Bradford Raths

Discussions on the future of the Jasper library are continuing.

Last night, the Jasper library building committee met to discuss the three options that are being considered for the future. Those are rebuilding on the current Jasper library site, utilizing part of the former Hoosier Desk building as the new library, or building a new library on land along South Newton Street.

Now work on the current building would also have options. Those are to tear the current building down and build a new building from the ground up, or do a 2-phase rebuild that would allow for part of the old building to remain open while construction goes on in the other area.

The committee discussed several different issues with the current building last night. These include aisles that are too narrow, the height of shelves, and no room to grow the building’s collection. The current building is 11 thousand square feet as a whole and just 34 hundred square feet of it is used for housing the collection. The library is looking to more than double the size for any future building. The plans call for 25 to 30 thousand square feet.

Brad Ward is the chairman of the building committee. He says even with the space issues, the current site can still be part of the future:

Discussions also continued about the former Hoosier Desk building and the South Newton street property as options. The Hoosier Desk building was recommended by consultants Gamble and Associates. That firm put together the city’s downtown riverfront master plan.

As for the South Newton property, Ward says it is a bit of a wildcard because it was voted down during the previous referendum. However, he says there is good reason for having it as an option:

The committee has briefly discussed sites outside of the downtown area but the idea of such a location hasn’t gained much traction. As for Ward, he says regardless of what property is used for the building, keeping Jasper’s library downtown will be vital in the future:

The committee is now nearing the end of its work. Ward expressed a desire to have the work done after just 2 more meetings. The committee will be meeting on August 11th and again on August 18th to conclude its role. Recommendations would then likely be presented at a special meeting of the Jasper Library Board sometime in September. The date and time of that meeting has yet to be determined.

A new leadership team is now in place for the vocations department of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand.

The new team is led by co-directors Sister Teresa Gunter and Sister Anita Louise Lowe. Other members of the team are sisters Jackie Kissel, Rachel Geracitano, Jill Reuber, Barbara Jean Luebbehusen, Kathy Cash, Sarah Youngwirth, Jane Will, and Judy Dewig.

Sister Teresa most recently served as youth minister for the Evansville-based St. Anthony Parish. Sister Anita Louise also serves as Monastery of Immaculate Conception liturgist and music minister. She previously served as director of vocations at the monastery among other roles.

The new team has been put in place to focus on developing a new plan aimed at seeking out women who are discerning a religious life. It also aims to get those women to visit the Sisters of St. Benedict. The team is also working to develop plans for a discernment house, which would allow women to further explore life as a Benedictine sister.

Sister Teresa says the plan will accomplish several different things:

Sister Teresa is asking anyone who knows any women that may be interested in religious life to contact her. You can do so by calling the monastery at 367-1411 or by emailing tgunter@thedome.org.

An Illinois man is now facing multiple charges in Daviess County following an investigation into an incident at a Washington area store.

26-year-old Stephen Michael Mulkey of Lawrenceville, Illinois is charged with attempted child molesting, performance before a minor that is harmful to minors, and public indecency.

Authorities say the charges stem from a May 27th incident at the Washington Wal-Mart where Mulkey allegedly approached a 13-year-old girl in the store’s electronics department. Police say Mulkey then allegedly exposed his genitals and asked the girl to touch him.

The events were captured on surveillance video in the store. Court documents say that video was used to identify and locate Mulkey.

According to a probable cause affadavit filed in Daviess Superior Court, Mulkey admitted to walking throughout the store with his genitals exposed. The affadavit also says Mulkey admitted to approaching the girl, but he denied asking her to touch him.

Mulkey was lodged in the Daviess County Jail on a 75 hundred dollar bond. His initial court hearing has already taken place and an attorney was appointed for him. Mulkey has initially pleaded not guilty.

The trial has been set for November 18th.

It’s now budget season and the Greater Jasper School Corporation has its budget ready to go.

Last night the Jasper board approved advertising the three pages of form 3 for it’s 2015 budget.Form 3 gives the corporation its advertised levee as well as the current tax levee. The district will also advertise its capital projects and bus replacement funds.

Greater Jasper’s advertised 2015 tax rate will be roughly $1.60 per 100 dollars of assessed value. That rate is intentionally set higher than anticipated so that the corporation can get the full tax levy available to them.

Greater Jasper Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey says each year the corporation’s biggest objective is to ease the burden on local taxpayers:

Now school officials are anticipating that the Department of Local Government Finance will drop the advertised rate to make it more bearable for tax payers.

