Bradford Raths

The Indiana Department of Transportation has approved a multi-million dollar contract to for a much needed resurfacing project along State Road 257 between Otwell and Washington.

State officials have awarded a $7.8 million contract to J.H. Rudolph to fix the roadway.

State Road 257 has been the topic of plenty of complaints. Governor Mike Pence while paying a visit to Washington this summer heard an earful from several residents on the poor condition of the road.

The contract for the project calls for crews to mill the road down 4 inches. Also there will be full depth repairs where some old sub pavement will be removed

Besides the roadway, the project calls for some extra work on the bridge over Veale Creek work that is expected to be extensive enough to close the roadway for a time.

That closure has prompted the state and county to work out an agreement in case some county roads are damaged during that time.

State officials had originally had SR 257 on their schedule to be upgraded next year. But the contract calls for the work to begin this fall. INDOT says work on 257 will be extensive. They say work is expected to start sometime in September or October and run through the fall, into next summer and possibly next fall.

Indiana State Police have now made an arrest in a case involving an asphalt crew that has been scamming residents all across southwestern Indiana, including here in Dubois County.

ISP says last Friday, a man who worked for Oaks Construction approached an elderly woman at her home in New Harmony and told her that the crew could pave her driveway for a good price using asphalt that was left over from a job in Mt. Vernon. State police say the woman agreed to the paving after she was reportedly quoted a price between 1 and 2 thousand dollars. Asphalt Scammer

Now as work neared its completion, another employee knocked on her door and demanded 6 thousand dollars for the job, or several times more than what she agreed to pay. She wrote the check and contacted her son after the crew left the residence. Her son then contacted state police.

Troopers soon stopped the crew along I-64 near the Evansville state police post. One of the employees (34-year-old Michael Coope of Clinton) was found to have an outstanding warrant out of Crawford County Illinois for Failure to Appear on home improvement fraud charges. Coope was taken into custody and booked into the Posey County Jail, where he is being held on bond. State police say the elderly woman was able to cancel her check before the company cashed it.

Of course, Dubois County residents dealt with a similar scam back in late July. The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department says pavers were going door-to-door offering to pave driveways with asphalt that was leftover from previous jobs. DCSD says those pavers did the work, but later charged a much higher price than the homeowner originally agreed on. In one such case, the homeowner agreed to have the company pave their driveway for $4,500. The company later came back and charged $9,000 or twice the figure that was originally agreed on.

Meanwhile, Indiana State Police are continuing to look into this case and believe there are other victims. They also say the crews are working under multiple business names.

Anyone with information can call the state police Evansville Post at 1-800-852-3970. Locally, you can call the Jasper Post at (812)-482-1441.

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for this year’s President’s Community Excellence Award.

The award is presented each year to a person who has generously contributed their time, talents and/or resources to the Jasper community. Now the award is open to all walks of life and honors those who work to “make a difference.”

Of course, all nominations will be judged by a committee which will be drawn from the current Board of Directors for the Jasper Chamber of Commerce. Chamber board president Sherill Leuken will present the award at the annual Jasper Chamber meeting, which will be held this fall.

The deadline for nominations is coming up on September 12th. Nominees have to be individuals, but they can be nominated by an individual or organization.

Nomination forms are available at the Jasper Chamber of Commerce offices along West 6th Street. Nominations must be submitted with an up to 1 page letter listing reasons for that person’s nomination and a biography of a nominee which lists his or her service to the community. You can call the Jasper Chamber at (812)-482-6866 for more information.

The President’s Award was first presented in 1991 and was posthumously given to Alvin C. Ruxer. Other winners of the award include Anna Heeke, Bob Gramelspacher, Dave Buehler, Ken Sternberg, Maureen Braun, Bernie Vogler and Gervase Schwenk.

Mike Jones is the most recent winner of the President’s Award.

Jasper Police took a Spencer County man into custody yesterday afternoon following a reported theft at the north side Walmart.

