LOCAL NEWS

Teacher resigns amid DCS investigation

VEEDERSBURG — A Fountain Central High School teacher has resigned after administrators learned she may have had inappropriate contact with a student. 

Southeast Fountain School Corp. received information about the situation Feb. 10, and began investigating, Superintendent Doug Allison said in a written statement. The contact may have involved messaging and communication, the statement said.

Administrators got the Department of Child Services involved, as required by law.

The teacher was not named and the corporation did not disclose what she taught.

She submitted her resignation Tuesday after the administration told her not to come to school, citing the protection of students and the corporation. The school board will consider the personnel matter at its next regular meeting March 9.

DCS and law enforcement are still investigating. Allison said the school’s probe is complete and the corporation will no have no further comment.

The Fountain County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday it had not yet received the case.

“SEFSC recognizes that there will be substantial information and speculation out in the public arena regarding these matters, and SEFSC requests that the privacy and confidentiality of all students and teachers be respected,” Allison said.

Group offers support for veterans

Larry Vaught put his life on the line for his country in Vietnam, running a machine gun in one of the longest-running, bloodiest wars.

After his tour of duty was up, another battle began — this time with drinking.

Now a recovering alcoholic, Vaught, who served in the Marines for three years, draws from his own experiences in running a support group for veterans dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues.

“It’s pretty difficult to stay mired in your own difficulties in life if you’re helping someone else,” he said. “And I don’t feel like God is going to hand anyone a cross that’s too large to bear.”

The group meets from

8-9 p.m. Tuesdays at Rock Point Church and is open to men who have served in peacetime or combat. An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan co-facilitates the meetings.

As many as a dozen men typically attend, including veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf War and Vietnam. The former military personnel discuss a variety of faith-based topics.

While peer-support groups have not been proven to reduce PTSD symptoms, advocates like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say sharing stories with others may help veterans feel more comfortable talking about their trauma.

The National Center for PTSD says 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom have experienced symptoms in a given year.

For Vietnam veterans, the rate jumps to an estimated 30 percent who have had symptoms, according to the center. Between 60-80 percent of Vietnam veterans seeking treatment for PTSD have alcohol use problems, the center says.

IWA returns funds to foundation

At Monday’s Montgomery County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner John Frey reported that Indiana West Advantage has returned $163,000 to the Montgomery County Community Foundation. The funds, which were donated to the economic development organization several years ago as seed money, had never been used.

IWA Executive Director Tom Utley said his board of directors decided to return the money since the organization is making plans to dissolve after Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton announced the city was no longer going to provide funding. 

On Monday, commissioners followed the mayor’s decision by cutting $50,000 previously budgeted for IWA.

“We did not think it was right to go away with money people had donated so the board decided to return the funds,” Utley said. “We are in a low-cash mode as of now and will be announcing our plans to dissolve soon.”

The board voted to keep Utley and Deputy Director Wes Brown for five more months. After that the board plans to dissolve.

“IWA did the right thing by returning the money to the community foundation,” Fry said. “They have enough funds to continue through the rest of the year.”

Utley said there is a possibility that after IWA dissolves, more funds may be donated to the MCCF.

IWA first came under criticism by members of the county council. Councilman Mark Davidson voiced concern over the fact that IWA would not disclose financial statements. 

When Barton announced his decision in January that the city would not fund IWA, he stated he was disappointed in the results that had been tallied by the organization.

Barton and county are now looking into the possibility of establishing an economic commission, composed of elected officials, to continue efforts revolving around economic development.

Wabash College to host annual Polar Plunge

Students at Wabash College and supporters around Crawfordsville will come together this winter to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Indiana before taking part in the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser on Saturday.

On-site registration for the event will take place on campus at the Allen Athletics and Recreation Center, 301 W. Wabash Ave., beginning at 9:30 a.m., with participants lining up inside Little Giant Stadium to take the plunge at 11:30 a.m.

Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraiser, the Polar Plunge is a series of exhilarating events held each winter where individuals and teams brave the elements by taking an icy dip to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. 

All funds raised by the events directly benefit more than 12,000 Special Olympics athletes throughout the state, giving them the means to train locally and to compete at the state level in a number of Olympic-type sports.

To participate, individuals must raise a “bear” minimum of $75 ($50 with a student ID) for Special Olympics

Indiana, with awards presented to top fundraising teams and individuals. Participants can register as individuals or gather friends, family members or co-workers and register as a team.

