Walter Grills, owner of Air One Heating and Cooling, presents a $2000 check to Colleen Malone, founder of the FLASH program (Free Lunches All Summer Hurrah!). Grills' company ran a special last summer with a percentage of each air conditioning installation to be donated to FLASH. This past summer, FLASH provided free lunches at three sites and had "Our biggest summer ever," reports Colleen. With the contribution from Grills, FLASH is off to a great start in raising the approximate $10,000 needed to feed the children during summer break from school in 2018.-Staff Photo by Barbara King
The work is already well underway for the 138th annual Jennings County Fair. "We are hitting the ground running," said Randy Shepherd, the new president of the fair board. "We have a lot of ideas, enthusiasm and energy. And we welcome input from the community. This is a fair for all of Jennings County." The fair board, which sports four new faces, met for the first time this year with a marathon session on Jan. 10. Among the topics discussed was how to improve attendance at the grandstand shows. "The grandstand events should have all been planned two months ago," said Mark Holwager, who joined the board on Jan. 1 and serves as vice president. "But somehow, someway we're going to put together a series of good shows. We are pretty ambitious." Holwager said the fair board plans to utilize the grandstand shows more to boost attendance for the fair, which will be held June 11-16 this year. Talks are underway with several groups, including the Battle of the Bluegrass Pulling Series that puts on truck and tractor pulls in the region, he added. Holwager came to the Jennings County Board of Commissioners at its Jan. 11 meeting to explain the plans and to seek assistance from the county. "We need (protective) fencing in front of the grandstand and concrete barriers for the tractor pulls and other (motorsport) shows," Holwager said. "We also need the track to be graded." Jennings County Highway Department personnel and equipment will grade the track surface before the fair, as it has always done, noted Commissioner Matt Sporleder (R-District 3). Sporleder also said he would donate concrete barriers he owns that are stored at his farm. Meanwhile, Shepherd says the fair board has no option but to hold the 2018 fair three weeks earlier than originally planned because of the carnival firm contracted for the midway. Luehr's Ideal Rides of Belleville, Ill., told the fair board last month that it was firm on the June 11-16 dates, even though fair board members said that was not part of the two-year contract with the company that began in 2017. The Jennings County Fair Board will next meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Coordinating Council and Trustee Center, 203 Hoosier St., North Vernon. Shepherd and other fair board members said the public is invited and encouraged to attend, and to bring their ideas and suggestions with them. Monday, January 22, 2018
Over the years, many arrowheads and other Native American artifacts have been found in Jennings County. Collecting these pieces of primitive history is a popular hobby in the area, even though often times people don't know exactly what they have found. On Thursday, Jan. 25, area residents will get their chance to have their artifacts "appraised" by an expert at the Jennings County Historical Society's museum in Vernon's North American House.
A North Vernon man is in the Jennings County Jail facing preliminary felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor after he was arrested Friday by North Vernon Police. Raymond T. Clarke, 20, remains in jail as of Monday morning on that count, a Level 5 felony, and also faces a preliminary charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class A misdemeanor. City police officers received a complaint Thursday that alleged an inappropriate relationship involving Clarke and the reporting person's 14-year-old daughter, according to Sgt. Andrew Richmond of the North Vernon Police Department.
Three people were hospitalized after a two-vehicle head-on accident Saturday night that closed Highway 7 for nearly an hour in Geneva Township. The accident occurred at 8:55 p.m. directly in front of the Dollar General Store. Monday, January 22, 2018
How much can Jennings County spend on a new jail without raising taxes?
That was the question raised last week by members of the Jennings County Board of Commissioners and Council.
Then late Tuesday, Jan. 16, financial consultant Jeff Peters informed county officials that he estimates that number at $12.8 million.
That amount, which would come from the county's Local Income Tax (LIT) revenue, "is severely insufficient to solve the problem," said Peters in an email.
"This amount also does not address any additional new operational costs or any amounts that the county would additionally appropriate and spend beyond the currently adopted $2.3 million budget," Peters added.
Last year, DLZ Indiana estimated a new jail will cost $23 million to $41 million.
Before this latest bombshell, Matt Sporleder (R-District 3), president of the commissioners and also a jail committee member, said at Thursday's commissioners' meeting that other financial consultants had projected the no-tax-increase figure at $20 million. Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The "spec" building owned by BTWD LLC, one of the Harmon companies, is now off the table as a potential site for a new Jennings County Jail.
So says Matt Sporleder (R-District 1), president of the Jennings County Board of Commissioners and a member of the jail committee, after a stormy meeting Thursday.
"The city is so adamant against it that I can't recommend going forward to try to pursue purchasing the property," Sporleder said. "The city can't stop us from buying it, but they have the final say on how the property is zoned. The land would have to be rezoned (from industrial) to institutional before we could put a jail there. The city (council), not the Area Plan Commission, has the final yea or nay on that."
The building and 12 acres are located at 3205 N. Fourth St./CR 75 West, just south of the SR 750/U.S. 50 bypass, in North Vernon Industrial Park 3. The 50,000-square foot shell structure is unfinished inside and was constructed four years ago by Harmon Construction at a reported cost of $750,000. The North Vernon Redevelopment Commission or TIF (Tax Increment Financing Board) funded $325,000 of the construction with the building to be used to attract an industry to the location. Monday, January 15, 2018
The filing is now underway for candidates tossing their hats into the ring for the 2018 election.
On the first day that candidates can file, several hopefuls converged on the Jennings County Courthouse Wednesday morning to take care of their paperwork.
More are expected in the coming days. Candidates have until noon Friday, Feb. 9, to file for the election.
Midterm election years historically have had depressed voter turnout, but that may not be the case in 2018 predict the chairs of both major parties in Jennings County. They point to President Trump and the sentiments of support and disapproval for him reverberating among local voters.
"The political climate is highly charged right now," said Jeanie Hahn, Republican Party chair. "I'm hearing a lot of rumbling from the grassroots folks who normally don't say a lot. They don't like the liberal agenda being pushed by Democrats."
Jack Gay, Democratic Party chair, agrees that voters are fired up, but for a different reason. Wednesday, January 10, 2018
This year's county fair is tentatively set for June 11-16, three weeks earlier than planned.
That is the week the carnival company, Luehrs' Ideal Rides, told the Jennings County Fair Board it is coming to the Jennings County Fairgrounds. Luehrs is the firm that supplied the midway for the 2017 fair, the first year of a two-year contract.
Last year's fair took place during the first week of July. The 2018 fair dates were also supposed to be the first week of July, but now apparently won't be because of Luehrs.
"They pulled a bad deal on us," said Bob Itell of the Fair Board. "Luehrs said we have to take the (June 11-16) dates."
It was not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition either, according to Itell and others.
"We told Luehrs' people that they are breaching the contract," Itell said. "They said it wasn't (a contract breach) because they had a verbal agreement (for the June dates) with one of our board members."
Fair Board members dispute that, according to Itell. Monday, January 8, 2018
At first, the Jennings County School Corporation was going to have a two-hour delay on Monday because of slick roads, but then as the morning wore on the decision was made to cancel school entirely for the day.