5th Annual Marsh Madness: Kick-off Banquet Deemed a Success

Pauline Dudley's whooping crane photo

The 5th annual Marsh Madness kicked off with a successful dinner banquet and silent auction hosted by Friends of Goose Pond on Friday in Linton.

The event attracted around 200 people and opened up with networking, auction bids, and live music.

Bruce Moore provided the welcoming comments and thanked all supporters for making the event possible.

“This is a festival that has something for everybody,” he noted.

During the event, the late Bill ‘Minner’ Fish was remembered and honored.

“Minner traveled all over the United States and championed getting kids in the outdoors,” explained Barb Simpson, who serves as director of Indiana Wildlife Federation.

Fish was a huge supporter of the outdoors and was known as an avid fisherman. He also worked toward the establishment of fishing clinics for children.

Minner and his wife, Ruby, owned and operated Minner’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Linton for many years.

Bob Russell served as keynote speaker for the Marsh Madness kick-off event.

Russell, a region 3 migratory bird biologist, shared information on where to find rare birds. He also talked about the extinction of some North American birds, such as the Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet.

Russell also provided information on birds that are common to Goose Pond.

In other business, Peggy Wolfe, Friends of Goose Pond member, noted that Friday’s auction offered several items and included art work, photography, Goose Pond tours, and other unique items such as a trip to Costa Rica.

Guitarist Kade Puckett provided music for the event.

L-S Chamber to Sponsor First Freedom Festival Princess Pageant

Linton COC Augusty 15th 011

The Linton Freedom Festival began 109 years ago with a parade. Over the years, it has evolved into the festival and its surrounding events. The parade is known to be “Indiana’s Largest Independence Day Parade.”

Many years ago, the Linton Freedom Festival Queen Scholarship was established. Its inception was for two purposes: 1 – Promoting higher education; and 2 – Giving deserving young ladies the opportunity to be ambassadors for Linton with representation in the Freedom Festival and area festival parades, as well as the Indiana State Festival Association pageant. Awards are a $500 scholarship to the Queen and a $200 scholarship to the first runner-up.

New for 2014 is the Linton Freedom Festival Princess Pageant. This inception is to: 1 — Give young women between the ages of 13 to 16 the opportunity to serve as role models; 2 — The opportunity to gain self-confidence and 3 — Be a representative during the Freedom Festival.

Selection Process:

The Princess and Court are selected by a panel of three judges and on a point system including:

  • Interests outlined in the entry form/packet
  • A personal interview
  • On-stage introduction
  • Age appropriate formal dress

Proper Dress:

Interview attire: Dress clothes, something you would wear to church or a job interview (skirt, business suit, nice suit)

Opening Dance attire: Denim shorts, t-shirt (to be provided by Festival), white tennis shoes (Opening dance number is for fun only and will not be judged.)

On-stage introduction: Denim shorts, t-shirt, white tennis shoes worn in opening dance number

Formal dress: No set style; something you would wear to a school dance; use good taste; any length

Princess/Court Appearances:

Freedom Festival Events as needed. i.e, Golf tournament, 5K, Little Miss/Mr Contest -June Chamber Luncheon -June

Freedom Festival Parade and Reception – July 4

Black Creek Festival Parade – August

Dugger Coal Festival Parade – September

Shakamak Homecoming Parade – September

Bloomfield Apple Festival Parade – October

Freedom Festival Pageant —June of following year

The first Linton Freedom Festival Princess Pageant is open to young ladies who are between the ages of 13 and 16 on or before June 7, 2014. Contestants must also currently be enrolled as students at the Linton-Stockton School Corporation or reside within the Linton-Stockton School Corporation boundaries.

The Princess will be crowned on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at the Linton Freedom Festival Scholarship Pageant. The Princess contestants will be judged on stage in between sections of the Linton Freedom Festival Scholarship Pageant. The Princess and first runner-up will receive prize packages from area businesses. The Princess and Court will also represent the Chamber of Commerce in the Independence Day Parade during the Freedom Festival and serve alongside the Linton Freedom Festival Queen and Court as Ambassadors during the Festival and for area festivals. The Princess selection will be based on the following:

  • Entry form/packet submission
  • Judges interview
  • On stage introduction
  • Age appropriate formal attire

TO ENTER: Complete the attached entry blank and submit it along with your picture and a copy of your birth certificate and return it to your guidance counselor or the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce by Friday, April 4, 2014.

A panel of judges will score each area and determine the winner. Please note that the Freedom Festival Queen Committee, the Freedom Festival Taskforce, and the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors do not select the Queen or her Court. If you need additional information, please contact the Chamber office at 812-847-4846 or email at chamilton@lintonchamber.org.

princess app pic


State Conservationist Speaks at Annual SWCD Meeting


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.

Wildlife Exhibit now Featured at Carnegie Arts Center


Look for Trudy Calvert’s wildlife exhibit to be featured at the Carnegie Heritage and Arts Center in Linton now through March 28.

Calvert, a native of southern Indiana’s Washington County, is no stranger to the outdoors and has a strong love for nature and animals.

“I grew up in a rural, wooded area, near a creek where some of my first friends were tadpoles, minnows, ducks, squirrels, and snakes,” she explained. “I successfully raised a featherless baby robin and a coyote pup that had been hit by a car.”

She has been an art teacher for the Bloomington public education system and has served as past president and secretary of the Southern Chapter of the Indiana Wildlife Artists.

