LOCAL NEWS

Making Matches

The recent Montgomery County Volunteer Fair gave local residents a chance to learn about 24 county agencies and organizations. Potential volunteers gathered Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County to see if any of the opportunities met their personal passions and skill sets.

Cheryl Farr of Pam’s Promise said finding volunteers is not always easy, but volunteers are the lifeblood of many local organizations.

“A volunteer has to like people,” Farr said. “Most of the organizations have multiple needs that require multiple skills and a heart for people.”

Farr said last year’s volunteer fair paid off for her non-for-profit, which helps the county’s homeless.

“We were able to sign up volunteers last year and we even got our gutters cleaned,” Farr said.

Gary Vierck, director of the Linden Depot Museum, manned a booth at the fair. He said the train museum is always looking for help.

“Volunteers are so important, and we can never have enough,” Vierck said. “This fair is a wonderful idea and we have already signed up a new supporting member.”

Crawfordsville resident Keely Taylor, a current class member of the Montgomery County Leadership Academy, stopped at several of the booths.

“The Leadership Academy told us about the fair so I wanted to come check it out,” Taylor said. “This is a great place to learn about a lot of groups and what they do. I am interested in looking at the possibilities available and I am looking to get involved.”

Animal Welfare League President Mike Reidy was manning his organization’s booth. He said several potential volunteers had stopped at the booth for information.

Attendees were eligible for door prize drawings throughout the event. Also there were drinks and donuts available.

The event was sponsored by the Montgomery County Community Foundation, Youth Service Bureau and the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County.

Forum addresses Scott County HIV epidemic

Montgomery County could be at risk to be the next Scott County which is experiencing an epidemic of HIV cases. Local health officials and Indiana State Department of Health Sexually Transmitted Infections Interim Director Jeremy Roseberry gave a presentation on the Scott County epidemic at a public health forum Thursday night on the campus of Wabash College. 

Roseberry is on the front line of sexually transmitted infections in Indiana and it was his department that formed the first battle line between the outbreak of HIV and residents of Scott County which has a population of 24,000. 

 

In Thursday’s presentation Roseberry described how quick the outbreak exploded in the southern Indiana County and especially in the City of Austin with a population of 4,200 residents.

“The first two cases of HIV were reported in November of 2015,” Roseberry said. “By the end of March the HIV outbreak was declared an epidemic. As of today, we have identified 181 HIV cases, most of which are within a six block area in Austin.”

The ISDH is still monitoring the situation and treating it as a health epidemic. Roseberry said the lessons learned in Scott County need to be communicated to every rural county in the state and beyond.

Roseberry said some specific actions by those infected have been identified. In Scott County there was  poor public health infrastructure. Secondly, a new drug had entered into the community resulting in an increase of injection drug use. There also was a large needle sharing network among the drug users. Lastly, those who were infected with HIV were doing multiple injections every day.

“There were numerous lessons learned in Scott County,” Roseberry said. “Unfortunately some of the problems that contributed to the epidemic are the same challenges each rural county has.”

Roseberry said a lack of funding for health infrastructure is the norm in rural Indiana counties. He also stated in most rural counties there is a very limited HIV awareness amongst drug users. The ISDH also discovered there is a connection between those infected with HIV and Hepatitis C. Of the 181 HIV patients in Scott County, 167 also had Hepatitis C. 

“I was amazed at the network of users in Austin,” Roseberry said. “I would be in one house and there would be from eight to 12 individuals in the house shooting up and sharing the needles. I would go next door and some of the same people would walk in.”

Roseberry also said there was a lack of HIV testing opportunities for those without insurance. 

Montgomery County Health Department Nurse Rebecca Lang said the problem of no free testing exists in Montgomery County as well.

“For years I have been able to send potential individuals for HIV testing to a free clinic in Boone County,” Lang told the audience. “Now, I am not allowed to do that.”

The good news is that Lang is working with a coalition of residents and the ISDH to bring SDI testing to the county. Also, the County Health Department is working to overcome the barriers that were found in Scott County. 

Montgomery Health Department Sanitarian Amber Reed reminded attendees that information gathering is important to health infrastructure. The ongoing Health Department Survey is one way her department can garner important information concerning health needs in the county.

Lang reported that the amount of HIV cases in Montgomery County has been stable for several years and no new cases have been reported in 2015.

