LOCAL NEWS

Bags, backpacks given to CASA children

Tiffany Reeves knew the children deserved better.

After watching a video of a foster dad talking about children showing up at his door with their worldly possessions in a trash bag, she decided to help give proper luggage to young people in out-of-home care.

“It made you really stop and think,” she said. “You really don’t know what these kids go through.”

As a Thirty-One Gifts consultant, Reeves was running a special on cinch bags and backpacks. That was the connection friend Kasey Hoffman needed for her fundraiser, Cinch Up Compassion for Foster Kids.

Volunteers gathered recently at California Pellet Mill recently to fill 355 bags and/or backpacks for the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, whose clients include foster children.

But the generosity did not end there.

As she does for every fundraiser she sells for, Reeves donated most of her commission to YSB.

She presented $1,000 to YSB executive director Karen Branch.

“It makes you feel good to be able to give back,” Reeves said.

The money will help YSB provide training and recruit volunteers for the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program, which serves children who are victims of abuse or neglect, helping ensure they are placed in safe and permanent homes as soon as possible.

CASA also provides funds for children who cannot afford extra-curricular activities.

“Sometimes even if they’re in foster care, you may have a child that wants to take gymnastics and there may be no other resources available,” Branch said.

Branch said she had never experienced such an outpouring of love for the CASA children.

The cinch bags and backpacks were taken to a storage facility and will be distributed to foster children as needed.

Each bag was filled with toiletries, hand sanitizer, bookmarks and Bibles. A group of third graders from Sommer Elementary also collected or sewed blankets for the bags.

“I don’t even know how many volunteers we had come that night, but we were done within 45 minutes,” Hoffman said. “It was pretty amazing.”

Through a deal with Thirty-One, Hoffman earned 31 free bags, which she donated to YSB to put in the silent auction at Dancing with the Montgomery County Stars next month.

For Reeves, the fundraiser was a learning experience. She said CASA needs more advocates.

“Anybody that has the time and can get involved, it’s just going to make a huge difference in one child’s life, if not more than one,” she said.

Clocktower committee needs public’s help

It’s been 21 years in the making and the Montgomery County Clocktower Committee is ready to hire a contractor to complete the project. Still shy of the goal, the committee needs the public’s help to make it down the final stretch.

The project goal is to rebuild a clocktower similar to the one which sat atop the courthouse prior to World War II. The committee wants to restore the building to its former glory and put the attractive clocktower back in its place.

“It’s an appropriate time to complete this project, given the many positive things happening in our community at present,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Phil Bane. “The return of the clocktower would be an exciting and significant statement of progress.”

The Montgomery County Clocktower Committee was organized by Dr. Marion Kirtley. Kirtley was a physician, county commissioner, state Senator, patriot and friend to the community. It was Kirtley’s dying wish to see the project come to fruition. That did not happen but, the determined committee, now under the direction of Sandra Lofland-Brown, has persevered and are asking for the help of anyone who’d like to be a part of this historic project.

“Thanks to the generosity of the people in our community, we are well over 60 percent of the way to the goal,” said Sandra Lofland-Brown. “We must collect the remaining donations and accept the bid by May 30, so this is an urgent push for donations. I’m confident that the generous people in our community will help us get to our final goal.”

Lofland-Brown has dedicated 21 years of her life to working on this project.

“I have worked on this project from day one and I have seen so many generous people who believe in it as Dr. Kirtley did,” Lofland-Brown said. “Dr. Kirtley was my friend and I promised him I would see this through to completion. I remain committed, not only because I believe in the importance of the project, but also to keep my promise to a dear friend.”

City and county officials alike are working closely with the Clocktower Committee to complete the project.

“A downtown is the very heart of a community and several exciting changes are coming over the next couple of years that will further improve the experience of those visiting or shopping in downtown Crawfordsville,” Mayor Todd Barton said. “This will be greatly enhanced by restoring the clock tower atop the courthouse and sending a clear message that we take great pride in our community. I ask that citizens strongly consider helping support this effort by contributing to make it a reality.

For more information, contact Lofland-Brown by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call 765-918-6045; or visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ClocktowerCommittee.

Round, polygonal barns on Indiana ‘endangered’ list

The old round barn at his parents’ place was in such bad shape, Jeff Myers wanted to tear it down.

For starters, the 12-sided Breaks-Myers Barn — built in 1912 — needed a new roof. The wooden siding had been exposed to the elements for decades.

