Turkey Run, Rockville to consolidate

Turkey Run and Rockville Jr./Sr. high schools will consolidate at the start of the 2018-19 school year, a move administrators hope will tackle continuing declines in student enrollment and revenues.

In front of a standing-room only crowd at Turkey Run on Wednesday, the North Central Parke Community School Corp. Board of Trustees approved a series of resolutions setting the plan in motion. The process to combine the schools begins immediately.

“There are many memories of the past that cannot be taken away, however, our responsibility as a school board is to look to the future,” board president Scott Ramsay said in opening remarks.

The board’s decision comes almost a year after an identical proposal was defeated.

Under the plan, the high schools will merge into Rockville’s current facility. Turkey Run’s building will become a middle school for grades 6-8.

Students from Adams and Union townships will attend the current Rockville Elementary, with the existing Turkey Run Elementary housing the rest.

The seven-member board unanimously passed a resolution supporting overall consolidation.

Member Gina Sunderman cast the lone “no” vote on the resolution merging the high schools.

“I represent a district that is in the northern part of the county where there are children that have to travel a far distance to get the Rockville High School location,” she said after the meeting.

“I realize that I represent all of the North Central Parke Community School Corp. children,” Sunderman continued. “I also was elected by a

community that didn’t stand behind the concept of the consolidation of the high school being placed at Rockville.”

Sunderman added she would ultimately support the board’s final decision.

Separate resolutions to consolidate the junior highs and adopt a timeline both passed 5-2.

Parents, students and former and current staff members in the audience said consolidation was the best way forward for the kids.

Roy Wrightsman, who chaired the re-organization committee when North Central Parke formed in 2013, said failing to support it is a disservice to future generations and the community’s well-being.

“We are bigger than that,” Wrightsman said during a public comment period. “We have to move past the old rivalries and look to join together for the betterment of the community, not just some factions of it.”

But the school district came under fire for what parents said was a lack of communication about the plans. Some parents believed the consolidation would happen this fall.

“You’re not going to please everybody,” Grace Johnston said, “but to make it go more smoothly, come up with a clear, concise plan, stick to it — make it easier for everybody.”

Speaking after the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Tom Rohr thanked the community for its support.

Administrators will now focus on aligning curriculum, extra-curricular and transportation schedules and making staff assignments.

School names, colors and mascots are also part of the discussion.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work to do to prepare for the 2018-19 school year,” Rohr said.

Sweet Treats

Young students in the Sweet Treats program at the Crawfordsville District Public Library meet the first Thursday of each month.

Board accepts paving bids

Crawfordsville streets are due for a major upgrade this summer thanks to funds obtained through the Indiana Community Crossing Grant.

On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works & Safety received three bids for paving projects totaling more than $1.5 million.

Mayor Todd Barton opened bids from Midwest Paving of Noblesville and Lafayette-based Reith-Riley Construction and Milestone Contractors. Total bids range from $1,552,375 to $1,744,156. The bids were broken up by work to be done on each individual street and were bundled together in two phases. Street Commissioner Scott Hesler will study the bids and bring a recommendation to the next board meeting on April 12. Hesler expects the work to start in the summer and possibly continue to the fall.

Residents near the city’s newly acquired warehouse at 1201 E. Elmore St. will soon seen activity around the building. Barton said the building contains six cranes that need to be removed. The board approved a $48,280 contract with B&L Engineering to remove the cranes.

Crawfordsville EMA Chief Paul Miller presented a contract with Franciscan Health Crawfordsville. The agreement states the hospital will be the supporting agency for advanced life support. The contract is merely an agreement with no money involved.

The board also accepted and placed under advisement three bids for a new pickup for the Street Department. Bids were received from Etter Ford, Kenny Vice Ford and Kristi Hubler Chevrolet.

City Administrator Dale Petrie presented the board with a change order for Fire Station #2 for additional outdoor lighting near doorways. The board approved the additional funds in the amount of $1,265.

Wabash College fraternity Phi Gamma Delta received a noise abatement from 10 p.m. to midnight Friday. The board also approved the fraternity’s request to close the alley between Jefferson Street to College Avenue from 8 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday.

