Accountable to Hoosiers

State Representative, District 62, Matt Ubelhor

How does your family budget for the year? Do you sit down around the kitchen table every week discussing your financial situation or set a yearly budget and then adjust accordingly? Like every Hoosier family, lawmakers follow similar budgeting principles; the only major difference is that the budget is crafted in a committee, known as Ways and Means, instead of around the kitchen table.

The General Assembly is tasked with crafting and enacting the state’s budget every odd-numbered year. For House Republicans, crafting an honestly balanced budget, without raising taxes on hard-working Hoosiers, is one of our top priorities this session. We have a proven track-record of fiscal integrity, which has led to a strong, robust economy. Our goal to continue managing Indiana’s finances responsibly to provide greater financial security for future generations, which starts by maintaining our healthy reserves and a strong structural surplus.

Having a structural surplus means that Indiana’s ongoing financial commitments does not exceed the revenue collected for a given fiscal year. In other words, we spend less than we take in. The 2014 fiscal year finished with a $107 million structural surplus. Building a prudent structural surplus helps the state maintain a structurally balanced budget, even if revenues do not come in as planned.

Equally important, we also need to maintain our healthy reserves, which is another way of referring to Indiana’s savings account. Indiana finished fiscal year 2014 with $2 billion in reserve balances, and while this might sound like a lot, it is only enough to run our state government for about 48 days. Not only do healthy reserves allow us to have the highest possible bond rating, but it is also our safety-net in case another economic downturn occurs.

However, K- 12 education funding accounts for half of Indiana’s biennial budget and is nearly two-thirds of the budget when higher education is included. House Republicans have a proven track record for putting education first and are continuing to make that a priority this session.

Part of our focus on education this session is fixing the funding formula to better appropriate the funds across the state of Indiana. The foundation amount is the starting point for the school funding formula and is essentially the minimum guarantee for each student. The current foundation amount is $4,587 per student for the 2015 fiscal year. Adjustments to the foundation amount per-student is based on multiple factors including the number of: low-income students, special education students, career and technical education students and of honors diplomas awarded.

The statewide average for per-student funding for the 2014 fiscal year was $6,579, the lowest per-student funding level is $5,463 and the highest is $8,666. With the highest per-student funding nearly 40 percent above the lowest level, we are working to not only raise the foundation level of dollars going to schools, but also working to fix the funding formula to increase equity in spending.

Along with strengthening our education system, we are also working towards continued government reduction and efficiency. It is vitally important that we continue to look for ways to cut government waste, and with a faster, more efficient government, Hoosiers can receive the services they rely on more expeditiously.

Looking back, we have eliminated more than 70 government boards and commissions, more than 600 government appointments, eliminated nearly 2,000 lines of Indiana Code and have a long history of tax cuts. Cutting back on government spending means more money appropriated back to the state and back to you, the taxpayers.

I look forward to working with my fellow legislators to discuss our budget and the funding formula to eventually pass it with confidence. It is important for us to make sure we are diligent and effective in our work to stay accountable to all Hoosiers.

Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Robertson Meets with Anthem Executives About Data Breach

IDOI-Indiana-Department-of-Insurance

Indianapolis – Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson and members of his staff met with insurance company Anthem, Inc., leadership this morning to gather information regarding the data breach involving personal information of past and present enrollees. The data breach potentially affects individuals who are insured directly through Anthem, through their employer, and through Medicaid programs.

Anthem, an Indiana domestic company, assured Commissioner Robertson that it is complying with all applicable federal and state laws regarding data breaches. Anthem is taking immediate steps to notify all affected individuals, including past and current insureds, self-employed groups, and others, and brokers who served such individuals and groups. To date, Anthem has found no evidence that credit card or medical information was compromised.

“We met personally with Anthem to ensure that it is taking appropriate steps to address this data breach. We are encouraged that Anthem discovered the breach before such an attack is typically detected, took appropriate steps to terminate the data transfer and contact the FBI, and notified individuals well before required by law. Since the investigation is continuing, we don’t have all the facts, but we will continue to monitor the situation as Anthem’s domestic regulator,” stated Commissioner Robertson.

AnthemFacts.com, a dedicated web site, has been set up, as well as a special toll-free number: 877-263-7995.  Anthem has added an additional approximately 1,000 customer service representatives to answer questions about the breach so that its normal operations are not overrun by questions relating to the data breach. Anthem also is offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected individuals. Details on how to take advantage of the services will be contained at AnthemFacts.com as soon as it is available and in a letter mailed to all affected individuals in the coming weeks.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is conducting further investigation to determine whether regulatory action is warranted.

About Indiana Department of Insurance

The Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The department monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The department also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work.

Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Robertson Meets with Anthem Executives About Data Breach

IDOI-Indiana-Department-of-Insurance

Indianapolis – Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson and members of his staff met with insurance company Anthem, Inc., leadership this morning to gather information regarding the data breach involving personal information of past and present enrollees. The data breach potentially affects individuals who are insured directly through Anthem, through their employer, and through Medicaid programs.

Anthem, an Indiana domestic company, assured Commissioner Robertson that it is complying with all applicable federal and state laws regarding data breaches. Anthem is taking immediate steps to notify all affected individuals, including past and current insureds, self-employed groups, and others, and brokers who served such individuals and groups. To date, Anthem has found no evidence that credit card or medical information was compromised.

“We met personally with Anthem to ensure that it is taking appropriate steps to address this data breach. We are encouraged that Anthem discovered the breach before such an attack is typically detected, took appropriate steps to terminate the data transfer and contact the FBI, and notified individuals well before required by law. Since the investigation is continuing, we don’t have all the facts, but we will continue to monitor the situation as Anthem’s domestic regulator,” stated Commissioner Robertson.

AnthemFacts.com, a dedicated web site, has been set up, as well as a special toll-free number: 877-263-7995.  Anthem has added an additional approximately 1,000 customer service representatives to answer questions about the breach so that its normal operations are not overrun by questions relating to the data breach. Anthem also is offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected individuals. Details on how to take advantage of the services will be contained at AnthemFacts.com as soon as it is available and in a letter mailed to all affected individuals in the coming weeks.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is conducting further investigation to determine whether regulatory action is warranted.

About Indiana Department of Insurance

The Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The department monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The department also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work.

Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Robertson Meets with Anthem Executives About Data Breach

IDOI-Indiana-Department-of-Insurance

Indianapolis – Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson and members of his staff met with insurance company Anthem, Inc., leadership this morning to gather information regarding the data breach involving personal information of past and present enrollees. The data breach potentially affects individuals who are insured directly through Anthem, through their employer, and through Medicaid programs.

Anthem, an Indiana domestic company, assured Commissioner Robertson that it is complying with all applicable federal and state laws regarding data breaches. Anthem is taking immediate steps to notify all affected individuals, including past and current insureds, self-employed groups, and others, and brokers who served such individuals and groups. To date, Anthem has found no evidence that credit card or medical information was compromised.

“We met personally with Anthem to ensure that it is taking appropriate steps to address this data breach. We are encouraged that Anthem discovered the breach before such an attack is typically detected, took appropriate steps to terminate the data transfer and contact the FBI, and notified individuals well before required by law. Since the investigation is continuing, we don’t have all the facts, but we will continue to monitor the situation as Anthem’s domestic regulator,” stated Commissioner Robertson.

