An investigation into alleged sexual misconduct led to the arrest of a Washington man on related charges.

On Tuesday, Washington Police arrested 25-year-old Jose Ayala on a warrant. He is facing 2 counts for sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to a probable cause affadavit, Ayala was in a relationship with a 15-year-old girl though police say he was married at the time. The girl told Washington police detectives earlier this year that she and Ayala had had sexual relations.

When interviewed by detectives earlier this month, Ayala confirmed what the girl had told them. He further said he had relations with the girl twice.

Ayala was lodged in the Daviess County Security Center on a 10 thousand dollar bond. His initial hearing is pending in Daviess Superior Court.

Folks who drive State Road 145 through Perry County will need to seek an alternate route starting next week.

On or after Monday, August 4th, officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation will be closing State Road 145 between Interstate 64 and the town of Bristow to apply a chip-and-seal treatment to the road.

Now chip-and-seal is done to seal small cracks that form in highways. INDOT officials say those cracks form over the years after heavy traffic and the winter freeze-thaw cycles. If they are not treated, those cracks fill with moisture and that leads to potholes forming after the water freezes and expands. INDOT says national research found that every dollar used to preserve pavements leads to savings of 6 to 14 dollars in future repairs that are more disruptive to traffic in an area.

In this case, the chip-and-seal treatment will be done to preserve and protect a roughly 7 mile stretch of State Road 145. Loose stone will be on the highway temporarily during the initial curing phase of the asphalt. The stretch of highway will be open to local traffic only, but drivers are still being urged to slow down and allow additional space between vehicles in order to keep the stone chips from damaging windshields or paint on car bodies.

After the chip seal cures, crews will then sweep the highway to clear off the loose stone. They will then lightly apply dark asphalt materials to lock in any leftover rock and to minimize dust.

For more news and information about road projects in Southwestern Indiana, you can follow INDOT Southwest on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Today marked Day 1 of the Jasper Strassenfest and there is plenty of new entertainment set for this year’s edition.

The events got started at 9 o’clock this morning with a youth golf tournament at Ruxer Golf Course. Other events throughout the kickoff day include a Strassenfest history exhibit at the Dubois County Museum from 10 am to 2 pm, the Jasper City Mill being open from 10 am to 4 pm, and the 6 pm opening of the beer garden. Of course, the official opening ceremonies for this year’s Strassenfest will be at 6:15 tonight on the main stage.

Now as mentioned, there is also new entertainment this year. Those acts include Phil Dirt and the Dozers, Haywire, the Sisters of 2nd Avenue, and Creedence Revive. Some of the other entertainment items will include weiner dog races and a vintage baseball game at the Schroeder Sports Complex.

Gary Schnell is the Strassenfest’s entertainment coordinator. He says this year’s entertainment fits all age groups, which factors into putting the lineup together:

This year’s Strassenfest will run through Sunday. Other featured events will include train rides on the Spirit of Jasper both Friday and Saturday evenings, kids’ waterball at the 6th Street fire station, the backyard chili and bbq contest on Saturday morning, and the parade at 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon. Fireworks will wrap up this year’s Strassenfest once again. Those will begin at 10 o’clock Sunday evening.

Discussions on the future of the Jasper library are continuing.

Last night, the Jasper library building committee met to discuss the three options that are being considered for the future. Those are rebuilding on the current Jasper library site, utilizing part of the former Hoosier Desk building as the new library, or building a new library on land along South Newton Street.

Now work on the current building would also have options. Those are to tear the current building down and build a new building from the ground up, or do a 2-phase rebuild that would allow for part of the old building to remain open while construction goes on in the other area.

The committee discussed several different issues with the current building last night. These include aisles that are too narrow, the height of shelves, and no room to grow the building’s collection. The current building is 11 thousand square feet as a whole and just 34 hundred square feet of it is used for housing the collection. The library is looking to more than double the size for any future building. The plans call for 25 to 30 thousand square feet.

Brad Ward is the chairman of the building committee. He says even with the space issues, the current site can still be part of the future:

Discussions also continued about the former Hoosier Desk building and the South Newton street property as options. The Hoosier Desk building was recommended by consultants Gamble and Associates. That firm put together the city’s downtown riverfront master plan.

