CFD to get upgraded ambulance

Crawfordsville Fire Chief Scott Busenbark has found a way to save the city some money and replace the department’s ambulance.

On Wednesday the Crawfordsville Board of Public Works & Safety approved the chief’s request to purchase a new chassis for an ambulance in the amount of $158,950. Busenbark said the purchase will result in a cost savings.

“The chassis is what gets the wear and tear on an ambulance,” Busenbark said. “We will mount our patient compartment on the new chassis which is a lot cheaper than buying a brand new ambulance.”

Busenbark is going to use fire protection user fees to pay for new chassis.

Dale Petrie, the city’s project manager, requested and received a change order in the construction costs of new fire station located on East Market Street. Petrie said the change will allow for a better method to protect the bell inside the bell tower from the weather. The change order was in the amount of $2,503.

Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Director Fawn Johnson is making plans for the 1 p.m. April 8 Community Easter Egg Hunt at Milligan Park. Johnson received permission to close East Pike Street from Vernon Court and Wabash Avenue, as well as Wallace Avenue from Elston Avenue to Wabash Avenue. Johnson said the streets need to be closed from

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to accommodate the anticipated large crowd.

The board approved Mayor Todd Barton’s request to enter into a contract with Blue Marketing for the production of economic development materials.

City Code Enforcement Officer Barry Lewis reported the courts had approved the demolition of two houses on West Market Street. The razing of the houses is scheduled to commence Monday.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Wabash College received a noise abatement from 10 p.m. to midnight on April 1 and April 8. The fraternity plans to have a band play in its parking lot. The fraternity is required to provide proper security during the event.

Sirens planned for Mace, Chigger Hollow

Meredith Manges is still rebuilding.

Seven months after a tornado destroyed three of his barns and damaged his home on East U.S. 136, one of the sheds is back up. The house has been fixed.

Manges and his wife were driving home as the twister struck and had already seen the alerts on television, but he welcomed news of plans to put an outdoor warning siren in Mace.

“They’re worth quite a bit to have,” said Manges, who also uses a weather radio for storm information.

Mace is one of the communities on the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency’s list to receive a siren, pending approval from county commissioners.

A second siren is planned near the Chigger Hollow subdivision off Nucor Road. Both areas are no stranger to severe weather.

“We’ve had the majority of our tornadoes in that quadrant of the county,” said EMA director Shari Harrington.

Before August’s EF-2 twister in the Mace and Linnsburg areas, tornadoes also touched down in New Ross and near the Pilot Travel Center on State Road 32.

If granted approval, EMA plans to purchase one new siren and use a refurbished one that was unhooked from the Montgomery County Courthouse last year.

The new siren would be installed along U.S. 136 in Mace, with a one-mile coverage radius including Linnsburg. Chigger Hollow’s would be the refurbished one, which Harrington said still has a reliable range.

New sirens cost around $13,000 — not including installation — and are typically covered by the emergency management budget or grants. Duke Energy is paying for most of the refurbished siren and working with the EMA on a locwation.

“The ball right now is in Duke’s lap,” Harrington said.

While crucial for alerting people outdoors to threatening weather, the sirens are just part of the EMA’s arsenal.

The county’s free mass notification system — which provides location-specific alerts to subscribers by text message, e-mail and landline telephone – allows authorities to warn more people of emergencies instantaneously. It launched in 2014.

EMA plans to promote the system at public events and help people sign up. To register, visit montgomeryco.net and click on “Emergency Alerts.”

With the push for the phone and email alerts, Harrington said there are no immediate plans to install more sirens after the next are hooked up.

“I think if we can get more people on the mass notification system, it’s quicker, it’s more reliable and it works day or night,” Harrington said.

Be A Storm Spotter

Montgomery County EMA is sponsoring an upcoming storm spotter class.

When: 6:30 p.m. April 10

Where: Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency, 300 E. Pike St.

What you’ll learn: How to identify clouds and warning signs of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

More info: 765-364-5154, ext. 1.

Canoe race returns with a little help from friends

A long-time Montgomery County tradition is being revived thanks to Friends of Sugar Creek and the Montgomery County Visitors Bureau. A new canoe race, the Friends of Sugar Creek Canoe Race, will be held May 20 with hopes the race can return to the prominence it once enjoyed.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the race attracted as many as 500 canoeist from all over the United States, including past Olympic canoing medalists. The race celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. After two more years of racing, the event was canceled in 2016. Now, with the race being revived, local amateurs and professionals have the opportunity to race down one of the county’s treasures.

Seasoned canoe racing enthusiast and county resident Bob Stwalley went to the Visitors Bureau in January and asked for help in reviving the race. Bureau Director Heather Shirk contacted the Friends of Sugar Creek to help with the race. They quickly jumped on board.

Cindy Woodall, Friends of Sugar Creek Executive Director, said the decision to help organize a new race was easy for her group.

“The Friends of Sugar Creek felt like the canoe race is our thing,” Woodall said. “We also admire Bob Stwalley for all he has done for Sugar Creek. We decided to support the race and look forward to seeing it grow.”

The race will consist of two divisions. There will be several categories for both recreational canoeists and United States Canoe Association members. The minimum age to race is 5 years old and there is a class for all levels of canoing experience.

“We know the USCA racers will be here, but we would really like to see more recreational participants,” Woodall said. “There are no skills required other than it is for people who enjoy being active outdoors.”

The categories include single men and women classes as well as mixed classes. Kayak races are also scheduled.

