Volunteers in MCCF spotlight

As the founder of Dusk-to-Dawn Bereavement Services, Cheryl Fuhrmann juggles counseling grieving families with the day-to-day tasks of running the end-of-life support organization.

Gail Pebworth, through decades of service with the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, has been a tireless advocate for civic engagement and improvement.

Both community leaders were recognized Thursday as Volunteers of the Year during the Montgomery County Community Foundation’s annual meeting at the Crawfordsville Country Club.

Their organizations were presented with a $1,000 grant in honor of the women.

“You think about what both individuals have done for the community... how important it is for their organizations that they’ve had volunteers like those two, it’s just extraordinary that they’re able to do that,” MCCF board president Larry Griffith said.

Fuhrmann, who specializes in the study of dying, death and bereavement, founded Dusk-to-Dawn as a nonprofit agency five years ago.

Previously, Fuhrmann was a certified activity director in long-term care for the area and a group facilitator with the Visiting Nursing Service in Indianapolis.

The deaths of her aunt and uncle in a 1985 murder-suicide inspired her work with grieving families. At that time, she said, grief counseling was in its infancy.

“Finding help was not to be had,” Fuhrmann said. “I struggled with that for a very long time, and after many years I decided that I was being called to help others through this kind of pain.”

Fuhrmann is also active in her church, serving on the worship and music leadership team of Christ Lutheran.

Pebworth, a retired swimming coach, first joined the League of Women Voters in 1964, while living in Bloomington. She joined the local league when her family moved to Crawfordsville 50 years ago.

A highly visible face of the organization, she has held numerous offices and served on and chaired many committees at the local and state level.

Pebworth helped push for voting centers, which were introduced last year. The league won a national award for its advocacy on the issue.

“That was to make it easier for people to vote,” she said. “Our whole voter service activity is very important.”

This was the first year for a tie in the selection process. Pebworth and Fuhrmann were selected by the board from a pool of 12 nominees suggested from the community.

Other nominees were: Elaine Chase, Lew Wallace Study & Museum Preservation Society; Kim Green, Habitat for Humanity; Ron Keedy, Waveland Strong; Lyndsay Lieske, Through the Gate; Dian Moore, Montgomery County Historical Society; Kathy Moore, Half Way Home; Curt Stevens, Trinity Mission; Bob Surber, Animal Welfare League; Susan Vaught, Purdue Extension; and Michelle Yoder, Friendship Kitchen.

Each received a certificate and small gift.

Youth volunteers are also recognized each year with an award named for Peggy Herzog, a retired school drug prevention educator.

This year’s winner was Dulce Martinez, a rising senior at Crawfordsville High School.

Martinez, 17, is active in the Athenas club, which visits Wellbrooke of Crawfordsville and helps out at the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County.

She also volunteers with Achaius Ranch, the Kiwanis pancake dinner, Teen Court and the Nourish program.

“It’s a nice thing to do, being involved in your community,” Martinez said. “I love doing this.”

The Athenas received a $1,000 grant in honor of Martinez’s service.

“It’s pretty impressive for a young lady to be that involved,” Griffith said.

There were three other nominees in the youth category, including Conner Cox, Youth Service Bureau; Tully Fenters, Boys & Girls Club; and Kathryn Melvin, Waynetown Community Volunteer Fire Department.

Along with award presentations, the foundation also introduced incoming board members.

Terresa Hatke, Ron Dickerson and Jim McBee were each selected for three-year terms.

Outgoing members Heather Barajas, Tony Cosenza and Tom Mellish were recognized for their service.

The foundation awarded just over $1 million in grants and scholarships in 2016.

City clean-up set for Saturday

In an effort to beautify the city, residents will have free access to Dumpsters on Saturday.

The Dumpsters will be available to resident who wish to get rid of unwanted items. This includes big items that are normally difficult to dispose of, such are furniture, box springs and mattresses.

This service is being offered free of charge for city residents from 9 a.m. to noon at W Enterprises, 302 S. Oak St. (corner of Oak Street and Wabash Avenue).

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the service, those disposing of items will be asked to sign in and provide the address in Crawfordsville from where the items are coming.

City officials are also urging residents to not only take advantage of this time to clean up their properties, but their neighborhoods as well.

Certain items will not be accepted. Those include:

• Tires

• Hazardous waste materials

• Construction/remodeling materials such as roofing items, siding, plaster, drywall, etc.

• Animal waste

• Yard waste items (These can be dropped off at the Yard Waste Site from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Free of charge.)

• Bags of trash

Those wishing to drop off items will be directed to turn off of Wabash Avenue onto Beecher Street. There will be a sign alerting people where to turn. There could be lines, so people are asked to be patient.

Wet weather frustrates farmers

A wet spring with cool temperatures has local farmers waiting to finish planting their corn and soybeans and worrying.

Mike Carroll, manager at Ceres Solutions in Wingate, has spent the last few days touring local farms to gauge the condition of the already planted crops.

He said the attitude of many local producers remains positive despite the weather conditions, but producers are eager to get back to work.

“Most of our farmers are still optimistic but frustrated that they cannot get anything done,” Carroll said. “Everybody is just waiting to get started again.”