As for the South Newton property, Ward says it is a bit of a wildcard because it was voted down during the previous referendum. However, he says there is good reason for having it as an option:

The committee has briefly discussed sites outside of the downtown area but the idea of such a location hasn’t gained much traction. As for Ward, he says regardless of what property is used for the building, keeping Jasper’s library downtown will be vital in the future:

The committee is now nearing the end of its work. Ward expressed a desire to have the work done after just 2 more meetings. The committee will be meeting on August 11th and again on August 18th to conclude its role. Recommendations would then likely be presented at a special meeting of the Jasper Library Board sometime in September. The date and time of that meeting has yet to be determined.

A new leadership team is now in place for the vocations department of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand.

The new team is led by co-directors Sister Teresa Gunter and Sister Anita Louise Lowe. Other members of the team are sisters Jackie Kissel, Rachel Geracitano, Jill Reuber, Barbara Jean Luebbehusen, Kathy Cash, Sarah Youngwirth, Jane Will, and Judy Dewig.

Sister Teresa most recently served as youth minister for the Evansville-based St. Anthony Parish. Sister Anita Louise also serves as Monastery of Immaculate Conception liturgist and music minister. She previously served as director of vocations at the monastery among other roles.

The new team has been put in place to focus on developing a new plan aimed at seeking out women who are discerning a religious life. It also aims to get those women to visit the Sisters of St. Benedict. The team is also working to develop plans for a discernment house, which would allow women to further explore life as a Benedictine sister.

Sister Teresa says the plan will accomplish several different things:

Sister Teresa is asking anyone who knows any women that may be interested in religious life to contact her. You can do so by calling the monastery at 367-1411 or by emailing tgunter@thedome.org.

An Illinois man is now facing multiple charges in Daviess County following an investigation into an incident at a Washington area store.

26-year-old Stephen Michael Mulkey of Lawrenceville, Illinois is charged with attempted child molesting, performance before a minor that is harmful to minors, and public indecency.

Authorities say the charges stem from a May 27th incident at the Washington Wal-Mart where Mulkey allegedly approached a 13-year-old girl in the store’s electronics department. Police say Mulkey then allegedly exposed his genitals and asked the girl to touch him.

The events were captured on surveillance video in the store. Court documents say that video was used to identify and locate Mulkey.

According to a probable cause affadavit filed in Daviess Superior Court, Mulkey admitted to walking throughout the store with his genitals exposed. The affadavit also says Mulkey admitted to approaching the girl, but he denied asking her to touch him.

Mulkey was lodged in the Daviess County Jail on a 75 hundred dollar bond. His initial court hearing has already taken place and an attorney was appointed for him. Mulkey has initially pleaded not guilty.

The trial has been set for November 18th.

It’s now budget season and the Greater Jasper School Corporation has its budget ready to go.

Last night the Jasper board approved advertising the three pages of form 3 for it’s 2015 budget.Form 3 gives the corporation its advertised levee as well as the current tax levee. The district will also advertise its capital projects and bus replacement funds.

Greater Jasper’s advertised 2015 tax rate will be roughly $1.60 per 100 dollars of assessed value. That rate is intentionally set higher than anticipated so that the corporation can get the full tax levy available to them.

Greater Jasper Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey says each year the corporation’s biggest objective is to ease the burden on local taxpayers:

Now school officials are anticipating that the Department of Local Government Finance will drop the advertised rate to make it more bearable for tax payers.

The Jasper school board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at their next meeting on August 25th at 7 pm. The budget will likely be adopted at the board’s September 22nd meeting.

It will then be sent to the Department of Local Government Finance for review. School officials hope to recieve finals numbers from the DLGF by the end of the year.

Also last night, the board approved hiring Jasper police officer Jason Knies as the school’s part-time resource officer.

Knies’ position will be paid for through a 25 thousand dollar Secured Safe Schools grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. As part of that grant, the Greater Jasper district will match the grant dollar for dollar, making for a total of 50 thousand dollars in funding for the job.

Knies will start his new job at the beginning of the upcoming school year. He will split work between the police department and the schools during the school year. He will then work full-time for the department during the summer.