News

A pair of local marching bands were in action this past weekend.

The Jasper Marching Wildcats travelled to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the Contest of Champions. Jasper came home in 2nd place behind Dobyns-Bennett High School out of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Meanwhile, the Forest Park Marching Rangers made a trip up to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Bands of America regional competition. Forest Park came home midpack in the preliminary round.

The Southridge Marching Raiders hosted a morning 5K run on Saturday to raise money. The band also took the field at 7 pm for a joint performance with members of the Tecumseh High School band.

The bands will be competing in semi-state competition this Saturday. Forest Park will travel to Franklin Community High School in Franklin. The Rangers will perform in Class D at 5:46 pm.

Meanwhile, Southridge goes to Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis for Class C competition. The Raiders will take the field at 4:15 pm.

Finally, Jasper will compete in Class B at Indianapolis’ Pike High School Saturday afternoon at 3:49 pm.

2 new sites have been added for vendors at the Ferdinand Christkindlmarkt.

The Ferdinand Elementary gym and the Historic Wollenmann House will be the new locations hosting vendors. That brings the number of vending locations to 10. More than 175 vendors will be taking part in this year’s festivities.

Other locations include the Ferdinand Community Center, the Tri-County YMCA, the Forest Park High School Practice Gym, Junior High Gym, and Cafeteria, and the Ferdinand American Legion. The vendors will be selling items including antiques, collectibles, country furniture, and lamps.

This year’s Christkindlmarkt will begin on Friday November 14th. Opening ceremonies get underway at 6:30 that evening with the appearance of the Christkindl (Christmas Angel). That ceremony will be followed by the Sisters of St. Benedict hosting their Simply Divine Bake Sale.

The market portion of the Christkindlmarkt will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday November 15th and from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday November 16th. All aforementioned times are eastern time.

For more information, you can call Diane Hoppenjans at 812-367-2908.

It’s still late October, but one Spencer County community is already gearing up for the Christmas season.

Officials in Santa Claus have announced this year’s Christmas Celebration will be taking place over the first 3 weekends of December. The activities will take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between December 5th and December 21st.

Some of the events this year will include The Story of Santa Claus at the Santa Claus Museum and Village, the Run Run Rudolph 5K through Lake Rudolph’s Santa Claus Land of Lights, Christmas Dinner with Santa at Santa’s Lodge, and the performance of ‘Scrooge’s Christmas’ at Heritage Hills High School. That performance is put on by Lincoln Amphitheatre.

Weekend lodging specials will be made available at Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, Santa’s Cottages, Santa’s Lodge, Motel 6, and Rockport Comfort Inn and Suites.

For more information, you can call the Spencer County Visitors Bureau at 888-444-9252. You can also go online to SantaClausInd.org/Christmas.

A fire that broke out late this morning in a Jasper fast food restaurant that caused damage to the building’s interior is now being considered an act of arson resulted in the arrest of an employee from Knox County on not just a charge of arson, but others including drug possession and theft.   

Just before 11:30 am Firefighters with the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department responded to the Rally’s restaurant along US 231 near the Crossing where Jasper Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang says the blaze was discovered by firefighters in a restroom storage cabinet.

Firemen were able to knock out the blaze in a matter of minutes.

Initially, Hochgesand said exactly what started the fire had yet to be determined though it is was considered suspicious in nature. The Jasper Police Department and Dubois County Sheriff’s Department were called to look further into the matter.

An investigation revealed a strong odor of gasoline coming from within the building. Authorities say an employee 24-year old Braxton Cannon of Vincennes had intentionally started the fire using gasoline and a lighter in the employee restroom.

Police say while being patted down, Cannon became physically resistant with officers and was found to have a white powdery substance in a baggie that police say later field tested positive for methanphetamine.

Police also found 80-dollars in cash in his possession that Cannon admitted to have taken out of the store register as he was leaving the building after setting the fire.

Cannon was taken to the Dubois County Security Center where he was booked on Level 4 Felony counts of Arson, and possession of Methamphetamine as well as a Level 6 felony count of theft and a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement.

Meanwhile Hochgesang estimated damage at around 15-hundred dollars and says its uncertain whether or not the restaurant will be open for business today mostly due to needed clean-up.

32 men with three trucks responded to the call.  Firefighters were on the scene for about 30 minutes.

No injuries were reported.

A late morning fire at a Jasper fast food restaurant resulted in damage to the building’s interior.

Just before 11:30 am firefighters with the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department responded to the Rally’s restaurant along US 231 near the Crossing where Jasper Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang says the blaze was discovered by firefighters in a restroom storage cabinet. Firemen were able to knock out the blaze in a matter of minutes.

Hochgesang says exactly what started the fire has yet to be determined. He estimated damage at around 15-hundred dollars.

32 men with three trucks responded to the call. Firefighters were on the scene for about 30 minutes.

Redevelopment of the former JOFCO building into workforce housing continues to move along.

Last night, the Jasper City Council approved writing a letter of support for the project. Project developer Miller-Valentine Group needs the letter of support from the city in order to secure related tax credits from the state. Those tax credits would come from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The credits would help to keep rent for the new units below market rate.

The project seeks to convert a large part of the former JOFCO building at 13th and Vine Streets into apartments for working folks. The factory originally closed in the early 2000’s, though the office space was being used before Jasper Group purchased JOFCO last year. The office space is now occupied by Cash Waggner. The project was originally proposed at the council’s May meeting.

Last month, Jasper mayor Terry Seitz called the project a great opportunity for further development in the city:

Now if development were to take place, the city of Jasper is offering 500 thousand dollars in tax abatements or related incentives. 450 thousand of that amount is for onsite work.

The project is expected to cost 12 to 13 million dollars if it were to be approved.

Progress continues to be made on the Stellar Communities effort in Huntingburg.

Yesterday, the core committee representing the city went to Indianapolis for their first meeting to review the city’s complete application. This also marked the first look at funding for each project associated with the Stellar application.

Now the core committee met with representatives of the Lt Governor’s Office, the Indiana Housing Authority, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The main goal of the meeting was to coordinate state and local funding for each individual project. City representatives also heard about funding cycles from the state and began developing a timeline for the projects to be done.

Now there are 8 different projects that the city will fund. These include redeveloping the former St. Joseph’s hospital property for senior housing, a 3 phase heritage trail, and a downtown park area among others.

Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner says things continue to go well with the Stellar designation. He is asking folks to stay patient as the process continues:

A full report on yesterday’s meeting will be given to the Huntingburg City Council at their regular meeting. That will begin at 7 o’clock this evening at Huntingburg City Hall.

Now the city originally received the Stellar designation back in August. The city will be getting 10 million dollars in funding over the next 4 years.