Bradford Raths

Officials with the economic development group Dubois Strong say the organization has committed $10,000 over a two year period to the Mid-State Corridor project.

This venture formerly called the Interstate 67 project, would link Dubois County directly to Owensboro and Indianapolis, connecting the county via the proposed new road’s intersection with Interstate 69.

In a news release Hank Menke, president and CEO of OFS Brands in Huntingburg, leader of the Mid-State Corridor group and named to the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission, says the funding will support the group’s efforts for the next two years and will be used for engineering work and studying possible ways to pay for the project, such as a tax, tolls or local government involvement.

Menke says the corridor could benefit Dubois County in a big way. He says studies show that communities within 10 miles of an interstate are more likely to bring in jobs than those that are not.

After the publication of the Cambridge Study in 2012, the Mid-State Corridor group had findings that indicated the corridor would greatly impact the local economy and address safety issues on U.S. 231. The corridor would use the improved U.S. 231 and then connect to I-69 through the Mid-State Corridor. The money will be used for pre-engineering work and design and bring in experts to determine how the road can be funded.

Dubois Strong president Ed Cole says the project would create so many possibilities. He says an interstate-quality northern route that enabled a direct connection to I-69 would be a logistics economic game changer for Dubois County, Southern Indiana, and areas of Northern Kentucky.

Cole says the decision to support this venture stems from the potential to foster greater economic growth and strengthen the county’s competitive position, summarizing the entire mission of the organization’s strategic plan.

A new effort in collaboration aims to spur more economic growth in Dubois County.

This morning, local officials hosted an announcement for Current Blend. The group will be based out of the historic Parker House along 4th Street that is currently owned by the Menke family of OFS Brands.

A non-profit organization, Current Blend is designed to allow entrepreneurs in Dubois and surrounding counties to build their business through sharing ideas with other entrepreneurs and businesses. It will do this through using the Menke space as a gathering place. Current Blend will feature high speed internet, community programs and events to help you start or grow your business, and 24 hour a day, 7 day a week access to the building. Entrepreneurs will also be able to print, copy, or fax documents as needed to run their business.

The Current Blend idea started with a group meeting back in November of last year. The group, consisting of business leaders including Brenda Stallings, Ray Niehaus, and Dubois Strong president Ed Cole among others, continued meeting and OFS Brands was approached about using the 4th Street space in January of this year.

Stallings, who is Current Blend’s board president, says everything has turned out as planned so far:

Meanwhile, Cory Menke spoke on behalf of OFS Brands. Menke says though the company played a valuable role in making this effort a reality, there were many others who pitched in:

The new Current Blend space is set to officially open on May 1st. A soft open is planned for this Saturday’s Garden Gate Jazz Festival.

Current Blend will offer daily, weekly, and monthly membership passes. These range from $7 a day for a day pass to $50 a month for a monthly pass.

For more information or to join, you can go online to currentblend.org.

Construction on the new T-hangar at the Huntingburg Airport is winding down.

Last night, airport manager Travis McQueen told the Dubois County Airport Authority that the last piece of steel on the building was put up yesterday. Weyer Electric is now working in the building to wire lights and complete other electrical work, which McQueen says should all be done within a week.

The board also made an allowance for tenants to make improvements to the lighting in their particular hangar if they so choose. However, board president Brian Craig says there are some conditions:

Any improvements would be done at a tenant’s own expense. Work on the T-hangar is expected to be complete within the next month or so.

In other business, the board heard a progress report on government approval for its Airport Layout Plan (ALP). Craig says things are going well in spite of progress being slow at times:

The new ALP was put together last fall. It includes realigning taxiways and changes to the layout of the airport terminal area.

The deadline to have the plan approved by the Federal Aviation Administration is July 1st. Craig says the airport is still on track to reach that deadline.

Well we’re only 2 weeks away from Thunderbird’s first launch..and its close enough that you can literally taste it.

Holiday World officials have unveiled Thunderbird Ice Cream. The new dessert is a partnership between Holiday World and Prairie Farms. The ice cream is a combination of caramel loops and spicy ‘scorched’ pecans.Thunderbird Ice Cream

The new ice cream will be sold at Holiday World throughout the season. It’ll also be available in half-gallon cartons at grocery stores across the Midwest, South, and East Coast that sell Prairie Farms Ice Cream.

Holiday World will open for the season on April 25th, which will also be the first launch date for Thunderbird. Splashin’ Safari opens on May 13th.

A Sunday ATV accident in Pike County left a Velpen man with severe injuries.

Indiana Conservation Officers say 30-year-old Brandon Eilert had been riding his ATV westbound along Oak Street in Velpen following a 2nd ATV at about 5 o’clock Sunday night. The ATV in front of Eilert slowed and he was unable to avoid running into the back of it according to authorities.

Eilert was thrown from the ATV and landed on the pavement. He sustained internal injuries and head trauma and was airlifted to Deaconness Hospital in Evansville for treatment. Eilert was listed in critical condition as of this morning. The 2 people on the other ATV were not injured. ATV Crash

Conservation officers say alcohol may have been a factor in this crash. The accident remains under investigation. Eilert was not wearing protective gear according to police.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department, the Jefferson Township Fire Department and Pike County EMS assisted conservation officers.

New leadership is now in place for the Lay Degree programs at St. Meinrad Archabbey.

In a news release, the Archabbey says Sister Jeana Visel, OSB, will take over as the new director on May 1st. Sister Jeana will be replacing Father Brandon Moss, who will begin a 5-year term as the new president-rector at Conception Seminary College in Missouri this summer.

Sister Jeana has been the director of assessment and orders documentarian at the St. Meinrad Seminary and the School of Theology since the spring of 2013. She earned her bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Kenyon College and her master’s degree in Theology at St. John’s University. Sister Jeana is currently working towards a doctor of ministry degree through The Catholic University of America. Sister Jeana Visel

Sister Jeana is a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand. She is also the co-chair of the National Women of the Church Conference. That conference will be taking place in October of 2016. In addition, Sister Jeana’s book, Icons in the Western Church: Toward a More Sacramental Encounter, will be published by the Liturgical Press.

St. Meinrad has also announced the ordaining of 7 deacons. These are Nicolás Ajpacajá, James Brockmeier, Anthony Hollowell, Douglas Hunter Jr., Kyle Rodden and Matthew Tucci, all of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; and Jude Meril Sahayam, Diocese of Palayamkottai, India.

Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert says something needs to be done to address ongoing issues with mental health locally and statewide.

Lampert says mental health is often an overlooked problem, especially with those who go to jail as many of them struggle with drug and alcohol addictions and aren’t getting help before they are incarcerated. Lampert says that lack of help is often the first thing he sees when a person is brought in:

Lampert says the current system is flawed as help in the form of programs such as work release is more reactive. Lampert says having reactive programs is good while the person is in jail, but without proactive efforts, those programs often don’t translate:

Lampert says he has gotten several calls from local people who are asking for help before they wind up in jail. He says problems often begin when those people look for help, but either need an insurance card or have to pay up to $2,800 to get into a mental health center.

Lampert believes there is a need for more accessible mental health centers, including possibly putting one in Dubois County. He says though mental health centers are the best solution, state funding will likely be the biggest hurdle to that happening:

Currently, the closest mental health center to Dubois County is Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare in Boonville. Lampert says the centers would fill a role once played by state hospitals, all of which lost significant funding in recent years.