News

Jasper-based Kimball International has released its results for the 4th quarter and fiscal year 2014 and the company is seeing growth.

Company officials announced this morning that net sales for fiscal year 2014 came in at 336.8 million dollars. That’s up 6 percent from last fiscal year’s 318.3 million dollars. Net income for this year came in at 7.8 million dollars or 20 cents per Class B diluted share. Both numbers are up 11 percent over last fiscal year.

The company’s 4th quarter gross profit as a percentage of net sales increased by 1.4 percent from the 4th quarter of last year. The company cited improved margins in both the Electronic Manufacturing Services and Furniture Segments.

The company’s Electronic Manufacturing Services segment saw net sales of 198.9 million for fiscal year 2014, an increase of 3 percent. Net income for that segment dropped down to 7.1 million dollars. It was at 7.4 million dollars last year.

Meanwhile, the company’s furniture segment saw net sales increase to 137.8 million dollars. That’s a more than 12 million dollar increase over fiscal year 2013.

Kimball’s effective tax rate was at 25.2 percent during the fourth quarter. That was impacted favorably by a higher mix of earnings from foreign jurisdictions. Those have a lower tax rate than that here in the US.

Finally, operating cash flow for fiscal year 2014 ended at 69.9 million. That’s an increase of 6 million dollars from fiscal year 2013.

A Jasper man was arrested after a verbal disagreement between him and a woman became physical.

Just after 10:10 yesterday morning, Jasper Police were called to a residence in the 400 block of West 6th Street on the reported incident. Police say 37-year-old Travis Stine was in the process of moving to a new residence. He had returned to the 6th Street residence to pick up an item when, according to police, Travis Stinea verbal disagreement between himself and an unnamed woman began. Police say the argument then escalated to the point where Stine grabbed the woman around the neck for several seconds. Stine then shoved the woman and threw her to the ground.

Stine then left the scene, but police later caught up with him and took him into custody. He was lodged in the Dubois County Security Center on several charges. Those include Level 6 felonies for strangulation and intimidation, a Level 5 felony for battery resulting in serious bodily injury, and a Class A misdemeanor for battery.

Police did call an ambulance to the residence for the victim. However, she refused medical treatment.

Day 1 of the Jasper Strassenfest is now in the books.

Last night marked the official opening ceremonies for the event. It included this proclamation from Jasper mayor Terry Seitz:

Speeches from Strassenfest committee chairman Derrick Bair, Miss Strassenfest Annie Stenftnagel, and this year’s Hofsmarschall Tom Schum also highlighted the night. This year’s theme is “Alive with the Arts” in honor of the Jasper Arts Department. The department is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015.

Last night’s ceremony included many ties to Jasper arts, including the Hofsmarschall. Schum originally came to Jasper in the mid 1960s. He told the crowd several stories during his speech. Those included 1 about a phone call from Stan Krempp shortly after he moved to the area that got him involved with the arts in Jasper:

Schum also thanked his wife Sue for her love and support through the years along with her help when Schum had to design the mugs for Strassenfest a few years ago.

Now the night also featured a special arts-related presentation. Bair presented a check for 1 thousand dollars to Joe Roletter with the Redevelop Old Jasper Action Coalition (ROJAC). The money comes from the Strassenfest Committee. It will go towards a sculpture to be placed at the Schaeffer Barn to honor early Jasper pioneers such as Elander Enlow. She renamed Enlow Hill to Jasper back in 1830. The sculpture is being designed by Jasper native Zach Dawkins.

In the end, Bair says the arts will continue to play a big role in the Jasper community:

Strassenfest events are set to continue through Sunday. Those will include train rides on the Spirit of Jasper tonight and tomorrow evening, the BBQ contest tomorrow morning, and the parade on Sunday afternoon. Of course, WBDC will have live reports from the Strassenfest throughout the weekend.

The Jasper Police Department will now be able to patrol some areas of the city more easily than in the past.

