Government & School Board

Park board seeks input on best use of tax dollars

Huntington residents who have ideas about how parks and trails throughout the city can be improved are invited to bring their wish lists to a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood Recreation Center, 745 Condit St.

The park board will use the input received at that meeting as it begins working on its 2011-2015 Park and Recreation Master Plan, explains Denise Bard, superintendent of the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department.

Tourism commission welcomes new members

Fran Felts, Huntington County clerk (foreground), swears in Huntington County Tourism Commission board members (from left) Jim Scheiber, Ruth Marsh, Rich Najuch and Ellen Prange during the commission’s meeting on Jan. 11. Not pictured is Margaret Roush.
Photo by Andre B. Laird.

The Huntington County Tourism Commission met Jan. 11.
Huntington County Clerk Fran Felts installed several board members for two-year terms.

Appointed by Huntington Mayor Steve Updike were Ruth Marsh, city operations officer; Rich Najuch; owner of The New Huntington Theatre; and Ellen Prange, office manager at the Huntington County Chamber.

Also appointed but not present was Margaret Roush, director of alumni relations at Huntington University.

Some property assessment notices returned, but most addresses now correct

About 5 percent of the 15,000 assessment notices sent out at the end of December were returned to the Huntington County Assessor's office because they had been sent to outdated addresses.

County Assessor Terri Boone says all of the returned notices have been put in the mail again, bearing what she believes to be the addresses of the current owners.

"We're caught up right now," Boone said Wednesday, Jan. 13.

School board terminates Horace Mann staffer

Acting on a recommendation by Huntington County Community School Corporation Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer, members of the Huntington County Community Schools Board voted without explanation to terminate the "at-will" employment of special services paraprofessional Alaura Uecker.

The action was taken during the board's meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.

Uecker worked for Horace Mann Elementary School and did not have a contract with the corporation.

Collins will serve again on state board

Perry Collins, of Roanoke, has been re-appointed to the Indiana Military and Veterans' Benefits Board.

Collins works as a consultant for the Indiana Institute of Technology. His appointment was announced Jan. 13 by the office of Gov. Mitch Daniels. Collins' new term expires July 1, 2010.

The Indiana Military and Veterans' Benefits Board manages and develops the Veterans Affairs Trust Fund and the assets of the fund, which considers the immediate needs of veterans and their families. The board's seven members are appointed by the governor.


City plan panel looks at signs

The Huntington Plan Commission will discuss a proposed sign ordinance when it meets on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 300 Cherry St.

Also on the agenda are election of officers, designation of members of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Plat Committee, and other annual housekeeping chores.


Grant will help develop safer routes to schools

A $75,000 Comprehensive Safe Route grant was recently awarded to the city of Huntington and in conjunction with the Huntington County Community School Corporation.

This grant is a part of the Safe Routes to School Program through the state of Indiana, which tries to improve the safety of students who walk or ride bikes to school.

Anthony Goodnight, assistant director of engineering for Huntington, spearheaded the grant proposal, explains HCCSC Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer.

Judge considers dismissal of request to deny wetland development

A judge will decide whether or not to dismiss legal action filed by the town of Roanoke seeking to halt the development of a wetland mitigation area in Jackson Township by Vera Bradley Designs Inc.

If Administrative Law Judge Stephen L. Lucas of the Indiana Natural Resources Commission denies Vera Bradley's motion to dismiss, a disposition hearing on the stay of effectiveness filed by Roanoke will be scheduled.

Those decisions were made Jan. 14 in a conference call involving the town of Roanoke, Vera Bradley Designs and the Department of Natural Resources.

City cuts funding to local non-profits

Funding cuts for eight local non-profit organizations were approved 6-1 by the Huntington Common Council on Tuesday, Jan. 12, as city officials continue to struggle with Huntington’s financial crisis.

Still time left to register for primary vote

For Huntington County residents who have forgotten to register to vote for the upcoming primary elections, there is still time left.

Voter Registration Deputy Pam Fowler says the process to completing registration is relatively simple.

"To find out if you are registered to vote, you can log on to indianavoters. com," she states. "After clicking on the voter registration tab, you just follow the instructions."

TEA party to feature U.S. senatorial candidates

Organizers for the upcoming TEA Party informational session, on Friday, Jan. 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., have announced that all the U.S. senatorial candidates except Evan Bayh have confirmed that they will be in attendance.