AnthemFacts.com, a dedicated web site, has been set up, as well as a special toll-free number: 877-263-7995.  Anthem has added an additional approximately 1,000 customer service representatives to answer questions about the breach so that its normal operations are not overrun by questions relating to the data breach. Anthem also is offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected individuals. Details on how to take advantage of the services will be contained at AnthemFacts.com as soon as it is available and in a letter mailed to all affected individuals in the coming weeks.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is conducting further investigation to determine whether regulatory action is warranted.

About Indiana Department of Insurance

The Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The department monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The department also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work.

Former Runt’s Bar Getting Makeover to Welcome New Business

Sullivan Board of Public Works. Left to right: Max Judson, Debra Ayers, Mayor Clint Lamb, attorney Angela Bullock, Jean McMahan, Alan Pierce and Sue Pitts, clerk.

SULLIVAN-  Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb is optimistic — and not only about recent developments involving Central Plaza — but also regarding a potential business investment at the former Runt’s Bar on the courthouse square.

“This has been kind of a community effort,” Lamb said during the Board of Public Works meeting Tuesday, noting the clean-up activity underway at 30 W. Washington St. “The city government doesn’t usually get involved in real estate transactions. However, that being such an integral part of the square, we needed to make sure that the building did not continue to deteriorate.”

After sitting vacant for more than a year, the Sullivan City Redevelopment Commission,Followell Real Estate and the Sullivan Street Department have been working to clean the place up. Now, through a public-private partnership between owner Greg Wolfe and the city, efforts to attract a new business on that corner look promising.

To be able to market the city, to several interested developers, city officials agree they need first ensure the building has curb appeal. Aside from physical labor involved in the former Runt’s Bar makeover, Lamb assures taxpayers the project is costing nothing.

Everything the city administration is doing, all goes back to the comprehensive master plan, he said, adding that residents previously came together to voice opinions. Downtown improvements were a main focus of the survey.

And, Lamb can’t help but “connect the pieces of the puzzle” of one project to another.

“Don’t take my word for it, because I think you’ll hear it from whoever the entrepreneur is, once they land. The excitement and the buzz stems from Sullivan Central Plaza. And I can’t drive this message home enough,” he said, stressing that the city doesn’t want to be in competition with the downtown square nor City Park.

For more information on the business project, Lamb suggest that interested residents tune into “First Fridays with the Mayor”  Friday morning on 95.3 WNDI at 8:30 a.m.

The former Runt's Bar site is getting ready to welcome new business on the courthouse square in Sullivan.

The former Runt’s Bar site is getting ready to welcome new business on the courthouse square in Sullivan.

In other business:

Chris Olson, of the sewer department, reported on an ongoing problem stemming from inmates at the jail flushing items into the system.

“They dump everything down into the system.I mean anything, from all their commissary papers, to panties and bras, underwear,” Olson said, adding that surrounding businesses end up with backflow.

Lamb agreed to talk with Sheriff Clark Cottom regarding the issue.

  • Resident Keith Vernelson addressed the board regarding insufficient lighting concerns on Willow Court. The board took the matter under advisement.
  • The board approved a request by Dan Brown, of the Sullivan County Shifters, for street closure on the eastside of the square during a car show event on June 28.
  • Saturday, February 28 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for free, open bowling for the entire family at Sullivan Bowling Lanes. The “Keep It Rollin” event is to encourage Sullivan young people and adults to stay active by promoting physical wellness. The event was also created to promote entertainment amenities in the City of Sullivan, increase our sense of community, and to help support local business, Lamb said, adding that Sullivan Bowling Lanes has been locally owned/operated and has given back to our community for 28 years.

Lucy Perry can be reached at lperry@newsbarb.com

Linton Council Discusses Possible Loss of Business Personal Property Tax Revenue

City Hall

The Linton City Council met Monday evening, and once again the possible loss of business personal property tax income was a hot item on the agenda. Mayor John Wilkes noted that State Representative Matt Ubelhor was supposed to be at the meeting.

“I had a meeting with him a few weeks ago on this business personal property tax and he could not convince me that what the legislature is doing is right,” Wilkes explained. “He couldn’t prove to me that they were going to give us a revenue stream that would replace that money they’re going to be taking from the business personal property taxes.”

The mayor said Ubelhor agreed to attend the council meeting to explain the matter to attendees, but although the city sent him an invitation and a reminder he did not respond or show up at City Hall.

“I thank all the policemen and the firemen for coming out tonight, because their jobs are on the line if they are cutting all of these monies out of the personal property tax,” said Wilkes, adding that he still encourages everyone to contact their legislators and the governor, to let them know that the city needs that revenue.

Council President Jathan Wright reminded everyone that the council had to make a tough vote last year, after property tax caps necessitated the downsizing of both the police and fire departments.

“Now we have this breathing down our neck, and we’re not wanting to put our public safety at risk at all … Everybody contact your legislators and tell them,” he urged. “This is not a Democrat issue and this is not a Republican issue, it’s a community issue and it’s a matter of survival for our community.”

He added that it is something everybody should be passionate about.

“I’ll be truthful,” said Wilkes. “If this one passes, we will lose more money off of this one than we did off of the other one and we cannot have that. They just cannot keep doing that to us.”

He noted that legislators are trying to give communities options, but that the options are no good.

“One of them is to have local option income taxes controlled by the county, but we already have that. [Police Chief Troy Jerrell] and I were in a meeting over our 911 and we threw that out on the table to get them to put the local option income tax on– this was with our county council. Absolutely not– we’re not going to impose any more taxes. Well, I don’t like taxes either, but we have to have services and take care of our roads and take care of our people,” the mayor stated.

Council Member Linda Bedwell pointed out that the tax cuts would affect the city’s library and school, and Linton-Stockton Teacher Dan Thorlton stated that the school is struggling.

“We aren’t,” he clarified. “Our children are.”

Fire Chief Brad Sparks mentioned the two fire-related fatalities Sullivan has recently endured, and said that no one wants to see that happen in Linton.

“We had a shooting two or three weeks ago right here in town,” he continued. “That’s what this is going to affect. The roads have seen tremendous troubles this year with the weather being so bad, and that’s where that money comes from– those taxes.”

In other business, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cheryl Hamilton presented the city with a check for the park fund.

“The Chamber does the motocross out at the Conservation Club on city property. We have a lease with them, and every year they bring us a check from the profits they make off of that. So we appreciate it,” Wilkes explained.

Tom Densford told the council that the Indiana Railroad would like to finalize a discussion that started ten years ago. He said that as far as he could tell, there was an agreement between the city and the railroad to transfer ground to the city to be used as an access road. The railroad wanted two crossings closed between 7th and 8th street.

Densford said those things were done, but the paperwork was never completed to convey the property to the city. He noted that when the railroad and Wilkes began discussions again late last year, the city wanted to extend the strip of ground to 12th street, partly in order to improve the road to the electrical substation.

The railroad has requested that the city consider closing two additional crossings at 4th and 2nd Streets SW. He said the railroad wants this done because of pressure from INDOT and the Federal Regulatory Authorities to close as many crossings as possible.

