CEL&P to remove courthouse pole

October 30, 2014

After several months of planning, Crawfordsville Electric Light and Power will remove a utility pole starting Monday near the Montgomery County Courthouse.

The pole stands at the intersection of two alleyways. Crawfordsville’s Board of Public Works and Safety approved the closures of the alleyways on Wednesday to accommodate the removal process.

The alleyway from Market Street to the courthouse will be closed, as will the alleyway from the courthouse to Green Street. Both closures are effective Nov. 3-8.

“This has been a long time coming,” CEL&P Operations Manager Robert Stephens said. “We’ve been working in conjunction with the county and city for this project.”

Stephens will inform businesses in that area about the removal process.

County and city officials have discussed removing the utility pole for several months.

In addition, the board approved Darrell Hutson’s request to reserve two parking spots in front of Athens Art Gallery during Downtown Party Night. A food truck will be serving at the two spots.

In other business, the board approved the city’s 2015 Holiday schedule.

Street Commissioner Scott Hesler asked for the public’s patience as his department picks up leaves.

Holiday Schedule

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 19

Good Friday April 3

Primary Election Day May 5

Memorial Day May 25

Independence Day July 3

Labor Day Sept. 7

Election Day Nov. 3

Veterans Day Nov. 11

Thanksgiving Day Nov. 26-27

Christmas Eve Dec. 24

Christmas Day Dec. 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

Alice meets zombies at Southmont

October 30, 2014

Southmont High School will present a play that is perfect for Halloween weekend. A cast of 25 students will present “Alice in Zombieland.” Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the school’s auditorium.

The play is unique as it combines parts of two popular children’s classics  — “Alice in Wonderland” and the “Wizard of Oz.” A modern twist is also included with zombies playing a big part in the play.

Alice, played by senior Hanna Reece, is now a teen. She returns to the woods where she entered Wonderland as a girl. Her friend Dina, played by Sam Blessing, tells her it was just a dream when the White Rabbit, played by Kayleigh Ray, appears, saying, “We’re late!” 

They’re all off to Wonderland where they meet the Mad Hatter (Kyler Pearson), March Hare (Aaron Gardner) and Door Mouse (Devin VanCleave)  at teatime. But the tea is served by zombies. Everyone in Wonderland, including the Cook (Hailey Hedge) and the Queen (Payton Mandeville), are turning into zombies. To stop it, Alice and Dina follow some zombies into the Forbidden Forest where the Wicked Witch of Oz (Jalyn Norton) is casting her spells. She’s turned most of the inhabitants of Wonderland into zombie workers at her “Spells-R-Us” shop. 

Alice and Dina cleverly put together a plan to stop the witch. 

Pearson, a senior who has been involved with numerous stage productions at Southmont, said he believes the production is a perfect fit for the weekend’s Halloween theme.

“This play is good for Halloween weekend,” Pearson said. “It includes everything from two popular children’s stories to today’s zombie craze.”

Dorothy, played by senior Zoey Graham and a newcomer to the Mountie stage, said she has enjoyed working on the production. Tryouts were right after Labor Day and the cast has been working on the play ever since.

“This has really been fun,” she said. “This is definitely a different story, but it is cool. It is a funny story, and I believe the audience will have a good time.”

Senior veteran performer Mandeville said it has been fun working with the cast and helping the younger actors learn the steps of producing a good stage play.

“Everyone has done a great job, and I have really enjoyed teaching and guiding the new cast members,” Mandeville said. “Not many schools have done this play, but it has been loads of fun.”

The play is being directed by Southmont High School teachers Ethan Kuhn and Kati Dunlap. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Students are $4 and adults are $6. Limited concessions will be available at intermission of the one and a half hour show.

Trick or Treat activities

October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat Fun

Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

• Alamo — 6-8 p.m.

• Downtown Crawfordsville — 4-5 p.m. Businesses will distribute candy.

• Crawfordsville — 5-8 p.m.

• Darlington — 5-8 p.m.

• Hillsboro — 6-8 p.m.

• Ladoga — 6-8 p.m.

• Linden — 6-8 p.m.

• New Market — 5-7 p.m.

• New Richmond — 6-8 p.m.

• Waveland — 5-7 p.m.

• Waynetown — 5-8 p.m. Friday

Other Activities

• The Crawfordsville Park and Recreation Department will host a Halloween costume contest 4 p.m. Friday for children ages 12 and younger at the Kathy Steele Playground at Old Mills School.

• Second Annual Halloween Open House — 6-9 p.m. Friday, Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County. Games, prizes and candy for trick-or-treaters along with a chili dinner in the auxiliary gym. Raffles for memberships, gift cards, sports scholarships and a bicycle. Event is free and open to everyone.

