Local Coverage

Jasper High School media students can now be heard all across the area.

Yesterday afternoon, 93.7 The Scratch began broadcasting all across the city of Jasper. The signal first went out at around 3 pm and some folks reported picking up the station from as far away as the north side of Ferdinand.

The launch marked the culmination of several years of work for the school’s broadcasting program. The Scratch was originally started last summer as a way for JHS students who are taking media classes to find out if broadcasting is something they want to pursue as a career.

The station is run by former WBDC program director and JHS media teacher Evan Elrod. Its original broadcast area was within the school parking lot and a broadcast license wasn’t even needed. After hearing about the station, many folks in the area began asking about when the station could be heard outside of the school parking lot. Elrod says the school district then applied for a low power license when the FCC’s application window opened last year. That license was approved this past spring.

Elrod says the launch could not have happened without the support of the Jasper school district:

Elrod says things have gone fairly smooth with the school’s broadcasting program. He also says students can learn a lot of different things from broadcasting:

Now the JHS program also features a TV broadcast. That broadcast, known as “Wildcat Weekly”, largely carries school announcements at this point.

Now yesterday’s launch was also the first time on live radio for JHS junior Josh DeWitt. DeWitt filled the first ever DJ shift on the station from 3 til 4 yesterday afternoon. DeWitt says he originally got into broadcasting because he wanted to try something different:

DeWitt says he isn’t sure what he wants to do in broadcasting in the future, though he is considering it as a career option.

With the start of the school year, the station is still looking for interested students. Elrod says students have to apply for positions with the station. The positions are much the same as at a commercial radio station. They include the roles of program director, news director, sports director, and DJ among others.

A Jasper man who suffered minor injuries in a crash near Haysville was arrested on intoxication charges earlier today.

Just before 8:10 this morning, Indiana State Police say 43-year-old Frank Phillips was going westbound along State Road 56 near Sendelweck Curve when he became distracted by something that was falling out of the bed of his pickup truck. That distraction caused Phillips to go left of center.

Meanwhile, 66-year-old John Fuller of Dale was driving eastbound through Sendelweck Curve with his semi when he saw Phillips Frank Phillipscoming towards him. Fuller swerved to avoid Phillips, but Phillips’ truck hit Fuller’s semi in the passenger’s side.

State police say Fuller was not injured, but Phillips was taken to Memorial Hospital to be treated for neck pain. After arriving at the hospital, further investigation found that Phillips was intoxicated. He tested positive for THC and opiates. Phillips was then taken into custody and lodged in the Dubois County Security Center. He is facing operating while intoxicated, driving while suspended, and driving left of center charges.

Fuller’s semi sustained heavy damage while Phillips’ truck was totalled. State Road 56 was closed for more than 2 hours while the crash investigation and cleanup took place.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Haysville First Responders, and Memorial Hospital EMS also assisted.

Now state police want to remind motorists to call 9-1-1 and report any drivers who may be driving erratically. State police say they want to stop distracted, aggressive, and reckless driving before crashes with potentially serious consequences can happen.

Well we’re now approaching the Indiana Bicentennial, but the Indiana Historical Society is already hard at work getting ready.

Earlier today, the Local History Services branch of the society hosted a Brown Bag luncheon for folks across our viewing area to submit their ideas for the celebration. The event was held at the Dubois County Museum and drew a fairly large crowd including several folks from surrounding counties. Now today’s luncheon is 1 of 5 being held across the state this year. 5 more will be held next year.

Stacy Klingler is the director of the Local History Services branch. She says the luncheons are aimed at getting people excited about the state’s bicentennial. She also says Southwestern Indiana has played a big role in the state’s history:

Klingler says the Indiana Historical Society wants the bicentennial to be more of a reflective time. She says folks should remember what it means to be a Hoosier and what the state wants to be going forward. Now the luncheons aren’t the only event the historical society is doing to get people ready for the bicentennial. Other events will include the Indiana Bicentennial Train. That train will be stopping in Jasper for rides September 25th through the 27th.

Local ideas for celebration included a group of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd actors and actresses who are coming to Spencer County along with celebrations in English over in Crawford County.

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.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana House of Representatives’ Statehouse chamber and committee rooms are getting a $750,000 upgrade that includes new leather chairs.

The improvements include new carpeting throughout the chamber, improved digital cables and 127 new leather chairs. The chairs were bought from the Indiana Furniture Company in Jasper for $760 apiece.

The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/Vh1U0O ) House staff has allocated $338,000 so far for upgrades to the House chambers and committee rooms. Roughly $130,000 has been spent so far this summer.

Republican House staff said they are selling the old chairs to earn back some of the money.

Office upgrades at the Statehouse have been a political sticking point for some. Republicans questioned Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s decision to spend $86,000 on improvements at her offices last year.