Council votes to help fund airport PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 00:00
    The Washington County Commissioners helped offset a $225,000 road block in the way of the new Salem Airport at the group's December meeting by committing that amount out of the county's EDIT fund.
    The process took another step forward when the county council voted 5-1 to support the commissioner's decision at its regular meeting Jan. 4.
    The only person on the council who opposed spending the money was Mingon Marshall.
    She said her vote reflects what the people in the community have told her.
    “I have talked to a lot of people and a lot of people have talked to me and said don't cast my vote to spend my money on entertainment, and that's what this is,” Marshall said. “. . . I hope what you all are saying is correct and I will be the one to admit that I was wrong, but I represent the people in the county. My voice is for them and they don't want their tax dollars to go to this. The people have asked me to vote this way and that's why I did.”
    Prior to the call for a vote there was lengthy discussion about whether or not the county should support the airport project with EDIT funds.
    “There are two separate issues here,” said Councilman Mark Manship. “There are some people like me who think the new airport is a good idea and some people who think it's a bad idea. The other issue is economic development and a project that can go there, that can bring some additional business and some additional jobs, and I hope we can all get behind that.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 16:11
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Council names 2010 appointees PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 00:00
    The start of a new year brought a changing of the guard to the Washington County Council.
    Councilman Mark Manship's one-year run as president of the board ended when he nominated Jim Day for the position in 2010.
    “I would like to see a rotating presidency and as much as possible I would like to see the presidency rotating from one party to the other,” Manship said, following his statement with a motion nominating Day for president.
    The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the council.
    John D. Fultz was selected to be vice president.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 16:18
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State cuts could lead to lost jobs PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Monday, 04 January 2010 00:00
    Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is proposing $300 million in education budget cuts. With those cuts, he is urging schools to trim staff as only a last resort.
    Local superintendents don't want to make cuts, but they aren't exactly sure how to trim the already tight budgets even more without using the “J” word.
    “Most likely these cuts will cost jobs,” said West Washington Superintendent Gerald Jackson.
    Jackson said he hasn't been able to find specifics about what the cuts will be exactly and he said it could be March before all the details are finalized.
    He said he thinks the $300 million will equal approximately $300 per student.
    “I don't care what school you are talking about, 80-90 percent of their costs are personnel,” he said. “How are you going to cut $300,000 out of 10 percent of your budget. That's just the way it is.
    “We're going to try to do anything else we can do to make the cuts, but when it comes right down to it, personal makes up a large portion of any schools budget."
Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 15:12
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Basketball roundup PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Monday, 04 January 2010 00:00
    Just two local boys' basketball teams played during the two-week holiday break. Salem suffered a loss Dec. 29 at Madison and West Washington split a pair of games.
    Salem fell to the host Cubs, 62-54 and the Senators defeated Eastern Greene 64-55 on Dec. 30, but lost to Lanesville in three overtimes 64-63 on Jan. 2.
    West Washington Head Coach Neil Coyle was very happy with his team's win over the Thunderbirds and said he doesn't fault his group's effort in the loss to the Eagles.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 15:11
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Salem Speedway announces expansion PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00
    Both the new Salem airport project and the local economy may get much-needed boosts thanks to an announcement by Salem Speedway Owner Owen Thompson at the Dec. 16 meeting of the Salem Board of Aviation Commissioners.
    Thompson announced plans for an upcoming project at the speedway that is estimated to cost more than $300,000 and will bring a variety of different races to the community.
    Thompson said in a phone interview Thursday morning that the plan is to add a small oval inside the existing pits.  
    “We will have an X in the middle for all kinds of figure eights and road race type stuff,” he said. “It will have many, many functions built into it.”
    Salem Speedway General Manager Richard Deaton is an expert on the track's history. He said these are historic changes.
    “There have been some highlights and some things that have changed about the speedway throughout the years, but this is probably going to be one of the biggest changes that has taken place since the speedway was built,” Deaton said. “It's the biggest undertaking in the 64-year history of the track.”
    He compared the changes to the ones that took place when Owen and his wife Beverly bought the track in 1995.
    This is just phase one of Thompson's plan. Each year over the next three years the speedway plans to add a new facet with the culmination being a drag strip when the old airport's purchase is official.
    Phase two, which will take place in the off-season 2011,  would include inserting a .44 mile dirt track inside the high-banked oval.
    Phase three will be the drag strip at the current Salem Municipal Airport.
    The totality of the project is expected to cost well over $1 million.
    The changes will not only draw a number of different type of race cars and drivers, but also a different kind of fan.
    “We want to not only draw fans from the area, Louisville and Indianapolis, but from around the nation,” Thompson said. “We want the fans that are coming in for the Brickyard or the Indianapolis 500 or even for the IRL races at Kentucky Speedway to have a reason to come to Salem and that reason will be three-day type of events with a type of racing for all fans.”
    With the changes, the type of racing that will be held at the speedway will include a large oval, road racing, go carts, entry level oval, figure 8 and mini sprints, both dirt and paved.
    The type of cars on the circle tracks will include late models, sportsman, street stocks, bombers, front wheel drive, entry level, SCCA, sprints and midgets, go carts and motorcycles.
    “There was a time when 5,000 people would visit on Sunday afternoon and be happy just watching one type of car race, but those days are passed.
     Several locals were happy about Thompson's announcement. One of those was air board member Bob Woodward.
    “It was an exciting announcement,” he said. “I knew what was happening, but it's nice to get it out to the public.”
    Woodward said the news only strengthens his belief that  the new airport will help to boost economic development. He said that has been his motivation all along.  
    “A lot of the people don't realize we are doing this for economic growth, not necessarily a new airport,” Woodward said. “That has been a big factor in this – what we can do to boost the economy. I know the new airport is not going to save the county, but I think selling the old airport can help. That's why we've been dedicated to making sure whoever buys the old airport is committed to helping the economy and I believe Owen Thompson is going to do that.
    “If we don't build an airport we aren't going to have any hope, to me, this gives us some hope.”
    Salem Mayor Dave Bower agrees. He said city residents should be pleased that it looks like a new airport is a reality without spending any of the city taxpayers' money.
    “I think it's good that we have something happening,” Bower said. “Hopefully, that will provide an opportunity to provide jobs in our community and in the long term, I think it will. We're excited about it.”
    There wasn't a groundbreaking ceremony planned at the time this story was written.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 December 2009 15:02
 
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