2013 News

Grant funding to inspire creativity, promote the arts

Inspiring students to become creative has become a little more feasible as the Winamac Psi Otes recently received a grant that will benefit their Celebrating the Arts event.

Members of Psi Iota Xi Winamac chapter recently accepted a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Tippecanoe Arts Federal. Leeann Wright, chairwoman of the Celebrating the Arts, said the funding will be used to pay a puppeteer who will be teaching workshops. Wright has engaged the home schooling community to get involved and she would like to be able to offer it to local students.

“The kids, who participate in the workshops will give a performance during Celebrating the Arts,” Wright said. “He will also be around to answer questions and I’m trying to determine if he will give us a performance as well.”

Celebrating the Arts is an annual event sponsored by the Winamac Psi Otes. The event celebrates all mediums of visual art as well as literature, performing arts, and music. An art gallery, along with several performances entertain, while the Art of the Spot gives participants a chance to make a masterpiece.

“We are trying to acknowledge that our community has talent and celebrate the fact that art is beautiful regardless of what area — what discipline you do,” Wright said.

In the past, the art exhibition and contest has drawn nearly 100 entries from students who attend Eastern Pulaski Elementary School, Winamac Community High School, Caston Middle School, West Central Elementary School and West Central High School.

A variety of performances have also been enjoyed during the event from the Eastern Pulaski ExPrEsS Choir and also Miss Emily’s Ballerinas.

Local artists have also been on hand to show off their skills including Stacey Bogan, who completes quick-sketch caricatures.

Not only is the event to encourage students’ creativity but also adults’.

For the 2014 Celebrating the Arts, Wright is hoping some of the local speech teams will perform along with other artists. She is still in the planning stages of the event.

“This is a community celebration,” Wright said. “We welcome our community members to show us their talents and celebrate that talent.”

Proceeds from the Celebrating the Arts and other fundraisers are used for art programs and also supporting a speech and hearing clinic in the summer for students. Last summer, the organization was able to sponsor about a dozen kids at a speech and hearing summer clinic.

“We are open to working with the people in our community, with our schools and local businesses to partner and develop that love of the arts,” Wright said.

Anyone with an interest of getting involved or with an idea about a project can contact local members who would like to hear about it and build a partnership. Members can be contacted at celebratingthearts@gmail.com.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 25, 2013)

Old voter registration form gone with 2013

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is reminding Hoosiers to use Indiana’s new voter registration forms.

The old forms will not be accepted beginning Jan. 1, 2014. These improved forms will help decrease the possibility of voter registration fraud by tracking the chain of custody for voter registration applications.

“By creating a custody trail, we are providing county clerks with the tools they need to stop fraudulent registrations that undermine the integrity of our election process,” Lawson said. “In previous elections, we’ve had fraudulent voter registration forms submitted for Jimmy Johns and Mickey Mouse. Most of the time, these applications are mixed in with legitimate applications collected by groups registering large amounts of voters and then turned in to county voter registration offices just before the registration deadline. The new information required by these forms will give clerks the ability to follow up with the person who submitted the application to ensure the forms were correctly and lawfully filled out.”

The updated registration form includes a new section for individuals who collect voter registration applications to document their name, address and the date they received the completed application. The newly registered voter will also receive a receipt with the name and address of the individual who took custody of the application and date the transaction occurred.

If a person’s application is given to another person, but for whatever reason never arrives at a county voter registration office, these changes will help the county assist that person in registering to vote. The additional information required by the new form can also help the county voter registration office identify any patterns of suspicious activity or clear violations of election law.

The new Indiana voter registration forms also remind groups and individuals who register voters of their own responsibility to protect the election process and prevent disenfranchisement of voters who have placed their trust in these groups or individuals. By putting their name on the application, individuals collecting voter registration forms will be more likely to review the application to ensure it is correctly filled out and filed in a timely manner.

Individuals collecting voter registration applications who receive an application they believe to be false or fraudulent are now required to submit the application to the appropriate county election office with a statement sworn to under penalties of perjury, indicating why they believe the application to be fraudulent, to alert county officials that a violation of election law may have occurred.

In the past, county voter registration offices across Indiana have reported frequent “hoarding and dumping” of voter registration applications. Before this year, individuals or groups could hoard voter registration applications received from voters for weeks or even months before submitting them to county voter registration offices. Large numbers of these applications were then dumped on county offices just before the registration deadline to help conceal “bogus” applications, or as a campaign strategy designed to benefit a candidate, not the voters. Beginning with next year’s election, all applications collected from another person must be turned into the county voter registration office or the Indiana Election Division no later than noon 10 days after receipt of the application, or by the deadline to submit applications under state law, whichever occurs first.

These changes in the voter registration process were enacted by the 2013 Indiana General Assembly as part of Senate Enrolled Act 519. The updated forms were approved by the bi-partisan Indiana Election Commission, with assistance from the bi-partisan Indiana Election Division under the guidance of co-directors Brad King and Trent Deckard.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 25, 2013)

First snowfall factor in numerous accidents

The first snowfall of the season was a good indication that area drivers needed to take their time while traveling.

During a more than 24-hour period starting Dec. 11, officers responded to more than nine vehicle accidents. Those accidents included slide-offs and also vehicles that had flipped. No serious injury was reported at the times of the accidents but vehicle damage was a good indication as to how quickly drivers were traveling.

A second round of snow beginning Dec. 13 was a major factor in additional accidents. According to police there were nine accidents that happened during the weekend.

As the winter weather continues, police recommend several tips for keeping safe while traveling including:

Being prepared before traveling with a full tank of gas, a winter driving kit, checking for road conditions prior to leaving and being equipped with a fully-charged cellphone.

Allow extra time to reach the destination.

Clear all windows of ice and snow.

Beware of ice on bridges, underpasses, shaded areas and intersections.

Don’t use cruise control and slow down to increase traction.

Avoid abrupt starts and stops.

If a driver should become stranded, it’s best to stay with the vehicle until help arrives. Roll down the window to allow a small amount of fresh air and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of blockage.

Call police and don’t panic.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 18, 2013)

Be careful with the info posted on social media

Christmas is right around the corner, which means many will be making the final push to finish shopping and arrange travel plans.

Indiana State Police (ISP) and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) are reminding Hoosiers to take the extra precautions to avoid a Grinch ruining their holidays. This includes being smart about what information is posted to social media.

“If leaving for an extended period of time, do not discuss your plans with strangers or post them to social media sites,” said ISP Capt. Dave Bursten. “You could be setting yourself up as a potential target to thieves.”

Bursten also recommends Hoosiers avoid advertising recent expensive purchases on social media.

IDHS advises citizens to review the privacy policies and settings on social media sites.

“Privacy settings can vary greatly between social media sites,” said IDHS Senior Public Information Officer John Erickson. “Make sure you understand how these settings work in order to prevent people you don’t know or trust from potentially seeing your information.”

An explanation of these settings can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, among others.

In addition to being cyber smart, Hoosiers should keep the following information in mind when out shopping:

Be aware of surroundings in any store and the parking lot.

Park in a well-lit area and always keep the vehicle locked.

Notify building security or another employee if someone is acting suspiciously in the store or the parking lot.

Do not leave wrapped or unwrapped gifts in a vehicle where others can see them. Place them in the trunk or cover them with a blanket or other object so they can’t be seen.

If a fire alarm sounds, leave the shopping carts and bags and evacuate the building immediately. No bargain is worth ignoring a fire alarm.

Hoosiers traveling this holiday season should also take these steps to help ensure the security of all items in the home:

When away, have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on the home.

Use light timers to turn on lights or a TV when away to give the appearance someone is home.

Use window coverings such as curtains or blinds to decrease visibility into the home.

Label valuable items, such as stereos, computers, movie players, and televisions with an identification number unique to the owner.

Create an up-to-date home inventory list, and store it in a secure location.

For more holiday safety tips visit GetPrepared.IN.gov and IN.gov/ISP.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 18, 2013)

EPCSC looks to re-organize responsibilities, save money

With the retirement of Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation business manager David Thompson at the end of year, the corporation is looking to reorganize the central office on Monday.

During a regular school board meeting, superintendent Dan Foster said he has been talking with employees and looking at different options to handle the soon-to-be-open position. He told the board he is confident that the position does not need to be replaced.

“I think just shifting some responsibilities, we can absorb a lot of that,” Foster said. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to look at the way we are using funds. I think this is one way to save a little bit.”

The only time he could think that there may be a problem, is when employees of the central office want to take vacations in the summer. At that time some part-time help may be needed.

Foster said the money saved from not refilling the position could be “given back to the students and we think that will be a better fit for the whole program.”

He made the suggestion to the board, to see if the next step of reorganizing should be taken. Foster gave the example for the next step of creating a list of responsibilities to make sure that everyone knows what their various new roles will be.

The plan to reorganize the responsibilities of the central office was approved.

In other news:

Minutes from the Nov. 11 work session and regular meeting were approved.

The financial report for the period ending Nov. 30, claims through Dec. 9 and payroll claims for the month of November were approved.

A public hearing regarding the 2014-2015 budget, the capital projects plan for 2014-2015 and 2016-2017, and the bus replacement plan for 2014-2015 through 2025-2026 was held. No comments were made by the public during the hearing and no actions were taken by the board.

The purchasing of a new firewall/content filtering system for the corporation was approved. The new system costs about $4,000 less for a three-year cycle than renewing the current system. Information Technology Supervisor Adam Bennett made the recommendation to the board because the new firewall would allow for content to be filtered by applications. “It will give us a little bit better control over all the devices that we are running and help us to keep our bandwidth managed. It’s a much better product for less money.” The cost of the new system is about $9,100 for a three-year cycle.

A recommendation for Lindsey Kozubik to be appointed to the Kewanna-Union Township Library Board was approved.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 11, 2013)

West Central School Corp. sets plans for improvement

Thinking about student academic improvement has taken shape as the West Central school improvement plans for 2013-2014 have been approved.

At a regular school board meeting on Dec. 5, West Central School Board members listened as elementary principal Dan Zylstra and middle-high school principal Don Street reviewed the school improvement plans for the three buildings.

The goals of the plans were a result of the recent ISTEP+ scores.

Superintendent Charles Mellon said the school improvement plans are typically due in September. He said this year it is late because the test scores were delayed due to computer problems while students were taking tests.

The school improvement plans “look at the weakest areas on the ISTEP+ tests and then it approaches those in more of a systematic manner,” Mellon said.

The principals said writing will become more of a focus across the curriculum. Mellon said all staff will assess writing using a school-wide rubric.

Mellon also said that a designated reading time will be established to improve on reading comprehension.

In other news:

Travis Hartmann was honored at the high school level as the student of the month.

The minutes from the Nov. 7 meeting were approved.

Requisitions 13299 through 13325 for the corporation and 14072 through 14087 for Cooperative School Services were approved.

A retirement request from Laura (Betsy) Bossaer of Cooperative School Services, effective at the end of the school year, was approved.

A leave request for Kim Shidler was approved.

Two conference requests were approved. Becky Snyder requested to attend the IAAE winter in-service conference in Trafalgar, while Brian Pilarski, Mike Lattimore and Jennifer Owens requested to attend the National Sports Clinic in Chicago.

The hiring of Regina Baran as a bus driver was approved.

An end-of-the-year resolution regarding the school finances was approved. The resolution allows for all “necessary transfers” to happen “so that all accounts have a zero or positive balance for the year of 2013.” The resolution also allows for funds to be encumbered from 2013 accounts to use in 2014. Each year the school approves such a resolution.

The purchasing of two new buses was approved at a cost of $151,108. The buses will carry 72 passengers and two buses will be allowed for a trade-in for the amount of $14,500.

Board members approved to allow a health insurance option that allows $500 to be carried over to the next year’s plan if participants have not spent out their medical expenses.

Claims in the amount of $355,637.85 for the corporation and $407,434.28 for the Cooperative School Services were approved.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 11, 2013)

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is available

The Pulaski County Community Foundation (PCCF) is happy to announce that the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program will be made available for 2014 graduates.

Students can apply online starting Dec. 6 through the Pulaski County Community Foundation’s website at www.pulaskionline.org. Deadline for application submission is Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 at 3 p.m.

The community scholarship program is fully funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. and is administered locally by the Pulaski County Community Foundation. One scholarship will be awarded by PCCF in 2014.

Recipients of the scholarship will receive full tuition and required fees as well as up to $900 per year for required books and equipment for four years of undergraduate study at an accredited Indiana public or private college or university.

To meet eligibility requirements, applicants must:

be a resident of Pulaski County;

be a high school senior graduating by the end of June 2014 with a diploma from a regionally accredited Indiana high school; and

be accepted to pursue full-time baccalaureate study at an accredited public or private college or university in Indiana.

Siblings of current and previous Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients are eligible to apply.

An overriding goal of the community scholarship program is to meet the scholarship needs of Indiana students as articulated within local communities. Each participating community foundation develops scholarship nomination criteria and procedures and a scholarship application.

Scholarship criteria include academics, community service, leadership, character and values. Financial need is not a basis for Pulaski County applicants.

Nomination and scoring criteria and procedures are reviewed and approved by the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) for consistency with applicable law and the overall goals of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program, including recusal requirements as set forth by Lilly Endowment.

One nominee and an alternate will be selected by local committee members and their applications forwarded to ICI for final selection and approval. By March 28, 2014, ICI will notify local foundation officials of their choices for the scholarships.

Lilly Endowment Inc. formed the program in 1998 with hopes that it would encourage many of Indiana’s most talented students to attend Indiana’s higher education institutions and pursue occupations in Indiana. More than 3,900 Indiana high school graduates have received assistance to date.

This past March, David Putt was named the 2013 Pulaski County Community Foundation Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient. Thirty-two students from Pulaski County have received this scholarship since 1998.

For more information contact 574-946-0906 or pccf@embarqmail.com.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 4, 2013)

Unemployment continues to drop for county, state

Hoosiers are seeing a decrease in the October unemployment rate that is considered “significant” by state officials, while in Pulaski County the decrease continues.

According to the October unemployment rates, the state saw a nearly 1-percent drop during the last three months to 7.5 percent. Indiana unemployment rates have not been below 8 percent since November of 2012. Hiring at the private sector has been the driving force behind the dropping unemployment rate. Indiana’s labor force has expanded by 6,000 workers.

According to the state, Pulaski County saw a .1-percent decrease from 5.8 percent in September to 5.7 percent in October. The 5.7-percent rate is a decrease of .5 percent from August where a rate of 6.2 percent was reported.

“This is as low as our unemployment rate has been in quite some time. Although our official labor-force total has slipped slightly over the last couple of months, it’s still healthily above last year’s level. But paired with this lower unemployment rate — this is encouraging,” said Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan P. Origer.

The November unemployment rates will be released on Dec. 20 and state officials are hoping to continue a decrease.

(Pulaski County Journal — Dec. 4, 2013)

Monterey bridge project complete

Memories of when Nancy Spiewak’s family spent the summers in Monterey at a home along the Tippecanoe River haven’t faded even though the current home no longer stands because of a new bridge.

Spiewak was part of the audience that joined the Pulaski County Commissioners on Nov. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new and improved Bridge #291 that crosses the river, near where Spiewak’s summers were spent. The house was constructed in 1941.

Spiewak, who kept a close eye on the new bridge construction that will be completed before the end of the month, said it wasn’t a bitter feeling she had with the new bridge but one of times gone past. The location of where the summer house once stood is now grassy with newly planted trees.

“It was in a flood plane so not much could be done,” she said. “I loved to spend the summers here.”

During the ceremony, Spiewak and her husband Larry walked around the bridge and talked about what still had to be finished as part of the bridge project.

United Consulting project manager Bret Smiley said there is a punch list of things such as landscaping that need to be completed but the road is open as of Nov. 22.

The new bridge is just east of the old narrow bridge and is about 8 to 10 feet higher. Around the bridge are newly installed guardrails and landscaping that includes several new trees. The old bridge was made part of a walking trail that connects the town with a town park that is located north of the river.

The total cost of the bridge project that began more than a year ago was $1,723,000 that is below the budget estimate of $2.2 million. Funding for the bridge came mostly from an Indiana Department of Transportation grant of $1,314,225, while Pulaski County paid $408,775 toward the project. Costs for the project include $308,000 for designs, $1,257,800 for construction and $157,200 for inspection.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 27, 2013)

Use caution when heating home

Cold weather has set in and Hoosiers have begun using alternative heating sources, such as wood stoves or space heaters, to warm their homes.

More Hoosiers are using alternative heating sources as winter approaches. The Indiana State Fire Marshal is encouraging these individuals to use these sources safely.

“Every winter, firefighters across the state respond to thousands of home fires caused by heating equipment,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “These types of fires can almost always be prevented by homeowners and renters who use alternative heat sources carefully and responsibly.”

Things to keep in mind when using heating equipment:

Woodstoves or fireplaces:

Use only dry, seasoned wood in a fireplace or wood stove to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire.

Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire. Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.

Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.

Allow fireplace and wood stove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container that is kept a safe distance from the home.

Space heaters:

Space heaters need space. Keep heaters away from flammable materials such as bedding, drapes, clothing, etc.

Use the proper grade of fuel for the liquid-fueled space heater and never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use.

Refuel space heaters only in a well ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.

Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity, never into an extension cord.

Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied.

Turn off space heaters when going to bed each night to avoid knocking them over in the dark.

Generators:

Knowing how to use a generator properly can protect the family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Never use a generator inside.

Place emergency generators outdoors away from windows and doors to prevent fumes from entering the home.

Have a CO detector in the house that sounds an alarm when dangerous carbon monoxide levels are found.

For more information about winter heating safety, visit www.getprepared.in.gov.

In case of a fire, it is not only crucial to have a working smoke alarm, but it is also the law (IC 22-11-18-3.5). Working smoke alarms can double the chances of surviving a residence fire. By Indiana law, all dwellings must have at least one functioning smoke alarm installed outside each sleeping area, and on each level of the building.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 27, 2013)

Lack of donations may put stop to Shop With a Cop

Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer said unless Shop With a Cop donations increase, the event may not be happening this year.

On Nov. 13, Gayer said donations received so far are less than half of what is needed to help about 20 children this holiday season. The goal for the year is to raise more than $2,000.

Shop With a Cop offers children a chance to spend time with local officers and see a side of the officers that isn’t intimidating. Those children come from families who are financially struggling this Christmas.

During the event kids will eat pizza, receive a police escort and shop with a cop at a local retail store. Items that are purchased include necessities such as clothes and winter coats but also toys.

Gayer said in the past the community has always stepped up to the plate and helped finance the event.

“If the money is not there then we may have to cancel our Shop With a Cop and roll the money over until the next year,” Gayer said.

Shop With a Cop is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department teams together with the White County FOP Lodge #123 in Monticello for the event.

Accounts have been established with Alliance Bank branches in Winamac and Francesville. For more information regarding Shop With a Cop contact Gayer at 574-946-6655.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 20, 2013)

Tourism program featuring Pulaski County to debut soon

The much anticipated debut of Associated Images’ Savor Indiana featuring Pulaski County is scheduled for late November, early December, according to Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan P. Origer.

During a recent economic development meeting, Origer said Savor Indiana and the ExtraordINary Indiana project are moving along and editing is underway on Savor Indiana.

The idea of the two programs featuring Pulaski County was first approved by the community development commission earlier this year.

Savor Indiana is a 30-minute program that airs on PBS. Each Savor Indiana program includes a history of the profiled community and various tourist highlights. The program focuses on smaller communities.

“Savor is either done or almost done editing, but I’ve not seen footage yet; they’re still coordinating with the various PBS stations to get initial air dates set,” Origer said. “We’re happy with how filming went, but can’t really say how we feel about what we haven’t seen.”

After Savor Indiana debuts, scouting for ExtraordINary Indiana will take place. ExtraordINary Indiana profiles businesses and individuals who add economic development to communities.

Origer said three county businesses will be featured including Fratco, Adaptasoft and Braun, because those three businesses are a good representation of Pulaski County industries and economics.

He said all three are totally or mostly locally owned, two have owners under the age of 40, one fourth-generational and ag-related, one is white-collar/tech and one is a major industry.

Origer also added that Braun and Fratco add a number of jobs to the community, while Adaptasoft is a county revolving loan fund borrower.

The hospital will also play an important role in the show because “of importance of healthcare to business attraction,” Origer said.

The cost of Savor Indiana and ExtraordINary Indiana combined is about $20,000.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 20, 2013)

Bridge appears to be almost complete

Asphalt has been smoothed but the project still has some work to be done before it can be considered complete on the Monterey Bridge.

United Consulting project manager Bret Smiley said there are several smaller items such as grating, signs and guardrails that need to be done.

“Everything just basically has to be buttoned up. It’s all the meticulous stuff at the end of a job that makes the job busy,” Smiley said. “Of course a lot of those things are temperature dependent like paint.”

The $2.2 million project that began earlier this year, had a slow start because of a large amount of rain. Since then good weather has allowed for the project to continue on schedule. Smiley said if the weather continues to cooperate things can be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.

“LaPorte Construction has been absolutely wonderful to work with,” Smiley said. “It is really nice to have a contractor who cares as much as the client cares. They have looked out for the county.”

Smiley added this project has been a great team effort.

“I don’t think that we could be in any better of a position to wrap this thing up on schedule,” Smiley said.

Smiley anticipates a ribbon cutting for the bridge but the exact date has not been set. He would like to host the cutting before the roadway is open to traffic but that may not happen if the smaller items in the project are not complete.

Both bridges are closed at this time and the new one must open to traffic around Nov. 23. Access to the old bridge is now a dirt path that will converted to a walkway. The old bridge was built in 1946 and will be a pedestrian bridge connecting the town to the park.

The project must be completed by Nov. 29.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 13, 2013)

Deck is poured, project on schedule

As the weather is causing a mixture of rain and frost, construction crews continue to forge ahead finishing the deck of Haschel’s Bridge, located on CR 250 N., northeast of Winamac.

Repairing the bridge included grinding 2 inches off the top of the deck and filling in various concrete holes. Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Mark Fox said the deck is poured and the project is on schedule.

“The expansion joints need to be put in and they are talking that it should be open in less than two weeks,” Fox said.

Fox did say that the weather could play a role in when the bridge will be re-opened. The scheduled date for the bridge re-opening is Dec. 20.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 13, 2013)

Skate park construction could begin March 2014

The ideas of one Eagle Scout could become a physical reality in March of 2014 when the construction of a skate park begins.

Winamac High School student Clark Gudas has raised more than $25,000 to see his Eagle Scout project of a Winamac skate park begin to come to life. The plans for the 5,000 square feet concrete skate park are underway and the project is looking for construction volunteers to reduce the costs.

“The design isn’t finalized, but we have an idea of what we want to do. The skate park will include a half pipe, rails, kicker boxes, and more,” Gudas said. “In March, we plan on laying out and excavating the site. There is much preliminary on-site work to do before we actually start pouring concrete.”

The skate park will not only be for skateboarders, but also BMX bikers and roller skaters. The park will be located in Rhinehart Park, adjacent to the Pulaski County Family YMCA, and will be open to the public for 365 days per year. The Rhinehart Park appears to be an ideal area for the park because it is in a high visibility area and also adjacent to other recreational facilities.

“As a Boy Scout aspiring to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, I am required to complete a project that benefits the community,” said Gudas, who is a skateboarder. “I never thought Winamac had enough to do, and a skate park would provide a place for individuals with a safe, recreational place to skate, BMX or Rollerblade.”

Gudas said the purpose of the park is to provide a high-quality, dedicated, safe facility to practice skateboarding and other roller sports. He hopes the park will promote physical exercise, make the community attractive to prospective businesses and increase tourism.

