LOCAL NEWS

Co-op earns IACT award

FRENCH LICK — People across Indiana are taking notice of Crawfordsville and its newly formed Crawfordsville Health and Wellness Center.

On Wednesday, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns presented the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Crawfordsville Community Schools, North Montgomery Community Schools and South Montgomery Community Schools with the annual Local Government Cooperation Award. The honor recognizes the success of the community’s health and wellness center.

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton represented the five largest government taxing units in accepting the award.

“The real story here is to pull five tax supported entities together — it is really unprecedented,” Barton said. “When you think about three school boards, county commissioners, county council, a mayor, city council and the Board of Works there are a lot of layers to get everybody on board.”

The clinic provides health services for free to employees of each taxing unit. The City of Crawfordsville alone reported saving its employees $300,000 in medical expenses in 2014.

Wellness for Life, the company that operates the clinic, was represented at the award presentation by Brian Garcia, manager of client relations. Garcia admits the clinic, which opened in January 2014, has exceeded the company’s expectations.

“The success of the clinic was bigger than what we thought would happen in the first year,” Garcia said.

Barton said the city’s return on the investment was 180 percent, and that all units showed positive financial success.

Barton said continued cooperation is important for the future.

“The clinic has laid the groundwork that could carry over to other things,” Barton said. “It starts with trusting each other, and that is a major part of this success.”

Gala event honors history of Vanity Theater

The Sugar Creek Players haven’t always needed a theater. The group has put on performances at the Holiday Inn, in high schools and even under a tent at the Lane Place. But now they are quite at home at the Vanity Theater on Washington Street.

To celebrate how far they have come and to thank all of the people who got them to where they are today, members of the Sugar Creek Players Guild were invited to enjoy “A Gala for the Guild” on Wednesday.

“We just wanted to show our appreciation to everybody that’s been a part of the history and the current times of Sugar Creek,” said Pam Bradley, Gala committee member.

Helen Milligan, 99, acted in the first Sugar Creek Players production in 1971: “You Can’t Take It With You.” She remembered those years of trying to find places to hold productions, how difficult it was and how it seemed like the community didn’t want theater anymore. The way the community embraces the theater has been the biggest change she’s seen.

“It’s changed for the better,” Milligan said.

The night honored many more of the people who have been with Sugar Creek Players since the beginning, including Bobbye Thompson, who was instrumental in obtaining the Vanity Theater and has continued to give her time to the Sugar Creek Players ever since.

During the gala, performers took turns on the stage, and some of them hadn’t been on the stage for several years.

Stephanie Pool has been involved with almost 50 Sugar Creek Players productions in some capacity. After being

diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the gala gave Pool a chance to get back on the stage that she has loved for so many years.

“I just liked the fact that I could come back and give it another whirl,” Pool said.

Jerry Graysen and Phyliss Fulford were the first performers of the night, and both of them have a history with the Sugar Creek Players that has come full circle.

Grayson directed the first show at the Vanity Theater in 1988, “Crimes of the Heart,” and both of them have taught and directed John Blair, who currently works at the theater.

“It’s great to see because, particularly in small towns, it’s hard to keep theater going. And I think it’s a great job that John (Blair) has done here and the board has done here.”

MUFFY thanks early donors with kickoff luncheon

 While the public phase of MUFFY’s 2015 fundraising campaign has yet to begin, good work is already being done throughout Montgomery County behind the scenes.

The Pacesetter phase of the Montgomery United Fund For You’s 45th annual campaign began July 30, and organizations large and small have been working hard to raise money for MUFFY as summer slipped into autumn.

“Pacesetters are businesses and organizations who set a standard for leadership in our community by donating or running a company campaign to benefit MUFFY before September 28,” said David Johnson, MUFFY’s executive director. “They give our annual campaign a terrific jump start, and we like to celebrate them for their efforts and thank them for giving this campaign such a promising beginning.”

MUFFY will toast these Pacesetters at its 2015 Kickoff Luncheon, which will be held at noon Wednesday at the Crawfordsville Country Club. Delicious delicacies will be paired with a short program, recognition of Pacesetter companies and the presentation of the first “big check” of MUFFY’s 2015 campaign. Pacesetters also will be recognized in local media and on MUFFY’s website, www.muffy.org.

2015 marks 45 years since MUFFY began its first fundraising campaign in 1970. Since that time, more than $13 million have been raised to assist area non-profit agencies in meeting the needs of Montgomery County’s residents. MUFFY remains the most efficient and cost-effective way to give to local non-profits, as it is the only fundraiser authorized to accept payroll deductions and distribute it to the agencies of a donor’s choice without the unnecessary expense of each agency running their own campaign.

For more information about MUFFY’s kickoff luncheon and to make a reservation, call 765-362-5484 or visit www.muffy.org/kickoff.html.

