Area Plan Commission staff receives free IURC training PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 28 December 2017 11:25

 

Staff of the Scott County Area Plan Commission (APC) recently received free training at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s (IURC) annual Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference.

April Ramoni, executive director of the APC, and administrative assistant Ashlee Campbell attended the conference through two scholarships received by them “…in recognition of continued efforts to create a safer community for Scott County residents.” It is the second year in a row for the staff to receive scholarships based on past year’s efforts.

Nearly three years ago, a phone call from the region’s largest natural gas provider alerted the staff to a breakdown in communication between the office and underground utility suppliers in Scott County. A demolition project near an active supply line of the natural gas company could have endangered the line.

In the wake of that incident, Ramoni and Terry Shafer, regional area manager for Midwest Natural Gas, agreed to work together on a solution to ensure general safety. Ramoni and Campbell joined Shafer and other members of the Southeast Damage Prevention Council at regular monthly meetings to discuss best practices for development in areas where underground utilities are present. The group established a local outreach program to educate citizens about Indiana’s Dig Law and the importance of calling Indiana 811 so that all involved parties are informed and prepared.

APC staff uses every opportunity to spread the word about observing underground utility safety, regardless of how small or large the “dig project” is, explained Ramoni. “Whether the project involves a weekend gardener, a professional landscaper or a large-scale developer, we can all sleep a little easier at night knowing that our efforts are helping to keep people and properties safer, including our utility professionals and our emergency responders. By calling 8-1-1 before digging, people can prevent losses,” she said.

Ramoni will serve as the 2018 Vice-Chair of the SEDPC, with Shafer continuing to serve as chairman.

The conference the two staff members attended at French Lick focused on underground utility safety through education and networking. It complimented the work of the Southeast Council, which meets every third Thursday of the month at the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg.

Meetings begin at 10 a.m. and are open to the public.

Indiana 811 is a non-profit corporation composed of operators of underground facilities within the state. A free, statewide system, Indiana 811 is designed to save time and money and dramatically reduce accidental dig-ins. More information may be obtained by contacting the Scott County APC office at 812-752-8445, ext. 1.

 
Recent accidents on Scottsburg streets injure five people PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Thursday, 28 December 2017 11:24

 

Three accidents which happened before the Christmas weekend injured five people, according to records maintained by the Scottsburg Police Department.

On Tuesday, December 19, a 2008 Dodge Avenger struck the rear of a 2017 Chevy Equinox at the traffic light on U.S. Highway 31 at State Road 56 West (West McClain Avenue). The accident happened at 10:47 a.m.

Ann E. Williams, 38, New Washington, was at the wheel of the Avenger and behind the Equinox, which was being driven by Walker “Ed” Amick, 65, Scottsburg. Williams told Sgt. Brian Hall that she looked up and thought the SUV in front of her had started to move. She struck the rear of Amick’s SUV, which had instead been stationary.

The mishap caused Amick to experience head pain, but he declined medical assistance at the scene.

“Following too closely” was the contributing factor that Sgt. Hall noted in the accident report. Property damage was listed as up to $5,000.

A December 20 accident at South Lake Road and S.R. 56 West injured a male driver. The incident happened at 6 p.m. and brought Patrolman Trevis Burr to the scene.

One of the drivers, Mary A. Turner, 68, Austin, explained to the officer that she had been southbound on S. Lake Rd. when she started to turn left into the access road between Pizza Hut and the Verizon Store. Her 2002 Nissan Sentra was struck on the passenger side by William J. Best, 37, Scottsburg. Best said he was northbound on S. Lake Rd. when the car turned into his lane.

Neither reported injuries at the scene of the accident, but the officer noted that Best called later and said he was going to Scott Memorial Hospital because of a persistent leg pain.

Ptl. Burr cited failure to yield as a factor in the crash and estimated property damage up to $5,000.

Three people were reported hurt in a crash that happened in front of the Taco Bell on S.R. 56 West on Friday, December 22. The wreck occurred just after 9:30 p.m.

Trevor E. Stidham, 17, Scottsburg, was driving a 2002 Ford Mustang west on the highway. He had begun a turn into the Taco Bell when the car was struck on the passenger side by an eastbound 2008 Kia Optima operated by Daniel J. Miskell, 19, Austin.

Air bags deployed in both vehicles, which led to Stidham citing facial pain and Miskell, chest pain. Passengers in both vehicles also experienced pain. Tyler Hammill, 17, in the Mustang, suffered pain in his side. Derek Meeks, 20, had knee pain. He was Miskell’s passenger.

All of the young men were checked by technicians with Scott County EMS, but all declined to be transported to the local hospital, the report by Patrolman Greg Green noted.

Property damage was estimated at up to $5,000 by Ptl. Green. He was assisted at the scene by Patrolman James Vires.

 

 
Top ISDH official presents current HIV/Hep C information PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Thursday, 28 December 2017 11:23

 

County Commissioners were visited by the new Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Dr. Kristine Box, on Wednesday, December 20.

