Productions at Jasper’s Astra Theater could be coming soon.

This morning, officials with the Dubois County Community Foundation announced a 100 thousand dollar signature grant to go towards the restoration and preservation of the old downtown theater.The grant was given to Next Act Incorporated. Next Act is a not-for-profit group that formed specifically to head up preservation of the Astra.

50 unrestricted endowments from the foundation will be participating. The grant is the largest that the Foundation has ever given. CEO Brad Ward says being able to give this grant is a dream come true for the foundation:

Several other local officials took part in this morning’s announcement, including Next Act chairwoman Leslie Hamby. Hamby says the Astra project will be more than just the preservation of history:

After it reopens, the theater will be managed by the Jasper Arts Commission. Even with the grant, Next Act will still have to raise 465 thousand dollars towards its efforts. Part of that money will go to purchasing the building while the rest will go to restoration efforts.

Jasper Arts executive director Kit Miracle also spoke this morning. She says the Astra is a central part of a planned expansion of the Arts in Jasper. She says the arts are a logical choice to manage the Astra once it reopens:

Miracle says the arts is looking at other projects as well. These include downtown office space among others.

Other people who spoke were Dubois Strong president Ed Cole, Jasper mayor Terry Seitz, and Community Foundation president Bill Kaiser.

The Astra originally opened in 1937. It was closed back in 2002 and had been up for sale since then.

State funding for schools is on the minds of many educators, including those in the Northeast Dubois School Corporation.

Last night, the Northeast Dubois School Board signed a resolution supporting changes to the state’s school funding formula. The resolution states that only changing the formula can keep schools from needing to cut teachers and programs, thus leading to more students in each class.

Superintendent Bill Hochgesang says the way schools are funded now makes it tough for the Northeast Dubois district to get by. He also has a couple of ideas to make the formula work for all schools:

Hochgesang says the resolution is similar to one that the Southeast Dubois school board signed at their meeting earlier this month.

At the state level, school funding has been mentioned as a priority for this year’s legislature. Republicans are calling for increases in funding to suburban and rural schools. However, Democrats argue that such a change would take money away from available funding for urban schools.

Also last night, the board talked more about the first snow day of the year on Monday. Hochgesang says the school’s response to the first snow day went really well, thanks in large part to the school’s Remind text message and email system. That system allows for anyone that signs up to get a text or email message when the district delays or closes school. You only have to sign up one time to be in the program and you get the messages until you unsubscribe.

Hochgesang says for now, there are few concerns about the number of snow days built into the calendar. However, he says the school is working on other plans in case there are more snow days:

The makeup day for Monday’s snow day will be Monday, December 22nd.

The Northeast Dubois school calendar for the 2015-2016 school year was also approved. School will start on August 7th of next year, a day later than this year. School is scheduled to end on May 25th, 2016.

2 people sustained minor injuries in an accident on Jasper’s south side yesterday.

Just before 3:45 yesterday afternoon, Jasper Police were called to an area along US 231 near Wernsing Road on a reported 2 vehicle accident. When they arrived, police say 47-year-old Daniel Schmitt of Jasper had been going northbound along US 231 and had stopped at the intersection with Wernsing Road to turn west once the southbound traffic along US 231 had cleared. At the same time, police say 61-year-old Edwin Chandler Jr of Huntingburg was following Schmitt’s vehicle and didn’t notice that he had stopped. Chandler’s vehicle then ran into the back of Schmitt’s vehicle.

Schmitt complained of head pain while Chandler complained of neck pain. Chandler was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital for treatment. Schmitt declined to be taken to the hospital.

Damage to Schmitt’s vehicle was estimated at 4 thousand dollars while Chandler’s vehicle sustained 10 thousand dollars worth of damage. Chandler was cited for following too closely.

Memorial Hospital EMS also assisted.

Jasper’s newest apparel and footwear store has now chosen its management.

Officials with Glik Stores have announced Hillary Falk will be the manager for the Jasper location at Germantown Shopping Center. The location opened back on November 7th.

Glik ManagerFalk is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art and specialized in fashion marketing. At one time, Falk was employed by Top Shop in Chicago.

Falk comes to the Jasper Glik location after serving as senior assistant manager of the Effingham, Illinois location.

Glik Stores now has 62 locations across 9 Midwestern states. The company was founded back in 1897.

Jasper Community Arts is set to host its first production for the 2014-2015 Performers Series-New Directions.

Coming up this Sunday evening, Ballroom with a Twist will be taking the stage at the Jasper Arts Center. The show will get underway at 7 o’clock.

The show will feature performances from many familiar names including Dmitry Chaplin, Jonathan Platero, BallroomC.J. Bair, and Randi Lynn Strong among several others. All of the performers come from the TV shows Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol.

Tickets are still available for the Sunday night show. They are $35 for adults, $33 for seniors, and $30 for students/children.

You can order your tickets by calling the Jasper Arts Center at 482-3070. You can go online to jasperarts.org for more information.

Jasper Police are looking for a man they say stole a donation jar from a south side gas station earlier this month.

The department says back on November 1st, the man took the donation jar from the counter at Sternbergs Citgo in the 1700 block of South US 231. Police say the jar was being used to help with funeral expenses for a family in need.

Anyone who has any information is asked to call Jasper Police at 482-2255.

You can also call the department’s anonymous tip line at 481-COPS.

A required water quality project for the city of Jasper is set to move forward.

Last night, the Jasper Utility Service board approved funding for an ultraviolet water treatment project. The project was mandated a couple of years ago by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Now UV treatment is often used as a pre-treatment or polishing step to disinfect water and sterilize it. Jasper Utilities General Manager Bud Hauersperger says the UV treatment also will allow for less chlorine to be used in water treatment.

The project is expected to cost $1.4 million. The utility board approved borrowing the money from the city’s electric distribution department. The borrowed money comes with the condition that it will have to be paid off within 5 years.

Hauersperger says borrowing from the electric utility was a better option for funding:

Hauersperger says digging for the project began yesterday. Work is expected to be done in July or August of next year.

Also last night, Hauersperger told the board about an environmental study to be done at the former Jasper power plant. Hauersperger says Lisa Gehlhausen with the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission approached the city recently about state funding that had become available to do such a study.

Hauersperger says getting the study done this way is different than in the past:

The utility board previously sent out requests for expressions of interest on the former power plant building. Those are still being accepted. The final deadline for them is coming up on December 1st.