“A skate park is a great place for kids to interact with one another and build vital social and interpersonal skills. For kids who struggle to identify with team sports, the skate park community gives them a valuable sense of belonging, increased self-confidence, and helps combat stress and depression,” Gudas said.

As part of the project, Gudas acquired more than 300 signatures on a petition that indicated the desire of such a facility in Winamac. In December of 2011, the Winamac Town Council approved the project. Council members said the town would maintain the facility after it was constructed. Gudas said the town will also approve the construction plans and supervise construction.

Several businesses and organizations have donated to the project, but Gudas is continuing to seek donations for the goal of $75,000. Money raised by Gudas goes directly to the park. Arrowhead County RC&D/Winamac Skatepark is sponsoring the collection of donations.

“Some donors have been very generous, but in this economy, donating can be tough,” he said.

In order to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, all project requirements must be completed before Gudas turns 18 in July of 2014.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 6, 2013)

Winamac Veterans Day service

Winamac American Legion Post 71 and VFW Post 1728 will hold their annual Veterans Day celebration on Monday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at the Pulaski County Courthouse memorial.

David Broad will be the guest speaker. Rev. Ruth I. Waite will provide the invocation and benediction, and Cathy Fritz will serve as master of ceremonies. The ladies of the auxiliaries will lay memorial wreaths.

A combined firing squad of the American Legion and VFW will salute all veterans, and Taps, played by Rick Dilts, will conclude the ceremony.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 6, 2013)

Energy assistance available for eligible households

North Central Community Action Agencies, Inc., (NCCAA), Pulaski County Human Services, Inc. and Community Services of Starke County began taking applications for the Energy Assistance Program for LaPorte, Pulaski and Starke residents on Nov. 4.

Pre-application packets were mailed to elderly, disabled and at-risk households in September for those that were approved for energy assistance during last year’s heating season. Packets are to be completed and returned with the necessary documentation needed for processing the application. Households that are scheduled for disconnection or services are already disconnected cannot apply by mail. Those households must call in and schedule an appointment for assistance.

It is each household’s responsibility to keep services active and continue to pay towards their utilities during the heating season. If services are disconnected and already received assistance by mail-in or office visit there will not be any additional dollars available to help get services reconnected. Households can only receive assistance one time per heating season unless your home is heated by bulk fuel (LP Gas, Propane etc.)

Eligibility for energy assistance will be limited to those households with a combined annual income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For one-person household gross annual income $17,235; two, $23,265; three, $29,295; four, $35,325. If there are more than four members in the household add $6,030 for each additional household member.

Income or zero income must be verified and documented for all household members age 18 and above. Income must also be verified and documented for members under the age of 18 if they are receiving Supplemental Security Income. If an 18-year old is in school, the qualification requires proof of enrollment. Absolutely no applications will be taken or started without 12 months proof of income, social security numbers for all household members and a current month’s utility bill. The utility bills must be in the applicant’s name or a member within the household that is 18 years of age or older, or the landlord’s name or power of attorney, or no assistance will be given.

Renters must obtain a landlord affidavit form at the office and the landlord must complete it in its entirety.

In Pulaski County, please contact Pulaski County Human Services at 877-946-4211 or 574-946-6500 to schedule an appointment.

In Starke County, please contact Community Services of Starke County at 574-772-9036.

In LaPorte County, please contact North Central Community Action Agencies, Inc. for an appointment at 219-872-0351 or 1-866-871-1200.

(Pulaski County Journal — Nov. 6, 2013)

Medaryville purchases possible after end-of-year calculations

Several items will be purchased and a few projects will begin after Medaryville town council members made some end-of-the-year calculations.

During a regular meeting on Oct. 16, the council approved the purchase of a box scraper for $1,000, a leaf blower for $400, and tuck pointing to be completed on the town hall building for $1,400.

They also approved for lights to be repaired at the town park for $820. The project will include replacing the time clock for the exterior lighting, replacing an exterior light fixture on the north end of the bathroom with a new metal halide fixture, and installing of a new metal halide fixture on the south end of the bathrooms.

A project that will brighten the downtown area during Christmas includes installing electrical access for Christmas lights on various poles downtown. The amount of the project was estimated at $4,420.

Town maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli said the project would allow for Christmas lights to be hung from the bank to U.S. 421 on Main Street.

Another project that will brighten the town is the replacement of sidewalks. The project has been an interest of the council throughout the year and members now have the money to pay for it.

The town received three quotes with the lowest quote winning the approval of the council at $28,000. The sidewalks are mostly along Main Street.

“I have looked at them and I think that we should go with the lowest overall project and do all six sections,” said councilwoman Carolyn Hager.

There is still a few sections that will need to be completed.

Medaryville Town Clerk-Treasurer Judy Harwood said the funding for the projects is coming from the town general fund and the Motor Vehicle Highway fund that will fund the sidewalks project.

Councilman Gene Payne was not present at the meeting.

Council members also approved:

Minutes from the Sept. 18 public hearing for the vacating of a Medaryville alley were approved.

Minutes from the Sept. 18 budget hearing and town council meeting were approved.

Minutes from the Sept. 23 special meeting for the vacating of a Medaryville alley were approved.

Minutes from the Sept. 25 special meeting for the vacating of a Medaryville alley and review of end of year spending were approved.

Claims from Sept. 13 were approved.

The utility report, with no adjustments, was approved.

The first reading of the 2014 salary ordinance was accepted.

The first reading of the 2014 Employee Benefits ordinance was accepted.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 30, 2013)

Town talks trash, recycling

The fate of two town employees’ jobs and whether the town of Winamac will continue to use the county transfer station, rides on the shoulders of the town council.

During the regular Oct. 14 town meeting, council members opened three bids, ranging from $141,408 to $201,600, that would outsource the collection of garbage and recycling to a private company. Currently the town has two employees that pick up the residents’ garbage and recycling.

The town averages about 600 tons of garbage per year that could cost about $36,000 per year at the rate of $60 per ton. Pulaski County Commissioner Larry Brady said the county has offered to lower the rate to $40 per ton to continue the current setup with Winamac employees collecting the garbage and Pulaski County transferring it elsewhere.

Recycling/transfer station director Ed Clark said, during the Oct. 14 meeting, town residents do a good job of separating the recyclables. He said it’s tough when the items are not separated.

“I don’t want to lose, as a county manager, either one,” Clark said. “I want to keep getting the garbage and the recycling. You have some good workers who do a good job.”

Clark said people are using the recycling center and “doing it right.”

During the same meeting, Brady said not only does the county have a concern of losing the recyclables and the trash but also that the recycling center cannot handle the recycling items if they are in a single stream and need to be separated. The town does not pay to drop off their recyclables.

“If it came in all together we are not physically set up to handle that yet,” Brady said. “We appreciate all the work the town has been doing to separate the items.”

Separating the glass from the plastic from the paper takes more time and manpower than the recycling center is alloted according to the budget. Brady said the council will not allow for additional manpower to be hired. There was also a reduction in the number of hours that county employees could work because of the new laws requiring part-time employees to work less than 30 hours or they receive full-time benefits.

“Anywhere that we can do, to reduce the amount of work time on a project, we are looking that way,” Brady said.

Brady used an example of how they are becoming more efficient. He said if the items are separated such as milk jugs and plastic bottles, the county can receive more money for the recycling.

He asked the council members to take into consideration that the town continue to keep it separated.

“We want to keep it here in Pulaski County and give us a way to capitalize the best we can,” Brady said.

On Oct. 28, town manager Jim Conner said the town requested the bids because they were looking for a cheaper way to handle trash and recycling. The $141,408 bid is less than the town currently pays for trash in one year. The other two bids would be more than the town pays.

On Oct. 27 in an email, Brady said, “If the town accepts to contract out these services, one of the agencies, would likely not use the transfer station. They have their own landfill.”

The town currently uses the recycling center about three days a week.

“If another agency gets the contract to do business for the town, one of them is willing to keep separating the recyclables,” Brady said.

If the town decides to take one of the current bids, two employees could be without a job. Town manager Jim Conner said council members have not talked about what will happen to the two employees who handle the garbage pickup.

A final decision could be made during the Nov. 11 town meeting.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 30, 2013)

No time card, no PTO reimbursement

A request to pay for an employee’s paid time off (PTO) was brought to the attention of the Pulaski County Commissioners during a regular meeting on Monday.

Auditor Shelia Garling said she was approached about the PTO but there is not a time card used at the prosecuting attorney’s office.

“I have a signed document from the department head but no proof that says that,” Garling said.

Because there is no time card, Garling was not sure if the PTO should be paid because according to the policy handbook everything is pro-rated.

“We can’t pro-rate this if we don’t know that it is the true number,” Garling said.

The department does not use time cards and hasn’t in the past, but the PTO has been paid in the past.

Garling said she was told the prosecuting attorney’s office has their own policy that she requested to see. What Garling received was a letter.

Commissioner Larry Brady asked, “How can we prove that this individual is warranted the money for their paid time off?”

County attorney Kevin Tankersley said the prosecuting attorney’s office will not honor a time card. Tankersley said several attempts were made to change the situation but due to possible litigation regarding wages and hours, the issue was dropped.

He said the only verification they have of the hours is the letter from the department head.

Commissioner Terry Young said he would make a motion to pay the PTO but with hesitation.

Brady said he wasn’t seconding the motion.

“We need time cards,” Brady said.

The motion died for a lack of a second.

In other news:

Highway superintendent Mark Fox requested permission to apply for a call of projects through the Indiana Department of Transportation. Bid letting would be between July 2016 and May 2017. Fox requested that the county submit bridge 154 for a project. The bridge is on CR 700 North between CR 500 and 600 West, near Denham. Commissioners approved the call for projects request.

Commissioners then approved for bridges 251 and 252 to be applied for the call of projects. The two bridges would be combined into one project. The road in between the two bridges would also be part of the paving phase of the project. Commissioner Larry Brady said the county should try to obtain all the money they can get.

Jeff Larrison advised the commissioners on the next step in approving the bridge inspection contract. The draft agreement was submitted to the commissioners for review. Larrison said if commissioners agree it is in order then it will be sent to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for review of rates. Once INDOT approves the agreement then a final agreement will be presented to the commissioners who will sign off on it. Commissioners agreed to have the draft agreement sent to INDOT.

Larrison said bridge 291 or the Monterey bridge construction is going well and a ribbon cutting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6. As long as weather is permitting, Nov. 6 is a possibility.

Chris Hudson approached the commissioners regarding a grant for a new Medaryville fire station/community center. He said the county or town must act as a pass through for the grant. Medaryville is currently involved in a wastewater project that is seeking the same funding so it cannot act as a pass through. The commissioners approved the request to act as a sponsor.

Emergency management agency director Larry Hoover and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Patrick requested to start a military vehicle sustainment program. The county has obtained several military vehicles that can be sold once the county has owned them for an extended period of time. Hoover said other vehicles may become available so the old equipment can be taken to an auction or sold. The proposal is for the money from the selling of the vehicles to be split with the county — 50 percent would be placed in the county general fund while the other 50 percent would be put in a line item to fund the maintenance of other vehicles. Some of the vehicles cannot be sold and must be given back. Commissioners approved for an ordinance to be established for what the money can fund.

Commissioners approved for Pulaski County EMS director Nikki Lowry to look into seeing if the county can receive additional reimbursement from Medicare through a company that would review if it’s available from the last two years.

A request for commissioners Tracey Shorter and Brady to attend a conference in December was approved.

A request for the auditor to attend a conference in December was approved.

A maintenance agreement regarding CSI for the recorder’s office was approved, along with a database maintenance agreement for the clerk’s office.

Auditor Shelia Garling said she has completed an audit of the county home petty cash fund and has turned the findings over to Paula Reimers, who is a human resources specialist contracted by the county. There is more than $500 missing. Garling said the money that is missing must be replaced so the account is not in the red at the end of the year. At the Oct. 7 meeting, commissioners approved for two signatures to be used on the purchases. Garling said she will not sign a check when the items have not been purchased. She requested that someone else be asked. Commissioners then rescinded their previous vote requiring two signatures and approved that an audit be done on the account every six months by the county auditor. It was also approved that $1,000 be maintained in the account. There is currently $1,000 in the 2014 budget for the account. Commissioners approved for the county to obtain the missing funds from whoever spent it. Garling said that might be difficult because some of the records may not be available.

Garling updated the commissioners on an issue that occurred during the county council meeting on Oct. 14. During the meeting it was said that the calculations regarding the nonbinding budgets were incorrect. Garling said she spoke with Dan Jones of the Department of Local Finance, who said the numbers were not wrong because those numbers are recommendations only. Those numbers are just what the county is recommending. When Garling calculated the numbers she multiplied them by the county growth rate and not the state growth rate, hence the difference in the numbers.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn said he will put together a committee to establish a plan for courthouse security. The courthouse security plan must be implemented by Jan. 1, 2014. Brady said he would volunteer to be a part of the committee. He was then approved to be a part of the committee.

Dave Sparks was appointed to the Common Construction Wage Appointment committee.

The claims and payroll were approved without a discussion.

The minutes from the Oct. 7 regular commissioners’ meeting, the Oct. 14 executive session and the Oct. 14 joint session were approved.

A recommendation made by the county election board to relocate some of the voting places in Pulaski County was approved. The changes were made to save money and also make the voting locations more accessible for voters. Advertising will need to be done regarding the new locations.

A recommendation to advertise for liability insurance bids was approved.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 23, 2013)

Council members wade in town pool options

Winamac Town Council members are considering several options regarding the community pool but no decisions have been made as to the future of the more than 50-year-old unit.

One thing is clear after the town meeting on Oct. 14, the pool or a new pool will most likely not be open next summer.

During the meeting, council members were given an update on the condition of the current pool. Wastewater plant superintendent Brad Zellers said a company took a look at the pool and gave various cost estimates of the repairs.

One of the main problems with the pool is the fiberglass coating system on the walls that was installed in the 1990s, has loosened from the concrete walls.

“They don’t recommend doing a lot to it or spending a lot of money because it has issues,” Zellers said.

Repairs would include new side pipes and gutters and patching the fiberglass wall. The company said they would not recommend fixing the walls because it would be a waste of money.

“The problem is once you start touching it you have to bring everything to code,” Zellers said.

According to Zellers, the company warned the town that if they work on the pool and one of the lines break, “it is done.” They also said the repairs on the pool would only last about 15 years.

The pool is also missing some of the current standards such as a surge tank that is a certain percentage of the pool. The piping was not designed for a surge tank.

Another concern was how much concrete damage is behind the fiberglass walls of the pool sides. The repair of the concrete would be an additional cost not in the estimate of more than $513,000.

If the town does look to make improvements and not a new pool, they will have to bid out the project.

Building a new pool would include engineering it and getting permission from the state health department, all which take time. It could be a year before any groundbreaking could happen.

At the time of the meeting, the discussion was tabled because of future meetings when council members will hear more about pool options.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 23, 2013)

Monterey bridge may reopen sooner than was expected

As the dry fall weather continues, it is giving LaPorte Construction Company a chance to get ahead with the Monterey Bridge project.

United Consulting construction manager Bret Smiley said the quick work completed over the last week is putting the project in a good position to be completed before the Nov. 29 finish date.

The finish date was a concern for locals, town officials and emergency responders as the road will be closed for about 60 days. Smiley said he doesn’t expect it will take that length of time as long as the weather cooperates.

“They have really hit it hard and removed the asphalt,” Smiley said on Oct. 7 of LaPorte Construction employees.

He hopes the bridge will be open by the first week of November and understands why there is a concern of it being closed for 60 days. When the project began Smiley was surprised when he heard that LaPorte Construction would try to keep the road open for emergency responders. As the date of closing approached it appeared that LaPorte Construction would make the road accessible to only emergency responders.

“Normally what you will see is that things get closed down and everyone has to travel the detour,” Smiley said. “The foreman has made a promise to me that it would be passable.”

The detour for emergency responders is about 7 miles. That may not seem like a lot but during an emergency every second counts.

“As we have cut the road out and really shut things down, we have brought some gates in and we will make it so that at least half of the new bridge is passable and has a temporary road up to it,” Smiley said.

Along with the worry of the bridge being open for emergency responders, there was a concern of whether the residents of a house on the north side of the river would be able to use their current driveway or entrance into the park. Smiley said the foreman is aware of the situation and will assist to make sure the resident has access.

“If it looks like there will be a problem then I will have them cut that in,” Smiley said.

There was a suggestion to put a temporary stone road in the park if needed for a residence on the north side of the river.

“They are trying their best not to do that because they don’t want to have to tear the park up,” Smiley said of the constructing of the temporary road. “As of now they have access for her and they have put a temporary drive in for her.”

The concern regarding the entrance of the park has also been addressed. Smiley said there will be a minor redesign of the entrance with the biggest changes including a slight grade change to adjust for the new road and the new approach will be completely asphalt eliminating a patch of grass.

The guardrail on the east side will extend roughly 100 feet to the north of the bridge.

“Nothing will be in the way. The new approach will be in the same location with a very minor redesign just to adjust for the new roadway,” Smiley said.

As for how the project is going, Smiley said everything on the bridge has been poured. All of the utility relocations are completed. A gas main that was on the west side of the old bridge has been removed and relocated to the east side of the new bridge and bored underneath the river.

“For the most part things are looking up and I think we have a good shot of having this thing open in mid-November,” Smiley said.

Monterey Town Council president Jim Fleury said after hearing from Smiley, town officials are satisfied with the outcome of how the various concerns are being handled.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 16, 2013)

Roadway milling uncovers more repairs for Haschel’s Bridge

Milling of the Haschel’s Bridge roadway has uncovered more problems than expected.

Bridge 268, located on CR 250 N., northeast of Winamac, is set to be closed until Dec. 20 while repairs are being made to the roadway.

Construction crews have already ground 2 inches off the top of the bridge deck.

“They are getting ready to start repairing the cracks in the concrete. They have to jackhammer those spots out and pour concrete back in them,” said Mark Fox, Pulaski County Highway Superintendent. “They are going to have to patch more spots than originally figured but they are still going to be on schedule.”

After the concrete is repaired, crew members will replace the expansion joints and relay the road.

Fox said the extra patching will affect the project budget.

“It is still going to be under the engineer’s estimate on repairing it, but it will be over the contract amount,” Fox said. “It was completely unforeseen until they peeled the deck off. There was no way to tell exactly how bad it was.”

With cooperation of the weather, the road should be reopened by Dec. 20.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 16, 2013)

New location, same high quality of care

Change is never an easy thing but doctors of the Pulaski Memorial Hospital Medical Group see change as a way to better serve area patients, as the F. Alan Utes, D.O., Rex Allman, M.D., Laura Brown, F.N.P.-B.C., Dr. Clint L. Kauffman, M.D., move into new offices located on the southwest side of Pulaski Memorial Hospital.

Pulaski Memorial Hospital CEO Tom Barry Jr. said it’s amazing to see how excited and positive the staff and physicians are at making the transition to the new building a success.

“This unprecedented alignment in the 50-year history of the hospital will benefit the community as we work together to develop systems that will help us improve the overall health status of the community, including such things as comprehensive treatment plans for those with chronic illness,” Barry said. It’s a real challenge, only in that it is new for us and new for the doctors, but the success of this integrated team is going to be determined by whether we can create that synergistic environment. We wholeheartedly believe that we can. Not only is this group of professionals outstanding, but the compassion and high quality service they offer our patients exceeds expectation.”

The move has been a long time coming with the official opening on Oct. 1. Melissa Jones, operations manager, said putting the doctors and nurse practitioners under one roof allows the group to welcome new patients while also continuing to give current patients the quality of care they expect. The group is not composed of new doctors that were brought in from out-of-town.

“The whole reason is for better patient care,” Jones said.

Jones used the example that during flu season, doctors tend to have booked schedules. If a parent of a child with the flu wants to see a doctor, they may not be able to see the doctor as quickly as needed. With the teaming of the doctors, the medical staff can look at the doctors’ schedules and see which doctor has an opening for a patient. The parent then has the option to see that doctor.

“It’s not about reassigning the patient. It’s not about forcing them to see another physician. It’s trying to alleviate the whole issue of not having enough doctors in the community,” Jones said. “It’s about better patient care with more options.”

If a patient does not want to see a different doctor, then staff will continue to assist the patient as soon as an opening in the schedule is available.

Although the doctors and family nurse practitioner have moved into one location, patients will still see the same nonclinical staff that they are accustomed to.

“You will see the same staff with the same doctor with the same computer system with the same charts,” Jones said.

On Oct. 1, during the grand opening of the office, it was anticipated that the flow of things would be a little rocky. Jones said the staff will continue to tweak the operations of the office.

“We can’t really initiate the change until we are in that and seeing the efficiency come out,” Jones said.

To make sure that all patients are being taken care in timely manner, Jones and others are discussing different options such as a sign-in sheet. The sheet would ask for the name of the patient and what time the patient arrived. The sign-in sheet would not violate any Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.

As the group continues to work together, the bugs will be worked out. Jones said a new computer system will also become a valid tool for better patient care.

“Right now they are staying on their current computer system, but they will be going on one eventually. We didn’t want to place too many changes all of a sudden,” Jones said. “The first wave of change was going to a new building. The next wave of change will be going to the one computer system.”

“This is for the best patient care because now we can look at all of our schedules including Sandy Roth in Monterey and Norma Wells in Francesville.”

Some changes have been made to the doctors hours. Kauffman and Utes office hours will continue to be the same, while Allman and Brown have changed their close dates. Allman will close on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays while Brown will close on Friday instead of Tuesday. Brown has also extended some of her hours.

The new offices are located at 540 Hospital Dr. or the southwest side of Pulaski Memorial Hospital. All of the provider phone numbers will stay the same.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 9, 2013)

Taxpayers: property tax second installment due

Just a reminder that the November (second installment) property tax due date is approaching.

This year the due date will be on Nov. 12, 2013, due to the holiday.

For taxpayer convenience, property taxes can be paid at any of the following locations:

Pulaski County Treasurer’s Office — courthouse

First Federal Savings Bank — Winamac branch

First National Bank of Monterey — Monterey and Winamac branches

Alliance Bank — Francesville and Winamac branches

Key Bank — Winamac branch

When paying at these locations, taxpayers must present his or her tax statement along with the payment.

Payments may also be mailed to: Pulaski County Treasurer, Courthouse, Room 240, 112 E. Main St., Winamac, IN 46996. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is required for return receipts if a person wishes to have it mailed.

Please feel free to email the treasurer’s office with any questions at treasurersoffice@pulaskicounty.in.gov or call 574-946-3632.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 9, 2013)

Director of environmental health receives memorial award

Pulaski County Health Department Director of Environmental Health Terri Hansen can check one more item off her list of things she wants to accomplish at work as she received an award on Sept. 23.

During the Indiana Environmental Health Association (IEHA) annual fall conference, Hansen was awarded the Karl K. Jones Memorial Award. Jones was one of the founding members of the IEHA organization. It is given to someone who has excelled in their work and gone above and beyond his or her job. The award is a Wabash Valley Chapter award.

“It really meant a lot to me because I was voted on by my peers,” Hansen said. “I was really excited. I have been here for 22 years and that’s the award I always wanted.”

Before the annual banquet, each year, award committees across the state nominate individuals whose work deserves recognition. The state then decides who will be a recipient for each award. Hansen was chairman of the awards committee for the Wabash Valley Chapter. She prepared a biography for another award recipient, but was unaware she was receiving the memorial award.