She resides in Bloomington with her husband, Stephen Calvert, as well as two dogs and four parakeets. She is also a graduate of Indiana University.

Opening reception for Calvert’s exhibit will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 1.

Calvert will be available to meet and greet those in attendance.

“I will be there in person to meet with anyone who comes to the reception to discuss my artwork, and also to sign copies of [the] most successful children’s book I have illustrated, Do Animals Have Feelings, Too?, written by David Rice, which will be available for purchase,” she explained, noting the book has won two awards.

Further details about the book can be found at the Dawn Publications website.

Pros and Cons of Greene County Discussed at Needs Assessment Meeting


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.

Solo and Ensemble Participants Advance to State

Shakamak School

On Saturday, February 8, Shakamak students had the opportunity to participate in the Indiana State School Music Association’s Solo and Ensemble contest that was held at Terre Haute North High School.

“It’s very nerve racking, but once it’s all over it’s really exciting looking back and seeing that you did well and pulled through. I got a gold…I worked hard and in the end it was worth it,” recalled Lacy Mason, a Junior from Shakamak who performed a flute solo for the contest.

Several of the surrounding schools also participated in this event. Many students spent several months practicing their pieces before they performed in front of a set of judges.

“I have a lot of fun at Solo and Ensemble. The band spends a lot of time together, and sometimes Mr. Colvin [Shakamak’s band director] lets other kids go with us for the support. It’s really awesome the support we get not only [from] the band, but the choir teachers, workers, office attendants, other students, and family. They are all super supportive, and I’m really thankful for that because in times that they’re kicking music programs out of the schools I’m glad that I’m from a school that supports and encourages music. I’m in a band who is really tight-knit, with little drama, and it’s become like a second family,” said bass clarinet player Quica Flores, a senior at Shakamak.

Eleven high school students from Shakamak participated, including: Sydney Dudley, Flute Soloist; Quica Flores, Bass Clarinet Soloist; Emily Criss, French Horn Soloist; James Rader, Tuba Soloist; Kassidy Farris, Flute Soloist; Lacy Mason, Flute Soloist; Alyssa Twomey, Clarinet Soloist; Kaitlyn Nolting, Trumpet Soloist; and Anna Brinson, Baritone Soloist– all of whom received a gold rating. Rebekah Rader, Baritone Sax Soloist, and Daniel Rader, Snare Drum Soloist, received silver ratings.

Sydney Dudley, Quica Flores, Emily Criss, and James Rader had division one solos and will be advancing to the state competition, which will be held at North Central High School in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 1.

Shakamak High School Solo and Ensemble participants. Front row, left to right:  Kaitlyn Nolting, Anna Brinson, Lacy Mason, Emily Criss, and Alyssa Twomey.  Back row, left to right:  Quica Flores, James Rader, Rebekah Rader, Daniel Rader, Kassidy Farris, and Sydney Dudley.

Shakamak High School Solo and Ensemble participants. Front row, left to right: Kaitlyn Nolting, Anna Brinson, Lacy Mason, Emily Criss, and Alyssa Twomey. Back row, left to right: Quica Flores, James Rader, Rebekah Rader, Daniel Rader, Kassidy Farris, and Sydney Dudley.

Outpatient Speech Therapy Now Available at GCGH


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.

Canine Veteran to Reunite with Former Partner on March 3


Former Air Force Technical Sergeant Harvey Holt will finally bring his former partner home to him next week.

On Monday, March 3, Holt will travel to Andrews Air Force Base to pick up his fellow veteran– a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jjackson. Holt has been trying to adopt the canine for seven years, but was told a couple of years ago that the military considered Jjackson unadoptable and that he would be euthanized upon retirement.

Last week, however, Holt received word that he could bring Jjackson home to him– as long as he could meet the requirements for Jjackson’s housing and pick him up as soon as possible. Holt also found out that Jackson has medical issues that may require the amputation of one of his legs.

“He’s going lame and club-footed in his back right leg,” Holt explained.

The time constraints left Holt needing to gather funds and construction materials quickly, and over the weekend he reported that the community has been overwhelmingly generous in their support of Jjackson’s homecoming.

Community members have given to Jackson’s Home for Heroes Fund at Bloomfield State Bank, and Holt said he is grateful for every donation, big or small. Cook Group, Inc. will fly Holt and several others to Andrews AFB in their private jet to pick Jjackson up, and if weather allows American Legion Riders will provide an honor escort for the canine veteran.

Sunday, Holt reported that while Jjackson still needs donations for his immediate medical issues and a few other things, the generosity of those who have helped so far has gone a long way to ensuring a smooth transition for the retired hero.

“All he really has left is to find enough money to buy, or have donated, enough pavers and labor for a 10×12 patio instead of the concrete pad [for his kennel area], since weather and time is an issue. When he gets here we can find out about his possible surgery costs. Once the pavers are in, we meet the requirements for Jjackson’s living space,” he said.

You may donate to Jjackson’s Home for Heroes Fund at any Bloomfield State Bank branch. Holt asks that you keep your deposit slip so that the money can be returned to you if it is not needed.

Offers of other types of assistance can be made by emailing Holt at jacksonh202@yahoo.com or messaging Jjackson A Hero’s Homecoming on Facebook.

Please do not contact the sheriff’s office with offers of help.

Find out more about Holt and Jjackson’s Air Force careers at Local Veteran Asks for Help Bringing Former Partner Home.

