Local Coverage

It’s now budget season and the Greater Jasper School Corporation has its budget ready to go.

Last night the Jasper board approved advertising the three pages of form 3 for it’s 2015 budget.Form 3 gives the corporation its advertised levee as well as the current tax levee. The district will also advertise its capital projects and bus replacement funds.

Greater Jasper’s advertised 2015 tax rate will be roughly $1.60 per 100 dollars of assessed value. That rate is intentionally set higher than anticipated so that the corporation can get the full tax levy available to them.

Greater Jasper Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey says each year the corporation’s biggest objective is to ease the burden on local taxpayers:

Now school officials are anticipating that the Department of Local Government Finance will drop the advertised rate to make it more bearable for tax payers.

The Jasper school board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at their next meeting on August 25th at 7 pm. The budget will likely be adopted at the board’s September 22nd meeting.

It will then be sent to the Department of Local Government Finance for review. School officials hope to recieve finals numbers from the DLGF by the end of the year.

Also last night, the board approved hiring Jasper police officer Jason Knies as the school’s part-time resource officer.

Knies’ position will be paid for through a 25 thousand dollar Secured Safe Schools grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. As part of that grant, the Greater Jasper district will match the grant dollar for dollar, making for a total of 50 thousand dollars in funding for the job.

Knies will start his new job at the beginning of the upcoming school year. He will split work between the police department and the schools during the school year. He will then work full-time for the department during the summer.

Hoosier Hills Credit Union is set to expand into Perry County in the near future.

Company officials have announced plans to build a branch along Payne Street on the north side of Tell City. The branch will be across from Family Dollar.

Company president and CEO George McNichols says design work on the building is now underway. He says the company is excited to become part of Tell City and Perry County, something that will continue over the long-haul.

The new branch will offer a full range of financial services such as checking and savings accounts, but the main focus will be on mortgages and similar loans according to McNichols. Hoosier Hills also features a community charter, meaning that anyone who lives or works in Perry County will be able to be a member.

The new office is expected to open sometime late next summer or fall. Hoosier Hills is based in Bedford and has been in business since the 1960′s. The company boasts roughly 26 thousand members, 160 employees and about 425 million dollars in assets.

Other Hoosier Hills branches include Jasper, Chrisney, French Lick, Paoli, and Mitchell.

Another area entity has been nominated for a prestigious award from Ball State University.

Perry County’s Quality of Life Committee has been nominated for the 2014 Primacy of Place Community Awards Program. The program is designed to honor Indiana communities or entities that are finding innovative ways to improve the quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.

The Perry County committee has boasted several achievements in recent months. These range from new walking and biking trails to a new organization for young professionals.

Perry County is 1 of 9 finalists this year and is not the only one from our area. Jasper is also among this year’s finalist group. Ball State applauded the city’s efforts on its downtown and riverfront development plans. Other finalists include Madison, Jeffersonville, Rushville, eastern Hamilton and southern Tipton counties, and the greater Lafayette/Tippecanoe County area.

This year’s award will be presented during a luncheon to be held next Thursday, August 7th in Muncie.

6 Benedictine monks with the St. Meinrad Archabbey have celebrated their jubilees of monastic profession.

Brother Benedict Barthel celebrated his 75-year jubilee while Father Rupert Ostdick celebrated his 70-year jubilee. Father Vincent Tobin and Father Augustine Davis each celebrated 60-year jubilees, Father Raymond Studzinski celebrated 50 years and Father Godfrey Mullin celebrated 25 years.

A native of Evansville, Brother Benedict originally came to St. Meinrad in 1936 to attend St. Placid Hall. He originally professed his vows in February of 1939. He was assigned to work at the Abbey Press in 1939 and spent more than 40 years there in addition to serving in other roles.

Father Rupert hails from Elgin, Illinois. He professed his vows in August of 1944 and was ordained to the priesthood in May of 1948. He served more than 30 years as the Archabbey’s treasurer and business manager and more than a decade as the general manager of the Abbey Press. He was also a member of the Archabbey Council for nearly 30 years.

Father Vincent is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He professed vows as a Benedictine monk in July of 1954. He is a 1956 graduate of St. Meinrad College with a bachelor’s degree in history. He later earned a baccalaureate in sacred theory in 1960 from the Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood in May of 1959.

Father Augustine comes from Cedar Rapids Iowa. He came to St. Meinrad after graduating high school to study for the priesthood. He professed vows in July of 1954 and was ordained in May of 1959. He earned his master of arts in industrial arts from Indiana State University in 1964. His roles at St. Meinrad included serving as assistant director of St. Placid Hall up until that school’s 1966 closure.

Meanwhile, Father Raymond is a Detroit, Michigan native. He professed vows in August of 1964 and was ordained in September of 1969. He served as an assistant professor in St. Meinrad’s School of Theology from 1973 to 1977 and currently serves as an associate professor of spirituality in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America. He has been at that university since 1981.

And Father Godfrey hails from Alton, IL. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Saint Meinrad College in 1988. He professed vows as a Benedictine monk in 1989 and was ordained in June of 1994 after completing his priesthood studies at St. Meinrad’s School of Theology. He served as pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Huntingburg from 2012 through 2013. He now serves as assistant professor of sacramental and liturgical theology at St. Meinrad and as rector of St. Benedict Cathedral.

The city of Washington is updating its sewer overflow procedures in the wake of recent problems.

City officials were informed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management earlier this month that there had been 8 occasions where untreated waste water made its way into nearby Hawkins Creek. The number is lower than in recent years, but its still not compliant with IDEM’s requirements.

Washington mayor Joe Wellman told the citycouncil earlier this week that a new action plan to address the issue is being put together. The new plan will show how the city plans to prevent further problems with untreated wastewater entering Hawkins Creek. That plan has to be submitted to IDEM by September.

In other business, the council approved rezoning a roughly 10 acre area along Bussard Road. The land, owned by Jason Knepp, is being rezoned as Residential 2. That will allow for the subdivision to have smaller lots.

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.