Bradford Raths

If you’ve ever wanted to write your own folk song and enter it in a contest, you’ll soon be getting your chance.

The Ferdinand Folk Festival is sponsoring a free workshop for singer-songwriters. The workshop will be held on Sunday April 26th at Monkey Hollow Bistro (located inside the historic Wollenmann Home). The workshop goes from 1 til 5 pm on the 26th.

The workshop is being hosted by Andrea Wirth. Wirth is currently a member of local duo the Honey Vines. She performed on the Main Stage during past Folk Fests.

As part of the workshop, Wirth will be giving tips and techniques for putting together original acoustic songs. You’ll then get the chance to put those tips into practice by writing your own song during the workshop. The workshop will be followed by a free outdoor concert from 5:30 to 7 pm.

Of course the workshop is being held to get people ready for the Folk Fest’s inaugural singer-songwriter contest. The deadline to enter that contest is June 1st.

Marc Stecyzk has been leading the Ferdinand Folk Fest since the start. He says the influx of local musical talent has been great to see:

Stecyzk says the workshop is designed to find the next wave of local music talent. He believes the success of the Folk Fest has renewed local interest in songwriting:

The overall winner of the singer-songwriter contest gets a 30 minute spot on stage at this year’s Folk Festival, which is set for Saturday September 19th.

People of all ages are welcome to attend this upcoming workshop. You should bring your pen, paper, and a musical instrument. For more information, you can go to ferdinandfolkfestival.com/songwriter-contest.

Next Thursday will mark a day of opportunity for citizens all across our listening area.

A group of community members in Huntingburg will be hosting its first quarterly “Community Connect” event for 2015. This quarter’s event will run from 4 to 6 pm next Thursday at the Teen Outback next to Huntingburg’s Memorial Gym.

Now the theme for this quarter’s event will be “Building Healthy Connections.” Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner is encouraging everyone to come out next Thursday and see what is available:

There will be many organizations in attendance this year. These include A Kid’s Place, Purdue Extension, Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center, Southwest Dubois Schools, and TRI-CAP. The health-related topics will range from healthy snacks for kids to information on healthy water.

Spinner says the event is all about awareness. He says a very important partnership has helped this event to grow:

Community Connect events are free and open to the public. For more information, you can contact Sheral Stanton at (812)-683-1172 extension 1000 or by email at stantons@swdubois.k12.in.us.

Those of you who drive State Road 56 through French Lick and West Baden may need to find a new route starting next week.

Officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation say weather permitting, road crews will begin resurfacing the highway in the downtown French Lick/West Baden area starting next Tuesday, April 14th. Officials say the goal is to have work completed by mid-May.

The stretch of road to be resurfaced is just over a mile and a half long. It stretches from State Road 145 to just west of US Highway 150.

Now INDOT says the road will not be closing, but traffic will be affected in both directions while the work is being done. Flaggers will be present in the area and motorists should expect delays.

For information on road work all across our area, you can go online to INDOT Southwest’s Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also go online to indot.carsprogram.org.

Jasper Police are asking for the public’s help in reference to a hit and run accident that took place earlier this afternoon at the Arnold F. Habig Center along St. Charles Street.

Police say sometime before 1 pm, a white GMC Acadia that was parked in the center’s parking lot allegedly was struck by an unknown vehicle that left the scene.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this incident and the vehicle responsible to contact the Jasper Police Department at 812-482-2255 or leave a message on the department’s anonymous tip line at 812-481-COPS.

A rate increase for Jasper water customers is now on the horizon.

This morning, the Jasper Utility Service Board’s Water Committee recommended a 17% increase in city water rates. Utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger says roughly 9 and a half percent of that increase is due to utility projects that were mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. 2 such projects are work on the Beaver Lake spillway and the ongoing work on the UV project.

Hauersperger says the originally proposed increase was between 25 and 28 percent, but that was not palatable for city officials. Hauersperger says though rates will be higher initially, the city will have water rates comparable with the rest of the area when all is said and done:

The recommendation will be taken up by the Jasper Utility Service Board at their next meeting later this month. The Jasper City Council will hold a public hearing on the increase at their April meeting as well.

If approved, the rate increase would go into effect on August’s utility bills. This would be the first water rate increase in Jasper since 2010.

Huntingburg’s Stellar Communities effort has gotten another funding boost…this time from a local business.

Officials with Jasper-based Kimball Electronics say the company has pledged a total of $25,000 towards Stellar projects in Huntingburg. The money is spread out over 2 years, which equates to $12,500 a year.

In a news release, Kimball Electronics Vice President for Human Resources Julie Dutchess says the long-term regional impact of the Stellar designation is exciting. She pointed to the Heritage Trail and Workforce Housing projects as a couple of examples of projects with major community benefits.

The money is coming from the Kimball Electronics Foundation, which focuses on donations to community, charitable, educational, and scientific endeavors. Huntingburg received the Stellar Communities designation for 2014 back in August.

The first round of severe weather this year has now hit the area.

Though Dubois County largely avoided damage, surrounding counties were not as lucky. There were some reports of a possible tornado in northern Spencer County and multiple utility lines were knocked down in Warrick and Vanderburgh counties, leaving many people without electricity.

As mentioned, not much damage was reported locally, though lightning did hit a house in the Bretzville area. St. Anthony fire crews were called to a residence along County Road 700 South a couple of miles south of the Bretzville Junction just before 4:25 yesterday afternoon. Little damage was reported and crews were on scene for about 35 minutes. Tornado watches were issued in Crawford, Dubois, and Perry counties for a short time as well.

Another round of strong thunderstorms is expected tomorrow before the stormy weather finally moves out of our area. The main threat in our area remains heavy rain and flood waters for now. Sunshine is expected to return on Friday and for your upcoming weekend.