Canine Veteran to Reunite with Former Partner on March 3


Former Air Force Technical Sergeant Harvey Holt will finally bring his former partner home to him next week.

On Monday, March 3, Holt will travel to Andrews Air Force Base to pick up his fellow veteran– a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jjackson. Holt has been trying to adopt the canine for seven years, but was told a couple of years ago that the military considered Jjackson unadoptable and that he would be euthanized upon retirement.

Last week, however, Holt received word that he could bring Jjackson home to him– as long as he could meet the requirements for Jjackson’s housing and pick him up as soon as possible. Holt also found out that Jjackson has medical issues that may require the amputation of one of his legs.

“He’s going lame and club-footed in his back right leg,” Holt explained.

The time constraints left Holt needing to gather funds and construction materials quickly, and over the weekend he reported that the community has been overwhelmingly generous in their support of Jjackson’s homecoming.

Community members have given to Jjackson’s Home for Heroes Fund at Bloomfield State Bank, and Holt said he is grateful for every donation, big or small. Cook Group, Inc. will fly Holt and several others to Andrews AFB in their private jet to pick Jjackson up, and if weather allows American Legion Riders will provide an honor escort for the canine veteran.

Sunday, Holt reported that while Jjackson still needs donations for his immediate medical issues and a few other things, the generosity of those who have helped so far has gone a long way to ensuring a smooth transition for the retired hero.

“All he really has left is to find enough money to buy, or have donated, enough pavers and labor for a 10×12 patio instead of the concrete pad [for his kennel area], since weather and time is an issue. When he gets here we can find out about his possible surgery costs. Once the pavers are in, we meet the requirements for Jjackson’s living space,” he said.

You may donate to Jjackson’s Home for Heroes Fund at any Bloomfield State Bank branch. Holt asks that you keep your deposit slip so that the money can be returned to you if it is not needed.

Offers of other types of assistance can be made by emailing Holt at jacksonh202@yahoo.com or messaging Jjackson A Hero’s Homecoming on Facebook.

Please do not contact the sheriff’s office with offers of help.

Update: 5:52 p.m., Feb. 24– Hessit Works, Inc. in Freedom has donated the necessary pavers and supplies.

Find out more about Holt and Jjackson’s Air Force careers at Local Veteran Asks for Help Bringing Former Partner Home.

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


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.

WRV School Board: Retirements, Recognitions, and Requests

stock photo

Retirements, resignations, and other recommendations were the business at hand during the White River Valley School Board meeting on Thursday.

Long-time White River Valley Lyons Elementary teacher, Dee Williams, was approved for retirement effective at the end of the current school year.

She is a pillar of the school and will be greatly missed, noted WRV Superintendent Bob Hacker.

Williams, a fourth grade teacher, has 34 years of experience at L&M and WRV Lyons.

In other personnel business, Irene Skomp, instructional assistant at Lyons Elementary, was approved for resignation effective at the end of the current school year.

Skomp has 12 years of experience as an instructional assistant.

“These two women will be very difficult to replace,” Hacker said.

After both approvals, Hacker stressed that the retirement of a teacher is an opportunity to save money, but that teaching experience is valuable.

“When you have a retirement, you have an opportunity to cut costs, but you have to juggle that with the quality factor,” he said.

At this point, discussion of initially looking within the school corporation for a teaching replacement was noted by a board member.

During the meeting, Hacker also updated the board on missed school days and make-up days.

“Currently, we have missed seven days of school with two waiver days and four make-up days built into our schedule. That leaves one day to make up,” he explained, adding Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has provided options regarding making up missed time.

“We have met with the teachers through discussion and electronic mailing. There’s some concerns with adding extra time to our school day because of the K-3 students. There’s also some advantages to extra time in that it would give us extra preparation time for the upcoming ISTEP session,” Hacker explained. “We know we aren’t going to make everyone happy with this decision, but it is one of those situations where we do the best we can with what we are given. It is my recommendation to the board to add an additional hour and 15 minutes to school during the week of March 3 – 7. We will need to do so in supplementing the elementary schools with snacks for a break between the end of the regular day and the 4:30 dismissal time.”

After some discussion, the board approved the recommendation to add one hour and 15 minutes to the proposed school dates.

In other business, the board approved a request to change three 2014 meeting dates. The board will now meet on April 16, May 12, and July 24 instead of the formerly-approved dates.

“It is always good to give as much public notice as is possible for these changes, and so this evening, I would recommend these changes,” Hacker said, noting the changes were due to conflicts with spring athletic events.

The board also approved a request to change the structure of the Babe Ruth baseball program.

“Mr. [Chris] Cornelius has made the request to become competitive with other schools to move his Babe Ruth schedule into the format of junior [high] baseball, including sixth, seventh, and eighth grade WRV students and playing a spring schedule,” Hacker explained, noting area schools have also made or will soon make the same change.

The change will allow for games to be played between April 3 and May 23 and a full schedule has already been created. Two coaching stipends are already provided for the Babe Ruth program, Hacker said.

Personnel business included the following hiring/assignments: Ted Wagner as junior high girls’ tennis coach and WRV girls’ coach; Wes Franklin as junior high track coach; Andy Davis as junior high track coach; Jason Chestnut as WRV boys’ golf coach; Shane Padgett as junior high baseball coach; and Levi Hostetter as junior high baseball coach.

In other business, Hacker recognized the WRV girls’ basketball team.