As the awards were being presented, Hansen had the honor of reading what the memorial award stands for. The biography of Hansen was then read by someone else, while Hansen was still in the spotlight.

“Everyone knew it but me,” Hansen said. “They pulled it off because I was shocked.”

Hansen has been a president of the chapter for two years, vice president, chapter representative and she has been the chairman of several committees. She also received the high honor of Environment Health Specialist of the Year in 1999.

Along with Hansen receiving an award, the Wabash Valley Chapter of the IEHA received the Harry E. Werkowski Award for being the most innovative and active chapter. There are 17 health departments in the Wabash Valley Chapter.

Of the major awards that are given, all but one went to individuals in the Wabash Valley Chapter. Hansen said the chapter not only works to continue their education in their fields, but they also volunteer for various events with money, time and items.

The IEHA conference is offered to those from the health department who monitor food preparation, inspect septics, organize disaster preparedness and are administrators who are involved with those aspects.

The three-day conference included a presentation of awards and numerous sessions regarding topics or issues that will help local environmental specialists.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 2, 2013)

Winamac, West Central leave Midwest Conference

After months of rumors and speculation, Winamac and West Central will leave the Midwest Conference and join the newly formed Hoosier North Athletic Conference.

In addition to West Central and Winamac two other MWC schools making the jump will be Caston and Pioneer. Culver, Knox, LaVille and Triton will move from the Northern State Conference and North Judson, who has been an independent since the Northwest Hoosier Conference dissolved in the late 1990s, is on board.

Currently Knox is a Class 3A entry in most sports, while the other schools are classified in either 2A or 1A.

The nine schools from six adjoining counties in northern Indiana announced their intentions Tuesday, Sept. 24, to form the new athletic conference beginning with the 2015-16 school year. The decision to start conference play in 2015-16 will give member schools adequate time to align their schedules for each sport.

After the Midwest Conference decided to deny expansion by allowing Culver, North Judson and North Newton to join the MWC in the spring, talks of a new conference started shortly after. Meetings took place over the summer and six schools signed a letter of intent in August and three other schools were officially invited to join.

Winamac athletic director Bill Ball commented on the move, “I think this is a great opportunity for our student athletes. They are one of the reasons we are making this move. We are hoping to cut down on driving time and as a result will now be getting home earlier especially on weeknight games.”

Ball also discussed other factors that played into the schools’ decision, “We are trying to renew interest in our athlete programs for all the schools involved. That is the goal. The schools coming to the new conference travel well so hopefully our attendance numbers will pick up a lot. I think it will be a win-win for everyone involved. It will bring more excitement to all the sports. Our coaches are excited to play some different rivalries. Some out-of-conference rivals such as Knox and North Judson that we have been playing for years now become conference rivals and I think it will make the competition more intense. We are now looking at every week turning into a big game.”

West Central athletic director Chuck Evans also weighed in on the move, “We went through a process that got West Central to the point of being in the new conference. After polling the coaches, student athletes and community combined it was more than 75 percent in favor of making the move. That wasn’t the sole reason. We looked at the locations of the other schools, competitiveness, the rivalries we currently have and the rivalries that we have the potential of creating. Six of the eight other schools in the new conference we already play on a regular basis. It is two years down the road and there will be some work involved but we are looking forward to it. I think this will be a strong conference and the competitiveness will help make us better.”

Several factors were involved in the decision to form a new athletic conference including travel distance, competitive balance, existing rivalries and overall athletic and academic philosophy.

The decision to form the HNAC was a very thorough process that involved numerous meetings between the member schools with support from each school corporation.

In addition to athletic competitions the HNAC also plans to host academic competitions between member schools in the areas of math and English.

While the HNAC is currently comprised of nine schools, the conference would consider expanding to 10 should the right opportunity present itself in the future.

(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 2, 2013)

ISTEP+ mixed results for local school corporations

As school corporations dig into the results of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) scores, the results appear to be encouraging and misleading depending on the grade level.

Both Eastern Pulaski Community and West Central school corporations faired well against the state averages but both EPSC superintendent Dan Foster and WCSC superintendent Charles Mellon have concerns that computer problems disrupted the tests affecting the students’ scores.

“I’m not using it as an excuse, but I don’t know how getting frozen out of a test three times can make you very comfortable the next time that you are going to take it,” Foster said. “If you are going to try and take it for the fourth time your anxiety level is going to be a little different.”

Mellon said, “There is this whole issue about how reliable are this year’s scores anyway, but everyone was in the same boat so to speak, and it’s something to consider.”

Statewide scores went up with 79.5 percent of Hoosier students passing the English/language arts (ELA) and 82.7 percent passing math, giving a total of 73.5 percent of students passing both sections. Those percentages are up from 2012 when 79.4 percent of students passed the English/language arts and 81.2 percent for math.

West Central Elementary School saw an increase of about 2.6 percent of students passing both ELA and math from 2013 to 2012, while the middle school saw a decrease of 4.5 percent of students passing both sections from 2013 to 2012.

“Our elementary did quite well,” Mellon said. “The gains in the middle school were not as attractive. As a school we break out every level and find out what students didn’t pass and for what reason did they not show gains.”

Compared to the state, 89.8 percent of West Central Elementary School third-graders passed ELA compared to the state average of 85.2 percent of students passing. In the math portion of the testing, 84 percent of the third-graders passed compared to the state 80.1 percent.

Fourth-grade students passed above the state average in ELA but not math. In the ELA portion, 88.6 percent of WCES fourth-graders passed while 73.9 percent passed in math compared to the state averages of 84.3 percent ELA and 83.5 percent math.

82.5 percent of WCES fifth-graders passed in the ELA portion and 84.2 percent passed math. The state average was 79.2 percent passed in ELA and 87 percent passed in math.

The West Central Middle School results were below the state average in both ELA and math, except for eighth-grade math that was above.

“In our school improvement plans we have stressed more of the language arts and reading side and I think that has shown,” Mellon said. “I think that most of our work is going to be in the middle school and seeing why we are not making the gains that we should. The past few years that has been the history there. We’ve been looking at it, trying to put our finger on it.”

68.9 percent of West Central sixth-graders passed ELA and 74.3 percent passed math. Sixth-grade students, statewide, passed the ELA with 77.7 percent and 84 percent passed math.

Compared to the state, 52.5 percent of West Central seventh-grade students passed ELA, while 61.2 percent of students passed math. Statewide, 74.2 percent of seventh-graders passed the ELA portion while 80.2 percent passed math.

66.2 percent of West Central eighth-graders passed ELA and 87.7 percent of students passed math. Statewide, 76.2 percent of eighth-grade students passed the ELA portion and 81.2 percent passed math.

Mellon said the corporation will review the data and start to give students additional help and time.

“We now have the data to back it up,” Mellon said.

Eastern Pulaski Elementary School and Winamac Community Middle School students averaged better than the state except seventh-graders who took a hard drop in the ELA portion of the ISTEP+.

Foster said the corporation, overall, is pleased with the results of the ISTEP+ data.

“We do have a couple areas that we are trying to check on and one section in seventh-grade that got us a little bit and we are trying to figure out what happened with that one,” he said.

EPES third-graders (87.6 percent) passed above the state average ELA (85.2 percent). In the math portion of the testing, third-graders (89.5 percent) scored 9.4 percent higher than the state (80.1 percent).

Fourth-grade students were above the state average in both the ELA and math portions of the testing. EPES fourth-grade students scored 89.4 percent in ELA and 95.6 percent in math, while the state averages were 84.3 percent in ELA and 83.5 percent in math.

EPES fifth-graders scored 92.2 percent in ELA and 94.5 percent in math. The state average was 79.2 percent in ELA and 87 percent in math.

Winamac Community Middle School sixth-graders faired better than the state average in the ELA portion, 89.2 percent passing compared to 77.7 passing. With the math portion, 92.5 percent passed, while statewide 84 percent passed.

68.3 percent of seventh-grade students passed ELA while statewide 74.2 passed. The Winamac seventh-grade average in math was 85 percent compared to the statewide average of 80.2 percent passing.

84.6 percent of Winamac eighth-grade students passed the ELA portion while 76.2 percent of students, statewide, passed. In math, 87.9 percent of Winamac eighth-graders passed the ELA portion, compared to 81.2 percent of students, statewide, passing.

School principals and curriculum leaders are reviewing the information and will begin constructing plans to fix the problems.

The numbers released are considered preliminary.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 25, 2013)

Lowering hill will cause temporary road closure

With recent complaints regarding the safety of a hill on CR 200 N. and with the construction on a confined feeding operation in that area, Pulaski County officials have agreed to lower the hill that will cause a short closure during that time.

Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Mark Fox said CR 200 N. between CR 300 W. and CR 500 W. will be closed due to reconstruction of the road. While the highway department is working on that area they will also lower a hill on CR 400 W. between CR 200 N. and CR 250 N. Due to the lowering of the hills beginning Sept. 30, the roads will be closed for about a week, weather permitting.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 25, 2013)

Close the pool or build a new one?

An audience of supporters regarding the town pool voiced their opinions during a regular Winamac Town Council meeting on Sept. 9.

The town began taking a hard look at the costs of the pool when they began the 2014 budget. Last year the pool cost $2,816. It can range from $2,000 to $4,000 each year.

It is estimated that the pool could collapse because of deterioration. The 50-year-old pool was lined with fiberglass in 1984 that is now separating and breaking.

Town council members feel that they have two choices: to close the pool or build a new one. The current condition of the pool is beyond repair.

Town council president John Plowman said he spoke with the town of Fowler that built a new pool about two years ago between $700,000 and $800,000. He estimated the costs of a new pool to be about $1 million.

“We can’t do this anymore without building a new pool or closing it all together,” Plowman said.

The question was raised to those in attendance if they were in support of the pool and they responded with yes.

To fund the pool, the town would have to raise a bond issue that would mean an additional tax.

“It comes down to the citizens of Winamac and the people that we have to answer to that has to have the will to do that,” Plowman said.

According to town officials, the revenue from pool admissions varied between $7,000 to over $9,000 from 2008 to 2013. The grand total to operate the pool each year varies between $46,000 to over $54,000 while the amount of funding from taxes has decreased from 2008 where it was $38,880.72 to $28,016.44 in 2013.

It was questioned if the town has received an estimate of how much it would cost to repair the pool. Wastewater superintendent Brad Zellers said pictures of the pool were sent to a company and they would not stand behind a set price because of the amount of work that might need to be done.

Not only would the fiberglass of the pool need to be replaced but also the piping under the pool. The piping is 50 years old. The filter is no longer made, so a new system would need to be installed.

When the pool was built, it was done because of the need to teach children how to swim.

“We all want a pool. The question is do we want to pay for a pool? And it’s going to be a million bucks if we get off cheap, so are we willing to add a little more to our taxes to pay for a new pool which is what we need?” asked John Kocher, town attorney.

An estimated price of the higher tax could be between $40 and $60 a year in taxes.

It was stated that the school corporation does not have a pool and that seniors have to travel to West Central School Corporation or Logansport to participate in water aerobics.

It was approved that the town will look into the bonding of the pool and a feasibility study would need to be conducted to find out how much it would cost taxpayers.

If the town is under construction, the town may not have a pool next year.

Councilman Rich Denney opposed the motion.

In other news:

No public comment was made regarding the introduction of the 2014 budget.

Power From the Past thanked the town for taking care of the park while the event was happening.

The 4-H dog club would like to use one of the ball fields once a week in March through June. They would like to use the area to train dogs and some of the training requires the dogs to be off the leash. There was discussion by the council that a dog park has been given permission to fence in the area but it is unknown when that will happen. There are about 19 kids who participate. The concern for council members is the liability. The request was approved but councilman Tom Murray opposed the request because he was concerned about insurance and liability.

The minutes for Aug. 12 were approved.

The minutes from the Sept. 3 work session were approved.

It was suggested by council members that the town begin charging the county for the flow on the town tile. The town has an ordinance regarding water flow from tiles into the sanitary sewers that allows the town to charge those who are connected to the tile. There is a flow meter installed. Council members gave the approval. The connection will be closed in December.

Claims 1934-2144 were approved.

A request to re-install a stop sign at the corner of Burson and Huddleston streets was approved with opposition from councilmen Plowman and Denney.

A motion was made to advertise for garbage/recycling bids and was approved with one opposition by councilman Dan Vanaman. The numbers will give town officials a better idea if it is cheaper for an outside company to pick up garbage and recycling.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 18, 2013)

>Hotel possible for Winamac

Money spent on a feasibility study regarding a hotel was well worth it, according to the Winamac Council.

During a regular meeting on Sept. 9, the council reviewed a rough draft of the study with little discussion.

The study was partially funded by the town and the company that proposed the idea of a new hotel in Winamac in March.

Reasons for the feasibility study include if there is a need for a hotel in the community, identify the number of rooms needed, and review the impact on any current lodging.

Council members asked for town manager Jim Conner to give a brief description of the rough draft.

“Basically they think that a 40-room hotel will work here,” Conner said.

It was estimated that the hotel could be finished in 2014 or 2015 and each room could be rented out for between $80 and $100.

A location of where the hotel would be built was not determined in the study, but it was to be built within the town limits, hence the reason the town helped fund the study.

Conner said the next step is to find investors for the project.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 18, 2013)

West Nile found in Pulaski County

Indiana Health Department officials have confirmed that the West Nile virus was found in four mosquito pools in Pulaski County.

The pools were tested on Aug. 23 near the Winamac wastewater treatment plant. Results from the tests were verified on Monday. Although mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus, no human cases have been reported.

Pulaski County Health Department Director of Environmental Health Terri Hansen said with the hot weather, the mosquito season is far from over.

“People need to take precautions regarding mosquitoes,” Hansen said.

Along with the West Nile virus being confirmed in Pulaski County mosquitoes, three additional human cases of West Nile virus have been reported by state officials.

Those cases include one in Floyd County while two cases were reported in Porter County. One case was previously identified in Ripley County.

Transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) in mosquitoes is widespread and it is important to remember that the risk of disease will remain with us until after the first hard freeze. Additional human cases are likely.

ISDH surveillance and testing has confirmed 195 positive mosquito pools from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Carroll, Clinton, Daviess, Delaware, DeKalb, Grant, Hamilton, Jay, Jefferson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, Marshall, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Parke, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Vigo, White and Whitley.

Health department officials have tested 142,503 mosquitoes divided into 2,009 pools from 92 counties.

Additionally, the Allen County Health Department has notified the state of 20 positive pools from their surveillance program, and Marion County Public Health Department has notified the state of 40 positive pools from their program.

This gives a statewide total of 255 WNV positive pools from 59 counties.

Allen County has tested 7,915 mosquitoes from 218 pools in their program and Marion County has tested 14,755 mosquitoes from 307 pools from their surveillance.

Statewide, this gives us a total of 165,173 mosquitoes tested divided into 2,534 pools.

There have been no mosquitoes testing positive for St. Louis Encephalitis or Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis at this time.

There have been no human cases of SLE or EEE but there has been one case of WNV in a horse from Adams County.

State officials have also reported three cases of Dengue in Indiana, all related to travel in endemic areas.

Updates to county level data are available at http://www.in.gov/isdh/23592.htm.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 11, 2013)

HSPA launches updated public notice website

The Hoosier State Press Association announces an improved online clearinghouse of Indiana public notice advertisements.

The association revamped its website for the notices – www.indianapublicnotices.com – with easy-to-navigate features and a large collection of listings from across the state.

All of the notices on the website also were printed in newspapers, the most trusted source for community information. Users can search for public notices by keyword, date, newspaper or location for free.

“Public notices are valuable from a newspaper perspective for the wealth of information they provide about issues facing a community: building projects, foreclosures, zoning, liquor licenses and much more,” said Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel.

HSPA is committed to making public notices easily accessible, said Robyn McCloskey, president of the HSPA board of directors and publisher of the Kokomo Tribune and the Pharos-­Tribune (Logansport).

“Public notices remain one of the three pillars of government transparency,” McCloskey said. “Indiana’s Public Notice Advertising Law joins the Access to Public Records Act and Open Door Law in supporting the public’s right to know how public servants conduct business.”

The publication of notices in newspapers and on their websites puts information about local, county and state government in places where people are likely to find it, Key said.

“This results in maximum government transparency,” Key said. “Indianapublicnotices.com offers another tool to track how elected leaders make decisions and spend tax dollars.”

According to Key, effective public notices are archivable, easily accessible, verifiable – and disseminated by an independent third party.

“Newspapers deliver on all four elements,” Key said.

Indianapublicnotices.com also includes a link to HSPA’s online Indiana newspaper directory. The searchable index contains information on circulation sizes, leadership, publication schedule and more.

The redesigned website features a clean look for maximum user-friendliness, McCloskey said.

“HSPA continues to invest in services that promote the public’s right to know how government operates,” she said. “This website makes statewide public notices available in one place from trusted sources – Indiana newspapers and the Hoosier State Press Association.”

The Hoosier State Press Association, founded in 1933, is a trade association representing 165 daily and weekly paid-circulation newspapers in Indiana. For more information visit www.hspa.com.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 11, 2013)

News of lawsuit comes as surprise to school corp.

The news of Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation facing a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana was a surprise to the school administration as they had not received any indication of it before news outlets began calling.

Superintendent Dan Foster, who began his first day at the corporation on Aug. 26, said on Aug. 30 that the corporation is waiting to see the case that will be reviewed by the school corporation’s attorney Tim Murray.

The case, C.B. v. Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation, #3-13-cv-901-TLS, was filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, on Aug. 28. It alleges that a female seventh-grader was denied the chance to try out for the football team by the middle school principal Ryan Dickinson and athletic director Bill Ball. She was told she was not allowed to join the team and should instead participate in volleyball or cross country.

The ACLU of Indiana cites that the school has violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution Fourteenth Amendment because administration would not allow her to try out because of her gender.

Foster said the parents did meet with Dickinson and Ball and they had made aware that they were not in favor of the 12-year-old girl playing football. The meeting took place on Aug. 23, the last day of work for superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman before he retired.

“They also indicated that Dr. Klitzman supported that decision. However they also made the parents aware that a new person (superintendent) was coming in the following week and he may have a different philosophy of things, so you might want to address this with him,” Foster said. “I was never contacted. Dr. Klitzman was never contacted.”

Foster said he didn’t have an opportunity to respond to the concerns of the parents. It does not appear that the parents contacted the school board either.

“We had a couple of steps that got skipped and honestly it may not be the parents’ fault in that. When ACLU sees something in this nature, they may have wanted to take up the cause even if the parents wanted to wait,” Foster said. “I haven’t spoken to the parents because of pending litigation now.”

The next step for the corporation, according to Foster, is to wait until Murray has had a chance to review the lawsuit.

Foster said he believes there is a resolution that can be reached but the lawsuit complicates the situation.

“I’m optimistic. I’m confident that we can come to some kind of resolution that would be agreeable to both sides and protects both the safety and the interest of the student in the future,” Foster said. “We have to see the legal paperwork first to know where we need to start.”

There are female students who have played on the predominantly male high school teams.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 4, 2013)

A free library card is ticket to back-to-school savings

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Pulaski County Public Library joins with the American Library Association (ALA) and public libraries nationwide to make sure community members have the most important card of all — a free library card.

A variety of resources at the Pulaski County Public Library are available to anyone who has a library card. People can turn to the library for materials, programs and services that support academic and recreational needs. They can access free databases, online homework help and attend programs, activities and clubs that provide an added value to the educational experience.

District patrons can use their library cards from home to access 24/7 services. Pulaski County libraries offer access to important resources, like e-books, digital magazines, music and audiobooks that can be downloaded from the library’s website — all with a free library card. “It is for all of these reasons that a library card is the most important card of all.”

“Our library provides all types of people with the tools they need to succeed.” The library provides exciting and engaging programs that make learning fun and exciting resources that they can access from the library or from home.

The library will have additional promotions throughout September. Patrons can pose for a photograph with their library card and will be entered into a special drawing.

Can’t find your library card? This month, the libraries are offering free replacement cards. On Wednesdays, the libraries will be giving away plastic sleeves for the library cards too. There are several reasons to visit the library during the month of September.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Pulaski County Public Library or call 574-946-3432.

(Pulaski County Journal - September 4, 2013)

KIRPC Head Start offers free, reduced-price meals

KIRPC Head Start recently announced sponsorship of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals at no separate charge.

Free and reduced-price meals will be provided to participants meeting the approved eligibility criteria. Meals are available to all enrolled participants without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability at the Winamac KIRPC Head Start.

Children who are members of TANF assistance units or food stamp households are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits.

This program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Department of Education, Division of School and Community Nutrition Programs gives financial assistance to child care centers so that nutritious meals can be integrated with nonresidential child care services for children.

The goal of the program is to improve the diets of young children and increase the opportunity for children to eat a variety of nutritious foods. The meals and snacks served meet standards established by the United States Department of Agriculture for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

For further information contact KIRPC Head Start, P.O. Box 127, 115 E Fourth St., Monon, IN 47959 or call 888-300-0795.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 28, 2013)

New superintendent has roots with school district

The new Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation superintendent Dan Foster said he feels like he has gone full circle in the last nine years.

Foster began working at EPSC in 2004 as the Winamac Community High School assistant principal. He then became the principal at Caston Jr.-Sr. High School for one year before becoming a superintendent for the Caston School Corporation in August of 2008.

The circle then became complete on Aug. 21, when the EPSC board approved for Foster to be the new superintendent.

After the approval of hiring Foster was given, he said, “the goal is not to screw up anything good that is happening. I’m excited about coming back. I greatly appreciate this opportunity.”

Foster was picked from 15 applicants. Making the decision to apply at Eastern Pulaski was not an easy choice for Foster, who has worked for the Caston school district for six years. Before he worked at EPSC and Caston, Foster was the director of bands at Fountain Central Jr.-Sr. High School in Veedersburg, Ind., for 11 years.

“I have been blessed to have the opportunity at Caston,” he said during an interview on Aug. 22. “I really have appreciated the opportunities that both Caston and Eastern Pulaski have afforded me. It was a difficult decision to leave Caston but I am extremely excited and looking forward to starting at Eastern Pulaski.”

Foster said Eastern Pulaski, “is truly an outstanding school corporation. This is a wonderful opportunity to come back and serve a corporation that gave me an opportunity a little earlier than Caston did.”

Foster’s plan is for a smooth transition into the Eastern Pulaski corporation. He wants to talk with each school board member and hear what they believe are the strengths and challenges of the corporation. He will then schedule a work session and address any issues.

“It may be something positive that we absolutely want to keep going and do what we can to keep it going. Maybe it is a challenge that we need to address,” he said. “I want to talk with the rest of the administration team and those in the central office. I will be learning specific roles of who does what. It will start with about 90 to 180 days of me listening and a lot of others talking.”

After the talking, plans will be made to work issues to the positive, according to Foster.

“I’m not going to come in and start making all of these drastic, immediate changes — that’s not my style,” he said.

Hiring a new superintendent is new to the school board that has had the same superintendent, Dr. Robert Klitzman, for the last 26 years. Klitzman’s last day of school was Aug. 23.

“Dr. Klitzman has been a wonderful mentor and I have appreciated everything he has provided me as well,” Foster said.

Foster anticipated the first day of work, Aug. 26, like a student anticipates the first day of school — nervous and excited at the same time. He knows a number of the teachers and students because of his previous work experience and because of his daughters, two of whom are Winamac Community High School graduates and one who is an eighth-grader.

“I’m looking to get things started. It has been a long process and it will be nice to get all of this behind us,” Foster said. “It’s time to start focusing on the kids and their education.”

One of his first actions will be to meet with the administrators of each school before introducing himself to the faculty.