“Indiana rates among the lowest in the country at crossing safety,” Densford explained. “That [means] they rate among the highest in the country at railroad crossing accidents including fatalities.”

INDOT has money available through a grant program, which could be paid to the city to be deposited in the general fund. INDOT estimates the city would receive about $30,000 for the closings of both crossings.

The public will be asked to provide input on the subject before any closures occur.

Sparks pointed out that a closure on 2nd street could cause a problem for emergency personnel.

“If we’ve got a train across the tracks here and we’ve got to get emergency personnel across down here, obviously we’re not going to be the only ones who are going to be crossing there. There is going to be other traffic smart enough to know, ‘Hey, we’ve got a shortcut and we’re going to go over here’. If we’re trying to drive a fire truck down the side roads, it [isn’t] going to happen.”

The mayor said he will get a traffic count for that road, and the council agreed to take a look at the matter before discussing it further.

Bedwell presented an “Attagirl Award” to Jerrie Thuis, a CVS employee who Bedwell credited with helping save a citizen from a scam that could have cost the woman thousands of dollars.

“With me, it’s not all about picking up trash sometimes,” Bedwell noted. “There’s a lot more important things that go on here in Linton, and one of them is taking care of our own. That’s what we do in Linton.”

Wilkes explained that Council Member Fred Markle first introduced the “Attagirl” and “Attaboy” awards to recognize outstanding citizens.

The council approved several invoices and change orders for the wastewater plant, including:

  • A $3,200 SIDC invoice
  • An $80,933.40 Graves Plumbing invoice
  • An $8,707.42 Graves Plumbing change order
  • A $10,375.90 Insituform change order
  • A $84,566.58 Insituform invoice
  • A $4,811.10 Insituform invoice

GCGH to Offer New Patient Portal

hospital 2

Those receiving services at Greene County General Hospital will soon have a new way to access clinical summary information via a newly launched Patient Portal.

In compliance with the federal government’s Meaningful Use Initiative, all hospitals will soon be required to provide patients (and/or a patient-authorized user) access to their patient record electronically.

Patients – inpatient and outpatient – are now asked to provide the Registration Department with a secure email address. Chief Nursing Officer Lea Ann Camp said patients need to be confident in the security of the email address they provide. Work email addresses, Camp said, will not be accepted.

Having this electronic access through your personal, secured email will allow you as the patient the ability to review your medical history during your stay here at our facility.

This access provides you with information, including but not limited to, procedures completed, medical history, medications taken, allergies, existing or developing medical conditions, etc. You can also virtually download your confidential medical record to your own private computer for your records.

Upon discharge from our facility, patients will receive an auto-generated email to the email account collected during registration inviting them to create a user account at www.mymedicalencounters.com.

The email will be generated from donotreply@mygcgh.org with the subject of “GREENE COUNTY HOSPITAL – Patient Portal New User”.

The email will direct patients to step-by-step instructions on how to access their personal medical record. Instructions and more information can be found on the hospital’s website, www.greenecountyhospital.com. For assistance, please contact the registration or medical records departments at 812-847-2281.

Once your account has been activated, you can view it at any time by visiting www.greenecountyhospital.com or www.mymedicalencounters.com.

Bloomfield Chamber: Upcoming Events

bloomfield chamber of commerce pic

Upcoming events, updates, and other miscellaneous items were the business at hand during the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

Chamber Vice President Randall Brown presided over the business as President Joshua Riggins was absent from the meeting.

The first day of the chamber-sponsored Farmers’ Market will be May 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Offering Wi-Fi at the Farmers’ Market was noted as a possibility. The market will be located on the Franklin Street side of the courthouse.

In other event business, the chamber will sponsor the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus – which is slated for April 30 at REMC.

The chamber recently notified local businesses that a telemarketing representative for the circus will be contacting them by phone regarding ticket purchases.

It was also noted that the Bloomfield Town-Wide Yard Sale has been slated for May 3.

In other business, Chamber Member Sawyer Sparks said that the chamber’s website has been updated with a new design.

During the meeting, talk also turned to the Town of Bloomfield logo contest, which has a deadline of May 31.

According to a chamber press release, the goal of the contest is to receive entries that reflect the things that make Bloomfield unique and that add up to the feeling that the community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else.

The contest is open to any individual, including but not limited to Bloomfield residents. Entries will be judged by a team consisting of a representative from the sponsoring agency, the Imagine Bloomfield steering committee, town staff, and a professional printmaker. The team will select top designs and any winning themes/ideas that may be used as the official Town of Bloomfield logo. The winning entry may be used on signage, advertising, correspondence, and promotional materials for the town.

All entries must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce by May 31. The winner will be announced at the annual Bloomfield Art Festival on June 14. The winner will receive $250 courtesy of Psi Iota Xi. The contest is open to all Greene County residents, or any registered Art Festival entrant. For complete rules and to obtain an entry form, please visit the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Spring Clean Downtown Linton set for April 5

rediscover downtown linton

Rediscover Downtown Linton is encouraging downtown business owners and residents to participate in the first Downtown Spring Cleaning event, which is slated for April 5.

Volunteers are asked to show up at 7 a.m. at city hall on the day of the event.

“We are hoping for as many volunteers as we can get… We want to showcase the town, try to attract new businesses, and we want to clean the place up,” explained Kristy Lewellyn, who serves as chairperson of the Rediscover Downtown Linton (RDL) Promotions Committee.

RDL is also encouraging business owners to clean up their establishments and is asking for volunteers from all over the community to partake in the cleanup.

“Statistics show that a downtown area kind of sets the tone for the entire community. So we have to do everything in our power to showcase the downtown in the best possible light we can,” Lewellyn explained.

The spring clean is a time to wash windows, sweep storefronts, remove debris and weeds, and spotlight the downtown. Cleaning supplies and trash bags will also be needed. The event is slated for 7 a.m. to noon.

Rediscover Downtown Linton is part of the Indiana Main Street Program.

RDL members volunteer their time toward revitalization and restoration of the downtown area, with a great deal of emphasis being placed on community, culture, and commerce.

The overall goal is to retain businesses, encourage and assist new businesses, and enhance the image of Linton’s downtown area for the benefit of the entire community.

“Rediscover Downtown Linton in conjunction with the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce [also] plans to offer different types of support to people considering opening a business in downtown,” Lewellyn also said.

For more information, visit the Rediscover Downtown Linton Facebook page.  

Node 1 Technology, Inc. Looking to Attract More High Tech Business for Linton

Linton Water Tower

Node 1 Technology, Inc., a technology and Internet service provider serving Southwestern Indiana and South Eastern Illinois announced today that they will begin to deploy next generation broadband services starting in Linton.

The new service will include access for business customers that will include dedicated Internet speeds capable in excess of 300 Mbps. Node 1 plans on adding additional capacity to the downtown Linton business area and hopes to attract new businesses that are seeking alternative options from having to be located in a tech park or major city in order to obtain a dedicated high capacity connection to the Internet. The added capacity to the Linton area will also cover the industrial area located on 12th street where URS and Green Geek Recycling are currently located.

CEO Jake Thatcher stated, “We are offering a very unique opportunity and tool for any business that is looking to locate or expand in Linton. We are hoping to be able to bring more businesses to the area and do our part in helping the downtown area grow and thrive.”