“Saturday was a special day for our school, our community, and our athletic department. As you all know by now, the girls won the sectional Saturday night… the first since 2001 in the girls’ program,” Hacker explained, also noting his thoughts went out to the Union girls’ basketball team as this was the last game in their school’s history.

Senior members of the Lady Wolverines were recognized during the meeting. The girls will travel to Shelbyville Southwestern High School on Saturday to participate in the Regional.

Ethan Hoffeditz, a senior, was also in attendance and recognized for qualifying for the state ISSMA vocal music contest. He was recently awarded a gold medal at the area contest in Bloomington. He will represent WRV in the state contest on Saturday at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.

In old business, the board approved the addition of dual-credit courses for the 2014-15 school year.

“This will take the number of dual credit courses that we offer at WRV to 27 courses – or 81 possible college hours of credit,” Hacker explained.

The board was also updated on the Stephen Campbell Alumni Banquet, which is set for 6:30 p.m. April 4.

During patron comments, discussion turned to the proposed tax referendum. It was noted that information applicable to the proposed tax increase is available on the Department of Local Government Finance website as well as a link on the White River Valley School Corporation’s website.

In other business, the board also approved the following:

  • The Ohio Building in Terre Haute to serve as the location of the 2014 prom. All fees will be paid by the WRV class of 2015.
  • Kevin Benham to the Worthington-Jefferson Township Public Library Board of Trustees. Benham’s current term ends on March 31.
  • An overnight field trip request for HOSA participants to attend a leadership conference in Indianapolis.
  • An overnight field trip request for the girls’ basketball team regional trip.
  • A request for 2014 mowing contracts.



Local Veteran Asks for Help Bringing Former Partner Home

Harvey and Jackson

Former Air Force Technical Sergeant Harvey Holt, who now works as a deputy for the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, has spent the last seven years working to keep a promise he made to another veteran. Now, Holt needs the support of the community to keep that vow and bring his long-lost partner home to him.

In 2003, Holt was a K-9 handler stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. He was trying to find a dog to work with, and his first two attempts failed– one dog could only work with women and another was too old to be certified. Then he had the opportunity to work with a Belgian Malinois puppy named Jjackson, who had just finished school and arrived at the base.

Holt said it was not exactly love at first sight.

“Originally, I didn’t want him. I said he looks skinny, he looks sick,” he admitted. “But there was something about his eyes– he just had the brightest copper eyes and these big old long ears. I thought he was funny looking, but after a while of training him I knew he picked it up fast. I got him certified and I was his first certified handler.”

The pride Holt feels for his former partner is evident when he discusses Jjackson’s training and the fact that his skinny puppy became the base’s go-to dog for breaking up fights and averting trouble.

“You wouldn’t believe how hard he could hit you,” Holt marvelled. “It was always fun to watch people run and just get levelled by this little bitty dog. I think he was about 56 to 60 pounds at the time– I think he’s about 65 now and still skinny as a rail, but he’s got a lot of gray on him now.”

Holt recalled a night shift when he was bored during a training maneuver and taught Jjackson to play dead within 45 minutes. He was not satisfied with the normal version of the trick, but instead instructed Jjackson to remain on his back until Holt got down on his hands and knees, performed fake CPR on him, and then crashed his hands together and said “clear”.

“One time that bit me in the butt,” Holt laughed. “One of my security police friends knew about it and I was up at the main gate searching cars and he came up and went “bang” to the dog. Jjackson laid down in traffic, rolled over, and I had to give him CPR to get him back on his feet. That’s when I learned you don’t teach a dog any trick you don’t want everybody to see– or don’t tell anybody what you’ve taught them.”

Minor embarrassments aside, Holt and Jjackson continued training, working, and bonding during a variety of assignments including presidential security details until 2006, when Holt volunteered for a tour in Iraq. He and Jjackson were sent to Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad.

As soon as they arrived in Iraq, Holt learned that the team they were relieving had just been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and that he and his dog needed to head out on the next helicopter to assist the army. Holt did not even have any bullets or proper protective gear, let alone know where he was headed, and had not been in Iraq for an hour when the helicopter he and Jjackson were in was shot at.

That was the start of a deployment that changed Holt for life– and brought him so close to Jjackson that, years later, he still has trouble keeping his composure when talking about his dog.

In Iraq, Holt and Jjackson assisted many different teams, entering into most assignments without knowing the other humans they worked with or what their mission would be.

“If they wanted a dog, they got a dog,” he explained.

Their first mission involved a sweep of an abandoned school that was possibly inhabited by an insurgent.

“In the first building, after about five minutes on the ground, Jjackson found a cache of weapons inside a boys’ bathroom stall. He found a couple of machine guns, a whole bunch of ammunition and maps, and all sorts of stuff. I gave my dog a reward, searched the rest of the school, and didn’t find anything in the school or the area around it,” Holt remembered.

They then went to search the exterior of the school wall, which had a farm trailer against it. Jjackson started pulling him down the wall, and Holt said all he could think about was not wanting to step on an IED. He began stepping in every bush they passed, because he believed if the bush was alive nothing was buried there.

“He pulled me about a hundred feet down the wall and the trailer was there,” Holt recalled. “He was searching on the ground, I was watching him, and I never understood what it meant when my trainer said, ‘You need to trust your dog, trust your dog, trust your dog. If your dog shows you something out of the ordinary, trust him’. I never got that, but Jjackson pulled me to the trailer, searched the ground, and spun in a circle.”

