Linton Fire Department Selling Calendars to Fund Fire Safety Programs

Brad Sparks and Heather Graves. Submitted photo, courtesy of the Linton Fire Department.

The Linton Fire Department currently has about fifty calendars featuring fire safety tips, health tips, and seasonal reminders to sell, and they are ready to print more if necessary. You can pick a calendar up for $10 at either Linton’s Blacksmith & Company Antiques and Primitives or at the fire station between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the calendars go straight into the department’s fire safety programs, and Fire Chief Brad Sparks noted that with the recent budget cuts fundraisers are necessary to keep the initiatives going.

“We’ve got fire safety programs going on, and one is with Firepup and they go out and solicit money for some of the books, and then we have a Community Safety Net, which is another program that goes out and solicits money. So we really don’t have to do that, but the public is getting hit for money three different times for this. But it’s got to be done,” he explained.

Sparks stated that the importance of fire safety training is tremendous, and that over the years since these programs started the number of local fires has decreased significantly.

He said the calendar project began after How Charming Photography Owner Heather Graves, who now assists the Linton Fire Department with all of their public relations activities, asked him if she could take department pictures.

“I asked her what other kinds of things we could do for fundraisers and stuff, and she brought up the calendar and I told her that was funny because I’d thought about that,” Sparks recalled. “It was getting close to fire safety season, so we decided to put this calendar together and throughout each month we put fire safety points, reminders, and different days you need to do certain things. My initial thought was to print these calendars and give them to each kindergarten student here at Linton. And that’s what we did last year.”

The calendars became a fundraising opportunity as well, and the proceeds went into the fire safety program. Sparks noted that this is only the second year of the project, and that last year things moved so quickly they did not get to add everything they wanted to. This year they put more pictures in the calendar, and next year they plan to add even more.

Sparks explained that Graves put more time into working on the calendars than anyone else, and that she did it free of charge.

“I think, if you go around and look, she’s done a wonderful job on those calendars. She’s been available to take the pictures and she put everything in the computer and did it herself,” he noted.

Sparks estimated that after selling the ads and printing the calendars the department profited about $1,200, and added that if Graves charged for her services it would probably eat up at least half of that profit, if not more.

Graves explained that she grew up with a father who was also a volunteer fireman, and that being involved in department activities has taught her more about what the firefighters and their families go through on a daily basis.

“These guys don’t get the recognition they deserve, and in going out to the businesses and soliciting them for ad space for these calendars it gave Brad and I the opportunity to show the importance of fire safety to the businesses as well as the kindergartners,” she explained, adding that there are people entering the workforce straight out of college who may not be aware of these safety tips.

“Yes, it was labor intensive and yes, it was a lot of work. But I walked away not only knowing about fire safety and how it’s changed, but also what these guys go through as a unit and what they do for the community,” Graves stated.

Sparks stressed that he wants to thank the local businesses who contributed to the calendar, because he knows the fire department is not the only organization asking them for contributions.

“It’s a competition, and we have three or four things that are going on all year long, so somebody is constantly coming through the door of a business and saying that we need this and this,” he noted. “But fire safety is very important to the community, and our businesses show 100 percent kindness. The Margrafs from McDonald’s just came up and gave us a little over $500 for fire safety, and all the money from businesses who participated in the calendars goes straight back into fire safety.”

Sparks added that he knows these businesses are pounded with donation requests, but that the funds are for the community and they are very much appreciated.

The calendars were printed in September, and Sparks and Graves hand-delivered copies to each business on October 2nd.

Calendar sponsors include: Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC, Graves Plumbing, Superior Ice, Welch and Cornett, Blacksmith & Company, Southside Express, Bloomfield State Bank, Greene County General Hospital and Clinics, Monical’s Pizza, Linton Sporting Goods, Carr-Thomas Construction, J&D Belt Service, JTB Concrete, Goodman Heating & Cooling, Anderson-Poindexter, Shields Hardware, Lakeside Body Shop, Landis Tool and Equipment Rental, HWY 54 Motors, Linton Cycle Sales, Kramer Tree Service, Miner Mini Golf, Strong AIT Center (NAPA), PDQ Rentals, Tangles and Tans, Hoosier H.I.T, Pomp’s Tires, and Major John Wilkes (City of Linton).


