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Local News Archives for 2021-11

Baird co-authors bill to help end state of emergency, protect Hoosier workers

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) announced he co-authored legislation to help end the statewide public health emergency and protect Hoosier workers.

 

House Bill 1001 would allow Gov. Eric Holcomb's state public health emergency to expire by ensuring Indiana could continue receiving the same federal reimbursements for SNAP and Medicaid, and maintain the state's ability to hold voluntary community vaccination clinics. Holcomb recently announced that he will keep the state of emergency and the remaining, but limited, executive order in place until lawmakers take action in January.

Baird said the legislation filed Monday at the Statehouse would also require businesses to accept medical and religious exemptions, if they require the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.

 

"I'm committed to addressing the concerns of many in our community related to vaccine requirements in the workplace," Baird said. "This legislation would help strengthen longstanding exemptions that are available to Hoosiers with medical concerns or deeply held religious beliefs."

 

Baird encouraged local workers and business owners to continue reaching out to him with questions and comments at h44@iga.in.gov or by calling 317-232-9981.

 

Visit iga.in.gov for more information on HB 1001, which will be considered during the 2022 legislative session kicking off in January.

Duke Energy Indiana files for rate increase of 1% each year 2024-29

Duke Energy explained the reasons a rate increase has been requested in the following release:

 

Duke Energy Indiana filed a plan with Indiana state utility regulators to improve the reliability and resilience of its statewide network of power lines and infrastructure that deliver electricity to more than 860,000 Hoosier homes, businesses and industries.

 

The six-year plan uses a combination of advanced technology and infrastructure upgrades to improve service to customers.

 

“We’re creating a smarter electric grid that helps prevent outages and gets the lights back on sooner when problems do occur,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “Our reliability ratings are good, but we need to prepare the electric grid for what’s to come, including electric vehicles and more customers generating their own green energy. As an electric service provider, the reliability of our service is job No. 1 for our 2,500 Indiana employees.”

 

Some of the plan’s key benefits include:

Fewer and shorter power outages through smart-thinking technology. Not all power outages can be prevented, but smarter technologies make the electric grid more resilient and better able to recover when power outages do occur. Outages can be automatically detected and isolated so that fewer customers are affected. Power can then be rerouted to other lines and service restored in a matter of minutes for many customers. Currently 11% of Duke Energy’s Indiana customers are supplied from a circuit with automation. After the completion of the proposed plan, an estimated 65% of customers will be served by automated circuits.

Hardening the electric grid to better withstand the effects of weather. One of the biggest causes of power outages is severe weather. Grid strengthening measures include work such as upgrading wood poles to steel ones, modernizing substations and some targeted undergrounding of outage-prone power lines.

Preparing the electric grid for customer-owned renewable energy, such as solar panels on homes. Utilities are seeing more environmentally conscious customers generating renewable energy for their use and selling their excess power to the utility. Today’s electric grid, though, is built for one-way power flow from power plants to power lines that supply customers. A smart-thinking electric grid can detect, react, and adapt to changes in power usage and can better accommodate power generated by customers and support greener power options.

New jobs and investment in Indiana by developing electric infrastructure at high-potential, key economic development sites so that it can attract new businesses and help communities thrive and grow. Industries looking to locate or expand in Indiana are attracted to sites that are ready to serve them, all of which brings investment and jobs to the state.

 

“As with most products on the market, the technology available today is simply better than the technology that was available decades ago,” Pinegar said. “Adding more automation to our system gives us better visibility on our electric grid to detect problems and resolve them quicker.”

 

While there will always be storms, vehicle accidents, and other causes of power outages, the proposed investments are designed to improve reliability of service. Duke Energy is estimating the grid improvements will reduce the number of power outages by at least 17% and the length of outages by at least 19%.

 

The plan builds on grid modernization that has been underway in Indiana for several years. In 2016 Duke Energy received approval for a plan to reduce the risk of power outages on its system through measures such as replacing aging infrastructure. Some examples of grid improvement work statewide under the first plan:

 

  • Upgraded, replaced, or repaired more than 31,000 poles.
  • Rebuilt or improved more than 1,000 miles of overhead power lines and replaced or restored more than 670 miles of underground cable.
  • Improved more than 420 substations, which convert voltage for delivery to customers in communities statewide.
  • Installed 37 self-healing networks on the electric grid that in 2021 helped avoid more than 31,000 customer power outages and 2.8 million customer minutes of interrupted service.

If the plan is approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Duke Energy would submit semi-annual filings over six years to the commission to review progress and requests to recover the costs of investments made. Any customer rate impact would have to be approved by state regulators and would be gradual as work is completed. Duke Energy estimates its grid improvement strategy, if approved, would increase rates an average of about 1% per year between 2024 and 2029.

 

Grid improvement can also be a job-generator. Duke Energy estimates the modernization work will generate or support 1,270 Indiana jobs. The work also is estimated to generate an additional $4.3 million in state and local tax revenue annually.

 

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will set a schedule for hearings in the case. A decision is expected by July 2022.

State Police increase holiday patrols to promote safe Thanksgiving travels

This Thanksgiving, travel is expected to rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels. According to AAA, it’s predicted that 48.3 million people will be taking to the roads for the holiday, an 8 percent increase from last year.

 

Unfortunately, heavier traffic, combined with declining seat belt use and the prevalence of impaired driving, makes this travel period particularly dangerous for road users.

