This year’s Main Stage lineup for the Ferdinand Folk Festival has been announced.

Tonight, the Ferdinand Folk Festival committee hosted the “Halfway to Folk Fest” fundraising night at the Gaslight in Huntingburg. Elizabeth Cook of Nashville, Tennessee will be headlining this year’s Folk Fest.

The other main stage performers are Georgia Brown of Bentonville, Arkansas; Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters of Jeffersonville; Hymn for Her of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Way Down Wanderers based in Chicago, Illinois; and Knoxville, Tennessee-based group The Black Cadillacs.

Marc Steczyk is part of the Ferdinand Folk Fest committee. He says this year’s lineup is special in more ways than one:

Steczyk says its also a huge success that the festival is able to find talent from all over the country to perform each year.

Now this year’s opening act on the Main Stage will be the winner of the festival’s first ever singer-songwriter contest. Steczyk says this contest will continue every year with the goal of finding new upcoming folk music acts that can eventually make it big.

The 6th edition of the Ferdinand Folk Festival will take place on Saturday, September 19th at Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park.

A Celestine-area man is facing charges after he sustained injuries in a single vehicle accident overnight.

At 1:25 this morning, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called to an area along Schnellville Road east of County Road 700 East. Deputies say 19-year-old Keith Verkamp had been going westbound on Schnellville Road when he crested a hill. After cresting the hill, Verkamp’s truck went left of center before going off of the left side of the roadway into a ditch. The truck then continued through the ditch, hitting a utility pole. Sheriff’s deputies say the pole was broken on impact.

After hitting the pole, Verkamp’s truck flipped and came to rest facing south in the ditch. Verkamp left the scene and was found at his residence by authorities a short time later. Deputies say Verkamp broke his neck in the accident. Medical personnel were called to the residence to treat his injuries.

The sheriff’s department says Verkamp was intoxicated at the time of the crash. He is facing charges for OWI, minor consuming, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Damage to Verkamp’s truck was estimated at $7,000. Deputies say there were no power lines down in the area, but the pole that was broken had a wire attached to it which supported another power line pole across the road.

Schnellville and Celestine First Responders, Memorial Hospital EMS, an Indiana State Police trooper, Dubois REC and a wrecker from Berg’s also assisted.

Changes may soon be coming in how Huntingburg residents make their after-hours emergency calls.

Last night, the Huntingburg City Council heard about 3 options for handling those calls in the future. The changes come after the recent retirement of one of the city’s after-hours dispatchers. The council agreed on an option in the end and Spinner says the next step is to put together a full plan:

Spinner says that full proposal will likely be presented at the council’s next meeting.

The other 2 options that were considered were continuing with the current system and hiring a new employee and having staff at the city’s water plant handle those calls as Jasper currently does.

The city currently uses part-time dispatchers who work from home.

Dubois Strong will soon begin working on a new strategic plan.

Dubois Strong president Ed Cole says the group’s current plan was completed in 2013. Since that time, Cole says several things have changed:

Cole says Dubois Strong has 4 key initiatives that it will be focusing on in the future. These are workforce growth, business growth, entrepreneurial growth and organizational progress. Cole says internet connectivity and transportation remain 2 issues that will be key to moving Dubois County ahead and achieving the 4 key initiatives.

On the transportation front, Cole says the Mid-States Corridor is a project that needs as much support as it can get:

Cole says the Gigacity initiative that Jasper is working on with Smithville Communications will go a long way towards helping Internet connectivity locally.

Cole says solving the transportation issues will also go a long way in recruiting people to Dubois County to fill the many jobs that are available. Dubois Strong says the county created nearly 11 hundred jobs over roughly the last year, but there aren’t enough people locally to fill those jobs.

Cole also says taking the ongoing housing study and making solutions from that data will be key. However, he says that study is taking longer than expected since the study shows that there is enough housing in general, but not enough of the housing that workforce families are looking for.

Cole says the housing study is expected to be complete sometime in May.