Shakamak English 12 and Guidance Department Work Together for Mock Interview Program

Kevin Geier with senior Brett Yeryar

Shakamak High School English 12 teacher, Steve Lively, and Shakamak High School Guidance Director, Jenny Scott, worked together to provide a real-world experience for the seniors in English 12.

Everyone will have to have an interview at some point in life. An interview can be a nerve-racking experience. Lively and Scott decided to address this issue. With support and funding from the REMC Community Grant fund, students were given the opportunity to participate in a mock interview with community business partners.

To prepare the students, Lively, as a part of the English 12 class, taught students how to prepare a resume and cover letter using the Indiana Career Explorer website. Seniors were also instructed to visit the mock company website to research the company. A representative from the International Business College in Indianapolis spoke to the students about interview skills and interview attire.

The students were now prepared. The mock scenario was an internship position with the WOW Company. Students were interviewing for a position that included full tuition, room and board, books, a part-time job during the school year, and a full-time summer job. For this work they would receive $40,000 and the use of a company car. Wow!!

On Thursday, October 29, 43 seniors headed to the Lawton Street Christian Church Fellowship Hall, which had been transformed into a “restaurant”. The seniors met their “prospective employers” and were interviewed over a brunch. The brunch was catered by the school cafeteria. Interviewers and students had their choice of biscuits and gravy, egg casserole, fruit, or a muffin. At the end of the interviews, the students received feedback from the interviewers.

Serving as interviewers this year were the following: Valerie Abshire from WorkOne; Mike Bledsoe with Stimulus Engineering; Cheri Campbell from the Greene County Sheriff’s Department; Nancy Dameron, Turning Point Education Center Director; Kevin Geier of the Division of Reclamation; Heather Harris, Greene Academy Director; Portia Hockman with PACE Community Action Agency; Julie Johnson, Greene County Juvenile Probation Officer; Dianne Langer, the director of the Family Life Center; Deborah Lynn with the Soil and Water Conservation program; John Mace of Harrison College, Barbie Martin from the 21st Century Scholars program, Gary Meyer with Educational Talent Search; Brad Musgrave, Upward Bound Director; Donna Power, retired educator; Jean Prather representing Greene County General Hospital; Cynthia Ragle, director for Educational Talent Search; Don Ransford from Farmersburg Methodist Church; Jenny Ransford, retired nurse; JT Roberts, Twin Rivers Career and Technical Education Director; Paul Sinders, retired school administrator; Cam Trampke, Greene County Foundation Director and Steve Uhl representing Generations.

This is the seventh year for this event. In a post-interview survey, 38 of 39 surveyed seniors indicated this experience was one that Shakamak should continue to offer to seniors. Please email Jenny Scott at if you would like to help financially sponsor a student mock interview ($9.15 to sponsor one student) next year or if you would like to be added to the interviewer list.







Linton Fire Department Extricates Man After Wreck

Photo courtesy of the Greene County Sheriff's Department

A one-vehicle wreck on South State Road 59 and County Road 400 South injured one early  Sunday morning .

Travis Hadley, 28, of Linton, was driving his 1992 Ford Ranger south  on SR 59 around 1:52 a.m. when he left the road for an unknown reason.  According to a release by the investigating officer, Greene County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jeffrey Brown, the vehicle flipped over and trapped Hadley.

The Linton Fire Department had to extricate the driver, and Greene County Ambulance Services took him to the Greene County General Hospital to be treated for lacerations to the face and back pain.

Deputy Harvey Holt and Linton Officer Thomas Jerrels also assisted.

County Commissioners Meet, Address Citizen Concerns

Photo by Brandy Wade

The County Commissioners met on Tuesday.

They discussed the Interlocal Purchase Agreement that would allow the highway department to provide fuel for other departments in the county, noting that they will need seed money appropriated by the County Council in order to start the process. The commissioners decided to ask for $10,000, contingent upon approval from the State Board of Accounts.

A proposed Sick Leave Bank Policy will be forwarded to the Personnel Administration Committee and then shown to the County Council before the commissioners look at it again.

Commissioner Nathan Abrams has been setting up a meeting between S.A.F.E. Animal Rescue and the Greene County Humane Society so the organizations can work out their differences and create the best environment for the county’s stray or lost animals. Abrams noted that he has been in contact with the president of the Humane Society Board and has emailed S.A.F.E. but has not heard back yet.

“I can see a little progress being made here, and if we can just kind of keep communication open I think we’ll be able to possibly come to some kind of agreement. I don’t think we’re going to have a quick resolution of the issues here, but at this point in time it looks like both sides are kind of willing to talk so we’ll just keep moving forward,” explained Abrams.