Dr. Box was accompanied by Dr. Trent Fox, ISDH Chief of Staff, both of whom were very complimentary about local efforts to quell growth of the outbreak of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and Hepatitis C. In 2015, the situation in Scott County was declared a public health emergency by then Indiana governor Mike Pence. Pence now serves as U.S. Vice President. Dr. Jerome Adams, then ISDH Commissioner, is serving as U.S. Surgeon General. Consequently, Dr. Box said, Scott County is “…blessed with strong ties at the federal level as well as with the state.”

Dr. Adams spearheaded the local campaign, with the ISDH pouring dollars and other staff into Austin and Scott County to ward off more HIV cases. Many of the original cases were the result of drug addicts sharing needles. Consequently, then Gov. Pence approved setting up the county’s needle exchange program.

Staff, dollars and the exchange program are having a good effect on the HIV rate in Scott County, Dr. Box reported. “Where it was predicted Scott County would have 26 new cases this year, you have had 11 as of December 1. That is a remarkable turnaround from where you were,” Dr. Box told Commissioners Kelley Robbins, Bob Tobias and Mike Jones. “We know this (outbreak) is something that you did not want, but your county is being held up nationally as an example of what can be done and what can be achieved through hard work. That is something to be proud of.”

Of the 217 people eligible for care, 165 are now virally suppressed, the new Commissioner reported. Viral suppression is vital in curbing the spread of HIV.

A total of 739 people are now participating in the needle exchange program, it was learned. The exchange rate of needles is 93.8%. Another 804 individuals have been referred to substance abuse programs.

As of December 1, Emergency Room personnel at Scott Memorial Hospital have tested 138 people for HIV; 283 have been tested at the One Stop Shop on U.S. Highway 31 North in Austin. Of these individuals, 26% have said they have shared needles with other addicts.

Dr. Box said the best way of getting this percentage to decline is education. “Your (local Health Department) staff does a tremendous job of giving information to people who come to them. Education in the schools is another way to inform even young children of dangers they could face, Dr. Box said.

“There’s a lot of good work being done throughout the state on education,” she concluded.

Commissioner Jones asked Dr. Box if the campaign against prescribers of excessive amounts of painkillers is continuing. “Doctors can still prescribe at will,” she replied, “but state officials are looking at those amounts, and there is on-line training for these professionals.”

She promised state officials will continue to keep Commissioners apprised of the continuing campaign in Scott County during 2018. The next such report will mark the effort’s three-year anniversary.

 

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Financial help with new restrooms at fairgrounds urged PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Thursday, 28 December 2017 11:21

 

Financial help with building a new restroom facility at the Scott County Fairgrounds was urged during the December 20 meeting of Scott County Commissioners.

John McNeely, President of the fair’s Board of Directors, presented current plans for the new restrooms. A proposed site will ensure the facility is more centrally located, McNeely said, and that it will be easily accessible to physically-challenged visitors to the fair.

That location will be south of the grandstand, it was learned.

It will also offer separate showering sections for men and women, he said. Another purpose will be to offer a safer shelter in times of severe storms, McNeely pointed out.

The board had hoped the facility could have been built in 2017, but state regulations required the plans be drawn up by an engineer, and they must be approved by state agencies. “That’s also added to their cost and the overall cost of the project,” McNeely said.

Consequently, the fair board is seeking sponsors to contribute to the restrooms’ price tag, estimated to be over $50,000.

The fair itself is “….normally a ‘wash,’ financially. You average maybe $125,000, but a lot of that goes back out for expenses. We’ve been able to do a lot more at the fairgrounds this last year because of the money you gave us from the Hospital Reserve Fund,” McNeely stated. He was referring to a one-time $100,000 gift given to the fair board by Commissioners and the Scott County Council. The fair receives no tax revenue but rather relies on what money can be raised by events like the fair.

McNeely said there is interest from a quarterhorse trainer to conduct sessions and shows at the fairgrounds in 2018. He said the board is also looking at other events to use the facilities there.

Board of Commissioners President Kelley Robbins thanked McNeely and the board for its efforts. As far as dollars for restrooms or other projects, he reminded McNeely, “We’d have to approach the County Council with any money requests.”

In other business handled by the Commissioners, the following actions were taken:

Approved a year-long dumpster contract for the Health Department at a rate of $40 per week;

Approved payment of $6,896 to building contractor Lincoln Taylor for work performed at the new office of the Health Department;

Accepted the 2018 comprehensive plan prepared by CEASe (Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Substances). The plan showed the amount of activity on behalf of CEASe, a local non-profit, and enables CEASe to obtain state grants.

Were updated by One America representatives, the firm which handles the investments to benefit county employees’ retirement funds.

Received three presentations on casualty and liability insurance coverage from firms interested in the county’s business. A decision on which will be awarded a contract will be made by Commissioners at their scheduled December 28 end-of-year meeting.

Received an end-of-year report on Scott County EMS activities and revenue.

Allowed $6,500 toward the Interim Emergency Management Administration (EMA) Director’s salary.

Approved security measures at the Courthouse.

The Commissioners met later that day to conduct interviews of prospective EMA directors.

 

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Traffic stops by deputy, state police result in two arrests PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Thursday, 28 December 2017 07:16

Two people arrested by officers with the Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police (ISP), Sellersburg post, are being charged with drug-related offenses.

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