Local Coverage

Needed technology upgrades for the city of Jasper are now set to move forward.

Last night, the Jasper Utility Service Board approved an agreement with Technology Dynamics to design a new phone system for the city and replace the current system. That project is expected to cost nearly 17 thousand 800 dollars. The city will pay half of the cost and the other half will be paid by the utility service board.

Now the new system will be used at all city and utility offices. Utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger says the updates are long overdue:

Hauersperger says the communication between departments would be much easier with a new phone system.

The board also continued discussions on plans for a fiber network. The city is now getting proposals for a project that would create a fiber optic cable loop.

Hauersperger says the idea could wind up being for more than just city government:

Hauersperger says a couple of companies who were asked for proposals have shown interest in adding a city-wide fiber optic network.

In other business, the board heard updates on a couple of different gas and water department projects. Gas and water commissioner Ernie Hinkle told the board that the Whoderville gas main extension project is now moving forward. Hinkle stated that the materials for the project are set to be ordered this week. He says the goal is to get the project done by the winter so the line can have gas in it. Hinkle also told the board that the Kimball industrial park gas line extension continues to move along. Hinkle says pipe has now been delivered for that project and work to get it finished will now continue.

Finally last night, Hinkle informed the board that fall hydrant flushing is now underway throughout the city of Jasper. It got started last Monday. The flushing will be completed coming up in mid-October.

A pair of railroad crossing closures in our area have once again been rescheduled.

Norfolk Southern railroad crews will now close the crossing at State Road 64 in Huntingburg next Monday. It had been set to start yesterday. The crossing at State Road 257 in Velpen over in Pike County will be closed beginning tomorrow.

Now the State Road 64 crossing will be closed all next week. The repairs are expected to be completed by Friday, September 26th. Traffic will be detoured along US 231 and State Road 162.

Meanwhile, the Velpen crossing closure will begin tomorrow and run through this Friday, September 19th. That detour will follow State Roads 56, 61, and 64.

INDOT says local traffic will have access up to the railroad crossing at both locations while work is being done. All lanes will be closed at the crossing and there will be no through traffic.

The new Jasper Engines and Transmissions re manufacturing facility on Power Drive has completed its first week of operations.

Production at the new facility officially began last Monday, September 8th. Company officials say the first transmission to be re manufactured there was a front-wheel drive GM 4T65E.

Now the Power Drive facility will feature 14 work areas known as PODS for re manufacturing of the transmissions when all is said and done. Specific transmission families will be re manufactured in specific PODS. Mega-PODS will be utilized for re manufacturing higher volume transmissions.

There are a few long-term goals in place for the Power Drive facility as well. One of those is to eventually begin all new transmission product launches from the facility. Another is the possibility of future growth. Company officials say the Power Drive facility will only take up about 60 percent of the space in the building initially. There will then be opportunities to expand into the remaining space in future years.

The Power Drive expansion was announced back in April. It is the company’s 3rd major expansion within the last few years. Up to 235 new jobs could be created at the facility by the year 2017.

The Power Drive facility is 1 of 5 re manufacturing facilities that Jasper Engines has. The others are Wernsing Road, Jasper West, Crawford County, and Willow Springs, Missouri.

Radius Indiana has received a prestigious grant for the 2nd consecutive year.

President and CEO Becky Skillman announced yesterday that Radius has been awarded a 20 thousand dollar University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) grant. The grant is funded by the Indiana Education Roundtable. It was awarded based off of findings that were compiled from various research from local and regional advisory councils throughout the 8-county Radius Indiana region.

Now CELL originally established the Education-Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN) grants in order to address the need to align the state’s K-12 and post-secondary education with the needs of the workforce. Skillman says the initiative is important due to the availability of a trained workforce being a major factor in where a business chooses to locate.

The plan will also allow for production of a toolkit of outreach materials to be used by Radius Indiana, the community, and members of the Radius Regional Workforce and Education Council. The toolkits will be used to promote regional career and technical opportunities.

This phase of the workforce and education development is expected to be completed by November of this year. The award follows up last year’s 75 thousand dollar award. It was used to establish the local and regional advisory councils.

Another promotion has been announced at the Indiana State Police Jasper Post.

On Sunday, Trooper George Wooten was promoted to sergeant. He will now serve as a district squad leader for the Jasper Post.

A native of Jackson County, Wooten is a 2000 graduate of Brownstown High School. He then earned a George Wootenbachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2004 at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Wooten originally graduated from the Indiana State Police’s Recruit Academy in 2004. He was then assigned to the Toll Road and transferred to the Jasper District in 2006 in order to patrol Perry County.

WOoten’s roles with the state police have included being a member of the Tactical Intervention Platoon, Field Training Officer, and a Firearms Instructor.

Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner has decided to run for a 2nd term in office.

This morning, the Republican mayor made his announcement at Cool Beans along 4th Street in Huntingburg. In his announcement, the mayor pointed to the recent Stellar Communities designation and the projects that will be part of it as major accomplishments thus far in his first term.

Spinner says with all that has been accomplished, he wants to be able to see how things unfold into the future:

Spinner says he is grateful for the support he has had from everyone in Huntingburg so far. He says that support will play a key role in the future if he is elected again:

Spinner was originally elected back in 2011. He received 59 percent of the vote in that election. Democratic candidate Janet Schneider Kemp got the other 41 percent of the vote.

Spinner has spent much of his life in Huntingburg. The 1974 graduate of Southridge High School spent many years in radio, including a tenure as news and sports director for 101 Country WBDC.

Spinner is currently running unopposed. He is the 2nd local mayor to announce plans to run for re-election. Jasper mayor Terry Seitz made his announcement a couple of weeks ago.

A Daviess County man suffered broken bones after he crashed his motorcycle near Haysville over the weekend.

At 7:25 last night, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the reported accident along State Road 56 east of Haysville. Deputies say 44-year-old David Holt of Odon had been going westbound along State Road 56 approaching Sendelweck Curve. They say Holt had troubles with the glare from the sun and he did not see the curve. Holt began to enter the curve, realized it, and locked the back tire of his motorcycle. The motorcycle then skidded, crossed the eastbound lane of State Road 56, and ran off of the east side of the highway into a ditch.

Holt was thrown off of the motorcycle in the accident. He broke his right arm and deputies say he may have also broken his left leg and ankle. Holt was wearing a helmet, which deputies say reduced his injuries. He was taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The Haysville Fire Department First Responders, Memorial Hospital EMS, and a wrecker from Uelbehor and Sons also assisted.