 

In response, the Indiana State Police is joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state for the Safe Family Travel campaign. Over the next six weeks, officers will be out in greater numbers to discourage impaired driving and ensure drivers and passengers are properly buckled.

 

The high-visibility patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and will concentrate around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

 

“Driving impaired, not wearing a seat belt and speeding are always concerns around this time of year,” said Lt. Terry Gose, District Commander for the Lowell Post.  “That’s why we’re increasing patrols and encouraging those traveling to buckle up, drive sober and slow down. It’s better to be late and reach your destination safely, than not at all.”

 

In Indiana and nationwide, reckless driving incidents remain higher than during pre-pandemic times. As of early October, 683 people have been killed in crashes statewide, which is an 8 percent increase from the same time in 2019 and on pace with 2020 – one of the dealiest years in the past decade.

 

With one of the busiest travel periods still ahead, officers will be working to reverse this trend by focusing on impaired and unrestrained driving, two of the main causes behind the rise in fatalities.

 

Of the total number of vehicle occupants killed in crashes so far this year, more than 40 percent were not wearing seat belts. Moreover, seat belt use in Indiana declined for the first time in five years from 94.9 percent before the pandemic to 92.9 percent.

 

“Whether you’re driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours, we’re asking everyone to plan ahead and make safety their top priority,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Don’t be the reason there’s an empty seat at your table or someone else’s this Thanksgiving.”

 

The Indiana State Police wants to remind motorists that most traffic fatalities can be prevented by taking some simple precautions: never drive impaired, always wear a seat belt, follow posted speed limits, and avoid distractions.

 

Before consuming alcohol, plan a sober ride home, such as a designated driver or using a ride service or public transportation. Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.

 

However, impaired driving isn’t the only concern during the holiday season. Winter weather also poses challenges for motorists, and it’s important to be prepared.

 

Always have an emergency kit in the vehicle with food, water, a phone charger, sand or cat litter, flares or bright LED alternatives, a flashlight, and blankets. Keep the vehicle full of gas, and make sure the battery is strong, fluids are at the correct levels and the spare tire is properly inflated.

Chances to win prizes, get Chamber Bucks with Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is approaching.  You can join the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Greencastle to celebrate. 

 

S. Indiana Street will be closed to host a raffle, sell Chamber Bucks, hand out swag-bags, and provide some refreshments.

 

To enter the raffle, all you have to do is show your receipt of purchase at a local business from November 27. The raffle includes a big screen TV, an acoustic guitar, and a two-person salon package from Green Room Salon.

 

The first 50 people to enter the raffle will also receive a swag bag valued at over $50 worth of local goods, discounts, and gift cards.

 

Chamber Bucks are a local currency that is accepted at participating locations.  During Small Business Saturday, the Chamber will be giving away a $1 to $1 match, up to $50. 

New resource available for Hoosiers with questions about COVID-19 treatment

Hoosiers seeking to learn about where to receive the monoclonal antibodies that have been used to prevent progression of COVID-19 disease can contact 211 for information.

 

Callers to 211 will be connected to Crush COVID, a support center managed by KPMG LLP that provides information about monoclonal antibody treatment on behalf of participating providers. The service will locate the nearest treatment site by ZIP code. Individuals can then contact the infusion center for more information about who can receive the treatment and how to schedule an appointment.

 

Nearly 100 sites across Indiana are serving as infusion centers.

 

Monoclonal antibody therapy is the first COVID-19 treatment granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for outpatient use. The therapy has been shown to help high-risk COVID-19 patients avoid hospitalization and recover at home. It is also authorized by the U.S. FDA to prevent COVID-19 following exposure to the virus in some cases.

 

Hoosiers who are interested in receiving the treatment can call 211 (866-211-9966) to learn more.

Putnam County Sheriff's Office creates new Facebook page after hack

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has its new Facebook page up and running.

 

A hacker seized control of the department’s previous page.  The page was renamed 'Street Boxing' with a profile picture of a female boxer and a boxing video.

 

The department took to Twitter while efforts were made to resolve the issue and gain back the page.  Those efforts proved unsuccessful which led to the creation of a new Facebook page instead. 

 

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office lost thousands of followers in the process.

 

Putnam County Sheriff Indiana can be found at social media sites:

Facebook:  @PCSOSheriff 


Twitter:  @PutCoSheriff

Pyle Museum, Plainfield's Prewitt Theater receive Historic Renovation grants

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced 11 properties were awarded $712,989 in funding through the Historic Renovation Grant Program. 

 

Eligible properties for this grant program must be at least 50 years old and either listed on the register of Indiana historic sites and structures, be listed or eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places, or be listed as a contributing resource in a National Register District.

 

Eligible applicants include non-profits, individuals, partnerships, firms, associations, joint ventures, limited liability companies, corporations or non-profit affordable housing organizations. Awarded properties will receive funding for the renovation and preservation of exterior features. 

 

Awarded projects include:

 

Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana

  • The Friends of Ernie Pyle is awarded $26,400 for exterior restoration of the birthplace of noted Indiana journalist Ernie Pyle. The Friends of Ernie Pyle operates the house as a museum for the journalist who became famous during World War II. Combined with the World War II Museum on-site, the organization preserves and interprets an important part of Hoosier and American history. 

 

Prewitt Theater Renovation in Plainfield 

  • The Keller Huff Group is awarded $85,637 to renovate and preserve The Prewitt Theater in Plainfield. The theater opened in November of 1927 and was used as a movie theater until it closed its doors in 2005. The Keller Huff Group is renovating and restoring the theater into an upscale restaurant and event center. Upon completion, the Prewitt Theater expects to provide five or six full-time jobs and up to 35 part-time jobs.  