“We are all here for the kids, we have to make that the pinnacle of our decisions,” he said.

As Foster begins his first year as EPSC superintendent, he is reminded that without the support of his wife Rachel and daughters, he would not have started the circle.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 28, 2013)

Police warn residents to be on lookout for dumping

Various reports of roofing shingles being dumped on private property have local police warning residents to be on the lookout.

According to Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer, the county highway department has been called several times for roofing shingles dumped on private property.

Some of the dumping has occurred near the streets, while other piles were left between cornfields away from the roads on residents’ property.

Police suspect that roofing crews in town, who are replacing storm-damaged roofs, are responsible for the dumping.

If residents see something that appears to be suspicious, such as a trailer of scrap roofing being hauled and dumped, they should contact police.

Call 574-946-6655 for the sheriff’s department.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 21, 2013)

Miss Pulaski crowned Indiana State Fair Queen

For little girls the fairy tale of becoming a queen, can come true, just ask Alyssa Garnett.

Garnett, 19, who was named Miss Pulaski County in June, earned the title of the 56th Indiana State Fair Queen on Sunday.

The Purdue University sophomore said when she was little she looked up to Bailey Hoover, who was crowned the 2006 Miss Indiana State Fair Queen.

“I used to write Bailey little fan letters and so the summer of her being Miss Indiana State Fair, she took me to watch the Miss Howard County pageant and ever since then I knew that I wanted to do the pageant,” Garnett said. “To now be Miss Indiana State Fair is just amazing because I get to see what it is like to be in her shoes.”

After becoming Miss Pulaski County, Garnett said she began to prepare for the state fair pageant.

“I took the judges’ advice and changed out my professional wear completely. I practiced answering questions and worked hard to prepare for my interview,” Garnett said.

As part of the competition, ladies arrived on Aug. 16 for orientation and interviews. There were 87 contestants, who were given three minutes to impress the judges during their interviews. Contestants were judged on the basis of poise, personality and ability to converse.

On Saturday, contestants donned their professional wear and evening gowns for judging. Garnett said contestants were able to spend time at the fair, after the evening gown judging. Saturday night ended with the queen’s farewell banquet.

Sunday was the day of the pageant. Each contestant said hello and the top 10 finalists were announced. The top 10 finalists again donned their professional wear to show off.

They then changed into their formal wear and answered an impromptu question. Garnett was asked what the biggest challenge youth are facing today. She said self-confidence because they are not confident in their own skin.

After the questions the winners were announced.

“My first thoughts were ‘wow, I can’t believe I have made it this far.’ There are 87 girls so the odds of making the top 10 were not in my favor. I was just happy to be there,” Garnett said. “Once it sunk in that they said my name, I was so happy.”

The queen acts as the official hostess of the Indiana State Fair. Garnett will spend the entire 17-day period at the fair. She will also travel extensively in June and July before the state fair.

“I began unofficial duties right away and it sounds like they have a fantastic year planned for me,” Garnett said. “I’m excited to visit all the different counties because there was such a great group of girls (county queens) there. It sounds like I have a great experience ahead of me.”

With the dream of being a queen, Garnett said her favorite moment happened soon after being named Miss Indiana State Fair.

“I walked out the door and little girls were asking to have their picture taken with me. That was surreal because I used to be that little girl,” she said.

As she travels across the state, Garnett said she wants to share with others about how great the Indiana State Fair is each year.

“We are the official hostesses and everywhere we go we are supposed to be promoting the state fair,” she said.

Garnett will spend the year balancing college and her queen responsibilities. She is studying business management at Purdue and is the daughter of Joe and Cyndi Garnett.

“I want to thank the county. I have had so many people giving me well wishes and all those things helped me to want to win more,” she said.

Garnett is the third young lady from Pulaski County to become Miss Indiana State Fair.

Amber Michelle (Connolly) Rodibaugh was named Indiana State Fair Queen in 1997, while Hoover was named queen in 2006.

Others who have represented Pulaski County as part of the queen court in last 10 years include 2nd runner-up and Miss Congeniality in 2008 Sarah Miller and 3rd runner-up (Margaret) Stacy Gudas in 2012.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 21, 2013)

Pulaski County family honored with Hoosier Homestead Award

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets presented the White family with a Hoosier Homestead Award in recognition of their more than 100-year commitment to Indiana agriculture on Aug. 7.

The farm was established in 1863.

“Today we celebrate the agricultural heritage of our farming families,” Ellspermann said. “We salute their innovation, their determination, and their dedication which have allowed them to succeed for more than a century—here’s to at least 100 more successful years.”

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year.

“As the practices of agriculture continue to evolve, families like those honored at today’s ceremony remind us of the deep cultural roots farming has in our state,” Sheets said. “Although business and technology play a significant role in farming, the recipients of the Hoosier Homestead award show us that agriculture is ultimately about family and community.”

The White family joins more than 5,000 Hoosier Homestead farms. Annual recognition ceremonies are held in March (during National Ag Month) and August at the Indiana State Fair.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 14, 2013)

Markets predicting record corn yields

Cooler temperatures and abundant moisture have many in the agriculture field making predictions of record corn yields this year.

Corn needs cooler temperatures and wetter weather to pollinate but warmer, drier weather to dry out before harvest. Last year the hot, dry weather caused the plants to stress causing poor pollination and less yields.

Pulaski County Extension Educator of agriculture and natural resources Chad Rushing said pollination has been successful this year causing early predications of corn yield amounts.

“The conditions were fairly ideal for them to reach their maximum genetic potential,” Rushing said. “What we are not factoring into that is that we have had a lot of ponding in the fields and that will take away from some producers depending on how much they had to replant or not replant. Parts of the fields may see really good yields, while other fields were washed out.”

Because of the ponding, some farmers may see similar yields to last year. Rushing said it’s hard to say at this time because those who are making the predications are basing it on the current weather conditions and not what happened during planting season.

If predictions of record yields come true, Rushing said the price of corn will decrease because the demand for corn hasn’t increased.

“We are kind of at a consistent demand and depending on what kind of supply we have will depend on where the price will go that is why we are seeing a lower price,” Rushing said. “It is a little lower than I thought it would be and I think that is based on this aggressive yield projection.”

For Pulaski County, Rushing predicts it will be an above average year overall but he does not think it will be record-breaking. The county average of bushels could be in the 160-170 range. Last year the county average was more than 100 bushels per acre.

Rushing said local farmers are expecting average to above-average yields.

“It’s tough to say. We have a lot of irrigated corn that has very high yields,” he said. “I’m not sure how our irrigated acres have changed.”

With the price of corn higher last year but less yields, many farmers may see a wash with the lower prices and the above average yields. Rushing said farmers who do not have the ability to store their grain will be more subjected to the current cash price.

“Last year was really an anomaly price wise,” he said. “It’s still a little too early to tell what the yields will be.”

If the cool, wet weather continues farmers will have a harder time getting the corn out of the fields and drying it out, according to Rushing. Hotter weather is needed in the next month.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 14, 2013)

State health officials remind parents of new immunization requirements

With the new school year quickly approaching, state health officials want Indiana parents to be aware of new immunization requirements for school entry.

Parents can get immunization records from their health care provider or use the secure website, www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov, to print their child’s official immunization record from home by using a personal identification number (PIN).

For the 2013-2014 school year, all students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will be required to have a record documenting two valid doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or documented history of chickenpox disease. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade will need to have their history of chickenpox disease documented by a health care provider.

“We experienced multiple outbreaks of chickenpox around the state during the last school year,” said Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. “This new requirement will help stop the spread of this preventable disease and keep kids healthy and in school.”

Although not required for school entry, Duwve recommends that students also receive the following immunizations if they haven’t already:

Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine

Flu vaccine every year

Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, 3-dose series for all adolescents

Booster dose of meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) vaccine for adolescents ages 16-18

The requirements and recommendations are in alignment with the routine vaccination schedules from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). For a complete listing of all recommended immunizations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html.

Indiana school immunization requirements are posted on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.state.in.us/isdh/17094.htm.

Hoosiers are encouraged to check their children’s vaccination records on www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov, a user-friendly website from the Indiana State Department of Health that provides Hoosiers direct access to their immunization records from any computer through the use of a PIN. Many Hoosiers have already utilized this resource.

Since MyVaxIndiana was launched in July 2012, nearly 30,000 PINs have been assigned and 4,619 unique records have been accessed from the site. PINs can be obtained from health care providers and used to log in to the secure website. Users can then download, print or fax official records. Each record also displays the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended immunization schedule.

“The goal of the MyVaxIndiana site is to make it easier for all Hoosiers to access their immunization records,” Duwve said. “Parents can check what immunizations their child has already received and find out what may still be needed, as well as print, fax or email an official copy of the record. Vaccinations reduce the spread of disease and help to keep all of us healthy.”

To learn more about MyVaxIndiana, visit www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov.

For more information about school immunization requirements, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 7, 2013)

Pulaski County CASA volunteers needed

The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program here in Pulaski County is in need of volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the legal system.

CASA volunteers are specially trained and provide information that helps judges make informed and timely decisions about what is best for an abused or neglected child, whether it be foster care, reuniting with parents, or adoption. Right now in Pulaski County six children are in need of CASA volunteers to speak for them in court.

Children with CASA volunteers are less likely to spend time in long term foster care and are less likely to re-enter the child welfare system. They are more likely to receive therapy, health care, and educational services than those children without a CASA volunteer.

New volunteer training is slated to start Thursday, Sept. 19. For more information about the Pulaski County CASA program contact Sara Kroft at 574-225-2227 or skroft@lpcasa.com.

(Pulaski County Journal - August 7, 2013)

Paving and sealing are now underway in Pulaski County

Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Mark Fox said paving and sealing is underway in the county as he met with commissioners during a special meeting on Monday.

During the meeting, Fox presented the commissioners with a list of roads or areas of road that will be either paved or sealed.

“The majority of it is maintenance,” Fox said. “It comes to roughly a mile of hot mix, 10 miles of blade mix and 30 miles of sealing.”

Fox said there is not a set schedule as to when or where the various paving and sealing will happen because weather will play a major part in what can be completed. He estimates it will take about a month to finish all the proposed sections of road.

Fox also presented a recommendation of a bid for asphalt paving on CR 950 S. west of CR 700 W. and on CR 150 S. from CR 50 E. to SR 119. The bid was for a total of $112,340. Two bids for the project were opened during a commissioners’ meeting earlier in the month. Fox said both bids were the same other than price. The difference between the two is about $18,000. He requested the commissioners approve the bid, so work can begin on Aug. 1.

The commissioners approved the recommended bid. Fox said if all goes as planned there will be lane closures in those two areas on Thursday, Aug. 1 and Monday, Aug. 5.

Along with the talk of roads, Fox requested the hiring of Wade Wake for a laborer position. The county approved the request pending the completion of a criminal background check and drug screen.

In other business:

• The annual report for the Congressional Township fund was approved and signed by the commissioners. Auditor Shelia Garling said it’s the same amount every year — about $25,000 that’s investment. The fund raises about $293 interest that is transfered into the principal congressional fund. The interest is paid out to congressional schools twice a year.

• Commissioners approved for Garling to release a check to the insurance company regarding dental insurance. Commissioner Larry Brady requested for the dental insurance company to supply the county with a list of network providers because it appears that none of the local dentists are on the network.

• A letter regarding limited payroll deductions was approved by the commissioners. The letter states that county employees have 30 days to notify the auditor’s office as to whether or not their policy, such as life insurance or disability insurance, will be terminated if the premium is not paid by a payroll deduction. The county will continue to deduct what is statutory required such as child support, spousal support, or garnishment orders. The letter will be sent to all department heads, who are to distribute the letter to employees.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 31, 2013)

IDE releases report on ISTEP+ validity

In response to widespread problems associated with CTB McGraw-Hill’s administration of the high-stakes ISTEP+ this spring, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz hired Dr. Richard Hill of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment to review the results.

Among other things, the report shows the following:

• Because of the efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents, as well as the swift and decisive actions taken by Ritz, the average negative statewide impact on scores was not measurable. However, this does not mitigate the effect the interruptions had on students, parents and teachers throughout Indiana.

• At this time, the exact impact of interruptions at the individual, classroom and teacher level cannot be ascertained.

“First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, teachers, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education,” Ritz said. “Because of their dedication and hard work, the impact of these interruptions was limited. However, let me be clear, the problems with the ISTEP+ contractor were absolutely unacceptable. Every student deserves the opportunity to take a fair and uninterrupted assessment.

“I have spent the last several months talking with Hoosiers about the impact these interruptions had in the classroom. Although Dr. Hill’s report found that the statewide average score was not affected by the interruptions, there is no doubt that thousands of Hoosier students were affected. As Dr. Hill stated in his report, ‘We cannot know definitively how students would have scored this spring if the interruptions had not happened.’ Because of this, I have given local schools the flexibility they need to minimize the effect these tests have on various matters, such as teacher evaluation and compensation. I have also instructed CTB McGraw-Hill to conduct enhanced stress and load testing to ensure that their servers are fully prepared for next year’s test and ensure that this never happens again.”

The Department of Education is conducting an ongoing negotiation regarding settlement with CTB McGraw-Hill. Next steps for the Department include processing student reports to be available online to parents and students, and calculating A-F accountability results.

An interactive map showing the ISTEP+ interruptions by school corporation can be found by clicking here: http://www.stats.indiana.edu/maptools/ISTEPinterruptions.html.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 31, 2013)

Flooding no longer a threat to Power From the Past

Rumors that the Northern Indiana Power From the Past has been canceled has organizers squelching the hearsay.

The 36th annual Northern Indiana Power From the Past, July 18-21, will continue as planned with the usual assortment of food, entertainment, flea market vendors and displaying of tractors that people enjoy.

As in the past, the festivities will be held in the Winamac Town Park with admission at the gate.

Daily events include 150 vendors offering flea market items, antiques, collectibles, and food. Vendors will also offer working displays, gas engines, antique tractors, steam engines, garden tractors, threshing, saw mill, baling, baker fan, corn shredder and sheller, shingle mill, planer, edger, old-craft demonstrations, a quilt show, shuttle wagons, blacksmith, out boards, wood bowl making, grist mill and an exhibit of collectible motorcycles. For the kids there will be children’s games.

This year the featured attractions include Oliver Farm Tractors and Equipment, Hersting: The Oliver Gang, Hit and Miss Engines, L&G Tractors, and Signs.

Families can also enjoy entertainment that includes various bands, square dancing, skillet tossing, and various pulls throughout on different nights of the festival.

Preview night on Wednesday begins at 4:30 p.m.

The gate fee includes all daily activities, stage events and the horse pull.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 17, 2013)

New laws impacting Hoosiers

July 1 has come and gone, meaning that most of the legislation passed last session is now law in Indiana.

There were a number of bills filed last session, over a thousand between the two chambers. But, the legislative process, as convoluted as it may seem, works to vet every issue with less than 300 bills becoming laws.

Those include:

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1053 – Tightens loopholes in the sex offender registry to make sure the offender reports any change in address or appearance to local authorities. Those who fail to comply with the added information requirements may be charged with a Class D felony as a first time offense or Class C felony if they have a prior offense.

HEA 1151 – Creates the Blue Alert program to notify the public when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured or missing in the line of duty.

HEA 1170 – Expands the Training 2000 Program that will provide incentives and assistance to new or expanding businesses for the training or retraining of incumbent employees. The program will also to curb the costs for Hoosier businesses to retrain and upgrade employee skills required to support existing capital investment. This legislation is meant to help address the skills gap affecting the Hoosier workforce and retain talent.

HEA 1482 – Allows certain non-sexual and non-violent crimes to be expunged from the criminal records of Hoosiers. A record may only be expunged one time, and a petition to expunge a conviction may be filed no earlier than one year after an arrest that was not prosecuted or if a conviction was overturned on appeal, five years from the date of conviction of a misdemeanor, or eight to 10 years from the date of conviction of felonies.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 5 – Changes Indiana law so that when a hospital receives a settlement amount that is less than their current lien, the hospital no longer has the ability to go after the patient for the remainder of their charges. Before this legislation, if an individual was admitted into a hospital and received care regarding personal injuries caused by carelessness of another person or corporation was allowed to have a lien filed against them by the hospitals and/or ambulances.

SEA 382 – Creates the Senior Consumer Protection Act, giving the attorney general a way to protect senior citizens from financial exploitation.

SEA 509 – Gives authorities the ability to investigate human trafficking cases of a child less than 18 years old. It is imperative we do everything we can to insure the safety of our children. This legislation strengthens Indiana’s current laws against human trafficking, giving authorities the tools to enforce these criminal code violations.

SEA 582 – Allows action to be taken immediately by trained hospital police officers, ensuring hospital staff and patients are in a safe environment at all times. Currently, if an issue arises at a Hoosier hospital, hospital authorities are required to call 911 and wait for local responders. This legislation allows for hospitals to have their own police officers to be on the scene immediately if a situation should arise, creating a safer environment for all patients.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 17, 2013)

Free job search workshops for Pulaski County residents

The Northwest Indiana WorkOne offices in Knox, Morocco, Rensselaer and Winamac will be offering a free hands-on workshop that will cover Internet job searching techniques and sites.

Time will also be spent on actual job searches based upon the participant’s employment interests.

Local workshop dates and times are as follows: Monday, July 15 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the WorkOne Knox office at 53 W. Lake Street and on Monday, July 22 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the WorkOne Winamac located at 123 N. Market Street.

Space is limited and requires advance registration by contacting WorkOne at 800-661-2258.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 10, 2013)

Eastern Pulaski readies for the start of school

The start of the school year will be upon us soon and the Eastern Pulaski School Corporation has made available some valuable information every parent or guardian of school-age children should be aware of.

Registration for new students will take place on Friday, Aug. 2 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. New student registration will continue on Monday, Aug. 5 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and again from 1-3 p.m. Please call for an appointment.

Returning students will have two days to register beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Registration will conclude for returning students during the hours of 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Registration for all students will be in the high school gym main entry.

Freshmen orientation will take place in the high school socialtorium beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Middle school orientation will be on Monday, Aug.12 at 5:50 p.m. The sixth grade will meet in the socialtorium, the seventh grade will meet in the media center and the eighth grade will congregate in the high school media room.

Monday, Aug. 12 will also be the annual meet the teacher night. The elementary school will meet from 5-6 p.m. and the middle school and high school will meet from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students (K-12) will be on Wednesday, Aug.14. The elementary, middle and high school tardy bell will sound at 8:05 with school dismissing at 3:10 p.m. for the elementary and 3:20 for both the middle school and high school.

Book rental fees will be $100 for kindergarten through grade 12 and that will include a handbook.

Student lunch fees will be $1.60 and adults will cost $2.10. Breakfast will once again be offered in the elementary school for $1.

Free/reduced lunch and textbook rental assistance application forms can be completed during registration. For convenience, applications may be downloaded from the school’s webpage (www.epulaski.k12.in.us) or picked up prior to registration at the superintendent’s office.

The seventh, eighth and ninth grades will be issued school iPads for the 2013-14 school year. Parents are encouraged to purchase school insurance for unusual-type damage to the iPad for $50 per year. The insurance will cover the iPad against damage for two incidents during the school year.

The schools can be reached by phone at the following numbers: elementary school 574-946-3955, middle school 574-946-6525 and high school 574-946-6151.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 10, 2013)

Help emergency responders find you

When an emergency happens and assistance is needed immediately — minutes count and time lost hurts.

Help first responders locate your address quickly by marking homes and businesses with reflective green signs. Reflective numerals guide first responders at night and the green background highlights locations. First responders train to look for the green sign with reflective numbers near the mailbox.

Starting last month, the Pulaski County Fire and Rescue Association began selling the reflective green signs to the public for $20 per sign. The signs (16” x 18”) may be hung vertically or horizontally. These signs are customized to any address with 3-inch high reflective letters on both sides of the sign.

When purchasing a sign from the Pulaski County Fire and Rescue Association, it also helps Pulaski County emergency responders raise funds to purchase equipment and supplies needed to rescue residents in case of a major disaster. Purchasing of backboards and accessories to transport injured persons is the goal.

The Pulaski County Fire and Rescue Association is a volunteer organization of firemen, law enforcement officers, hospital personnel, ambulance crews, emergency managers and public health staff who care for the citizens of Pulaski County.

For purchase details visit the Pulaski County Fire and Rescue Association Facebook page. Watch local media outlets in the coming weeks for more information.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 3, 2013)

‘All I wanted to do was sell the donkey’

Posting the selling of a donkey on Craigslist has stirred some unwanted attention for a local Winamac resident.

Jay Bitterling said all he wanted to do was sell his donkey after he posted it on Craigslist recently. What he got was a number of texts and letters that are part of a potential scam.

Bitterling received a number of checks that look real but are written for more than the donkey was selling for. The checks appeared to have come from several banks, ranging between $1,500 and $2,200.

“They look real and I wanted people to know about this scam,” he said.

Along with the checks, Bitterling also received a letter from the U.S. Postal Service warning that the checks are most likely counterfeit. The Postal Service stated in the letter that employees cannot open the letter but the appearance of the envelope indicates a scam.

Other parcels that are similar to the one Bitterling received have also been related to hiring people for work-at-home jobs. If someone requests that the possible victim sends money or merchandise then it’s most likely a scam.

Bitterling said along with receiving the checks he has also received text messages asking if he got the checks. He said he has not replied to the texts because he does not want to become part of the scam.

“All I wanted to do was sell the donkey. Heck, I would have given it away and this is what I got,” he said.

Bitterling did speak with police who said they do investigate the potential scams but by the time they hear about it, the suspects have already changed their telephone number.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Grandstaff said he has been hearing about a lot of different scams lately but residents in Pulaski County are not getting caught in the temptation of responding.

He said many times people receive checks in the mail and the suspect asks for money to be returned because the amount on the check was written for too much. The suspect will tell the potential victim to keep some of the money for themself.

“Everybody knows anymore that it’s a scam,” he said.

Grandstaff said he is not aware of Craigslist scam victims in Pulaski County but he is regularly being approached by those who have been contacted by scam artists.

(Pulaski County Journal - July 3, 2013)

First 2013 West Nile virus activity found in the state

State health officials have confirmed the first signs of the West Nile virus activity in Indiana.

Mosquitoes in Adams County tested positive for West Nile virus last week. The detection of West Nile virus is earlier than normal for the state that typically holds off until mid-summer.

West Nile virus is commonly found throughout the state in the summer and there will likely be an increase in activity in additional counties as the season progresses. Last year, West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes in every county except Crawford County.

It is impossible to predict the severity of this year’s West Nile virus season as future temperatures and rainfall determine that.

“With this earlier than usual discovery of West Nile virus activity, Hoosiers are now at a greater risk of West Nile virus,” said Jennifer House, director of zoonotic and environmental epidemiology at the Indiana State Department of Health. “But there are many ways people can help protect themselves and their families. By following several simple, effective and important steps, they can help reduce not only mosquitoes, but mosquito bites.”

House recommends people take the following protective steps:

If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times from dusk to dawn.

Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.

Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.

West Nile virus usually causes a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis. Some individuals may die from the infection.

Health officials say that although individuals older than 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease. More than 30 Hoosiers have died from the illness, including eight in 2012, since Indiana had its first human case of West Nile virus in 2002.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird. A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite.

“Mosquitoes begin activity around the spring,” House said. “Besides West Nile virus, mosquitoes can spread several different diseases including St. Louis Encephalitis and La Crosse Encephalitis. Usually, mosquito transmitted diseases occur during the summer months and don’t show signs of waning until the first hard frost of the season.”