North schools OK 2016-17 calendar

LINDEN — The last day of school for the 2016-2017 school year will be May 24, 2017.

The North Montgomery Board of School Trustees approved the 2016-2017 school calendar Monday at the board’s September meeting.

The calendar, similar to ones passed by Crawfordsville and South Montgomery schools, comes on the heels of a school calendar survey put on by all three school districts.

The school board first discussed the 2016-2017 calendar last month. North Montgomery Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran told the board that the only change to the calendar from last month was the last day of school. She joked with them that the version she had in her hands have all 180 school days numbered.

Board member Karin Kerber Odle asked if the fall and spring breaks are in line with the other two school districts in the county. Moran told the board that they were.

In other business, the board held a public hearing for the 2016 budget. School Board President Dick VanArsdel said that the purpose of the hearing was to give the public a chance to provide comment on the budget, the 2016 bus replacement plan and the 2016 capital projects plan. No one from the public spoke.

The board approved the resignations of Paula Greene, technology assistant at Pleasant Hill Elementary; Lori Brady, para educator at Northridge Middle School; and Linda Lyon, food service worker at Northridge Middle School.

The board approved leaves of absence for Melissa Dharma, Elise Israel, Carmen Bacon and Nick Wilson.

The board approved hiring Sue Amstutz, nurse at Pleasant Hill Elementary; Kristy Zachary, cafeteria monitor at Sugar Creek; Vicky Oliver and Heidi Alspaugh, cafeteria monitors at Sommer Elementary; Cherlyn Hunter, temporary instructional coach at Sommer Elementary; Joseph Tylenda, temporary counselor at Northridge Middle School; Alicia Mister, custodian at North Montgomery High School; Andrew Hayward, substitute bus driver for the school district; Linda Fultz, substitute food service worker for the school district.

The board approved extra curricular contracts for Megan Birk, high school musical choreographer; Carmen Bacon, assistant girls varsity basketball coach; Amanda Clark, Pleasant Hill academic team; Lisa Cosby, art show; Annalee Traeger, choreographer for the high school; Makenzie Truesdel, cheerleading; Kathryn Stwalley, high school student council; Bill Warren, assistant varsity wrestling coach; Shannon Joyce, Northridge boys tennis coach; John Walker, varsity girls swim coach; Pete Osterman, ICE coordinator; Brittani Hood, girls basketball assistant coach; Nicole Stigall, high school Math Bowl; Carrie Bilodeau, assistant girls swim coach; Karey Verduin, high school cheerleading; Alyce Myers, high school student council; and Maurice Swain, varsity wrestling coach.

County approves voting centers

Montgomery County Commissioners approved the switch from precinct voting to voting centers on Monday.

“I would like to thank the commissioners for approving vote centers,” said League of Women Voters President Karen Patton. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. We believe that it will be a much more effective way of running an election as well as show cost savings to the county.”

 

The county has previously had 19 polling centers with 135 poll workers for the 27 precincts, and voters were required to vote at certain precincts. With voting centers, voters can vote at whichever center is most convenient for them. The county will have 10 poll workers for each of the five voting centers at locations that are still being determined.

The county still plans to have early voting at the courthouse. For voters who do not go near the new locations, the plan is to have satellite voting at various places during the two weeks before election.

“There is nothing more important to our democracy than voting,” said LWV member Sheridan Hadley. “Will vote centers increase the number of voters going to the polls? Research does not show vote centers alone will do that. However, we believe vote centers, combined with continuation of early voting at the

courthouse and additional early voting opportunities in small towns, will increase voter convenience.”

The next step is for the Montgomery County Council to approve the purchase of 50 new voting machines at its Oct. 13 meeting. Montgomery County Clerk Jennifer Bentley has been asking for new voting machines for a long time because the county’s current machines, which were purchased in 1988, are too old to rely on. The

county has no extra machines if any break down in the upcoming election, and replacement parts are becoming more difficult to find.

Bentley said the purchase of the election equipment will not increase the budget by much considering how much the county will save by switching to voting centers. In previous meetings, Bentley has shared that the county could save up to $50,000 by using voting centers.

Commissioners decided they will consider leasing options for county vehicles. The county currently purchases all of its vehicles, including department vehicles, and pays for repairs. Last year, the county spent around $25,000 repairing its highway vehicles. With a fleet management program, the county could lease some or all of its vehicles, and the company would provide management and maintenance services.

Commission President Phil Bane said leasing county vehicles would centralize purchasing rather than having each department purchase their own.

Commissioners also approved sending out notices that bids will be accepted for the county farm. There will be a minimum bid of $250 per acre, and the final agreement will be for two years. They also passed Ordinance 2015-16 to accept Logan Road as a county road.