Local Coverage

Though a silent auction is the biggest part of the effort to preserve the Mother of God Grotto, its hardly the only one.

The auction, of course, got underway last Friday. 85 paintings from Father Thad Sztuczko are being auctioned off to raise money to go towards preservation of the Grotto, which stands outside the Cathedral Health Care Center in Jasper.

Irene Kapp has been leading the Grotto preservation efforts. She says the Grotto should stay the way it is, though the monument does need some work such as cleaning up the geodes that are part of its structure and painting statues out along Bartley Street. Kapp says most of that work will get underway this summer once temperatures warm up.

Kapp says while the Grotto would be preserved for the community, there could be future uses for it:

Kapp also wants to work with the Dubois County Visitors Center to promote the Grotto for tourists who visit Dubois County. She says the Grotto is something that everyone should see.

Kapp says there are also preservation options available at the state level:

Kapp says she will be writing a book about the Grotto. She says that book will be based off of information that she came across while collecting the paintings for the auction, such as how the Grotto was built and various molds used to build it.

The silent auction will continue through Sunday, March 15th. Final bids will be taken at 3 o’clock that afternoon.

Though winter weather is still hanging around, Dubois County Emergency Management says its never too early to get prepared for spring and severe weather.

The agency will be holding its annual Weather Radio programming drive next Saturday March 14th from 10 am to 2 pm eastern time. The programming will take place in the Electronics Department at the northside Jasper Walmart.

During the event, people can bring their NOAA weather radios to the booth at the Walmart and volunteers will program them for you. There is no charge to have the radios programmed, though the agency does ask that you bring the instruction manual that came with your radio along with batteries.

For more information, you can call Dubois County Emergency Management at (812)-482-2202.

Now NOAA weather radios operate 24 hours a day. They provide a reliable source for timely weather information, including severe weather and tornado watches and warnings.

Jasper’s Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center has announced another appointment to its medical staff.

The hospital says John Gallagher, MD, is the most recent appointment. Gallagher joins Drs Mark Campbell and Frank Hopkins along with nursing assistant Shawn Valuch at Memorial Internal Medicine. Gallagher will be handling adult medicine services.

Dr. Gallagher earned his medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He later completed a residency in family practice at Community Hospital in Indianapolis. Gallagher previously served as the Chief Medical Officer at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville and was most recently the Chief Medical Officer at Daviess Community Hospital in Washington. He practiced geriatric and adult medicine services during his tenures at St. Mary’s and Daviess Community Hospitals.

Dr. Gallagher is board certified in family medicine and geriatrics. He’s also a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. A southern Indiana native, Dr. Gallagher is a past winner of the Geriatric Recognition Award from the American Geriatric Society.

Dr. Gallagher and his wife Becky live in Loogootee. The couple have 2 sons and a granddaughter.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gallagher, you can call Memorial Internal Medicine at (812)-482-7474.

A Petersburg man will be among more than 150 taking part in the 2015 kickoff event and season for a top-shelf bass fishing tour.

John Voyles will start his 7th season in the Pro Division on the Walmart FLW Tour this Thursday at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida. The season opening event runs from Thursday to Sunday. Up to 125 thousand dollars cash will be awarded in the pro division while up to 25 thousand dollars cash will be given out in the co-angler division.

John VoylesVoyles has taken part in 80 tournaments over the first 6 years of his career. He’s finished in the top 10 7 times and won more than 219 thousand dollars. This season will also mark another run for Voyles at qualifying for the season-long championship Forrest Wood Cup.

This season is also a special one for the Walmart FLW Tour. This is the 20th anniversary season for the tour, now widely acknowledged as the most competitive Tour in professional bass-fishing.

Anyone who wants live updates on how Voyles is faring can go online to FLWFishing.com. You can also like the tour’s pages on Facebook and Twitter.

The debate over how to fix the ongoing problems with meth labs in Indiana continues as legislators hope tighter regulations is part of the answer.

A major step in this battle was the passage of Senate Bill 536 this past Tuesday. It passed the Senate by a 46-3 vote.

The major issue has centered around the availability of pseudoephedrine to meth makers. Pseudoephedrine, which is often found in over-the-counter cold medicine, is one of the key ingredients in the meth-making process.

Now Senate Bill 536 cracks down on those with drug-related felonies.The bill further defines what drug related felonies are and requires courts to report them to the Indiana State Police. Additionally, state police would have to report drug related felonies to NPLEx. NPLEx then will generate a “stop-sale” alert that bans anyone with a drug-related felony from buying either ephedrine or pseudoephedrine over the counter. Drug felons thus could not buy psuedoephedrine without a prescription.

District 47 senator Erin Houchin and District 48 senator Mark Messmer were among those who voted for the bill. Messmer says there were other ideas on the table before this version of the bill passed:

One provision that was removed at the last second would have made pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug for everyone if the number of meth-related incidents in Indiana did not significantly decrease by 2019.

Messmer says even with SB 536 passing, the fight against meth production will continue. He says other states have passed similar laws to what Senate Bill 536 lays out, but those laws have not been successful:

The bill is now in the House awaiting a vote. House leaders say the idea of making pseudoephedrine a prescription only drug for everyone is still on the table as the House debate will likely revolve around how to effectively curb meth production in Indiana in light of many other efforts that have failed.

Efforts to continue the preservation the Mother of God Grotto at Jasper’s Cathedral Health Care Center got underway late last week.

Friday night, the Friends of the Grotto kicked off a month-long silent auction at the Dubois County Museum. The group is auctioning off 85 paintings done by the late Father Thaddeus Sztuczko (STUTZKO) to raise money for keeping the Grotto in good condition. Father Thad was the administrator at the then Providence Home from 1972 until 1995 when Father Angelo Quadrini succeeded him. Father Thad passed away in 2008 at the age of 93.

Irene Kapp is leading the effort to auction off the paintings. She says though she isn’t sure how this all came together for her, all has turned out well:

Now several area artists and art educators showed up Friday night to see the works. Myra Schuetter was among the artists on hand. Schuetter says among many things that one can learn from Father Thad’s art, there is one lesson that stands out:

Former Jasper High School fine arts department chairman Tom Schum also stopped by. Schum, who spent 35 years at JHS before retiring in 2002, says the artwork was part of the great legacy Father Thad created in Jasper:

The silent auction will continue through Sunday March 15th at the Dubois County Museum. Final bids will be taken at 3 o’clock that afternoon.

The Grotto, which is located along Bartley Street behind Cathedral Health Care Center, was completed in 1970 after 10 years of work. It was built by Father Philip Ottavi.

More accolades have been given to a Spencer County campground.

Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort in Santa Claus has been named as a top destination RV park by Good Sam RV Travel. It is the only RV park in Indiana and 1 of just 54 RV parks in the United States to be recognized with this honor.

In its review, the Good Sam website defines destination parks as virtual jumping-off points for the most popular destinations in North America. Good Sam says many of the parks help guests to arrange tours and provide various information about regional points of interest.

This year’s destination parks list was chosen by editors and consultants for the Good Sam RV Travel and Savings Guide. The 54 parks were chosen out of Good Sam’s database, which includes more tha 7 thousand private RV parks. You can visit GoodSamCamping.org for the complete list.

Lake Rudolph will be opening for the 2015 season on Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th. The campground will then be open daily starting on May 1st.

For more information or to make your reservations, you can visit LakeRudolph.com or you can call 1-877-478-3657.