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July 8, 2020

Vernon Fire Department breaks ground
Vernon Fire Department breaks ground
The Vernon Fire Department broke ground last week to begin construction of its new fire station. The project was designed by FPBH Inc.; Bradshaw Building Specialties is the general contractor, with Schneider Trucking and Excavating, a subcontractor, prepared the site. Pictured from left are: Nick Trulock, a Vernon firefighter; Britt Burgmeier, VTVFD president; Vernon Mayor Dan Wright; VTVFD Capt. Rob Loretz; Brad Bender, FPBH; Vernon Township Trustee Roger Taylor; VTVFD Chief Eric Kirkham; Justin Bradshaw. Bradshaw Building Specialties; Josh Shaw, FPBH; and Kyle Schneider and Jake Suhre, both of Schneider. - Photo courtesy of FPBH Inc.

School plan provides options
"Have some patience," was the sage advice given by School Board President Pat Sullivan at the special meeting to approve the school reopen plan on Thursday, June 25.

As the Aug. 6 open date for local schools quickly approaches, parents, teachers, administration and students alike will all need to practice that virtue as they maneuver the frontier of matriculating during a pandemic. Patience and flexibility will be key watchwords to move forward as situations which the school corporatoin has no power to control fluctuate.

The school reopening plan was revealed Thursday, right after the Pledge of Allegiance was pronounced. Sullivan asked the 20 or so community members gathered to hold any questions until Super- intendent Teresa Brown summarized the plan.

Before the plan could be outlined, one man present stood to commend the composed dedication and resourcefulness shown by teachers and others last spring when COVID-19 unexpectedly forced the closure of traditional schools and necessitated e-learning.

Just 30 minutes of summarizing and answ-ering questions later, the Jennings County School Corporation's "Panthers' Prepare & Care" plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year was approved.

Parents will now have the choice to register their child for a re-imagined traditional school model or an online school model. Links to parent guides with details of the plan for the elementary, middle and high schools are available on the JCS website and Facebook page. Once parents review the guide in its entirety, they can begin registration for their child July 1-10. Transportation and internet forms will also need to be completed during registration.

Students' first day is scheduled Aug 6.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

'Hands-free' talking in car now the law
Starting July 1, most of the bills that were enacted earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly will officially become law. JC Prosecutor Brian Belding wants you to be aware of one that will affect just about everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Indiana State Department of Health reports the number of confirmed cases in Jennings as of Wed-nesday morning stood at 169, 5 more than last week with 1519 people tested. Deaths are now at 10.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PPE items are still available
Anna Walker, special projects coordinator for the EDC, reports 61 local businesses and non-profits (not including NV City Departments) have been served in the PPE giveway funded by the NV Redevel-opment Commission. Eighty-one gallons of hand sanitizer and 3600 masks have been given away. The PPE marketplace welcomes businesses to apply online at www.jenningsedc.com and order sanitizer and face masks. The market will be open while supplies last.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Local company celebrates success
Four generations of an expanding company broke ground last month with promises of even more growth in future years.

Layman Fabrication, Inc., founded in 2003, announced in February it had landed a sizable contract with Honda and thus needed to expand to a larger facility. The North Vernon Redevelopment Commission embraced the project and obliged with an agreement to grant the locally owned company 10 acres it owned adjacent to Layman's current facility at 350 North and 75 West; to provide a tax abatement; and to purchase its current facility for $510,000, which the NVRC will now use as a site to attract new industry.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fireworks set to celebrate freedom
Fireworks will light up the sky here in Jennings thanks to the determination of a new organization spearheaded by local businessmen Trent Wisner and Kyle Layman.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

School Board Reopens
The JC School Board voted on Thursday, June 25 and the school reopen plan has been approved. Below is an introduction from Superintendent Teresa Brown with a brief summary of the Jennings County School Corporation's "Panther's Prepare & Care" plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

Links to the full parent guide book for elementary, middle and high schools can be found here: https://www.jcsc.org/news#upcomingplans

Friday, June 26, 2020

At long last, reservoir tapped

Fresh, clean water should never again be a concern for those lucky people who are customers of the North Vernon Water Department.

That is because after almost six years of overcoming seemingly one "pitfall" after another, water from the new North Vernon reservoir is now flowing trough the taps of utility service customers, providing a much cleaner product than the utility's former source, the Muscatatuck River.

"This is a monumental occasion," said USB President Terry Thompson to those gathered shoulder to shoulder at the reservoir Thursday afternoon. What began as the most economical solution to safeguard the city's water supply from any hazardous spill occurring on the bypass morphed into a six-year $5,044,751.74 project.

Back in March 2016, the former Hansen 80-acre quarry and entire 160-acre property was sold to the city for $2.5 million. The Indiana Department of Transportation paid $2 million of the cost while the NV Redevelopment Commission chipped in $500,000.

From that point, it was up to the city and its Utility Service Board to develop the quarry into its sustainable water source.

