Though much has been made of drug abuse locally in light of recent drug busts, state lawmakers are also joining in on the fight.

New research shows that opiods are now being abused at a growing rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national rate for drug overdoses has more than tripled since 1990.

The growth is also being found here in Indiana. A 2012 report shows that of the overdose deaths in the Hoosier State, nearly 21 percent of them are due to opiod drugs.

Now lawmakers have made it easier for people to get access to overdose intervention drugs such as Narcan. That drug can reverse opiod-related overdoses and is safe, effective and non-addicting.

Senate Enrolled Act 406 makes Narcan prescriptions available to anyone who is at-risk of an opiod overdose. It also requires doctors who prescribe Narcan to educate and train patients on drug overdose response and treatment along with providing information on drug addiction treatment and referrals to local treatment programs.

Local lawmakers, including District 48 state senator Mark Messmer are touting the new efforts. Messmer says the new legislation also reduces the fear of legal action should something go wrong:

As always, you can contact Messmer’s office directly with your questions and concerns.

The news is all good news for Jasper Engines and Transmissions, especially when it comes to employee stocks.

According to a blog post on the company’s website, Jasper Engines has seen a staggering 72% growth in the price of its shares over the last year. For 2014, a share of JASPER stock for employees is now worth $141.45. For 2013, that came in at $82.46.

Now JASPER Engines and Transmissions introduced its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) back in 2009. In that first year, stocks traded at $2.30 a share. Prior to this announcement, the record for growth occurred between 2012 and 2013. As mentioned, 2013 stock shares were at $82.46 each whereas 2012 shares were at $53.33.

The announcement on the shares was made during an employee meeting held last Thursday at the company’s Power Drive facility.

A near-collision with a police car put a Maryland man in local prison on intoxication charges.

William WittJust after 9 o’clock last night, a Jasper Police officer noted a vehicle being driven by 51-year-old William Witt of Middle River, Maryland that pulled out in front of the officer’s vehicle at South Newton and Brucke Strasse, nearly causing an accident. JPD says Witt then sped and swerved in the lane as he drove northbound from 2nd and Newton Street to 9th and Newton Street. The officer finally pulled Witt over at 9th and Newton.

Further investigation found that Witt had been driving impaired. He failed field sobriety tests and a portable breathalyzer test found his BAC at .14%. Witt backed up that test with a .13% BAC reading during a test at Memorial Hospital.

Witt was then booked into the Dubois County Security Center on OWI and OWI Endangerment charges.

The 2015 4H Fair is just around the corner in Dubois County and royalty for this year’s fair has been crowned.

This year’s Miss Dubois County is 18-year-old Moriah Fleck of St. Anthony. Fleck also was honored as the most photogenic of the contestants.

The first runner-up was Emily Gutgsell of Schnellville with Taylor Hopf of Kyana as 2nd runner-up, Jessica Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg was 3rd runner-up and Jade Hoffman of Celestine was named Miss Congeniality.

Last night also marked the crowning of the 2015 Teen Miss Dubois County. 16-year-old Lauren Tretter of Ferdinand took home this year’s crown with Melanie Roberts of Dubois as the 1st runner-up.

The 2015 Dubois County 4H Fair is set for July 14th through the 18th.

Now you will be able to watch yesterday’s 4H queen pageants on 18 WJTS. The pageants will air next Tuesday July 7th at 7:30 pm after the local 7 o’clock newscast.

The pageants will re-air on Sunday June 12th at 2 pm.

A Birdseye man was jailed after what can only be described as a car sale gone bad.

Tony LawsJust before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, Huntingburg Police were called to a residence in the 500 block of North Washington Street after intimidation was reported. Upon arriving at the residence, police talked with 45-year-old Ramon Segura of Birdseye. Segura told officers that 20-year-old Tony Laws (also of Birdseye) had come at him with a knife after an argument over the sale of a vehicle. Laws tossed the knife into the backyard before police arrived and later admitted to having the knife. However, he denied intimidating Segura with it.

HPD learned from a witness that Laws was operating the vehicle involved in this dispute. Laws also had never gotten a driver’s license.

Laws was arrested and booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is charged with Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Ever Receiving a License.

Despite recent progress, the town of Ferdinand has some challenges to meet as the town develops its next comprehensive plan.

3 group planning meetings have been held thus far with youth, business leaders and leaders of local nonprofit groups. Some ideas that have come to light for the future include more affordable housing, sidewalks along Main Street, and making a run at the Stellar Communities designation in the future.

Town council president Ken Sicard says housing and jobs will continue to be the key issues going forward. Sicard says the town could wind up at the forefront of solving not only its housing problems, but setting a countywide example:

Sicard says any new housing that is built will need to be affordable for young couples. He says that would include homes in the $125,000-$175,000 range.

As for jobs, Sicard says the town will consider all options to bring in workers. He says recent expansions at MasterBrand Cabinets and Best Home Furnishings are a good example to follow:

On a related note, Sicard says there is still a need to bring youth back into the county. He says that will start with better promotion:

Now the 3 group meetings have been led by Evansville-based consultant Kathy Kleindorfer. Sicard says a comprehensive planning meeting for everyone in the community will be scheduled at a later date.

The town’s current comprehensive plan was implemented back in 2007.

Citywide alerts will now be easier to get for Huntingburg residents.

Last night, the Huntingburg City Council approved a contract for the launch of the eNotify alert system. The alerts will be primarily for utility issues such as boil orders or water main breaks.

Now the effort is being led by eGov, who is the website provider for Jasper, Huntingburg and Ferdinand. This system will be done as a partnership between the communities. The Jasper City Council has already approved eNotify.

Mayor Denny Spinner says the partnership turned out to be necessary as this process went along:

Spinner says the boil order in Jasper was an inspiration for the eNotify effort. He says details are still being worked out, but there will be an awareness campaign launched for this system once everything is in place.

Also last night, the council heard a further update on efforts at the Dubois County Leadership Academy, specifically on efforts to get more people involved. Those efforts are being led by current DCLA attendees Amanda Smith, Arlet Jackle and Tim Doersam.

Spinner says this year’s class is the smallest one in the short history of the leadership academy. He says this effort is needed to bolster things:

This is the 5th year for the Dubois County Leadership Academy. It was formed by Ferdinand town officials in partnership with Jasper and Huntingburg.