Dubois County Emergency Management Director Tammy Miller has released details about this year’s round of annual tornado drills.
Miller says Governor Mike Pence has declared the week of March 16th through the 22nd as Severe Weather Preparedness Week across the state. Pence’s proclamation is designed to stress how important it is to promote public awareness of severe weather and what they need to do to get prepared.
Miller says in the meantime, Dubois County EMA is trying to get the word out:
Miller has also announced the date for this year’s statewide tornado drill. The drill will be held on Thursday March 20th barring any severe weather that day. The weather make up day would be Friday March 21st. She says tornadoes can come at any time of the year, so folks need to always be prepared:
The National Weather Service will be intiating two drills on the 20th. The first of the drills will take place sometime between 10 and 10:30 am eastern time so schools and workplaces can participate. The second drill will take place between 7:30 and 8 pm eastern time. The later time will allow for families to practice their own safety measures from home.
A test tornado warning announcement will start both drills. For more information or questions, you can call Tammy Miller or Gary Fritz at 482-2202.
A pair of potential changes to state law could make it easier on communities dealing with the problem of abandoned and rundown property.
One of the efforts, known as Senate Bill 422, has passed out of both chambers of the statehouse and will be heading to conference committee. The bill is designed to speed up the process of getting abandoned properties through the tax sale process. The bill allows properties to be sold outright at tax sales while reducing the time allowed for tax sale purchasers to petition courts for tax deeds. The time frame would go from 6 months to 3 months.
District 63 state representative Mark Messmer says getting those properties back on the market is important for residential development all across Indiana:
State lawmakers say abandoned homes and properties hurt other property values while increasing crime and lowering a community’s quality of life. Battles says one of the biggest challenges is figuring out who owns the abandoned property. He says a lot of the properties are held by out of town financial institutions, thus making it difficult to do anything with them.
Meanwhile, Lt Governor Sue Ellspermann is pushing a new grant program that would give communities funding to tear down old properties. The program has 75 million dollars in available competitive grants for communities to be able to purchase and demolish such structures.
Two entities across our area are already looking at trying to get some of this money. They are Sullivan County and the city of Vincennes.
An accident near St. Anthony left 2 people injured and shut down a stretch of State Road 64 for a short time this morning.
Just before 5:55 am this morning, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called to an area along State Road 64 near South Street in St Anthony on a report of a 2 vehicle crash. Deputies say 57-year-old Stanley Stetter of St Anthony was on South Street at the intersection with State Road 64 at the same time that 66-year-old Charles Harkness of Eckerty was westbound along State Road 64.
Deputies say Stetter pulled into the intersection and did not yield for Harkness. Harkness’ vehicle hit Stetter’s vehicle in the driver’s side door.
Harkness complained of chest and neck pain and he was taken to Memorial Hospital by ambulance for treatment. Meanwhile, Stetter was taken by personal vehicle to Memorial Hospital for treatment of a head injury.
Both vehicles were total losses in this crash. Stetter was cited for failure to yield the right of way.State Road 64 was closed for about 35 minutes while the accident scene was being cleared.
St Anthony First Responders, Memorial Hospital EMS, and Hasneours Wrecker Service all assisted at the scene.
Library users with overdue materials may soon be taken to small claims court.
Last night, both the Dubois County Contractual and the Jasper Public Library Board heard from library director Rita Douthitt that the first batch of folks with delinquent materials are set to receive letters sometime in the near future. She says those folks will have about 30 to 60 days to respond to the letters.
If there is no response, Douthitt says they would be sued in small claims court for the missing materials. She says the changes are part of being accountable to taxpayers:
In other business, Douthitt announced that a new bookkeeper has been hired by the library. Angie Schuetter has been chosen to fill the role for the library. Schuetter has an accounting degree and is a licensed CPA. Douthitt says she has been doing most of the accounting work in the meantime. She says having someone with accounting experience will make a difference:
Schuetter is set to start her new job on Monday March 17th.
A Rockport electrical provider will soon be retrofitting its plant for more environmentally friendly emissions.
American Electric Power officials say new emission controls (which include a dry sorbent injection technology) at the coal powered generation facility are now being installed at the plant. They say those could be up and running by the end of this year. Plant officials say a second unit of the two-unit upgrade would likely be able to go into service starting next year.
Now the changes are being made in response to an agreement struck between the company and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission back in November. Under the terms of that agreement, the company is moving forward with a retrofit for alternative energy. The upgrades are expected to cost about 258 million dollars, which is a significant cost savings over a dry-scrubber which is a more traditional option. The dry-scrubber could have cost as much as 1.4 billion dollars to install according to AEP officials.
The changes are also part of a larger deal that stems from a settlement back in 2007. That settlement required AEP to stop using coal at 3 of its other facilities. It also stipulated that the sulfur-dioxide emissions at all of the company’s plant locations would be cut down by 80 percent companywide over a 12 year timeframe.
The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department recently received a donation for its K-9 unit.
The department says the Dubois County Community Foundation recently donated 75 hundred dollars towards the new K-9 unit. In a news release, Sheriff Donny Lampert says this donation and others have allowed current K9 dog Judge and deputy Brad Kendall to make progress in solving drug issues in the county.
Lampert says Judge has and will continue to make a difference across Dubois County in making the county safer and drug-free. The department says its next goal is to add a 2nd K9 unit to the force so that one unit could work during the dayshift and the other could cover the nightshift.
Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies are continuing their investigation into an accident involving a milk truck.
Deputies say just after 11:20 yesterday morning 31-year-old Jeremy Christian of Princeton was northbound along County Road 500 West just south of State Road 64 with a milk tanker truck when he ran off of the eastside of the roadway and into a ditch. The truck then listed over and became stuck in a ditch. Christian later told deputies he had blacked out and didn’t remember what actually happened. About 15 hundred dollars in damage was done to the tanker. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by Ruxer Ford and Stork’s Sales and Service Commercial Towing.