Bradford Raths

Well we’ve all heard about problems with K-12 education in Indiana and beyond. However, legislators say higher education remains problematic in some ways too.

Tuesday night, 8th District Congressman candidates Larry Bucshon, Tommy Spangler, and Andy Horning fielded several questions about higher education, specifically the affordability of it. Recent national data from The Project on Student Debt shows that 7 out of every 10 college seniors who graduated last year had debt from student loans. The average amount of debt: a staggering 29 thousand 400 dollars per borrower. The Project on Student Debt says between 2008 and 2012, the combined student debt with federal and private loans increased by an average of 6 percent every year.

Bucshon says with the costs of higher education going up, the federal government should take on a different role than it has recently:

Meanwhile, Spangler pointed to the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing building on the VUJC campus as an example of the direction that higher education should go. He says VUJC and other regional type campuses are a viable option for students:

Finally, Horning says the costs have become so problematic that it raises questions about college degrees in general:

Horning echoed Bucshon’s sentiment, saying a lesser role for the federal government in education would be the best way to go in order to find a solution.

On the state level, The Project on Student Debt says the average debt of a 2012 Indiana college graduate was nearly 27 thousand 900 dollars per borrower, 16th highest in the nation. 64% of 2012 college graduates in Indiana had student loan debt. That number was 13th highest in the nation.

Folks can enjoy an extra hour of sleep this Sunday morning with the end of daylight savings time.

Clocks will fall back to standard time at 2 am on Sunday.

Smartphones, computers and other items with automatic date and time settings will make the change for users; but people with analog clocks and watches will have to manually set their timepieces back an hour. Making the adjustment before bed on Saturday night is highly suggested.

Daylight saving time is different for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. While the Northern Hemisphere begins daylight saving time between March and April and ends it between September and November, the Southern Hemisphere does the opposite.

Now while much of the United States observes Daylight Savings Time, a few places including Hawaii and most of Arizona, for example do not.

Also fire safety officials remind people that the bi-annual change of time is a good time to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors in your home or business.

A new worship center is set to open for the Christian Church of Jasper.

Church officials say the new center will open on Sunday November 16th. The first 2 services in the new facility will be held at 9 and 10:30 that morning.

Now the new center will have a seating capacity of more than 1 thousand people. Guests can choose from floor, balcony, and side-wing theater seats.

The center’s opening will mark the culmination of nearly 40 weeks of construction work along with several years of planning. Work on the new facility began in February of this year. Construction was made possible through the 24,000 Reasons fundraising campaign. CCJ held that campaign last year.

The new worship center was Phase 2 of that expansion project. Phase 1 was a 2 level expansion. It added worship and classroom areas for kids, expanded office space, a large two-story lobby area, and additional classrooms for adults. Phase 1 was completed back in April of 2011. Ground was broken for Phase 1 back in April of 2009.

For more information, you can visit ccjasper.com or call 812-481-2410. You can also download the Christian Church of Jasper app for mobile and tablet devices.

Mentors 4 Youth of Dubois County will be hosting an event aimed towards youth currently on the organization’s waiting list.

The fun-filled night is scheduled to be held Tuesday November 11th from 6 to 8 pm. It will take place at the Fraternal Order of Eagles along 6th Street in Huntingburg. Pizza will be provided. Cookie decorating and sand-art projects will also be part of the evening.

Now there are currently 26 boys and 4 girls from Dubois County on the waiting list. The organization is already supporting 75 children between the ages of 6 and 18 who are enrolled in the program. Mentors 4 Youth says volunteers are a need as new youth are being enrolled every week. The organization says 17 youth have been matched with mentors thus far in 2014.

Now to be a mentor, you are asked to commit 2 hours per session for 2 sessions a month with the youth you are matched with. The term of mentoring is 1 year. You can serve as a mentor if you are age 16 and older with a valid driver’s license, insurance, and reliable transportation. You also have to complete the application process and pass a background check.

For more information, you can go to mentors4youth.com.

An explosion at a residence in Holland sent 1 person to the hospital and caused some evacuations earlier today.

Just after noon today, Holland Volunteer firefighters were called to a home at 2nd Avenue and Main Streets on a reported gas line explosion with potential injuries.

Holland assistant fire chief John Hemmer says a gas line behind a home along 2nd Avenue exploded. Fire from the explosion then spread to a nearby backhoe, which Hemmer says was completely engulfed when fire crews arrived.

Hemmer says work had recently been done in the area where the fire started:

Hemmer says Community Natural Gas crews were able to get to the scene very quickly. He says gas was shut off to the whole town at that point.

Hemmer says the exact cause of the explosion is undetermined at this point. He says the backhoe operator was taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment of what are believed to be minor injuries. The backhoe was a total loss.

Hemmer says the Hummingbird Daycare along with a block radius of houses in the immediate area were evacuated. No other injuries or property damage were reported.

The Holland fire department responded with 4 trucks and 11 men. They were on scene for about 1 hour.

Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies, Indiana State Police, and Dubois County EMS also assisted. Now due to the explosion and fire, gas service in Holland was disconnected. Town board president Tom Thacker says crews with Community Natural Gas remained on scene this afternoon to complete repairs. Thacker says crews will go door-to-door to notify residents when the work is done. They will also help folks with relighting of furnaces and other gas-operated appliances once repairs are finished.

Education remains a hot topic on the national level and the issues begin at the K-12 level for government officials and everyday people.

During Tuesday night’s congressional forum in Jasper, 8th District candidates Larry Bucshon, Tommy Spangler, and Andy Horning talked about many topics, but education was one of several that drew the most attention. Each candidate pointed to issues within the federal government, specifically with the US Department of Education, as to why the education system has become problematic.

All 3 candidates expressed frustrations with recent efforts at the federal level such as No Child Left Behind. NCLB was originally passed back in 2001 under the George W. Bush administration.

Bucshon says the best way to improve the system is to give more control over education to state and local government:

Meanwhile, Spangler says the federal problems with education are rooted in teachers spending their time teaching for standardized tests rather than teaching the students. He also says fixing education would go a long way towards fixing our national economy and unemployment situation:

For his part, Horning says neither political party has made any strides in solving educational issues. He says too much government involvement in education is to blame:

Now the Obama administration has passed legislation of its own in an attempt to undo NCLB. Some of the recent initiatives aimed at K-12 education include the implementation of Common Core. Common Core was designed as a state-led effort to outline standards for student learning, but to grant flexibility to teachers in how they teach. More than 40 states have since implemented the standards.

Indiana dropped out of Common Core standards earlier this year. The state is currently in the process of writing its own new standards.

More details have been released about Governor Mike Pence’s scheduled visit to Dubois County next week.

Pence is set to be the featured speaker at a GOP rally in Huntingburg next Monday November 3rd. That rally gets underway at 3 o’clock eastern time at the Huntingburg Events Center.The rally is sponsored by Mike Pence for Indiana and the Dubois County Republican Party.

Now next week’s rally is part of the “Road to Victory 2014″ statewide bus tour. Pence is leading that tour to campaign for candidates for state, Congressional, and General Assembly offices.

Pence is scheduled to arrive at 3:25 pm. He will speak beginning just after 4 pm. 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon will introduce Pence.

The rally will begin with a band playing at 3 o’clock. Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner will welcome guests at 3:20 and Jasper mayor Terry Seitz will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Dubois County candidates will be introduced just before Pence arrives. GOP candidates will then take their turns speaking before Pence takes the stage. These include Mark Messmer, Mike Braun, Lloyd Arnold, Erin Houchin, and Secretary of State Connie Lawson among others.

The rally will conclude at 4:30 pm. The public is invited to attend.