State health officials also recommend Hoosiers take the following steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds:

Discard old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water.

Repair failed septic systems.

Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.

Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.

Frequently replace the water in pet bowls.

Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically.

Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.

For more information, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov or follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN, https://twitter.com/statehealthin, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 26, 2013)

County unemployment rate sees slight increase

Unemployment rates decreased across the state for the second month in a row but Pulaski County did not show positive change.

According to the May 2013 unemployment rates, Pulaski County experienced a slight increase to 6.8 percent from the April rate of 6.1.

Nathan P. Origer, director of the Pulaski County Community Development Commission, said the numbers are deceiving because the “real employment rate is probably pretty close to where it was last month.”

Because Pulaski County has a small population, the change in unemployed versus employment can appear severe when the difference may only be a handful of people. The unemployment rate may have increased because more people filed for unemployment in May than in April.

“When you look at the numbers on the record workforce there was also an increase in employment,” Origer said. “There are more people working.”

Surrounding counties including Starke, Jasper, White and Fulton all experienced a decrease in the rate, while Marshall and Cass counties saw an increase.

The unemployment rate in Indiana is the same as it was in May 2012 at 8.3 percent. According to state officials, Indiana was only one of two states to see a decrease in the rate for the month.

States surrounding Indiana also saw an increase except for Illinois that experienced a rate decrease from 9.3 percent to 8.9 percent.

Because of the change in rate, Indiana was ranked eighth in the nation in private sector jobs added in May. Indiana ranks seventh in the nation in jobs added during the past year regarding manufacturing job growth. Indiana was ranked seventh in the nation in trade, transportation and utilities growth. In regards to financial activities growth Indiana ranked eighth in the nation in May.

The national rate increased in May from 7.5 percent to 8.2 percent.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 26, 2013)

County council says wheel tax not an option

With the recent snafu regarding the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax, county officials are not looking to implement new taxes even though the option of the wheel tax is there.

During a recent joint meeting between Pulaski County Commissioner Larry Brady and Pulaski County Council members, the tax was discussed in regards to how soon the county could collect on it, if the option is approved.

Brady said he spoke with state officials regarding the tax. If the county were to collect it in 2014, then the council would have to act now and approve it by June 30. If the council decides to wait, then funding will not be available to collect until 2015.

“I think as far as the county and the county council is concerned, I don’t know that we need anymore in regards to the wheel tax,” said Jay Sullivan, county council president. “I don’t think that we need to act right now because I don’t think we need new taxes. I think we are doing fine. I think our roads are fine.”

The county wheel tax permits a county council, town or city to impose these optional taxes that can only be used for road construction, repair and maintenance that is under their jurisdiction. Not all counties implement the tax that is paid when a person renews his or her license plates. The amount of the tax depends on the size of the vehicle.

There is a maximum amount of the tax and if other government entities in the county decide to impose the tax then the county would share it or receive a lesser amount. If a town or city should decide they want to implement the wheel tax it is still collected by the council and the county auditor then distributes it to the various government entities.

The county must complete paperwork for the state as to whether they are collecting the tax or not.

During an interview on June 13, Brady said the talk of the wheel tax began after the state offered counties additional funding if they were receiving the wheel tax. Since then that stipulation has changed but it did trigger talk of the wheel tax amongst county officials.

“We are not looking to raise taxes that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe we need to,” Brady said. “We are not in that position that we need to create another tax for our residents of Pulaski County.”

Brady said the county has excellent roads and funding is available for repairs and maintenance. The county is also receiving two installments from the state during the next two years that can be used for road repair. The additional funding comes from the state gas tax. Pulaski County could receive an additional $582,394 each year.

Brady said the use of the funding has not been determined and may not be until the county actually sees it. “There are no special projects right now but that doesn’t mean it cannot be put on the table and looked at.”

The cost of constructing a new road is between $76,000 and $184,100 for one mile depending on the quality of the road.

It has not been determined if the county will receive additional funding in 2016 from the gas tax.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 19, 2013)

Town ordinance restricts firework use to specific days

As the Fourth of July is nearing, Winamac residents are reminded that town ordinances regarding fireworks trump state law.

Indiana law allows fireworks to be used anytime of the year during designated hours. In the town limits of Winamac, fireworks are prohibited with the exception of certain days.

In 2008, the town passed an ordinance that prohibits the use of consumer fireworks except between the hours of 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 through July 3, and July 5-July 9 of each year.

On July 4, the hours are between 10 a.m. and midnight of each year and between the hours of 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 of each year.

Use, ignition or discharge of fireworks on days that are not specified in the ordinance can constitute an infraction. Violators can be fined $100 and the Winamac Police Department will enforce the ordinance.

Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the reason for the ordinance was because some residents weren’t being good neighbors.

“It was 24-7 with a noise issue and that kind of thing. They would set them off in the street and then leave the stuff in the street,” Conner said. “Since the ordinance a lot of it has been curtailed.”

The county, along with Medaryville, Francesville and Monterey, follow state law in regards to fireworks,

According to the state, fireworks can be used between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. On Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve fireworks can be ignited or used from 9 a.m. until midnight.

As residents prepare to use or purchase their favorite noise maker, they are reminded to take extra precautions when using fireworks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-out-of-five people each year are injured by fireworks. One-third of those who were injured are under the age of 15.

Locally, Pulaski Memorial Hospital has treated at least three patients since 2010 for explosive-type injuries that may have been the result of fireworks. If injuries caused by fireworks were treated by physician offices, the hospital would not have access to that information.

Those injuries happen when people forget they are dealing with an explosive. Sparklers are also hot enough to melt glass so children should be carefully supervised when using the firework item.

For those who don’t want to take the chance of setting off fireworks, a fireworks show will be presented by Kiwanis with weather permitting in the town park at dusk on Thursday, July 4.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 19, 2013)

July 4th fireworks show needs community support

For many years now, the Winamac Kiwanis Club has organized and financially supported the annual fourth of July fireworks show held during the 4-H Fair in the Winamac Town Park.

In recent years, the club membership has worked with club sponsors to ensure admission is free to the public as costs continue to rise. The Kiwanis Club would like to thank the local businesses, area organizations, and individual citizens that have stepped up to help in the past.

Last year, the club paid out more than $4,000 to see that the annual community tradition continued. This year, in addition to its club sponsors, Kiwanis members are reaching out to residents to help support the fireworks show.

On Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT, Kiwanis members will be selling rib and chicken meals, compete with roll and baked potato at the NAPA parking lot in Winamac.

Presale tickets are available now until Saturday from any Kiwanis member. This fundraiser is an opportunity for the community to show the Kiwanis Club and its supporters that the fireworks are an important tradition to keep.

Show support by purchasing a meal or making a donation to the Winamac Kiwanis Club. For more information regarding the meal fundraiser, contact Kiwanis member Jon Frain at 574-946-3222. Anyone interested in being a club sponsor may contact Kiwanis member Bryce Brumm at bryce@standardinc.net.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 12, 2013)

Monterey bridge progress slowed by wet weather

Recent storms have caused enough flooding to slow the Monterey bridge project for the second time but the project is still on course, according to United Consulting construction manager Bret Smiley.

The project, that began earlier this year, involves building a new bridge that spans the Tippecanoe River, just to the east of the existing narrow bridge.

“We have definitely had our woes with the river levels for April and right now. The good thing is that our contractor included built-in rain days,” Smiley said. “Right now we are still on schedule.”

Construction crews have been draining the area and are concentrating on the bridge structure of the project. Smiley said the substructure has been prepared and poured. The next step will be the retaining walls on the north side of the river.

“We are moving right along. La Porte Construction has been doing a pretty fine job of keeping things going in lieu of the weather,” Smiley said.

As part of the project, the existing bridge will continue to stay open until it’s time to connect the new bridge with CR 625 E. It will then be closed for about 60 days. The project costs more than $2.2 million and is being paid for with local and federal funds.

Smiley said the project is currently under budget.

“As with any construction project we have had some minimal change orders. We are just scratching the surface of the project,” he said.

The existing bridge, that was built in 1946, will be turned into a pedestrian bridge and deemed historic.

With weather permitting the project should be completed in November.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 12, 2013)

Decaying historic depot has future

The haunting sound of train whistles may be long gone from the Monterey area but one lone building is a reminder of days when trains helped make Monterey a booming town.

For some time the train depot that is owned by the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, has been the topic of discussion as to whether it should be torn down, restored or sold. For the past few years it has been for sale and until recently it looked as if the building would face the same fate as the train tracks that were removed in 2004.

In April, the rundown facility was purchased by Steve Newland, of Walkerton. Newland, a member of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Inc., said the reason he bought the depot with a small parcel of property was to preserve it. The parcel of property includes the outhouse, west of the depot.

“My main goal was to save it because the museum was going to tear it down,” he said.

The property was for sale for some time and it appears that whoever bought it would have to move it off the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum property because it was a liability.

Newland researched the possible purchase and found that the building could remain in place and he could purchase an additional portion of property without it being a liability to the museum.

The depot, that was constructed in 1881 by local resident Joseph E. Keller, was built with board and batten siding and a gable roof of slate with an ornamental ridge. It was designed to shelter freight and passengers, and equipped with a waiting room, small office and baggage room. It was a center to receive mail and also equipped with Morse code.

Sometime between 1910 and 1918, the depot underwent renovation when a concrete freight platform was installed replacing the original wooden structure.

West of the depot is a concrete outhouse. It offers his and hers stalls and is thought to be one of only three in the state.

“One of the first things I’m going to do is stabilize the structure of the depot. I also need to fix the holes in the roof,” Newland said.

Newland said he plans to keep the roof covered in slate keeping to the historical look. A slate roof could cost about 10 times more than a shingle roof.

“I would like to slowly paint it and make it look good again,” he said. “If I find someone who would like to buy it, I will sell it but they will have to restore it properly.”

Newland said making repairs to the structure will be a slow process because he will be doing most of the work himself. He believes in restoring the building as close to its original look as possible both internally and externally.

As for what to do with the building once it is restores, Newland said he’s not sure.

“I don’t want to restore it and turn it into a bar or something,” he said. “It doesn’t have any indoor plumbing. It’s a pretty primitive building.”

Newland is not sure how quickly he will be working on the building, but he hopes to begin soon.

“One of the problems out there has been vandalism. Every window has been broken out of that and plywood placed over them. That is one thing that when I do fix them, I would like to take the plywood off and hopefully the people will be a little more vigilant,” Newland said.

If someone would like to make a donation to fixing the depot they can contact Newland at 574-586-3342.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 5, 2013)

Winamac FWA hosts Family Fun Shooting Range Event

Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area will be hosting a Family Fun Shooting Range Event on Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Winamac FWA shooting range located on CR 200 W., a half mile north of CR 500 N.

This free event is aimed at introducing youngsters and their families to the shooting sports. Experienced firearms and archery instructors will be at each station to teach proper form and ensure that safe shooting procedures are followed. All firearms, ammunition and equipment will be provided.

Shooting stations will include .22 caliber rifle, 20 gauge shotgun, bow/arrow, crossbow and a handgun simulator.

Hearing and eye protection will be provided but participants may bring their own if desired. A parent or guardian must accompany children and the whole family is encouraged to participate. Lunch will be provided beginning at 11 a.m.

There is no cost to participate but registration is required by calling the Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area at 574-946-4422, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Space is limited, so call to register.

(Pulaski County Journal - June 5, 2013)

Mosquito apocalypse has risen

As the warmer weather moved into the area, so did an above average number of blood-sucking pests.

Pulaski County Health Department officials have been watching the irruption of mosquitoes and are warning that there’s not much that can be done to rid the county of the pests.

Sherry Fagner, preparedness coordinator/environmental health specialist, said she has been in contact with the state who advised that the onslaught of mosquitoes was because conditions were perfect, with flooding of woodland areas, for mosquitoes to lay eggs that hatched.

“We have been told that the mosquitoes we are now seeing are nuisance mosquitoes,” she said. “Those are not the carriers of the West Nile virus.”

The West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes are starting to surface and the state is conducting various tests to track the potential hazard. Mosquitoes that carry the virus flare up in the summer and continue to feast into the fall.

In 2012, all 48 contiguous states reported West Nile Virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds.

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus show no symptoms. Older individuals are at higher risk to get severe symptoms from the illness.

Ways to deter mosquitoes include eliminating standing water where they lay eggs by emptying old tires or garbage cans. The Town of Winamac has already begun fogging streets and will on a regular basis with weather permitting. Town manager Jim Conner said the town will try to fog about once a week. Weather conditions such as rain, wind speed and heat could effect a delay in spraying.

“Hopefully things will dry out and then we will knock them down,” Conner said.

To help keep mosquitoes out of your house install or repair windows and door screens.

When outside use insect repellent and stay inside when mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn. When venturing outside wear long sleeves and pants.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 29, 2013)

Town of Winamac says leave the clippings to Mother Nature

Winamac town officials are asking residents to leave the grass clippings on the ground and not in the streets.

With the recent warm weather and rain, town lawns are being mowed on a weekly basis. The problem, according to town manager Jim Conner, is residents are piling the clippings in the streets and alleys.

“We will not be picking up bagged grass. We haven’t for the last couple years but people are still putting the clippings in the streets,” Conner said.

The town stopped picking up the clippings due to time and expenses.

When grass is left in the streets it moves into catch basins that backup causing standing water and clogging.

There is currently an ordinance in place regarding fines that can occur for leaving the clippings in the streets.

As for what to do with the clippings, Conner suggests mulching it or the town has a specific location where the clippings can be taken to by the resident not town employees.

Conner said the town will continue to pick up brush such as leaves, limbs and shrubs, but if a lawn service or tree service maintains the property then that company will be responsible for removing the brush.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 29, 2013)

Two local schools achieve elite four star status

West Central High School and Eastern Pulaski Elementary School were both included in Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz’s announcement of Indiana’s Four Star schools for 2013.

In order to achieve this designation, a school must be in the top 25th percentile of schools in ISTEP+ testing results.

A total of 313 schools received the award throughout the state.

Eastern Pulaski Elementary School Principal Jill Collins said, “I am so proud of our elementary students and staff.”

West Central Middle and Senior High School Principal Don Street said teachers, administration, students and parents should be “very proud of this positive recognition by the Indiana Department of Education.”

Street said the methodology to achieve Four Star status is to calculate the percentage passing the ECA English 10 and ECA Algebra I for the tenth-grade cohort or class of 2014.

Superintendent Ritz congratulated these schools today. “I am honored to name these schools as our Four Star Schools for this year,” said Ritz. “Winning this award required excellent work by teachers, administrators, students and parents throughout the year and on behalf of the entire Indiana Department of Education I send them my sincere congratulations.”

(Pulaski County Journal - May 22, 2013)

Flushing out the problem

There’s more than toilet paper being flushed into local sewer systems and it’s causing major concerns for local municipalities that are in charge of those systems.

At a Medaryville town meeting, maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli warned council members that the sewer pumps are being plugged by what appears to be cloth wipes or cloth pads. The wipes or pads don’t shred like toilet paper and get caught in the sewer system pumps.

“We have got to let the public know that what they are putting in there is plugging up those pumps,” said maintenance supervisor Keith Hauptli. “Eventually it will burn those pumps up and then we will have to replace both of them.”

Hauptli said about every week he is pulling the pumps to ensure the wipes are not plugging the system. If the system plugs and overflows, the town will be paying for a hazardous waste clean-up.

If a pump burns up it could cost more than $2,000.

Hauptli suggests sending letters to residents explaining that if the pumps are damaged because of these wipes or pads, the cost may come back to the users. Councilwoman Carolyn Hager suggested making sure that everyone understands how much it will cost to replace a pump. It was agreed that a flyer could be made regarding the issue.

Medaryville is not the only sewer system that is being affected. Other systems such as the Star City Sewer District and the Winamac system are being plugged up in the same manner.

Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the items are flushable but not biodegradable. ‘They don’t break up like toilet paper.”

According to some packages, the wipes are septic safe while consumers are finding out they’re not. Not only are the wipes causing problems for the pumps but also septic systems and pipes. Conner said if there are restrictions in the pipes such as tree roots or uneven joints, the wipes could plug up the system.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 22, 2013)

Sheriff invites public to remember fallen officers

Remembering those who have died in the line of duty will continue under the watch of Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer as the public is invited to attend a Fallen Officers’ Memorial Day Service on Tuesday, May 28 at noon.

The tradition of the ceremony that began in 2007 is to remember those who have been killed in the line of duty not only locally but all those who protect and serve.

Gayer said the families of the descendants who have died locally come to the dedication to remember their loved ones. Those who are honored include sheriff Charles Henry Oglesby, sheriff Milo “Mike” Lewis and deputy Shadron Kiley “Shad” Bassett.

Oglesby was fatally shot on Oct. 5, 1907 when attempting to stop a gang of safe-crackers, who had robbed a store in Burnettsville, and hitched on a train that stopped in Star City.

Lewis was shot and killed by a prisoner the Pulaski County Jail was holding for another facility on Oct. 11, 1967.

Bassett died from injures caused by a single-vehicle accident on SR 39 at CR 300 N. while responding to a call on Oct. 7, 2005.

“It’s to remember them. I read each of their names and how they were killed,” Gayer said. “It’s a moment on a day in the month of May that we all stand together and remember these three people.”

Gayer also recognized Correctional Officers’ Week that was May 5-11. During the week correctional officers were recognized for their professionalism, hard work, dedication and efforts to protect those who are in custody and the public’s safety.

The service will begin at noon in front of the justice center at 110 E. Meridian Street, Winamac.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 15, 2013)

Tracking valuable items one serial number at a time

At a time when identifiers are needed regarding stolen items, most victims may not be thinking clearly enough to give police enough information.

As a way to help citizens keep track of their items, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with a system that allows residents to register or document information that could later be used to identify stolen property. The registration with “ReportIt” is free and helps keep track of valuable personal property.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Detective Scott Taylor said the system is prompting people to better document their property. He used the example of someone whose shotgun has been stolen. Police will ask what type of gun it is, what the model of the gun is and what the serial number is.

“Without a serial number I can’t enter the item as stolen in the national database that we all use,” Taylor said. “More often then not people do not have it documented.”

The site, that can be accessed from anywhere with a password, allows property owners to store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures and scans of receipts that are used to identify the items in the event of theft or loss. Up to 25 items can be stored on the site. Items that could be cataloged include collectibles, jewelry, electronics, machinery and lawn equipment.

Sheriff Mike Gayer said, “we encourage citizens to take a day and go through their valuables, especially those that have serial numbers. Those that don’t can be photographed.”

Once items are documented only those with the password can access the information. Taylor said police cannot access the information.

“This is a very credible organization that we have been involved with for about a year,” Taylor said.

For more information about ReportIt go to reportit.leadsonline.com.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 15, 2013)

Don’t wait until a new school year to receive immunizations

Taking care of childhood immunizations is something many parents may want to be thinking about now instead of when the bustle of a new school year begins.

New state immunization requirements have changed for the 2013-2014 school year and Pulaski County Public Health Nurse Andrea Keller, R.N., said the change requires children to have two doses of the varicella vaccine.

“This really will probably only affect the third, fourth and fifth-graders because they were caught in the gap when they started requiring it to start in kindergarten. Those kids will need to get the second dose of varicella before they start school,” Keller said.

The state also recommends college-bound students to receive two meningococcal vaccines for adolescents 11-18 years old. Bacterial meningitis can cause serious complications such as brain damage and hearing loss. Those who are at increased risk of the bacterial illness are college freshmen living in dormitories or those who travel to different parts of the world.

“A lot of the kids who are going to be going off to college will probably be due for a booster. It depends on how old they are when they got it. There are some kids in high school that are probably due for the booster,” Keller said. “It is not a requirement for school, yet, but they are looking into it, not this school year but the following one.”

As a way to help simplify the guessing game of required immunizations, the state allows parents to have direct access to immunization records by using MyVaxIndiana and a personal identification number (PIN). The website allows parents to log in and check immunization history for themselves and their children as it is recorded in the Indiana Children and Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program. To obtain a PIN, parents must contact their local health department or health care provider.

Keller said those who need to update immunizations should do it sooner than later. New guidelines regarding insurance have complicated the process and immunizations must be filed with the person’s insurance company.

“We have a company that is actually filing the insurance for us. So people should call and ask if we take their insurance company because we do have a list that we can check,” Keller said.

Pulaski County Health Department is one only of a few in the state that will handle insurance claims, so the department is receiving out-of-county residents who are in need of vaccinations.

The health department gives immunizations Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment each week. To make an appointment or for more information contact 219-946-6080.

For more information about MyVaxIndiana email MyVaxIndiana@isdh.in.gov or call 1-888-227-4439.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 8, 2013)

Volunteer stream monitoring at Tippecanoe River State Park

The Tippecanoe River State Park will host volunteer stream monitoring of the Tippecanoe River at their canoe launch on Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m. and on Friday, June 14 at 4 p.m.

The Pulaski County Soil and Water Conservation District applied for a grant through the Hoosier Riverwatch program and received materials to use for water quality testing. They will supervise any volunteers that would like to assist in the monitoring. All ages are welcome.

Volunteers will work in teams to test for dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, pH, phosphates, nitrates and turbidity. Water temperature and biological activity will also be noted.

Please join state park staff and visitors and the Pulaski County SWCD as they enjoy the river and monitor the water quality.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 8, 2013)

Temporary road closures to affect Winamac drivers

Temporary road closings will begin on Monday, May 13 as a fire hydrant is being replaced in the area of Washington and Franklin streets in Winamac.

Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the two-day closure will cause drivers to detour from SR 119 at CR 150 S. if traveling north. Drivers will then use U.S. 35 traveling into Winamac.

Those who live in the area will still be able to access their homes, but Conner wants to keep the area clear of traffic for safety reasons to both drivers and workers.

The project is scheduled to begin on May 13 with weather permitting. Conner said it could start on Tuesday, May 14, depending on weather conditions.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 1, 2013)

Improving sidewalks takes residents’ help

Improving sidewalks takes more than Winamac Town Officials as they are offering their annual sidewalk replacement program until June 3.

The town is taking applications for replacing or adding sidewalks in the town limits as part of the program that offers splitting the costs of the entire sidewalk, 50-50, with the property owner.

Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said there is about $10,000 to be used toward improving sidewalks. Applications for the project will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis. Last year there was a lack of interest in the program.

In regards to town sidewalks, Conner said, there are “a lot that need to be done.”

When a sidewalk is replaced or installed it will be complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Conner said property owners won’t need to know the compliance regulations because those installing the sidewalks will ensure it’s compliant.

Sidewalks must be located in the public right-of-ways to be eligible.

Applications can be picked up at the town clerk’s office at 120 W. Main St. in Winamac.

For more information contact Conner at 574-946-3451.

(Pulaski County Journal - May 1, 2013)

Pulaski County property taxes due next month

Property tax statements are sent and property owners have until Friday, May 10 to pay the first installment.

Taxes can be paid at the Pulaski County Treasurer’s Office in the courthouse, at the First Federal Savings Bank Winamac branch, the First National Bank of Monterey at the Monterey and Winamac locations, at Alliance Bank in Francesville and Winamac, and at Key Bank in Winamac.

Taxpayers must present their tax statement along with their payment in order to ensure proper credit.

Payments can also be mailed to: Pulaski County Treasurer, Courthouse Room 240, 112 E. Main St., Winamac, IN 46996.

If paying by mail, be sure to include the tax statement and a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of receipts.

The second property tax installment is due Nov. 12.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 24, 2013)

Time, love stitched into Quilts of Valor

p class="Body-Text">Sighs of appreciation were given as various quilts were on display at the VFW on Sunday but it wasn’t the fabric or stitching that was receiving the cheers of gratitude but the 15 men who the quilts were made for.