Holt looked down at his feet and saw an IED on a trip wire that his dog had located. He and Jjackson then continued a search of the area and found a much larger IED.

The pair went on to work with everyone from the Rangers to Special Forces without ever really getting to connect with any of the Army personnel they worked with, but initially were constantly requested by units who knew the capabilities of military dogs. Then, during the second half of the deployment, things changed.

“It changed over to the 1st Cavalry Division and we had to fight to get missions,” Holt explained. “They always wanted the Army dog, whether he was the best dog for the mission or not. They did not care and they did not want Air Force with them. They felt that we shouldn’t be there.”

That left Holt with only Jjackson to talk to– they shared a bed, meals, and even went to the base theater together.

“Everything we did, it was me and him,” Holt stressed. “Bad day– me and him. The hardest days were the days we lost people on missions. We lost 26 in the six-months we were there. They were anywhere from 17 years old up.”

He said the loss he will always remember the most is that of Captain Donnie R. Belser, Jr., who headed the only team who treated Holt and Jjackson well during the latter part of their time in Iraq.

“He and his team were not like the rest of them– they treated us like royalty,” stressed Holt. “They knew that we were there to do something they had no capability of doing, and when they called for us they gave us our own room that was inside with air conditioning. They would kick people out of their rooms to give us space.”

He noted that Belser would bend over backwards for Jjackson, giving them space on Humvees instead of making the dog sit on Holt’s lap for 12 hours at a time and ensuring Jjackson got time to sleep.

“He always had a smile on his face,” Holt said of Belser. “The Army wasn’t supporting us with equipment but he got me plates for my vest, he got me ammunition if I needed it, and if I needed something for my dog he would order it and give it to me. He was one of the few people who I would let pet my dog– Jjackson would just run up to him and love on him.”

Holt credits Belser with saving his life on a mission where Belser spotted a man with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) about six feet from Holt. Around two months later, however, Belser went on a mission and what Holt described as a one-in-a-million sniper shot took his life as he was returning to the base.

“That one really hit Jjackson and I hard,” Holt recalled. “If it wasn’t for him I would have hated life there the last half of my mission, because we were never supported. He and his team would support us no matter what, though.”

Holt said that a surprising part of Jjackson’s personality was that following the death of a service member his number one priority was no longer to find explosives, but instead to comfort the survivors.

“Against regulations, I would let him run around with all the soldiers hugging and kissing and crying on him,” Holt explained. “It was a way for them to get it out and a way for me to get it out– I hugged and cried and kissed on him a lot, too. A lot of the soldiers were very grateful for that. There was something about Jjackson. He was a meanie when he knew it was time to work, but he knew when it was time to play and love. That’s where a lot of our bond came from. He was a baby doll.”

Speaking about Jjackson’s softer nature, Holt recalled teams that made the pair sleep outside of buildings while shots were being fired at the facilities, because they were afraid of the dog.

“I remember that any time I slept out by myself, Jjackson would climb in my sleeping bag with me. He would climb in, turn around, poke his head out and we would sleep like that all night. He made sure that nobody walked up on me and nobody did anything to me. On many nights we slept that way, and that’s how we kept warm on the winter nights when it was cold out– we just used each other’s body heat,” he said.

Holt noted that besides providing comfort and saving many lives during their time in Iraq, Jjackson also went through some of the worst experiences of his life with him– including being left behind on a mission.

The team was searching a farm yard when they sent Holt and Jjackson into a field and recalled their security team without alerting Holt.

“I made my way back to the farmhouse and their trucks were gone,” Holt remembered. “I didn’t know where I was at, what unit I was with, or how to get a hold of anybody.”

He started walking down the road after about an hour-and-a-half, and found a culvert to hide in with Jjackson. Eventually, a military Humvee drove by and Holt and his dog got a ride with them.

“That team initially denied leaving us behind on the mission,” Holt stated. “The captain finally admitted he left us, but that’s one of my bad memories from Iraq– it gives me nightmares and I have separation anxiety.”

During his last mission in Iraq, Holt stopped the vehicle he was in to let Jjackson relieve himself and the Humvee behind them passed them, hit an IED, and flipped on top of their vehicle. Holt and Jjackson took shelter in a ditch, and watched their vehicle drive away. Holt said they spent an estimated 16 hours in that ditch.

“We were surrounded by dead bodies, with me laying on top of Jjackson, taking small arms fire, heavy machine gun fire, and RPGs,” he recalled. “It was just me and Jjackson in the ditch and not once did he try to get up or try to do anything but exactly what I asked him to do. He never whined, never complained, never did anything.”

After that mission, Holt received orders sending him back to the United States. They landed in New Jersey, and a trainer and a handler from Holt’s section were waiting for them.

“As I came down the ramp, they basically said, ‘This is the new handler, hand the leash over’. I refused, and was able to take him back to Andrews Air Force Base,” Holt stated. “I didn’t cry when I left, and I didn’t really cry when my mom passed away, but after we got back and they made me put my dog up we sat in the kennel for a good two hours and I just cried. That’s the last time I ever got to hold Jjackson’s leash.”

Holt said that bitter fact has haunted him for the last seven years.

He filled out paperwork to be the first person in line to adopt Jjackson upon his retirement, and then began waiting. Two years ago, at a national conference in Vincennes, sympathizers tried to surprise Holt by having Jjackson adopted to him.