The forum was sponsored by the Montgomery County League of Women Voters.

Kiwanis hear from ACLU director

The Indiana American Civil Liberties Union represents every Hoosier in one form or another said Jane Heneger, executive director. That was the message given Thursday to Crawfordsville Kiwanis Club members. 

“I once had a person tell me they agreed with every case the ACLU was taking on,” Heneger said. “My reply was, if you agree with everything we do, then you don’t know everything we do.”

Heneger said the Indiana ACLU registers nearly 600 civil liberty requests for assistance per month. Complaints range all across the board, however, most of cases the ACLU takes on are not headline worthy.

“Most of the cases the ACLU takes on you never read about them in the newspapers,” Heneger said. “They are rather boring except for the fact they are all issues that deal with the Constitution. Yes, we do have the cases that make headlines, but those are few.”

Heneger said the ACLU is an organization that strives to protect the rights of individuals under the Constitution of the United States. That charge leads to numerous cases being taken to the court system.

“At anytime across the United States we will have 2,000 cases going on,” Heneger said. “We have more cases in the Supreme Court than any other entity in the country. It is important to remember, we only work on constitutional cases and will only sue the government.”

The ACLU also lends its opinion to current issues. Presently, the ACLU is working on opinions related to police body cameras and drones.

Since the ACLU is a nonprofit entity and offers free legal services, Heneger said they often have taken cases that no other law firm would take on since its inception in 1920.

The recent national debate on LBGT issues is presently on the forefront and Heneger said the ACLU is defending civil liberty rights in those types of cases. In fact, the ACLU’s first LBGT case was in 1936.

Recently, the ACLU has found itself in the center of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The director said the ACLU goal is to give the same rights to all people in regards to marriage.

Heneger recalled a recent discussion with a state citizen.

“A minister asked me if he could now be forced to perform a marriage that went against his faith,” Heneger said. “I told him if that ever happened in Indiana, the ACLU would be first in line to take your case.”

Ultimately for Heneger, the reason she works for the ACLU is simple.

“I love the Constitution,” Heneger said. “It is a document that was written so long ago yet still is relevant and used as a model across the world.”

CPD: Fake $20 bills spreading

The Crawfordsville City Police Department has issued a warning regarding counterfeit $20 bills being circulated throughout the community. 

Incidents are on the rise and police want the community to be aware of the problem. 

“The 20s are a little harder to notice as fake because most people only suspect counterfeit bills in larger denominations, like one-hundred dollar bills,” said Detective Sergeant A.J. Rice. “We are asking

everyone to be more observant.”

Rice said the serial numbers are different on each counterfeit bill.

Rice said the fake currency has shown up at local businesses and restaurants. He said there are some similar signs on each fake bill, and he hopes the public will notice.

“The bills do not have a watermark, do not have a security strip and some have uneven edges,” he said. “On some of the bills a shadow can be seen along the bottom edge.”

Rice said this is a statewide trend.

“Several convenience stores are getting caught with

accepting counterfeit $20s,” Rice said. “The people will walk in and buy a smaller priced item and then take back $19 in real currency.”

Police urge anyone who believes he or she has received a counterfeit bill to take it to a local banking institution for inspection. If bank officials believe the currency is counterfeit, then the police department will be notified.

Rice can be contacted at 765-362-3762, ext. 216. 

To date, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has not fielded any calls related to the counterfeit money.

Crawfordsville begins street work Thursday

July 22, 2015

The city will be milling and repaving the following city streets starting on Thursday:

• Wabash Avenue (Grace Ave to US 136)

• Englewood Drive (US 136 to SR 32)

• Pine Street (Binford to Market St)

• Elm Street (South Blvd to South entrance to Whitlock Place)

• Spring Street (Walnut St to Green St)

• Pine Stine (Wabash Ave to Pike St)

• Glenn Street (Wabash Ave to Bridge)

“To do this we will require all vehicles be removed from the above mentioned streets prior to 6 a.m. on Thursday,” Street Commissioner Scott Hesler said. “Any vehicles not removed by this time will be towed at the owner’s expense. Please keep all vehicles off of the streets until the project is complete.” 

Weather delays are possible.

“We will mill all streets prior to paving,” Hesler said. “Meaning there might be a few days gap between when your street is milled and when it is repaved. The contractor determines this schedule.”

Should you have any questions you can contact Hesler at 364-5166 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.