US 31 Closes Next Tuesday Between US 50-SR 250 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:49

JACKSON COUNTY, Ind.—The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to close U.S. Highway 31 between U.S. 50 and State Road 250 in Jackson County for 14 days while contracted crews remove and replace a 2400-foot section of concrete pavement at Kriete Corner. The closure is tentatively scheduled to begin after Memorial Day—weather permitting—on Tuesday, May 31.
U.S. 31 will be open to the construction site for local traffic coming from the north. There will be no local access between Kriete Corner and S.R. 250. All through traffic should detour around the closure via Interstate 65.
This work is part of a $5,188,987 rehabilitation project along 21 miles of U.S. 31 between U.S. 50 and Lake Road south of Scottsburg.
Dave O’Mara, the state’s contractor, is charged with making full-depth concrete patches and partial-depth asphalt patches on rural segments of U.S. 31 in Jackson and Scott Counties. In addition to pavement repairs, the north-south highway will be milled and resurfaced through Crothersville between Marshall Street and Cindy Lane, and through Scottsburg and Austin between Lake Road and the Muscatatuck River overflow bridge.
Excavation and extensive concrete patching is scheduled to begin at Scottsburg and Austin on Monday, June 6.
The contract also includes concrete repairs and joint sealing at the I-65 bridge. This part of U.S. 31 has a traffic count of 15,420 vehicles per day.
The contract completion date is November 15.

Recent inmate transfer confusion caused by wording on other counties' on-line sites PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:53


In April, Scott County paid Washington County $46,000 for housing inmates for which there was no room at the Scott County Security Center.

Now, with the new building in downtown Scottsburg declared completed, those inmates temporarily housed at facilities in Washington, Clark and Floyd counties have been transferred back. The jail population now hovers around 150. Male prisoners are in the new wing; female prisoners are housed in the old section.

But the transfer of all of the prisoners created a totally new – and unexpected - problem for Sheriff Dan McClain.

Apparently, the movement of inmates resulted in a crop of rumors that inmates were being released. Not transferred, released.

This, of course, was not the case, said Sheriff McClain.

“My office received numerous calls from citizens regarding inmates being released from custody. Many calls are apparently in response to people getting on-line and reading on those counties' websites that jails have 'released' inmates. Yes, those people were released, but they were released back into our custody. The term 'release' doesn't mean released and free, especially in the case of our inmates,” explained Sheriff McClain.

The sheriff offered an apology for any confusion on the part of the public. He also suggested that those with questions about who is being housed at the local jail should visit his department's website and check the current list of inmates.

That website is

Alleged instances of selling meth bring more charges against Austin man PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:50



Five additional drug charges have been filed in a new Scott Circuit Court case against Patrick Aaron Hirstein, 43.

Hirstein, whose residence is on North Terry Road northeast of Austin, now has four criminal cases pending against him, three in Scott Circuit Court and one in Jackson County. In each, he is charged with dealing in methamphetamine as well as other felonies, most involving dealing or possession of drugs. All are Level 2 felony cases.

In his most recent criminal case, which was filed May 10, Hirstein is charged with four counts of selling crystal methamphetamine. Alleged instances date from January, 2015, through May, 2015. Anywhere from $600 to $1,700 was paid to Hirstein during the purported transactions, according to the probable cause affidavit, and the sales reportedly occurred at his North Terry Rd. residence and at a residence on North Slab Road.

He is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Class B misdemeanor.

In this most recent case, a jury trial date of October 3 was scheduled. Bail was set at $75,000 by corporate surety bond or $15,000 cash. In his three 2015 cases, Hirstein has managed to file either surety bonds or paid cash to be released, although his bail in his case dating from April, 2015, was revoked and reset at $75,000 cash on February 16.

The Jackson County case is scheduled for a jury trial on June 18. The trial date for two other Scott County cases remains June 28.

Hirstein is also fighting over cash seized as evidence in the case filed in January. The Sheriff's Department and Scottsburg Police Department would like to keep those funds, the amount of which has not been released. Those departments filed that action, a civil plenary, this past January.




Senate and House bills to result in money to revitalize, repave county roads this year PDF Print E-mail
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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.




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!

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