The Jasper school board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at their next meeting on August 25th at 7 pm. The budget will likely be adopted at the board’s September 22nd meeting.

It will then be sent to the Department of Local Government Finance for review. School officials hope to recieve finals numbers from the DLGF by the end of the year.

Also last night, the board approved hiring Jasper police officer Jason Knies as the school’s part-time resource officer.

Knies’ position will be paid for through a 25 thousand dollar Secured Safe Schools grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. As part of that grant, the Greater Jasper district will match the grant dollar for dollar, making for a total of 50 thousand dollars in funding for the job.

Knies will start his new job at the beginning of the upcoming school year. He will split work between the police department and the schools during the school year. He will then work full-time for the department during the summer.

Hoosier Hills Credit Union is set to expand into Perry County in the near future.

Company officials have announced plans to build a branch along Payne Street on the north side of Tell City. The branch will be across from Family Dollar.

Company president and CEO George McNichols says design work on the building is now underway. He says the company is excited to become part of Tell City and Perry County, something that will continue over the long-haul.

The new branch will offer a full range of financial services such as checking and savings accounts, but the main focus will be on mortgages and similar loans according to McNichols. Hoosier Hills also features a community charter, meaning that anyone who lives or works in Perry County will be able to be a member.

The new office is expected to open sometime late next summer or fall. Hoosier Hills is based in Bedford and has been in business since the 1960′s. The company boasts roughly 26 thousand members, 160 employees and about 425 million dollars in assets.

Other Hoosier Hills branches include Jasper, Chrisney, French Lick, Paoli, and Mitchell.

Another area entity has been nominated for a prestigious award from Ball State University.

Perry County’s Quality of Life Committee has been nominated for the 2014 Primacy of Place Community Awards Program. The program is designed to honor Indiana communities or entities that are finding innovative ways to improve the quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.

The Perry County committee has boasted several achievements in recent months. These range from new walking and biking trails to a new organization for young professionals.

Perry County is 1 of 9 finalists this year and is not the only one from our area. Jasper is also among this year’s finalist group. Ball State applauded the city’s efforts on its downtown and riverfront development plans. Other finalists include Madison, Jeffersonville, Rushville, eastern Hamilton and southern Tipton counties, and the greater Lafayette/Tippecanoe County area.

This year’s award will be presented during a luncheon to be held next Thursday, August 7th in Muncie.

6 Benedictine monks with the St. Meinrad Archabbey have celebrated their jubilees of monastic profession.

Brother Benedict Barthel celebrated his 75-year jubilee while Father Rupert Ostdick celebrated his 70-year jubilee. Father Vincent Tobin and Father Augustine Davis each celebrated 60-year jubilees, Father Raymond Studzinski celebrated 50 years and Father Godfrey Mullin celebrated 25 years.

A native of Evansville, Brother Benedict originally came to St. Meinrad in 1936 to attend St. Placid Hall. He originally professed his vows in February of 1939. He was assigned to work at the Abbey Press in 1939 and spent more than 40 years there in addition to serving in other roles.

Father Rupert hails from Elgin, Illinois. He professed his vows in August of 1944 and was ordained to the priesthood in May of 1948. He served more than 30 years as the Archabbey’s treasurer and business manager and more than a decade as the general manager of the Abbey Press. He was also a member of the Archabbey Council for nearly 30 years.

Father Vincent is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He professed vows as a Benedictine monk in July of 1954. He is a 1956 graduate of St. Meinrad College with a bachelor’s degree in history. He later earned a baccalaureate in sacred theory in 1960 from the Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood in May of 1959.

Father Augustine comes from Cedar Rapids Iowa. He came to St. Meinrad after graduating high school to study for the priesthood. He professed vows in July of 1954 and was ordained in May of 1959. He earned his master of arts in industrial arts from Indiana State University in 1964. His roles at St. Meinrad included serving as assistant director of St. Placid Hall up until that school’s 1966 closure.

Meanwhile, Father Raymond is a Detroit, Michigan native. He professed vows in August of 1964 and was ordained in September of 1969. He served as an assistant professor in St. Meinrad’s School of Theology from 1973 to 1977 and currently serves as an associate professor of spirituality in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America. He has been at that university since 1981.

And Father Godfrey hails from Alton, IL. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Saint Meinrad College in 1988. He professed vows as a Benedictine monk in 1989 and was ordained in June of 1994 after completing his priesthood studies at St. Meinrad’s School of Theology. He served as pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Huntingburg from 2012 through 2013. He now serves as assistant professor of sacramental and liturgical theology at St. Meinrad and as rector of St. Benedict Cathedral.