Local Coverage

Changes and improvements may be on the way for Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium as soon as next year.

Last night, Jasper Football Boosters president Richard Farr presented a proposal to the Greater Jasper School Board on behalf of the football boosters, the football program, and the Jasper High School athletic department. Farr sought approval to pursue fundraising for new artificial turf for the facility as part of a 3 to 5 year improvement plan. Farr told the board the turf would be completely funded by community donations.

As part of that plan, the boosters will work with JHS athletic director Andy Noblitt and head football coach Tony Ahrens to negotiate field naming rights for businesses or individuals that could help to fund the new turf. Final approval of the funding and rights would have to be granted by the school board.

Now any naming changes would not affect the stadium itself. Farr says the naming rights would only apply to the playing surface. Jerry Brewer guided the Wildcat football program for 44 years before retiring in 2002. The stadium was named in his honor in September of 2008.

Farr says the estimated cost of field turf for Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium would be around 7 to 800 thousand dollars. He says the improvements are much needed:

Farr also noted that Southridge High School made the transition to field turf 5 years ago for about 500 thousand dollars. Thus, he told the board the 7 to 800 thousand dollar estimate was fairly close to reality.

Farr stated that the current turf was damaged after the harsh winter and an abnormally cool summer. He says mother nature has taken its toll:

Farr says replacing the current field would cost somewhere around 300 to 350 thousand dollars. However, he also pointed out there would be an additional cost of roughly 30 thousand dollars a year for maintaining a new grass field. Farr says artificial turf has a life span of 8-12 years and requires little in the way of maintenance.

Now if the change to field turf is approved and funding is secured, the new playing surface could be in place in time for the 2015 football season. The board directed superintendent Dr. Tracey Lorey and Noblitt to further study the annual cost of maintaining the current football field. A decision on the turf could come at next month’s board meeting.

As mentioned earlier, new turf is only 1 part of the 3 to 5 year improvement plan Farr presented. Improvements to stadium entrances, seating, press facilities, and restrooms were also part of Farr’s proposal.

Compensation for county employees continues to be a hot topic for the Dubois County Council.

Last night, the council heard from Adam Auffart with the Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP). Auffart laid out a plan that would determine whether employees were being overpaid or underpaid or if they were being fairly paid.

Now Auffart’s idea sparked some discussion amongst the council. Councilman Mark Brescher stated that a formula to determine fair compensation for employees in the future needs to be put in place as part of any study. That suggestion was echoed by county council president Greg Kendall and others.

Kendall has been on the council for 30 years. He says over that time, things have changed to a point where a complete study is needed:

Meanwhile, Auffart says setting a formula for the future is the right way to go in his view:

Now the council is still considering Waggoner, Irwin, and Scheele as a firm that could do the study for the county. The price tag for the study is set at nearly 50 thousand dollars. Any study would likely take 9 to 10 months to complete. The goal is to have it done in time for next year’s budget discussions.

On a related note, the council heard from sheriff Donny Lampert concerning the raises the council agreed to give to employees at last Monday’s budget hearings. Lampert expressed concern that the raises for part-time employees turned out to be higher than those for full-time employees. Last Monday, the council agreed to give $30 bi-weekly raises for full-time workers and 45 cent per hour raises to part-time workers. According to Lampert, part-time employees in his department would wind up with a 936 dollar raise whereas full-time workers would only get an 810 dollar raise.

Lampert proposed adjusting the raises to make them even for all employees. The council opted to leave things as they were for this year and to continue looking into things for the future.

A new country music festival will be coming to Jasper just in time for Labor Day weekend.

The 1st ever Bud Light Country Music and Brew Fest is set to take place this Saturday from 11 am to 4:30 pm along the River Walk. The festival will feature three acts in all.

The first act set to take the stage will be Haywire. They will be starting their performance at 11 o’clock. The Linda Smith Band will then take the stage at 1 o’clock as the second act.

The headlining act will be Nashville recording artist Jason Sturgeon. He will take the stage at 3 pm. Sturgeon will perform through to the close of the festival on Saturday.

The Country Music and Brew Fest is set to follow up this year’s 3rd Heartland Half Marathon, 5K, and Team Challenge. There will also be several different food vendors featured. These include BR Associates and Villa Pizzeria. Hedinger Beverage will also be on hand to supply the brews for this event.

Folks are invited to bring lawn chairs as seating will be limited at the River Walk. Picnic blankets are also being recommended.

