Bradford Raths

Spencer County’s burn ban is no longer in effect.

Yesterday, the Spencer County Commissioners lifted the ban, which had been in place for just under 2 weeks. Recent rains and the saturation of the ground and vegetation led to the ban’s lifting.

Of course, Dubois County lifted its burn ban this past weekend. Martin County also had a burn ban in place, but it was lifted yesterday as well.

Once again, the Spencer County Commissioners have lifted that county’s burn ban due to recent rains and the saturation of the ground and vegetation throughout the county. There are now no area counties with burn bans as Dubois County lifted its burn ban this past weekend.

Martin County officials lifted their burn ban yesterday as well.

As Indiana’s economy continues to be led by the manufacturing sector, manufacturing education is working to keep up.

Thursday’s celebration of ‘National Manufacturing Day’ at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus was an example of that work. There were several different developments on display, specifically in advanced manufacturing. These included a virtual welder that students could practice on to help sharpen their skills.

Of course, the CTIM program launched back in May of 2013 with the opening of the CTIM building. Ray Niehaus is the director of the CTIM program. He says the advancements in the manufacturing sector are being met by better technology..along with more people taking an interest in the CTIM program:

Now Niehaus says there is still work to do in keeping up as manufacturing, particularly advanced manufacturing, continues to reinvent itself for the future.

The need for manufacturing education in Indiana is also being underscored by state officials. Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun stopped by Thursday’s celebration. Braun says getting needed job skills aligned with education at all levels is still a work in progress:

Now in the past, local educators have thrown out the possibility of internships at the high school level to help close the state’s ongoing skills gap. Braun says its the right idea and one that needs to be pursued more:

Braun says he has worked with educators over the last few months, particularly career and technical educators. He says the goal is to expand the state’s CTE initiatives further once his department can show there is a demand for manufacturing and other skilled positions throughout Indiana.

October marks the heart of harvest time across our area and throughout Indiana.

State officials say its also the busiest time of year for farmers…and the risk of accidents, injuries and deaths due to extra farm equipment out on roads only goes up. State data shows that accidents between motor vehicles and farm equipment are at their highest point during harvest season.

Now farm machines do move much slower than other vehicles. District 48 senator Mark Messmer says if you come up on farm equipment, there are several things to keep in mind:

Now Indiana State Police have issued several tips both for farmers and for drivers. ISP says farmers:

-Should have all lighting and placards required by law on their equipment

-Make sure any equipment parked along a roadway is visible at night

-Wear high visibility clothing when working at night so drivers can see you.

Meanwhile, ISP says drivers:

-Need to stay patient when traveling behind farm equipment as they have the same rights to the roadway as you do.

-When approaching farm equipment from the opposite direction, pull to the right of the traveled portion of the road to allow the equipment to pass.


-When passing farm machinery, be sure to look for left turn signals or hand signals and make sure there is plenty of distance to safely pass.

A pair of county police departments are investigating weekend vehicle break-ins that have a common thread.

In Jasper, JPD is looking into 2 vehicle break-ins that happened between 6 and 7 o’clock Saturday night. The first one happened at Full Out Tumble and Cheer along Cathy Lane. The 2nd took place at the Animal Medical Center along Crossroads Avenue. Jasper Police say both vehicles had their windows smashed out with some sort of tool and women’s purses were stolen out of each vehicle.

Anyone who noticed anything suspicious in either area is asked to call JPD at (812)-482-2255 or the department’s anonymous tip line at (812)-481-COPS.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand Police say something similar happened sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 pm behind Tres Agaves Mexican Grill. Authorities say someone knocked out windows in 2 vehicles parked behind the restuarant with a tool of some kind and women’s purses left on the front seat were taken. Any information on this case can be reported by calling Dubois County Dispatch at (812)-482-9111.

Now police across the county are again reminding the public to either take their valuables with them or lock them in the trunk when leaving their vehicle. Additionally, you should always lock your vehicles, even if you’re only leaving for a couple of minutes.

Residents in Dubois County who wish to burn debris or other items can now return to doing so.

The Dubois County Commissioners announced over the weekend that they have lifted the countywide burn ban. That ban had been in place for about a week due to a lack of rainfall.

Now county officials say last week’s rainfall ended the need for the burn ban. They say vegetation and the ground got enough moisture to warrant lifting the ban.

With the lifting of the burn ban, several burning activities can now resume, which include:

-Open burning with conventional fuel such as wood or other combustible material

-Burning of debris from timber, vegetation or even construction projects


-Campfires and recreational fires such as bonfires and pit fires.

Martin and Spencer County still have burn bans in place as of this point.

This week is Fire Prevention Week all across Indiana and the state fire marshal’s office wants you to be prepared.

Indiana fire marshal James Greeson says there are several steps to take to ensure you are guarded against fires. These include installing smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of each separate sleeping area and on each level of your home, including in the basement.

Now Greeson says there are other tips to follow as well. These are:

-Test smoke alarms every month and change batteries at least once every 6 months.

-Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years.


-Know the difference between the 2 types of smoke alarms.

Greeson says ionization smoke alarms work best when there is a fast-moving fire that breaks out. On the other hand, he says photoelectric alarms are quicker to detect smoldering, smoky fires. He says you can also get specialty alarms, which are a combination of both alarm types.

On a final note, Greeson says smoke alarms provide extra time for escape, but families and businesses need to practice an escape plan in the event of a real fire. Escape plans should be practiced both during the day and at night.

For more information on fire safety, you can go online to

The developer for a pair of new Jasper housing projects says the projects fill a local void..and TIF will not be a big factor for area finances.

Of course, Pete Schwiegeraht of Miller-Valentine told the Dubois County Council earlier this week about the projects. These projects are Phase 2 of the JOFCO workforce housing effort (which would add up to 40 additional units) and planned senior housing to be built in the former Jasper Wood Products building.

Schwiegeraht asked for $200,000 in all ($100,000 for each project). He told the council that it will be a small price to pay for millions of dollars in local investment. The council decided to table the issue until October over TIF concerns.

Schwiegeraht says he understands the concerns about TIF, but these projects will get currently unused properties back on city tax rolls:

Of course, Jasper’s TIF district was originally approved early this year. The district covers about 1/3rd of the entire city and 90% of its industrial space.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz pushed hard for TIF, arguing it was necessary for economic development. However, members of the county council raised concerns about it in light of a study done by Ball State economist Dr. Michael Hicks. Hicks’ study found that although TIF districts generate funds for cities to use for other purposes not related to budgets, using them heavily often leads to higher tax rates in areas that are not covered by the TIF district. County council president Greg Kendall previously expressed his concerns about city budgeting along with taxes. He stated TIF isn’t necessarily bad, but Jasper officials needed to be careful how they move forward with it. Kendall also pointed out that county budget constraints could become a bigger problem should TIF not work out for Jasper.

Now Miller-Valentine officials announced the new housing projects at last week’s regular Jasper City Council meeting. In the end, Schwiegeraht says the projects came about because the firm found a greater need for housing in the area:

Schweigeraht says once other funding sources are secured, Miller-Valentine will be applying for state housing tax credits to help with project funding. Those tax credits are usually awarded in March of each year.