Senate and House bills to result in money to revitalize, repave county roads this year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:49

 

 

Recent bills passed by the Indiana Senate and House and signed by Governor Mike Pence could result in Scott County receiving a total of $2.5 million for road repairs and paving by as early as August.

The topic was discussed at the Scott County Council meeting on Tuesday morning, May 17, and the Scott County Commissioners' meeting on Wednesday morning, May 18. In fact, both groups of officials seemed downright happy to see Highway Superintendent Jill Baker, the bearer of the glad tidings.

As explained by Baker, House Bill 1001 will allow the county to receive 75% of a little over $563,000. It also offers each Indiana county a chance to obtain up to $1 million from the state, if the county wishes to participate in this dollar-per-dollar match. Senate Bill 67 requires that 75% of the distribution be used “...for road construction, maintenance or repair...” The other 25% may be used for other projects of the taxing unit.

There's a lot of t's to be crossed and i's to be dotted before the county receives the money, Baker warned. “What the state wants is a comprehensive management plan that identifies and rates all roads and bridges in the county,” she explained to officials at the two meetings. “My question to you is, do you want us to work ourselves crazy getting this plan together so we will be eligible (for all of the money possible)?” she asked the County Council.

You bet, advised the Council. Definitely, said Commissioners the following morning.

Baker and her staff first learned of the dollars and how to obtain them at a Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) meeting in Evansville earlier this month. She said Indiana adopted the road and bridge rating plan based on a similar system used in Michigan for years.

Additional funds will be given to Scott County on a yearly basis if the county has in place a method by which it raises money locally for road paving and improvements. “That means a wheel tax. I am back here begging you to pass a wheel tax,” Baker told officials Tuesday morning.

If a wheel tax is passed by the Council, it will help generate enough dollars each year that proper maintenance can be performed on all of the roads brought up to higher ratings from the initial $2,5 million.

The City of Austin appealed to county officials unsuccessfully last year to allow the city to set up a wheel tax. Such a tax is collected from people as they renew their license plates. Baker suggested a flat tax of $7.50 for most vehicles.

“Last time we talked about a wheel tax, I voted against it because the public was against it, and I've regretted it ever since. I think the public would have been for it if they knew more about it and how it's going to benefit this county,” noted Councilman Raymond Jones.

Councilman Mike Zollman had another view on a wheel tax. “I am up for re-election, and there's no assurance that voters will return me to this seat in November. How can I vote on a wheel tax now when I am essentially a 'lame duck'?” he asked. He said he preferred to bring up the topic in January, 2017, after the election of at-large councilmen is over and winners are seated and ready to work on the county's challenges. “It's unfair for me to force a tax on whoever may be serving,” he stated.

Zollman was all for getting as much money this year as possible, saying he would vote to use $1 million of the hospital reserve fund. Those dollars were obtained from the sale of the local hospital a few years ago. “We'd be crazy not to,” he observed. Councilman Eric Gillespie added, “A big percentage of what we'll get will be new paving. Once we get it, it'll be easier to maintain it.”

The management plan on which the Highway Department staff is already working must be completed and submitted to the state by the end of May, Baker reported.

The County Council supported the plan by a 7-0 vote.

In the Commissioners' meeting, all were glad to hear that state legislators came up with a plan to get dollars for local roads. Baker told them she was glad the Council is willing to match the $1 million offer.

“The object is to make bad roads good and good roads better,” Baker stated. She estimated that as much as 80 to 100 miles of road could be repaired and/or repaved with the money. Scott County has around 320 miles of roads, with just a few that are still gravel.

“What I find amazing is, after all these years of the state telling us they can't send us any money for roads, they now have money for roads,” observed Commissioner Bob Tobias.

Baker told the Commissioners she was again going to push for a wheel tax to be established in Scott County so it can continue to get funding to maintain its roads.

Commissioner Kelley Robbins said he felt the wheel tax was misnamed. “It's not a tax, it's an investment in our county. We need it,” he said.

 

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Bicentennial torch visit on September 16 influencing local plans to celebrate Indiana's 200th PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:47

 

 

Fourth graders around Scott County have known all year long that Indiana is marking its 200th anniversary, its Bicentennial birthday, in 2016.

Now, adults are organizing some events to better commemorate what should be a pretty nice event occurring on Friday, September 16.

That's the day on which the official Indiana Bicentennial torch will be walked into Scott County from Clark County and handed over to the first of 20 torch bearers. Those official torch bearers are currently being selected by the State Bicentennial Committee from a group of 68 nominated late last year by various people around the county. Anyone could have been nominated for this unique honor, and there's a nice mix of people who have been active in their community. Many have given back in a number of ways; some have struggled to conquer serious medical challenges. All are outstanding in many ways.