Yesterday was the first chance for many to see Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari’s newest attraction.

Media Preview Day allowed various news outlets to get a first hand look at the new Thunderbird steel roller coaster. Thunderbird is the first launched wing coaster in the park’s history.

Plans for Thunderbird were unveiled at an announcement in late July of last year. Holiday World invested 22 million dollars in its construction, which marks the largest investment in any single ride in the park’s nearly 70 year history.

Now Thunderbird has some sentimental value as well. The coaster is the fulfillment of a dream of former Holiday World president Will Koch. Koch passed away in 2010.

Koch’s daughters, 4th generation owners Lauren and Leah Koch say having Thunderbird up and running is a tremendous accomplishment for the park. Leah Koch says the coaster is everything her father dreamt it would be:

Construction got underway early last summer. Thunderbird was completed in 9 months, slightly ahead of its original schedule.

Thunderbird will make its public debut tomorrow when Holiday World opens for the season.

An investigation into a fight at a Jasper Rubber plant that happened last weekend has ended with 2 people facing felony charges after police say they seriously injured another man during the fight.

Police were called to Jasper Rubber Plant #1 at about 8:45 this past Saturday night. Jasper Police say the fight started after an argument between 24-year-old Christopher Barrett of Huntingburg and another Christopher Barrettemployee turned violent. Police say Barrett hit the man in the back of the head. According to police, Barrett then pulled out a knife and repeatedly cut the victim, with most of the cuts on the man’s raised arm. Police say a 2nd person (23-year-old Kelvin Brown of Jasper) hit the man in the back with a pole at some time during the fight.

Police say the victim was able to pull out a stun gun and taze Barrett, which allowed him to escape. Police say the victim fled the plant and was soon located and taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment, including numerous stitches. Jasper Police say the man was released from the hospital after treatment. Kelvin Brown

Meanwhile, police filed arrest warrants for both Barrett and Brown. The 2 men were taken into custody yesterday and lodged in the Dubois County Security Center.

Barrett is charged with a Level 3 felony for Aggravated Battery Resulting in Serious Permanent Disfigurement. He also faces Level 5 felonies for Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Battery with a Deadly Weapon along with a Class A misdemeanor for Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury.

Brown faces a Level 6 felony for Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury.

The economic future in Jasper now has a bit of a twist to it.

Last night, the Jasper City Council learned that there are actually more jobs available at some companies within the city than what they originally had thought. This was discovered as the council did yearly reviews of the tax abatement plans for several businesses during last night’s meeting.

Mayor Terry Seitz says there are roughly 60-70 full-time jobs that were open among the companies that had abatements reviewed last night. He says another couple of dozen part-time and temporary jobs are also available in those companies.

With this news, Seitz says the city and county’s ability to attract people for the workforce becomes even more important:

Seitz says several companies are now running behind on hiring employees as there simply aren’t enough people available. The council ultimately tabled those reviews until next month’s meeting.

On a related note, Dubois Strong president Ed Cole said yesterday that local leaders will have to get creative in finding workers to fill the jobs available:

Of course, several local companies have announced plans to hire more employees within the last year. These include Jasper Engines and Transmissions, who will be adding up to 100 new jobs in Dubois County and 235 overall by 2017 as part of expanding into the former Jasper Plastics building on Power Drive.

MasterBrand Cabinets is also expanding at their Ferdinand plant. They plan to add up to 262 jobs by the end of next year.

In other business, the council held a discussion about an ongoing lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Southwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council. It stems from a January wage determination hearing where a non-union wage was decided on for a city stormwater project along Worrell Drive.

The initial lawsuit was dropped after the city agreed to hold another wage hearing last month. The storm water board again voted to set the non-union wage and the group filed another lawsuit to have last month’s wage thrown out.

Seitz says the legal proceedings are causing problems as the city tries to move forward on other projects:

Seitz says a pre-trial conference last week led to this lawsuit.