News

School officials from Dubois County and beyond got the chance to hear more about education on the state level.

This afternoon, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction Glenda Ritz made a stop in Jasper at KlubHaus 61. Ritz was the keynote speaker for the Rotary Club of Jasper’s Leadership Luncheon.

Now Ritz touched on many different topics in state education. She specifically discussed how education is currently being funded in Indiana and says its the most important topic that comes up when she talks to educators statewide:

Ritz says Indiana may have to find new ways to fund schools in the future as the enrollment-based funding model is not working. She also says she’s pleased to hear that lawmakers have prioritized schools in the upcoming legislative session, though she says it remains to be seen just how much help schools will get.

Ritz also touched on finding ways to make students more active learners along with better accountability standards for schools. She says many teachers and school districts across the state have fallen into the habit of teaching for tests such as IREAD-3 and the ISTEP exams, and that is a trend that needs to stop.

Ritz was elected back in 2012, defeating incumbent Tony Bennett. Ritz has been in education since 1978 and worked as a library media specialist for Indianapolis-based Crooked Creek Elementary School for many years prior to being elected as the state’s top education official.

The Dubois County Communications Center has now made the Text-to-911 service available.

In a news release, communications center director Janice Love says the service is intended to be used only when calling 9-1-1 is not an option. Examples of this include callers who may be deaf or has trouble speaking or hearing, callers who cannot speak due to a medical condition, or callers dealing with a home invasion or other emergency that would not be safe for them to speak with a dispatcher.

Now back in May, Love talked with WBDC News about the new service. She said then that voice calling is still the best way to go:

Love maintained that stance in yesterday’s announcement. She says the time involved by both the person involved and the 9-1-1 dispatcher makes the service problematic.

Love also is offering several tips for folks wanting to use the text-to-911 service. These include:

-Giving the problem and an EXACT location in the initial text (including city/town)

-NEVER use slang or abbreviations when texting to the 9-1-1 center.

-Information should be as clear and accurate as possible.

Now text-to-911 began in other parts of the state back in May, including in Gibson and Warrick counties. Love says the service is not yet available nationwide, though it will eventually be.

Verizon Wireless was the first mobile carrier to offer the service. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile customers will have access to the service sometime before the end of the year.

The 3 candidates seeking the nomination for Indiana’s 8th Congressional District seat will be appearing at a forum in Jasper later this month.

The forum is slated to start at 7 pm on October 28th. It will take place at the Jasper Arts Center and is sponsored by Vincennes University and the City of Jasper. Participating candidates are incumbent Republican Larry Bucshon, Democratic challenger Tommy Spangler, and Libertarian Andrew Horning.

Now this forum will take place in 2 parts. The first part will see candidates appear on stage with a 3 member panel. That panel will consist of 2 local news media members and a VUJC student. The conversation is designed to be free-flowing and candidates can be asked different questions.

Part 2 of the forum will see all 3 candidates on stage with a moderator. Candidates will then answer written questions submitted from the audience. 90 seconds will be given for each candidate to answer a question. Each candidate can also give a closing statement at the end of the program.

All 3 candidates have agreed to the rules for this forum. Open seating will be available in the 675 seat Arts Center auditorium. Admission is free that evening and no tickets will be needed. Now campaign signs, banners, or other paraphernalia will not be allowed in the building or on the Jasper Arts Center grounds. Campaign rallies for each of the 3 parties will be allowed to take place at designated locations on the VUJC campus.

Audience members will not be allowed to applaud or express their agreement or disagreement with any of the candidates in any way. Still or video photography will not be allowed by anyone in the audience.

The event will be broadcast live on 101 Country WBDC. Our TV partner, 18 WJTS, will be recording the forum and airing it back at a later date.

VUJC students will be serving as ushers.

A pre-Halloween celebration will be coming to northern Spencer County next weekend.