After inheriting the property in the early 1980s, Myers decided to give the barn a face lift.

“We knew we had to do something,” he said, “and if we were going to roof it, we had to side it, too.”

The barn, which sits along North C.R. 100W, has since become a Montgomery County treasure, earning mentions in books and pinpointed on a list of round barns used by tourists.

But it’s expensive to maintain, and not all of Indiana’s round barns are being taken care of.

The state’s entire inventory has been placed on Indiana Landmarks “10 Most Endangered List,” as the preservation nonprofit calls on owners to invest in the structures.

“I always consider the round and polygonal barns as the covered bridges of our barns,” said Tommy Kleckner, Indiana Landmarks western field office director.

At least one more is left standing in Montgomery County. The 10-sided William Fisher Polygonal Barn was built in 1914 on C.R. 850N near Bowers.

From 1874-1936, 219 round and polygonal barns were put up in Indiana, among the most in the nation. Nearly all are on private property.

Their unusual shapes helped farmers increase efficiency, productivity and profits as farming became more economical, according to the National Park Service.

As an Indiana Landmarks committee discussed endangered landmarks, they looked first at a round barn southwest of Seymour. The barn needs a new roof the owner cannot afford, Kleckner said.

Discussion expanded to other barns needing repair. Near Paragon, a long-decayed octagonal barn has completely collapsed.

Kleckner encourages owners to stabilize the barns and list them on the National Register of Historic Places, which offers tax credits. 

The Fisher barn was added in 1993.

Barns used for agricultural purposes can qualify for a 20 percent tax credit to offset rehabilitation costs.

Those converted into homes are eligible for a 20 percent state residential tax credit.

Owners can also enroll in the state’s Heritage Barn Deduction Program to file for a 100 percent deduction of property assessment with the county assessor.

The program was designed to encourage owners to improve their barns without facing higher tax bills.

Garden and Art Tour planned for June

The Flower Lovers Garden Club of Crawfordsville will have its 14th bi-annual Garden and Art Tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25. This event is rain or shine.

Included in this year’s tour are seven different gardens “showing off” interesting plantings and design ideas for your own gardens. Each stop on the tour also will feature music, demonstrations, hand-crafted adirondack chairs, gift certificate/prize drawing, specialty teas and soaps, metal sculpting and an artist at work. In addition there is a bonus stop at the Athens Art Gallery, 113 N. Washington St. The gallery display will feature “Garden Art Gathering” consisting of nature inspired works by local artisans.

Tickets will be available after May 8 at these locations: Country Hearts and Flowers, Milligan’s Flowers and Gifts, Davidson’s Greenhouse/Nursery, Progreen Garden Center, Montgomery County Visitor’s & Convention Bureau and the Crawfordsville Public Library (at the circulation desk). Tickets are $10 each with children 12 and younger admitted for free.

For additional information call, 765-362-4492 or 765-376-0335.

City OKs funds to buy Walmart road, land

In a special meeting called by Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton, the city council approved a purchase agreement with Walmart Business Trust to buy a roadway and land that runs from U.S. 231 South to the west of the existing Walmart store. The purchase price is $450,000. After the transfer of property is complete, the city will have complete ownership of the land and it will be used to connect the county’s C.R. 200 South project.

The council convened after the Fiscal Affairs Committee approved an additional appropriation of $460,000 to purchase the land and road which cleared the way for the council’s action. Included in the transfer is $10,000 for repair of the existing roadway that is being purchased from the retail chain store.

Barton reported the agreed upon sales prices was considerably less than $700,000 which was the average of two appraisals for the property the city had obtained.

At Wednesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, the mayor said if the city was to purchase land and build a road in the area, the projected cost would be close to $2 million.   

Barton expressed his desire to have the road completed by the end of June.

The city’s Ordinances and Petitions Committee forwarded three items with favorable recommendations to the common council. One of the items was the resolution authorizing an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between Montgomery County and the city regarding to the new Economic Development Authority. The join venture will be funded by the city in 2017. Barton explained it was the city that would hire the director of the authority and that is where the city’s funds would go. The agreement has the county helping finance the authority in 2018 and beyond.

Also forwarded to the council was an ordinance enacting and adopting a comprehensive update to the Code of Ordinances and an ordinance adopting an Economic Development Rider.

The Fiscal Affairs committee also favorably passed to the council an ordinance that will allow Community Crossroads Paving Programs funds to be used to pay for this summer’s extensive paving program. The money was received last year in the form of a state grant to be used this construction season.