Montgomery County puts children first

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and on Thursday, the Montgomery County Community came out to show its support for Child Abuse Prevention efforts. More than 75 people offered their support to the Putting Children First Event.

The Indiana Department of Child Services in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana and the Kids First Trust Fund worked together to support local DCS offices and organizations, in hosting an event to recognize the role of the community in protecting Indian’s most vulnerable youth.

In Montgomery County, the partners in planning the Putting Children First Event included the Montgomery County office of the Indiana Department of Child Services, Children’s Bureau Community Partners and the Child Abuse Prevention Council a program of the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau.  

The event included several speakers, including Joanie Crum, director of the local DCS office; Mayor Todd Barton; Karen Branch, executive director of the Youth Service Bureau; and Josh Pack, youth leader at Rock Point Church.

All of the speakers expressed their commitment to making sure that every child in Montgomery County has a happy childhood and to support Montgomery County in addressing this serious issue. Barton also read a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month in Crawfordsville. 

Following the speakers, Lisa Long, Child Abuse Prevention Council President and Director of Discovery Kids Preschool had a number of her students entertain the crowd with songs they had learned for the event.

“These precious little children and all the others children in Montgomery County are the reason we come together to make the public aware of child abuse prevention efforts,” Branch said. “We are so gratified to see so many people who want to work together on preventing abuse.” 

The local DCS case managers, supervisors and director were recognized for their work with children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

Everyone in attendance was given a pinwheel to plant and reminded that pinwheels are the symbol of our quest to insure our community’s children are free from abuse and neglect. Nationwide, the pinwheel is the symbol of child abuse prevention as it represents the happy and carefree childhood we would like to have for every child.

For more information about what you can do to prevent child abuse in our community, contact the YSB at 765-362-0694, ext. 105. 

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Department of Child Services hotline number 1-800-800-5556.

Ben Hur Speedway upgrades track; preps for busy season

One well kept secret of the local racing scene is gearing up for its best season in years.

The Ben Hur Speedway, a one-third of a mile clay track at 1500 North C.R. 400W, will open Saturday.

Long known for being Indiana’s fastest kart track — where karts average 62 miles per hour — Ben Hur Speedway has become even faster with an upgraded track surface.

Crawfordsville resident Bev Bowers is the spokesperson for the track. She said work on the track included bringing submerged clay to the top and using it to refinish the surface. New clay also was added to complete the project. Her son, Rob Bowers, who is one of the top racers in Indiana, said he could tell a big difference after driving on the new track surface.

“I think we are going to see some really good speeds this season,” she said.

The grandstands and bleachers were recently restored and a lot of the brush and trees have been cleared, making the facility even more prepared to handle the increased number of racers this season.

The number of riders in the past has been around 100. However, Bev Bowers hopes hopes to see the number of drivers increase to 150 on some weekends this summer.

“We have more people from out of state saying they are coming to race here this year,” she said. “We have a new group from Michigan and another group from Missouri that have never been here. We also are tracking a lot more traffic on our Facebook page.”

The track board also added a new pro series to the schedule of races at the speedway. It is being called the LKS Challenge Series. The new series is designed to make drivers use the same tires, clone engine and have other variables on the kart be equal. The series is designed to reward drivers, who must be age 15 or older, for their skills instead of rewarding the best set-up on the kart. There also will be a similar season for those ages 12-14, called the Junior Clone-3 Pro Series.

The sport has seen an increase in interest in recent years. Each race night there are 17 classes scheduled. Racers range from age 5 to the Senior Stock Class which includes racers as old as 64. Races are scheduled every other weekend beginning this Saturday.

There will be three featured events at the track this season. The 10th annual Shooky Summer Shootout is scheduled for July 8. On Labor Day Weekend, the track will be the host for the 33rd annual Indiana State Dirt Track Championship and the annual Halloween Spooktacular is scheduled for Oct. 21.

This year the concession stand is under new management. Many additional and new items have been added to the menu.

Admission to the track is $1 for children ages 8-12; and $4 for children age 13 and older. Pit passes are available for children ages 7 and younger and $12 for fans age 5 and older. All racers practice 3-7 p.m. Saturdays.

Rokita comes under fire at breakfast

United States Congressmen Todd Rokita found himself a target during the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast on Saturday.

A few people in attendance at Detchon Hall on the Wabash College campus questioned Rokita’s stance on the proposed budget President Donald Trump delivered to Congress, global warming, replacing Obamacare and the accessibility of Trump’s tax returns.