Node 1 is planning on starting the upgrade process for the Linton area on Friday of this week and anticipates the process to take 60-90 days to complete.

These improvements will not only help the Linton area but customers in many other areas that currently use Node 1 for their Internet service. They will see added speed and reliability in the coming months that will improve performance with video providers such as Netflix and other video on demand services. Thatcher said he wants his company to be viewed in the communities they service as their local technology partner.

“We are a locally owned company with local employees and we understand the needs of local business and people that live in the same communities we service,” he said. For information on when the new services are available Thatcher recommended liking their Facebook page.

Greene County Chiropractic­/­Royer Veterinary Service Offer Alternatives to Medication, Surgery for Pets

Twinkle running into her appointment with Dr. Cullison at Royer Veterinary Services.

Dr. Gerren Cullison has practiced as a chiropractor for three years and started Greene County Chiropractic in Worthington about a year-and-a-half ago. Dr. Scott Royer has worked as a veterinarian since 1999 and opened Royer Veterinary Services in Worthington in 2001.

In January, the two teamed up to provide chiropractic services to animals– something that is part of the holistic approach to wellness Royer said he aimed to provide even before inviting Cullison into his office.

“There are so many side effects to steroids, and non-steroidals cause liver issues. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years and there wasn’t much of a choice before, but now there are other ways to get by. I used to say, ‘Well, let’s do an aspirin once a day for as long as we can because that’s pennies where a non-steroidal is a dollar or something’. But oh, my gosh, if we can prevent or cut-down on the medication we have to give, that’s much better for the animals,” Royer explained.

The two men say that Cullison’s chiropractic work can help to do just that, and now he works out of Royer Veterinary Services once a week, as well as being available for emergency situations such as an animal being hit by a car.

“The best part about this is that [Royer] can do the vet part of it, he can do the exam, the x-rays, and the blood work, and then he tells me that he thinks they have a back problem here, here, and here,” Cullison stated. “Then I’ll do my exam, check the animal and then do the muscle work and adjust the animal, and then decide if we want to use natural supplements, put them on laser therapy, or use different home therapies. It’s kind of an all-around holistic way of treating the animal, versus just the drugs and surgery.”

Cullison noted that not everybody can afford expensive spinal surgeries for their animals, and Royer added that they can cost around $5,000.

“We’ve already had a couple of cases that would or should have been surgeries,” Cullison said.

One of those cases was a dog with a herniated disk that could not walk and had lost control of her bladder and bowels. Cullison explained that after about four weeks of treatment the dog walked into the office last week.

“The lady was ecstatic. She was afraid that she was going to have to put her dog down because of the surgery expense and all that. We thought we’d give it a whirl– we didn’t guarantee any results because we didn’t know, but the dog is much, much better and is going to be fine. It’s really cool, because we’ve already seen some big results and we’ve only been doing this for about four or five weeks,” he stated.

Royer said that while chiropractic care can obviously benefit injured patients, it also has value for animals that are currently healthy.

“Some preventative care would be excellent for these big breeds that are prone to hip trouble, or overweight ones or dachshunds with their long backs. If we can get some preventative adjusting in there, that would be tremendous,” he stated.

Cullison stressed that it is not a traumatic experience for animals– in fact, the opposite is true.

“As you can tell, they like it, too! It’s sedating for the animals and it feels good just like it would for a person. They have spines and problems just like we do,” he explained.

Very few chiropractors in the state also work on animals. Cullison said he has found six on the Internet who have been to classes and are certified.

“I did a class in Indianapolis with Dr. Daniel Kamen, who lives in Chicago. He wrote the books ‘The Well Adjusted Dog’ and ‘The Well Adjusted Horse’ and he works on horses and everything. Eventually, we may expand into equine work, but I’m going to do some more extended training in that area maybe next year. We’ll just have to see, because it will take a lot of time and travel to probably either Kansas or Texas for the extra training,” he explained.

Cullison can legally work on animals as long as a veterinarian is present, but when he signed up for the class he never dreamed he would do so in a professional way– a friend told him about the seminar and he chose to attend because he thought it would be good for his own dog.

“I already adjusted my dog, anyway, because the principals are exactly the same for animals versus humans. I thought it would be good to get the extra training, and then I had my dog in here one day and [Royer] and I were just talking about it,” said Cullison.

He was surprised when Royer suggested that he come into the office to work with his patients once a week, just to see how it would go.

“I thought we might see one a month or something like that, and he would just call me when he needed me,” Cullison recalled. “Well, that first week we had six or seven animals lined up, waiting to get treated, and it has just kind of taken off since then.”

Cullison said he is enjoying the chance to work with cats and dogs, especially since animals heal faster than humans and he can see results so quickly.

“It’s totally different and it’s a nice thing for people who don’t want to, or can’t, travel to Purdue or spend the $3,000 to $5,000 for surgery– this is $25 for my exam and an adjustment. We wanted to make it affordable so that everybody could have access to it.”

An exam by Royer, which could involve x-rays or blood work, would involve additional fees. Cullison noted that Royer has the equipment necessary to get blood test results in 12 minutes, and that their different areas of expertise allow them to help their patients quickly and creatively.

“We work together in diagnosing and treating and come up with game plans for the best things to do. I bring in a different perspective on things and sometimes have some natural ideas or ideas for therapy I can bring from my profession, and he can bring a lot of things from his profession for me to learn. We just bounce ideas off of each other,” Cullison explained of the partnership, with Royer adding that they have had a great response to it.

Paul Fries brought Twinkle, a five-year-old female Silky Terrier, into the office. Twinkle had an upper motor neuron lesion that Cullison said caused her a great deal of pain before he and Royer teamed up on the case.

“It hurt bad, and she had a lot of pressure on her nervous system,” Cullison explained. “He did the medication and I did the adjusting– it was a joint effort.”

Fries said he thought he was initially bringing her to Royer’s office to be euthanized.

“She was in severe pain and couldn’t walk. She used her front legs but not her back legs– her back legs just dragged,” he recalled.

Now, after a few weeks of treatment, she feels well enough to run down the hallway– and try to run for the door.

“We have some miracle workers in here,” Fries stated. “We thought we were going to lose Twinkle, but this is the result– she’s trying to jump up in our laps at home. She can’t do that quite yet, but she’ll get there. She’s running, and when we get home I’ll give her a treat and she will circle like crazy.”

Cullison is hoping to spend an additional half-day a week in Royer’s office at some point, but for now he accepts walk-ins from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday, unless otherwise stated. Please check either Greene County Chiropractic or Royer Veterinary Services on Facebook to make sure he will be in the office.

You may also call either office for more information. Greene County Chiropractic can be reached at 1-812-875-2225 and the number for Royer Veterinary Services is 1-812-875-8866.

 

Legalization of Industrial Hemp May be in Our Near Future

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Senate Bill 357, which passed the Senate in a unanimous vote in January, and now faces a vote in the House, will make Indiana the 11th state to allow production of industrial hemp as a legal crop.

Subject to federal approval, this bill authorizes the State Seed Commissioner to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp and allows for crop inspections to be carried out by state and local law enforcement, as well as audits by the Seed Commissioner.

