News

Flexibility is the new buzz word for Jasper city officials when it comes to selling property for development.

Earlier this year, the Jasper City Council and the Board of Public Works both ordered city attorney Renee Kabrick to begin preparing the 30th Street park area for sale. Kabrick has now proposed a planned unit development (PUD) for the 30th Street park to leave all city zoning options for the property on the table once it is sold.

Mayor Terry Seitz says a PUD is the best way to resolve concerns about how the land might be used:

Seitz says the biggest concern thus far to come from homeowners in the area is how a wooded area near the park would be used in future plans.

Now city officials have scheduled a public meeting for those homeowners to hear more about what the 30th Street park property might be used for in the future. That meeting will take place tonight beginning at 6:30 in the Pfaffenweiler Room at Jasper City Hall.

The 30th Street property is one of three properties that the city is looking to sell. The others are located on Lechner Lane and Truman Road. The 3 properties are being sold to recoup just over a million dollars that the city used out of its rainy day funds back in 2013 to buy the Parklands property.

The Rotary Club of Jasper will be presenting its 4th ATHENA International Award later this year.

The award ceremony is set for Thursday August 20th. It gets underway at 6 o’clock that evening at the Huntingburg Event Center with Deaconess Health System President and CEO Linda White as the guest speaker. White won an ATHENA Award herself in 2001 from the Evansville Rotary Club.

Since the program was founded in 1982 by Martha Mayhood Mertz, more than 6 thousand ATHENA Awards have been presented in more than 500 different communities. Those communities span the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK.

Now the Rotary Club of Jasper is accepting nominations for this year’s ATHENA Award. The Rotary Club is encouraging all county business leaders to consider nominating an outstanding local businesswoman for this award.

Forms can be downloaded by going online to jasperrotary.com. The deadline for nominations is May 1st. This year’s finalists will be announced by July 1st. All finalists will be honored at the August 20th presentation dinner.

As mentioned, this is the 4th year for the ATHENA Award in Dubois County. Kathy Tretter was last year’s winner.

Jane Chappell won the inaugural ATHENA Award in 2012 and Brenda Stallings was the 2013 winner.

The town of Ferdinand is gearing up for it’s annual spring cleanup.

The dates for this year are Monday, April 6, through Wednesday, April 8, with specific items scheduled to be collected on specific days.

Regular trash pickup will take place for the entire town April 6th. All bags with trash stickers are to be curbside no later than 7 am.

Town officials say large items on the west side of State Road 162 will be picked up April 7th and large items will be picked up on the east side of town on April 8th. If necessary, additional pickup will take place Thursday.

Items picked up at no charge include electric or gas ranges, refrigerators, washers, dryers, deep freezers, water heaters, lawn mowers and bicycles.

Items to be billed to residents if picked up include televisions, computer parts, mattresses, box springs, and other furniture and tires. Other items not mentioned may carry a fee to be determined by the street department.

Free-flowing liquids, such as oil and paint, will not be picked up because the landfill does not accept these items. Also, doors must be removed from dehumidifiers, refrigerators and freezers. No units containing Freon will be collected without a technician’s certificate stating the Freon has been removed.

Any questions call Ferdinand Town Hall at 812-367-2280 or the Ferdinand Street Department at 812-367-2282.

Officials in Jasper will soon begin looking at budgeting for work on the Downtown Riverfront Master Plan.

The city is looking to start work on the downtown courthouse square later this year. Mayor Terry Seitz says the project will include replacing water lines, utility work, and repaving the streets. He says though construction may not start this year, it is time to find the funding for the downtown square project.

Seitz says city leaders have several other budgeting priorities for the plan as well, including work on re-purposing former factories such as the Hoosier Desk and Jasper Cabinet buildings. Seitz says money for implementing the plan will come from sources other than general fund tax dollars:

Seitz says the city has roughly $4 million of economic development income tax funds in reserve. He says Jasper also gets an additional $1.4 million a year in economic development income taxes that could be used to fund these projects.

Seitz says money will also likely be set aside for potential work at the Parklands property. He says the city can afford to put more into the Parklands if need be:

Seitz is also thankful for the community support for the plan. He says more than 300 residents participated in public meetings for the plan. 75 others gave input in private interviews.

The Downtown Riverfront Master Plan was formally adopted by the Jasper City Council last year. It features 5 areas of emphasis, which are the courthouse square, connecting the downtown and riverfront areas, reusing former industrial property, connectivity downtown, and the integration of art.

Ferdinand firefighters were kept busy overnight after a trailer carrying sawdust caught fire at a local factory.

Just before 9 o’clock last night, the Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department was called to MasterBrand plant 22 along West 3rd Street. When they arrived, Ferdinand fire chief Dan Lindauer says the trailer had ignited after a bearing in the auger system under the trailer’s roof overheated. Lindauer says the trailer had been parked next to the plant when the fire started and it was full of sawdust.

Lindauer says he had employees pull the trailer away from the building so that crews could get the fire put out. He says it was fortunate that the fire was reported as soon as it was:

Lindauer says there were maintenance personnel around the trailer at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported. Lindauer says damage was confined to the inside of the trailer.

The Ferdinand Fire Deparment responded with 4 trucks and about 25 men. They were on scene for about an hour and a half. Ferdinand Police and Memorial Hospital EMS also assisted.

Huntingburg city officials have announced plans for this year’s 5-5-5 run/walk events.

Mayor Denny Spinner says the first of this year’s 5-5-5’s will take place on Friday April 10th. This year’s schedule will feature 5 events in all and each will take place at 5 pm on the 2nd Friday of each month between April and August.

Of course, the city began the 5-5-5 events last year. Spinner says the free events drew more than 900 participants in all. He says 93 people completed all 5 of the runs, which came with the incentive of a free t-shirt.

Spinner says the events are more of a social gathering than a competitive race:

The events are free to take part in. For more information, you can go to huntingburg-in.gov.

Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is launching a charity auction for seats on the first running of the new Thunderbird winged coaster.

The “Thunderbird’s First Flight” auction is now underway. The auction will run through April 8th. The 20 highest bidders will win 2 seats each on the first public rides for Thunderbird.

Park officials say the auction will benefit the Give Kids the World charity. Give Kids the World is a 70-acre nonprofit resort near central Florida’s top attractions. That resort aims to give children with life-threatening illnesses and their families one week vacations for free. Those kids and their families then get a 1 year pass for free visits at theme parks and other attractions across the country, including Holiday World. Holiday World is a charter member of the program.

In a news release, park president Matt Eckert says supporting the mission of Give Kids the World is important to Holiday World and its employees. Eckert says helping the families is a big reason for why the charity auction idea was launched.

To place your bid in “Thunderbird’s First Flight”, you can go to HolidayWorld.com/FirstFlight.

Holiday World opens for the season on April 25; Splashin’ Safari opens May 13.