Dubois County Community Corrections can finally move ahead with its new director.

After a lengthy debate, the Dubois County Council voted 4-3 in favor of allowing Dubois County Community Corrections to transfer $5,768 from its administrative assistant role to fund the salary of new director William Wells. Wells was originally hired back in June, but held off on formally starting the job because he would’ve taken a pay cut from his most recent job as case manager and director of Dubois County Substance Abuse Services.

Now Judge Mark McConnell was on hand at last night’s meeting. He told the council that DCCC is trying to be competitive, but they are largely funded through state and federal grants whereas the county is funded by taxpayers. That was countered by several members of the council, who questioned why the corrections center wanted to make Wells one of the highest paid employees in the county while other employees at the center were among the lowest paid in the county. McConnell stated those employees are paid in line with state statute.

Of course the council voted 4-3 against the idea of raising Wells’ salary last month. Council president Greg Kendall, who voted in favor of Wells’ raise both times, says for him it came down to more than just one salary:

The decision to raise Wells’ salary drew the ire of Sheriff Donny Lampert. Lampert called the council’s decision a “major injustice” for his department and deputies. He also told the council that the decision made him lose faith in county government and he threatened to file a lawsuit if something is not done to increase financial support for his department.

With the new school year more than a week underway, issues with newly established bus routes and the amount of time kids are spending on the bus have some parents of Greater Jasper students upset.

Concerned parents are contending that their children are picked up too early and dropped off too late. Last night several parents within the district addressed the Greater Jasper School board about these concerns. Now although most buses have been arriving and departing on time, some parents have been bothered by the times their children were picked up in the morning and the times they were delivered home after classes have ended early this year. In some cases, the first students on the buses are picked up at about 6:30 a.m. and the latest drop-offs are supposed to be at around 4:30 pm.

Three groups of parents were allowed to speak on their’s and other parents behalf, but not before Greater Jasper Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey addressed both the parents and the board to explain the school corporation’s bus policies. One of the many factors Lorey pointed out was that at the beginning of every school year, school officials work to accommodate the hundreds of requests for changes in where children are picked up and dropped off:

Lorey also says school officials have been working to address capacity issues, timing issues, and tweaking travel patterns to create more efficiency. She says the corporation has already added shuttles, shifted routes and adjusted travel patterns. Lorey says within the next week the changes should help to improve the timing with bus routes.

Lorey along with members of the Greater Jasper School Board assured parents that everyone from school officials to bus drivers will continue working with parents to help find the best possible solution for students who ride the bus to school.

Dubois County once again is in sole possession of Indiana’s lowest unemployment rate..thanks to a strong month of July.

Local numbers released this afternoon by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development show Dubois County’s unemployment rate at 3.3% for July. That’s down 2 tenths of a percent from June’s number. Dubois County leads Indianapolis suburb Hamilton County by just a tenth of a percent.

Elsewhere in our area, Daviess County’s unemployment rate came in at 3.8% for July. Spencer County continued its strong run of late as they close July with 3.9% unemployment. Martin County reported 4%
unemployment last month as did Warrick County. Meanwhile, Pike County unemployment came in at 4.2%. Perry County was at 4.8, Crawford County 5.4 and Orange County was highest in area unemployment at 5.7%. Vermillion County once again had the state’s highest unemployment rate, which was reported at 7.1%.

Of course, the news is also good for state employment. Indiana saw its unemployment rate drop down to 4.7% last month, down 2 tenths from June and the lowest rate since November of 2007. The state also added 4,800 private sector jobs in July. That pushes Indiana above its historical peak level of employment, which was achieved back in March of 2000.

The state has added almost 292,000 private sector jobs since July of 2009, which was Indiana’s low point of employment.

The lake management plan is continuing to take shape..with a few changes.