Hemp is a cousin to Marijuana but does not have the high levels of THC that produce psychoactive results when smoked. It has a long history as a useful crop for producing rope, paper, thread, fire hose, fuel, lubricants and canvas sails. During World War II, the US government produced “Hemp for Victory”, a film encouraging US farmers to begin producing industrial hemp for the war effort.

Hemp is very similar in appearance to marijuana, but a knowledgeable person can easily distinguish the two. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, it would be hard to hide marijuana plants in a field planted with hemp as marijuana needs lots of room around the plant to spread, while hemp is planted very close together to produce long straight stalks. Another result of planting the crops in close proximity would be that marijuana plants would lose their high levels of THC in successive generations as the plants cross pollinate.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, George Washington grew hemp and Ben Franklin had a paper mill that produced paper from hemp. Currently you can find hemp in products like hand lotion, hair products, beer, fiber for fiberglass, building products, clothing and shoes.

Allowing Indiana farmers an opportunity to grow what was once a profitable crop, and is a profitable crop in other countries, could have a major economic impact locally. There are, however, groups that oppose legalization of industrial hemp.

One such group, Drug Watch International, a nonprofit volunteer drug information network and advocacy organization that opposes the legalization of all drugs, refers to hemp as low grade marijuana. DWI does not want to see industrial hemp legalized for many reasons, among them the fact that pro marijuana factions support the move and they see the legislation as just another step toward the legalization of marijuana.

To read the bill in it’s current version go to iga.in.gov.

State Conservationist Speaks at Annual SWCD Meeting

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Solsberry native Jane Hardisty returned to Greene County to speak at the annual SWCD meeting Tuesday night. Hardisty has served as the state conservationist, based out of Indianapolis, for the past fourteen years and has worked in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for nearly forty years.

Local SWCD Board of Supervisors Secretary Rita Sharr was full of praise for Hardisty’s accomplishments while introducing her to the crowd.

“I think we feel like Jane is our Jane,” Sharr remarked. “She sets the bar really high for what she does, and I appreciate it. You’re my hero,” she told Hardisty.

Hardisty said she ended up working in conservation after a childhood where she was taught to drive a tractor as soon as her feet could touch the pedal and worked her family’s farm from a very young age. Her family still owns land in Solsberry and she said they enjoy spending time there, particularly over the Fourth of July.

“Greene County is still special to us and we come back as often as we can,” she stated.

Hardisty noted that the county contains 799 farms with over 169,000 acres of farmland.

“When you look at that, we’ve got a lot of farmland in the county and we would love to help the farmers,” she added. “We’ve got a lot going on in the county, and it’s not just those resources. You’ve got two other resources that are treasures across the entire country.”

The first she named was Goose Pond, which she called an “amazing area” that exceeds all of her expectations for it. The second is the 2,295 foot long Tulip Trestle.

“This is something to be very proud of,” she said of the viaduct.

Conservation is another thing Hardisty believes the county should be proud of. She noted that conservation has increased dramatically in the area over recent years and explained that soil health will be a big focus for Greene County in the future.

“In Indiana, our farmers are leading the way for the nation,” she stated. “And we’re on what we call a soil health kick.”

In other business during the annual meeting, Tim Egnew was re-elected as a supervisor and sworn in by Greene County Commissioner Nathan Abrams.

Paul “Bucky” Cullison was named the Conservation Farmer of the Year, and the Conservation Teacher of the Year Award went to Linton-Stockton teacher Kim Hill.

Pros and Cons of Greene County Discussed at Needs Assessment Meeting

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Local leaders and residents turned out to discuss the pros and cons of Greene County during a Community Health Needs Assessment meeting, which was held at the Greene County General Hospital on Tuesday.

The purpose of the meeting was to gather information such as strengths and weaknesses of the county in order to create a survey that will be made available to the public at a later date, explained Ally Orwig, a representative of the Indiana Rural Health Association.

“We invited leaders in the community, such as clergy, education leaders, and others. The point is to [pinpoint] matters that need addressed in the community,” she added.

A report highlighting the outcome of the survey will then be created, and the Greene County General Hospital will have three years to work on any issues, Orwig said.

“The whole process will then be started over every three years,” she added.

Some of the pros of Greene County that were brought to the forefront included the following: Good people, rural environment, individualism, small population, small schools, outdoor recreation opportunities, NSWC Crane, WestGate, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, Greene County General Hospital, agriculture, and coal, among others.

On the other hand, some of the cons that were highlighted included the following: Poverty, lack of public transportation, obesity, lack of post-secondary jobs, drug addiction, drop in school funding, drop in school enrollment numbers, lack of fitness facilities, and others.

The Greene County General Hospital is the largest employer in the county with an annual payroll that exceeds $15 million.

Outpatient Speech Therapy Now Available at GCGH

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Greene County General Hospital is pleased to announce that outpatient speech therapy services are now being offered.

Kristen Witt, a 2003 graduate of Linton-Stockton High School, recently joined the hospital’s staff and began offering a variety of speech therapy services to all ages ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Witt holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from Purdue University and a master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Western Kentucky University.

Witt is able to provide evaluation and treatment of a variety of issues including:

  • Articulation disorders: Problems making/saying sounds correctly. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand you.
  • Phonological Disorders: Involves patterns of sound errors. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like “k” and “g” for those in the front of the mouth like “t” and “d” (e.g., saying “tup” for “cup” or “das” for “gas”).
  • Language Disorders: A problem with understanding and/or using spoken, written, and/or other symbol systems (e.g., gestures, sign language). The disorder may involve the form of language (phonology, morphology, syntax), the content of the language (semantics), and/or the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination.
  • Fluency Disorders (stuttering) is an interruption in the flow or rhythm of speech and is characterized by hesitations, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases.
  • Motor Speech Disorders, which are impairments of speech arising from damage to the central or peripheral nervous system, such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Dysarthria.
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which includes all forms of communication (except oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas. AAC is used when making facial expressions or gestures, using symbols or pictures, and writing. People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional.
  • Voice Disorders, which are characterized by inappropriate pitch (too high, too low, never changing, or interrupted by breaks); quality (harsh, hoarse, breathy, or nasal); loudness; resonance and duration.
  • Cognitive-Communication Disorders, which are the impairment of cognitive processes including attention, memory, abstract reasoning, awareness and executive functions such as self-monitoring, planning and problem solving).
  • Aphasia therapy: A disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Aphasia causes problems with any or all of the following: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

While treating a patient who has been diagnosed with Aphasia (following a stroke), Witt works on drills and exercises to improve specific language skills affected by damage to the brain. For example, the patient may practice naming objects, following directions, or answering questions about stories. These exercises vary depending on individual needs and become more complex and challenging as skills improve.

She also teaches patients ways to make use of stronger language skills. For example, some patients may find it easier to express their ideas through gestures and writing than with speaking. Witt can teach patients to use both writing and gestures to help remember words for conversation.

In addition, she treats swallowing disorders in pediatrics to geriatrics.

Swallowing disorders can occur at different stages of the swallowing process, including:

  • Oral phase – sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat
  • Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallowing reflex, squeezing food down the throat, and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway (aspiration) or to prevent choking
  • Esophageal phase – relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the feeding tube in the throat (esophagus) and squeezing food through the esophagus into the stomach

Several diseases, conditions, or surgical interventions can result in swallowing problems. Common signs of swallowing disease include:

  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • Extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow
  • Food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • Recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • Weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough

Speech therapy services must be referred by a physician.