“We’ve been doing this a long time now, and most people are familiar with the concept — but I think the newcomers are surprised at how much fun we have in spite of the cold,” said Senior Director of Development Scott Furnish. “Whether you want to challenge yourself by taking the Plunge or you just want to support our athletes throughout the state, this is a great opportunity to get involved and to support what we do.”

The event also will include an indoor “After Splash Bash”, where additional prizes will be awarded as participants warm up with complimentary food and beverages. Spectators and guests are welcome throughout, and can take part in the After Splash Bash festivities for a $5 fee.

To date, the Polar Plunge has raised more than $3 million in support of Special Olympics Indiana’s year-round programs and events, including a record $690,232 in 2016. More than 3,000 individuals are expected to take the plunge this year, with a total of 18 separate events scheduled in cities and towns across the state.

The Polar Plunge is presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run to Benefit Special Olympics, and is sponsored statewide by Duke Energy, Graycor Industrial Constructors, Coca-Cola, Bluebridge, Toyota Indiana, Knights of Columbus, Psi Iota Xi, DePuy Synthes, Solid Platforms Inc. and Taco Bell.

To learn more, to register or to make a contribution, visit www.polarplungeIN.org.

Right place at the right time

While attending the Montgomery County Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, Terry Hockersmith knew he did not feel right. A victim of a 2014 heart attack, the Montgomery County Council president knew to ask the right question to the right person.

After exiting the courthouse, Hockersmith saw Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Fulwider nearby. Hockersmith asked Fulwider, who also is the Crawfordsville Assistant Fire Chief and an EMT if he could tell if someone was having a heart attack. 

Fulwider asked Hockersmith a few questions and immediately realized his friend could be having a heart issue. The two men got into Hockersmith’s truck with Fulwider behind the wheel. They drove to the Crawfordsville Fire Department, which is a few blocks from the courthouse. There EMTs connected Hockersmith to a portable EKG machine and quickly determined the councilman was having a heart event.

“I could have called 9-1-1, but I knew I could get Terry to the fire department quicker than getting the EMTs to the courthouse,” Fulwider said.

A new program called LifeNet has been implemented by C.F.D. and it played a major role in Hockersmith getting needed medical attention. The program is so new that the department just finished training Monday morning. The program had never officially been tested. Its first turned into a real event. The program allows EMT’s to immediately send test results to the local hospital.

By forwarding Hockersmith’s EKG results, it was quickly determined by local emergency room staff that the ambulance needed to take their patient directly to the cardiology department at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. The local emergency room immediately forwarded the test results to the Cardiology Cath. Lab in Lafayette, giving doctors time to decide on a course of action. Within minutes of arriving at the Lafayette hospital, Hockersmith was wheeled into the cardiology operating room where doctors discovered a blocked artery. The cardiologist who peformed Hockersmith’s surgery three years ago was there to put in a stint.

“The new technology is amazing,” Hockersmith said. “The guys at the fire station and in the ambulance were great and they say they got me to Lafayette in record time, even with U.S. 231 closed to one lane in some places.”

Paul Miller, the Crawfordsville Fire Department Division Chief of EMS, said care standards in the medical field say a heart attack victim has 90 minutes to obtain appropriate care. In Hockersmith’s case, it took only 72 minutes from the time he and Fulwider talked to the time the procedure was being done at the catheterization lab in Lafayette.

“The time saved by this new program is a big advantage,” Miller said. “But also this program allows major cost savings to the patient and medical facilities. It is a win-win for everyone.”

Jennifer Andel, the Montgomery County Auditor and Hockersmith’s daughter, said being at the right place with the right person very well could have saved her father’s life. She feels strongly there was divine intervention.

“You cannot tell me how all this happened was just coincidence,” Andel said. “Dad was right here at the courthouse along with Jim. Dad knew to ask Jim the important question and Jim knew what to do. Even Dad’s cardiologist was on duty and was able to meet dad in Lafayette. It all happened at the right time with the right person being there.”

Hockersmith agrees with his daughter.

“When I got into the cath lab, my doctor told me it was my lucky day,” Hockersmith said. “Every piece of this story came together in a perfect way. I can praise the medical people who helped me, but it is God who deserves the most praise. He knew what I needed at just the right time.”

The sentiment that all the pieces went together to form a perfect scenario was also expressed by Fulwider. From the EMT’s working at the fire station Monday to all the people who had a hand in the event, Fulwider said it “all fit like a glove.”

Hockersmith returned home Tuesday evening and even took time to play with his dogs outside in his yard — a favorite activity that he is thankful he could do.