The event will be held at Life Church, located at 950 E. State St.
Candidates who will be attending include Marlin Stutzman, Don Bates Jr., Richard Behney and John Hostettler.

Ron Fusselman will also be in attendance as a state representative candidate.

For more information about the event, call 359-9373 or visit

Horace Mann paraprofessional terminated

Acting on a recommendation by Huntington County Community School Corporation Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer, members of the Huntington County Community Schools Board voted without explanation to terminate the “at-will” employment of special services paraprofessional Alaura Uecker.

The action was taken during the board’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.

Uecker worked for Horace Mann Elementary School and did not have a contract with the corporation.

Warren council puts vacating alley on hold

Vacating an alley in Warren was put on hold by the Warren Town Council at its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.

The council will have Clerk-Treasurer Marilyn Morrison discuss the situation with the parties involved before it makes a final decision.

The alley in question runs parallel to Grover Street between Jones Street and an unim-proved portion of Sixth Street. There is currently a request from a resident who would like to use the space for parking.

Andrews trash collection fees going up next month

Trash collection rates in Andrews will increase beginning next month, as the town's contract with Marion Services, LLC, requires such action, said Bill Johnson, Andrews clerk/treasurer.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2010, trash collection rates will increase to $8.50 per unit, per month, up from the current rate of $6.50 per unit, per month. On Feb. 1, 2011, the same rate will increase to $10.

The Andrews Town Council approved the increase in the form of Ordinance 2010-1, at the council's meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.

Health department offering H1N1 vaccines to public

Public Health Nurse Debra Doctor (seated) goes over some information on the H1N1 virus with Suzi Morgan, RN. The health department is now offering a mobile setup for businesses and organizations to administer the vaccine to employees.
Photo by Andre B. Laird.

The Huntington County Health Department announces that it is now offering H1N1 vaccines to the general public.

Public Health Nurse Debra Doctor says the Center for Disease Control (CDC) expects another wave of the virus in the upcoming flu season.

This is the third wave of the virus.

"The first wave was last spring when we all knew it as the swine flu," Doctor states. "After the second wave hit last fall, the CDC classified the virus as H1N1."

She adds that the fact the vaccine is available to everyone is good news at the right time.

Several items for Jan. 13 plan meeting

The Huntington County Plan Commission will meet Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the GAR Room on the second floor of the Huntington County Courthouse.

The board will consider a request by Ronald Pearson to reclassify the zoning of property at 429 N. Broadway from residential to general business.

The panel will also meet as the Roanoke Plan Commission to consider changes to the "fines, fees and expenses" portion of the Roanoke Zoning Ordinance. Those changes were proposed by the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development.

Familiar territory

Photo by Jessica Williams.

Huntington Clerk-Treasurer Christi Scher (left) swears in Tom Hughes as assistant police chief on Tuesday, Jan. 5. This is the third time Hughes has been assistant chief in his career, serving under three different administrations. He replaces Jay Kyle, who stepped down from the position.

Name Young, Snover to top posts on city BZA

Jeff Young was appointed chairman and Jack Snover was appointed vice-chairman of the Huntington Board of Zoning Appeals during the panel's meeting on Monday, Jan. 4.

Prudence Shumm's application requesting to allow a kennel for three additional cats per household was approved. She now has two dogs and six cats.

Michael and Nickie Stinson asked for a variance to build a porch out 32 feet, but received approval for only 30 feet, and the porch can't be enclosed.

Indiana farmers can try electronic ear tags through pilot program

You may have heard the arguments both in favor of and against electronic identification of cattle on Saturday morning farm news TV programs.

One producer mentioned a premium price that he receives because his animals have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in their ears.

Many international and/or out-of-state buyers demand to know the source of the beef that they are purchasing in the U.S. Sometimes they will pay a premium price for this verification.

County EMA receives radio grant for all fire departments in county

The Huntington County Emergency Management Agency has been awarded a $478,852 grant to buy new radios for every fire department in the county.

Brandon Taylor, director of the Emergency Management, announced the grant Monday morning, Jan. 4, at the Huntington County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Taylor said after the meeting that 122 hand-held, 40 truck-mountable and 10 department-housed units will be bought, along with 121 new pagers. There are around 200 firefighters in the county, so the equipment won't cover everyone, but it will cover those on duty, he says.

