News

The town of Ferdinand is continuing to move forward with restarting its economic development commission.

Last night, the Ferdinand town council approved Dan Colligon as the first appointment to the commission. Callion also serves on the town’s plan commission.

Now Colligon is the town council’s appointment to the commission. The commission will be made up of 3 people. The 2nd person will be appointed by town council president Ken Sicard and the third appointment will be approved by the Dubois County Council, though the town will recommend a person to fill that seat.

The commission is being restarted in the wake of a recent proposal by Brad Brosmer with Promising Properties. Brosmer is seeking a residential tax abatement from the town to add apartments onto a complex he owns in the 600 block of 9th Street.

Sicard says though the commission is coming back primarily for this project, it will also be a useful group in the future:

On a related note, the council approved new easements for the land around Brosmer’s apartment complex. They also approved taking a 20 foot wide right of way area as town property to eliminate tax burdens on Brosmer.

In other business, the council discussed its budget for 2015. This year’s assessed value for the town came in at more than 89 million 500 thousand dollars. The advertised tax rate will be 76 cents per 100 dollars of assessed value, though the actual rate will likely wind up lower.

Sicard says the town has to continue to be smart in how it spends money. He says town supervisors did just that in their 2015 department budgets:

A public hearing on the budget is set for next month’s council meeting. The hearing begins at 7:30 pm on September 9th.

The city of Huntingburg now has a new animal control ordinance.

Last night, the Huntingburg City Council voted 3 to 2 in favor of the new ordinance. The council passed it on its first reading.

Now the new ordinance was designed following questions raised after a family who has a potbellied pig approached the council. The family wanted to keep the pig as a pet and raised additional issues with animal control in the city. The previous ordinance did not allow for potbellied pigs to be kept, though they have become popular pets nationwide in recent years.

Potbellied pigs are not aggressive animals by nature. They also are not used as food.
The animals have most often been used as pets in nursing homes and for children with disabilities. That is partially due to the animal’s quiet and non-aggressive disposition.

The new ordinance does have some restrictions on potbellied pigs however. The pig cannot weigh more than 150 pounds, cannot be kept outside permanently, has to be kept in a clean environment, and must be registered with city code enforcement. The animals will also have to have yearly vaccinations and medical check-ups.

Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner says the new ordinance will provide clarity for animal control in the city:

The dissenting votes came from councilmen Alex Blackgrove and Steve McPherron. Blackgrove expressed his concern that the provision allowing potbellied pigs into the city could be abused. Meanwhile, McPherron was concerned with how the city would enforce the ordinance.

Meanwhile, councilman Glen Kissling was among those in favor of the new ordinance. He specifically pushed to have the pigs kept indoors and also talked about his concerns about government telling folks what they can and can’t keep in their homes. Amy Lehr was also among those in favor.

A final reading of the ordinance will take place at the council’s next meeting on August 28th.

Jasper-based Kimball International has announced another new appointment to its board of directors.

Patrick “Pat” Connolly’s appointment was announced during yesterday’s regular board meeting. Connolly’s selection comes after an extensive national search in partnership with Chicago-based firm Cook Associates Inc.

Connolly has more than 30 years of experience in executive management and sales leadership. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Sodexo North America along with President of Sodexo Healthcare.

Those companies are based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Sodexo North America has generated revenues of 9 billion dollars and delivers on-site services in several different sectors including corporate, education, and government.

In a news release, Kimball board chairman Douglas Habig says Connolly has played a big role in Sodexo’s transformation into a global markets focused business. He says that experience will help Kimball as the company looks to expand its market presence both domestically and internationally.

Company officials also say Connolly’s appointment will enhance the strategic skillset of the board in light of several retirements and the planned spin-off of the company’s Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) segment later this year.

The board also announced the company’s quarterly dividend yesterday. That is set at 5 cents per share for Class B common stock and 4 and a half cents per share for Class A common stock. That will be payable on October 15th to shareholders of record as of September 25th.

Local officials are again warning folks to beware of school buses as school gets back in session.

At a press conference this afternoon, Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert again asked folks to consider child safety when out on the roads.

Now the sheriff’s department has already gotten a lot of complaints in regards to people running school bus stop arms. Lampert says that behavior will not be tolerated.

He also says other agencies have been working with the sheriff’s department to crack down on drivers who choose to break the law:

Now Greater Jasper superintendent Dr. Tracey Lorey also took part in this afternoon’s press conference. Lorey says part of the problem has to do with people not always paying attention to what they’re doing while driving:

Running a school bus stop arm is a Class A infraction in Indiana. That infraction carries a 124 dollar fine and could even result in someone’s license being suspended.

Lampert is again reminding parents and guardians to teach their kids about being safe when getting onto or off of the school bus. That includes looking both ways before crossing the street.

The home of a Huntingburg woman is now set to be demolished.

This morning, the Huntingburg Board of Public Works voted to demolish the home of Mary Burch. The decision comes after the board opted to stay the order last month to allow Burch more time to get her home in order.

Now Burch was in attendance again this morning. She testified that improvements have been made and more would’ve been done. She asked the board for another 30 days to continue work on the home. That request was denied by the board.

Burch noted that she had applied for a 75 hundred dollar grant from the USDA. She stated that she had sufficient funds to continue improvements. However, board member Roger Cox said he had been past the home numerous times since last month’s meeting. He says he felt it wasn’t possible for Burch to afford repairs to the home to get it up to city code. Both Cox and fellow board member Keith Souders felt Burch’s money could be better spent. In the end, the board felt that the demolition was in the best interest of all involved.

City code enforcement officer Steve Collett, along with Shawn Werner with the Dubois County Health Department and local TRI-CAP home inspector Eric Curtis, inspected the home 3 times, most recently yesterday. Collett concluded that little progress was made in the last month:

Meanwhile, Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner says it was a tough decision. However, he says the situation was hazardous and had to be dealt with:

With today’s decision, Burch now has 10 days to file an appeal with either the Dubois Superior or Circuit Courts. In the meantime, she must prove that efforts are being made to demolish the home within the next 30 days. The demolition has to be done in the next 60 days.

Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert is warning folks to be on the lookout for stopped school buses during school traffic.

Lampert says the department has already received numerous reports of stop arm violations and speeding around school buses. He says there is no excuse for this type of driving and the sheriff’s department will not tolerate it.

Lampert is also reminding parents and guardians to remind their kids about safety when getting on and riding the bus. This includes having kids look both ways before crossing the street to get on the bus, even if the bus’ lights are on and the stop arm extended.

A new hangar for the Huntingburg Airport has taken another step towards becoming reality.

Last night, the Dubois County Airport Authority opened 5 bids for the project. The bids were classified into Division A or Division B. 3 bids were Division A while the other 2 were Division B.

Now all 5 bids came in higher than what Wolpert Engineering had estimated. Airport manager Travis McQueen says in spite of that, the project will continue to move forward:

Wolpert will now go through the bids and come up with a recommendation for the board. That recommendation will be heard during a special meeting set up for Thursday at noon. The meeting will be held at the airport.

In other business, the board approved its 2015 budget. Now its broken down into 2 funds, which are the operating budget and the cumulative budget. The operating budget is set at just over $392,500 for next year while the cumulative budget will be at 300 thousand dollars.

The overall budget is up 13 percent this year, a change McQueen attributed to the hiring of certified flight instructors for student flight training along with rising costs of insurance. McQueen says all is well with this year’s budget and things should stay that way in future years:

The budget will be brought before the Dubois County Council for their approval on August 18th. The budget will also have to be approved by the Huntingburg City Council. McQueen says a date for that presentation is still being worked out.