LOCAL NEWS

Expo and job fair is Friday

The Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce reminds all patrons that its annual Business Expo/Job Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Crawfordsville High School.  

This event is free and open to the public. It will include opportunities to pick up and complete applications with various vendors. Participants also may choose to bring resumes and credentials. 

 

This is an effort by the Chamber to help meet the needs of a severe work-force shortage in the area, as well as hopefully draw more members of the public to the event.  

Dave Peach and Phil Thompson will broadcast live from the venue. There will be numerous door prizes awarded, including Colt’s tickets. A food court will be provided by Allen’s Country Kitchen.

Questions and information can be directed to 765-362-6800; or email Amy at info.crawfordsvillechamber.com.

Wabash lends a hand

Students at Wabash College are using their spare time to lend a hand — but not their own.

Under the direction of Lon Porter, associate professor of chemistry and the department chair, a small group of students are using 3-D printing technology to make prosthetic hands for children.

“At Wabash, we thought that was a simple way to reach out and do some good,” Porter said. “Instead of the students printing some little trinket when they’re learning, they can print something that, hopefully, will enrich somebody’s life.” 

Since the end of the summer, students have made about 20 different 3-D printed prosthetic hands.

Production of one hand costs about $25. The equivalent professionally-made prosthetics can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000.

“To buy a prosthetic for a child who’s going to outgrow it when it costs thousands of dollars is probably not feasible for your average family,” Porter said.

The Wabash group is partnering with a non-profit organization made up of volunteers called e-NABLE, which was founded in 2013.

According to their website, “e-NABLE typically focuses on under-served communities for whom traditional prostheses are too expensive (because they can cost thousands of dollars per year) or impractical (because children outgrow them). Many children simply never get one because of the expense.”

Since it was founded, e-NABLE has delivered approximately 1500 hands with the help of groups around the country like the men at Wabash.

Each hand produced for e-NABLE functions the same. The person receiving the hand must have some wrist functionality. When a person fastens the 3-D printed prosthetic hand to their arm, bending their wrist will make a grasping motion. 

e-NABLE recognizes that these plastic hands can not hold more than a few pounds of weight and the individual fingers cannot move. However, for a child who has lost all

functionality of one hand, this might give them more options than they had.

“Children use them for simple tasks like holding water bottles while being able to hold a snack in their other hand at the same time, helping to give them balance by allowing them to use two hands to ride a bike or swing on the swings, holding sports equipment like baseball or cricket bats, catching soccer or footballs etc. and other simple tasks that having two hands is helpful for.”

Porter said this project is gaining interest around different departments, and he has enjoyed seeing the excitement from students like Wabash Junior Cordell Lewis during this project.

County council goes back to work on county’s budget

Montgomery Council President Aaron Morgan knows he is under the gun to get a County General and County Option Income Tax budget approved. He came to Tuesday’s meeting expecting to get approval, however, he did not.

This year the council changed its procedure for formulating and adopting the budget. Each council member worked with a county department head on the budget. Morgan had his numbers and presented an amended budget that met guidelines from the Department of Local Government Finances.

However, the proposed budget found resistance from department heads, including the county judges.

The judges were unhappy that the new budget was going to eliminate two probation officers, which would trim the budget by $80,000. Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Harry Siamas was first to speak up.

“I realize the budget process is new this year, but we feel like we need to have some input,” Siamas said. “We feel we need to have a sit-down discussion with the council before we cut two probation officers. The judges would not support such an action.”

Siamas also expressed his concern about the short notice he received about the projected budget cut.

“I was notified on Monday that the probation budget was going to be cut,” Siamas said. “By state guidelines we are already short one and one-half probation officers. We are not here to point fingers. You need to hear the numbers and see that what you propose is not feasible.”

Montgomery Superior Court Judge Peggy Lohorn expressed her concern over the possibility of losing two probation officers.

“The state has changed the way we are to handle low level felons,” Lohorn said. “This is a problem for the judiciary, probation and sheriff trying to determine how we are going to handle the projected increase locally. Cutting two probation officers is really not a viable option.”

Montgomery County Councilman Mark

Davidson expressed concern that the whole council did not have as much input into the budget process as he had hoped.

“I do not think we all had a say in the budget cuts,” Davidson said. “I think we need a special meeting to go over the budget and agree where cuts need to be made.”

The council agreed to have a special meeting to discuss the budget at 8 a.m. on Oct. 23. Morgan said he and other council members would meet with the judges to address their concerns before the next meeting.

Morgan said the DGLF set a goal for the county budget to be $7.18 million. He said his goal was to present a budget for passage totaling $7.28 million.