“To my understanding, it got all the way up to the final signature and then they determined that he was still useful to the military and unadoptable at that time. A month and a half later I got word that they weren’t adopting him because they deemed him too aggressive and they were going to put him down. Well, that broke my heart,” Holt said, noting that the military did offer him the opportunity to say goodbye to Jjackson before he was put down.

Save-A-Vet, an organization that helps rehabilitate both human and canine veterans, became involved in Holt’s struggle. Still, a long period with no news of his dog convinced Holt that he was only waiting for Jjackson to be put down.

Tuesday, however, Holt received a message from a friend at Andrews Air Force Base, telling him to call the base kennel master.

“I hesitated for awhile, because I thought they were going to tell me Jjackson was put down and they forgot to call me, so I was expecting the worst,” Holt explained. “But I called him and he asked me if I was still interested in adopting Jjackson.”

The kennel master told Holt they had too many dogs to care for right now, and that he needs to pick Jjackson up as soon as possible.

“They said that if I don’t take him now, he’s going to go to someone who doesn’t know him or have this bond with him,” Holt said. “The problem is that right now, with two police dogs already there, I don’t have the facilities at my house that he needs. He has medical issues that they haven’t been too specific about yet. They said the vet is considering amputating one of his legs because of his issues and he also has a little bit of kennel aggressiveness, so he’s right on the line of being considered adoptable through the military.”

Holt is getting the opportunity to try to help Jjackson as a former handler, though, since the military no longer considers military dogs as equipment but instead views them as service members. The problem Holt faces is that he needs to raise money in order to pick up Jjackson on short notice.

“I need an airline ticket or a rental car to pick him up within the next week or so,” Holt explained. “He also requires a certain type of kennel. So we’re in the process of trying to raise funds for it.”

Jjackson cannot immediately be housed with Holt’s other two police dogs, but instead needs his own space to relax, recuperate, and learn to be a dog instead of a service member. He requires a 10×20 foot concrete pad with an eight-foot fence and a small kennel that is heated.

“I hate asking for help,” Holt stated, “but with this being such short notice there’s no way I can get the money I need to get this built. We’re relying on businesses and people who have construction experience or leftover construction materials to help build this and make it a nice home he deserves, not just a box outside.”

Holt added that Jjackson was bred by the military and that is the only life he has ever known, and that it is time for him to have the life he deserves. Military sources do not know how long the 10-year-old dog has to live, but Holt wants to make sure the rest of his life is as comfortable as possible.

“I remember making him a promise in Iraq that if he got me through that, I would do everything I could to bring him home. Now is my opportunity to do that, and I need help. I just want to fulfill my promise to him, so that’s why I’m asking for everyone’s help now,” he explained, stressing that he would normally find a second job to help pay Jjackson’s expenses. That is not not an option within the time constraints the military has given him, though.

Donations for Jjackson’s new life with Holt can be made at any Bloomfield State Bank branch. You may either ask for the Home for Heroes account or mention Harvey Holt’s name.  Holt asks that you keep your deposit slip so that the money can be returned to you if it is not used.

Please do not contact the sheriff’s office with offers of help.  If you would like to contact Holt, please either email him at Jjacksonh202@yahoo.com or check Jjackson A Hero’s Homecoming on Facebook.


Linton-Stockton School Corporation to Host MATH Competition

By Timberly Ferree

Approximately 7,500 students in grades 4, 5, and 6 from around the state are preparing for the 18th annual Math Academic Teams for Hoosiers Competition, which will take place at more than 40 sites on Thursday, Feb. 27. Five-hundred and nine teams with up to 20 students each will compete.

The M.A.T.H. competition is a team concept with no individual winners. Each of the four rounds consists of three team members working on seven problems while competing against team members from other schools. Students are seated on the gym floor as they compete. Each problem is graded immediately and a spreadsheet of scores will be projected to maintain a running score for each team. While students are waiting to compete, they sit in a cheer block to cheer for their teammates.

The team members of the schools with highest scores in each of the five enrollment classifications at each site will be recognized with awards after competition. Blue Class and Green Class include schools with sixth grade, while Orange Class and Red Class are schools without sixth grade. Yellow Class is a 4th grade only class this year. In addition to local awards, the top ten teams in each enrollment classification statewide will receive either a plaque or certificate to place in their school.

The competition is administered by Indiana Association of School Principals, Department of Student Programs, and is an attempt to emphasize the importance of mathematics in upper elementary grades.

Locally, the competition is being hosted by the Linton-Stockton School Corporation and will be held in the high school auditeria at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Area schools that are competing include the following: Linton-Stockton Elementary, Eastern Greene Middle, Bloomfield Elementary, Farmersburg Schools, Carlisle Elementary, Dixie Bee Elementary (Terre Haute), two teams from Rio Grande Elementary (Terre Haute), and four teams from Sullivan Elementary.

Admission is free and concessions will be available. Please come out and support your local “mathletes”.


Bloomfield Math Teacher Brings Fun to Pre-Algebra

One student asks a question prior to the kick-off of Wednesday's challenge.

One Bloomfield math teacher is bringing some competitive fun to math in the way of Survivor Algebra.

Diane Rodriguez, 7th grade pre-algebra teacher, implemented the math ‘tribal’ game in order to increase team work, productivity, and encourage students to help one another.

“One of the main reasons I started this was to encourage the students to help each other out,” Rodriguez explained, adding it has also created a form of positive peer pressure.

The first-time class experiment kicked off in January and has remained a definite hit among students, she said. The challenge is grade-wide and includes first, third, and seventh pre-algebra periods.

