Just in time for the Sassafras Tea Festival's mock Civil War battles this weekend, the Muscatatuck Park's main road is repaired and open.
Better yet, the road's historical integrity has been presevered.
"The timing couldn't be better," said Greg Martin, Jennings County Parks and Recreation Department director. "We appreciate the county pushing to get this done before the Civil War reenactments at the park this weekend and the upcoming camping season."
The road, which had been closed since last January, was reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Monday. The problem involved a section of the road that collapsed near Vinegar Mill early last winter.
That section of the road has been deteriorating over the years. Road work was last done there in 1992.
The road is built on a cliff line on the north side of Canyon Creek and includes a retaining wall of rocks mortared together that was built around 1943 by a Works Projects Administration crew when the facility was a state park. Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Rebels are coming to Vernon again, though not like Gen. John Hunt Morgan's Raiders did in 1863. This weekend, the Rebs and Yankees will only be at each other's throats in dramatic instead of real-life fashion as they bring history to life in the historic town.
With the payments for the building of Sand Creek Elementary School and the latest addition at Jennings County High School nearly complete, the Jennings County School Board is now looking at the possibility of a $10 million bond issue to take on much needed repairs at schools throughout the district.
Also the pension bonds and a technology bond will also be coming off the budget since they will have been paid back.
"We can bond for that much and make some, not all, of the repairs needed in the district," Amber Fields, Jennings County School Corp. (JCSC) business manager explained to the board. "With those two projects coming off the budget, this bond issue will not raise the (property) tax levy."
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) is at the top of the list, especially at Jennings County High School. Chillers in the building are now 49 years old and they only have a life expectancy of 25 years. Work would be divided between two years, 2017 and 2018. Replacements would be made at several schools within the district.
Roofs are another priority that will be covered. One area that is in dire need of replacement is over the pool area at the middle school. Jennings County Middle School was one of several other schools in Indiana to discover that screws that were used for the installation of the roof were dissolving over time because of the chlorine used in the pool. The JCMS pool area roof has been anchored for now, but needs to be made secure and safe. Monday, April 17, 2017
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has notified the Jennings County United Way that Jennings County will be awarded an estimated $3,800 in federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) funds.
The City of North Vernon took another step closer to transitioning its electrical usage to solar power at their meeting Monday night.
The board voted 4-1 to proceed with plans and financing for the project, estimated to cost just over $9 million. That means that North Vernon could soon be known as "Solar City" here in Indiana and having just about all of their lighting and electrical on a renewable basis, compliments of the sun.
Mayor Mike Ochs takes the credit for initiating this revolutionary move. He explains that when he visited the Indianapolis airport last year, his eyes were opened to the power of solar energy through the 183-acre solar farm located on-site.
"When I saw it at the airport, I said 'Hold on!' This could be phenomenal for the city," the mayor recalls.
The solar farm at the Indianapolis Airport produces enough electricity to power 3650 homes. Power is sold to Indianapolis Power and Light through at 15-year purchase program.
One of the partners involved in the airport project is Johnson Melloh Solutions, whose vice president, Kyle Schneider, proposed the transformation of the city's electrical needs in February. The company was already familiar with North Vernon, as it installed the 750 high-efficiency solar panels at the JC Library in 2014.
Never mind that the mayor is a Republican, whose party leader, Donald Trump, is not a proponent of alternative energy and has even vowed to revive the coal industry. As Ochs said, "He (President Trump) is in Washington and I am here. I'm trying to do the best for the citizens of North Vernon."
Other councilors were quick to agree, noting that the city is risking little if anything in this transition to sustainability and energy independence. That is because Johnson-Melloh provides a surety bond which guarantees the solar installation will work as promised.
"I'm one hundred percent behind solar," said Trent Wisner, a Democrat, who is an electrician by trade.
