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NEWS April 26, 2017

It wouldn't be Easter without hunt for eggs
It wouldn't be Easter without hunt for eggs
Mom Elisha Hawkins directs her three-year-old daughter Kamryn to the next closest egg seen at far right.

2 children perish in fire
It is a tragedy of utter, profound sadness, one that possibly could have been prevented by smoke detectors.

Two young brothers, Carson Collett, 4, and Carter Collett, 3, died in a house fire late Thursday night, April 21, in southern Campbell Township.

"You don't know how to react in a situation like this," said Don Biehle, Campbell Township Volun­teer Fire Depart­ment chief. "This will affect people for a long time, whether they know it now or not."

When a neighbor reported the fire at 11:16 p.m., the house at 1375 N. CR 615E was already fully engulfed by flames.

Kenneth L. Collett, 55, grandfather of the youngsters, survived but with burns to his chest and face.

Jennings County Emergency Medical Ser­vices/Rescue 20 personnel transported Collett to St. Vincent Jennings Hospi­tal. Collett was then transferred to Eskenazi Hospi­tal in Indianapolis where he was treated for burns and smoke inhalation and later released.

"He was lucky to get out of the house, to be honest," Biehle said. "Before we got there, he went back inside the house several times to try to get his grandsons. He didn't know for sure where the boys were. He thought in the living room but they were actually found in their bedroom."

Firefighters entered the house quickly after they arrived.

"Our guys got to the bedroom door, probably within six feet of the boys, but the fire and smoke were so intense they couldn't get into their bedroom," Biehle said. "The roof was starting to fall in and the floors were weak."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Academic Super Bowl state finalists
When the state finals for the Indiana Academic Super Bowl gets underway on Saturday, May 6, Jennings County High School will have a team in attendance.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Road reopens, history preserved

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

Rebels are coming, again
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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

River sweep on Earth Day
Saturday is Earth Day. It's a special day for the Friends of the Muscatatuck River Society.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Avast ye, way to go maties!
Not all pirate's treasure is silver and gold.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

911 director: Dispatchers perform vital function, often misunderstood
I would like to recognize the professionals that work at Jennings County 911. They are second to none! Jennings County is lucky to have this team of dispatchers protecting them.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

School board eyes $10M bond
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

JCHS group focusing on French Revolution
How much do you know about the French Revolution?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Special funds to help 'most vulnerable'
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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Let the sun shine!
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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Non-profits invited to apply for 'Readers Choice' grant
A worthy non-profit will soon be the recipient of the second "Readers' Choice" grant, compliments of the North Vernon Plain Dealer & Sun.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Charges pending in vicious beating
Charges against a man accused of a vicious attack that may leave the victim crippled for life are pending at the Jennings County Prosecutor's office.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Meet new JCS leader at reception
Have you been wanting to meet the woman who will be the new superintendent for Jennings County Schools?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

School hosting blood drive to honor boy fighting CA
Sand Creek Elementary School wanted to show their support of a fellow Jennings County Schools student so they decided to host a blood drive.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Big Brothers Big Sisters to hold a fundraiser at Columbus on April 29
Two organizations that serve the needs of area youth will be the beneficiaries of an event taking place Saturday, April 29, in Columbus.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The tragedy of drugs
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

Health messages on 'rolling billboards'
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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Just in time for storm season: Weather radios
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

Schedules change for Friday holiday
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

United Way drive hits mark
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.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Deputies revive 2 OD victims Tuesday
Another day, another heroin overdose for the Jennings County Sheriff's Department.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Day of Caring volunteers to feel good vibes
Spring came early in the Jennings County area this year, giving people more time to tackle spring cleaning and yard work and, hopefully, help others.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Preventing child abuse
The horrors of child abuse and neglect are felt far too often in Jennings County, says Rita Hurley.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NV, Vernon clean-ups to coincide with Day of Caring
The City of North Vernon and Town of Ver­non will also be participating Saturday in the Jennings County United Way's 15th annual Day of Caring.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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