News

2 more Operation Big Brother cases have now been resolved.

Yesterday, 68-year-old Edward Freyberger of Dubois pled guilty in Dubois Superior Court on 2 Class B felony counts for Dealing in a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance. According to probable cause affadavits, Freyberger sold a total of 85 Percocet pills for $550 and 25 Adderall pills for $175. The Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office says these were 2 separate incidents.

Dubois Superior Court Judge Mark McConnell sentenced Freyberger was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 2 of those years will be served at the Dubois County Security Center and the other 8 years were suspended to 5 years of supervised probation.

Now the State of Indiana asked McConnell to sentence Freyberger to 12 years to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections. The county’s Probation Department recommended a total sentence of 8 years, with 4 served on home detention with electronic monitoring and the other 4 on supervised probation. Freyberger asked McConnell for a sentence in line with the probation department’s recommendation.

As mentioned earlier, Freyberger’s case was 1 of 2 to be resolved yesterday. 25-year-old Christy Merkley of Huntingburg pled guilty to a Class B felony for Dealing in a Schedule 3 Controlled Substance. She is set to be sentenced to 14 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections. That sentence will run consecutively with a 180 day probation revocation sentence from Dubois Circuit Court. That sentence will be served at the Dubois County Security Center.The Prosecutor’s Office says Merkley also has a 2nd consecutive probation sentence for possession of marijuana that she will serve once she serves her prison term. Merkley is set to be sentenced on March 18th.

To date, 6 of the 16 Operation Big Brother cases have now been resolved. The remaining 10 cases will go to trial at later dates.

All of the defendants were arrested on June 4th of last year as part of the raid. Operation Big Brother is the 2nd major drug raid in the county in recent times. It has been led by the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office and Dubois County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Officer John Anderson.

Next Act Incorporated officials say things are going well with their fundraising for restoring Jasper’s Astra Theater, but there is more work to do.

Of course yesterday, the group announced that they had received a 50 thousand dollar grant from Friends of the Arts to go towards their efforts. The money will be used to create an endowment through the Dubois County Community Foundation and to purchase the Astra building.

Board president Marc Stecyzk says with yesterday’s announcement, the group has now raised about 150 thousand dollars since starting the effort back in December. He says once the group reaches the 200 thousand dollar mark, the community foundation will kick in its 100 thousand dollar matching grant. That would leave the group at 300 thousand dollars, 165 thousand short of their 465 thousand dollar goal with a deadline of March 31st to have all of the money raised.

Stecyzk says though things started off slowly, their early efforts are now paying off:

Stecyzk says publicity for the group should help going into the home stretch. He says the fundraising is being done in 2 phases:

The Friends of the Arts grant was the 2nd largest donation to Next Act’s effort. The largest is the 100 thousand dollar matching grant from the community foundation. That grant was announced back in November of last year.

For more information, you can go to thenextact.org.

Dubois County Emergency Management officials have announced details for this year’s Severe Weather Spotter Training.

The training will be held on Wednesday March 11th at 7 pm. It will take place at the Classroom Building Lecture Hall on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.

The training is free to attend and is open to anyone in the region. That includes weather spotters, emergency responders, and the general public. The goal of the training is to provide knowledge needed to identify and effectively report key severe weather features. It also is designed to help people stay safe during severe weather events including tornadoes and floods.

This year’s training is once again being coordinated by Joe Sullivan. Sullivan is the Warning Coordinating Meterologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Louisville.

If you are planning to attend, officials are encouraging you to go online to crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=spottertraining. Some of the material at the link will not be covered during the training.

Registration is not required to attend. For more information, you can contact Dubois County Emergency Management Director Tammy Humbert at (812)-482-2202 or by emailing duboisema@psci.net.

The Daviess Community Hospital Foundation is accepting applications for this year’s Health Career Scholarships.

The hospital foundation says it will be awarding 13 thousand 500 dollars in scholarships to residents of Daviess, Martin, and Pike counties. Dependents of Daviess Community Hospital employees from any area are also eligible.

The scholarships will be awarded to students attending an accredited college or university who are pursuing degrees in the health care field. The scholarships will be awarded through 2 different programs.

13 thousand dollars will be awarded from the Health Careers Scholarship Program. Each individual recipient could get up to 15 hundred dollars. The remaining 500 dollars will be awarded as 1 scholarship to a nursing student out of the Helen Arthur Memorial Scholarship.

Applications are available now by going online to dchosp.org. For more information you can contact the hospital foundation’s office at (812)-254-2760 extension 1126.

The deadline for all applications is March 30th.

The revitalization of Jasper’s Astra Theater has gotten another shot in the arm.

Next Act Inc, who is leading the effort, announced this morning that they have received a 50 thousand dollar grant from Friends of the Arts Inc. The grant dollars have been transferred to the group’s funds to create an endowment for the Astra and to purchase the building.

The investment is the 2nd largest one in the project to date. The largest was a 100 thousand dollar matching grant given by the Dubois County Community Foundation back in November of last year.

Next Act board president Marc Stecyzk says today’s announcement is important not only to Next Act, but to others who may be interested in this project:

Now Next Act began working to purchase and endow a sustainability fund for the Astra Theater back in December. The goal is still to raise 465 thousand dollars by March 31st. The funds will go towards buying the building and creating the endowment that will assist with monthly costs in the short term and will sustain the building for the long haul.

For more information, you can contact Friends of the Arts president Bob McCarty at (812)-482-5542. For more on Next Act, you can go to thenextact.org.

Local legislators and business leaders are continuing discussions with state officials on the Mid-States Corridor.

Earlier this week, project leader Hank Menke gave his update to the Dubois County Council. Menke told the council that he and District 63 State Representative Mike Braun met with Indiana Department of Transportation commissioner Karl Browning this past Friday to continue discussions on funding. Menke says funding continues to be the biggest issue.

He says Browning is insisting on private sector and local government funding sources before moving ahead:

Now Menke has been making the rounds to local government meetings to ask for their support. He says the public and private support has continued to be robust. Menke is also thankful for Braun’s efforts:

The Dubois County Council approved advertising for 5 thousand dollars a year over each of the next 2 years. Council president Greg Kendall says infrastructure remains a key part of economic development locally:

Menke says the meetings with INDOT will continue. He says consultants from Florida and Texas will also be brought in to get more input on how the project could be funded.

1-to-1 education technology will soon make its way to Jasper Middle School and Jasper High School.

The idea was discussed earlier this week at the Greater Jasper School Board’s regular monthly meeting. Superintendent Dr. Tracey Lorey says step 1 to making that happen is to work on upgrading the infrastructure at both buildings. The district would implement the technology for grades 6 through 12.

Lorey says roughly 1700 devices will need to be purchased. She says a big part of the change will be to make sure teachers understand the role of the technology:

Lorey says school officials are continuing to test out devices that could be used for this initiative. She says the district is also continuing to talk with teachers, students, and other school districts that already use the technology. Both the Northeast and Southeast Dubois school districts have already implemented the 1 to 1 technology.

Lorey says the devices will likely not be ready in time for the start of school next year, though they could be rolled out shortly thereafter. The Jasper school board will look further into the costs of the technology and associated upgrades at future meetings.