A pair of local senators have been chosen for interim study committees this summer in preparation for next year’s legislative session.

District 47 senator Erin Houchin and District 48 senator Mark Messmer will both be on multiple Senate committees this summer. Houchin will serve on interim study committees for Commerce and Economic Development, Elections, and Public Safety and Military Affairs. Meanwhile, Messmer will serve on the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy along with the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Of course, lawmakers are assigned to the interim committees for the summer and fall months. There are 20 such committees this summer focused on issues ranging from agriculture and natural resources to education to elections to roads and education.

The topics for summer study are assigned by the bipartisan Legislative Council which is made up of 16 voting members including 8 state representatives and 8 senators.

To see interim committee agendas and stream the hearings online, you can go to in.gov/iga.

This year’s Ferdinand 175th celebration is in the books and winners for Sunday’s parade have been announced.

The best walking unit went to the Forest Park Dance Team with the Forest Park Band in 2nd. Knies Sawmill was honored with the Equestrian Award. Ed and Betty Roos’ 1961 Cadillac was honored as the Best Antique Vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Santa Claus Fire Department took home top honors in the New Emergency Vehicle class with their 2010 Ferrara Pumper truck called “Rudolph.” The Ferdinand Knights of Columbus won the Best Float honors while Mike Lindauer along with Francis Lindauer and Sons won the best Antique Tractor award with their Kitten Steam Engine. The Lindauers’ Kitten 8 barrel water wagon garnered top honors in the Antique Farm Equipment category. Finally, the Huntingburg Fire Department’s 1942 American LaFrance fire truck “Betsy” won in the Antique Emergency Vehicle category.

As for overall awards, the Judge’s Award went to the Schnellville Sesquicentennial ‘hat’ float. St. Ferdinand Church’s entry was the Queen’s Court Pick and the Community Spirit Award was given to Psi Iota Xi.

Now you will be able to see the Ferdinand 175th parade in its entirety tomorrow night on 18 WJTS. The broadcast gets underway at 7:30 following the local newscast.

18 WJTS will also be broadcasting the Ferdinand 175th Queen and Little Miss/Mister pageants. Those air at 7:30 this evening, again following the local newscast.

Royalty for this year’s Daviess County Fair has now been crowned.

Jordan CarrLast night, 18-year-old Jordan Carr was honored as this year’s queen. This year’s pageant took place at 8 o’clock and there were 5 contestants in all.

The Daviess County Fair continues through this week. Highlights of the rest of the fair are the Little Miss and Mister contest at 7 o’clock tomorrow night, the demolition derby and the first ever go cart races at 7:30 this Saturday night.

The Daviess County Fair concludes this Saturday night.

The news just keeps getting better for unemployment both in Dubois County and all across the state.

According to May numbers released this afternoon by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Dubois County still has the state’s lowest unemployment rate. However, that rate did creep up 3 tenths of a percent to 3.2%. Indianapolis suburb Hamilton County remains in 2nd place this month with an unemployment rate at 3.4%.

Among other counties, Daviess County came in 6th lowest at 3.7%. Spencer County entered the top 10 this month. They’re tied for 7th lowest unemployment at 3.8%. Warrick and Pike Counties both came in at 3.9%, Martin County came in at 4%, Perry County 4.5%, Crawford County at 5.6% and Orange County had our area’s highest unemployment at 6%. Vermillion County once again had the state’s highest unemployment rate. It was at 7.1% this month.

Now overall, Indiana’s unemployment rate is down 3 tenths to 5.1%. The DWD says the state’s unemployment rate has dropped by 3.3% since January of 2013 and 5.7% since July of 2009, both of which are 3rd best in the country. The state added 9,700 private sector jobs in May. Since the beginning of 2015, Indiana has added 29,400 private sector jobs and has added 289,100 private sector jobs since the state’s low point of employment back in July of 2009.

Among other area states, Indiana’s unemployment rate is tied with Kentucky for the lowest. Ohio is close behind at 5.2% with Illinois at 5 and a half percent and Michigan at 6 percent.

Motorists traveling State Road 56 east of Haysville were forced to take a different route early this morning after a semi tractor-trailer struck a large tree that had fallen across the highway.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Departtment says just after 5 o’clock this morning 68-year old Billy Danhafer of Dubois was driving his rig westbound on highway 56 a mile west of County Road 325E when deputies say Danhafer rounded Sedelweck curve and struck a large tree that fell across both lanes of the highway due to overnight rain and strong winds.

Authorties say Danhafer tried to but was unable to avoid striking the tree .

Danhafer was not injured in the crash. State Road 56 was closed for more than two hours and traffic was diverted while the accident scene was cleaned up.

The Dubois REC, Frontier Communications, Haysville Volunteer Fire Department and the Indiana Department of Transportation all assisted at the scene.

Lawmakers are stepping up their efforts to regulate e-cigarettes and e-liquids as they become more and more popular.

Recent data shows that in 2013, 8.5 percent of adults reported having used an e-cigarette at least once. That’s more than double the percentage of 3.3 percent in 2010.

The biggest concern for state lawmakers has been the growth of e-cigarette use among minors. In just one year, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students nearly tripled from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent, a growth rate much faster than that of the general population.

Now in this past session, the Indiana General Assembly approved Senate Enrolled Act 463 and Hose Enrolled ACt 1432, both aimed at curbing the problem. Senate Enrolled Act 463 requires e-cigarette sellers to receive a tobacco sales certificate from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC). This law places e-cigarettes in the same certification regulation statutes as tobacco products, authorizes the ATC to seize and destroy products sold or distributed in violation of the law and imposes a civil penalty on the violator in an amount up to 500 percent of the retail value of the product or $5,000, whichever is greater.

Meanwhile, House Enrolled Act 1432 defines “e-liquid” as a substance that is intended to be vaporized and inhaled using a vapor pen, which is different from an e-cigarette, and requires a manufacturer of e-liquid to obtain a permit from the ATC before mixing, bottling, packaging or selling e-liquid to retailers or distributors in Indiana.

District 48 senator Mark Messmer says the new laws require e-cigarette liquid or gel and vapor pen e-liquids to be sold in child-proof packaging:

As always, you can contact Messmer’s office directly with your questions and concerns.

A Birdseye man was taken into custody over the weekend after police discovered he was driving drunk..by accident.

Clayton KernJust before 2:15 yesterday morning, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were investigating an incident along 4th and Main Streets in Dubois when they heard a vehicle farther up the road that seemed to be travelling at a high rate of speed and was squalling its tires.

The vehicle, which was being driven by 19-year-old Clayton Kern, was soon found going southbound approaching the intersection of 4th and Main Streets. Deputies tried to stop the vehicle, but Kern ignored them and accelerated through the intersection, nearly hitting one of the deputies.

Deputies then began chasing the vehicle. During that chase, a state trooper who was assisting ran off of the roadway and into a tree. The patrol car was a total loss, though deputies did not report any injuries to the trooper.

Meanwhile, authorities caught up with and arrested Kern at his residence. They found his BAC was .16% or twice the legal limit.

Kern was booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is charged with Level 6 felonies for Resisting Law Enforcement with a Vehicle and Criminal Recklessness.

Kern is also facing misdemeanor counts for Criminal Mischief, OWI, and minor consuming along with a citation for disregarding a stop sign.