Jasper officers were called to the Walmart just before 3:05 yesterday afternoon. JPD says 38-year-old Michael Pate of Gentryville tried to take 2 bottles of workout supplements from the store without paying. The value of the bottles came in at $23.95. Michael Pate

Pate was taken into custody and booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He faces theft charges.

A rebuild of the spillway at Beaver Lake may happen after all.

Earlier tonight, the Jasper Utility Service Board approved contributing $50,000 in support of reconstructing the spillway in order to raise the water level in the lake. The goal is to raise the water level of Beaver Lake some 11 inches from where it is now following many complaints from lot owners along the lake about the water being too low.

In addition, the USB approved a loan of $180,000 with a 5% contingency to the city water utility to help fill the remaining funding gap. Those funds will be taken from the city’s electric department. Other funding will come from the Jasper Parks Department through increases in boat and dock fees at Beaver Lake.

If all goes through, Krempp Construction of Jasper will do the work at a total cost of $334,000. The city will spend an additional up to $37,000 to have Christopher B Burke Engineering supervise the work.

Now Jasper Utilities had originally proposed $20,000 of support, but upped their offer to $35,000 early last week and then again to $50,000 after more discussions about the city’s recent 17% water rate increase. Jasper electric commissioner Wayne Schuetter reminded the board that 2% of the rate increase was set aside for potential modifications to the spillway and dam at Beaver Lake. Schuetter stated that one year’s worth of that 2% would be an acceptable contribution, thus the $50,000 figure.

Schuetter says it all makes sense given demands for backup water area wide in the long run:

Jasper officials say the $50,000 comes out to an increase of $6 to $7 a year for each city ratepayer.

Meanwhile, Brad Popp with the ‘Friends of Beaver Lake’ group spoke to the board tonight to push for the $50,000 of funding. Popp says he’s satisfied with getting the financial support. He says with that in mind, it’s now time to get the project done:

Popp says he’s hopeful of getting even more support from the Jasper City Council Wednesday night, possibly in the neighborhood of $100,000.

Popp told the board that ‘Friends of Beaver Lake’ currently has $125,000 raised. He says it is very likely that the group will reach $140,000 in contributions when all is said and done.

Of course, all approvals are based on several conditions, including the city receiving the donations from the Friends of Beaver Lake group, loan approvals and the approval of both the Jasper Park Board
and the Jasper City Council. The council will meet Wednesday night at 7 o’clock at Jasper City Hall.

Today marked an annual tradition in the city of Huntingburg.

This morning, Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner delivered his annual ‘State of the City’ address. The address was held at 9 am at Old Town Hall along Geiger Street.

Of course, the past year has been a busy one for Huntingburg. During his speech, Spinner discussed many different areas of progress. The major themes were his call to action last year to make the city the best Huntingburg it could be along with the Stellar Communities designation.

Spinner says as far as both of those are concerned, 2014 was mission accomplished:

Of course, much has happened in Huntingburg over the last year along with and independent of the Stellar Communities designation. These included growth of the police and fire departments and subsequent expansion, the completion of major utility projects and new efforts in workforce housing and economic development such as the ‘Hunter’s Crossing’ subdivision.

In concluding his speech, Spinner issued a familiar challenge to make this year as successful as the last:

The address had previously been scheduled for July. However, scheduling issues pushed the date back a little bit.

The move is almost complete for Sternberg Furniture’s Jasper showrooms.

In a news release, Sternberg officials say the company’s current 18,000 square foot showroom will close for good this Saturday, August 22nd. Sternberg’s will be rebranding their business as Casual Home and moving to a vacant building at the Southgate Shopping Center in the 200 block of South Newton Street. The decision was formally announced last month.

Of course, the new showroom in the Southgate Shopping Center will be a bit larger at 20,000 square feet. Company officials say Casual Home will have the same furniture and mattress lines that Sternberg’s had. However, there will be some additions for a new look and variety. Casual Home’s furniture and mattress displays will all be on one floor for more convenience to shoppers.

Now the business has been on the downtown square for the last 38 years. However, next door neighbor Libby’s Ice Cream announced that they intend to fill the space about a week after Sternberg’s announced their move.