Lt. Governor gives keynote address

October 29, 2014

Lt. Gov. Ellspermann was in Crawfordsville on Tuesday to deliver the keynote address at a regional conference sponsored by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The day-long conference was conducted at the Crawfordsville Country Club.

Ellspermann spoke on the importance of rural economic development, the value of the Community Readiness Index and Hometown Collaboration Initiative and report on how access to broadband for Internet and other communication services is an essential tool for communities in the 21st century economy.

Montgomery County Economic Director Kristen Clary was encouraged by what she heard at the day-long conference.

“I loved that her theme was ‘Rural is Cool,’” Clary said. “The Lieutenant Governor talked about the six agencies under her command and how each can help communities. She spoke of the importance of government working with small communities.”

Attending the local conference were 15 Montgomery County civic volunteers, Crawfordsville Mayor Barton, county commissioners Phil Bane and Jim Fulwider, Main Street members and MCED staff. Also, Wabash College had representatives at the conference. Total attendance said 80 people attended the conference.

Bane said he was interested in Ellspermann’s comments about broadband communications.

“The Lieutenant Governor talked about the importance of getting broadband to the rural areas to promote economic development,” Bane said. “The State estimates in the next five years, there will be a 40,000 percent of data transferred over broadband. This served as a heads-up to me that we need to work to improve broadband accessibility in Montgomery County.”

The local conference was one of eight such conferences conducted by OCRA throughout Indiana in October. Earlier conferences were conducted at Valparaiso, New Castle, Scottsburg, Bloomington, Jasper and Kendallville. The final conference is planned in Peru on Thursday. Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Eric Doden will be the keynote luncheon speaker for the final event.

Boden also talked to the local conference attendees about findings his organization has discovered by visiting several cities outside Indiana that are experiencing success.

“What we found in the successful communities can be summed up by three essential elements for success. They are leaders having a bold vision. Leadership has to be nonpartisan and willing to compromise. The quaility of life and of place is essential,” Boden said.

“In today’s world, jobs follow people,  and people do not follow jobs. Quality of life and place is important to the next work force we call the milleniums.

OCRA was created by legislation in 2005, making rural Indiana a major focus for the first time. OCRA’s mission is to promote community prosperity to strengthen Indiana’s economy by providing capacity-building solutions to assure ready, marketable and competitive communities for economic growth. 

For additional information on OCRA and its programs visit http://www.in.gov/ocra/index.htm.

Council finalizes budget


October 29, 2014

In a four-hour meeting Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council labored over 71 different county budgets. The council met to approve the final 2015 County Budget and had their hands full attempting to cut more than $370,000 from budgets submitted by elected officials and departments.

Montgomery County Council President Aaron Morgan was pleased with the finished product. He said it was the result of a lot of good work and cooperation.

“Everything went as well as expected,” Morgan said. “Office holders and department heads understand that when we cut, it’s not what we want, but it is what we have to do.”

Morgan said cooperation among departments and officials is apparent and has greatly improved in the past 10 to 12 years.

“I think when we started putting together a solid approach about preparing budgets, our process got better and it seemed the culture changed regarding budget preparation,” Morgan said. “The days of budgeting $10,000 when actually only needing $4,000 are over. Our department heads and elected officials have really bought into what we are trying to do.”

One change Morgan has led on the council is that all seven council members are assigned specific departments to work with during the budget process. Previously, a finance committee composed of just three council members did the majority of the council’s budget work.

“We have had a team of seven working on this budget all year,” Morgan said. “Everyone worked together and that was wonderful.”

As Tuesday’s meeting progressed, a total of $235,963 was cut from county budgets. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, which oversees government budgets, asked for more cuts, but Morgan is OK with what was accomplished. The council signed off on the budget with Tuesday’s cuts included and it will now be submitted to the state.

“We know we will need to cut some more from our budget and I will go ask county officials to help with that,” Morgan said. “Even though we will submit today’s final budget to the state, there is still time to make adjustments to get to the level where the state wants us to be.”

The largest single cut in the budget was $95,763 originally earmarked for the West Central Solid Waste District. Morgan mentioned the organization has more than $1.5 million in reserves and believes the annual payment from Montgomery County should be canceled.

Another sizable cut was received from Montgomery County Sheriff Mark Casteel who asked his budget be cut $32,292. 

This year’s final county budget is approximately $7.5 million.

In other business, the council signed a resolution that will take $40,000 from the Riverboat Fund to pay toward the courthouse clock tower project. With the resolution, Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to approve the project and start the process of hiring a construction engineer.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Nov. 3. Note the date is changed due to Tuesday’s general election and the courthouse will be closed.