The Historic Renovation Grant Program received more than 50 applications with requests totaling over $3.2 million. Applications were scored based on appropriate historical criteria, extensive support from local residents, and the economic impact the project would have on the greater community.  

 

Breakfast with Santa at the Indiana Youth Sheriffs' Ranch

What is better than getting to see Santa Claus?

Getting to eat breakfast with Santa!

Children, grades K-6, are invited to enjoy a FREE breakfast with Santa on December 11, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, at the at the Sheriffs’ Lodge & Conference Center, located on the ISYR property south of Brazil, 5325 N. State Road 59.

Be sure to bring a smart phone or camera for selfies with Santa.

No reservations are needed. All parking is free. Handicapped spots are available. Hand sanitizer and an electronic thermometer will be available. Face masks and social distancing are encouraged when possible. Guests will be asked to respect one another’s pandemic precautions.

The free breakfast includes pancakes, cereal, turkey sausage links, juices, and milk.

Funding is made possible courtesy of the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund and is organized by Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden, Greene County Sheriff Michael Hasler, former Marion County Sheriff John Layton, Owen County Sheriff Sam Hobbs, Parke County Sheriff Justin Cole, Putnam County Sheriff Scott Stockton, Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom, Vermillion County Sheriff Mike Phelps, Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse and others.

 

Tax-deductible donations made to the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund provide needed clothing, toiletries and food for young visitors to the 62-acre not-for-profit training retreat for future law enforcement officers, at-risk kids, young witnesses and victims of crime.

 

For more information about the “Breakfast with Santa” or to donate to the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund, call 317-460-4242, go online to Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch GoFundMe page or write to the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund, 5325 N. State Road 59, Brazil, IN 47834.

Health officials urge Hoosiers to join Great American Smokeout

Today is the Great American Smokeout (GASO), a day to commit to being tobacco free. The American Cancer Society (ACS) designates the third Thursday of every year as the GASO, which encourages smokers to make a pledge to quit using tobacco products for just one day.

 

“The most important thing Hoosiers can do to improve their health is to quit using any tobacco products,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “The Indiana Department of Health supports those who take their first steps toward making a plan to quit for good.” The ACS emphasizes that those who use tobacco don’t have to quit in one day – they just have to start with “day one” of their quit journey. 

 

“During this year’s Great American Smokeout event, we hope Hoosiers will join us in committing, or recommitting, to living smoke-free lives and encourage their friends and family members to do the same,” Box said. “We know quitting is difficult, but Indiana has resources to help.”

 

More than 1 million Hoosier adults smoke, and more than 18 percent of Indiana high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, double the figure from 2016. Smoking can increase the risk of severe respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19 and influenza. It also contributes to preterm birth and higher infant mortality rates.

 

Indiana offers free programs to help Hoosiers quit tobacco use, such as Quit Now Indiana. It offers tobacco quit services for all Indiana residents ages 13 and older.

 

Quit Now Indiana has been working to make quitting easier through new and improved service offerings, including Text2Start, a new and easy way for Hoosiers to connect with a variety of quit services that include text, coaching, and medication support, which provides increased flexibility through a choice of tools to help individuals quit. While supplies last, Hoosiers can receive free medications when enrolling in services.

 

Hoosiers interested in starting their quit journey can visit QuitNowIndiana.com, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text READY to 200-400 for assistance. Youth looking to quit vaping can also text INDIANA to 873373 to access the Live Vape Free text messaging program.

Cloverdale Christmas parade Dec 4; Town council agrees to have state debt collect

If not just yet, it will begin to look a lot more like Christimas in Cloverdale on the first Saturday of next month.  Cloverdale Main Street is holding its annual Christmas parade on December 4.

 

The event will be at 1:00 pm, with picture opportunities with Santa available at the Ice House immediately after. The Cloverdale Town Council agreed to look into parking concerns to make the Ice House more accessible to the elderly and disabled.

 

In other Cloverdale Town Council news, information was discussed of a free program, called TRECS, offered by the state of Indiana. The program authorizes the state to debt collect on the town's behalf by collecting the money from state tax refunds. The council has agreed to participate as they have approximately $90,000 not yet paid by residents.

 

Also, a  log has been donated to the Town of Cloverdale to replace the damaged foundation log on the back of the log cabin at the Cloverdale park. The town now looking for someone with knowledge on how to make the replacement. The council has also received a quote of $6,400 to repair the cabin's roof. The council agreed to pay this in hopes of getting it repaired before the heart of winter hits and damages the cabin further.

First Financial Corporation declares semi-annual dividend

The directors of First Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: THFF) have declared a semi-annual dividend of 53 cents per share payable on January 14, 2022, to shareholders of record at the close of business January 7, 2022.

 

In addition the directors declared a special dividend of 10 cents per share payable on January 14, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business January 7, 2022. Today’s declarations bring the total dividend declared in 2021 to $1.16 per share.

 

First Financial Corporation is the holding company for First Financial Bank N.A. in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and The Morris Plan Company of Terre Haute.

Metal Forming receives tax abatement from Putnam Co. Council

A Putnam County industry is planning for the future with tax abatement approval.

