Bradford Raths

Holiday World will make history once again in 2015.

Last night, the park unveiled plans for its first major steel roller coaster. The coaster, named ‘Thunderbird’, will be the first launched wing coaster in the United States and will feature 2 trains, each with 5 cars that hold 4 people per car.

‘Thunderbird’ will launch from 0-to-60 in 3 and a half seconds. The coaster will turn over multiple times, including a14-story tall Immelmann loop, a zero-G roll, a barrel roll, and a loop going 125 feet into the air. The new coaster also features some rapid-fire ‘near miss’ areas as a surprise for riders. Some of those will include keyholes, themed elements, and even the ground among others.

Now Holiday World is investing 22 million dollars in the new coaster, more than twice the amount of any other single-ride investment in park history. The coaster is being designed by Swiss-based firm Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M). Thunderbird will also be historic for B&M as it will be the firm’s first launched coaster.

Even with the new coaster, park president Matt Eckert says Holiday World still has 90 acres of land that could be developed in the future. Thus, he says ‘Thunderbird’ may only be the beginning of greater things for the park:

Several state and local officials were on hand, including Indiana Office of Tourism Development executive director Mark Newman. Newman says the announcement is also a win for the state as a whole:

Thunderbird has a bit of sentimental value as well. Late park president Will Koch had dreamed of having a steel roller coaster at the park for several years prior to his death in 2010. 4th generation owners Lauren and Leah Koch took part in last night’s announcement. Leah Koch says Thunderbird is the fulfillment of her father’s dream:

Construction of Thunderbird got underway back in March. The ride is scheduled to open at the end of April 2015 as the park will open 1 week earlier next year than usual. You can view the progress of the construction on the park’s ConstructionCam at holidayworld2015.com.

Once it begins operations next year, ‘Thunderbird’ will be able to hold more than 11 hundred guests per hour with a top speed of 60 mph. The ride time from station to station: 1 minute, 18 seconds.

A Holland family lost their home to fire early this morning.

At 3 o’clock this morning, firefighters with the Holland Volunteer Fire Department received a call from a passerby about a home on fire in the 9500 block of South County Road 720 West.

Holland assistant fire chief John Hemmer says the home owned by Curtis Hubster was completely engulfed in flames and had already mostly collapsed by the time firefighters arrived. Hemmer says nobody was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The home was a total loss.

Holland firefighters also had to extinguish flames in trees around the home as well as an outbuilding nearby. Hemmer says siding on the outbuilding and a nearby home was damaged due to heat from the fire.

No cause has been determined at this point. Hemmer says the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office is set to investigate the fire this afternoon.

The Holland Fire Department responded with 5 trucks and 15 men. Tanker assistance and additional man power was provided by the St. Henry Volunteer Fire Department. Crews remained on scene this morning putting out hot spots.

Now the American Red Cross and the Holland United Methodist church are also stepping in to help the family. Hemmer says any help at all will make a difference:

All donations can be dropped off at the Holland United Methodist Church.

Jasper city officials are now moving forward with determining the future of the city’s power plant.

Last night, the Jasper City Council approved a recommendation to send out requests for expressions of interest for the plant and the land that it sits on. The recommendation was originally approved Monday night at the Jasper Utility Service Board’s monthly meeting.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says there is still a lot to sort out with the plant’s future:

Earlier this week, Jasper Utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger said the plant site drew interest from 11 or 12 different companies when the process was last done 4 years ago. The last process produced the Jasper Clean Energy project, which went by the wayside earlier this year with the decision by Twisted Oak Corporation CEO Jay Catasien to terminate the lease his company signed with the city back in 2011.

The power plant has not been used since it was closed back in 2008.

Jasper officials are also continuing to exploring options on how to replenish a reserve fund used to pay off 1 million dollars in litigation costs stemming from a legal battle between the city and Healthy Dubois County over the power plant. HDC had argued that the plan to convert the power plant to biomass would have negative impacts on the health of residents.

The city has paid all of the legal fees with money from the reserve fund, but that fund is now in a deficit until the city gets direction on how to move forward. That direction will come from the state board of accounts.

A Huntingburg woman was taken into custody after she battered her boyfriend.

At 7:55 last night, Huntingburg Police were called to a disturbance in the 200 block of 2nd Avenue between 2 people. When they Breann Campbellarrived, police saw Breann Campbell walking away from the residence. Police later found her behind a residence a few doors down from where the incident took place.