“Talk to your physician about any concerns that you have, whether it’s concerns about communication milestones for your child or swallowing or cognitive difficulties for adults. The physician will write an order for an evaluation and then a treatment plan can be formed following the completed evaluation.”

Witt said she’s always been interested in working for a hospital.

“I have always been interested in a career in which I could help people. In high school, I wanted to be a physical therapist, and actually did some job shadowing in this department at the hospital. However, when I got to college, I just wasn’t sure it was exactly what I wanted to do, and I began some substitute teaching while I was attending classes. At that time, I had no idea what Speech-Language Pathology (speech therapy) was, but I liked the Speech-Language Pathologist on staff and she invited me to observe her. I liked what she did and from that day forward, I decided I wanted to be a Speech-Language Pathologist, too.”

Currently, Witt is available to see patients three days a week – Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. As the patient load increases, Witt’s schedule will expand.

“I hope to see this department grow and help as many people as possible,” Witt said. “Most people think a Speech-Language Pathologist only help people with their communication, but I can also help with problems related to cognition, swallowing, and even hearing impairments.”

To schedule an appointment with Witt, please call 847-5209.

CVS Caremark to Stop Selling Tobacco at all CVS­/­Pharmacy Locations

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CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) announced Feb. 5 that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

Merlo continued, “As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.”

Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade. More interventions, such as reducing the availability of cigarettes, are needed.

“CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. “Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”

In a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Viewpoint published online, Brennan and co-author Steven A. Schroeder, Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, University of California, San Francisco, wrote, “The paradox of cigarette sales in pharmacies has become even more relevant recently, in large part because of changes in the pharmacy industryMost pharmacy chains are retooling themselves as an integral part of the health care system. They are offering more counseling by pharmacists, an array of wellness products and outreach to clinicians and health care centers.Perhaps more important, pharmacies are moving into the treatment arena, with the advent of retail health clinics. These retail clinics, originally designed to address common acute infections, are gearing up to work with primary care clinicians to assist in treating hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes all conditions exacerbated by smoking.”

CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association that have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets with pharmacies.

“As a leader of the health care community focused on improving health outcomes, we are pledging to help millions of Americans quit smoking,” said Merlo. “In addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale, we will undertake a robust national smoking cessation program.”

The program, to be launched this Spring, is expected to include information and treatment on smoking cessation at CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic along with online resources. The program will be available broadly across all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations and will offer additional comprehensive programs for CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management plan members to help them to quit smoking. Approximately seven in ten smokers say they want to quit and about half attempt to quit each year.

“Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” commented Helena B. Foulkes, President, CVS/pharmacy. “Removing tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.”

The decision to exit the tobacco category does not affect the company’s 2014 segment operating profit guidance, 2014 EPS guidance, or the company’s five-year financial projections provided at its December 18th Analyst Day.The company estimates that it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the tobacco shopper, equating to approximately 17 cents per share. Given the anticipated timing for implementation of this change, the impact to 2014 earnings per share is expected to be in the range of 6 to 9 cents per share. The company has identified incremental opportunities that are expected to offset the profitability impact. This decision more closely aligns the company with its patients, clients and health care providers to improve health outcomes while controlling costs and positions the company for continued growth.

Cold Beer Heads to Court Today

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Beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, the Indianapolis-based Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) will be challenging Indiana’s law governing the sale of cold beer, which they say is not only outdated and unfair but the only one of its kind in this country. No other state regulates alcohol sales based on temperature.

Peculiar liquor regulations may not be a surprise to most Hoosiers, though, as they face the broadest restrictions in the nation on the sale of liquor on Sundays, too. Only breweries, wineries, restaurants, and bars are allowed to sell carry-out alcohol on Sundays, for example.

As for liquor temperature sales, though, the IPCA claims Indiana’s alcohol law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it treats its membership differently. Moreover, it restricts convenience and grocery stores, as well as pharmacies, to only selling room temperature beer, while competitors operating as bars, restaurants and package liquor stores are allowed to sell beer cold. They also cite convenience stores as having a better compliance record with Indiana’s alcohol laws.

As a representative of petroleum marketers, convenience store and truck stop operators, the IPCA sees it as their task to help right this wrong.

The hearing is anticipated to last two days with Chief Judge Richard L. Young taking the matter under advisement and issuing his ruling at a later but unknown date.

Bloomfield Chamber to Sponsor Circus

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The Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce will once again sponsor the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus – which is slated for April 30 at REMC.

The chamber is currently notifying local businesses that a telemarketing representative for the circus will be contacting them by phone regarding ticket purchases. This will be a legitimate call.

“On Feb. 24, a telemarketing representative from Chimera Productions will be contacting Bloomfield businesses to see if they’re willing to purchase children’s tickets for the circus,” explained Chamber Member Matt Miller. “Chimera recommended we put the word out to the community so businesses will be aware of what’s going on when they receive a call.”

Look for the upcoming circus to offer family friendly fun that includes human performers as well as some featured animal acts.

Past Culpepper & Merriweather Circuses have also included a carnival before and between shows. This carnival included pony rides, concessions, and other fun, Miller noted.

For more information, check out the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus website.

Look for additional details on the upcoming event to be released soon.

 

 

Rediscover Downtown Linton Takes Center Stage at Chamber Meeting

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Rediscovering downtown Linton took center stage at the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce’s meeting on Tuesday, as Kathy Matthews, secretary of the Rediscover Downtown Linton organization, shared details on the program.

“Rediscover Downtown Linton is a Main Street program. We’re here to promote community, culture, and commerce in the downtown area,” Matthews explained.

The local organization is currently made up of the following four committees: Beautification/design of downtown, organization, economic development and restructuring, and promotions.

“We’re always looking for new ideas,” she said, noting members are currently working on a retail-oriented business function event for March or April and a ‘Sweet on the Street’ event for June.

There’s also discussion of bringing  Spookfest back to downtown Linton instead of having it at Humphreys Park, Matthews explained.

“We want everybody to be thinking about Linton all year-long,” she added.

She also welcomed the following businesses to the downtown area: The Silver Lining, Dyer General Store, and #1 Asian Buffet.

Matthews is also currently working on a community calendar that will include ongoing organizational events and special organizational events scheduled for Linton and the Greene County area.

She also encouraged Facebook users to ‘like’ the Rediscover Downtown Linton page and the Linton, Indiana page.

The Linton, Indiana page is now up and running. The page includes links to local places and attractions as well as local progress.

Rediscover Downtown Linton meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at Linton City Hall. Nobel Stallons is president of the organization.

In other business, L-S Chamber Executive Director Cheryl Hamilton noted the following:

  • The Linton Round Table has been reestablished with Linton Mayor John Wilkes. The small group meets over lunch with the mayor to discuss matters and voice concerns.
  • A fish fry is slated for April 1.
  • Motocross is slated for April 12 and 13.
  • The L-S Chamber will have a booth at the upcoming city-wide sales event. Members can drop off donations, with items to be tagged by chamber volunteers. All proceeds from the chamber booth will benefit the chamber. The city-wide sales event will be scheduled sometime in the near future.