The Election Board would like to form a committee to explore the possibility of establishing voting centers for Greene County. Commissioner Rick Graves appointed Abrams and Commissioner Ed Michael to the committee.

The commissioners then opened bids for highway surplus equipment. The bids will be forwarded to the Highway Superintendent. He will work with a commissioner to decide which, if any, bids are acceptable.

The county’s lease agreement with the Greene County Foundation will now automatically renew for an additional period of one year. The agreement can be terminated with 60 days’ notice prior to the end of the term.

The Greene County General Hospital is in the process of issuing new bonds for remodeling and construction and must form a Hospital Association Board to take ownership of the bonds and then lease the facilities back to the hospital until the bonds are paid off. There must be five members on the board and the commissioners voted to create the board and decided to have appointments ready for the next meeting. Anyone who would like to serve on the Hospital Association Board should contact one of the commissioners.

Michael noted that installation of the new courthouse phone system should start November 1st after the courthouse closes. Training on the new system is also scheduled for November 1st in the Commissioners’ Room.

The commissioners decided to set three night meetings for the 2014 Commissioner Meeting Calendar. Those meetings will be in April, June, and September.

Larry Shute cannot serve on the County Cemetery Commission so the commissioners appointed James Prow of Hendricksville as Shute’s replacement. Prow is a member of historical societies in three counties. Auditor Matthew Baker will arrange the commission’s first meeting, which will also be attended by a commissioner and County Attorney Marilyn Hartman.

When the commissioners opened the meeting for public comments, an attendee complained about the chip and seal roadwork that was done near his home. Abrams explained that he had a meeting scheduled with the contractors at 9 a.m. on Wednesday because no one else is happy with the way the recent chip and seal work throughout the county turned out, either.

Another citizen informed the commissioners that the new 911 sign on his road keeps getting stolen. He noted that the signs are essential to emergency services workers who need to find the right address as quickly as possible. Graves said he believes the Sheriff’s Department will catch the thief.

Abrams reminded everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The next meeting will be November 5th at 9 a.m.


Operation Medicine Cabinet Collected about 21 Boxes of Medication

Medication collected at the Richland Township Fire Department

A successful Operation Medicine Cabinet was conducted on Saturday, October 12 at four locations in Greene County by volunteers from the Sheriff’s Department, the Health Department, Trinity Lutheran Church, and the Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District.

“We collected approximately 21 boxes of medication and pet meds in that three hour period and are grateful to have those meds off the street and not in our water,” stated Deborah Lynn, District Coordinator with the Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District.

“There are several behind the scenes people and/or groups that we’d like to thank for contributing to this successful event,” Lynn continued. “We want to thank the Ladies Group at Saron Church in Linton and Connie Goodman who was their representative. They provided 16 lunches for the volunteers and the reserve officers who participated in the event.”

Lynn explained that reserve officers served as oversight of the collection.

“We’d like to thank Mike Hasler, Greg Flinn, Jerry Frye, and Nick Yingling for their presence during the collection of the medications. That ensured the safety of the volunteers as well as proper collection and disposal of the medications,” Lynn pointed out.

“We also want to thank the Local Coordinating Council for granting financial assistance with the effort, Gary Fetters of Baxter Comics for donating Baxter the Backwoods Bunny for the advertising, and JR Promotions for installation of the billboard,” Lynn noted, adding that the Greene County General Hospital donated four sharps containers.

Three Adults Charged with Abusing Child

Bonnie Irvin

Brandon L. Stringer, 26, of Linton, was arrested last Friday as part of a child abuse case that already had two suspects behind bars. Michael S. Liechty, 29, and Bonnie R. B. L. Irvin, 19, were booked into the Greene County Jail early on the morning of October 4th.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Linton Police Department Detective Joshua Goodman, on October 3rd Goodman and Officer Jason Wilson spoke with two women who babysat for the five-year-old child the three suspects are accused of abusing. The women called the police department because they had noticed and photographed injuries to the child the day before.

Goodman viewed the photos, which displayed numerous severe bruises and red marks, long scratch marks to both sides of the child’s neck, and what appeared to be a busted lip. Goodman noted the bruises seemed to be in various stages of healing, which indicated to him that they were not all sustained from the same event on the same day.