 

Those men have served in the armed forces and were injured in battle. To recognize the men and thank them for their courage and selfless service, they each received a Quilt of Valor made by local quilters and sponsored by local businesses, organizations and community members.

Gail Conner said the mission of the Quilts of Valor is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war. The quilts are to remind the men that they are loved. Numerous ladies created and completed the quilts for men that some had never met until the ceremony.

“We all put so much love into this project. We couldn’t help but think about who was going to be receiving our quilts and hope you like them,” Conner said. “We hope that these quilts will pave the way to your healing and that you share your experience with those who care about you.”

Those who received a quilt were Charles Knarr, Mick Tiede, Al Gudas, Louie Davis, Wayne Crist, Gordon Gutwein, Ed Fisher, Mike Hoffman, Dennis Redlin, Tim Troutman, Bob Graham, Archie Clark, Greg Frain, Bob Vollmer and Jay Chamness.

As part of the ceremony each recipient was able to meet the women or woman who made their quilt. The quilts were shown to the audience and information about each recipient was given such as how long the veteran served, what was his rank and what his favorite or least favorite memory was during the time he served.

Many times a short story was given about how the veteran was injured. Some of the veterans had received Purple Hearts or other awards.

Charles Knarr was one of the first to receive his quilt. “Thank you to all the ladies for doing this. Thank you to all the ladies who worked on these quilts. I’m sure all of the veterans who come up here will feel honored.”

Sponsors of the quilts were also announced.

Conner said she hopes this can happen again as many other veterans deserve to be recognized.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 24, 2013)

Winamac paying for paved patch to pathway

Finding funding to help pay for a paved connection to the Panhandle Pathway in town limits was discussed and approved at a regular Winamac Town Council meeting on April 8.

Panhandle Pathway President John Bawcum said the Panhandle with the help of Dan and Virgina Dolezal, fundraiser committee co-chairs, have raised more than $41,000 in about nine weeks.

“There was tremendous support to get this thing here in town. I knew we would get this done but not so fast,” Bawcum said. “Thanks to everyone on this, because it took a whole community effort to make it happen.”

Bawcum requested permission to pave a stretch of the trail where stone is already laid in the town limits while the final section of the pathway, south of the town limits, is being paved. The section in town connects the pathway with Burson and Superior streets.

The total distance from the town limits to the pathway is 374 feet while the town property is about 174 feet. The total cost to pave the stretch is $5,610. Bawcum asked that the town split the costs for $2,805.

“We would like to bring it around and get it finished,” Bawcum said.

The Panhandle Pathway follows the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail bed from Winamac south through Star City, Thornhope and Royal Center to Kenneth.

It was suggested the town portion of the money be taken from the Rainy Day Fund.

“I’m in favor of it. It’s going to bring people in to ride along the trail,” said John Plowman, town council president. “That’s about 22 miles one way. I think we need to go ahead with it.”

The paved trail is 10 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders. In the location where it curves in town the paving will be 12 feet wide with 2-foot shoulders.

Paving could begin next month.

Nothing more will happen with the trail in the town limits until next year. Future plans include Safe Routes to School and the Winamac Parkway but various Indiana Department of Environmental Management studies must be completed before further paving can happen. Plans also include extending the trail through Winamac.

Along with talk of the Panhandle Pathway, town manager Jim Conner said some changes need to be done to the Safe Routes to School application. Changes include the route moving to Pearl Street to cross at a stop light instead of Main Street and sidewalk repair moving from Superior Street to Riverside Drive on the west side.

A letter of the changes was approved by the council.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 17, 2013)

Eastern Pulaski awarded $68,000 technology grant

Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation has been awarded a $68,000 grant to assist with student learning in special education. 

“We’re very pleased and excited at the opportunities this Department of Education grant will afford us,” said Dr. Robert Klitzman.

The Special Education Improvement Award, one of several distributed across the state, will fund iPads, laptops, whiteboards and an instructional interactive software program, along with professional development. This grant will afford the corporation the opportunity to do several projects that are “outside the box” via technology. 

All special education students and many general education (K-12) students will benefit from the grant. The interactive program will allow students to touch, see, feel and hear what they’re learning with lots of different ways for them to learn the same thing. 

The author of the grant was Becky Pear, special education supervisor, through the Special Education LAJSSC Cooperative with supporting help from Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation administration and staff.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 17, 2013)

Council approves numerous transfers, additional appropriations

Numerous transfers and advertising for additional appropriations were approved by the Pulaski County Council during a regular meeting on Monday.

The transfer and additional appropriations requests were made by several different departments including the assessor’s office, superior court, the highway department, human services and the sheriff’s department.

Requests from Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer caused the biggest stir with council members as they attempted to understand how the holiday pay is calculated. Gayer requested for the council to transfer funds to cover holiday pay for sheriff’s department employees in the amount of $10,000.

Gayer requested the funding be moved from the part-time deputy fund to cover the costs of holiday pay. He said a part-time deputy is not needed.

As part of the new policy regarding holiday pay, employees of the sheriff’s department are paid for eight hours without working. Those who do work are paid time and a half, plus eight hours of holiday pay.

“When it came into effect it caught us off guard because we didn’t have money in those accounts,” he said.

The money would cover the first couple of holidays this year and would be split between the dispatchers, officers, matrons and cooks.

Gayer said those accounts are almost in the red because holiday pay was not accounted for when the budget was being established. The policy for holiday pay did not come into effect until December 2012.

It was questioned why the head cook did not take the day off and part-time help be used instead to keep costs down.

Gayer said either way someone has to be paid.

“A lot of times those are holidays that we don’t take off for,” Gayer said.

The transfer for $10,000 was approved to cover the holiday costs but several other concerns were addressed.

Gayer said most of the employees at the sheriff’s department would rather take time off than be paid overtime or holiday pay.

Because of the changes to the handbook policy it appears that officers have lost the opportunity to utilize as many comp hours as they have in the past. That change could cost the sheriff’s department $123,000 in overtime.

The council requested to table the request for $123,000 until comp time can be better explained by Paula Reimers, who was the management consultant hired by the county to help with the handbook policies.

In other business:

A request to transfer funds within the assessor’s budget of $1,200 was approved by the council. The transfer was requested to pay for an employee’s social security. Councilman Mick Tiede abstained from the vote.

A request made by Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship for an additional appropriation of $2,470 was approved by the council. The appropriation was needed to cover the cost of using an expert witness.

Blankenship also requested to purchase a new computer that will better handle the court recording system. The current equipment does not operate the system efficiently. Along with the computer, a four-channel amplifier, a battery back-up and a larger monitor need to be purchased. The total cost is estimated to be $1,845.97 and would be an additional appropriation. Funding could be taken out of the cumulative capital fund and not the general fund. The request was approved.

A request to transfer funds from bridge 291 to bridge 268 in the amount of $150,000 was approved by the council. The request was tabled from the last meeting because council members wanted more of an explanation. Highway superintendent Mark Fox said repairing the potholes will be a lot cheaper than a new bridge. The projected total cost of the project is estimated to be about $222,000. Council members may have to make an appropriation to cover the costs.

A transfer to ensure a handful of highway employees are being properly paid was approved by the council. Four employees’ salaries were affected by various promotions and hirings. The transfer totaled $28,706.21.

Because of the changes to the highway department salaries, a salary ordinance regarding the changes was approved by the council.

A request from Pulaski County Human Services Executive Director Jacki Frain regarding additional funding in the amount of $30,000 was approved by the council in the form of an additional appropriation. Tiede opposed the request.

RB Walters of DeGroot Technology presented the council with numerous requests involving computer related issues including putting a new phone system at the highway department, cellphone booster, a router for the highway department, a router for the commissioners’ room, a storage device for the assessor’s office and to move various servers and wires to the justice center. The council approved to advertise additional appropriations in the amount of $21,113.26 for the new phone system, the two routers, the moving of the servers and wires, and the storage device for the assessor’s office. Council members tabled the request for the cellphone booster.

A request to total the highway department service hours of DeGroot Technology in with the county’s block service hours was approved by the council. Blocking the hours will save the county money.

A request made by Gayer for additional appropriations in the amount of $2,046 from the county general fund into the sheriff’s department motor vehicle fund was approved by council. The $2,046 was collected when an old sheriff’s department vehicle was auctioned.

Council members approved a transfer of $1,300 from travel expenses to office supplies, operating supplies and equipment and repair for the animal control department.

Council members approved to move a part-time auditor’s office employee to a full-time employee. A transfer and additional appropriations may need to be done to cover the employee’s salary.

A request to transfer $1,500 was made by auditor Shelia Garling to cover overtime. The request was approved by the council.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 10, 2013)

Troubles continue with Monterey sewer pump

Monterey Town Council members are waiting to hear the latest news as they were informed of continued problems with a sewer pump during a meeting on April 2.

The pump was recently replaced after the old pump burnt out on the equalization tank.  

“They put a new one in and it failed. They took it out and they are testing it. They are supposed to send me another pump and then they are going to run some old meters to make sure that it is getting enough voltage,” said Ray Stevenson, sewer treatment plant operator. “It is grinding stuff up, it’s just not pushing it out. They don’t know why it is doing it.”

Stevenson also said chemicals need to be purchased for the year.       

Council members also talked briefly about the cost of purchases made for the wastewater collection system. The newer and the older pumps were in need of new vanes that were expected to cost about $1,400 a set. Two sets of vanes were purchased along with filters for a total cost of about $3,400.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m.

• Council members approved to use the same portable restroom company that they have used last year. The price is the same as last year at $75 per unit per month. The portable restrooms are used in the park.

•  The council approved to sign an agreement regarding computer software the town uses to calculate sewer bills. The cost of the agreement is more than $1,300. The contract includes a maintenance agreement.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 10, 2013)

Chamber changes dates, times of monthly meetings

Trying to assist board members by making meetings more accessible has caused the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce to change the time and dates of their meetings.

Beginning in May the chamber will meet on the third Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m.

“Some current board members were having scheduling conflicts with other meetings and we also wanted to afford an opportunity to other board members who had expressed issues with being able to meet at that time,” said Brad Conn, chamber president.

Meetings were held on the fourth Friday of the month at noon. The April meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 22 at 5:30 instead of April 15 due to tax season.

The chamber is a volunteer based organization that relies heavily on volunteers to make the chamber successful. There are 15 board members who take an active role on various committees, make policy and direct the chamber that has more than 100 members.

The board is working to contact chamber members in hopes of better understanding who they are and what they do, such as businesses facing any challenges the chamber needs to address.

To leave a message for the chamber call 574-946-6123.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 3, 2013)

Locals receive their gallon pins for donating blood

Locals are pitching in and giving blood as the American Red Cross is hosting various blood drives across the nation.

The local Knights of Columbus sponsored an American Red Cross blood drive on March 6. Local donors turned out in great supportive efforts.

There was one first time donor and Kenny Hurlburt received his two-gallon donor pin, while Todd Schmicker was awarded his five-gallon pin. Chris Shorter donated to the eight-gallon level.

Of the 48 donor opportunities the drive totaled 45 productive units. Sandwiches were donated by For Your Better Health LLC and Barb Reeves while homemade cookies were donated by the Nite-Liters Home Economics Club. The next blood drive will be May 1 from 11:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.

Since Hurricane Irene began its path along the East Coast, the storm forced the cancellation of numerous American Red Cross blood drives.

Nationwide, around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment.

When disaster strikes, this need does not diminish. And if collections are negatively impacted by a disaster, the long-term needs of these patients could also be affected.

It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives before, during and after a disaster. Platelets have a shelf-life of just five days.

Consider giving blood or platelets now by scheduling an appointment to give blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit online at redcrossblood.org. To schedule an appointment to give platelets, please call 1-800-589-8127.

(Pulaski County Journal - April 3, 2013)

Four young women to become citizens of Hoosier Girls State

Taking the initiative to learn about Indiana politics is on the minds of four local young women who were chosen to be part of the 2013 Hoosier Girls State for a week in June.

The American Legion Auxiliary #336 of Star City and the American Legion Auxiliary #71 of Winamac have chosen to sponsor Courtney Boos, Cierra Schmicker, Dagny Zupin and MacKenzie VanCoutren as this year’s Hoosier Girls State delegates. They will join roughly 560 high school juniors from across the state.

Hoosier Girls State is designed to teach young women about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

As part of the program, participants become citizens of Hoosier Girls State and assigned to one of the two political parties — federalist or nationalist. They learn the political party structure and every citizen files and campaigns for an elective office. Once elected, they serve in that office for the week.

Applicant requirements include young ladies who are juniors in an Indiana high school or state certified home school, who are ranked in the upper half of her class academically and who are sponsored by an American Legion Auxiliary unit. Delegates must be interested in government, have leadership abilities and be of good character.

Joan Henry, Hoosier Girls State Chairman for Winamac, said young women from the area have been attending Hoosier Girls State for more than 70 years. The Hoosier Girls and Boys State program began in 1937.

Boos is the daughter of Matt and Lyndy Boos, while Schmicker is the daughter of Todd and Michelle Schmicker. They are sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary #336 of Star City.

Zupin is the daughter of Kevin Zupin and Annette Zupin and VanCoutren is the daughter of Bryan and Kerry VanCoutren. They are sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary #71 of Winamac.

While the ladies are attending the sessions, they will have a chance to participate in a service project called Operation Comfort Warriors. The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors program provides nonessentials to help wounded warriors in their recovery.

They will also learn about how communities and individuals can better serve veterans.

The sessions will be held at Trine University in Angola. This is the first year in the last four decades that Hoosier Girls State has been held somewhere other than Indiana State University.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 27, 2013)

Drowning in concerns over town pool

Keeping the Winamac town pool open three extra weeks does not look like it’s possible without being over budget, according to the expenses tallied by town manager Jim Conner.

During a town council meeting on March 11, Conner said various expenses are dictating whether the pool can stay open until Labor Day. Those expenses include chemicals for treating the water and general operations.

“I went off of the 2012 expenses and projected it forward to see what we are looking at in regards to expenses. The last couple of years we bought chemicals early because it was cheaper and we had the money. In 2012 we cut some of that out of the budget so we weren’t able to buy the chemical ahead for 2013,” Conner said. “If we want to keep it open for three extra weeks, along with all the other expenses, my guess is that it will be $47,000, we have $38,000 budgeted for this year.”

The budget for the pool has also been cut over the past couple years.

For the last seven or eight years, the pool has had money left over to spend on chemicals, hence saving money for the town.

An additional expense could occur when the pool is drained and maintenance begins.

A suggestion was made to use funding from the Rainy Day Fund if needed.

Some council members wanted to know what fund the consumer money goes into and if that money can be used for operation expenses. Conner and clerk-treasurer Melanie Berger said it is moved back into the general fund. But it was unclear if the money could be used this year.

It was suggested that when the money runs out then the pool should be closed whether the season is over or not.

No decision was made by the council.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 27, 2013)

Sheriff has some unfinished business

Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer is asking those who have applied for a gun permit with the Indiana State Police to visit their local law enforcement agency to finish the paperwork.

According to Gayer, there are currently 67 pending gun permit applications that have not been finished by Pulaski County residents. Gayer said those applications are dating back to the beginning of 2012.

“People have applied online but not followed the next steps to get their permit mailed to them,” he said. “My request is that anytime you do this, you get it done within a responsible amount of time because it could be purged from the system and you would have to do it all over again.”

Applications for gun permits are available online at www.in.gov/isp. As part of the gun permit application process, those applications are sent to the applicant’s home law enforcement agency for completion. A majority of the applications are sent to the sheriff’s department, but those who live in the town limits of Winamac, Francesville and Medaryville will need to contact the town marshal’s office.

After a copy of the application has been received by the applicant’s home law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff’s office, they will conduct a background check to ensure the applicant is not a convicted felon. The background check can take a couple days or more depending on the agency.

Gayer said it typically takes the sheriff’s department a couple days to complete the background check. Those who filled out an application will need to follow up with the prospective law enforcement agency for fingerprinting and to pay a permit fee. The sheriff’s department or other law enforcement agencies will not invite applicants to complete their application.

“It’s the same for the rest of the law enforcement agencies, Winamac and the two town marshals. Once you do it, you need to get to us in a responsible amount of time to complete the process. Just the application online is not going to get a permit mailed to you,” Gayer said.

After the completed application is sent back to the Indiana State Police, it takes about 11-14 weeks to received the permit, according to Gayer.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 20, 2013)

Prepare for severe weather with tornado app

As the weather warms and the potential for severe weather increases, families can prepare for tornadoes with the official tornado app from the American Red Cross.

The tornado warning app puts everything a person needs to know to prepare for a tornado — and all that comes with it — in the palm of a user’s hand. The app also offers interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.

Pulaski County Health Department Preparedness Coordinator and Environmental Health Specialist Sherry Fagner said the app downloaded quickly and had easy-to-use settings.

“Any location your phone is at it will give you warnings there. You can put in the location you want it to set in whether you are there are not,” Fagner said.

She used the example that if someone is on vacation, they could still receive information about what is happening at home.

Some of the app features include:

Simple step-by-step instructions to help a person know what to do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during and after require no mobile connectivity.

Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) issues a tornado warning, helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.

Push notification sent when a warning expires – especially important if power goes out while families are in their safe room.

Help distant friends and family in tornado alley with ability to receive tornado watch and warning alerts based on their location from NOAA.

Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when needed most.

Be ready should a tornado hit by learning how to assemble an emergency kit in the event of power outage or evacuation.

To find information regarding the app visit http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app.

The American Red Cross also offers wildfires, earthquakes, first aid, hurricane and shelter finder apps.

From a mobile phone, call “**REDCROSS” (**73327677) and a link will be sent to download the app to the phone or download them directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 20, 2013)

Winamac students busy preparing for space

Floating over 230 miles above the earth, traveling nearly five miles an hour, is a sign of man’s ingenuity and curiosity with space. The International Space Station is now the largest habitable artificial body in orbit. Its first component launched on Nov. 20, 1998. The station has been continuously occupied for over 12 years, serving as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments.

Our own Winamac Community Schools now have the opportunity to become part of space exploration history with a student-developed experiment to be done on the ISS. Winamac is one of only 10 schools in the nation chosen. “We know that rural schools are underrepresented in the sciences. If we can get our kids excited about this it would be great,” said seventh-grade science teacher Dr. Darlene Gordon.

Dr. Gordon went on to add, “It’s an expensive endeavor. We have foundations and companies here in Winamac who have already donated $4,500 to us for this program but more fundraising has to be done. Our community is so good in supporting the school and helping us. This is well beyond what we would typically do but it’s exciting and who thought here in Winamac, Ind., we could have an opportunity to put something on the space lab.”

Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman sent an email to Gordon regarding the opportunity of doing minimal gravity experiments in space. That was all it took to set things in motion. Since then Gordon has been in contact with the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in Washington, D.C., talking at great length about the project. The National Centers’ core beliefs are to continue the legacy of scientific exploration, saying every generation must be inspired to learn what we know about our world and the universe, and how we have come to know it. The belief is that learners must see themselves in the stories we tell and experience scientific exploration through their own involvement.

The center had a private school in Crown Point that has been doing this type of project now for three years. Because of the changes made to increase the number of students the center wants to participate, that school is now short on numbers so Winamac is now partnering with them. The combination of experience and size works out pretty well. Unfortunately there is one spot to fill and both schools are in competition for that opening.

“I’ve been on the phone a lot recently discussing the parameters to get a better idea of the project in my own mind,” said Gordon. “I have found that one of the limitations happens to be the size of the final project. It can only be 17 centimeters long by 1.3 centimeters in circumference, so basically it’s a long skinny test tube. One option that can be used inside that long skinny test tube is a pair of ampoules (a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample, usually a solid or liquid) that can be broken by the astronauts to mix things together.”

After finding out more details the thinking has really changed. She said, “We received some parameters of what we can’t use and other constraints. There will be no power source, no light source and the astronauts cannot record data or take pictures. Upon hearing that news we have had to shift our thinking.”

Students have already begun the task of designing their experiments and are looking and sorting through all different ideas, such as rotting fruit and the fungus responsible for fruit rot, frog and fish eggs and what could impact their development perhaps causing deformities. They are picking up on all the different possibilities that are out there.

Gordon discussed a few of the expectations of the budding scientists, “Students are expected to come up with an idea and experiment their idea. I think one of the most difficult things for the middle school students will be doing the background research such as what’s been done and what can happen. From a teaching standpoint this has opened up new avenues of students doing authentic research. The iPads have proven to be a big asset in the classroom allowing students to have a fountain of information at their fingertips. Students are making better choices and using more sources to gather information.”

She finished up by saying, “I’ve always had students do science fair and the way that is done is follow the scientific methods, do these steps and they have completed a science project. This is true science. We have been given these parameters but they can open up their minds and do anything. Being able to do and complete the background research is important. For them to understand what’s already been done and what they can expect to happen if they do this type of project is the important part.”

Gordon will be busy over spring break contacting and working on securing the assistance of several professors at Purdue and Butler for their feedback on the students’ projects.

As in-depth and detailed as this undertaking is, a lot of it will be done by the end of this school year. At that time three papers will be picked from Winamac and Crown Point to be sent to the national organization. Only one paper from the six will be chosen to go into space. The winning school will be putting all the materials together next fall and shipping them off to Houston before the project is put on a space shuttle and delivered to the International Space Station.

Student experiments can be as short as one day and as long as six weeks. While the experiment is going on in space, students will be conducting the same experiment in the classroom back here on Earth comparing Earth gravity to minimal gravity.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 13, 2013)

Marketing the industrial park

Making the Pulaski County Industrial Park more appealing to industries and corporations became the topic of conversation during a recent advisory board meeting on March 5.

Pulaski County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer said the price of acreage at the park appears to be high, with a starting price of $10,000 per acre.

“I don’t think that anyone is going to bite on that when there are other locations with better logistics,” Origer said. “We are already at a disadvantage because we do not have four-lane highway access anywhere or rail fewer than 20 miles away.”

Advisory board member Tom Bonnell said the reason for $10,000 per acre is because people wanted a couple acres to build a two-car garage when the land was advertised at a cheaper rate. The board wanted industries.

He suggested that Origer list the land as having no price, but companies may then ask for financial assistance to hook-up utilities and that’s something the park cannot offer at this time.

Origer said he could leave the price at $10,000 and find some creative way to say it’s negotiable.

Although the board can suggest a price, county commissioners have the final vote. Origer said he can negotiate on behalf of the company but he cannot make any promises.

Origer suggested he request for the council to designate the property as an economic revitalization area. It would help companies bypass the first step in acquiring tax abatements.

“It’s one of the things the state asks. Is it a TIF district? Is it an ERA?” Origer said. “If we declare it now, then if someone does want to do it and is interested in tax abatement then we can cut one step of the process.”

As Origer is looking to promote the western part of the county for an industrial park, advisory board members were asking how that would apply to the Pulaski County Industrial Park. Industrial development on the west side of the county is part of the county strategic plan.

“I think that we need to clarify — are we supposed to be involved in that? Is a recommendation supposed to come from us? And where is the representative from the west on this board if that is true?” Bonnell asked. “This is an issue that we need to clarify.”

Bonnell wants to know the legal aspects of it before they get involved. He also wants to ensure that funding from the industrial park in the Winamac area is separate from money that may come from growth in the west.

The board also talked about not receiving rent revenue or the interest that should be put in the account. Bonnell said the county is responsible for moving the funding and there has been a problem before with not receiving the rent revenue from the county. Origer said he would pursue information regarding the revenue.