 

 

Town of Bloomfield Logo Contest

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As a follow-up to last summer’s successful Imagine Bloomfield project, the steering committee is planning a Town of Bloomfield logo contest. Our goal is to receive entries that reflect the things that make Bloomfield unique and that add up to the feeling that our community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else. Designs must incorporate and highlight some of the great attributes of our town.  The winning entry will be used on signage, advertising, correspondence, and promotional materials for the town.  All entries must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce by Saturday, May 31, 2014. The winner will be announced at the annual Bloomfield Art Festival on Saturday, June 14, 2014. The winner will receive $250 courtesy of Psi Iota Xi.The contest is open to all Greene County residents, or any registered Art Festival entrant. For complete rules and to obtain an entry form, please visit www.bloomfieldcoc.com or contact bloomfieldchamberofcommerce@gmail.com.

Town of Bloomfield Logo Contest Rules and Submission Requirements

The Town of Bloomfield is conducting a logo contest for individuals of all ages. The contest is open to any individual, including but not limited to Bloomfield residents. Entries will be judged by a team consisting of a representative from the sponsoring agency, the Imagine Bloomfield steering committee, town staff, and a professional printmaker. The team will select top designs and any winning themes/ideas that may be used as the official Town of Bloomfield logo. The winning entry may be used on signage, advertising, correspondence, and promotional materials for the town.

Rules and Submission Requirements:

  • The contest is open to any Greene County resident or registered Bloomfield Art Festival entrant of any age.
  • No group projects are allowed; only one participant may submit each artwork.  Artists may submit up to two entries and must complete an entry form for each.
  • The Town of Bloomfield reserves the right to extend all deadlines associated with this contest to ensure that a sufficient number of entries are received.
  • Each design must lend itself to different formats, including publications, signage, website, promotional items, and other printed material. It must reproduce well in different sizes and when printed in black and white. Limit designs to five colors or less.
  • All submitted designs and source images must be the original work of the artist. No third-party artwork or images, including clip art, or copyrighted graphics may be used.
  • The final design chosen as the contest winner may not necessarily be used as the Town’s official logo, or may be chosen in whole or in part as the official Town logo.
  • Artwork that has been previously published or exhibited is not permitted.
  • By submitting an entry, the artist agrees that the Town of Bloomfield will become the rightful owner of the image and any likeness of the image, and may alter and reproduce the image at its discretion.
  • Electronic entries should be EPS, JPG, or PDF format. All formats, including drawings, sketches, or paintings are eligible and may be submitted by mail.
  • Print submissions should be no larger than 8.5” x 11”.
  • Digital submissions should be at least 8” x 10” 300 dpi.
  • Incomplete information will disqualify the entry.
  • The team will judge all entries and may choose finalist designs to submit to the Town for refinement. The team may choose not to use any contest submissions and retain the current logo, but if a final logo idea/theme is chosen and adopted by the Town, the winner along with their created logo will be awarded $250.
  • All entries will be judged on the artwork’s creative ideas that reflect those things that add up to the feeling that our community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else; capturing the essence of Bloomfield. Designs must incorporate and highlight some of the great attributes of our town.
  • While not required, participants are encouraged to provide a brief written explanation of their chosen logo design.
  • Judging decisions are final and may not be appealed.
  • The deadline for entries is Saturday, May 31, 2014. Entries received after the deadline will not be accepted.

For more information, please contact bloomfieldchamberofcommerce@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Fundraiser Organized by How Charming Photography Senior Model Rep

Left to Right: Heather Graves (owner of How Charming Photography), Brittany Norris (Senior 2015 Model Rep), Lindsey Monroe (Meteorologist, News Channel 10), Brittany Earl (Morning Anchor, News Channel 10). A segment over the fundraiser will air Monday, Feb. 17th.

Heather Graves, owner of How Charming Photography, is challenging local students and getting them involved in community projects with the ‘Senior Model Representative Program‘. Graves has asked each of her reps to take place in a community outreach project. How Charming Photography will assist the reps, but the students must organize the projects during their senior years and promote them within their own communities.

Brittany Norris, a junior at North Central High School, chose to hold her event to benefit the American Heart Association. Norris is particularly fond of this organization, and wants to raise awareness due to the passing of her grandfather and his past history of heart problems and stroke.

The fundraiser will center around scrap booking, and will be held Saturday, February 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hymera Ruritan. The “Crop Your Heart Out” fundraising event will cost $30 dollars, a non-refundable fee that includes a light breakfast, lunch, a small scrap booking kit, and access to a Cricut machine, cutters, and stamps.

The money is due by February 19 and all proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association. Checks are to be made out to the American Heart Association and mailed to Brittany Norris, event coordinator, at P.O. Box 489 Hymera, IN 47855.

Several vendors will also be set up with info, products, and a few door prizes.

“I am very proud of her [Norris’s] organization and willingness to get a jump start on this program, and for her family’s participation as well,” said Graves.“The vendors have been very generous with their donations, and community members have supplied some awesome door prizes.”

Graves, in an effort to rally more participants, is offering an incentive to anyone who registers before February 19– a free $20 print gift certificate from How Charming Photography.

“Come out and join us for a great cause combined with one’s love of preserving photographic memories for a lifetime,” encouraged Graves.

Additional information may be found at How Charming Photography’s website.

 

Scholarship Funded Workforce Training Ready to Launch

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Articles appear regularly in newspapers across the country announcing the existence of a mid-level skills gap. The experts tell us that jobs in the manufacturing sector exist; however, employers can’t find people with the right skills to fill those openings.

In an effort to close that gap between the skills of our regional workforce and those required by our regional employers, a unique partnership has been formed between community organizations, employers, local government, and education to offer workforce training with a purpose.

Beginning in early March, Ivy Tech, in collaboration with a host of regional partners will begin offering advanced manufacturing training. Based on the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, Certified Production Technician certification, students will be trained in the areas of manufacturing process, maintenance, safety, and quality practices. This certification is nationally recognized and portable.

Through the generosity of the Duke Energy Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, participants will be eligible to receive full scholarships to attend the 8-week program. To be considered eligible for a scholarship, participants will register through a new website designed for the project, www.advancedmanufacturingprogram.com. By clicking on the “Apply for Training” icon, interested candidates will be linked to Indiana Career Connect (www.indianacareerconnect.com), the web portal to your local WorkOne office.

First, candidates will be evaluated for basic skills through Work Keys. Work Keys tests an individual’s proficiency in basic mathematics, reading for information, and finding information. Candidates must pass at the Silver Level of the National Career Readiness Certification. WorkOne offers training in these areas if a candidate needs to brush up on these skills.

Second, candidates will receive a drug screen. Failure to pass the drug screen eliminates participation in the program. However, a person can reapply at a later date.

Third, candidates will be interviewed for their understanding of the manufacturing environment. Participants should understand the unique setting represented by an advanced manufacturing career.

Once a candidate passes all three stages, they are eligible to receive a scholarship for the full cost of the training.

The goal of AMP – Advanced Manufacturing Program – is to elevate the skills of our regional workforce. Fifty-five percent of Indiana’s manufacturing jobs require mid-level skills. Mid-level skills are those that require a 2-year degree or an industry recognized certification. Unfortunately, only 49% of Indiana workforce possess the skills to fill this type of job.

