News

A fire at a Huntingburg residence destroyed a detached garage and caused other damage as well.

Crews with the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene of a garage fire at the Larry Sanders residence along the 900 Block of Shelby Street in Huntingburg earlier this afternoon. Firefighters received the call around 1:45 pm.

Huntingburg Fire Chief Scott Patberg says the garage was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters first arrived:

Patberg says the fire originated from trash in the back of the garage.

No one was in the garage when the blaze broke out. No injuries were reported and the structure was a total loss along with a late model Ford Mustang stored inside. A truck parked outside the garage also sustained minor damage along with some melted siding on the Sanders home. IMG_0169

Huntingburg firefighters responded with 3 trucks and around 15 men and were on the scene for just over an hour.

Huntingburg Police, Huntingburg Utilities and Memorial Hospital EMS also assisted.

The 9th District US Representative’s race now has a local flavor to it.

Erin HouchinEarlier today, District 47 Senator Erin Houchin announced on her campaign website that she will be seeking the Republican nomination for the District 9 seat. That seat is currently held by Republican Todd Young, who has decided to run for the Indiana Senate seat that Dan Coats is vacating at the end of next year.

The 38-year-old Houchin currently serves the eastern part of Dubois County along with all of Crawford, Orange, Perry, Harrison and Washington counties. Houchin just completed the first year of a 4 year term in the Indiana Senate. She defeated long-time Democratic incumbent Richard Young by nearly 6 thousand votes in the 2014 election.

Houchin’s state senate seat would have to be filled by someone chosen by the state Republican party if she were to be elected to Congress.

Work with the Parklands property has taken another step forward.

The Jasper Park Board approved hiring Evansville-based Hafer Associates as the design firm for the Parklands during their regular monthly meeting last night. Parks director Ken Buck says there were 8 firms who sent back proposals for the design efforts. However, he says the experience of Hafer Associates is what made them stand out:

Buck says design costs have not yet been determined. He says park officials are hoping to get the design process done by the end of this year. Buck says development of any plans at the Parklands would likely start next year, though the park will remain as a passive park area when all is said and done.

Now a framework for the Parklands was laid out during a public hearing held back in March at KlubHaus 61. Jasper city consultants David Gamble with Gamble and Associates along with Barry Alberts of CityVisions laid out several ideas, including a connected wetlands area with a pedestrian bridge, a network of trails that would be built and extended off of existing cart paths, and a small outdoor amphitheater for performances.

At that meeting, Gamble preached the importance of staying patient regardless of what form the Parklands takes on:

The framework is available by going online to jasperindiana.gov.

Business is booming in the town of Ferdinand, including a couple of new tax abatements.

Last night, the Ferdinand Town Council signed off on tax abatements for Webb Wheel Products and Best Home Furnishings. Webb Wheel is investing $325,000 into building improvements along with $3 million in additional equipment. Webb Wheel representatives say there will not be any employees added as the equipment will primarily be automated. Webb Wheel is adding 2 new production lines to their building, as they only have 1 currently. They received a 4 year abatement from the town. The abatement will be 100% the first year, 75% in year 2, 50% in year 3, and 25% in the final year.

Meanwhile, Best Home Furnishings will be adding manufacturing and logistical distribution equipment along with hiring 20 new employees. They will get an 8 year abatement from the town. Their abatement will be 100% for the first 5 years before dropping to 75% in year 6, 50% in year 7 and 25% in year 8.

Now both companies have operations in other area communities such as Tell City and Cannelton where they could have expanded. Town council president Ken Sicard says getting the expansion in Ferdinand is another good sign for the town:

In other business, the town council learned that the ongoing phosphorous project at the town’s water treatment plant is starting to get expensive. The council learned that the project will likely cost around $2 million for the sludge drying beds. The original estimates set the cost at around $1.4 million, the least expensive of the 3 options that the town considered.

Sicard says though the cost is not what the town wanted to hear, there are options available:

The council also heard that the project’s timeline will likely be pushed back a little bit. The deadline for submitting paperwork and getting underway with construction is May of next year, but project engineers believe it will take longer than that to get all of the paperwork taken care of.

In final notes, the council approved advertising for a new police chief. Current chief Ricky Patton is leaving his post in October to relocate to North Carolina where his wife accepted another job with MasterBrand Cabinets.

Additionally, Ferdinand residents will now be able to pay town bills with credit cards. Clerk-treasurer Bev Schulthise says residents can do so online at egov.com or over the phone. There will be a roughly 2.5% convenience charge added on for any credit card transactions.

Street paving projects will soon begin in Huntingburg.

The project list for this year was submitted as part of the Huntingburg Board of Public Works meeting that was held earlier this month. Mayor Denny Spinner says the biggest area of concern has been 1st Street, which runs past the police station and goes into Huntingburg City Park for activities there including Dubois County Bombers games.

Spinner says once other projects in the area get completed, the city will turn its attention to fixing 1st Street:

Spinner says the city will spend more than $200,000 for street pavings this year. That’s about the same amount that was spent last year. He says even with everything else going on in the city with Stellar Communities and other projects, infrastructure remains key:

Spinner says paving work will begin in August and will last through the end of the paving season.

Mayor Terry Seitz will be taking part in a new tradition later this week.

Seitz will be receiving the Dove of World Peace during a presentation at Jasper City Hall. The presentation gets underway at 1 o’clock.

The dove was brought to Jasper by a group of Jasper High School students who traveled to Germany back in May. The dove was made by artist Richard Hillinger, who wants it to “fly” all around the world in an effort to bring peace to countries through travel and learning about cultures.

After tomorrow’s presentation, Seitz will hold onto the dove until sometime during Strassenfest, when it will be presented to Mayor Hahn of Pfaffenweiler, Jasper’s sister city. Mayor Hahn will then return the bird to the artist, who will give it to other communities all around the world.

The dove has been ‘flying’ all around the world promoting world peace since 2012.

Jasper Police are looking for help from the public as they investigate a hit and run accident that took place during the noon hour today.

Police say at a quarter after 12 this afternoon a motorcycle was paused at the stoplight at 15th and Newton Streets when the bike’s operator told police a silver hatchback, possibly a Mitsubishi or a Mazda struck the motorcycle’s rear tire knocking the bike from under him.

Police say the silver hatchback then continued northbound on Newton Street and has not been seen since.

Jasper Police ask that anyone with any information about this accident and the whereabouts of the silver hatchback to call the the Jasper Police Department at 812-482-2255 or the department’s anonymous tip line at 812-481-COPS.