Plans were formulated to pump Muscatatuck River water up to the quarry to replenish and stabilize its water level, as well as plans to bring the quarry water over to the North Vernon Water Plant on Ninth Street.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Marilyn Morin leaves legacy of Foster G'parents
Marilyn Morin, who literally built the Foster Grandparent program for Jennings and four other counties' school districts, passed away Friday, June 19 in her adopted city of Greensburg.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Reopening plan to be revealed
The plan to reopen JC Schools is now ready to be discussed at a public meeting June 25.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Coronavirus claims 5 more as spread continues
Jennings County Health Department announced Friday that over the past 10 days, there have been five new deaths related to the novel coronavirus. All were adults from Jennings County.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

County highway truck involved in accident that injures 66-year-old Scipio motorcyclist
The Indiana State Police are investigating a two-vehicle crash involving a motorcycle that seriously injured a Scipio man.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Virus bug kills colony
Jerome Greene's dream "to revitalize a small town here in Indiana," is now officially a casualty of COVID-19, along with the hopes of city officials and residents of turning around the historic Uptown North Vernon area.

Greene, an Indianapolis artist/de-signer, purchased the two Greathouse Hardware buildings at 462 and 504 East O&M Avenue from Victor Davis after Davis purchased the two large brick structures after an auction on May 22, 2017. The buildings are located across from each other at the corner of Fifth Street and East O&M Avenue. The hardware store was most recently located at the 462 structure.

Soon after the purchase, Greene announced he would renovate the 21,000 square feet of space into a center for artists. His plan was to put in retail businesses on the first floor of 462 East O&M with artist studios on the second and third floors. Greene explained the building would attract artists to North Vernon because they could not afford the high cost of studio space at Circle City.

The building at 504 East O&M Ave., would serve as a gallery with Greene's own studio on the second floor and his apartment on the third. When an addition at the rear of the building collapsed a year or so later, it was eventually torn down at the urging of the Area Plan Commission. At that time, Greene said he would build a garage at that spot to house his antique vehicle he would drive in local parades.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Take Home Camp Kit available
The Jennings County 4-H Junior Leaders are hosting a FREE Mini 4-H Take Home Camp Kit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Closing limits grocery options
The North Vernon Save-A-Lot located at1357 N State Street will shut its doors Saturday, June 20, leaving just two grocery stores here in Jennings - Jay C and Walmart.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Re-opening plan to be unveiled
The JC School Board will hold a Special Meeting to vote on the plan to reopen schools Thursday, June 25, starting at 6 p.m. at the Jennings County Education Center.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Homegrown talents take leading roles at JC School Corp.
Having said farewell to two beloved Jennings County School Corporation employees, Amber Fields and Susan Harding, two local community members will be stepping in to fill their roles.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New pool makes a big splash
"Awesome" was the word of the day as the grand opening of North Vernon's "Aquatic Center" was held Sunday afternoon, June 14 at high noon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

City back in the swim of things
The brand new city pool will make its opening debut Sunday, June 14 after weather delays postponed its completion till now.

It was clear that simply refurbishing the old city pool would be far too costly, approximately $30,000-$100,000 or more for repairs. Deciding that it would be better starting from scratch, a brand-new water facility was designed and construction beginning in fall 2018.

The original winning bid by Dave O'Mara Contractors for construction of the pool was $3,343,000. However, additional engineering costs for surveying, design, and construction inspection estimated at $300,000, brought the total project cost to $3,643,000. North Vernon Clerk Treasurer Shawn Gerkin's original recommendation to the council was a total cost of $3.5 million.

At that point, city officials and their engineering team sat down with the O'Mara team to discuss "value engineering" on the project.

"We were looking for areas within the project that could be eliminated or reduced without sacrificing the overall size and/or finished project," Gerkin said. The council approved a change order on the project that reduced the price by $130,783.25, bringing the final construction costs to $3,212,216.75.

Final engineering fees came to $277,000, bringing the total project costs to $3,489,216.75, just under budget.

"We had to make some initial cost-saving decisions in order to keep within our budget," confirmed Director of Parks and Recreation Chad Speer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

JCCF sets meeting
The annual meeting of the Jennings County Community Foundation will be held virtually on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. To join the meeting contact the Jennings County Community Foundation at 812-346-5553 or email jccf@jenningsfoundation.net to register for the event.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Call Walgreens
Walgreens has announced they will no longer be providing a sales insert in newspapers as they will only be on the internet. If you have questions or would like to express your opinion, call 1-800-925-4733.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Murder defendant makes his first appearance in local court
Under heavy guard, murder defendant Alan Joseph Marantos was transported to the Vernon Courthouse Friday morning for the first of what will surely be numerous appearances.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

EDC, Duke offer grant to help small business
In the wake of the COVID-19 economic shut-down for many small business owners, the Jennings County Economic Development Commission (JCEDC) saw an opportunity to provide assistance through the Duke Energy Foundation, who awarded over $200,000 to support Hoosier businesses.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Two school corp. leaders retire on the exact same day
Two leaders who have played a vital role in local education over two decades have now retired on the same day.

Amber Fields, former business manager/treasurer of the school corporation, has been the person behind the multi- million dollar budgets of the JC School corporation for the past two decades.

And Susan Harding, food service director for 18 years, has made sure student meals meet all federal nutrition guidelines and that all students who qualify can obtain these meals at free or reduced prices.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Primary draws 22 percent of Jennings voters
With more contested local races in this year's Primary Election, Jennings County's Republican voters came out in force Tuesday to cast their ballots, according to the unofficial county from County Clerk Amy Thompson's office.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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