Bonnell asked what the board wants to do with the current funding. It was suggested the funding could be used for marketing of the area or improving the area in general. A final decision was not made regarding the spending.

In other news:

The board elected and approved new officers. Origer accepted the position of president, while Art Hoffman accepted the position of vice president and Jim Conner accepted secretary.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 13, 2013)

Star City Sewer District facing budget concerns

Members of the Star City Regional Sewer District are crunching numbers as they are trying to prepare a budget for the 2013 year.

During a meeting on Feb. 25, members voiced their concerns that a balanced budget is not possible due to various expenses. The proposed budget should have been submitted in November of 2012.

Board president Pat Heisner said, according to the proposed numbers, the budget is more than $30,000 in the hole.

“I cannot submit this. We have got to come up with something,” she said.

The numbers causing concerns were part of a rough draft budget created during a Feb. 16 work session. Board member Walter Craig said the numbers will be a little higher because of rising costs. There may be some things that can be cut.

“Our revenues are not going to increase beyond what we are projecting,” Craig said. “While everyone’s fees go up our revenues are going to stay the same.”

According to the projected expenses, the district would spend $176,349 in 2013. The estimated revenue is $144,000.

“We have to look at the rest of the budget and say ‘where else can we cut out?’ The only other place that we have is how we are operating the system,” Craig said. “We have discussed this countless times.”

Craig is frustrated with the operating costs because a current contract the district has does not cover digging or repairs. The contract only covers minimal work.

“It’s a half hour to 45 minutes per day work,” he said. “We can surely find someone that can come in and write down the numbers in the chart.”

The system consists of a pumping station that sends waste to the Winamac wastewater treatment center. It also has a generator that needs to be checked regularly. It was suggested the board submit a request for proposals to see if the costs of operation could be lowered.

One expense the district will not have to pay for until 2014 is NIPSCO but Craig said he wants some reserve built up for when the district does have to pay. The NIPSCO expense would total about $14,400.

There were a lot of questions, Craig said, the board doesn’t have an exact answer to such as how much legal fees will cost. It causes complications for the budget.

District accountant Sue Peppers said she completed an analysis and about 80 percent of the district consumers are paying their bills. The average is about 85 percent. User fees paid in 2012 totaled $129,877.

“I will try to come up with what I think your income should be by looking at some history and past collections,” Peppers said.

District attorney Dan Murphy said a rate study may have to be completed.

“You must operate on a balanced budget,” Murphy said. “You have to balance your income with your expenses. State law mandates you must cover your debt service and your operational expenses.”

The budget was tabled and the board scheduled a budget workshop for Saturday, March 9.

Other financial woes for the district include 18 liens being filed in January. The sewer district must collect from 146 properties to make ends meet. There are 158 homes and businesses that will be hooked to the system. Heisner said the district is 15 properties shy of the 158. Eight of the 15 residences are waiting for weather to change to begin installation while seven of the homes have been sent to the health department to determine if the property is unfit for human habitation. The average cost of a monthly sewer bill is $87.65.

In other news:

The minutes from the Jan. 28 meeting were approved with an amendment of changing the number of letters sent to the health department. The board sent seven letters not eight.

The treasurer’s report was also approved.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 6, 2013)

Local state park named a top Indiana destination

The Tippecanoe River State Park may seem like a backyard getaway for locals but to outsiders it can be a quiet getaway with nature being the focus.

Managing editor of Outdoor Indiana magazine Marty Benson called it one of the best canoeing and kayaking destinations in Indiana. “It’s very much of a park where nature is the feature — unspoiled nature. There are some parks that are more activity oriented. This one is a no frills type of thing.”

Benson recently wrote about the park in the Outdoor Indiana magazine’s March-April issue. The featuring of the park is part of a series of one state park or reservoir property per Outdoor Indiana issue through 2016, the 100th anniversary of Indiana state parks.

Tippecanoe River State Park is about 2,761 acres of Hoosier land with an occasional sand dune, oak forests, marshes and a pine plantation. The river skirts the park that neighbors two nature preserves —Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve and the Sandhill Nature Preserve. It offers about 22.6 miles of hiking and bridle trails.

Benson said the history of the park is interesting. “There is a decent amount of history on how the park took shape. Parts of it were built by the Works Project Administration during the Depression, so there are some historical features to look at.”

Camping sites are available for hikers, horsemen and canoers. There are also rent-a-camp cabins, a recreation building and shelters, and a fire tower for a bird’s eye view.

“The paddling opportunities on the river is a big thing. It’s a very peaceful river,” Benson said. “I’m sort of a water guy and I did paddle it with the property manager and I enjoyed it. There was also a place where you take out the canoe or kayak with a fantastic picnic shelter that can be rented out for big events.”

If a person enjoys bird watching, Benson said the “habitat around there is very good for birds. It’s a very scenic river with clear water. It’s just a very peaceful place to be.”

A short video on the Tippecanoe River State Park can be seen on the Outdoor Indiana playlist at www.youtube.com/idnrvideos.

The March-April issue also features a cover feature on the massive bird migration that takes place at Indiana Dunes State Park, where bird watchers can see about 30,000 birds per day in March and April.

The magazine is available at most DNR properties for $3 a copy. To subscribe online or read excerpts go to OutdoorIndiana.org. Subscriptions also be made by calling 317-233-3046.

(Pulaski County Journal - March 6, 2013)

Training for the unthinkable

Numerous agencies gathered as the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office along with the Pulaski County Rescue Association conducted an Active Shooter Exercise on Saturday at the Monterey Elementary School building.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Patrick said the exercise tested emergency responder efforts to respond and coordinate in case of catastrophe.

Not only were various Pulaski County responders involved but they teamed together with the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. The Pulaski – Starke CERT Team have trained to diminish events that could arise in local areas. Both Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer and Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen were present.

Pulaski County also partnered with those from Indiana State Excise, Indiana State Police and DNR Conservation Officers. Other agencies included Winamac Police Department, Medaryville Police Department, Pulaski County EMS, Pulaski County Emergency Management Agency, Pulaski County Health Department, Winamac Volunteer Fire Department, Francesville Volunteer Fire Department, Medaryville Volunteer Fire Department, Star City Volunteer Fire Department, Monterey Volunteer Fire Department, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Pulaski County REACT, Alliance EMS, United Mobile Ambulance, West Central School Corporation, Eastern Pulaski School Corporation, many Monterey volunteers and multiple other surrounding agencies.

As part of the exercise, multiple observers were on hand to learn how to better prepare work sites for an event such as this and multiple businesses were involved in the planning.

According to county officials, this exercise is the first of many trainings that will occur over the next several weeks and months to better prepare law enforcement and responders.

Gayer gave a special thanks to the Culver School Corporation for the use of the Monterey Elementary School, “it has allowed our agencies a facility to train in that is second to none.”

For more information on this event, please contact Larry Hoover at the Pulaski County Emergency Management Office, 574-946-6391.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 27, 2013)

New water rates go in effect on April billing

New rates for water usage have been approved by the Winamac Town Council as the town prepares for an upgrading of pipes on the north side of town.

During a public hearing, held by the council on Feb. 11, council members discussed the water rate increase that will happen in two phases. The first phase will be reflected on the April billing, while the second phase will be reflected on the January 2014 billing.

On Feb. 19, Winamac Town Manager Jim Conner said the main purpose of the water project is to replace the pipes that are aging to the point of being unrepairable.

The water project includes replacing 3-inch cast iron pipes on the north end of town. The largest section of piping to be replaced is in an alley between Market Street and U.S. 35. A new line will also be replaced under the sidewalk on the west side of U.S. 35.

Conner estimates the piping as being original or dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. He also said the piping is an odd size and has been repaired several times.

“One of these days we’re going to have a big failure and not be able to repair it,” Conner said. “That’s about the last of it in that big section.”

The project is currently in the engineering and design phase that is being completed by AECOM of Indianapolis. AECOM has worked with the town before with the new water plant project in 2004 and the sewer plant upgrade in 2008-2009.

The hope is for a May project bidding and construction to begin in mid-to-late June. Conner said the intent is for construction to be completed before winter. Replacing the line with a bigger line will show little difference in service.

“The only time there will be an interruption is when we are switching over from the old line to the new,” Conner said. “It shouldn’t be more than an hour at a time.”

According to Conner, an estimated cost of the project is $750,000. A bond was approved at a January town council meeting and bids for the bond have been accepted on Feb. 14. Closing on the bond will happen on Feb. 28.

Conner said the town has been preparing for the piping upgrade the last three years but decided to begin the project sooner because of the money saved in refinancing the existing water bond that was established for the water plant upgrade in 2004. Conner said it is saving of about $70,000.

Ordinances for the increase in rates were approved by the town council during the meeting on Feb. 11. Increases to customers will be done in two phases. One phase will increase approximately 4.2 percent and become effective in the April billing. The second phase will also be a 4.2-percent increase.

The rate increases were also needed to cover the loss of funding from customer fees that is estimated to be about $20,000. According to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the town is not allowed to charge as high a rate for users outside the corporate limits. Conner said last fall IURC began requiring municipalities to submit the higher rate to be justified.

“Rather then going through that long and expensive process we dropped the rate back to 15 percent for out-of-town limits. We had to adjust rates accordingly to make up that difference,” Conner said.

The next step for the project is to advertise for bids when the engineering and designing is complete.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 27, 2013)

Beware of potential scam

Local police are warning of a telephone scam that sounds to good to be true.

Police are sending out a warning that a Pulaski County resident recently received a call stating he won $1 million. The catch was he needed to send $1,500 to collect his prize.

Telephone scams have become quite common and elderly individuals tend to be a majority of the victims. Written correspondence, typically by email, has also claimed several victims.

Some scams use legitimate lottery names or sweepstakes to convince potential victims.

Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer said from time to time there have been various scams reported to the sheriff’s office. Gayer used the example of callers receiving news that a grandchild or relative was in jail and needed money wired.

“I would encourage people that anytime they have won something for free and they have to send money back in order to get it — that’s going to be a scam,” Gayer said.

Although the resident was a potential victim, Gayer said he has not heard, lately, of anyone who has fallen for a scam.

If a person thinks he or she has become a victim to a lottery or sweepstakes scam, call the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office at 574-946-6655 or the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at 317-232-6201.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 20, 2013)

Tournament pairings set for boys basketball

Across the state coaches, players and fans anxiously awaited Sunday evening to see who they would play come tournament time.

Four hundred three teams were drawn and placed into brackets for the 103rd Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament. Sectional games are scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 26, and run through Saturday, March 2, with the regional round slated for March 9 and semistates on March 16. The four state championship games that make up the state finals will be played at Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 23.

A total of 399 games will be played in 27 days across the state.

Faith Christian, Gary Lighthouse and Lakeland Christian will participate in the boys basketball state tournament for the first time this year. Lafayette Central Catholic Class 1A leads the state with 11 consecutive sectional championships. The state record for most consecutive sectional championships is 29 held by Lafayette Jefferson from 1944-1972.

On the home front the Class 2A sectional No. 34 will be hosted by Winamac. Sectional play will get under way on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Winamac and North Judson will do battle in Game 1 to open sectional 34. The two teams have already gone head-to-head twice this season with only three points deciding the final outcomes. Winamac won the first showdown in North Judson 57-55 and the Jays won in Winamac on Feb. 1 by the score of 44-43. This time the when the Warriors and Bluejays square off both teams will be looking to extend the season and advance to the sectional semifinal.

The Game 1 winner will face the defending sectional champion Hebron Hawks on Friday night.

The second game on Tuesday night will pit the North Newton Spartans against the Rochester Zebras. That winner will advance to play Boone Grove on Friday. Entering the final week of the season the Boone Grove Wolves are the only team in sectional 34 with a winning record.

The majority of the Midwest Conference will do battle over in Francesville. West Central will host the Class 1A sectional No.50.

Defending champion Pioneer will face off against Caston in Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday. The Panthers are currently ranked No.4 in Class A and have a 16-3 record. The Comets are sporting a 14-6 record but lost earlier in the season to the Panthers 64-45. North White will be waiting in the wings for a Friday night meeting with the winner.

In Game 2 West Central will play Tri-County. The Cavaliers enter the sectional with the third best record of the six teams. The Trojans will be trying to avenge a 76-31 loss to the Cavaliers back on Feb. 2. South Newton received a first round bye and will play in the second semifinal game on Friday.

Class 2A Sectional No. 34 at Winamac Community High School

Game 1 – North Judson vs. Winamac.

Game 2 – North Newton vs. Rochester.

Game 3 – Hebron vs. Game 1 Winner.

Game 4 – Boone Grove vs. Game 2 Winner

Championship – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4.

Class 1A Sectional No. 50 at West Central High School

Game 1 – Pioneer vs. Caston.

Game 2 – West Central vs. Tri-County.

Game 3 – North White vs. Game 1 Winner.

Game 4 – South Newton vs. Game 2 Winner.

Championship – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 20, 2012)

Journal welcomes Tomlinson to news staff

The Pulaski County Journal and Independent is happy to include Amber L. Tomlinson to their staff as a news reporter and editor.

Tomlinson is a seasoned reporter, having been in the newspaper industry for more than 14 years. She has worked not only as a reporter, but also assistant copy editor, graphic designer and sales representative.

“Hearing the stories of the everyday heroes, who work hard to make their communities better, is one of many reasons I love being a reporter,” she said.

She has been a volunteer firefighter in Rensselaer for almost five years and enjoys serving her community by being involved in various organizations.

Amber is a proud mom of four kids, who keep life exciting with sports, academic events and various other activities. She is also the wife of Harley Tomlinson.

You can reach Amber at 574-946-6628 or by email at amber@pulaskijournal.com.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2013)

Barr to receive Halleck Award

Nominations for the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Halleck Award have been accepted and one outstanding citizen, David Barr of Winamac, was chosen.

The award is presented annually by the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and given to someone in the county who devotes his or her time to improvement of the community.

“This is very exciting. I’ve known most of the people that have received it before and I’m very happy to join the crowd,” Barr said, regarding the Halleck Award. “As far as I know, it is the most prestigious award you can get around here.”

Barr has been involved in numerous community activities and organizations for more than five decades. Not only did Barr own and work at Winamac Cleaners and Laundry and was president of Snow White Laundry Inc., but he also had a partnership in the local car wash.

“At the laundromat I would watch moms come in with their little kids and then I was there long enough that those kids came in with their kids. When you meet that many people, it gives you good memories of stuff,” he said.

Barr is and has been a board member at Bethel Bible Church, was a charter member of Winamac Jacees, is a member and past president of the Kiwanis Club, a past chairman of the school board when the middle school was being built and a former Boy Scout who helped with various community projects.

As a past chamber of commerce member and past president, he played an active role in bringing Control Company to Pulaski County, helped with the paying off of the swimming pool note, re-activated the city hostess program and helped complete the drainage of the chamber of commerce grounds.

Barr also served the community as a volunteer fireman for 40 years, serving as chief for 11 years.

Those who know Barr could describe him as someone willing to help anyone in need and willing to give time to various projects. He’s also ambitious and friendly.

Barr and his wife, Virgina, have been married for 61 years and have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His interest in flying led him to learn to fly planes.

Barr will be honored at the Halleck Award Recognition Dinner and Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Friday, March 8, at the Event Center in Winamac.

The Organization of the Year will be announced on Friday, Feb. 22.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The annual meeting will be at 7:15 p.m. with the Halleck Award and Program beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Reservations are $20 each and can be made by calling the chamber office at 574-946-6123 or Angie Anspach at 574-270-0016 or by emailing her at refined@centurylink.net.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2013)

Reinstatement of art, music programs at West Central

Art and music programs at West Central School Corporation will begin again as school board members approved the reinstatement during a school board meeting on Thursday.

A motion was made to reinstate the elementary art program and expand the elementary and middle school music program beginning in the fall of 2013. Those programs had been cut or cut back due to financial restraints.

Superintendent Charles Mellon said he believes the school corporation is improving financially and “those are one of the first things that you want to do is hire back those things that you cut. We only cut two things through this whole thing and those are presented here with the art and music programs.”

The corporation kept licensed teachers for art and music, but those teachers were paid as instructors and volunteered time while working in other departments.

Currently art is taught at the elementary level for only kindergarten through third grade. With the reinstatement fourth and fifth grade will have an art class.

In other news:

• West Central students Samantha Black, Kourtney Nine and Brenna McKay were honored as students of the month. Black was the student of the month at the middle school, while Nine was the student of the month at the high school and McKay was the elementary school student of the month.

• Board members approved the appointment of Jeff Lowry to the board. Lowry was appointed to the vacant seat after his father, Dean, who held the seat since 1986, passed away on Dec. 21. Lowry will serve the remainder of his father’s term and is eligible for re-election in 2014.

• Several coaching or employment positions were approved by the board including: Kyle Evans as assistant baseball coach, Jennifer Owens as assistant softball coach, Darren Rodriguez as the 5/6 spring football coach, and related service counselors for Cooperative School Services.

• A maternity leave request was approved.

• Four conference requests regarding Linda Ferguson and Joanne Stevens to attend the State BPA Leadership Conference; Rodriguez, John Hruskocy and Marc Hall to attend the Glazier Clinic; Chuck Evans to attend the Indiana School Safety Conference; and Evans to attend the Indiana Athletic Directors Conference, were approved.

• Field trip requests made by Ferguson and Stevens for members of the BPA to attend the State BPA Leadership Conference, and Janet Kruger for members of the student council to have the annual lock-in at the high school, were approved.

• Several revisions were, recently, made to the corporation’s strategic plan during a work session. Those revisions for the 2013-2015 strategic plan were approved.

• School board president Jeff Tanner made several board appointments for the 2013 year.

• Principal Dan Zylstra introduced new textbooks for the reading programs from kindergarten through sixth grade. Zylstra said K-2 will have textbooks that focus on phonics, while the third to fifth grade textbooks will teach Common Core Standards. Sixth-grade students will see a different series. Mellon said the corporation is trying to keep the textbook fees down and it appears the new textbook rental will be about the same. Zylstra said the first grade fee is higher because of additional supplemental materials students will require.

• A request to create a part-time data coach position was approved by the board. The position will be funded through Title II and Pace Grants. Mellon said he would like to hire someone with an education background for the position.

• Expenditure goals for 2013 were approved by the board.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 13, 2013)

Monterey Council listens to private school vision

Members of the Monterey Town Council listened politely to a resident who wants to open a Christian school in the community but did not offer a formal blessing to his plans.

Eugene Berg told the board he would like to reopen Monterey Elementary as a private school. The building belongs to the Culver Community School Board, who closed it in 2010 in an attempt to cut costs.

Berg has also spoken with St. Ann Catholic Church officials about possibly using the former parochial school building but said it needs some repairs first.

“I would hope that this will be viewed as a good thing for the town,” Berg said. “I love this little town. I love Monterey.”

Winamac attorney Dan Murphy, who represents the town, told the board they cannot legally endorse such a proposal.

Board president Jim Fleury qualified his comments as a “personal opinion” before telling Berg he needs to solicit input from the public.

Fleury said a lot of people are terribly disappointed that the school closed and said many former Monterey Elementary students have transferred to the Eastern Pulaski School Corporation in the ensuing two years.

“If I had a child in school, I can tell you personally I would not put my child through another school change,” Fleury said.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen necessarily,” Berg said. He’s spoken to Culver Community Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt about the building and said the matter is on the agenda for their next board meeting.

In other business before the Monterey Town Council, members discussed a sidewalk replacement policy but deferred action until they can look into requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The discussion was prompted by an inquiry from a resident as to whether the town offers any sort of 50/50 match to help pay for repairs.

Council members also voted to join in the Pulaski County Floodplain Zoning Ordinance, which was passed in 2005. Doing so provides guidelines for property owners within the town limits and makes them eligible for flood insurance and other programs. Murphy notes that the county is revising its ordinance, and the revision will cover Monterey once it is complete.

He said the town’s other option is to draft, pass and enforce its own ordinance. Council members agreed it would be easier and less expensive to be governed by the county’s policy.

In other business, council members are still waiting for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to sign off on their compliance with an agreed order for ammonia discharge levels from the wastewater treatment plant after a state inspector reviews their recently submitted December report.

The next Monterey Town Council meeting is scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Members recently changed the meeting date from the first to the last Wednesday of the month. However, this will present a conflict in November and December due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Council members have yet to reschedule those meetings.

(Pulaski County Journal - Feb. 6, 2012)

Pleasant View Rest Home caretaker replaced

Pleasant View Rest Home will soon have a new live-in caretaker.

Pulaski County Commissioners convened an emergency session Friday afternoon to hire a replacement for Joan Smith, who was recently let go. State law allows for an emergency session to be called without the minimum 48-hour notice in the event of “actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of governmental activity under the public agency’s jurisdiction.”

In this case, the lack of a caretaker to look after the residents in case of an overnight emergency warranted such an action, according to county attorney Kevin Tankersley.

The commissioners voted unanimously to hire Patrick Cavanaugh, who just moved back from Mishawaka with his wife, Melissa, and their new baby. He will not be paid a salary by the county but will be compensated with a free four-bedroom, two-story apartment. It is unfurnished, but kitchen appliances are provided, and utility and cable bills are covered by the county.

Cavanaugh’s shift begins at 8 each night and continues until 7 the next morning.

“He is very aware of the hours, and it is not a problem,” president of the commissioners Tracey Shorter said. She also noted that he is a trained paramedic and his wife is a nursing student who is presently completing her clinical residency at the hospital in Jasper County. Pleasant View director Sandy Hurd said Cavanaugh’s medical background will be an asset to the residents.

Shorter added that Cavanaugh agreed to undergo a background check, and no problems were discovered. “We had an immediate vacancy, and we need to be diligent. If we’re not looking at this person, we need to be looking at other people,” Shorter told fellow commissioners Larry Brady and Terry Young prior to the vote. Brady, who is an Eagle Scout with a medical background from his years in the Air Force spent last Thursday night at the home to ensure the caretaker’s shift was covered.

Hurd arranged for Friends of Pleasant View volunteers to staff the home over the weekend. Cavanaugh’s start date is fluid, as the refrigerator and stove in the caretaker’s apartment need to be replaced, and Hurd said Friends of Pleasant View volunteers wanted to lay new tile in the kitchen before the new appliances are delivered. They had planned to do the work over the weekend, but it might require a few days next week to wrap up.

Meanwhile, Tankersley said he would draw up a contract for Cavanaugh and Hurd to both sign outlining his duties as the caretaker for the facility.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 30, 2013)

NIPSCO schedules electric transmission line meetings

A new 100-mile electric transmission line between three regional NIPSCO substations will likely come through Pulaski County.

NIPSCO officials stress that the $270-million construction project is in its earliest planning stages, and no route has been selected yet to connect the Reynolds, Burr Oak and Topeka substations. However, the route is expected to avoid cities and towns, as a 200-foot wide path, or right-of-way, will be needed for the project. The steel transmission towers will be 130 feet high and spaced an average of 880 feet apart.

The new line will enhance system reliability, increase access to wind and solar energy by allowing them to feed into NIPSCO’s power grid and give customers greater access to low cost electricity, according to NIPSCO.

A series of four initial public open houses to provide an informal introduction and overview of the project are scheduled regionally. The first will take place Monday, Feb. 4 from 3 until 7 p.m. at Tiffany’s Restaurant in Topeka. Next is a Tuesday, Feb. 5 gathering at the Nappanee Elementary School Cafeteria, also from 3 until 7 p.m. EST. Wednesday, Feb. 6 a meeting is slated from 4 until 7 p.m. in the Plymouth High School Cafeteria. The final session will take place Thursday, Feb. 7 from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Best Western Brandywine Banquet Facility in Monticello.