Plan public meeting to discuss proposed changes to sign ordinance

The Huntington Plan Commission will hold a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Huntington City Building to discuss proposed changes to the city's sign ordinance.

The changes will be part of the eighth draft of the new ordinance, which the Huntington Plan Commission has been working on for nearly a year, says Bryn Keplinger, assistant director of the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development.

Commissioners again elect Wall president, Branham VP

Huntington County Commissioners (from left) Jerry Helvie, Tom Wall and Kathy Branham do some work on Wall’s laptop during the commissioners’ meeting Monday, Jan. 4. The commissioners re-elected Wall as president and Branham as vice president.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Tom Wall was re-elected president of the Huntington County Board of Commissioners during the panel's first meeting of 2010, held Monday, Jan. 4.

Kathy Branham was appointed vice president, a position she also held last year.

Branham was also appointed to Region 3-A and CEDIT Advisory.

Wall was appointed to the Huntington County United Economic Development board, Northeast Regional Partnership and the Huntington County Drainage Board.

Shafer responds to governor's K-12 cuts

Governor Mitch Daniels announced last week that at the turn of the year, the state would cut K-12 funding by $297 million throughout the 2010 calendar year.

Recycling bins gone from Huntington sites

The recycling bins, formerly located in the old Marsh parking lot and in the Wal-Mart parking lot, were removed at the beginning of the year, Mayor Steve Updike announced Monday morning, Jan. 4, at the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

To continue recycling, citizens are encouraged to take their items to the landfill during normal business hours, where they will dispose of it properly.

Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District to meet Jan. 19

The Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District will hold its next monthly meeting on Jan. 19, at 7 p.m., at the district office.

The meeting is open to the public.

The office is located at 2040 Riverfork Drive.


New assessed values sent out to owners at year-end

Huntington County Assessor Terri Boone loads th last tray of property assessment for the post office to mail out at the turn of the year.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Anyone who owns property in Huntington County should have in their hands a notice from the Huntington County assessor's office, listing the new assessed value of that property.

Anyone who has not received a notice of assessment, Huntington County Assessor Terri Boone says, should call her office at 358-4800.

Those who wish to appeal the amount of the assessment have 45 days to file that appeal, Bone says.

Businesses delinquent in paying sales tax cold wind up on DOR Web site

Businesses in Indiana who are delinquent in paying their sales tax could find themselves on a new state-mandated list posted to the Department of Revenue's Web site.

A new Indiana law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2010, requires the revenue agency to post the names, addresses and county locations of all businesses in the state that have expired registered retail merchant certificates due to failure to pay their delinquent sales-tax debts.

Social service agencies have to wait two more weeks to find out about city cuts

Social service agencies throughout Huntington will have to wait another couple of weeks to find out if large chunks of their 2010 budgets will be swallowed up by the city's financial woes.

No matter what happens to those budgets in 2010, however, 2011 is likely to be even worse - with at least one member of the Huntington Common Council warning that the city is likely to cut out all funding for those agencies.

Markle dedicates new fire truck

Robert Gonser, president and chaplain of the Markle Volunteer Fire Department, dedicates the department’s newest fire truck during a ceremony on Monday, Dec. 21, at the Markle Fire Station.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A new fire truck has been added to the fleet in Markle, and firefighters and area officials turned out on Monday, Dec. 21, to officially dedicate the truck.

Firefighter Robert Gonser, who serves as both president and chaplain of the Markle Volunteer Fire Department, spoke the words of dedication before those attending were treated to cake and punch in the new truck's honor.

Huntington County properties' smoking ban draws within days

Seven signs, like the one above, have been posted on the Huntington Cunty Courthouse entrances to make sure citizens are aware of the tobacco ban on county-owned properties.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

The time is drawing near for the smoking ban on county-owned properties to take effect.

The date, Jan. 1, 2010, has been set for several months now and County Commissioner Tom Wall believes county employees are ready.

The county is "pretty well set and ready to go," Wall said Monday, Dec. 21, just under two weeks before the start date of the county ordinance. The new rules ban anyone citi-zens smoking on county-owned land, including the courthouse, annex building, jail and the county highway department, and in county cars.