Deadline to submit an approved budget to the DGLF is Nov. 2.

Vote centers coming in 2016

New voting machines and vote centers were approved at Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council meeting. Voters can expect to use the new machines in the May 2016 Primary Election.

Both the county council and county commissioners passed resolutions to purchase the new machines, and move from precinct voting to vote centers. The only question is how the county will pay for the machines. The cost of the new machines is $286,962. Commissioners have the authority to either pay for the machines with an annual lease payment for five years, or finance the amount at a local financial institution.

Montgomery County Attorney Dan Taylor explained to the council what its role was in approving the funding for the new machines.

“What the clerk is doing is asking the council whether it will support funding for the new voting machines,” Taylor said. “It is the commissioners who will have to determine the option of financing.”

Council members and commissioners said they wanted to honor and approve the recommendation from Montgomery County Clerk Jennifer Bentley and members of the county election board.

“The election board and county clerk have a job to do and they have put a lot of work into this,” Commissioner Jim Fulwider said. “It is our job, as commissioners, to sign the contract.”

The county is expected to save $52,000 per year by going to vote centers compared to costs of running precinct polling places. The clerk’s office has the money budgeted to pay the annual payments for the new voting machines.

The council voted 7-0 to fund the new voting machines being sold to the county by RBM Inc.

The topic of vote center locations became a part of the discussion during the council meeting.

Montgomery County Councilman Mark Davidson favors vote centers. However, he hopes the centers will be spread around the

county and not just in Union Township.

“I think you need to look at having vote center spread around the county,” Davidson said. “I think you are going to have to deal with some upset people if everyone has to drive to Crawfordsville to vote.”

Bentley said the sites have yet to be determined. She said there could be a plan to take voting machines out into the county before election day for local voters.

“We have thought about taking the two Saturdays before the primary and have voting machines available in the smaller towns,” Bentley said. “Early voting would allow us that option.”

The use of vote centers was approved by the council by a 7-0 vote.

South sixth graders staying put

NEW MARKET — Sixth graders in the South Montgomery Community School Corporation will be staying in the elementary schools — at least for now.

The decision was shared during Monday’s school board meeting by Superintendent Shawn Greiner.

 

Over the past month, a committee made up of board members and school employees had been looking at research and surveying the community to decide the feasibility of moving the students to the junior high. After weighing some of the possible positive outcomes with the possible challenges, the committee determined the move is not appropriate for students at this time.

Approximately 370 surveys were distributed to families and the committee received 184 responses. The results of the survey found that 45 percent of respondents did not favor the move; 41 percent did favor it; and 14 percent were undecided.

The survey gave respondents a chance to list concerns they might have about moving sixth graders to the junior high. The biggest concern respondents had was the possible negative influences older students might have on the sixth graders. The second biggest concern was that the sixth graders might not be mature enough to handle the transition.

However, 68 percent of all respondents said that sixth graders would have more opportunities at the junior high including extracurricular activities and athletics as well as more chances to study in specialized areas such as agriculture, band or choir.

The move for the sixth graders is not being ruled out totally. However, the committee feels like they need to weigh the concerns of the community as well as address their own concerns, including the lack of space for additional students at Southmont Junior High School.

“We have to make sure that,” Greiner said, “if we make that recommendation and we have the space for it, that parents understand that it is so we can benefit, for our students, from the best of both worlds.”

The next committee meeting will be in April 2016. Until then, the committee will continue to research the possibility of moving the sixth graders and continue communicating with parents and community members. Committee members are Eric Mason, Jerry Kinkead, Eric Brewer, Brett Higgins, Mike Tricker, Belle Gabbard, Tina Swisher, Mary Scheidler and Superintendent Shawn Greiner.

Facility upgrades

The school board also saw a conceptual design for upgrades to the corporation’s athletic facilities.

Athletic Director Aaron Charles presented the design, which included the addition of facilities such as two football practice fields (one only being 60 yards in length), a new soccer field, new softball and baseball diamonds, a concession stand/restroom facility and a new parking lot.

“That’d be a real plus for all of our kids, from youth up to high school,” said baseball Head Coach Jamie Welliever. The baseball field we play on now is the original from 1972. We now have four teams on that one field, and so a second field would be huge.”

Charles listed several purposes the upgrades will serve including improving safety around the facilities, solving traffic issues, create better curb appeal and making the facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The board also approved the 2016 budget, which will now go to the state. The state will decide what to cut from the corporation’s budget and will return the revised budget sometime between December and March.