Bradford Raths

Today is the ultimate celebration of sacrifices made by so many men and women for our freedom and the Dubois County Veterans Council has been leading the effort to honor our nation’s veterans.

Saturday morning, the veterans council hosted Dubois County’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony on the Courthouse Square in downtown Jasper. The day featured many remembrances of our soldiers, including POW-MIA’s. Steve Bartles led the honors for local POW-MIA’s. Bartles says its all about keeping the memories alive for those who gave their all in defense of freedom:

The ceremony also featured recognition for deceased veteran Tom Messier. Messier was born in 1935 in Bourboness Illinois. He began serving in the United States Marine Corps as an artilleryman at the age of 19.

Messier left for Vietnam in August of 1965. He was an Artillery Chief in Vietnam and directed accurate fire in support of Marines and soldiers on the ground. Messier retired from the Marine Corps in August of 1974 with several commendations and medals.

Messier also helped to start the Southern Indiana Leatherneck detachment of the Marine Corps League and served as detachment paymaster for 7 years. He was later honored with Silver and Bronze Distinguished Citizen Medals among other honors.

Dave Englert of the Southern Indiana Leathernecks read a tribute to Messier. Englert told the crowd that serving his country ultimately shaped Messier’s life and legacy:

Family members then lay a wreath at the veterans memorial on the Courthouse Square in Messier’s honor.

NSA Crane Commander Timothy A Craddock was the guest speaker for Saturday’s ceremony. Craddock thanked those who made it to the ceremony and says its a sign that people’s views on veterans from years past is changing for the better:

More than 130 veterans who were living in Dubois County passed away over the last year. Their names were read as part of the ceremony as well.

A reported electrical fire at an area business kept fire crews busy for a short time.

At around 7 am, fire crews with the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department were called to the OFS Brands headquarters in the 1200 block of East 6th Street. Huntingburg Assistant Fire Chief Glen Kissling says when they arrived, there was no fire though smoke had filled the building. Kissling says a heating unit in the sauna room of the building’s fitness area had shorted out, causing an electrical smolder. Kissling says the power supply had been shut off prior to crews arriving on scene and fire crews spent their time clearing the smoke out of the building.

Kissling says there were about a dozen employees in the fitness area at the time of the fire, but there were no injuries. The Huntingburg Fire Department responded with 2 trucks and 12 men. Crews were on scene for about 20 minutes.

Though local companies are struggling to fill jobs, problems are also being felt statewide.

State Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun made a stop at VUJC yesterday afternoon to discuss those issues. Braun says the state will have about 1 million jobs it will need to fill over the next 10 years as the Baby Boomer generation retires and other new jobs are created. Braun says career and technical education is key to that future and our school systems need to lead the way:

Braun says Jasper and Dubois County continue to be leaders in job creation and low unemployment both locally and statewide. However, he says it will take a larger collaborative effort to help the rest of the region and state catch up:

Now several educators also spoke up during yesterday’s discussion. Forest Park High School principal Jim Mehling has been in education for more than 30 years and expressed his concerns about balancing teaching life skills such as problem solving with giving people what they need to be successful entering the workforce:

Braun also discussed ongoing issues at the community college level, where many students are not finishing classes. VUJC dean Dr. Alan Johnson says that problem is often attributable to lack of preparation:

Braun says the DWD received an additional $50 million from the state in the most recent budget. He says the department will seek to work with groups such as Conexus and Radius Indiana to identify talent and begin to fill the open jobs.

Older residents of Dubois County who need help getting back into the workforce this summer have an easier way to do so.

The Indiana State Office of Experience Works says it is operating the Senior Community Service Employment Program in 43 counties statewide, including here in Dubois County. The program is available at no cost to eligible individuals and provides paid community service assignments at local and public nonprofit organizations, training, and job search help.

In a news release, Experience Works state program manager David Hicks says older workers may find the job search in modern times a bit overwhelming. Hicks says the program allows older people to build confidence, earn income, and gain valuable skills that respond to today’s job market.

The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor and administered by Experience Works to provide a springboard to jobs with local employers. Applicants must be age 55 or older, unemployed, and meet additional income guidelines.

For more information, or to find out if you qualify call Experience Works toll-free 844-219-0060.

This year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Dubois County is now set.

The ceremony will be held on the downtown square in Jasper tomorrow morning beginning at 10 am. All veterans organizations in Dubois County are being represented and local veterans who passed away will be remembered.

Tom Messier is this year’s deceased veteran who will be recognized tomorrow. Messier was born in 1935 in Bourboness Illinois. He began serving in the United States Marine Corps as an artilleryman at the age of 19.

Messier left for Vietnam in August of 1965. He was an Artillery Chief in Vietnam and directed accurate fire in support of Marines and soldiers on the ground. Messier retired from the Marine Corps in August of 1974 with several commendations and medals.

Messier remained active locally even after his retirement from the Marine Corps. He was an active member with the American Legion Post #147 and helped to start the Southern Indiana Leatherneck Detachment of the Marine Corps League in November of 1995. He served as detachment paymaster for nearly 7 years, winning both the Silver and Bronze Distinguished Citizen Medals among other honors.

Tomorrow’s ceremony will also feature guest speaker Commander Timothy Craddock from NSA Crane, Steve Bartles conducting the POW/MIA Ceremony and Larry Feldmeyer with the Celebration Singers will be singing the National Anthem and other patriotic songs.

In the event of bad weather, the ceremony will be moved to the VFW Post #673 in Jasper.

Congratulations to this year’s high school class of 2015 as graduations go on all across the area this weekend.

Jasper and Southridge High Schools will hold their commencement ceremonies this evening. Jasper’s ceremony gets underway at 6:30 pm in the high school gymnasium. 233 seniors will be graduating from JHS and the class features 1 valedictorian and 1 salutatorian.

Meanwhile, Southridge High School will hold its ceremony beginning at 7 o’clock tonight at Memorial Gym. The class has 124 graduates, 6 valedictorians and 1 salutatorian.

Northeast Dubois, Forest Park, and Heritage Hills High Schools will all graduate their seniors tomorrow. Forest Park High School is graduating 93 seniors this year. The class has 4 valedictorians and 1 salutatorian. Graduation ceremonies at Forest Park get underway at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon at Buechler Arena.

Seniors at Northeast Dubois High School will graduate tomorrow evening at 6 o’clock in the high school gym. The class features 78 graduates and 5 students in the running for valedictorian.

Finally, Heritage Hills High School seniors graduate tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock central time at Lincoln Amphitheatre. That class features 138 graduates.

Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies are looking into a burglary at a Holland area residence.

Deputies say the burglary happened sometime today when the Josh Rogge residence in the 6700 block of West Holland Road Northeast was broken into. Deputies say a Glock handgun and a Savage rifle were taken along with several other undisclosed items.

The sheriff’s department asks that anyone who may have seen unusual activity in the area should call them at (812)-482-3522. All callers will remain anonymous.