Police then spoke with 38-year-old Robert Mathies. Mathies told them that he and Campbell got into a verbal argument. Campbell then slapped Mathies in the right eye and hit him with a belt across the back. Police say that story was supported by a red mark around Mathies’ right eye and a large red mark across his back.

Police later spoke with Campbell. She told officers that Mathies hit himself in the eye and she didn’t intend to hit him with the belt. She stated that when she took the belt off, it flew out of the belt loops and hit Mathies in the back.

Campbell was arrested and lodged in the Dubois County Security Center. She is facing a Level 6 felony for domestic battery.

Healthcare training will soon be available to Vincennes University Jasper Campus students.

VUJC will be offering 3 non-credit healthcare training programs at various sites statewide during the upcoming fall 2014 semester. The programs are the Dental Assistant Training program, the Phlebotomy Technician Training program, and the Clinical Medical Assistant Training program.

The Dental Assistant Training is a 102 hour course that trains for professional skills that are needed to be a dentist’s assistant. Students who complete the program will get a Certificate of Completion from VU. They will also be eligible to sit for the dental radiographer certification exam. The cost is 2 thousand 99 dollars including textbooks and classes start in August at locations in Bedford, Fort Branch, and the Ben Davis Career Center in Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, the Phlebotomy Technician training is a 90 hour course focused on training, hands-on practice, and clinicals. The program is designed to prepare students to be an entry-level phlebotomist in a hospital, clinic, or laboratory. VU certificates of completion will also be awarded for completion of this course and students would then be eligible to sit for the National Healthcare Association national exam. This course costs 1 thousand 499 dollars including textbooks. Classes will start in September in Jasper, Bedford, Greenwood, and Newburgh.

Finally, the Clinical Medical Assistant training is designed to prepare students to perform clinical procedures for patients such as administering medicines, assisting with minor surgeries, and performing an electrocardiogram among other duties. This course is 140 classroom hours and also features 80 hours of a clinical externship. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a VU Certificate of Completion and be eligible to sit for the National Healthcare Association national exam. The course fee is $2,499 and includes textbook. Classes begin in September at locations in Jasper, Bloomington, and Ben Davis High School Career Center in Indianapolis.

For more information or to register, you can contact Jim McFaul at 800-809-8852 or by emailing jmcfaul@vinu.edu.

The St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology will be offering a new executive certificate in religious fundraising.

The ECRF is being offered through the school’s Institute for Priests and Presbyterates. The 4-day program will be led by the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, which is part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Presenters will include Lake Institute director Dr. William Enright and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy founding dean Dr. Eugene Tempel among others.

Now the ECRF aims to meet growing needs of religious leaders across faith-based organizations and institutions such as nonprofits, theological seminaries, Christian or religious-based colleges, and/or independent mega-congregations among others.

The program is intended to serve individual clergy who hope to gain expertise in fundraising principles and practices. It also aims to train development personnel serving in faith-based organizations.

Curriculum for the program includes four 1 day courses, selected readings, and online peer-group conversations. Those who complete the program will be awarded an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising.

The program cost is 12 hundred dollars from now through August 8th. That goes up to 15 hundred dollars after August 8th. Accomodations and meals are included as part of the cost.

For more information or to register, you can call 800-357-8477. You can also email smipp@stmeinrad.edu.

Saturday marks the finale for an outdoor musical drama about Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana boyhood.

Lincoln Amphitheatre’s A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale kicked off back on June 19th. The play is performed live at the Amphitheatre’s stage in Lincoln State Park located near Lincoln City in northern Spencer County. It was written by Ken Jones.

The play is designed to take audiences through Lincoln’s pioneer days and how his years in Indiana shaped him as he grew older and eventually became America’s 16th president. It has also been recognized by the state of Indiana’s Bicentennial Commission. The commission endorsed the play as one of its 2016 legacy projects earlier this month.

Ticket prices are 21 dollars for adults, 18 dollars for those 55 and older, students age 7 to 21, and military, and 6 dollars for children age 6 and under. You can save 2 dollars a person excluding children’s pricing by reserving your tickets online or over the phone up to 2 hours prior to the 7:30 pm central time start. Dinner service is optional and is available to folks who make their reservations at least 3 days ahead of time.

Lincoln Amphitheatre’s 2014 season resumes on August 17th with Celtic Song and Dance. That play runs for the one day only beginning at 2 pm central time.

For more information, call 800-264-4223 or go online to LincolnAmphitheatre.org.