Today turned out to be a historic day in the city of Huntingburg.

This morning, Miller-Valentine Group hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lofts at St. Joseph’s project. The ceremony featured several speakers and was led by Pete Schweigeraht with Miller-Valentine. Schweigeraht says today’s groundbreaking was a big step, though there are several more steps to come:

Now the event drew local, state, and even federal officials to Huntingburg, including 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon. Bucshon says this type of project is needed in other parts of the country:

Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner gave many thanks on this day, but his biggest thanks went to those involved in making the project a reality:

Spinner also thanked many citizens who participated in getting this project off of the ground.

The project will turn 30 thousand square feet of the former hospital building into living units for seniors age 55 and older. 45 units in all will be created from the hospital building and a new building that will be built adjacent to the hospital.

Miller-Valentine says this project will generate nearly 4 million dollars to the local economy.

Police are looking into the discovery of a body found in a Jasper hotel room a couple of days ago.

Around 6 o’clock Wednesday evening Jasper Police were called to the Camelot Inn located along North Mill Street after police say an unresponsive male subject was found in a room. Once officers arrived on the scene they say they located 30-year old Gary Kidd who was renting the room, unresponsive and deceased. Police did not release information as to where Kidd was from.

The Dubois County Coroner was sent to the scene and the body was removed from the room.

Police say foul play is not suspected at this time and the cause and manner of death is pending the outcome of toxicology results.

State and federal wildlife officials are looking into the shooting death of a bald eagle in northwestern Dubois County.

Indiana Conservation Officers were called to an area near the Pike County line last Thursday after a caller reported the possible injury.

Conservation officer Joe Haywood says the eagle’s actions suggested that something was wrong:

The eagle was found in a flooded woods area by a conservation officer. The bird was then taken to a Federal Wildlife Rehabilitator.

Haywood says rehab efforts started off fine, but stalled after the eagle could not keep food down. At that point, Haywood says X-rays were taken and that’s when bullet fragments were found. The eagle was then transported to the Indiana Raptor Center in Nashville. The eagle died on the way to the center.

Haywood says this incident does not go over well in more ways than one:

The eagle was sent to a Federal Wildlife Forensics Center for evidence collection.

Haywood says the eagle did have a brood patch that is common for eagles that are nesting. He says it is not known where the eagle’s nest was located or how far the eagle was able to fly before becoming too weak to continue.

Now Indiana Conservation Officers are asking for your help in looking for a nest in the area with a single parent. You can call the local office at (812)-789-9538 or the anonymous tip line at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.

A reward of up to $2500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for this shooting.

Those who shoot an eagle are subject to up to 60 days in jail and fines ranging between 500 and 1 thousand dollars.

Yesterday marked the 2nd time in as many days that local authorities have made an arrest for intoxicated driving with young children in the vehicle.

At 5:15 last night, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a 1 car slideoff at the corner of Beth and Ann Lanes in Jasper. When they arrived, deputies found that the driver (26-year-old Lorryn Luttrell of Jasper) had been drinking.

A field sobriety test and a chemical test done at Memorial Hospital found that Luttrell’s BAC was .18%, more than twice the legal limit. Deputies say a 3-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy
Lorryn Luttrellwere riding in the car at the time of the slideoff.

Luttrell was arrested and taken to the Dubois County Security Center. She is facing a felony charge for operating while intoxicated endangerment.

Jasper Police and a wrecker from Uelbehor’s also assisted. Deputies say the 2 children were taken from the scene by Child Protective Services.

As mentioned, this is the 2nd such incident this week. On Wednesday afternoon, 32-year-old Rebecca Long of Jasper was arrested for OWI endangerment after she crashed her car along US 231 just south of the Huntingburg Airport with her 3-year-old son as a passenger.

Another leadership promotion has been announced at Jasper-based Kimball International.

Yesterday, the company announced that John Kaufmann will serve as the new vice president of global operations for Kimball Hospitality. That company is the leading furniture supplier for hotels within the United States.

In his new role, Kaufmann will be responsible for the strategic and day-to-day running of all direct manufacturing, global supply chain, and operations support functions at Kimball Hospitality. He enters this position with more than 20 years of experience at Kimball International.

Kaufmann’s previous management roles range from engineering and manufacturing to logistics and research and development. He graduated from Clarkson University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Kaufmann and his wife Donna live in Jasper with their 2 daughters.

The former general manager for the Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District has been honored with a major award.

Bruce Heeke received the Manager of the Year award from the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water. The award was presented at the organization’s spring conference last Wednesday in French Lick.

Heeke worked for the Patoka district for 35 years before retiring last year. He was the district’s very first employee after working for Midwestern Engineers in forming the district.

Heeke is still serving as a consultant on an ongoing project that is the largest in the district’s history.

A new report released earlier today finds that Dubois County is still among the healthiest in Indiana.

The report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute ranked Dubois County 5th out of 92 Indiana counties. That’s up from 6th last year.

In a news release, Dubois County Health Department administrative director Donna Oeding says this report is an important one because it helps the department identify factors affecting residents while comparing those to other counties in the state.

Oeding also points to the Dubois County Public Health Partnership as an example of how collaboration has made a strong impact on the county’s health ranking. Members of the partnership include Memorial Hospital, Kimball International, VUJC, Jasper Engines and Transmissions, and Crisis Connection among many others.

Now Dubois County ranked 5th in both health outcomes and health factors. The health outcomes ranking is based on measures of length of life and quality of life. Meanwhile, the health factors ranking is based on four factors, which are health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment factors.

Among other local counties, Warrick County was the only other county to rank in the top 20 in 19th. Spencer County came in 25th, Martin County 44th, and Daviess County cracked the top 50 in 49th.

Meanwhile, other counties did not fare very well in these rankings. Perry County came in 70th, Pike County 81st, Orange County 82nd, and Crawford County was 85th.

The full report is available by going online to countyhealthrankings.org.