Residents from Spencer and surrouding counties got their chance to chime in on needed improvements for an area intersection.

Last night, the Indiana Department of Transportation hosted a public hearing at Heritage Hills High School for the south junction of US 231 and State Road 62 near Dale. The intersection has been the site of several fatal accidents, including an accident that took the life of 60-year-old Susan Grundhoefer of Dale just over 3 weeks ago. Grundhoefer had been going westbound on State Road 62 and tried to cross the southbound lanes of US 231. She failed to yield the right of way to a southbound SUV and her vehicle was hit in the right side door.The impact caused Grundhoefer’s vehicle to roll over and it came to rest on its roof. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Several people spoke last night, including members of Susan Grundhoefer’s family. Grundhoefer’s son, Seth, was among those who took the floor to speak. He says this accident has brought the community together to find a permanent solution:

During his speech, Grundhoefer criticized changes that were made to the intersection over the last few years. He stated the changes simply have not been enough:

In the end, Grundhoefer says everyone needs to continue pushing for change in order for it to happen.

Meanwhile, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says all options are on the table for the intersection:

Others on hand last night included North Spencer school officials, law enforcement, and other INDOT staff.

An investigation into a burglary in the Holland area has ended with a Huntingburg man behind bars.

Last Saturday, Indiana State Police began investigating a burglary that happened at a residence in the 7300 block of West County Road 1200 South in Holland sometime last Friday. State police say the burglar Jacob Gunselmanhad climbed up the television antenna tower, removed a window screen, and went into the home. Further investigation by crime scene technicians found that numerous pieces of jewelry were taken.

Yesterday, troopers found 2 of the jewelry items at local jewelry stores. That led them to speak with a suspect (24-year-old Jacob Gunselman).

Gunselman was taken into custody without incident later in the day yesterday. He was booked into the Dubois County Security Center on a Level 6 felony for Residential Entry, a Level 4 felony for Burglary, and a Class A misdemeanor for theft.

Huntingburg may soon be joining the wave of the future when it comes to generating electricity.

Last night, the Huntingburg City Council approved having designs done for a solar park. The council heard from Dan Worl from the Indiana Municipal Power Agency concerning any potential plans.

Now the council has been discussing this issue over the last several months. The new park would be built on an 8 acre site on the city’s north side. It would be near the city’s current electric substation at Phoenix Drive and Chestnut Street.

IMPA would lease the facility from Huntingburg and develop the site. The city would then be paid by IMPA for using the land.The park would be leased for 30 years if everything comes to fruition. The system would be a 1 megawatt system.

The project is being done as part of new IMPA initiatives that are aimed at adding renewable energy sources statewide. Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner says the project will now move ahead:

Huntingburg would be the 2nd city in southern Indiana to have a solar park once it is built. The other is Tell City.

In other business, the council continued its lengthy discussion on requirements for Knox Boxes. Councilman Glen Kissling initially introduced the ordinance earlier this month.

Now the original ordinance required the boxes to be installed on all new construction in the city. That requirement stayed the same, but other changes were introduced including a requirement that new buildings must also have an alarm system.

Spinner says the ordinance is still a work in progress:

In final notes, Spinner updated the council on Stellar Communities projects. Spinner says the 9th Street extension from Styline Drive to Monkhouse Drive is moving very quickly. He says the city will be opening bids on the project in March.

That project is expected to be done by the end of this year.

New leadership has been announced for production at Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

Company officials say James Corbin is taking over responsibilities for the company’s Sourcing Group, Buyers, Pricing/Costing Team, and Schedulers. Corbin has been with Jasper Engines since July of 2003.

In addition to Corbin, company officials have announced 4 other new leaders. Shari Gress will oversee Materials, Conveyance, and Jasper Certified Components across the company’s 5 manufacturing locations. Gress has been with Jasper Engines since March of 2008.

Meanwhile, Mike Schaefer will lead Engineering, First Piece Inspection, Product Development, Bill of Materials, and the Test Equipment Group. He’s been with the company since September of 1994.

Sean Byrd has taken control of the company’s Quality Captains, Failure Analysis, Incoming Inspections, and Auditing at all company manufacturing facilities. Byrd started at Jasper Engines in April of 1996.

Finally, Ryan Dooley is now overseeing Jasper’s Diesel Division along with the Fuel/Turbo Group. Dooley has been with Jasper since July 1997.

