Jasper city officials are now looking to add another stop sign along Main Street.

This morning, the Jasper Board of Public Works approved installing a stop sign on Main Street at the intersection with 11th Street. The decision comes after a citizen raised concerns about pedestrians walking along 11th Street and crossing Main Street where cars would be backing out of the parking lot near the library. Jasper police chief Mike Bennett told the board there had only been 3 accidents in the area within the last 3 years and none of those were related to the issue at hand.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says safety is the biggest reason for the change:

Seitz says changing traffic patterns at the library also played a role in the decision.

In other business, the board approved a new event associated with the Heartland Half Marathon. The Kids Fun Run will be held on Friday, August 29th as part of events leading up to this year’s third running of the race. Some concerns did arise over the initially proposed route for the 1.1 mile kids run. The original route traversed the square, something that Seitz pointed to as a problem due to the Friday night traffic. The approval of the event thus is contingent on changes being made to the route.

The Dubois County Council is set to look further into what the county is doing with its economic development income tax funds.

Last night, the council decided to table 2 separate proposals for EDIT funds in light of the concerns. The first proposal was for 240 thousand dollars to Dubois Strong this year and 320 thousand over each of the next two years. The second was a request from the Dubois County Airport Authority for 450 thousand dollars towards the construction of a new T hangar at the Huntingburg Airport.

County council president Greg Kendall says its important to ensure that the money is being spent wisely:

Kendall says projects getting EDIT funds going forward need to have some sort of return for the county:

The council met following last night’s meeting for further discussion on that issue.

In other business, the council heard from county corrections director JP Wiseheit concerning shortfalls at the center. Wiseheit stated that there is a good possibility of getting an additional 156 thousand 818 dollars in funding from the state department of corrections, money that would help to alleviate the budget crunch. In the meantime, Wiseheit told the council he would likely need between 40 and 70 thousand dollars per year to make ends meet. After more debate on the issue, the council decided to support the center with the extra money, provided that Wiseheit came before the council at the end of each quarter instead of asking for the money all at once. That idea was proposed earlier in the day at the Dubois County Commissioners meeting.

In final notes, the council heard about minor changes being made to the proposed health and wellness program for county employees. The council heard that a “grandfather” clause would be eliminated if the new program were to take effect. They also heard that either employee premiums or the maximum out of pocket cost for health care to employees would have to be raised in the future. The council approved 18 thousand dollars towards starting up health screenings for county employees. The screenings will cost the county 37 dollars per employee.

Another Jasper business is seeking a tax abatement.

Cash Waggner & Associates plans to renovate part the former JOFCO building in Jasper and move its companies in the facility, all of which depending on the approval of a tax abatement from the city.

The Jasper Economic Development Commission agreed Monday morning to recommend that the Jasper Common Council approve the tax abatement request from the engineering and land surveying firm.

Nathan Waggner, co-owner of Cash Waggner and Testing & Inspection Services says plans call for the investment of a quarter of a million dollars plus equipment into the building located at the corner of East 13th and Vines Streets.

Waggner says the company wants to renovate 10,000 square feet and move Cash & Waggner and Testing and Inspection Services into the renovated space.

Meanwhile, Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says the abatement is important for that area:

The nine-year abatement requested will cover 70,000 square feet of the building, which the company will work with in the future.

The common council will consider the abatement request at its meeting set for Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock at Jasper City Hall.

Indiana’s unemployment numbers continue to improve and Dubois County just missed having the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

Data released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development shows that Indiana’s unemployment rate dipped down to 5.9%. That marks the lowest rate since July of 2008. The state unemployment rate has dropped by 2 percent over the last year, marking the third largest decline nationwide.

The state’s labor force also increased again in March for the 6th consecutive month. Officials say the state workforce has grown by more than 25 thousand during the first quarter of 2014. In all, Indiana added 32 hundred private sector jobs during March. Since the low point of unemployment in Indiana back in July of 2009, the state has added 215 thousand 500 private sector jobs. That is good for eighth in the nation.

Now locally, Dubois County came in at a rate of 4.4%, trailing 1st place Hamilton County by just 1 tenth of a percent. For other counties in our area, Daviess County was third lowest in the state at 4.5% unemployment. Martin County was at 5.5%, Pike County 5.7%, Perry 6%, Spencer 6.1%, Orange 6.9%, and Crawford at 7.9%.

Vermillion County once again had the state’s highest unemployment rate. That came in at 9.8%.

Indiana’s unemployment rate is once again the lowest among nearby states. It is also 8 tenths of a percentage point lower than the national average.

Meanwhile, Jasper Chamber Director Nancy Eckerle says Dubois County as a whole is in a good spot:

Eckerle says continuing to get people to move to the county while still providing jobs for people living in other counties would also be a big benefit in the future.

The Huntingburg Police Department was recently honored with a grant.

The department received 1 thousand dollars from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant money is part of the Rural Demonstration Project (RDP), which is a project aimed at increasing seat belt usage in rural areas.

To be eligible, counties were selected based on a rate. That rate was developed by using the county population and the number of car crash injuries due to folks not wearing a seat belt over the last 5 years. That rate also accounts for the observed rate at which folks wear their seat belts. Huntingburg Police say the enforcement period began back on Friday and concludes on Thursday, May 8th.

Now the grant will allow the department to spend an extra 45 hours on seat belt law enforcement between now and May 8th. The extra patrols will be done at various times and locations across Huntingburg, though the department will mainly focus on locations where accidents frequently happen. They will also focus on locations where residents have complained about drivers speeding.

Questions on seat belt and/or child restraint regulations may be directed to the Huntingburg Police Department at 683-4111.

An Ohio teen was saved from drowning at an Orange County resort over the weekend thanks to some quick thinking by a couple of bystanders.

Indiana Conservation Officers say just before 9 o’clock last night, 13-year-old Riley Saylor of Ohio City was swimming with his family at the pool at Spring Mill State Park Inn near Mitchell when he was found at the bottom of the pool.

30-year-old Sarah Rumschlag (Saylor’s cousin) went to the bottom of the pool and brought Saylor to the surface. A second bystander (Ann Lott of Madison, AL) assisted after she saw Rumschlag struggling to bring Saylor to the surface.

Shelly Miller, an off-duty nurse from Roanoke, then began administering CPR with the help of witness Amy Crouch, a Fort Wayne resident. Conservation officers say Saylor was partially revived by the CPR before he was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital. He made a full recovery at the hospital according to conservation officers. Officers say the actions of all involved likely saved a life and should be recognized.

The Seals Ambulance Service and Marion Township First Responders also assisted.

Finances continue to be a topic of discussion in the Barr-Reeve School Corporation.

During a recent school board meeting, several residents including Lana Helms commented as members of the public. Helms asked the board about a recent jump in her property taxes as the increase was a large one from the year before.

Superintendent Travis Madison stated that the corporation had a 68 cent tax rate back in 2012 and that went down to 60 cents for 2013, a drop he attributed to having part of the debt service paid off. He also said there is one debt service that will come off of the books in the near future.

Last year, the Barr-Reeve School Board approved a 35 cent tax referendum though that much money was not needed. Madison says 19 cents in all were added on to the tax rate with 16 cents of that coming from the corporation and the rest from the county. Additional cuts in state funding were also blamed for the increase.

In other notes, the board approved Madison’s request for a temporary loan. Madison cited this time of the year as the time where cash flow was the shortest as tax money is not yet in. The loan would have to be paid back this year according to Madison.