LOCAL NEWS

Wabash shines in Princeton Review’s Best Colleges Guide

August 4, 2015

Once again Wabash College was named one of the best institutions for undergraduate education by the Princeton Review in its annual college guide.

Inclusion in the Princeton Review’s “Best 380 Colleges” means that Wabash ranks among the top 15 percent of 2,500 U.S.-based four-year colleges. The review includes detailed profiles of the best schools with rating scores in eight categories. Wabash received an overall academic rating of 93 with scores of 98 and 99 in the categories associated with teaching faculty.

In addition, the Princeton Review’s college guide includes lists of top-20 schools in 62 categories, which are based on surveys of 130,000 college students collected during the 2014-15 academic year.

Wabash ranked in the top-20 in eight categories.

“These rankings reflect what I’m privileged to see everyday: students engaged in the development of their full selves, in the classrooms with their professors, in the theater with their directors, on the fields with their coaches, and in their living units — alongside their smart, talented, and focused peers and fellow leaders.” 

The liberal arts college for men consistently gets high ratings for its faculty, including No. 5 for the “Most Accessible Professors” and No. 19 for “Professors Get High Marks.” Students cited highly knowledgeable “top notch” faculty who push them academically and challenge their thinking, but are supportive and helpful. For the first time Wabash ranked in the top-20 (No. 7) for Best College Theater.

“I appreciate the recognition from the Princeton Review,” said Dean of the College Scott Feller. “The high ranking for faculty accessibility and engagement is not surprising based on the conversations I have with our students on a daily basis. The high ranking for our Theater program is especially well deserved and reflects the work of a group of incredibly talented students, staff, and faculty who enrich our campus community.”

Long time Wabash Theater Professor Dwight Watson said, “It is an honor to be recognized as a top-ranking theater program. I am extremely pleased that others may see this ranking and may come to know and appreciate the teaching and creative energy of our theater faculty and Wabash students.”

The College’s Schroeder Center for Career Development again received high marks for its efforts, ranking No. 11 in “Best Career Services.”

“We continue to be extremely pleased with our national rankings related to Career Services,” said Dean for Professional Development Alan P. Hill. “Because of the strong alumni and family support and mentoring, our young men realize professional outcomes that lead to successful lives.”

Among the other top-20 rankings, Wabash also ranked No. 11 in both “Best Athletic Facilities” and “Everyone Plays Intramural Sports,” No. 15 in “Lots of Greek Life,” and No. 3 in “Easiest Campus to Get Around.”

Dean of Students Mike Raters said, “These rankings reflect what I’m privileged to see everyday: students engaged in the development of their full selves, in the classrooms with their inspirational professors, in the theater with their creative directors, on the fields with their motivational coaches, and in their living units with their smart, talented, and focused peers and fellow leaders.”

Wabash has been featured in every edition of the Princeton Review’s college guide since the service was established.

“The Princeton Review quantifies what we have known all along about Wabash College,” said Dean for Enrollment Management Mike Thorp. “We are able to provide our students with a high quality educational experience that spans well beyond the classroom.”

Historical Reunion

August 4, 2015

When Monte Taylor was trying to come up with a service project to earn his Eagle Scout Award, all he could think of was family. The 13-year-old from Springville, Utah, wanted a service project that would include his entire family while they were attending a family reunion in Crawfordsville.

Now, more than 700 grave markers at the Wesley Cemetery are clean and their images uploaded to two websites for anyone to see. And Monte was able to keep it all in the family.

Monte is the grandson of long-time Crawfordsville residents Steve and Ruthanne Thompson. Steve, a retired Crawfordsville High School science and math teacher, was also the county historian for many years.

His interest in genealogy and history was obviously passed down through the family.

“I was looking for a service project for my Eagle Scout requirement and knew we were having a family reunion coming up in Crawfordsville,” Monte said. “It just fell in place with the support of the entire family.”

Fifty family members from Utah, Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois and Indiana started arriving in Crawfordsville last weekend. On Thursday, they were all at the Wesley Cemetery cleaning 780 grave markers. They then photographed each marker and uploaded the images to two public websites. 

Ruthanne said her grandson’s idea was great for several reasons.

“I am so proud of Monte because this was a great Eagle project,” Ruthanne said. “It was great to uncover all the names on the markers. We found baby names and even members from whole families. It was neat to be a family attempting to help other families.”

“This project will also help people who are doing genealogy research when they find their relatives on the website,” Ruthanne added.

Steve was pleased to see so many family members show a keen interest in the project since genealogy is something he has been highly involved in for a number of years.