 

Metal Forming, of Russellville, specializes in cold forming, deep impact extrusion and precision machining.  The company's website states that they incorporate cost-effective process design and contract precision manufacturing to produce customer specified components and assemblies that are used in a wide variety of global industrial applications. 

 

Metal Forming representatives appeared before the Putnam County Council Tuesday night following a previous appearance at the last council meeting.  The request before the council was to declare an Economic Revitalization Area and 10-year tax abatement on new equipment being installed in December.  The abatement for the equipment cost of $270, 000.

 

25 employees work at Metal Forming.  23 live in Putnam County.  The other two live in Montgomery and Boone County. 

 

Two employees are expected to be added with the new equipment.

 

Metal Forming has also received a Manufacturing Readiness grant from the state of Indiana.

 

President and CEO Ron St. Clair has owned the facility for 10 years. He says future growth is expected for the Russellville industry with intent to make sure it stays local.

 

 

Over the life of the abatement property tax payments saved only add up to about $9,000 for Metal Forming.

 

The resolution was approved by the Putnam County Council by unanimous vote.

 

Person stabbed at Walmart parking lot

Greencastle Police are investigating a reported stabbing at the Walmart parking lot.

 

The incident happened about 10:00 pm Sunday.  A person was reported to have fled the scene before authorities arrived.  Meawnhile, a person was treated at the scene and then transported to the hospital.

 

The patient was concisous and able to speak with law enforcement and emergency personnel.

 

The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

Greencastle Community School Corporation updates Covid-19 protocols

Greencastle Superintendent Jeff Gibboney emailed parents about updates to to the Covid-19 Return to In-Person Instruction plan.

 

Greencastle Community School Corporation has noticed a steady decrease or drop in the number of cases of Covid-19 in each of the schools. Gibboney also noted the Covid-19 vaccine is officially approved for students age 5 and older. With the vaccine update and the declining cases, GCSC is rewarding the improved situation with a slightly relaxed policy update, which will take effect on Wednesday, January 5, 2021.

 

Masks will still be required on buses per federal mandate. However, they will not be required in GCSC facilities, though they will be highly recommended.

 

Schools with a weekly covid-19 positivity rate about 5% will be required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Once the positivity rate drops back below 4%, those schools can resume the relaxed mask mandate.

 

In the event of quarantine, parents and guardians will be notified if there student had been in close contact. Close contact will continue to be defined as an individual who spent 15 minutes or more, over a 24 hour period, and were within 3-6 foot, of a person who tested positive of Covid-19. Quarantine procedures will continue to be followed with notable exceptions. If the student can provide proof of vaccination or can provide proof of an independent positive covid-19 with the last 90 day, they will not need to quarantine.

 

Gibboney’s email also went on to explain students with parental consent will be eligible for free BinaxNOW rapid testing by trained GCSC clinic staff, starting November 15, 2021. Students showing symptoms, verified by clinic staff, will receive results within 15 minutes. Rapid testing is believed to help reduce the spread of covid-19 in the school system.

 

Superintendent Gibboney also noted the Covid-19 Dashboard will still be updated weekly and on the GCSC website. However, beginning in January, the Covid-19 Dashboard will be listed by individual schools.

 

Even with the relaxed updates coming in January, parents, guardians, and students are asked to continue the already established mitigation procedures of screening students before sending them to school.

Changes made to 2021 Veterans Day activities due to weather concerns

The Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis released the following statement regarding Thursday's Veterans Day Parade and related ceremonies:

 

Due to inclement weather projections for the Indianapolis area on Thursday, the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis has made the difficult decision to cancel the Veterans Day Parade.

 

With the amount of rainfall, high wind gusts, and potential for lightening forecasted, the safety and health of everyone involved is our utmost concern, especially our veterans and high school student marching bands, as well as the many volunteers and spectators; consequently, the Council has deemed it in the best interest to cancel this year’s parade.

 

The weather concerns have also led to moving the Veterans Day Service indoors at the Indiana War Memorial located at 55 East Michigan Street in downtown Indianapolis. The service will be conducted in the Pershing Auditorium located inside the Indiana War Memorial. The Veterans Day Service will still begin at 11 a.m., with a patriotic musical prelude provided by the Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division Band beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Veterans Day Service will still be live streamed at http://www.veteransdayindy.org/service.

 

For those attending the indoor Veterans Day Service, there will be no public parking available on Michigan Street between Pennsylvania and Meridian streets. Public parking will be available on both sides of the street for the following:


•    Pennsylvania St., between Michigan and Vermont streets (with the exception of in front of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building)

•    Vermont St., between Pennsylvania and Meridian streets

•    Meridian St., between Vermont and North streets

•    North St., between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets

 

For those areas the public may disregard any no parking signs posted on parking meters.

 

The Veterans Day Breakfast scheduled from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m., in the Arabian Room of the Murat Shrine (502 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204) will not be affected by the weather.

 

The Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis is a volunteer based, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to bring about a wholesome and constructive relationship between the community and veterans of our Armed Forces. The activities of the Council culminate in our annual observance of Veterans Day.

 

Learn more about our commitment to veterans at: http://www.veteransdayindy.org/about and see how you or your organization can help contribute.

 

For more information about 2021 Indianapolis Veterans Day observance, or to schedule an interview with a council member contact Josh Marshall, jmarshall@indianalegion.org, or 317-345-9969.

IAC Greencastle workers eligible for Trade Adjustment benefits

On Dec. 17, 2020, IAC Greencastle became eligible to apply for benefits and services through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

 

TAA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and assists workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade.