This morning, the department unveiled 2 new vehicles to be used in areas such as the Riverwalk and the Parklands property where patrol cars cannot easily get to. 1 is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and the other is a side-by-side vehicle called a Viking. The department has had the vehicles for about 2 months. They were able to get the vehicles decaled in time for this weekend’s Strassenfest, which will be their first major trial run.

The new vehicles are courtesy of a 6-month trial program through Yamaha. The vehicles are being provided by Jasper-based Obermeyer Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki. Jasper Police are not the first area law enforcement entity to use this program. Store owner Keith Obermeyer says the program has worked well for the other departments that have:

Meanwhile, Jasper assistant police chief Nathan Schmitt says the new vehicles will certainly come in handy:

Schmitt says he is anxious to see how many different uses the department can find for the new vehicles.

Now the department will have options for each of the vehicles after the 6 month trial. The department could then extend the trial for another 6 months. At the end of that 6 months, the department could purchase 1 or both of the vehicles if they want to.

Schmitt says the Viking has already been utilized in one case. He says a dog was stuck in a creek recently along the Riverwalk. The Viking was then used to pull the dog out of the creek and get it back to its owner.

A domestic dispute in Ferdinand led to a man’s arrest on battery charges.

At 8:30 last night, Ferdinand Police were called to a residence in the 200 block of Lee Court on the reported dispute. Police say the investigation led to the arrest of 28-year-old Noah Brosmer on several charges. These are domestic battery, battery on a person less than 14 years old, strangulation, and battery in the presence of a child.

Police have not released any other details on this incident.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Pike County School Corporation by former Otwell Elementary principal Rick Fears.

The district’s motion for a summary judgment was granted by US District Judge Richard Young. Young wrote that cancelling Fears’ contract was a fair decision and was made with plenty of evidence to support it.

Fears was originally fired back in September of last year after he was put on leave in early August just prior to the start of school. A fact of findings statement released by the Pike County School Board after Fears’ firing cited teacher evaluations not being completed along with falsified attendance records and violations of the student Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) as reasons for Fears’ firing.

Young’s ruling supported all of the charges. In the ruling, Young pointed to 2 meetings between Fears and Pike County School superintendent Suzanne Blake about the evaluations. At the time of the meetings, Fears had started on 35 teacher evaluations but none of those were finished until school ended. Fears also did not have notes available when Blake asked for them.

Meanwhile, the FERPA violation was supported by a photo that Fears sent to a local newspaper. Young believed the picture was a violation of FERPA. The picture was of an Otwell 3rd grade class that had passed the state IREAD exam. Grades were not mentioned with the photo.

As for the attendance records, an elementary secretary testified to the board that Fears asked her to change 15 students’ attendance records back in 2010. When she refused, Fears allegedly changed them himself later on.

Fears’ attorney Mark Phillips stated that Fears’ rights were violated during the administrative hearing held in late August. He contended that the board could not be challenged during the hearing and hearsay evidence was used. Young ruled that hearsay evidence is allowable with exceptions in administrative hearings and also ruled that Phillips did have enough time to oppose the school board.

Otwell Elementary was a 4 star school three of the last 4 years of Fears’ tenure as principal. The school was also named a national Blue Ribbon school in 2011, an honor they also received this past year.

The Barr-Reeve School Corporation has now responded to a complaint filed by the district’s Classroom Teachers Association.

In the June complaint, the CTA alleged several violations of the state teachers collective bargaining laws by school board members. The allegations included new teachers being hired at higher salaries than what experienced teachers made as well as 2 teaching positions being eliminated and filled by certified assistants who were paid less.

In their response, the Barr-Reeve school board denied the allegations. The board stated they did discuss the issues with the teachers association and also gave them the chance to give input on the matter. The board further stated that they had attempted to meet with the CTA and their legal representation since March, but the CTA was not willing to discuss the issues, thus the differences went unresolved.

The two sides will now go through mediation sessions with the Indiana State Teachers Association. There will be 3 sessions in all and they will all have to be completed before Sept. 8th. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the case would go to a full hearing in Indianapolis later this year.