Races will begin at the Sugar Creek Campground and end at Deers Mill Bridge. Both the campground and Clements Canoes will have canoes for rent for the races.

Emergency Management Assistant Director Brian Campbell will oversee safety and security for the race. He plans to have checkpoints along the 15.3-mile long race.

Timing will be provided by veteran timer Roger Criss from northern Indiana. Criss has raced in several previous Sugar Creek races.

The cost to race is $20 per USCA paddler. The fee for recreational division racers is $10 per paddler for those older than age 18. Youth, ages 5 to 18, is $5 per paddler. Military and retirees can race for free.

All participants will receive a “goodie bag” at the start line. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each classification.

Registration forms will be available at the Visitors Bureau, Clements Canoes and Sugar Creek Campground. Soon the registration form will be available at www.visitmoco.com.

North School Board OKs summer plans

Students of the North Montgomery School Corporation can now discover what trips will be available as part of the 2017 Summer William Bratton Trips. The June adventures were approved at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

One approved trip is for third-graders to juniors in high school. It is scheduled for June 23 to a family farm in Rockville where students will see first-hand how robotics is being used in farm production. 

Also third-grade students will be able to travel to Southern Indiana on two separate occasions. June trips to Marengo Cave and Spring Mill State Park are on the travel agenda.

A trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park is planned for Northridge Middle School students. 

Middle school students and high school students will have two opportunities to travel together. On June 7 a trip is scheduled to attend the Walt Disney musical production of Aladdin in a live performance. A June 22 Sports Day trip to Louisvillle is also planned for middle school and high school students.

North Montgomery superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said the trips are always popular and a “good way to get-away during the summer.”

More information on the trips is available at all North schools. Northridge teacher Jodi Webster is the lead sponsor of the summer travel program.

The board also approved the 2017 Summer School structure. This year there will be courses available for elementary and middle school students in reading and mathematics beginning June 5 to June 9. The agriculture department will offer an Ag Experiences class during the month of June.

The board approved a different approach to collecting late payments on school lunches. If a student owes $30 or more for lunches, the account will be turned over to a collection agency at the end of the school year. Moran said the number of delinquent accounts continues to climb and the new system will allow a better avenue to get the accounts current before the next school year.

Director of Business and Transportation Jim McBee reported he had been in contact with the Indiana Department of Transportation regarding a couple of safety projects planned along U.S. 231 North.  INDOT is planning on widening the intersection of C.R. 580 N. and U.S. 231 North. A turn lane will be constructed on the west side of U.S. 231 North from C.R. 580 N. and Cassida Road. McBee expects the projects to begin in the fall.

In other business the board approved:

• The hiring of  Ethan Kuhn — High School English, Clyde Rager — District substitute bus driver, Monica Bahlool — District substitute bus driver, Linda Redmon —  Sugar Creek Elementary Para Professional, Margie Staten — Northridge Middle School temporary Mathematics teacher and  Melynda Morehouse — Pleasant Hill Para Professional.

• The resignation of  Lindsey Goane — Sommer Elementary Counselor, Ashley Verhey — Sugar Creek Elementary Para Professional and Laura Kuhn — Pleasant Hill Elementary Instructional Coach, effective July 1.

• The retirement of Pamela Ray Raines.

• An April 10-11 field trip to the Health Occupations Students of America State Competition in Indianapolis

• A trip on March 25 for a high school FFA Livestock Judging event in Matton, Illinois.

Public invited to upcoming workshop

Montgomery County business leaders and government officials are ready to create the economic development vision they are desiring for the county and they are asking for the public’s help. With the aid of a $40,000 Office of Community and Rural Development grant, County Commissioner John Frey said the time is ripe to let others know what the county is willing to become.

“We were fortunate to get a grant that will enable the county to come together and put together an economic development vision together,” Frey said. “We have the opportunity to craft our story about where the county is going and what we want.”

The first opportunity for public input is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 12 at an Economic Development Plan Public Workshop at North Montgomery High School. Representatives from the local government, industry, school corporations and businesses will be on-hand to learn and listen to public input. Frey said the whole process is timely, especially with the changes Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has begun in terms of economic development. The commissioner wants the city and county to come together to form the vision in writing.

“What the mayor is creating with Stellar and the Economic Development Commission is exciting and has put the spotlight on our community,” Frey said. “There is no toll booth at the city limits. We are all in this together.”

Frey said the original idea for placing the county’s vision in writing was started in the Sites and Infrastructure Committee of Indiana West Advantage. The county had already submitted an application to OCRA and recently were informed of the awarding of the grant. A new committee was formed that includes several local government officials, business and manufacturing leaders and educators. Frey said the new committee was put together for one purpose — to bring about unity.

“We wanted a broad spectrum of individuals with different views and opinions serving on this vision committee,” Frey said. “We have some people from IWA, but we also have added others community leaders to get more people on-board with developing our county’s story.”

The meeting will begin with representatives from HWC Engineering describing the process of the purpose of the grant. Attendees will then be asked to provide input at various stations placed throughout the meeting room. 

“I have told everyone that this is going to be a learning experience for everyone involved,” Frey said. “I want to encourage the public to come to the workshop and be a part of the learning process.”

Frey has toured the county and looked at numerous potential sites outside of Crawfordsville. Areas such as the developing Nucor Corridor and the intersection of I-74 and S.R. 25 North near Waynetown are examples of future development sites. 

Montgomery County commissioners have gone on record stating they are in favor of joining the mayor’s effort to create the economic development commission. County officials are expected to vote on the matter on April 11 at the regularly schedule county council meeting at the courthouse.