On Wednesday, students competed in a tribal challenge that featured math vocabulary.

Terms such as slope, product, difference, decagon, net, as well as formulas and other math matters scattered the classroom’s board and created the playing field for the challenge.

Rodriguez would kick off each round by asking questions such as the following: What’s a half circle; What’s the slope of a line that’s flat; What’s the formula for interest; What’s a word that means subtract; among others.

Upon each question, one student from each group was allowed to race to the board to find the correct term, remove it from the board, and bring it back to the group. Every two correct terms collected were equal to one tribal point.

Challenges vary from week to week, but are always based on ISTEP math standards, Rodriguez noted.

“You need to know it all with ISTEP,” she added.

One of her favorite challenges was a robot challenge, which focused on slope, rate, and speed.

“It was awesome,” she said, noting students really enjoyed the hands-on challenge.

The implementation of the Survivor Algebra Challenge has also decreased the amount of missing homework assignments.

“Missing assignments bring down the tribe score by two points,” she said, noting team members really pressure each other to complete assignments.

Rodriguez also rewards tribes for having the most tribal points.

“Every week, the tribe that is ahead gets some sort of reward, whether it be [soda] pop, sitting where they want, or some other positive reinforcement,” she said.

One difference between TV’s Survivor and Rodriguez’s is the lack of voting off team members.

“There’s no voting out,” she noted.

The Survivor Challenge has also appealed to students of all abilities, as it allows for the pushing of the sharp kids as well as encourages the kids who are struggling, Rodriguez explained.

“I am really proud of the kids. They are encouraging each other and making each other accountable for assignments. They all have good attitudes and they are having fun,” she added.

Bloomfield Chamber to Sponsor Circus

circus by Clive Darra

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.



Town of Bloomfield Logo Contest


Submitted photo

Submitted photo

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.




Linton Children’s Librarian Retired Feb. 3


Phyllis Franklin, the Linton Public Library’s long-time children’s librarian, retired on Feb. 3.

She started working for the Linton Public Library when it was called the Margaret Cooper Public Library in the old Carnegie Library.  She started in September 1985 and worked for the Linton community for nearly 30 years and is loved by generations of Lintonians.

She was affectionately known as “Miss Phyllis”. She was an exemplary librarian, dedicated to her profession, and a true professional in every sense of the word. She will be missed greatly.

Franklin worked under the following library directors: Emily Cooper Bunyan, Susanne Robb, Jill Wilkes, Ann Wright-Gainey, Shelley Williams, Jamie Tyner, and Richard McLelland.

Franklin is the grandmother of six and loves spending time with each grandchild. She has truly loved reading and sharing the love of reading with others. Before she had her surgery, she wanted so badly to teach granddaughter, Brooklyn, to read. At the time, Brooklyn was not quite 2 years old.  The first time Brooklyn read to Grandma instead of Grandma reading to Brooklyn was so neat!

Franklin is a graduate of Shakamak High School. She’s been married to Dale, her husband, for 38 years.

The Linton Public Library will host a party in late April to honor Franklin at the library, with the date being set sometime in the future.

Should anyone care to send cards, gifts, or remembrances to her, please mail them to the following address: Phyllis Franklin,C/O the Linton Public Library, 95 S.E. 1st Street, Linton, IN 47441.


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.


Mayor Wilkes Continues Valentine’s Day Tradition

Photo courtesy of How Charming Photography

Linton Mayor John Wilkes spent part of his Valentine’s Day surprising others with carnations.

“I go around to all of the stores in town and in the surrounding area and give the ladies a valentine,” he explained.

Wilkes said the Valentine’s Day tradition started some time ago and he decided to continue it once he became mayor.

“Everyone really likes it and I just continue to do it,” he said. “People are very appreciative of the surprise.”

He also explained that today’s experience was full of smiling faces and very appreciative people.

“In the stores, we give [valentines] to the clerks and the business owners …but town has slowed down since the snow started,” he added.

L-S Middle School Hosts Initial Open Meeting

By Timberly Ferree

School policy, testing, homework, and other matters were discussed at the Linton-Stockton Middle School on Thursday, as the school hosted its first series of open meetings for parents and community members.

L-S Middle School Principal Jeff Sparks explained, “This is an opportunity for parents to come in and openly discuss any concerns, such as the school improvement plan, procedures, scheduling, and other matters.”

The idea for the meetings came from another parent who was concerned about communication at the middle school level.

“A lot of parents have questions and concerns and they are welcome to come in and discuss matters, or attend out of curiosity and just listen,” Sparks explained.

In the day and age of email and texting, Sparks also stressed the importance of person-to-person communication.

“We assume that people are looking at their emails, but the lines of communication have changed so drastically over the last few years. We have Harmony, which allows parents to go online and see their child’s homework and test scores, but [parents] don’t come in to see us as much,” Sparks added, noting Harmony’s downside is loss of personal connection with the school.

He also noted that he was very pleased with the initial meeting’s turnout and encouraged parents to attend future meetings.

“I feel like we had good discussions, valid points were brought up, and it was all very professional,” he said.

Open meetings will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every two weeks on Thursdays at the middle school’s library. The next meeting is slated for Feb. 27.

The Dugger Union Community School Corporation Moves Forward with Plans to Open in August

Photo courtesy of How Charming Photography

The Dugger Union Community School Corporation continues to work toward the establishment of a new school, with the main goal of having the organization, grades k- 12, open in August.