AMP would not be possible without the partnership and support of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. Other regional partners include the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the City of Bloomington, the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council, the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Bedford, Duke Energy, WorkOne in Bloomington, Bedford, and Linton, and the Southern Indiana Development Commission.

Anyone interested in learning more may access the website at www.advancedmanufacturingprogram.com; contact Dennis Maloy at dmaloy@ivytech.edu or Katrina Jones at katjones@ivytech.edu.

Shakamak Chamber Meeting Features Upcoming Events

Photo of Shakamak State Park Courtesy of Ken Ratcliff, taken October 25th, 2012

Items of interest and upcoming events were the business at hand during the Shakamak Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Rob Hogg, Shakamak State Park property manager, served as the guest speaker and shared information on some upcoming Friends of Shakamak fundraisers.

The Friends of Shakamak will host a 5k/10k Long Fish Dash on April 19. Cost is $12 in advance and $15 the day of event. A one mile junior run for children under 12 years will also be held in conjunction with the 5k/10k. Cost of the one mile junior run is $10 in advance and $12 the day of event. Event starting point is at the Shakamak pool shelter with registration at 9 a.m. Look for the 5k to start at 9:30 a.m. and the 10k to start at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Jess Rowe at (812) 798-1260 or at longfishdash@gmail.com .

The Friends of Shakamak will also host the third annual Beast Feast Wild Game Dinner on March 8 at the Shakamak State Park Group Camp Mess Hall. Cost is $5 in advance or $8 the day of event. Children 3 and under eat free.

Everyone will receive a ticket to enter a firearm giveaway. Bring a covered dish and receive an extra ticket for the drawing. You must be present to win.

For more information on the Beast Feast Wild Game Dinner, call (812) 240-3148.

Chamber President Andrea Duncan provided details on the annual GPA dinner, which is set for March 20 with the location to be announced.

“The dinner is an annual event for Shakamak juniors and seniors who have a GPA of 3.5 and over,” Duncan said, noting this GPA requirement is applicable to the end of the first semester of the current school year.

“We’ve got close to 30 students,” she added. “Letters will be sent out at the end of this week.”

Juniors and seniors eat free. Family members eat for $8.

Town and Country Catering will provide the food.

Hospital Employees Donate over $1,000 to Pregnancy Choices

Pediatrician Chris Holmes, MD and Physician Assistant Corianne Vanderkolk presented the collection to Pregnancy Choices Director Michelle Brown.

Greene County General Hospital’s Friends Friday program recently benefited Pregnancy Choices.During the month of January, departments battled one another in a penny war. The contest raised more than $1,000 for Pregnancy Choices.

Pediatrician Chris Holmes, MD and Physician Assistant Corianne Vanderkolk presented the collection to Pregnancy Choices Director Michelle Brown.

Dr. Holmes and Vanderkolk represented Greene County Health, the hospital’s family practice physician group, as the contest’s winning department. Greene County Health offers full spectrum family medicine at five locations throughout Greene County. Locations include: Bloomfield, Linton, Lone Tree, WestGate, and Worthington.

 

City of Linton Moves Forward with Grant Opportunities

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The Linton City Council held a public hearing Monday evening, to discuss an Economic Development Planning Grant the city is applying for through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). The hearing gave citizens the opportunity to present their views on community development and housing needs.

The estimated cost of the study is $44,444. The requested grant amount is $40,000 and the grant match for the city will be $4,444, which will come from cumulative capital improvement funds. The estimated cost will include the study of the economic development plan, the administration of the grant, and initiating the environmental review of the project.

Mayor John Wilkes noted that the economic development plan will fit in with the city’s plan to bring industry into town and find out what type of businesses can be brought in.

During the regular council meeting the mayor was authorized to prepare and submit an application for grant funding to address the economic development plan for the City of Linton and to execute and administer the resulting grant. The grant will be submitted by Feb. 28 and the city should know whether it is approved by early April.

A second public hearing was held to consider vacating an alley so the group building the Cine Senior Apartments may put a porte cochere across it. The alley contains a gas line, which the city will have until the end of the year to cap. During the regular meeting, the council voted to vacate the alley.

The council approved a resolution to update the city’s comprehensive plan. The mayor said that comprehensive plans should be updated every seven years and that Linton is a little past that time limit.

“A comprehensive plan is basically a road map or a wishlist of things that we want to do,” Wilkes explained. “And one of the main things with a comprehensive plan is that if you don’t have one when you apply for grants, if you don’t have it updated, you don’t qualify for the grants. This Stellar [Communities Grant] that we’re working on– if we don’t have our comprehensive plan updated, we’re dead in the water.”

Farmers’ Market Manager Mark Stacy presented the new market bylaws on behalf of the Park Board. Stacy noted that the 2014 bylaws and vendor handbook will be very similar to those of last year, with the only notable changes being that the season will start later and end earlier and the market hours will change from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The council agreed to look at the changes and address them at either the March meeting or at a special meeting in the meantime.

A wastewater plant invoice from Graves Plumbing in the amount of $70,232.40 was approved, as well as a change order through OCRA for an additional $165,349.36.

Wilkes noted that money is left in the OCRA funds and that the project will still come in well below budget while including some additional work to the plant. A project extension of 36 days was also approved, and the wastewater plant should be completed by March 25.

In other business, the council agreed to:

  • Approve a Communities for a Lifetime Grant agreement. The grant would include $300,000 to rehabilitate houses in Linton, starting in October or November of this year.
  • Renew the Greene County Soccer Association lease, at $1 per year.
  • Renew a fire contract with Stockton Township, which pays the city $80,000 per year.
  • Allow the mayor to move forward with considering accepting the donation of the Bailey property on A and 4th Streets. The house appraises for $220,000 and Wilkes noted that the only real stipulation to the donation is that the city not sell the property for three years.
  • Appoint Jared Albright to the city’s new Redevelopment Board. The council still needs to appoint one more member to the new board.

At the end of the council meeting, Wilkes again encouraged everyone to write or call the governor or other state representatives to oppose the elimination of the personal property tax.

“If they pass that, that’s going to hurt the City of Linton worse than the tax caps did, and you saw what happened when we did the tax caps. We had to cut our budgets way back and we lost two policeman and a fireman,” he stated.

Fire Chief Brad Sparks explained that the Linton Fire Department makes over 1,000 runs a year, and that a reduction in funding could force the city to consider a volunteer fire department instead of a full-time department.

“If we would happen to go volunteer, it’s going to be hard to find volunteers to serve the public in our area and make over 1,000 runs year. You’re going to have to find a lot of [volunteers] because it’s going to be a scheduling conflict because everybody is going to have jobs,” Sparks stressed.

Council President Jathan Wright added that this is not a political issue but is instead a community issue that is a matter of survival.

The mayor provided a list of people for locals to contact, and encouraged everyone to use the following information:

Governor Mike Pence

Office of Governor

State House

Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797

1-317-232-4567

www.in.gov.2333.htm

State Representative — House District 62

Matt Ubelhor

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

1-317-232-9863

1-812-486-7695

Email: in62ubelhor@gmail.com or mubelhor69@gmail.com

Senator — District 39

John Waterman

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

1-800-382-9467

1-317-232-9400

Email: senatorwaterman@iga.in.gov