“As county historian I have recorded more than 65,000 grave stones that are on file at the Crawfordsville library,” Steve said. “It was great to see Monte take on a project that the whole family is interested in. It is very meaningful.”

Monte said his idea had roots from an event he attended a few months ago in Utah.

“I was attending a Family History Conference and the speaker talked about the websites,” Monte said. “I thought it would be great to find a cemetery around Crawfordsville since my family is from here.”

The two websites are www.findagrave and www.billiongraves. Both sites are dedicated to preserving grave stones in digital format.

Ruthanne was pleased her grandson chose the Wesley Cemetery, located by Wesley Church on U.S. 136 West.

“Another neat thing about this project is that for years our family mowed the cemetery and our kids used the money to pay for their mission trips,” Ruthanne said. 

As for future plans, Monte plans to attend Brigham Young University, but is undecided on his major. 

The honors student also is involved in basketball, volleyball, football and soccer, but he cherishes his education above all which is one reason he loves scouting and his involvement with Troop 639.

“I believe a good education is important,” Monte said. “I enjoy learning things. Scouting has helped my maturity and taught me things that will help me later in life. I have also built solid friendships through scouting.”

City eyes land for station 2

Auhust 4, 2015

The city of Crawfordsville is moving forward with plans to build a new fire station on the east side of the city.

The fiscal affairs committee for the Crawfordsville City Council forwarded to the full council a resolution approving the purchase of land for the new fire station No. 2. Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said Monday that the city has agreed to pay $175,000 for the piece of property to the west of the current station. The land currently is home to Second Baptist Church.

“They approached us several times to see if we were

interested in acquiring the land,” Barton said. “We are excited to move forward.”

Barton said the city plans to demolish the site this fall and could begin building the new station in the spring. He said the station would have three bays that open to both Wabash Avenue and Main Street. Currently fire station No. 2 has two bays and can only hold three firefighters.

Barton said after Monday’s meeting the city would begin working on conceptual drawings for the project over the winter. He said they need to price the project so they will be able to go back to the council next year to begin building the station.

The full council will be able to act on the resolution at 7 p.m. Monday when it meets for its regular August meeting.

CEL&P rates clear next hurdle

August 4, 2015

A proposed electric rate increase for Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power customers cleared another hurdle Monday.

The fiscal affairs committee for the Crawfordsville City Council unanimously moved an ordinance forward to the full council that would increase customer rates and allow the utility to complete a number of capital improvement projects.

CEL&P General Manager Phil Goode said last week that a residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh per month will see their bill increase from $105.98 per month to $109.84. CEL&P has 10,000 customers — 8,500 of those customers are residential customers.

Commercial customers using 3,000 kWh per month will see bills increase from $293.87 per month to $315.25. Commercial customers using 6,000 kWh per month will see bills increase from $570.73 per month to $642.31.

“No one wants their costs to go up,” Councilman Dan Guard said. “It would be worse to do nothing.”

Guard serves as the council liaison to the Crawfordsville Utility Service Board.

“Financially this is what we need to do to have reliable service,” Utility Service Board President Don Swearingen said.

Swearingen said consumers can go to a gas station or grocery store and see the prices jump. He said the board has worked to be transparent with the improvement plan.

The board, along with the city council, learned about the proposed rate increase earlier this month. The two governing bodies met in a joint meeting July 14. Crowe Horwath and Spectrum Engineering presented the city with a service system study. The results of that study were that income is down 1 percent but costs are up 5 percent. The vast majority of the costs — 78 percent of the budget — is the amount the utility pays for electricity. John Skomp of Crowe Horwath said that night that CEL&P needs $2.6 million per year to perform capital improvements. 

The proposal includes 28 potential capital projects totaling $10.3 million. The projects would be completed over a four-year span. The projects are listed in order of priority and many deal with upgrading the infrastructure CEL&P uses around the city. The biggest expense was building a new substation near Memorial Drive, totaling $5,025,000 over two years.

“We need to do this,” Swearingen said. “We have not had the finances to do them.”

Guard pointed out that even with the increase the rates are lower than other utility rates in the area.

“If nothing is done someone else comes in and we pay a higher rate anyways,” he said. “Doing nothing is worse.”

Andy Biddle, who serves as the fiscal affairs committee chair, said it is important for Crawfordsville to keep its utility local.

“You want to be able to call and have someone pick up and answer,” he said. 

Biddle added he likes the utility working to make improvements without having to borrow money.

The full council will discuss the ordinance for the first time Monday when members meet at 7 p.m. in the council chambers for its regular August meeting.

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.