There will not be a formal presentation of the project at these meetings, according to NIPSCO officials. Project team members will be available to answer questions one-on-one, review maps and provide an overview of different aspects of the project. Attendees can come and go as their schedules permit during the allotted time.

These first meetings are a key factor in the route planning process, as they will give the utility company an opportunity to discuss potential routes with stakeholders in order to gauge their willingness to cooperate.

NIPSCO plans to acquire easements through affected properties rather than purchasing land. That will give them the right to use the property to build and maintain the transmission line and also allow the owner to continue using it for purposes such as farming as long as doing so doesn’t interfere with NIPSCO’s facilities and maintenance.

Another series of public open houses is tentatively planned for July, and the route should be selected and finalized by the end of the year. Right of way acquisition is slated to start in early 2014, and plans call for construction to begin the following year and conclude in 2018.

NIPSCO also plans to use local labor to construct the line and purchase materials like gravel and concrete from nearby suppliers. Officials estimate the project will create about 100 multi-year jobs.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 30, 2013)

Tax abatement approved for local business expansion

A local business is poised to expand after the Winamac Town Council unanimously approved a sizable tax abatement for the owners of the property on which it sits.

Winamac businessman Don Galbreath, doing business as Galco, Inc., owns the property on SR 14 west on which Galfab sits. Galbreath recently transferred ownership of GalFab, Inc. to a new company, Wastebuilt Environmental Solutions, LLC, in what GalFab CEO Greg Podell described as an “estate planning decision.”

However, Galbreath retained ownership of the property and sought a 10-year, 100-percent tax abatement on an assessed value of $150,000 worth of building improvements.

That means Galco, Inc. will not pay taxes on any improvements to the local manufacturing facility. If no improvements are made, the company will not receive the tax break.

However, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced last week that GalFab plans to invest $720,000 to lease, renovate and equip the existing 100,000-square-foot facility, which is located on 14 acres of land.

In addition to the local abatements, the state offered the company up to $700,000 of conditional tax credits based on its job creation plans. Those tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company cannot claim them until employees are hired.

This includes the “rehiring” of 65 current GalFab, Inc. employees by the new management as well as the addition of up to 20 new positions, which are slated to be filled over the next year.

GalFab manufactures a full line of waste handling equipment, including roll-off hoists, roll-off containers, compactors and self-dumping hoppers.

Podell said the company is looking to grow its market share by acquiring other companies that manufacture and distribute waste handling equipment.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 23, 2013)

Winamac Council weighs water rate increase

Winamac Municipal Utilities customers may soon see an increase in their monthly water bills.

The town council approved on first reading an ordinance to raise rates due to the water project. A public hearing on the proposed rate increase is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. prior to the council’s regular monthly meeting.

A second public hearing on the proposed 2013 sewer rate is also set the same evening after passage of a rate ordinance on first reading.

Council members also passed on first reading a bond ordinance to realize savings on bonds let in 2004 to finance additions and improvements to the town waterworks.

In other business, council president John Plowman had to cast the tie-breaking vote for his reappointment to that position for another year after James DeArmond and Dan Vanaman voted in favor of the appointment and Tom J. Murray and Richard Denney voted against it.

Council members also made the following appointments for 2013:

Town Manager: James Conner

Town Attorney: John Kocher

Chief of Police: Mike Buchanan

Park Manager: Richard Dilts

Electric Superintendent: Doug Shorter

Water & Street Superintendent: Kevin Roe

Wastewater Superintendent: Bradley Zellers

Board of Finance President: John Plowman

ABC Appointment: Judy Heater

K-IRPC Appointment: John Simmermaker

Northwest Indiana Solid Waste: John Plowman

Pulaski County YMCA Representative: Melanie Berger

Mainstreet Representative: Melanie Berger

Winamac Economic Development: John Plowman

Board of Zoning Appeals: David Sparks

Board of Zoning Appeals: Don Clouser

Airport Board Representative: Jeremy Wegner

Plan Commission Council Representative: Tom J. Murray

In other business, Roe reported that the fire hydrant behind First Christian Church that was damaged last month by an individual joyriding through the snow piled in the parking lot has been repaired and that the driver has been billed for the charges.

Roe also advised the council that the roads were cleared within two to three hours of the year’s lone snowfall.

Buchanan told the council that officers from the Winamac Police Department are working with Eastern Pulaski Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman and the Pulaski County Sheriffs Office to ensure the school is safe. Buchanan said his officers will also take part in next month’s active shooter training in Monterey.

Wastewater superintendent Brad Zellers reported that his department is working at the town office and putting in a sewer line to ensure ADA compliance for the restroom.

Electric superintendent Doug Shorter advised that he interviewed four applicants for the open lineman position and hired Jake Berger. Shorter also told the council that his crews replaced one pole that was hit during the ice and are working on line clearance. Council members also discussed putting electric underground at West Win but did not take any action.

Park superintendent Rick Dilts said people are starting to book events for 2013. The Pulaski County 4-H Fair will run from June 28-July 5, and the Northern Indiana Power from the Past is scheduled July 18-21. Council members agreed to keep the back of the park locked but remain in contact with the fair board so they can access it if necessary.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 23, 2013)

Pulaski County Council sets changes in motion

The reorganized Pulaski County Council approved a part-time hourly wage for the new animal control director that greatly exceeds what most longtime county employees earn, deferred action on a sweeping revision to the county’s salary ordinance even though most of the EMS employees are on the verge of quitting due to low wages and took the first step to spend nearly $4,300 on four iPads for each of the county commissioners and the county attorney.

President of the commissioners Tracey Shorter asked for the iPads, which would be purchased locally through Venture Wireless, to help the commissioners do their jobs more efficiently. She said they don’t have enough time prior to their meetings to review information auditor Shelia Garling photocopies for them and places in their information packets.  As a result of not reviewing copies of the three bids Sheriff Mike Gayer obtained from local dealerships for a truck, which were in their packets, before voting to purchase it from Braun Chevrolet, they inadvertently spent more on a half-ton Chevrolet than the comparable Ford model on which Steve Dobson of Jim Dobson Ford had bid.

Shorter contends this and other costly mistakes could be avoided if the commissioners received electronic copies of all documents on Friday prior to their meetings on the first and third Monday of each month so they could review them over the weekend.

Garling would still have to scan and email the documents, which would not save a lot of time. She said she can do this now and email information to all three commissioners for review, but Shorter said the tablet devices are less bulky than laptop computers and are therefore more portable.

The cost includes four 64 GB iPads, activation and insurance coverage under a plan that will buy the devices back for 25 percent of the original purchase price after 20 months if they have not been damaged or replaced. A monthly shared 10 GB data plan for the four devices would add an additional $100 to the county’s Verizon bill, assuming there are not data overages, which can be prevented by connecting wirelessly to the Internet.

Some wireless connections, such as the one at the courthouse, are secure and require a user name and password to log in, while others, like the free wi-fi at McDonald’s, are public and can be accessed by anyone. This also makes data that is sent and received over such a connection vulnerable to hackers. One of the advantages of iPads, according to Shorter, is that the commissioners will have information at their fingertips when constituents ask them questions.

Council members voted to advertise an appropriation for the iPads. They still have to vote at their February meeting to proceed with the purchase.

Shorter also appeared with newly named animal control director Sarah Thompson and asked the council to set a part-time wage for her. She was the commission’s unanimous choice to replace longtime animal control director Deb Tiede, who was a full-time employee with an annual salary of $27,000. Thompson agreed to work part-time, as she owns another local business, but the position did not have a part-time wage set.

Shorter sought a wage of $15.17 per hour for Thompson, which is equal to the animal control director’s full-time salary broken down by hours. It’s also $5.77 more than the county’s current wage for non-experienced new employees as defined by the policy manual, and almost one-third more than councilman Mick Tiede makes as a part-time employee in the assessor’s office with 16 years experience. Shorter argued that Thompson has 16 years of experience with animals and is saving the county money by working part time and keeping animals at her house unless they need to be taken to the shelter in Starke County. Council members finally settled on an hourly wage of $13, which will be paid at 90 percent for her first 640 hours, in keeping with the handbook.

“I want it understood if we do this it’s for this person and this person only,” Tiede said.

“I completely agree,” Shorter responded, and said that should Thompson be replaced the new animal control director’s wage would be based on his or her background and experience.

Council members stressed that their concern is that employees in other offices who have years of private sector experience but are new to the county will expect the same consideration Thompson received.

“Gentlemen, we also have to look at the fact of the danger aspect of this job compared to paper cuts,” Thompson said.

EMS director Nikki Lowry, who attended the meeting with several members of her staff, spoke up and noted that she has an applicant for a full-time paramedic position who has 20 years experience that will be making $10 per hour to start if he takes the job.

“I’m not saying she does not have training,” Lowry said referring to Thompson, “but we have just as much training, and we put our lives on the line when we go out on calls.”

Lowry and the other EMS employees were hoping for a vote by the council on a proposed salary ordinance overhaul that would bump their hourly rate up. The council deferred a vote until they can meet jointly with the commissioners at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3 prior to the regularly scheduled 6 p.m. commissioners meeting.

In other business, the council approved building inspector Dave Dare’s request to advertise an appropriation for part-time help in his office. Members of the county planning commission and board of zoning appeals recently approached the commissioners on his behalf to ask for an administrative assistant since enforcement of county zoning is one of his duties.

They also asked Dare to look at the building currently occupied by attorney Crystal Sanders, who is shuttering her law practice to take a job with the Tippecanoe County court system. Commissioners previously gave Pulaski County Assessor Holly VanDerAa their blessing to seek $77,000 from the council to purchase the building and move her office. The council tabled action on doing so pending a closer inspection of the building to get a better idea of the shape the building is in and what needs to be done to make it compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dare said if asbestos floor tile is found under the carpeting it would mean expensive remediation costs.

Councilman Ron Powers suggested the assessor’s office look at relocating to the commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the courthouse, as it is only used three times a month for meetings. No action was taken on the building purchase or other potential office space for the assessor’s office.

Council members also shot down a recommendation from the commissioners that the county recycling center once again purchase aluminum cans. JSI Steel owner Bobby Rugg told the council that the state requires any business that pays for scrap of any sort to obtain a copy of the seller’s driver’s license or other photo identification so the police can track down suspected scrap metal thieves. Recycling center director Ed Clark has neither the funds nor the necessary manpower available to do so.

The Pulaski County Council and Commissioners will meet in joint session on Monday, Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. in the county commissioners room at the courthouse to discuss county employee salaries. The next county council meeting is Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 16, 2012)

PMH CEO retires after nearly three decades

Being the hospital CEO in a small, rural county has its own set of challenges, and after almost 28 years of successfully meeting those challenges, Richard H. Mynark retired on Jan. 11 from Pulaski Memorial Hospital.

Mynark took over as CEO in February of 1985 and immediately set about planning, developing and implementing a long overdue facility renovation and modernization project.

The overhaul started in 1986 and has been phased in to ensure 100-percent operational continuity at all times. Additionally the hospital utilizes in-house construction personnel whenever possible, which has led to high-quality workmanship and significant savings in program costs.

The newest addition, the medical office building that opened last year, opened on schedule. The new surgical suite, started under Mynark’s watch, will be completed during 2014.

Mynark’s knowledge of the health care business has also paid off for PMH during his tenure. He aggressively pursued Critical Access Hospital status for PMH to offset potential Medicare shortfalls. In 2000, PMH became one of the first hospitals to successfully achieve this goal. As a result, PMH receives Medicare reimbursements which allow the hospital to continue providing medical and surgical services to Pulaski County residents. PMH is currently on a sound financial footing with a favorable liquidity position and minimal debt.

When Mynark was hired, the hospital had very few medical specialists available for local residents. The Winamac Specialists’ Clinic now provides local coverage in the areas of cardiology ENT, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, urology and more. In addition, PMH now employs primary care providers, general and orthopedic surgeons and a pulmonologist.

Mynark also oversaw the expansion of the rehabilitation services department, the addition and improvement of many new clinical services and community outreach services and collaborations can be added to the list of health care achievements.

He has also been actively involved in several community organizations, including the Pulaski County Chapter, American Cancer Society, Pulaski County Community Development Board, Pulaski County Community Foundation, Pulaski County Human Services, Winamac Area Chamber of Commerce and Winamac Kiwanis Club.

Mynark retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force Active Reserves with a career that spanned parts of five decades. His military career began on active duty, as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1968 and ended in 2003. All of those years were spent in the operation and administration of various types of U.S.A.F. medical units. During his service career, Mynark received the Air Force Commendation Medal twice, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and is a graduate of the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College.

He is also a 1967 Ohio State University graduate and holds a master’s degree in health care administration from Xavier University. His professional affiliations include American College of Healthcare Executives (Fellow), National Rural Health Association, Member; IHHA Board of Directors; and IHHA Small/Rural Hospital Council. Before coming to Winamac, he held executive level positions at hospitals in Buffalo, N.Y. and Willingboro, N.J.

Mynark’s son, Richard G Mynark, is on the medical school faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington.

He and his wife, Judith, will continue to reside in their home near Winamac. His plans for retirement include many options, and he’s looking forward to exercising all of them.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 16, 2013)

Nominations for Halleck award sought by chamber

Every town, every city is blessed with a handful of individuals who selflessly donate their time, energy and hard work to make their community a better place for everyone to live. Such individuals often give this time and energy for years without the gratitude and recognition they deserve.

In order to recognize such outstanding individuals, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce awards the H.J. Halleck Community Service Award to one deserving individual each year. Currently nominations for the award are being accepted through Feb. 1, 2013.

Criteria for the award are as follows:

The award recipient must be a resident of Pulaski County.

The recipient should have an identifiable and successful record of service to the community in a variety of public service endeavors.

The recipient may be male or female of any adult age.

The recipient need not be retired.

Posthumous awards will not be given.

If you know of someone deserving of this prestigious award, call, stop by the chamber office at Refined, 102 N. Monticello St., Winamac, or email the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce for a nomination form at refined@centurylink.net. Nomination forms are also available online by visiting the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce website at www.pulaskionline.org.

The recipient of this award will be honored at the Annual Meeting/Halleck Award Recognition Banquet. Past recipients include Dan Frain, Don and Dee Galbreath, Tom Shank, Lawrence and Elaine Parish, Christine Smith, Alladean Clouser, Wayne and Mary Lou Bonnell, Don Good, Jay Kopkey, Judy Heater, Steve and Lin Morrison, Michael Shurn and Tom Murray, Sr.

The award was established in 1979, and the inaugural award was presented to Winamac physician and community leader H.J. Halleck.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 9, 2013)

Pulaski County Commissioners Appointments 2013

Alcoholic Beverage Board (1-year term): Carroll Lange

 

Ambulance Service (3-year term): Larry Brady (replaces Michael T. Tiede)

 

Arrowhead R.C.&D. (1-year term): Commissioner’s Appointee - Tracey Shorter; Commissioner’s Alternate Appointee - Terry Young

 

Board of Health (4-year term): Chad Watts & Tim Murray

 

Community Development Commission Executive Board (1-year term): Larry Brady

 

Computer Systems Manager (1-year term): Holly Hoover

 

Emergency Management Agency: Lawrence Hoover

 

Flood Plain Management Commission (1-year term): Dave Dare, Jay Sullivan & Terry Young

 

IOSHA Representatives (1-year term): County Courthouse - Lawrence Hoover; County Highway - Kenny Becker; County Home - Sandy Hurd; County Sheriff’s Department - Mike Gayer; County Recycling/Transfer Station - Ed Clark; County Annex - David Dare

 

Industrial Park Advisory Board (4-year term): Representative of Organized Labor- Arthur Hoffman; Rep. of County Government Unit - Edward Clark

 

Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (1-year term): Tracey Shorter & Nathan P. Origer

 

Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Transportation Advisory Board (1-year term): Kenneth Becker & Tracey Shorter

 

L.E.P.C. (1-year term): Tracey Shorter

 

Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District - Board of Directors (1-year terms, all appointed by commissioners): Council Representative - Michael D. (Mick) Tiede; Town Representative - John Plowman; Commissioners Representative - Terry Young; Commissioners Alternate Representative - Larry Brady; Council Alternate Representative - Thomas J. Roth; Town Alternate Representative - Mark Haring

 

Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District Citizens Advisory Board (members serve until replaced): Jeff Linback & Larry Brady

 

Personnel Committee (1-year term): Commissioners Representative - Larry Brady; Courthouse Representative - not filled at this time; County Annex Building Representative - Teresa Hansen; Highway Garage - Lyn Morrison; Sheriff’s Department - Joan Schultz; Ex-officio by Office - County Auditor Shelia Garling; ;Ex-officio by Position - Payroll County Deputy Auditor Regina Peck

 

Positions (1-year term): Part-time Microfilm Department Officer - Janet Onken; County Attorney - Kevin Tankersley; County Highway Supervisor - Kenny Becker; County Highway Assistant Supervisor - Terry Ruff; County Home Medical Officer - Rex Allman, M.D.; County Home Superintendent - Sandy Hurd; County Veterans Service Officer - Ed Fleury; Maintenance Director - Morry DeMarco; Recycling/Transfer Station Manager - Ed Clark; Building Inspector - David Dare; Animal Control Officer - Sarah Thompson; Animal Disease Control Emergency Coordinator - Sarah Thompson

 

Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (1-year term): Board Member - Jerry Sullivan; Board Member - Allen Cotner; Certified Level 2 Assessor’s Appointment or Board Member - Michael White; Certified Level 3 - County Assessor Holly VanDerAa (by office)

 

Pleasant View Advisory and Review Board (1-year term): Terry Young, Tracey Shorter, Becky Dixon, Emily Hizer, Kerry Baker & Sherry Fagner

 

Pulaski County Community Planning Commission (4-year term): Terry Young

 

Pulaski County Integrated Public Safety Commission, 800 HHz Radio Network (2-year term): Health Department - Sherry Fagner; Fire Dept. (Francesville/West Side) - Tim Wuethrich; Fire Department (Monterey/East Side) - Doug Klausing; Hospital and EMS - Deb McDonald; Public - Howard Conner; Sheriff - Michael Gayer; Board of Commissioners - Larry Brady; Ex-officio by office - Emergency Management Agency Director Lawrence Hoover

 

Pulaski County EMS (Ambulance) Board (1-year term): Pulaski County EMS Manager - Nikki Lowry; Pulaski County First Responders - Emma Lee Bailey; Pulaski County EMS - Stacy Beckner; Pulaski Memorial Hospital & West Side - Rhonda Kletz; Pulaski County EMS Control - Tabled; Pulaski Co. Citizen East Side of the County - Brian Young; Pulaski County Commissioners - Larry Brady

 

Pulaski Co. Jail Lease Corporation Board: Terry Young

 

ADA Compliance Board: Building Inspector - David Dare; Maintenance Supervisor - Morry DeMarco; Pulaski County Health Department - Sherry Fagner; Pulaski County Auditor - Shelia Garling; Pulaski County Clerk - Tasha Foerg; Veterans Service Officer- Ed Fleury; Pulaski County Commissioners - Tracey Shorter; Pulaski County Council - Jay Sullivan; Citizen Representative - Emily Hizer

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 9, 2013)

Braun Corporation gives gift of mobility to Winamac woman

The Braun Corporation family and the Ralph Braun Foundation recently came together to make the Christmas holiday one to remember for a very deserving member of the Winamac community.

Rachel Williams, 33, was surprised with a wheelchair van from the Ralph Braun Foundation on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Representatives surprised Rachel with the news outside of St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital in Lafayette where she was recovering from recent health complications. Her reaction was priceless, and even though she is still recovering her speech, her facial expression says it all.

The Braun Corporation, headquartered in Winamac, is a worldwide leader of wheelchair accessible vans and wheelchair lifts. Earlier this fall, an employee came to the management team and suggested that a used vehicle in possession of the corporation be donated to someone in the community rather than being sold to one of the company’s mobility dealers.

The company sent out a notification to all employees that the van would be donated from the Braun Corporation to the Ralph Braun Foundation, but that the foundation would accept nominations from employees if they’d like to see it donated to someone locally. The only stipulation was that the individual nominated needed to reside in a county where a Braun employee resides, and the nominee needed to rely on a wheelchair for daily mobility.

The response was astounding. A total of 39 individuals were nominated, each story as touching and deserving as the next. Eleven employees were asked to serve on a selection committee to narrow the number of submissions down to a more manageable number, and from there, the final submissions would be sent to the Board of Directors of the Ralph Braun Foundation, who ultimately selected Rachel as the recipient.

Rachel, 33, has been a lifelong resident of the local community and graduated from Winamac Community High School in 1997. She is the mother of three children, ages 13, 10 and 4 years, and was well-known as a teller at a local bank.

Three years ago Rachel was paralyzed in a car accident that left her a quadriplegic with little movement below her upper arms. When she returned from the hospital and her months spent at a rehabilitation center, she and her husband divorced. Rachel had to quickly adjust to her new life as a quadriplegic, single mother of three children.

Through all of these trials she stayed strong as an example for her children and continued to smile. She could not afford a vehicle on her own, but a friend helped her make payments on a wheelchair van, although it was barely functioning. Its floor was nearly rusted through, and it was riddled with electric issues.

Sadly just days after the Braun Employee Give Back program was announced, Rachel became very ill and unresponsive. Just as family and friends were preparing for the worst, Rachel began to show signs of brain activity and was able to recognize family members and answer questions by blinking her eyes.

She still has a long way to go before she is as healthy and strong as she was before her recent illness, but the Braun family hopes knowing she has the gift of mobility waiting for her when she returns helps motivate her recovery.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 2, 2013)

Include Indiana’s state parks in your resolutions

As Hoosiers craft their New Year’s resolutions, they should take a cue from two Indiana University graduate students and a pair of Sheridan High School teachers.

Laura Harman and her boyfriend, Nathan Haffner, both originally from Fort Wayne, resolved this time last year to visit all 24 state parks in Indiana in 2012. They completed their resolution in late December when they visited Brown County State Park, the last on their list.

Jesse and Abby Linville, the teachers, visited every state park in 2011 and plan to hit every state forest in 2013.

Coincidentally, both couples accomplished many of the most common resolutions that Americans set for themselves. They exercised, spent more time with each other, traveled to new places, learned new things and de-stressed.

Harman and Haffner spent at least a day at each park, hiked and bird-watched, visited nature centers, read interpretive markers, took hundreds of photographs, played basketball and tennis and camped.

“I always tell people how much fun it is to get out and camp and also how inexpensive it can be,” Harman said. “Camping brings friends and family together. But it doesn’t cost that much.”

Haffner said he appreciated the history lessons that state parks offer. At Turkey Run and elsewhere he learned about the conservation movement. At Mounds Haffner learned about pre-historic Native Americans. At the Gus Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park he learned about space exploration.

“There’s so much more in Indiana than people realize,” Haffner said. “I feel like I know a lot more about my state and take more pride in my state.”

The IU couple said they will return to several of the parks in 2013 to discover attractions they missed the first time and rediscover the things they loved.

Harman and Haffner already know what their 2013 resolution will be—to organize the hundreds of photographs they took in 2012.

And the Linvilles will be on the trail again, visiting Indiana’s 13 state forests.

While you don’t have to visit all the state parks and state forests in one year, resolving to make Indiana’s state parks and state forests a part of your life in 2013 is a surefire way to start the year right.

(Pulaski County Journal - Jan. 2, 2013)

Pulaski County Journal

114 W. Main Street
Winamac, IN 46996

Office Number: (574) 946-6628
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