A weekend burglary has led to another reward being offered by Jasper Police.

The department says G and T Industries had several different items stolen from its location in the 200 block of 30th Street sometime over the weekend. The Community Strike Force is offering a 1 thousand dollar reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Anyone who has any information is asked to call the Jasper Police Department at 482-2255. You can also call the department’s anonymous tip line at 481-COPS.

We’re 1 week away from the election and area residents are running out of chances to interact with candidates for the 8th District congressional seat.

Tomorrow night, the 3 candidates for Indiana’s 8th Congressional District will be at the Jasper Arts Center for a public forum. That forum will get underway at 7 o’clock tomorrow evening. It’s sponsored by Vincennes University and the City of Jasper. The participating candidates are incumbent Republican Larry Bucshon, Democratic challenger Tommy Spangler, and Libertarian Andrew Horning.

Dr. Alan Johnson is the dean of the Vincennes University Jasper Campus. He says while some other debates only feature the Democrat and Republican candidates, having all 3 parties has worked well locally:

Now this year’s forum will take place in 2 parts. The first part will see candidates appear on stage with a 3 member panel. That panel will consist of 2 local news media members and a VUJC student. The conversation is designed to be free-flowing and candidates can be asked different questions. Then part 2 of the forum will see all 3 candidates on stage with a moderator. Candidates will answer questions from the audience. Each candidate will have 90 seconds per question. Johnson is hopeful that folks will learn something new from tomorrow night’s event:

This will be the 5th Congressional forum to be hosted in Jasper. The forums began back in 2006.

Open seating will be available in the 675 seat Arts Center auditorium. Admission is free that evening and no tickets will be needed.

Now there will be some rules in place for the audience tomorrow. These include no campaign signs, banners, etc allowed in the building or on the grounds at the Jasper Arts Center, no applause or expression of agreement or disagreement with candidates, and no taking pictures or recording video from the audience.

You can listen to the forum live on WBDC-FM tomorrow evening beginning at 7 o’clock. Our TV partner 18 WJTS will be recording the forum. It will air at a later date.

Current state representative Mark Messmer is looking beyond next Tuesday’s election to some of the issues likely to come up in the 2015 general assembly.

Messmer is now stressing the importance of ethics and public confidence in state government as we head through next Tuesday’s election and beyond. Messmer says the state’s fiscal climate, low unemployment rate and its rank as the best Midwestern state for business put Indiana in a good spot.

However, Messmer says it will remain important for state officials to be accountable:

Messmer says several steps have been taken in recent years to ensure that Indiana’s government is as transparent as possible. These actions include the 2005 passing of legislation requiring House committee members to vote in person. Messmer has also touted the state’s recent creation of a transparency portal. The online database’s goal is to give Hoosiers access to state information ranging from contracts to various agency budgets. Messmer will be running against Democrat Larry Vollmer for the District 48 state senate seat next Tuesday.

Now the talk about ethics reform in the Statehouse began following the recent controversy surrounding former Republican state representative Eric Turner. Turner, who was the Speaker Pro Tem of the Indiana House, resigned last month following his successful effort to kill a proposed moratorium on nursing home construction during this past year’s legislative session. Turner and his son owned Mainstreet Property Group, which would have benefitted from the effort.

Turner was later cleared of wrongdoing by a House ethics panel.

A pair of local marching bands were in action this past weekend.

The Jasper Marching Wildcats travelled to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the Contest of Champions. Jasper came home in 2nd place behind Dobyns-Bennett High School out of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Meanwhile, the Forest Park Marching Rangers made a trip up to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Bands of America regional competition. Forest Park came home midpack in the preliminary round.

The Southridge Marching Raiders hosted a morning 5K run on Saturday to raise money. The band also took the field at 7 pm for a joint performance with members of the Tecumseh High School band.

The bands will be competing in semi-state competition this Saturday. Forest Park will travel to Franklin Community High School in Franklin. The Rangers will perform in Class D at 5:46 pm.

Meanwhile, Southridge goes to Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis for Class C competition. The Raiders will take the field at 4:15 pm.

Finally, Jasper will compete in Class B at Indianapolis’ Pike High School Saturday afternoon at 3:49 pm.

2 new sites have been added for vendors at the Ferdinand Christkindlmarkt.

The Ferdinand Elementary gym and the Historic Wollenmann House will be the new locations hosting vendors. That brings the number of vending locations to 10. More than 175 vendors will be taking part in this year’s festivities.

Other locations include the Ferdinand Community Center, the Tri-County YMCA, the Forest Park High School Practice Gym, Junior High Gym, and Cafeteria, and the Ferdinand American Legion. The vendors will be selling items including antiques, collectibles, country furniture, and lamps.

This year’s Christkindlmarkt will begin on Friday November 14th. Opening ceremonies get underway at 6:30 that evening with the appearance of the Christkindl (Christmas Angel). That ceremony will be followed by the Sisters of St. Benedict hosting their Simply Divine Bake Sale.

The market portion of the Christkindlmarkt will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday November 15th and from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday November 16th. All aforementioned times are eastern time.

For more information, you can call Diane Hoppenjans at 812-367-2908.

It’s still late October, but one Spencer County community is already gearing up for the Christmas season.

Officials in Santa Claus have announced this year’s Christmas Celebration will be taking place over the first 3 weekends of December. The activities will take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between December 5th and December 21st.

Some of the events this year will include The Story of Santa Claus at the Santa Claus Museum and Village, the Run Run Rudolph 5K through Lake Rudolph’s Santa Claus Land of Lights, Christmas Dinner with Santa at Santa’s Lodge, and the performance of ‘Scrooge’s Christmas’ at Heritage Hills High School. That performance is put on by Lincoln Amphitheatre.

Weekend lodging specials will be made available at Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, Santa’s Cottages, Santa’s Lodge, Motel 6, and Rockport Comfort Inn and Suites.

For more information, you can call the Spencer County Visitors Bureau at 888-444-9252. You can also go online to SantaClausInd.org/Christmas.

A fire that broke out late this morning in a Jasper fast food restaurant that caused damage to the building’s interior is now being considered an act of arson resulted in the arrest of an employee from Knox County on not just a charge of arson, but others including drug possession and theft.   

Just before 11:30 am Firefighters with the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department responded to the Rally’s restaurant along US 231 near the Crossing where Jasper Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang says the blaze was discovered by firefighters in a restroom storage cabinet.

Firemen were able to knock out the blaze in a matter of minutes.

Initially, Hochgesand said exactly what started the fire had yet to be determined though it is was considered suspicious in nature. The Jasper Police Department and Dubois County Sheriff’s Department were called to look further into the matter.

An investigation revealed a strong odor of gasoline coming from within the building. Authorities say an employee 24-year old Braxton Cannon of Vincennes had intentionally started the fire using gasoline and a lighter in the employee restroom.

Police say while being patted down, Cannon became physically resistant with officers and was found to have a white powdery substance in a baggie that police say later field tested positive for methanphetamine.

Police also found 80-dollars in cash in his possession that Cannon admitted to have taken out of the store register as he was leaving the building after setting the fire.

Cannon was taken to the Dubois County Security Center where he was booked on Level 4 Felony counts of Arson, and possession of Methamphetamine as well as a Level 6 felony count of theft and a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement.

Meanwhile Hochgesang estimated damage at around 15-hundred dollars and says its uncertain whether or not the restaurant will be open for business today mostly due to needed clean-up.

32 men with three trucks responded to the call.  Firefighters were on the scene for about 30 minutes.

No injuries were reported.