For more information, you can contact Kevin Manley at 482-9115. You can also go online to visitduboiscounty.com or to the festival’s Facebook page.

A new statewide initiative aimed at replacing the Community Conversations series will be coming soon to the Vincennes University Jasper Campus and Dubois County.

This morning, the planning committee for the All-In initiative held a meeting in the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus. This morning’s meeting focused on the Dubois County kickoff event. That event will take place on Tuesday, September 16th.

Now the All-In initiative was designed by Indiana Humanities, which is a statewide non-profit group aimed at connecting people with their communities. Its goal is to challenge Hoosiers to think, read, talk and do.The initiative does this through 16 challenges divided into different categories such as explore, discover, and dream. The All-In initiative was created as a new way to help connect folks with their communities ahead of Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial. The program’s statewide launch was back in mid-June.

Kristin Hess is the director of special projects for Indiana Humanities. She says the program has already held several launch parties across the state, including 1 last week at the University of Indianapolis that drew 600 incoming students. She says the All-In initiative has been well-received by those who have participated:

Hess says the All-In initiative has several launches coming up besides the one here in Dubois County. She says some of those include one in central Indiana’s Hamilton County and several statewide networks.

Meanwhile, Vincennes University Jasper Campus dean Dr. Alan Johnson says bringing the All-In campaign to Dubois County is a way to get more people involved:

Now as mentioned, the kickoff event for Dubois County is set for Tuesday September 16th. It will go from 5 til 7 pm in the CTIM building at VUJC. Some of the challenges that will be part of the Dubois County launch party will include ethic food and music, family stories, a timeline challenge called Indiana-versary, book donations, inspirational quotes, and shaping the future.

If you can’t make it to the event on September 16th, you can still get involved in the challenge. You can go online to indianahumanities.org/all-in to get involved.

CRANE (AP)-The Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, Purdue Research Foundation and Purdue’s Discovery Park have signed a partnership agreement aimed at showcasing their intellectual property and moving their innovations to the public.

Crane and Purdue will remain independent in ownership of their intellectual property, but Crane’s intellectual property will be marketed alongside Purdue University’s innovations through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

Purdue Research Foundation President Dan Hasler says because much of Crane’s and Purdue’s research is focused on similar disciplines and industries, the partnership could lead to bundling Crane’s and Purdue’s licensing deals.

Brooke Pyne from Crane’s Technology Transfer Office says partnering with academia provides Crane a credible avenue to move even more innovative technology through the commercialization pipeline.

Options are now available for local farmers who will be using cover crops.

The Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District has announced that it is accepting applications for its cover crop cost share program. Incentive payments available through the cost share program are set aside for crop ground in Dubois County.

Now cover crops (cereal grains, radishes, and clover) are typically planted prior to the end of September each year. They are designed to protect the ground from erosion that takes place during the winter months. The crops are also designed to hold in nutrients such as nitrogen and keep them from washing into waterways. Finally, the roots of the cover crops help in breaking up soil compaction, thus creating favorable spring planting conditions.

There will be 3 different payment rates in the cost share program. A diverse cover crop mix including 1 broad leaf and 1 legume species is 20 dollars per acre for aerial application. Its 15 dollars an acre for other application methods. The maximum coverage area will be 75 acres. Also, the SWCD is set to offer a cost share payment of 10 dollars an acre for any single cover crop species or grain. The maximum area there is capped at 50 acres.

Landowners have to aerially apply the seed or broadcast or drill the seed into their land through no-till or vertical tilling practices. Conventional tilling is not allowed. Also, the cover crops may not be harvested for forage. Those who apply will have to agree to no-till their cash crops for spring 2015 into these fields.

The SWCD is able to offer this program thanks to a Clean Water Indiana grant from the state. This is the 4th CWI grant awarded to the Dubois County SWCD for cover crop cost share. The current grant is valid for 3 years and will guarantee that cost share is available for cover crops to Dubois County landowners through this year.

For more information, you can call the Dubois County SWCD at 482-1171 extension 3. You can also go online to duboisswcd.org.

The deadline for applications is September 30th.

Officials in Holland are now looking for entries to this year’s celebration parade.

The Holland Community Fest will be holding its 155th event from September 12th through the 14th. The parade is set for 2 o’clock on Saturday the 13th. The parade is held once every 5 years and officials say this one may be the best one yet.

Entry forms and an event schedule are available by going online to hollandindiana.org. You can also call Andrea Peters at 683-2329 if you have questions or need further information.