The Department of Child Services became involved in the investigation and Wilson and Officer Thomas Jerrels located the boy’s father, Liechty, his fiancée Irvin, and the child at their residence in Linton. Liechty’s mother was also present and all four were taken to the Linton Police Department. Greene County Rescue then took the child to Greene County General Hospital.

The three adults were questioned during recorded interviews.

Liechty’s mother said she was not sure if the child was being physically abused and indicated that her son would not abuse the child but she did not know if Irvin would. She had no plans to contact law enforcement to report the child’s injuries, but said they had just had a family meeting where they discussed the situation and decided to contact social services to see if the child needed medicine for behavioral issues.

Liechty and Irvin both told versions of events that changed over time.

They each blamed some of the child’s injuries on the boy throwing tantrums, and admitted he had not received medical treatment. Liechty told officers he kept the boy in the shower/tub surround for 20 to 30 minutes at a time as he sprayed him down with cold water and demanded that he tell the truth.

Irvin told Goodman and Wilson she was pregnant and that she lived with Liechty and the boy, whom she referred to as her son. She admitted they spanked the child with a paddle and said Liechty had gotten out of control with the paddle and left bruises on the boy two to four weeks previously, which Liechty later confirmed.

Irvin also said she snatched the boy by his arm while questioning him and pulled him until his feet came out from under him in a “superman” fashion with his feet out behind him. She finally agreed the bruises were not all from one event and said it started about two months previously and got worse about a month earlier. She admitted to hitting him up the back and shoulders with her hands and the paddle but said only Liechty hit him off the doors and walls.

Liechty described grabbing the boy and basically tossing him around and causing him to land on the floor. He also admitted to hitting the boy in the back with the paddle, striking him with it too low and too high and leaving bruises, and possibly causing injuries from squeezing him hard while holding him in the air. He added that he had been striking the child in the mouth for a month.

When officers searched Liechty and Irvin’s residence, Liechty showed them the wooden coat rack used to strike the child and Goodman noticed several areas of damaged drywall that indicated some type of struggle may have taken place in the bathroom at some point. A large area of the wall in the child’s bedroom had also been damaged, and the bedroom door had been completely broken off its hinges.

According to a report from the Greene County General Hospital, the boy had multiple bruises in different stages of healing and long scratch marks on both sides of his neck, nose, and forehead.

The next day, when the boy was interviewed at a child advocacy center in Bloomington, he disclosed that his dad’s friend Brandon, later identified as Brandon Stringer, whipped him.

On October 5th, Goodman conducted follow-up interviews with Liechty and Irvin at the Greene County Jail. Irvin said she had seen Stringer pick the child up and put him against the wall, as well as thrust his head into the ceiling. She added that Stringer did not have her permission to assist with discipline, and that Liechty was at work during the incident.

She told Goodman that Stringer punched a hole in the wall beside the child’s head, and when she described the location of the hole Goodman realized he had photographed it while searching the residence.

Stringer went to the Linton Police Department on October 10th, and according to Goodman he was initially dishonest about what he had seen in the child’s home and his own involvement in the events. Later, he admitted to whipping the boy, thrusting him in the air and causing his head to strike the ceiling, and being “aggravated and pissed off” while doing those things. He also said he punched a hole through the wall next to the boy.

Stringer said he was trying to scare the child into telling the truth about why he would not go to sleep and admitted that the manner of discipline was not appropriate. He added that he should have reported the abuse he was aware of, but that he was afraid of also having to explain his own actions.

Stringer indicated that before the incident he saw Irvin disciplining the child, including striking him with the paddle. He said Irvin was on top of the boy, who was kicking to defend himself, and that since he knew Irvin was pregnant he advised her to leave and let him handle it. Stringer said those events took place because the child would not go to sleep when he was told to go to bed, and then would not answer questions as to why he would not go to sleep.

Liechty and Irvin are both charged with battery resulting in bodily injury to a victim less than 14 years old, neglect of a dependent with the dependent being abandoned or cruelly confined, and neglect of a dependent with the dependent being deprived of necessary support, all class D felonies, and neglect of a dependent, a class C felony. Irvin is also charged with strangulation, a class D felony.

On October 8th, Liechty and Irvin’s bonds were set at $75,000 cash only with no 10 percent allowed.

Stringer is charged with intimidation with the threat to commit a forcible felony and battery resulting in bodily injury to a victim less than 14 years old, both class D felonies, and neglect of a dependent, a class C felony.