In a news release, JASPER President Zach Bawel says the moves fit the company’s idea of finding leaders with cross-functional experiences that are willing to develop processes and people as well as lead change. Bawel says each of the 5 have proven track records of success and will help the company grow and prosper into the future.

2 Jasper residents are facing theft charges after attempting to steal from the Jasper Walmart…for a 2nd time.

Just before noon yesterday, Jasper Police were called to the north side Walmart after getting a report Todd Howardthat 2 people were leaving the store without paying for their items. When they arrived, police found that 43-year-old Todd Howard and 29-year-old Nicole King had attempted to steal high-end food items, alcohol, and various toiletries. The total value of these items was $266.

Now police discovered that this wasn’t the first time Howard and King had stolen from the WalMart. JPD Nicole Kingsays the 2 had been at the store on Christmas Eve trying the same thing. That attempted theft involved a vaccuum cleaner and numerous food items. Those items were valued at $370 and were recovered from their residence by authorities.

Howard and King were both lodged in the Dubois County Security Center. They each face Class A misdemeanors for theft.

The debate continues between communities and privately owned electric companies over service area and customers.

The city of Jasper is among those with the greatest concerns. An article published in the January edition of Electric Consumer, called out mayor Terry Seitz by name and went as far as to call the city ‘predators’ for taking territory away from the REC’s. The article quoted Dubois REC general manager Don Book.

At the center of the debate has been how much territory is really being served by the cities versus the REC’s. The Indiana Municipal Power Agency says municipal electric departments only serve 7% of the state’s territory and customers. The other 93% is being served by REC’s.

Now the REC’s are seeking a change in the law through Senate Bill 309. The Indiana Municipal Power Agency says the changes would restrict the ability of city electrical providers to extend service to customers in areas that are newly annexed. That effort is being led by Duke Energy Indiana along with the REC’s. Under current state law, there are specifically assigned service areas for local REC’s, investor owned companies, and municipal electric companies.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz is disappointed that he and the city were called out in the Electric Consumer article. He says the situation has turned into more of a power grab than anything else:

Earlier this week, Jasper utilties general manager Bud Hauersperger stated there would be more of an impact to the cities than just territory:

Huntingburg and Ferdinand were also called out in the Electric Consumer article. Last week, Ferdinand town council president Ken Sicard announced that he was writing a 3 page letter to state legislators on the issue. He stated the article’s premise made no sense:

Meanwhile, data from the Energy Information Administration shows that municipal electric companies have seen an increase of just under 3% in the number of customers from 2001 through 2012. The data says REC’s saw an increase of 14% in that same time frame.

The town of Ferdinand’s 175th celebration in June now has a full schedule of entertainment spanning both Friday and Saturday nights.

The celebration will be headlined by Rock n Roll Hall of Fame group The Lovin’ Spoonful. Other groups joining in will be country rock legends Pure Prairie League and southern rock group the Georgia Satellites. The night of entertainment will be kicked off by the Easthills, based in Central Indiana.

In a news release, Ferdinand town council president Ken Sicard says it was not an easy task to find entertainment options for all different age groups. He says this lineup will truly have something that everyone can enjoy.

Now The Lovin’ Spoonful put together 8 top selling albums and many memorable songs of the 1960’s. Some of these were “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Daydream”, and “Summer in the City”, all of which went on to be top 10 hits.

Meanwhile, Pure Prairie League have a long line of top songs on their own resume. The band’s career spans more than 4 decades with songs such as “Let Me Love You Tonight”, “Falling In and Out of Love”, and “Aimie”.

The Georgia Satellites are a relative newcomer, having been founded in 1985. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” propelled the band to new heights, including opening for top names such as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Other hits include “Battleship Chains” and “Hippy Hippy Shake.”

Finally, the Easthills gained their critical acclaim for its debut album “Death of a Salesman.” The band has already performed at several major festivals including Bunbury in Cincinnati and WARMfest in Indianapolis. They have also opened for bands including REO Speedwagon, Blues Traveler, and Heart.

Now Friday night’s entertainment will have a local flavor to it. Both bands are tied to Forest Park High School as well. The first band will be Ready-R-Not, which formed in 1980. That band includes Buddy Hart, Ed Walston, Stu Englert and Stu Wendholt. This will be that band’s 35 year reunion.

The second of the bands will be The High Road. That band features Michael Cummings, Buddy Hart, Duane Meyer, Ronnie Schultz, and Michael Eckert.

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