 

Any worker laid off from IAC Greencastle, a manufacturer of auto parts, on or after Oct. 27, 2019, or any worker scheduled to be laid off before Dec. 17, 2022, may be eligible to apply for TAA benefits.

 

TAA services and benefits include:

Training—pays 100% of all required training costs

Income support—up to 130 weeks of income-support payments

Job-search and relocation allowances—reimbursement of 90% of allowable costs to travel to a job-search activity or relocation for new employment

Wage subsidy—for workers age 50 and older up to $10,000

Health care tax credit—IRS tax credit of 72.5% of qualifying monthly health care premiums

 

For more information about the TAA program, please visit https://www.in.gov/dwd/taa/,  call 812-230-8562 or email TradeActPetitions@dwd.IN.gov.

Purdue Extension Putnam County and the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Board request community input

Survey deadline has been extended to November 26, 2021. All Putnam County residents are encouraged to complete the survey and spread the word. https://tinyurl.com/PutCoparksurvey

 

Purdue Extension Putnam County and the recently formed Putnam County Parks Board are working to bring healthy fun and activity to all of Putnam County and they need the help of everyone in the community.

 

The Putnam County Council created the Putnam County Park Board in July of this year with the ultimate goal of improving and enhancing the quality of life of all Putnam County residents. By working to create more spaces for outdoor recreation, facilitating educational and/or fun programs and events, and building a variety of facilities throughout the county, they hope to not only encourage more residents to get outside, exercise, and enjoy the natural beauties of the county, but to also draw visitors, increasing the economic growth of the Putnam County community.

 

Purdue Extension Putnam County teamed up with the Putnam County Parks Board to help gather input from Putnam County residents and analyzing the information for use in a 5-year master plan, which will be used to apply for a massive grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

 

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a variety of grant programs designed to help communities expand their recreational spaces and encourage healthily activities. The DNR requires the county have a parks board and a master plan in order to qualify for a grant that could range from $5,000 to $2,000,000. While Putnam County is halfway there, having created the park board, the creation of the master plan has proven to be a struggle.

 

Purdue Extension Putnam County is facilitating a survey designed to help create the master plan. They need at least 1,000 completed surveys to have a more accurate view of what the community wants and needs. The more surveys completed, the more accurate the wants, desires, and needs information becomes. However, they have only received a little over 500 completed surveys.

 

The survey deadline has been extended to the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 26. The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete and is anonymous.

 

Survey respondents must be 18 years or older. You can find the survey here: https://tinyurl.com/PutCoparksurvey.

 

For questions related to the Master Plan process, you can contact Eric Freeman by cell at (317) 607-5243 or email at eric@pipecreek.net. 

 

Printed surveys can be picked up at the Putnam County Visitors Center, 12 W Washington St., Greencastle, IN 46135. A copy will be mailed to you if you call or text Eric Freeman at (317) 607-5243.

 

Purdue University Extension is administering the survey and collecting and analyzing the response data for use in the Master Plan. For questions related to this survey, you can contact Jenna Nees (smith535@purdue.edu), Abbi Sampson (sampsona@purdue.edu), or Kara Salazar (salazark@purdue.edu) referencing the Putnam County Park Board Master Plan Survey, IRB # 2021-1430.

 

International Automotive announces 125 jobs to be cut in Greencastle

125 jobs are to be lost at a Greencastle facility.

Automotive components manufacturer International Automotive Components submitted a WARN notice to the state.  It said the move is due to "unforeseen business circumstances."

The moves by IAC Greencastle are expected between December 10 and December 31.  They come just five months after the company announced plans to lay off 93 workers.

The company did not specify whether the affected employees will receive any kind of assistance. According to the WARN Notice, some employees may have bumping rights and bargaining unit employees are represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2382.

 

Putnam County StoryWalk® Project Will Unveil First Three StoryWalk® Locations at Cloverdale Community Park, Reelsville Community Center, and Roachdale Elementary School

Later this month, families visiting a variety of Putnam County communities will be able to enjoy a picture book while enjoying a walk. The Putnam County StoryWalk® Project (PCSP) will unveil the Edgar and Betty Bayliff StoryWalk® at the Cloverdale Community Park, the Reelsville Community StoryWalk® at the Reelsville Community Center, and the Roachdale Community StoryWalk® at Roachdale Elementary School.

 

Kick-Off events will be held for the unveiling of each StoryWalk®. On Saturday, November 20, at 11 a.m. the Edgar and Betty Bayliff StoryWalk® at the Cloverdale Community Park will be unveiled followed by the Reelsville Community StoryWalk® at the Reelsville Community Center at 3 p.m. The Roachdale Community StoryWalk® at Roachdale Elementary will be unveiled on Tuesday, November 23, during the school day.

 

StoryWalks® are an innovative and delightful way for children — and adults — to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children's book are placed in metal displays, which are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you're directed to the next page in the story.

 

StoryWalk® was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, formerly of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

 

In late 2020, the PCSP was created as a coalition of local organizations interested in seeing StoryWalks® placed throughout Putnam County. The PCSP comprises many partners, including the Putnam County Public Library, Purdue Extension-Putnam County, Putnam County Community Foundation, and many more.

 

“StoryWalks® were an immediate hit with local organizations,” said library Marketing & Communications Director Kaitlin Tipsword. “Once we began reaching out to other organizations, we realized that this was a project that commanded universal support throughout the community.”