Nominees range from fairly young to those with senior citizen status. The official list includes, in alphabetical order:

Jeanne Abbott, Clara Adkins, Chris Albertson, Ashley Arrowood, Jerry Asher, Ron Atkins, Jim Barley, Jim Binkley, Casey Brenneman, Richie Buchanan.

Betty Burris, Landon Campbell, Donna Cheatham, Ann Coats, Ed Cozart, David Deaton, Tia Deaton, Roger Duvall, Bill Graham, Steve and Pam Gwaltney.

Dustin Houchens, Scott Howser, Jacob Johanningsmeier, Mike Jones, Raymond Jones, Sue Jones, Lori Joyner, Gordon Julian, Dustin Keith, Dr. Eusebio Kho.

Phil LaMaster, John Lowry, L.L. Lowry, Frank Mays, Taylor Means, Craig Mull, Andie Myers, Janet Payne, April Ramoni, Greg Ramoni.

Frieda Redifer, Rick Rigel, Al Riggle, Gene Rogers, Ross and Sherry St. Clair, Sam Sebastian, Bryan Smallwood, Kevin Smallwood, Kenny Spence, Jennifer Spicer. Carl Stout.

Andrea Sweetland, Mark and Julie Thomas, Albert Thormyer, Annalee Turley, Phil Turley, Anita Walker, Evan West, Jonathan White, Leroy Williams, Carla Westmoreland Zellers and Ray Zollman.

The 20 finalists are expected to be announced in June, said Brandon Polley, Scott County's Indiana Bicentennial coordinator. The county's torch bearers will be featured in the July 10 “Come to the Fair” Parade, the event that signals the official start of the 2016 fair.

Polley and a small committee have been meeting regularly. He said there is one official Indiana Bicentennial project in Scott County, the creation of a commemorative ornament featuring the county's original courthouse, which was located at Lexington, and the 1875 courthouse, which continues to serve the county in Scottsburg. The ornament was designed by the Scott County Historical Society and will be on sale soon. Proceeds will benefit the Scott County Heritage Center and Museum.

Other projects that will be submitted for official Bicentennial status are a collection of “Bicentennial Moments,” one of which is provided to Scott County Commissioners at their second business meeting of each month. Presentations of “Bicentennial Moments” are given by members of Preservation Alliance Inc., the non-profit organization which operates the county museum.

MaterFest, the two-day festival set for July 22 and 23 in downtown Scottsburg, is also a Bicentennial nominee. Featuring all sorts of good eats and entertainment, MaterFest is based on the county's history in the late 1800s and 1900s of growing tomatoes for processing at what was then know as the Morgan Canning Company, now Morgan Foods Inc. Tomatoes, or “maters,” are the festival's star fruit and are highlighted in produce displays and contests.

The Museum Quilters' annual Quilt Show and the Airing of the Quilts will take place on the weekend before the torch makes its appearance in the county, September 10 and 11. They are also being nominated for Bicentennial Event status. The quilt show attracts quilt lovers who enjoy seeing creations on display and those entered in competition. The “Airing of the Quilts” is a free-form display of quilts and quilt art-related activities that will be held on the museum grounds this year.

So what's happening when the torch hits town on September 16?

Selected torch bearers wearing official t-shirts will be spaced out along the torch's designated path through Scott County. It begins on U.S. Highway 31 in Underwood at County Line Road, and the entourage will make its way into Scottsburg, diverting east onto State Road 56 to Scottsburg City Hall. After a ten-minute break, the parade of official vehicles will go west back to U.S. 31 and continue on to Austin. At that community's intersection with State Road 256, the parade heads east to the Jefferson County line, where the torch will be handed over to official torch bearers from that county.

All of this is going to happen between 1 and 2:30 p.m., according to the official schedule.

The Scott County committee is now developing a party for everyone to attend that evening on the Scottsburg downtown square, showing a Hoosier-related movie, “Breaking Away,” and featuring lots of food and fun for all.

Plenty of help will be needed to plan Scott County's party. Anyone wishing to assist is urged to call Polley at the Scott County Visitors' Commission office, 812-752-9211. Polley serves as the Visitors Commission's marketing director.

Perhaps planners are also using the state's observance of its 200th birthday as a prequel to what will be happening in Scott County in 2020. That year will mark Scott County's 200th year of existence.

After all, that milestone is only four short years away!

 
Fair Board members hear plea to halt most tobacco use at Scott County Fairgrounds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:41

 

A request to stop most tobacco use at the Scott County Fairgrounds while the fair is held July 10 to 16 was presented to the Fair Board at its meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

Lori Croasdell, coordinator of the Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances in Scott County (CEASe), began the presentation, introducing Michelle Shelton, newly-appointed Tobacco Prevention coordinator, and Shannon Carroll, community outreach nurse at Scott Memorial Hospital.