North Vernon police are investigating a death resulting from a possible heroin overdose. Chase Clark, 21, of North Vernon, died early Friday at a residence at 10 Harms St. Police were called to the scene at 12:20 a.m. on a report of a possible drug overdose. Upon arrival, police found two people giving CPR to Clark, who was unresponsive and not breathing on the floor of the residence. Upon arrival, police found two people giving CPR to Clark, who was unresponsive and not breathing on the floor of the residence. "Officers administered several doses of Narcan (a heroin overdose antidote)," reported Lt. Randall Marshall of the NVPD. "However, it proved ineffective. Rescue 20 paramedics worked diligently to save him but were not successful either." Jennings County Coroner Gene Rudicel was called to the scene where Clark was pronounced dead. While on the scene, officers learned Clark had been down for at least 10 minutes before any calls for help were made. Officers obtained a search warrant for the residence and found several paraphernalia items. "The case is still under investigation," Marshall said. "No autopsy is planned. However, blood was drawn to determine what had been ingested into his system." Monday, April 10, 2017
Whenever the newest Rescue 20 ambulance is out on the road, it turns heads. "It definitely gets the attention of people whenever we pass by," said Warren Lucas, an emergency medical technician with Jennings County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the official name of Rescue 20. "They just stare at it." The sparkling new ambulance in the EMS fleet has been in service about two weeks and is definitely an eye pleaser. With a black background, the ambulance promotes epilepsy awareness. The sides of the vehicle are emblazoned with epilepsy awareness ribbon logos. It also includes signs with tips for seizure first aid and unique American flag designs. "We love it and so do the people who have seen it and commented to us about it," said Tracy Jones, EMS chief paramedic. The ambulance started getting attention on the road even before it arrived in Jennings County and went into service.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is partnering with Jennings County and all other 91 counties in the state to distribute more than 2,200 all-hazard weather radios to Hoosiers. The radios are being distributed on the local level by each county's emergency management agency (EMA), including the Jennings County's. "We have 25 all-hazard radios that we picked up last Wednesday and will be giving away free," said Jerry Shepherd, Jennings County EMA director. "These radios really can save lives." Monday, April 10, 2017
Good Friday is a holiday for county and city workers and that means no trash will be collected that day, announces Rick Marksberry of the North Vernon Street Dept. Friday's collections will be accomplished on Monday, April 17 along with the usual route. Monday, April 10, 2017
Jennings County United Way's 2016-17 fund-raising drive is history.
It's a highly positive mark in the nonprofit organization's 54-year history, too, in the opinion of Kendall Wildey and other United Way volunteers. For the second year in a row under Wildey's guidance, the fundraising drive met its goal, something that hadn't been accomplished during several recent years because of lingering effects from a national recession and local economic downturn.
Through pledges funded through payroll deductions and donations - from individuals, families, businesses and other organizations - the effort that began last fall ended last week with a total exactly right at $180,000, the mark set by Wildey.
"I'm super excited for the Jennings County community and its citizens for reaching this year's goal," said Wildey, who chaired the campaign for the second year. "The United Way will be able to help people of all ages due to the generosity of those who have contributed.
After a shootout with police and an 18-hour standoff Saturday, police arrested Charles L. "Charlie" Mays, 25, of Butlerville.
Mays is being held with no bond in Jennings County Jail on preliminary charges of attempted murder, intimidation with a deadly weapon, battery and criminal recklessness.
According to Indiana State Police and the Jennings County Prosecutor's office, Mays fired shots at approaching officers - three with the Jennings County Sheriff's Department, including Sheriff Gary Driver, and two with the state police - when they arrived at around 3:30 a.m. Police were sent in response to a domestic disturbance involving the firing of a gun at a residence located at 5755 N. CR 750E between Butlerville and Nebraska.
Mays "exited the residence and fired at the approaching officers," according to Sgt. Stephen Wheeles of the state police.
"Multiple officers with the state police and sheriff's department returned fire. Mays retreated back into the residence and refused to surrender to the officers," Wheeles said in a news release.
Additional officers, including state police negotiators and its Emergency Response Team, were then called to the scene. Monday, April 3, 2017