A cleanup effort at Patoka Lake this past weekend proved to be a huge success.

In a news release, interpretive naturalist Dana Reckelhoff says 72 people took part in the cleanup effort that was held last Saturday. Those folks took to the shore line of the reservoir to pick up trash and other debris.

Reckelhoff says the volunteers collected more debris than a large dump truck can hold.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new student center at Vincennes University’s main campus have now been set.

The ceremony will take place tomorrow morning beginning at 10:30 am. The ceremony will be along Chestnut Street between the Physical Education Complex and the McCormick Science Center.

Now the new student center is being built at a cost of 4.35 million dollars. The new center will be 2 stories with just under 21 thousand square feet of space. There will also be a Tech Cafe, Gaming Lounge, Study Areas, and Outdoor Seating Areas among other amenities.

VU officials say plans also are in place to connect the new center with the existing Bowling Alley and Physical Education Complex. Those are connected to the Aquatic Center as well as the Donald G. Bell Student Recreation Center. Construction on the new center is expected to last for 13 to 15 months.

Several different companies were awarded contracts for the project. These are Terre Haute-based CDI Incorporated for general construction, Vincennes-based Wabash Utilities for site preparation, Peyronnin Construction of Evansville for mechanical construction, and electrical construction was awarded to HEF Services of Terre Haute.

A vacant building on the Sisters of St. Benedict campus could soon find new life.

Last night, the Ferdinand Town Council heard a proposal for future plans with Benet Hall. Under the proposed project, Benet Hall would be converted into 15 senior housing units. The units would be 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments for lower to middle income senior citizens. They would also feature amenities such as a community room and an exercise facility along with being energy efficient. Rent for the units would tentatively be somewhere between 320 and 650 dollars a month, though nothing is set in stone there.

Now Carla Naum with project consultant Milestone Ventures Inc out of Indianapolis told the council that the project would need federal funding. The application for that funding is due November 3rd. Naum told the council that the project application would likely be 1 out of roughly 50 that would be sent in this year. Of those, Naum says that only 11 to 16 of the projects will get funding.

Naum says the idea came about after a conversation between the Sisters of St. Benedict and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. Naum says Ellspermann then called David Miller with Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation, who then introduced Milestone to the Sisters.

Naum says the proposed project would fulfill a need for Ferdinand if it were to be approved:

Meanwhile, Ferdinand town council president Ken Sicard says the proposal would be a win-win for everyone:

If approved, renovation work on Benet Hall would start sometime next year with the project being completed in 2016. The total investment would be 4.1 million dollars.

Now the council has set 2 special meetings next month to further discuss the proposal. Those will be on Tuesday October 7th and Monday October 27th at Ferdinand Town Hall. Both meetings would start at 5 o’clock. A tax abatement could also be part of the project and that will be further discussed during the special meetings.

In other business, the council approved changes to the stormwater ordinance in response to drainage issues at Holiday Foods and other local businesses. Sicard says the idea is aimed at large gravel parking lots that have caused issues in the past:

In final notes, the council appointed the three members for the town’s recently relaunched Economic Development Commission. The appointees were Bryan Dale, Keith Rahman, and Dan Collignon.

Well we’re now approaching flu season and the Dubois County Health Department has announced details for this year’s flu shot clinics.

The department says this year’s seasonal clinics will start next Monday morning at 8 am. The clinics will then be held daily between 8 and 11 am and again between 1 and 3 pm each afternoon.

There will also be pediatric flu clinics this year. The health department says details on those will be announced soon.

Now older folks will be able to be vaccinated for the flu as well. The department says it will once again offer the High Dose Influenza vaccine for those over the age of 65. They say the immune system weakens with age, thus placing older people at a higher risk of getting the flu and later becoming severely ill.

VaxCare will once again be partnering with the health department to submit claims to certain private insurance companies and Medicare Part B. The health department says most private companies and Medicare cover flu shots as preventative healthcare. However, the department says all Medicare and insurance cards must be presented when you show up to get your flu shot.

The health department is once again reminding folks of the importance of getting the flu shot. They are recommending that everyone 6 months or older get vaccinated.

There are a few groups of people that the health department is emphasizing for vaccinations. These include children younger than 5 years old (especially those 2 years and younger), pregnant women, and those with medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

The health department is also offering tips to keep folks away from the flu aside from the vaccine. These include getting plenty of rest, washing your hands, and staying at home if you do get sick.

Details for the Dubois County launch of a statewide program have now been announced.

The local launch of the ALL-IN program will be held this next Tuesday evening (September 16th) from 5 to 7 pm. The launch will take place at the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.

Now the All-In initiative was designed by Indiana Humanities, which is a statewide non-profit group aimed at connecting people with their communities. Its goal is to challenge Hoosiers to think, read, talk and do. The initiative does this through 16 challenges divided into different categories such as explore, discover, and dream. The All-In initiative was created as a new way to help connect folks with their communities ahead of Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial. It launched statewide back in June.

Some of the events that will take place include ethnic food and music, family stories, a timeline challenge called Indiana-versary, book donations, inspirational quotes, and shaping the future.

If you aren’t able to make it to next Tuesday night’s event, you can still get involved. You can do so by going online to indianahumanities.org/all-in.

Numerous county organizations and entities are partnering with Indiana Humanities for this event. These include VUJC, the municipalities of Jasper, Huntingburg, and Ferdinand, the Jasper Chamber of Commerce, Purdue Extension, and the Sisters of St. Benedict.

The Ferdinand Folk Festival was a recent recipient of grant money from the Dubois County Community Foundation.

The foundation recently awarded a 4 thousand dollar grant to the festival. The grant will go towards supporting the growth of the event while sustaining it for the future.

Ferdinand town manager Chris James says the money will go a long way for the festival:

Now this year marks the fifth year for the annual Ferdinand Folk Festival. The event, presented by premier-level sponsor Best Home Furnishings, will be held Saturday, September 20th in the town’s 18th Street Park.

A complete schedule of events and more information about this year’s Folk Festival is available by going online to ferdinandfolkfestival.com. You can learn more about the Dubois County Community Foundation by going online to dccommunityfoundation.org.

A Jasper man suspected of a number of thefts was taken into custody after he turned himself in to authorities last night.

Jasper Police charged 30-year old Jeffery Lawless of Jasper with 11 counts of theft from the Cellular Connection Verizon Wireless store on Jasper’s north side.

Police say an investigation into the thefts was opened after the department received a complaint from Jeffery Lawlessthe management of the store about 30 missing cellphones from the store inventory. The investigation involved 26 phones accounting for about $17,500 in losses for the store.

Police say the thefts took place between June and August of 2014. Police say during that period Lawless manipulated invoices to show that phones were purchased by customers. Most of those invoices and customers were fabricated.

Lawless faces 11 counts of level 6 felony theft. He turned himself in to the Dubois County Security Center Monday evening.