City stays busy mowing personal properties

Crawfordsville residents may want to keep their yards mowed and free of trash, otherwise they will be paying the city for street department employees to do the work.

Chapter 96 of the city code defines nusance properties. The code basically asks residents to keep yards mowed and not litter them with trash or household goods, such as mattresses and furniture. Unfortunately, problem properties land on the desk of Crawfordsville Code Enforcement Officer Barry Lewis.

When someone reports a problem, Lewis’ action plan is spelled out in the code. First, he must visit the property and see if it qualifies as a nuisance as defined by the code. If he believes it does, he will mail a letter notifying the owner that the property is not in compliance with city codes.

Property owners are given a letter via first class postage. The letter makes clear the violation and the penalty. Because of Indiana statute, the property owner has a deadline of 10 days from the date of the letter to correct the violation.

Lewis said letters usually are enough to encourage violators to clean up their properties.

“I would say 85 to 90 percent of the people receiving letters get their properties in shape,” Lewis said. “It is the others who can end up paying hefty bills.”

Lewis said the majority of property owners who do not respond to the initial letter live either in another county or state. Several of the properties that end up being mowed by city workers are mowed several times each summer.

Lewis said to have the city clean up a property is costly. The minimum charge payable to the city is $150 for each mowing. If debris or trash has to be removed, the city street department charges man-hour rates. If four city workers are cleaning up the property, the landowner will pay the hourly rate for all four workers.

Most violators will pay their bills willingly after their property is mowed. However, in some cases, the city attorney has to do the legal work which ends up adding to the outstanding amount listed on the property tax statements. When the landowner pays the property taxes, they will pay the additional city fees too.

Lewis reports he wrote 33 mowing citations in April and the city street employees ended up mowing five properties. In May, Lewis wrote 59 citations resulting in 15 properties having to me mowed.

In 2014, Lewis wrote 286 mowing citations and 330 in 2015.

“I don’t understand why some people just won’t go hire the neighbor kid to mow their yard for the summer,” Lewis said. “You could hire someone a lot cheaper than paying the city for the work and any legal fees.”

For Lewis, who enforces all city code violations and not just yard problems, he will keep writing the violations until residents decide to take care of what they own.

Darlington Road Band to perform at Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival organizers announced over the weekend that there will be a change in the festival entertainment schedule for this Saturday. 

Local area band, Darlington Road, will appear in place of Steve Trent and Small Town who had to cancel this year’s performance.

The annual Strawberry Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday and continues through 4 p.m. Sunday on the grounds of Lane Place.

Watch for more festival information in upcoming editions of the Journal Review.

Princesses, villains take to the stage

Crawfordsville Academy of Dance presents its summer concert at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Crawfordsville High School auditorium both nights. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Ballet takes center stage for Act One where Sleeping Beauty (played by Georgia Turner) is put under the spell of the evil Malificent (Chloe Hemmerlein). The fairies Flora (Kylie Bradford), Fauna (Eden Turner) and Merryweather (Abby Smaltz) get help from Prince Phillip (Justice Turner) to awaken the princess.

Also in Act One, Snow White (Ryleigh Braun) is tempted with a poisonous apple from the disguised Queen (Samantha Knowling). Can Snow White’s seven darlings (Lily McDorman, Abby Smaltz, Faith Pittman, Hannah Sheetz, Harmony Taylor, Mikinna King and Justine Troutman) save her in time?

To round out Act One, Mother Goose (Samantha Knowling) and friends will bring to life nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty and the Little Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe.

Act Two is a tribute to Time Magazine covers from several generations including World War II, the death of Lennon, the 2003 Blackout and the rise of Social Media.