The Santa Claus Museum and Village will be hosting its 3rd annual All Hallows Eve celebration. It will run next Saturday October 25th beginning at 7 o’clock central time at the historic Santa Claus church.

The celebration will feature stories from Susan Fowler along with Santa’s Haunted Church, which is a spooky tour of Santa Claus Museum and Village. The Haunted Church is being done in partnership with Team H-A-P-P-Y of Relay for Life.

The church tour begins at the Original Santa Claus Post Office before going past a haunted cemetary at the giant Santa Claus statue. The tour then ends with a spooky tour of the Santa Claus Church.

Advance reservations can be made by calling 812-544-2434. You can call Relay for Life at 812-431-7038 for presale Haunted Church tickets. Presale tickets are 4 dollars each or 6 for 20 dollars. Day of tickets are 5 dollars each or 6 for 25 dollars. There will also be soups, stews, and various other fall treats available for purchase during the event.

For more information, you can call 812-544-2434 or go online to santaclausmuseum.org.

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a free paper shredding and electronics collection day tomorrow.

The free event will be held at the Jasper Train Depot from 10 am to 1 pm in the depot parking lot. It will take place rain or shine.

Shredding will only be for paper products. Items such as credit cards, DVDs, etc will not be accepted.

The shred limit is 100 lbs of paper per business or individual. Piranha Mobile Shredding of Evansville will be providing the shredding services.

Electronic recycling will also be part of tomorrow’s event. Various electronics to be accepted will include desktop and laptop computers, cell phones, digital cameras, network equipment, and printers. Televisions will NOT be accepted. Green Geek Recycling of Linton will be providing the electronic recycling service.

Again the electronic recycling and paper shredding day is free and open to the public. It will take place tomorrow from 10 am to 1 pm in the parking lot at the Jasper Train Depot.

The debate continues over possible improvements to a pair of streets in the town of Ferdinand.

Last night, the Ferdinand town council heard from several residents in the 3rd and Georgia Street area. Those residents voiced a desire to have the street brought up to city standards in order to promote development in the area. Several folks expressed their concern that the lack of a paved street in the area is scaring away folks who may want to build their house in an area.

Ferdinand town council president Ken Sicard says the town will continue looking into the issue:

Property and street superintendent Tom Lueken has been looking into potential costs for bringing the 3rd and Georgia Street area up to town standards. Those numbers will likely be brought forward at a future meeting.

Also last night, the council heard a further update on tax abatement plans for the Sisters of St. Benedict. Proposed plans would see Benet Hall converted into 15 senior housing units. The units would be 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments for lower to middle income senior citizens. They would also feature amenities such as a community room and an exercise facility along with being energy efficient. Rent for the units would tentatively be somewhere between 320 and 650 dollars a month, though nothing is set in stone there.

Sicard says that project plus ongoing work to locate a brewery in the area is a win-win situation:

If approved, renovation work on Benet Hall would start sometime next year with the project being completed in 2016. The total investment would be 4.1 million dollars. The council has one more special meeting to further discuss the abatement. That meeting will be held at 5 pm on Monday October 27th at Ferdinand Town Hall.

In final notes, the council set up this year’s fall clean-up days. These will be held on October 21st and 22nd.

SULLIVAN, Ind. (AP) – Workers spent hours unloading hundreds of pumpkins from a semitrailer that slid down an embankment along a southwestern Indiana highway.

Charles Hancock of Hancock Trucking says a crew of 15 people worked four hours Tuesday on moving the pumpkins from the wrecked trailer along U.S. 41 in southern Sullivan County.

Sheriff’s Sgt. William Snead tells the Tribune-Star (http://bit.ly/1r97Npe ) the truck crashed Monday night during a storm with heavy rain and strong winds. The driver was hospitalized with cuts to his head.

Many of the 1,800 pumpkins spilled from the tarp-covered trailer into a farm field. Snead says the towing company wanted the rest removed before moving the truck.

Hancock says he expected being able to salvage about 80 percent of the pumpkins that were bound for St. Louis.