 

The PCSP has been primarily funded by the Putnam County Community Foundation. The Edgar and Betty Bayliff StoryWalk® was funded by matching funds given in their memory. Taylor’s Hometown Hardware in Cloverdale also provided a generous in-kind donation to the Edgar and Betty Bayliff StoryWalk®. The PCSP has facilitated the purchase and installation of this and other StoryWalks® to be placed throughout Putnam County.

 

“The Storywalk® project was one that we identified last year as something positive that we could plan and accomplish during the uncertainty of COVID. It is wonderful to see those plans coming to fruition and the first one installed,” said Library Director Matt McClelland. “We are very fortunate to have so many great partners in both planning and funding these installations.”

 

Combining play with learning, StoryWalks® are an important early literacy tool for Putnam County children. The Putnam County Public Library will trade out books seasonally, so there are new stories to enjoy throughout the year.

 

“Developing early literacy skills is essential to success in school and later in life,” said Youth Services Manager Krista Mullinnix. “We hope our StoryWalks instill a love of reading and create fun family memories.”

 

StoryWalks® are also a way for families, children, and adults to enjoy the outdoors while also enjoying a story.

 

“StoryWalks are a great way to get the family active,” said Mindy Duckett, Purdue Extension. “The benefits of physical activity and being outdoors improves our health both physically and mentally.”

 

To get involved with the Putnam County StoryWalk project, please contact the library at director@pcpl21.org.

 

For more information about library services, programs, and collections, please call us at 765-653-2755 or visit pcpl21.org.  The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9-8 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 9-5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.

Structure fire brings seven departments to Fillmore's John Collier Logging Thursday

Seven area fire departments responded to a structure fire at John Collier Logging in Fillmore Thursday.

 

The Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department posted that a large pole building had flames through the roof by the time crews arrived.

 

Fillmore, Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department, Greencastle Fire Department, Reelsville/Washington Township VFD, Putnamville Correctional Facility Fire Department, Mill Creek Fire and JTVFD were on the scene for several hours.

 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Putnam County E911 / Emergency Operations Center, Putnam County EMS, Indiana Department of Homeland Security and American Red Cross all assisted.

 

No injuries were reported.  Damage is estimated at $500, 000.

 

 

 

Thursday evening at 6:03pm, JTVFD was dispatched to a working structure fire at John Collier Logging 9874 East US Highway 40 Fillmore. It is located just west of the intersection of US 40 and SR 75. On arrival crews found a large pole building with fire through the roof. Crews worked several hours to extinguish the fire. 7 fire departments worked the blaze including Fillmore, Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department, Greencastle Fire Department, Reelsville/Washington Township VFD, Putnamville Correctional Facility Fire Department, Mill Creek Fire, and JTVFD. Others agencies included Putnam County Sheriff Indiana, Putnam County E911 / Emergency Operations Center, Putnam County EMS, Indiana Department of Homeland Security(Fire Marshals office), and American Red Cross. Command was terminated at 9:21pm with no injuries reported. Damage estimated at $500,000.

Man wanted on attempted Owen Co. murder warrant arrested in traffic stop

A man wanted for an Owen County shooting was arrested in a traffic stop.

 

The Owen County Sheriff's Office posted that a deputy was driving on Highway 42 when he recognized a passenger in a vehicle as Bobby Forey-Standifer.  The deputy followed the vehicle to the area of U.S. 231 North and Webber Drive and conducted a traffic stop with the assistance of Cloverdale Police.  Forey Standifer, 31, was taken into custody without incident on an outstanding Owen County warrant for attempted murder.

 

Forey-Standifer was wanted for involvement in a September 29, 2021, shooting.  Zebedian Featherston, 25, was shot in the leg by someone in a moving vehicle in the area of SR 42 and SR 243.

 

 

Bloomington trooper thwarts phone scam

Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Richard Klun was dispatched to conduct a welfare check on a female in Bloomfield after she had left her home in southern Indiana and was traveling to Fort Wayne.

 

The investigation revealed that the female received a phone call from two men who identified themselves as law enforcement officers. The men falsely asserted criminal legal action towards the female unless she traveled to Fort Wayne to exchange monetary funds for her fine. 

 

During the interaction with the female, S/Trp. Klun observed that she was on the phone with the men for several hours and that the female was in possession of gift cards and cash. S/Trp. Klun spoke to the two men on the phone and identified himself as a Trooper with ISP. The men continued to attempt the scam as one of the men identified himself as a law enforcement officer with a police department in Allen County. The other man identified himself as a federal agent and then threatened to arrest S/Trp. Klun for impeding their investigation. But S/Trp. Klun knew that something was amiss and requested other identifying answers from the men. At the same time ISP Dispatchers were in communication with the above-mentioned police department and confirmed that the man was not who he claimed to be.

 

Ultimately, S/Trp. Klun was able to get the men to admit to the scam before they abruptly ended the phone call. It was confirmed that the female did not have an active warrant and she was released. S/Trp. Klun is continuing his investigation and communication with officials in the Ft. Wayne area to attempt to identify the suspects.

 

Indiana State Police Bloomington District would like to remind everyone that this incident serves as a warning to the general public to be cognizant when you receive unsolicited phone calls. Scammers continue new tricks and have recently been impersonating members of law enforcement while using software that shows the incoming call is from a police department. Their sole purpose is attempting to extort individuals by claiming that subpoenas and warrants have been issued against them or that their loved one is in jail and money is needed to settle the matter.

