to solar power. The first re-payment of the loan will be due about a year-and-a-half later when construction is completed. Interest will continue to accrue during the construction phase.

The City Council authorized Mayor Mike Ochs to execute the documents last month, and they were signed Thurs­day, July 6.

Johnson-Melloh Solu­tions is the company that brought the bold idea to the Council in February. The company is the firm that led the energy transformation at the Jennings County Public Library in 2014 and is known nationally for its expertise in sun-powered energy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fair attendance soars
The 137th annual Jennings County Fair is history.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

From coach to principal
With the start of the 2017-18 school year less than four weeks away, Sand Creek Elementary School has a new principal.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Commiskey man jailed after chase
A Commiskey man is in the Jefferson County Jail in Madison on drug and handgun charges after leading Madison city police on a pursuit Sunday afternoon, July 9.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Police: Fire deliberately set
"It sounded like a bomb went off," said James Toepfert.

Toepfert and his wife, Ginger Helmburg, were in their apartment at 23 W. Poplar St. watching a movie when an explosion rocked their living quarters late Thursday.

The explosion occurred when Jonathon N. White, 27, allegedly lit a fire in the apartment next door to Toepfert and Helmburg's after dousing the interior with gasoline, according to police.

White is now in the Jennings County Jail facing a preliminary charge of arson, a Level 4 felony, and probation violation. As of Monday morning, he is still being held in lieu of a $2,055 cash bond.

Toepfert and Helm­burg were not injured and their apartment sustained no damage during the explosion and fire, but they were shaken.

"I thought a vehicle had smashed into the apartment building," Toepfert said. "Our whole apartment shook. I ran outside and saw flames, smoke and broken glass. The force of the explosion went through the side window, thank goodness, and not through the wall between our apartment and theirs. We were very lucky."

Monday, July 10, 2017

Road work to close SR 250 for 11/2 months
The Indiana Depart­ment of Transportation (INDOT) plans to close State Road 250 for up to 45 days in southwestern Jennings County starting this week.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fair wedding high in the sky
ABOVE: The couple waves to onlookers below from near the top of the Ferris wheel during their first ride as husband and wife.-Staff Photos by Sharon Hamilton

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hot dog!
It may not be quite in the same league as the annual Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Coney Island boardwalk, but the Jennings County Fair's Hot Dog Eating Contest is still a whole lot of fun.

Monday, July 10, 2017

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