Greg Ellis, co-incorporator of the Dugger Union Community School Corporation, explained that the budget process is currently underway and it is not nearly as bleak as many people think.

“Our main focus for the school is to offer the best possible education for life. We believe that starts by hiring the best teachers,” Ellis explained, adding competitive salary for teachers will be offered.

The school will not be a whole lot different than it is now, but it will offer a variety of college prep courses as well as vocational courses.

“We have a signed agreement with the carpenters’ union … they want us to teach their courses and then they will offer a guaranteed apprenticeship to students enrolled in the courses,” he said.

Ellis also noted that the school corporation hopes to develop similar relations with other organizations such as Bear Run Mine, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, among others.

On Monday, 80 students had enrolled at the Dugger Union Community School Corporation, Ellis said, noting that number was reached after two hours of open enrollment.

“We have kids [enrolled] from Dugger, Carlisle, Linton, Jasonville, Shelburn, Hymera, and Sullivan, he added.

Plans to purchase school equipment are also underway.

“We’ll be hitting a series of auctions purchasing the things we need,” Ellis said.

Desks, equipment, and other items within the Union and Dugger Schools are the property of the Northeast School Corporation, and upon the schools being closed will either be used within the school corporation or auctioned off. Memorabilia items and other non-FERPA records will be taken out of the schools prior to their closing and stored at the Dugger Coal Museum.

The Dugger Union Community School Corporation is currently undergoing the charter application process with the full application being due by Feb. 24. The goal is to start school on Aug. 12, but could be later depending on the application process and other legal requirements.


GCGH Invites Public to Attend Health Needs Assessment Meeting


Greene County General Hospital and the Indiana Rural Health Association invite the public to a community health needs assessment meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the hospital cafeteria.

GCGH Director of Marketing and Physician Recruiting Corey Sparks explained that the meeting will be an opportunity to talk to members of the community and find out what the health needs of the area are, so that the hospital can work to address those needs.

“We’ll be working with the Indiana Rural Health Association and they will have some of their employees here and the group will be broken down into smaller groups and then they’ll have questions for the participants,” he explained, noting that they hope plenty of people attend the meeting to give them a good sample of the general population.

Information from the meeting will be used to plan health care and future public health programs.

“We just want to hear everybody’s view and opinion on what we could do to better serve the community,” Sparks said. “It’s another way for us to have dialogue with the community and a good chance to get together and develop a plan to improve the health status of the area.”

The goals of the community health needs assessment are to:

  • Understand the age distribution of the population
  • Evaluate race and ethnic composition of population
  • Identify the health needs of the community
  • Identify environmental health risks
  • Evaluate maternal & child health risks
  • Identify chronic disease factors
  • Quantify the availability of basic health services and/or barriers to access
  • Analyze resources in the community

Light refreshments will be available during the meeting.

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.


WestGate@Crane Child Development Center Now Open

By Timberly Ferree

CRANE, IN – As any family with young children can attest, high quality child care is difficult to find. The new WestGate@Crane Child Development Center provides much more. As an accredited child development center, they provide intensive child development and all-day care for the children of NSA Crane and WestGate employees, the WestGate@Crane Child Development Center offers much more than child care.

After two-and-a-half years of planning, The WestGate@Crane Child Development Center invites parents, grandparents, and other caregivers to visit its brand new facility at 27579 SGM Gene Shaw Technology Drive, formerly known as WestGate Court, in Crane, Indiana. Tour the secure, 8,000 square foot facility, explore the 8 classrooms and full service amenities, and then sign up for the very limited number of openings available.

The WestGate@Crane Child Development Center provides much more than child care. With a staff of up to 20 led by Director Jennifer Barnes, the state-of-the-art facility focuses on a holistic approach to early childhood development. The Center follows a daily schedule of the Creative Curriculum, which provides age-specific activities that honor each child’s individuality, learning style and interests. Focusing on four key developmental areas—language, cognition, social emotional and physical—students explore new skills in a comforting, loving environment.

The WestGate@Crane Child Development Center team understands the pressures involved with working families. As part of the burgeoning WestGate@Crane Technology Park, the WestGate@Crane Child Development Center allows parents of young children to remain close to them throughout the workday. The WestGate@Crane Child Development Center is convenient to employees of NSA Crane, WestGate, area residents, and commuters within the area. The Center’s goal is to develop young minds, and put parents’ minds at ease.

The Center provides a formal, structured learning curriculum that allows children to grow in a stable, safe environment. Children interact with their peers, increasing their socialization skills. Learning tools are fun and age-appropriate. And as a state-accredited child development center, the WestGate@Crane Child Development Center meets strict health, safety, education, and nutrition guidelines.

The Director of the WestGate@Crane Child Development Center is Jennifer Barnes, a native of Washington Indiana, who brings many years of childcare and facility management with her. A graduate of the University of Evansville, Jennifer has served as facility director for The Gardner School in Louisville, KY, as well as Christ Care Day Ministry in Washington, IN. Private tours of the facility can be arranged by contacting Director Jennifer Barnes at (812) 863-2013, business owner Teresa Nolley at (812) 295-6135, or Director of Operations Helen Dearwester at (812) 709-9048.

Space at the WestGate@Crane Child Development Center is limited to 120 children, so early registration is strongly encouraged. To register your child or for more information, please visit our website at westgateatcranechildcenter, or call the center at (812) 863-2013.

The WestGate@Crane Child Development Center is now open. Facility hours are Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.