 

If you happen to receive unsolicited phone calls similar in nature:

  • Don’t give in to pressure to take immediate action.
  • Don’t engage in any conversation, as scammers may record your response.
  • Don’t provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to a caller.
  • Don’t send money if a caller tells you to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card or gift card.
  • Don’t travel to any location the caller asked you to go to.
  • Hang up, and call the police

Lt. Paul Bucher, Commander of the Bloomington Post states, "Our troopers are trained to detect criminal behavior during their interactions with the public and thankfully, S/Trp. Klun quickly recognized that last night" he continued, "Let this be a reminder that criminals are ever-increasing the ways to defraud the public and asks that everyone remain vigilant against fraud."

 

Below is a consumer information link from the Federal Trade Commission about Gift Card Fraud.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/gift-card-scams 

Roachdale Elementary begins Covid closure time

Roachdale Elementary began a stretch of days away with the school closed starting Friday.

 

A large number of quarantined staff and students has resulted in the closing of the school through next week until Monday, November 15.

 

The school corporation implemented guidelines that a school would close for at least six days when the quarantine rate reaches 20 percent.

 

Students will return to school on Monday, November 15.

 

 

Turmoil over potential development in Greencastle

The Aspire Building Group, based out of Coatesville, purchased the vacant land between Albin Pond Road and Fawn View Lane with the intent of developing the area into multiple residential homes. However, the development of these homes does not fit the zoning laws for the area and the Aspire Building Group applied for a variance and prepared to present the case to the Greencastle Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday, November 2.

 

Multiple residents near the vacant land attended the meeting, many with questions and some with concerns. However, they were less than pleased when they learned Aspire had pulled their petition for the variance at the last minute and would not be addressing the board at all. Upon suggestion from Greencastle City Attorney, Laurie Hardwick, the board adjourned their meeting and left the building. However, it would be another hour before Aspire and the concerned residents would leave.

 

Aspire used this time to explain why they pulled their petition and to address concerns. The first of several reasons was due to terminology. Condominium is a term commonly used to describe the types of homes going into the vacant lot, homes that are owned by a resident, but largely maintained by a landlord. However, Indiana Code uses a legal definition of condominium. The basic breakdown of the legal use of the term is that a resident in a condominium owns everything from the drywall and in; owning nothing on the outside. The Aspire Building Group variance petition used the condominium term, when in fact the homes are actually single patio and paired patio homes, managed by an HOA.

 

The difference between the two brought about confusion and more concerns. While the potential residents of the development would own the outside of their homes as well as the inside, they still would not have the freedom to maintain the outside anyway they please. The outside would need to conform to the rules of the HOA. The HOA would also perform the outside maintenance in the same fashion as a condominium landlord would, despite the homes being legally viewed as 100% owned by the potential resident.

 

This raised concern on the management of the HOA. Residents were concerned about the HOA not enforcing rules or handling disputes. Aspire explained they would manage the HOA for a time, finding what works and establishing the rules. The HOA would then be passed to a professional group, specializing in HOA management, ensuring that HOA rules are followed and enforced and disputes are handled fairly.

 

Another concern raised was about a proposed connecting road by a resident who lives on Fawn View, close to where the new connecting road would start. The concern is that the new road would be treated by drivers as a racing strip, speeding through and endangering residents. The resident who spoke up stated he would be backing up into a blind corner and concerned about his and his wife’s safety. This safety concern was directly answered. It was stated these concerns exist on other existing roads in Greencastle and are addressed in a variety of ways and the new road would be no different.

 

One of the many concerns brought forth is that so many small homes being condensed into a small area near larger homes would be viewed as less valuable; thus dropping property values of the surrounding, existing properties. The homes would start at $165 per square foot, averaging each home at a starting price of $200,000.

 

According to one resident, with today’s current pricing, the $165 per square foot estimation is not a lot of money. The fear is it would lead to ‘stripped” homes, or homes with less than quality materials. According to Aspire, they have a standard they uphold. They are craftsmen who take pride in their works. Brick is not used in the building of their homes. They also ensured there would be tile in all wet areas like the bathrooms and kitchens; they use a high quality, vinyl click-tile for other floors. All cabinets are wood cabinets with soft close features to avoid damage. The exterior is done with something called smart trim and they make sure all corners and windows are properly trimmed. When they do use vinyl siding, they use a high quality that is no less than .046. Aspire stated they do not do “builder” grade. Builder grade starts a home at a base level and the future homeowner will remodel at their convenience. The Aspire Building Group starts their homes with the features a potential homeowner would upgrade to with a remodel. They also stated that even multimillion dollar homes do not start with windows trimmed, but Aspire’s are trimmed and is part of the base home. Aspire stated they do not build to code, but above and beyond. They want their homes to be safe and ready, to be a place even they would trust for their parents to live.

 

Aspire also stated they plan on putting in a walking trail in the back and possibly a gazebo. The walking trail would lead to a community center/sales office. The building would include in the office space for sales and management, but also a space for those living in the patio homes that includes a kitchen.

 

Toddson Street residents voiced concerns over drainage and flooding. Their yards already flood and they struggle with the effect it has on their septic systems. This, however, is an issue already being addressed by the City of Greencastle. Mayor Dory stated the city has received grant money to provide those residents with access to the city sewage system. An engineer is currently drafting the project plans and when the drafts are complete, those residents will receive notice.