Residents traveling along Washington Street on Friday need to be aware that from 4 to 6:30 a.m. crews will be pulling manhole covers. Traffic should not be hindered, however drivers are asked to be aware of workers along the street.

Dave Harrington received permission to place his Gigglin’ Pig food truck on North Green Street in front of the Backstep Brewery 5-10 p.m. Friday and 2-11 p.m. June 9 and June 10.

Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Director Fawn Johnson reminded the board of the annual Community Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at the General Lew Wallace Study Museum.

Nation marks 100 years since U.S. enters ‘Great War’

There was a duty to help the people “over there” in Europe caught in the crossfire of a growing war, so Miss Ristine cracked opened her storybooks.

The children each paid a dime for reading hour at Wabash College, the money going to an orphan fund.

It was one of the ways Montgomery County banded together to support the war effort, rationing food, planting gardens and making bath robes for base hospitals.

But as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of entering World War I, historians say the home front was not ready for the fallout of relentless combat. The fighting would continue for nearly two years.

“They all thought they were going to go, turn around and come right back, which they didn’t do, of course,” said Dianne Combs, reference department assistant at Crawfordsville District Public Library.

In Montgomery County, many city and county men enlisted without waiting to be drafted, local historian Pat Cline wrote in “Crawfordsville: A Pictorial History. Eighty Wabash College students and as many city and county youth were serving before the draft was on the books.

The names of men who enlisted were carried in the local newspapers.

As President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, Crawfordsville was bracing for a carpenters strike.

The local Elks lodge vowed loyalty and support to the president. In a front-page editorial, the Crawfordsville Review urged farmers to step it up in the fields and housewives to “eliminate wastefullness [sic] and extravagance.”

At Wabash, students voluntarily held military drills on campus, earning college credits.

Wallies were soon ready to play baseball again, calling on the administration to resume the athletic schedule. DePauw University was the only other campus in Indiana to call off sports when the U.S. joined the war.

Meanwhile, the Review offices began selling American flags, imploring readers to “put one in every window.” They ran out by the first of May.

A month after war was declared, at least 3,000 people gathered for a patriotic parade. The keynote speaker said it was the largest demonstration held in the state.

Not everyone answered the call to do their part.

Police arrested a Linden man for twice pulling an American flag from the telephone in front of his house. The second time, the Review reported, the avowed socialist tore the flag to bits.

The man said he did not believe in war. Federal agents were called to pick him up.

By war’s end, 42 soldiers with Montgomery County connections would lose their lives. Most died from the flu or pneumonia before they could be sent to the front lines, Combs said.

The county’s response to the war is showcased in an exhibit of artifacts, photos and letters on display on the second floor of CDPL. Combs read every issue of the Crawfordsville Daily Journal from April 1917 to December 1918, pulling out articles promoting clothing drives and knitting circles.

Over the years, families of local soldiers have donated boots, dog tags and flight helmets to the library, which pulled them from the archives for the display.

“We have someone’s daily record that he kept in his pocket,” Combs said.

The library accepts donations of authentic military artifacts for the collection.

Combs has personal ties to the time period. Her grandfather was one of 28,000 men on the Spruce Squadron who cut down trees in the Pacific Northwest for wood for the barracks. Her husband is a retired military officer and their son is currently deployed overseas.

Crash involving bus injures 1

A three-vehicle crash that included a school bus on the city’s west side Wednesday afternoon sent one man to the local hospital.

Indiana State Trooper Alaina Zloty said the crash was reported at approximately 2:45 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 136 and C.R. 125W.

Zloty said a silver 2006 Ford Explorer driven by Leslie N. Oaks, 24, of Crawfordsville was southbound when she stopped at the intersection. She failed to yield to a 2013 F-150 pickup driven by Harold G. Stockdale Jr., 72, of Waynetown. After striking the pickup, it spun around striking the 2011 school bus owned by North Montgomery School Corp. and driven by Julie H. Steward, 46, of Crawfordsville.

None of the 14 students on the bus were injured. 

Oaks was not injured, but Stockdale complained of pain and was transported to Franciscan Health Crawfordsville.

All drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.