The three women urged the board to ban any kind of tobacco use from most of the fairgrounds during the fair. Some Indiana fairs have reserved areas in parking lots or designated parking areas for people who wish to use tobacco. The ban, they said, should include new smoking devices now popular, such as vaporizers and pipes. Pipes, special lipstick tubes and even keychains have been created to allow the use of tobacco and other substances, such as marijuana and other inhalants.

“These devices can be used for tobacco or illegal substances,” said Croasdell. “The adult smoking rate in Scott County is 25%. We think families and other non-smokers would appreciate you making our fair tobacco-free, not just on Kiddy Day (which occurs on Wednesday afternoon) but throughout its run.”

At the least, the women asked that the fair board designate all buildings and eating areas smoke- and vap-free.

Board President John McNeely thanked the women for their presentation and said he wanted to wait on a vote until board members had a chance to do some research. “We'd like to contact other fairs around the area and see what they've come up with,” McNeely told them.

The smoke-free issue will be brought up again at the board's June 14 meeting.

Another topic which took some time to discuss was the lack of financial records from the 2015 fair.

Board secretary/treasurer Tonia Richey reported she had not yet received all of the records promised by former board members. Keys to the board's post office box have yet to be returned, and the fair board has never received passwords to its laptop.

After a lengthy discussion, the board agreed to let McNeely again contact the former secretary and treasurer about the missing items and records. If those individuals do not respond, an attorney will be contacted for legal action.

The final slate of events at the fairgrounds grandstand may include activities for every night.

Sunday, July 10, will have events at two sites: The 2016 Little Miss and Little Master of Scott County contest and the 2016 Miss Scott County Fair Queen Pageant will be held in McClain Hall at nearby Scottsburg High School. At the grandstand, people will enjoy a slate of races presented by staff of the Brownstown Speedway.

On Monday, July 11, the 2016 Scott County Talent Show will be the event. Youth who present their talent during the show will qualify to perform at the Indiana State Fair Talent Show.

The popular Scott County Enduro will take place on Wednesday, July 12. The enduro will have two classes this year with qualifying events kept shorter to provide more action for the audience to enjoy.

High Fly Motocross will be featured on Thursday night, July 13. Motorcycle and quad classes will be offered.

Friday night, July 14, will be the night of the annual Scott County Demolition Derby.

Saturday, July 15, will feature the Battle of the Bluegrass Tractor Pull, an event which will have five signature classes and is designed as part of a popular series composed of 47 events around the Midwest.

Battle of the Bluegrass promoters want to return this October to present finals, it was learned.

So what about Tuesday night, July 12? How about an open mike Karaoke Night? That was the suggestion, and if arrangements can be made, it's probably going to happen. No admission will be charged for those wanting to watch as people compete, it was determined.

Scottsburg FFA members will be doing trash patrol every night of the fair. The chapter will get a donation of $1,500 from the board for a good job.

President McNeely also wanted to discuss a set of aluminum grandstands being sold in Decatur, Il., for $90,000. If those could be purchased, the seats could replace at least one-third of the aging bleachers at the grandstand. McNeely noted that fair boards have spent at least $21,000 since 2005 fixing and replacing parts of the grandstand. The board considered a quote of $2,900 to sandblast the metal on the grandstand and prepare it for public use.

Additionally, board members agreed to rent a tent for $900 to shelter 4-H'ers' water and domestic fowl during the 2016 fair. Rabbits, which have multiplied in popularity, will be housed in the old shelter. The board hopes to soon have enough money to erect a new building for these 4-H animals. Several businesses have provided pledges totaling over $10,000 thus far.

Clean fill dirt is needed for the track. Repairs are needed for the roof of the fairgrounds grandstand office. The board voted to give extension homemakers $250 to buy ribbons. The board will also rent more port-a-pots. A discussion about rain insurance led to no decision about taking out a policy.

Antique tractors and farm equipment are welcomed for a week-long display at the fair. Persons interested can contact McNeely at 812-5952451 or e-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The board's next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, at the former Saddle Club building at the fairgrounds. Meetings are open to the public.

 
Seven area residents arrested on drug-related charges by State Police, Madison PD PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 13:43

A total of seven area residents are now facing a variety of drug-related charges after being arrested by the Indiana State Police or officers with the Madison Police Department.

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Visit by Indiana Bicentennial torch inspiring local plans to celebrate Indiana’s 200th PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 13:42

Fourth graders around Scott County have known all year long that Indiana is marking its 200th anniversary, its Bicentennial birthday, in 2016.

Read more...
 
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