Bucshon: ‘Transformational’ Leader Needed in America

8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon made his appearance in Dubois County yesterday.

The Congressman was in town last night for the 2nd of 2 town hall meetings across our area. The first one was in Washington on Monday night. Bucshon touched on many of the key national issues and he says there are 3 that really have caught the most attention throughout the 8th District:

About 20 people were on hand for last night’s town hall meeting, which took place at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing building on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.

Bucshon answered several questions from those on hand after making a short opening statement. Questions ranged from the ongoing negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the future moral direction of America. As far as TPP, Bucshon stated much of the negotiating has been done behind the scenes by necessity so as to protect other countries involved in the negotiations. He also said Congress has not seen the full agreement yet and will have to see it at least 60 days prior to having a vote on it.

Bucshon was also optimistic about the country’s future despite recent troubles. He says America is in dire need of a transformational leader and that person usually comes along when times are tough.

This week’s town halls started the 2nd round of public appearances for Bucshon. Back in August, the Congressman held a series of town halls, listening sessions, and office hours. Those sessions included stops in Crawford and Spencer counties locally.

Northeast Dubois Moving to Next Steps of Feasibility Study

With community forums completed, officials in the Northeast Dubois School Corporation are set to move ahead with the district’s feasibility study.

The school board hosted the 2nd of 2 public forums last night at Dubois Middle School. Superintendent Bill Hochgesang says the format was the same as the first one with him giving an initial address followed by options being laid out by study firm Adminstrator Assistance. A public comment session followed.

Hochgesang says many of the concerns last night were much the same as they were last week. He says the biggest concern seems to be avoiding school consolidation if at all possible.

Hochgesang says the goal now is to take the data from the 2 forums and build on it:

Hochgesang says the idea of a referendum continues to generate a mixed response in terms of whether or not it would be supported by the public. However, he says the support for the district is undeniable based on the public turnout for both forums.

The feasibility study as a whole is expected to cost around $20,000 to complete. School officials are hoping to have the study done by late December with findings to be made public at the board’s January meeting.

Library Board Pushing Marketing Ahead of 2016 Referendum

As the Jasper Library Board works toward finding the necessary finances for the former Hoosier Desk site, one key element of their work will be marketing the idea to the public.

To that end, the board heard a presentation from everylibrary.com CEO John Chrastka earlier this week via Skype. Chrastka laid out several different ideas for the board to consider when it comes to marketing. He specifically touched on reaching casual voters, something he says can get done fairly quickly:

Everylibrary.com is an entity that is fighting for public libraries. Chrastka told the board his company has already completed 28 referendum campaigns all across the country with 8 more on the ballots this fall. Chrastka says this will be his company’s first venture into Indiana. The referendums have been done in Illinois, Iowa, California and New York among other states. Chrastka says referendum related laws aren’t all that much different between states, thus he is confident with what his company could accomplish for Jasper.

The board voted to approve continued discussions with Chrastka about marketing a 2016 referendum to local voters. Library director Christine Golden says a fresh set of eyes will be nothing but a benefit to the library:

The discussions are free to the library. Golden says the library board would not have to spend a dime on everylibrary.com unless Chrastka or others with the company were to come to Jasper at any point.

Autumn Getaway Weekend Coming up at Patoka Lake

The upcoming weekend promises to be a busy one at Patoka Lake.

Lake officials have announced details for this year’s Autumn Getaway Weekend. The getaways will run Friday and Saturday, October 16th and 17th. All programs will be held in the modern campgrounds at the shelter house and large tents.

Some of the events to be held on Friday in celebration of fall will include Friendship Stew at 5 o’clock and Autumn Colors crafts at 7:30. Saturday will be a full day of fall-themed events, including Fall Family Fun, a Dutch oven demonstration, the Dutch oven cook-off, a cornhole tournament and Taste of Patoka.

For more information, you can call the Patoka Lake Nature Center at (812)-685-2447.

Jasper Library Board Working Towards Fundraising for Hoosier Desk Site

Jasper library officials are now going all in to find funding for their recently announced new site.

Of course, the Jasper Library board voted last month to relocate to the former Hoosier Desk site. Most of the buildings on the site would be torn down though others will be repurposed if it can be done.

Library director Christine Golden told the board last night there will be some fundraising for the Hoosier Desk project. Though the cost of the project and the new building will be shared with the Jasper Arts Commission, Golden says the time is now to start finding funding sources:

The total cost to be split between the library and arts commission comes out to roughly $12.6 million. The library board would also cover the cost of purchasing the Hoosier Desk building, which will be $864,000.

Now the site is still subject to a referendum that would be put on the ballot for the fall 2016 election. The board is also working on ways to sell that idea to the public.

On a final note, longtime board member Bill Hewitt told the board that he will be moving to Evansville sometime before the end of this year. Hewitt, whose vote wound up being the deciding vote in favor of the Hoosier Desk site, says he and his wife will be moving before the end of the year though he expects to remain on the board through at least next month’s regular meeting.

The Greater Jasper School Board will be responsible for finding Hewitt’s replacement on the board. Anyone interested in serving on the board can contact Hewitt, library director Christine Golden or board president Dean Vonderheide.

Road Funding Announcement Coming this Afternoon; Challenges Remain

Governor Mike Pence is expected to announce spending plans for road and bridge work throughout Indiana amid a wave of criticism.

Political experts say the pressure is on the governor to act now that there have been issues with state infrastructure that have attracted national attention. One such issue was the closing of the Wildcat Creek Bridge along Interstate 65 south of Lafayette after inspectors found serious problems with it.

Now more than 1 out of every 5 bridges in Indiana either has a structural defect that requires attention or is no longer functionally adequate according to the US Department of Transportation.

Of course, the Indiana Department of Transportation told lawmakers last year they would need an additional $260 million a year just for maintaining existing bridges and highways. District 63 representative Mike Braun is on the House Ways and Means Committee. Earlier this year, Braun stated one of the biggest problems with finding more money for roadwork has been raising money without punishing taxpayers:

Other issues to come up include how to capture revenues from alternative fuel vehicles. Studies have shown that revenue from Indiana’s gasoline tax came in at $527 million last year. That’s down from $582 million in 2004.

Governor Pence’s announcement is expected at 1:30 this afternoon.

Jasper, Huntingburg Mayor’s Forums Coming Up Next Week

Vincennes University and various community organizations have announced plans for mayors forums in 2 Dubois County cities coming up next week.

The Jasper mayor’s forum is set for next Tuesday, October 20th at 7 o’clock in the Center for Technology Innovation and Manufacturing at VUJC. Democrat Wayne Schuetter, Republican incumbent Terry Seitz and Independent Joshua Budd will all take part. The Jasper forum is being hosted by VUJC and the Rotary Club of Jasper.

Meanwhile, the Huntingburg mayor’s forum will take place next Wednesday October 21st at 7 o’clock in the Huntingburg Event Center. Democrat Ron Drew and Republican incumbent Denny Spinner will take part in that forum. The Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce will join with VU in sponsoring this event.

Now each forum will start with a short speech from the candidates that articulates their vision for the city over a 4-year period and gives strategies they would use to implement that vision. Candidates will then be interviewed on stage afterwards by a panel of local journalists.

In the 2nd half of the program, candidates will come back to the stage to answer questions from the audience presented by the moderator. After those responses, candidates will each get 2 minutes for a closing statement to wrap up the forum.

Of course, 101 Country WBDC will be broadcasting both forums live. 18 WJTS will record the forums and they will be broadcast at a later date.