Carroll said the last day to plant corn is traditionally between June 5-10. If a farmer has not finished planting corn by then, he will switch to soybeans which has a quicker growth rate.

There are some parts of the nation that are actually worse off then West Central Indiana. Kansas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are further behind, according to a report in the Farm Journal. Those states are behind by nearly 20 percent of their five-year average of total crops planted as of the current week.

Crops can still be planted later in June, but at the risk of reduced yields.

Another major decision for producers is deciding if crops need to be replanted. If a farmer has to re-plant a lot of acres, input costs go up and net income will be significantly reduced. The estimated input cost per acre to replant corn is approximately $135 and soybeans is $70, according to one area farmer.

Producers do have the option to plant different seeds that will germinate quicker. However, this type of seed usually results in lower yields.

Carroll said the latest statistics show Indiana farmers are just slightly behind crops planted compared to this time in the last five years. The cooler temperatures have placed crops already planted behind in maturity compared to the last five years, which also is a problem.

“We have had way too much water with cool weather,” Carroll said. “The crops planted are not as mature as they should be. Looking at them, you can tell they are under stress.”

The impact of the wet planting season on the markets is not able to be determined at this time. Prices have remained consistent.

Montgomery County farmers consistently are ranked among the top producing counties in terms of production in Indiana. In 2016, the county ranked first in corn production and second in soybean production.

The importance of a healthy agricultural economy is important to the county. Agriculture remains the largest industry in the county. Carroll said a poor year in agriculture affects everyone.

“This issue should be important to everyone because it trickles down to all of us,” Carroll said. “When the ag economy suffers, we all suffer.”

Three valedictorians to lead NMHS

Three valedictorians will lead the North Montgomery High School Class of 2017 during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday at the high school.

Elizabeth Budd is the daughter of John and Doris Budd. She has three older siblings, Cassie, Thomas and Hannah, and a younger sister, Marissa.

One of her memorable moments from high school was being on the Interdisciplinary Academic Team and competing at state. Another was being in the marching band and going to the state competition her junior year, and then her senior year the Marching Chargers got to march through the streets at Disney World. 

Budd also was in Pep Band, Spell Bowl and SADD.

She is undecided on her major and college. She plans to go to Purdue University to study veterinary medicine or forensic science. 

She gives thanks to her family. 

“Thank you for always pushing me to do my best and always supporting me,” she said.

Emily Foley is the daughter of Daniel and Angela Foley. She has an older sister, Hannah. Her favorite memories of NMHS are having Mr. Strickler in painting and her and Riley Edie driving him crazy the whole trimester. 

Foley participated in Spell Bowl, English Academic team, National Honor Society, French club and Lab Rats. 

She plans to study pre-pharmacy at an undetermined college to become a pharmacist. 

“Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making me who I am,” she said. “Thanks for all of the encouragement to choose something to do with my life, and for pushing me to succeed all throughout my education and life in general. Thanks for all the times that you have just had to sit and listen to me talk about anything and everything that has happened to me as I kind of get consumed in telling stories of what has happened during the day.”

Korey Pierce is the son of Alan Pierce and Suzanne Spicer. He has a twin sister, Breanna Pierce.

He participated in soccer, PEERS, English Academic team, Math Academic team, youth group and was a member of National Honor Society. 

He will always remember beating Southmont in penalties in the first round of sectionals. 

Pierce plans to receive an accounting degree from either Southern Indiana University or Indiana State University. 

“Thank you guys for all of your help and support,” he said. “I appreciate all of your love and guidance you have given me.”

Board keeps exemplary status

This isn’t the first time Crawfordsville Community School Corp.’s board has been recognized for keeping up with the latest changes in public education policy.

But it’s not every year the board is alone achieving top status in ongoing training.

Crawfordsville was the only school board in the state this year to attain exemplary status from the Indiana State Boards Association. This is the 10th year the board’s received the designation.

To achieve it, each board member must regularly attend association-sponsored conferences and other professional development events. 

“It’s a high honor and one that the board values very much being recognized by the Indiana School Board Association for that level of service,” board president Steve McLaughlin said.

The association keeps members updated on laws and other policies impacting schools. Staying on top of the changes is especially important in today’s political and educational climate, said Mike Adamson, director of board services.

“It’s helping them to do the job they’ve been elected to do, to represent their constituents in public education,” he said.

McLaughlin and other board members recently attended a regional meeting in Lafayette, where the association outlined upcoming changes to school funding formulas.

Beginning in 2019, local school districts will have more power to spend money without restrictions on transfers. The general fund will be replaced with an education fund and an operations fund.

McLaughlin has also been watching the state’s policy toward charter schools, which critics say can take money away from their public counterparts.

“Whatever these new rules we’re going to have to abide by are, we’re just going to have to roll with it,” he said. “It’s not a local matter.”

In maintaining the exemplary status, continuity helps. 

Ellen Ball and Susan Albrecht also have several years of experience on the board.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said he appreciates the board’s emphasis on professional development.

Members are handling a $25 million budget for one of the largest employers in the county. 

“And yet they’re doing this as lay people,” Bowling said.