Additional dancers in this year’s annual summer concert include: Emily Allen, Gracia Bartlett, Madison Boeck, Ayden Braun, Blayke Braun, Haley Burke, Chanlie Busch, Kaybrie Carpenter, Stefanie Deaton, Kinley Deener, Annie Dennison, Claire Dennison, Elizabeth Dodd, Gwendolyn Edgecombe, Jeff Ehrlich, Mila Greene, Josie Harshbarger, Cindy Lahey-Whittle, Paige Johnson, Bailey Nichols, Blair Nichols, Katherine Novak, Sadie Oliver, Cheyanna Pittman, Abby Sayler, Jayna Simpkins, Jessalynn Simpkins, Jovie Simpkins, Hannah Smaltz, John Smaltz, Hope Taylor, Jordanna Troutman, Audrey Turner, Naomi Turner, Riley Whittle, Brooklyn Wilkins, Isabella Wilson, Leah Wolf and Carolena Yanez.

Crawfordsville Academy of Dance has been developing dancers since 1998 and believes dance is a delicate art form in which the body is the tool expressing human experience. It is the most sensitive of the art forms because it exists in each individual.

CHS touts academic success

Crawfordsville High School has added another chapter to its history of academic accomplishments and success in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Since its inception more than 60 years ago, the National Merit Scholarship Program for nationwide competition has honored the brightest students in the country. During that span, many CHS students have been honored as obtaining either finalist or commended status.

Three students from the graduating class of 2017 have added their names to the growing list of CHS graduates who have received commended status in the program. Rand Burnett, Kaitlyn Kirkman and Benjamin Mikek have received their commended status after scoring high on the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test — a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately ww1.5 million entrants each year — and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements. The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955. Since 1985, 61 CHS students have received commended student status.

“This is a very prestigious and we are honored to have students who qualify for the National Merit Program nearly every year,” said Greg Hunt, Crawfordsville High School principal.

CHS can also boast that several of its students will be furthering their education at highly-regarded colleges and universities. Kirkman is headed in the fall for George Washington University, while Mikek will continue his education at nationally renowned Grinnell College. Two other Athenian grads — Kaile Wendelin and Nathan Pryor — have been accepted at Rose Hulman, a highly touted engineering school in Terre Haute.

“I believe we have excellent teachers at CHS but truth be told, the talents of our students start during their elementary years and grows stronger as they travel through the middle school and on into high school,” Hunt said.

Dr. Scott Bowling, superintendent of Crawfordsville Schools, echoed Hunt’s comments.

“Crawfordsville has a long history of educating students who achieve at the highest levels,” Bowling said. “Our specialized academic programming starts in kindergarten and continues through high school. Students who attend Crawfordsville can and do attend some of the most highly selective colleges in the world. A Crawfordsville education can literally take you anywhere.”

Civic Band opens seasons with hymns

The Montgomery County Civic Band will launch its 53rd concert season Sunday with its first-ever church concert.

“I promise, no preaching, just hymn music,” said Gary Ketchum, who is in his 12th year directing the band. “And a few church jokes, of course.”

The concert will begin at 3 p.m. in the gazebo on the Lane Place grounds.

The “Star Spangled Banner” will start the concert, followed by Tim McCormick’s brass quintet playing a Dixie arrangement.

Listeners will enjoy “Amazing Grace,” “A Blessed Hymn” and “A Beautiful Savior.”

“A lot of these hymns from the books will be recognizable,” Ketchum said. “But I’d like to add that they will be beautifully orchestrated.”

When the band plays “Old Tent Meeting” Ketchum believes it will bring back memories from the olden days.

“I know it does for me,” he said.

Kendyl Pearson will perform “You Raise Me Up” as a solo. She is a recent graduate of Ivy Tech where she earned an associate’s degree in nursing. She is also a graduate of Southmont High School.

The band will perform a medley of tunes entitled “It’s the Gospel.” The arrangement will have a swingy sound that will transport listeners back to the childhood, Ketchum said.

Rounding out the performance will be “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Joshua.”

As always, the concert will end with the playing of “Stars and Stripes.” Children in the audience will be invited to direct the band during the finale.

Concert-goers are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

The concerts are free and open to the public, however free-will donations are accepted.