Another Jasper business is seeking a tax abatement.

Cash Waggner & Associates plans to renovate part the former JOFCO building in Jasper and move its companies in the facility, all of which depending on the approval of a tax abatement from the city.

The Jasper Economic Development Commission agreed Monday morning to recommend that the Jasper Common Council approve the tax abatement request from the engineering and land surveying firm.

Nathan Waggner, co-owner of Cash Waggner and Testing & Inspection Services says plans call for the investment of a quarter of a million dollars plus equipment into the building located at the corner of East 13th and Vines Streets.

Waggner says the company wants to renovate 10,000 square feet and move Cash & Waggner and Testing and Inspection Services into the renovated space.

Meanwhile, Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says the abatement is important for that area:

The nine-year abatement requested will cover 70,000 square feet of the building, which the company will work with in the future.

The common council will consider the abatement request at its meeting set for Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock at Jasper City Hall.

Indiana’s unemployment numbers continue to improve and Dubois County just missed having the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

Data released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development shows that Indiana’s unemployment rate dipped down to 5.9%. That marks the lowest rate since July of 2008. The state unemployment rate has dropped by 2 percent over the last year, marking the third largest decline nationwide.

The state’s labor force also increased again in March for the 6th consecutive month. Officials say the state workforce has grown by more than 25 thousand during the first quarter of 2014. In all, Indiana added 32 hundred private sector jobs during March. Since the low point of unemployment in Indiana back in July of 2009, the state has added 215 thousand 500 private sector jobs. That is good for eighth in the nation.

Now locally, Dubois County came in at a rate of 4.4%, trailing 1st place Hamilton County by just 1 tenth of a percent. For other counties in our area, Daviess County was third lowest in the state at 4.5% unemployment. Martin County was at 5.5%, Pike County 5.7%, Perry 6%, Spencer 6.1%, Orange 6.9%, and Crawford at 7.9%.

Vermillion County once again had the state’s highest unemployment rate. That came in at 9.8%.

Indiana’s unemployment rate is once again the lowest among nearby states. It is also 8 tenths of a percentage point lower than the national average.

Meanwhile, Jasper Chamber Director Nancy Eckerle says Dubois County as a whole is in a good spot:

Eckerle says continuing to get people to move to the county while still providing jobs for people living in other counties would also be a big benefit in the future.

The Huntingburg Police Department was recently honored with a grant.

The department received 1 thousand dollars from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant money is part of the Rural Demonstration Project (RDP), which is a project aimed at increasing seat belt usage in rural areas.

To be eligible, counties were selected based on a rate. That rate was developed by using the county population and the number of car crash injuries due to folks not wearing a seat belt over the last 5 years. That rate also accounts for the observed rate at which folks wear their seat belts. Huntingburg Police say the enforcement period began back on Friday and concludes on Thursday, May 8th.

Now the grant will allow the department to spend an extra 45 hours on seat belt law enforcement between now and May 8th. The extra patrols will be done at various times and locations across Huntingburg, though the department will mainly focus on locations where accidents frequently happen. They will also focus on locations where residents have complained about drivers speeding.

Questions on seat belt and/or child restraint regulations may be directed to the Huntingburg Police Department at 683-4111.

An Ohio teen was saved from drowning at an Orange County resort over the weekend thanks to some quick thinking by a couple of bystanders.

Indiana Conservation Officers say just before 9 o’clock last night, 13-year-old Riley Saylor of Ohio City was swimming with his family at the pool at Spring Mill State Park Inn near Mitchell when he was found at the bottom of the pool.

30-year-old Sarah Rumschlag (Saylor’s cousin) went to the bottom of the pool and brought Saylor to the surface. A second bystander (Ann Lott of Madison, AL) assisted after she saw Rumschlag struggling to bring Saylor to the surface.

Shelly Miller, an off-duty nurse from Roanoke, then began administering CPR with the help of witness Amy Crouch, a Fort Wayne resident. Conservation officers say Saylor was partially revived by the CPR before he was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital. He made a full recovery at the hospital according to conservation officers. Officers say the actions of all involved likely saved a life and should be recognized.

The Seals Ambulance Service and Marion Township First Responders also assisted.

Finances continue to be a topic of discussion in the Barr-Reeve School Corporation.

During a recent school board meeting, several residents including Lana Helms commented as members of the public. Helms asked the board about a recent jump in her property taxes as the increase was a large one from the year before.

Superintendent Travis Madison stated that the corporation had a 68 cent tax rate back in 2012 and that went down to 60 cents for 2013, a drop he attributed to having part of the debt service paid off. He also said there is one debt service that will come off of the books in the near future.

Last year, the Barr-Reeve School Board approved a 35 cent tax referendum though that much money was not needed. Madison says 19 cents in all were added on to the tax rate with 16 cents of that coming from the corporation and the rest from the county. Additional cuts in state funding were also blamed for the increase.

In other notes, the board approved Madison’s request for a temporary loan. Madison cited this time of the year as the time where cash flow was the shortest as tax money is not yet in. The loan would have to be paid back this year according to Madison.

A new water tower for the city of Washington is nearing its completion.

The 600 thousand gallon water tower will be 180 feet tall by its scheduled completion next month. The new tower is a part of a three-phase plan for improving the city’s water and sewer systems.

Now other improvements are involved. These include replacing old water mains on East Van Trees Street and in the Summer Hill subdivision. They also will include running new lines from the city’s water wells and various upgrades to the city’s water treatment plant.

Mayor Joe Wellman says the project is currently 300 thousand dollars under budget. He says water rates will not go up for residents as a 4 year bond is the source of funding for all of the upgrades.

After months of speculation, the Ivy Tech campus in Tell City will likely avoid closure after all.

Officials with the community college say they will be combining the Southwest region (comprised of the Tell City and Evansville campuses) with the Wabash Valley/Terre Haute region. The newly consolidated region will be run by a single chancellor. That person would be hired at a later date.

The merger with the Terre Haute region marks a slight change of course for the Tell City campus. Campus director Sherri Flynn says the Tell City site had been set to merge with the Bloomington region following the retirement of chancellor John Whikehart. However, the Ivy Tech Board of Trustees says it will be revising its search for the next chancellor of the Bloomington region, thus halting any potential mergers.

Now the threat of closure for the Tell City campus began back in November when the trustees took the idea under consideration due to budget shortfalls. The state budget committee previously pegged the deficit at 78 million dollars. The committee approved 63 million dollars in expansion projects for the Anderson, Bloomington, and Indianapolis Ivy Tech campuses last year.

In all, the restructured Ivy Tech will have 10 chancellors statewide focused on regional issues while each of the 20 campus sites will have a campus president who will build relationships within the community. The Richmond and East Central regions along with the Columbus and Southeast regions have already merged. Those mergers were completed earlier this year.