This morning, the Jasper City Council voted to tweak the funding structure for the Beaver Lake spillway project and the subsequent lake management fund. The council voted to use all of the $148,597 in donations they received from the ‘Friends of Beaver Lake’ group, the $50,000 from city utilities and $15,000 in tree funds from the park department to fund the project. The remaining $161,123 would come from the riverboat fund for a total of around $374,000. The council kept in place a provision that would allow for up to $180,000 to come from the riverboat fund if needed, a provision they approved at their regular August meeting last Wednesday. The council voted to put the $36,775 that will be raised from fee increases at Beaver Lake into the lake management fund.

Of course, the Jasper Park Board met on Friday. They elected to raise launch fees by $15 and dock fees by $25, a recommendation that the council adopted. The park board moved to put the $15,000 from the tree fund into the lake management fund along with the $36,775 in additional fees. They argued the $15,000 was not needed due to the extra donations from the ‘Friends of Beaver Lake.’

Councilman Kevin Manley is among those who have pushed for the city to kick in money for the spillway reconstruction at Beaver Lake. Manley recently underscored how important the project is for Jasper:

Now there is more to this lake management process. A new city-led board will be formed to lead Beaver Lake management efforts over the next 5 years. That board would consist of city utilities and park board members along with lot owners from the lake.

A Perry County woman suffered minor injuries after rolling her car over in southeastern Dubois County over the weekend.

Just after 3:30 yesterday afternoon, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called to State Road 162 south of County Road 700 South. Deputies say 28-year-old Karrie Risse of Tell City had been going southbound on State Road 162 in the area when she reached for her drink, but dropped the can. Deputies say Risse tried to pick the can up off of the passenger’s side floor, but didn’t realize she was going left of center. Risse’s vehicle then went off of the roadway, where she lost control of it and it rolled over at least once. The vehicle came to rest on the eastside of the roadway on its wheels.

Risse was initially unable to get out of her vehicle. Ferdinand First Responders soon arrived on scene and were able to get the car door open. Risse complained of head and neck pain and was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Risse’s vehicle was a total loss. Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Ferdinand Fire Department, Memorial Hospital EMS and a wrecker from Uelbehor’s.

What started as serving an arrest warrant on a Jasper man led to the arrest of him and 3 other people on drug-related charges.

Just before 6:45 Saturday night, Indiana State Police tipped off Jasper Police that 20-year-old Caleb Dubon Jr. was living in the 1500 block of Mill Street. Dubon Jr was wanted on warrant for failing to appear in court recently. Caleb Dubon

JPD says officers noticed Dubon leaving the residence in a black passenger car. He was pulled over a short time later at 17th and Newton Streets.

After taking Dubon into custody on the warrant, police got consent to search the vehicle. Officers found methamphetamine along with used hypodermic needles.

3 other passengers in the vehicle (21-year-old Jade Jones and 21-year-old Shawna Campbell both of Washington along with 20-year-old Hayley Camplin of Huntingburg) were also taken into custody. All 4 were booked into the Dubois County Security Center.

All are charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. Dubon is facing the drug charges in addition to the failure to appear charge on his warrant.

State officials are once again raising awareness for car vs train crashes.

Governor Mike Pence has declared this week as Rail Safety Week across the state of Indiana. Awareness efforts are a partnership between Indiana Operation Lifesaver, Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Transportation, local law enforcement and railroad companies.

Now Indiana Operation Lifesaver is coordinating numerous law enforcement blitzes across the state. Police will be on the lookout for various violations at railroad crossings, such as driving around lowered crossing gates and trespassing on railroad property.

In a news release, Indiana Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Jessica Feder says train and car crashes are completely preventable. She says the goal is to inform the public on how dangerous it is to try and beat a train to a railroad crossing. She says another goal is to remind people that its dangerous and illegal to trespass on railroad tracks and property.

Last year, there were 122 railroad crossing collisions across Indiana. Those resulted in 50 people injured and 9 fatalities. The impact has already been felt locally this year with a Birdseye man being killed last month at the railroad crossing along State Road 145 in Birdseye.

The Hoosier State currently has the 4th most railroad crossing accidents in the country. Additionally, 10 people who trespassed on railroad property were killed with 11 others injured.

To learn more about Indiana Operation Lifesaver, please visit them online at www.oli.org or call (812) 528-4327.