A few breakfast guests proclaimed they did not support Trump or Rokita, both Republicans. Each time Rokita tried to reply to a question, he was interrupted by either the person asking the question or someone else in the audience. Rokita, who stayed calm throughout the discussion, asked several times that he be allowed the opportunity to answer.

“This is a free country and we have free speech rights,” Rokita said. “But, we also have to be civil. I learn from constructive dialog, but I will not tolerate disruptive discussion because that is not fair to people who came to exchange ideas and learn something.”

State Representative Sharon Negele (R-Attica) reported 681 bills were filed during the current state legislative session which may come to an end this week. She said, as of Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed 34 bills into law.

Negele said three bills she authored were signed by Holcomb, including a bill that will increase the penalty for the theft of narcotics from pharmacies.

Dr. Tim Brown, state representative and chairman of the House Ways and Mean Committee, said work continues on the state’s biennial budget. The challenge is finding funds for roads and bridges. The Republican talked about a possible increase in the gasoline tax for motorists and diesel fuel tax for trucks.

Brown also said state education testing continues to be discussed. The Crawfordsville native said the state is leaning toward graduating qualifying exams, which will be different than ISTEP.

Before the question and answer time, Rokita said the failed attempt to replace Obamacare was a lesson for legislators.

“We learned we need to take more time and get it right,” Rokita said. “We need to explain it better to get the next one passed.”

Rokita did pledge to continue to revoke Obamacare as he has done for seven years.

Rokita said he is enjoying working with the Trump administration and being a part of leading the country.

“I am a supporter of Mr. Trump and I think he is right for America at this time,” Rokita said. “Overwhelmingly the people of the Fourth District and Indiana want a fighter. They want America to lead again and that is what Trump is doing.”

Rokita added he supports Amtrak, which he said, “is important to this area and all of Indiana.”

Crawfordsville Police Officer Resigns

The Crawfordsville Police Department has received officer Jeremy Wuestfeld’s notice of resignation Wednesday.


Chief Mike Norman began disciplinary proceedings against Wuestfeld for an April 5, 2017 incident, which the police department also referred to the Indiana State Police. The Crawfordsville Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners were set to review the disciplinary charges on Wednesday (April 12, 2017). Wuestfeld resigned on Monday (April 10, 2017)

Schools to delay start of day

Crawfordsville middle and high school students will be able to hit snooze on their alarms next year — at least one day a week.

The Crawfordsville Community School Corporation Board of Education unanimously approved a once a week delay to the start of the school day at the high school and middle school.

The plan calls for a 40 minute delay to the school day for students on Wednesday, allowing teachers at the high school and middle school to get together for collaborative work.

Crawfordsville Middle School Principal Brent Bokhart said that the delayed start of the day has something the two school administrations have been discussing for a while.

“This is time for the teachers to collaborate,” he said.

Bokhart said that as teachers try to incorporate different learning strategies across the disciplines, it became apparent that teachers needed this time to meet.

“It is a benefit that will go back into the classroom,” he said.

He added that they had been looking at other schools before taking the request to the school board.

“I think our teachers need this,” Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said.

He said that while the day school started late did not have to be Wednesday, they had it in the middle of the week to miss holidays when school is not in session. He told the board that South Montgomery schools are adding a similar component to their school week.

The start of the school day at the three Crawfordsville elementary schools were not changed.

In other business:

• The board received a presentation from members of the Athenas club from the high school. The club asked the board to consider allowing students time during the day to sleep or de-stress and relax. They also discussed the importance of learning about mental health and how to teach students about suicide and suicide prevention. The club told the board about the dangers of body-shaming and the need for non-competitive sports at the high school. They also asked if there was a way to start a mini Athenas club at the middle school to give needed support to students at CMS. The board took no action on the requests. The students were advised to speak to their building principals as a next step.

• The board increased the number of transfer students that will be accepted to 40 per grade level. The deadline to apply for a transfer is Aug. 1.

• The board discussed the 2018-19 school schedule. The schedule was tabled to allow the district to follow-up on a survey that was sent out to get parent and student feedback. 

• The board approved a trip for the Crawfordsville Robotics team for Saturday. The team will participate in events at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

• The board approved retirements for Janet Hook, CHS special education teacher; and Susie Minch, Nicholson teacher.

• The board approved resignations for Tina Hutchison, Hoover receptionist; Denise Blevins, Speech Pathology Assistant; and Lori Guard, Health Careers teacher.