 

The Aspire Building Group stated they want to develop in three phases to lessen the burden on the homes that might be impacted. They also stated the map of the proposed development is simply conceptual at this time. Residents will be notified when a new petition is put forth by the Aspire Building Group and this time the letters of intent will better explain the plans for the development.

 

Bainbridge Police looking for playground equipment vandals

Bainbridge Police have asked for the public's assistance to catch those responsible for vandalizing new playground equipment.

 

Picture from Bainbridge Police Department Facebook

 

The playground at the Bainbridge Elementary was damaged over the weekend.  Police wee notified Monday.

 

The Bainbridge Police Department posted pictures of the damage on its Facebook page.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at 765-522-6211 or by e-mailing bainbridgepolice96@gmail.com .

Hoosiers ages 5-11 now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

The Indiana Department of Health announced today that Hoosiers ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine following Tuesday’s authorization of the pediatric vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that is currently authorized for use in individuals under age 18.

 

“Having a COVID-19 vaccine available to our younger Hoosiers is a game changer in terms of our efforts to keep children healthy and in school for in-person learning,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if they are exposed but have no symptoms, so I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated if they are eligible.”

 

The pediatric vaccine will be available on a walk-in basis from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the vaccination clinic outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis. Additional locations will be updated throughout the day at www.ourshot.in.gov. Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, parents who wish to schedule an appointment for their child to receive the vaccine can do so at www.ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211 or (866) 211-9966 for assistance. Please note that 211 cannot make appointments until Thursday.

 

Pediatric vaccine supplies may be limited initially as shipments arrive on a staggered basis. Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment or call ahead to ensure that a site has vaccine available prior to visiting the location. A parent or guardian must provide consent, and children under 16 must be accompanied to the vaccination appointment by an adult.

 

The pediatric dose of Pfizer is lower than the dosage for ages 12 and older, so parents should ensure they visit a site that carries the pediatric dosage. To find these clinics, visit https://ourshot.in.gov beginning Thursday and look for the pin designating sites with pediatric vaccine.

 

As of Wednesday, a total of 7,133,806 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 3,344,763 first doses and 414,620 booster doses. A total of 3,374,423 individuals are fully vaccinated.

Owen County elected official charged with using public funds for personal gain

An Owen County commissioner has been arrested following an Indiana State Police investigation into personal use of county funds.

 

Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Detective Brad Stille was assigned an investigation on August 9, after requests from authorities to look into possible official misconduct or conflict of interest by current Owen County Commissioner, Dale E. Dubois. 

 

The investigation revealed that Dubois, 82, of Poland, allegedly directed Owen County employees to conduct repairs to a county-funded roadway to ease access to the adjacent property for potential citizens. According to Indiana State Police, in reality, its alleged purpose was solely for Dubois's personal advantage and all work ordered and completed by county employees failed to have any benefit to Owen County government or its citizens.

 

After a complete review of the investigation by S/Trp. Stille, Owen County Prosecutor, Donald Van Der Moere II, asked for a warrant to be issued for Dubois's arrest. A warrant was issued by Owen County Circuit Court on November 2. Dubois surrendered himself to the Owen County Jail later in the evening where he was held on a $7,500 bond with 10% allowed. 

 

Charges against Dubois include:

  • Official Misconduct of a Public Servant, Level 6 Felony
  • Conflict of Interest, Level 6 Felony
  • Theft, Class A Misdemeanor

 

 

Oklahoma man arrested on Putnam County interstate with 12 pounds of suspected fentanyl

A traffic violation proved costly for an Oklahoma man arrested in Putnam County on drug charges.

 

At 11:45 am Friday, an Indiana State trooper observed a Ford Taurus eastbound on Interstate 70 that was following too close with improper brake lights.  The driver of the vehicle was identified as Polo Huereca-Rivera, 40, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

 

During the course of the traffic stop, the trooper observed criminal indicators and a consent to search revealed approximately 12 pounds of suspected fentanyl.  The estimated street value of the fentanyl is $250,000. 

 

 

Huereca-Rivera was taken into custody and transported to the Putnam County Jail.

and charged with Dealing a Narcotic Drug, Level 2 Felony; Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Level 3 Felony

 

The Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County recognized for preserving historic resources

Throughout this month, at various local ceremonies, the DNR will present its annual awards to recognize outstanding efforts in historic preservation and archaeology.

The awards will be presented by Beth McCord, the director of the Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA), and the rest of the division’s staff.

As the State Historic Preservation Office, the DHPA oversees the National Register of Historic Places in Indiana, the federally funded Historic Preservation Fund grant program, and the Reinvestment Historic Tax Credit program, and it administers programs to protect and preserve the state’s prehistoric and historical archaeological sites. The DHPA also functions as the central repository for historic structure and archaeological site records.

The following will receive the Indiana Historic Preservation Award:

The Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County will receive an Indiana Historic Preservation Award in recognition of its efforts to recognize and preserve historic resources.

From 2011 to 2020, the county’s districts that were listed in the National Register of Historic Places through the Society’s efforts included Northwood Historic District, Eastern Enlargement Historic District, and Old Greencastle Historic District, all in Greencastle; Cloverdale Historic District; Bainbridge Historic District; Russellville Historic District; and Roachdale Historic District.

The Society received a Historic Preservation Fund Grant in 2010 to assist with the Greencastle districts and again in 2016 to help fund restoration and maintenance of the Putnam County Civil War Memorial Monument in Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle.

The district nominations added more than 850 historic resources to the National Register, making them eligible to apply for financial incentives such as tax credits and grants. 

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