State Representative Douglas Gutwein visited Pulaski County this week to speak to the county commissioners and council during a joint session held Monday night regarding a revenue bill vetoed by Governor Mike Pence that could affect the county’s CAGIT moneys. Gutwein explained that a clerical error at the state level could force the county to pay taxpayers back millions of dollars that had been collected by the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax – money that had originally been collected to cover the cost of the jail – because the state claims that the county overcharged its taxpayers. The county still owes roughly $5 million on the jail facility.
Plymouth Building Commissioner Keith Hammonds said this is the first instance in which the city has given notice to a land owner to clean up a dwelling due to a meth lab. The property in question is on West Washington Street in Plymouth. The property was sold under a land contract and the city notified those involved that clean-up has to occur.
Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck told the commissioners Monday that if they would like to change the stop signs to yield signs, they will need to have a review and traffic study completed by the Indiana Department of Transportation-LaPorte District. Commission President Kevin Overmyer told Haeck that they don’t intend on taking out the stop signs and would like to make sure INDOT receives a letter stating that intention.
Every railroad crossing has a stop sign with the exception of the crossings that have gates.
Gov. Mike Pence has set an ambitious goal of creating more jobs than ever in Indiana by 2016. Lt. Gov. Sue Ellsperman says her personal goal is to bring jobs to rural communities during that time. Speaking last night at the Marshall County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, Ellsperman acknowledged not all young people are four-year college material and encouraged students to pursue two-year technical degrees. She says employers are also looking for qualified technical school graduates and adds that many of those jobs pay really well.
Ellsperman also notes the legislature and administration passed a couple of key pieces of legislation aimed at job creation during the recent session. These include the Indiana Regional Works Councils, which will regionally allow us to bring business and education together regionally to look at the needs of the workforce.
“The Speaker of the House and Minority Leader of the House sponsored legislation for Indiana Careers Council, which will put the governor at the chair, I’ll be vice chair, the superintendent of public instruction, the commissioner of higher education, the department of workforce development all coming around the table to say ‘where are the gaps in education and preparing that workforce for the future?’,” Ellsperman added. She grew up in a small town in southern Indiana and says she’s sensitive to the “brain drain” issue that occurs when young people go away to college and don’t return. She adds she wants to make sure all of Indiana thrives.
The Starke County Council has taken a first step toward approving the purchase of three new Freightliner trucks for the highway department. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says that eight of the trucks in the county’s fleet are more than 15 years old, and many have more than 300,000 miles. He says they are becoming more costly to maintain than to replace. Even though the initial replacement cost is $439,672 for three new vehicles, Ritzler says they would last the county several years. Money for the purchase is in the county highway fund; however, the state requires the appropriation be advertised before it can be spent. Council members approved the advertisement and expect to give final approval to the purchase when they meet in June. Ritzler also told the council he plans to implement a fleet management plan and replace a vehicle each year after this.
The Eastern Pulaski Elementary School welcomed a special guest Tuesday morning. Indiana’s First Lady, Karen Pence, visited the school which recently received the honor of being named a Four Star School.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman and Elementary Principal Jill Collins escorted Pence around the elementary school where she visited with a handful of teachers. Pence, who has taught for many years, stopped to talk to a couple of classes and took questions from the students.
Berger asked the council to consider requiring that property owners be responsible for any unpaid water and electric bills after a renter moves out, leaving the town with an outstanding bill. Following a discussion, the council voted to raise the water and electric deposits as a solution to the matter and an ordinance will need to be written for these changes to take effect.
A meeting was scheduled earlier this week to discuss dress codes for graduation and laptops will be turned in later this week. The computers will be inspected by the technology staff to note any damage for insurance claims. Students are accountable for the equipment.
The life of Lance Cpl. Michael DeLancey, a native of Pinellas Park, Fla., changed entirely in 2006 when he was injured in Iraq. A sniper’s bullet pierced DeLancey’s spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down and damaging his lung. Today, however, this very deserving disabled veteran will be presented with an accessible Honda Entervan modified by BraunAbility, a Winamac manufacturer of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Monetary assistance is the best way to help victims of the Oklahoma tornado. That’s the advice of officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters are advising Hoosiers about how to help Oklahoma citizens in need. The destruction in Oklahoma City has left communities in need of hands-on help and donations. Volunteers play a vital part in disaster recovery. However, Indiana VOAD President Chris Gilbert says, “Well-meaning individuals who simply show up to help without coordinating with disaster management personnel can complicate or even hinder response and recovery operations already underway. Become part of a coordinated effort.”
An investigation into the death of an inmate at the Marshall County Jail found that Kerry Alan Pinder, 44, died of natural causes.
Pinder was arrested April 6 on a charge Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and was awaiting his release from jail when the jail staff found him unresponsive in his cell the next morning.