CHS robotics advance to world competition

Crawfordsville High School’s robotics team, TOBOR, is once again preparing to take on the world. The team placed eighth in their division during the March 30 — 31 North Super-Regional in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and now advances to the April 26 — 30 World Championship in St. Louis.

The team’s placing qualifies them to advance to the next level for the second year in a row. 

The Crawfordsville robotics program is one of the oldest in Indiana. It is lead by the school’s Engineering Technology instructor Darrin Wilcoxson. The Crawfordsville program includes students from Crawfordsville and Southmont High Schools. 

Members of TOBOR include all upperclassmen. They are Conner Davis, Rand Burnette, Kirsten Gustafson, Anthony Harris, Ben Mikek, David Link, Matthew Smith, Daniel Hargis and Kyler Morgan.

The team is sponsored by Nucor, Banjo, CPM, TK Fabricating, Acuity Brands, and Gould Body & Paint.

Crawfordsville has three robotics teams that participated in competitions this school year. The other two are Cville-ized Botman and Radical Change.

The he following community members mentor the school’s robotics teams. They are Mike Schueren, Mark and Wendy Schlichting, Mike Creer, David and Julie Cerny, Colin McKinney, and Stiles Garverick.

Wilcoxson said the cost to attend and compete in the World Championship is $4,000. Donations are being accepted to help the team meet expenses. Anyone wanting to make a financial donation, or needing more information, contact Wilcoxson by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 362-2340.

The event is a  function of USFIRST, which is the oldest robotics organization in the United States. The high school robotics competition division is called First Technical Challenge, which was started in 2005.

Input needed by health officials

Local residents are being asked to help the Montgomery County Health Department address mental health gaps within the community. Health Sanitarian Amber Reed announced a Mental Health Forum is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Chase Building.

Reed said the purpose of the meeting is to gain public input, and this is the third stage of information gathering by the health department.

“We first interviewed providers of mental health services to help us understand what help is already available,” Reed said. “We then interviewed educators to get a better understanding of their immense role in dealing with mental health issues with children and what issues they see in the classroom. Finally, we are ready to get the public’s input to see what mental health issues are in the community.”

Reed said discussion with the schools was important because of the amount of hours school staff spend with students. Many times educators spend more time with children than parents do.

“Our schools have to deal with a lot of the mental health issues that our students have,” Reed said. “We wanted to see how they handle the issues with the limited resources they have.”

Reed said dealing with mental health issues is a part of her department’s day-to-day activities. For instance, hoarding is an example of a mental health problem that the health department may have to handle.

The format of the meeting will be much like past information gathering meetings. The health department is partnering with Wabash College students again through Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse Initiative. 

Mental health is one of three focus points established by the health department within the Community Health Improvement Plan.

Identifying mental health needs and gaps in service will assist the health department implement a plan to improve the entire health of the community.

For more information about the forum, contact the Montgomery County Health Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Turkey Run, Rockville to consolidate

Turkey Run and Rockville Jr./Sr. high schools will consolidate at the start of the 2018-19 school year, a move administrators hope will tackle continuing declines in student enrollment and revenues.

In front of a standing-room only crowd at Turkey Run on Wednesday, the North Central Parke Community School Corp. Board of Trustees approved a series of resolutions setting the plan in motion. The process to combine the schools begins immediately.

“There are many memories of the past that cannot be taken away, however, our responsibility as a school board is to look to the future,” board president Scott Ramsay said in opening remarks.

The board’s decision comes almost a year after an identical proposal was defeated.

Under the plan, the high schools will merge into Rockville’s current facility. Turkey Run’s building will become a middle school for grades 6-8.

Students from Adams and Union townships will attend the current Rockville Elementary, with the existing Turkey Run Elementary housing the rest.

The seven-member board unanimously passed a resolution supporting overall consolidation.

Member Gina Sunderman cast the lone “no” vote on the resolution merging the high schools.

“I represent a district that is in the northern part of the county where there are children that have to travel a far distance to get the Rockville High School location,” she said after the meeting.

“I realize that I represent all of the North Central Parke Community School Corp. children,” Sunderman continued. “I also was elected by a

community that didn’t stand behind the concept of the consolidation of the high school being placed at Rockville.”

Sunderman added she would ultimately support the board’s final decision.

Separate resolutions to consolidate the junior highs and adopt a timeline both passed 5-2.

Parents, students and former and current staff members in the audience said consolidation was the best way forward for the kids.

Roy Wrightsman, who chaired the re-organization committee when North Central Parke formed in 2013, said failing to support it is a disservice to future generations and the community’s well-being.

“We are bigger than that,” Wrightsman said during a public comment period. “We have to move past the old rivalries and look to join together for the betterment of the community, not just some factions of it.”

But the school district came under fire for what parents said was a lack of communication about the plans. Some parents believed the consolidation would happen this fall.

“You’re not going to please everybody,” Grace Johnston said, “but to make it go more smoothly, come up with a clear, concise plan, stick to it — make it easier for everybody.”

Speaking after the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Tom Rohr thanked the community for its support.

Administrators will now focus on aligning curriculum, extra-curricular and transportation schedules and making staff assignments.

School names, colors and mascots are also part of the discussion.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work to do to prepare for the 2018-19 school year,” Rohr said.

Sweet Treats

Young students in the Sweet Treats program at the Crawfordsville District Public Library meet the first Thursday of each month.

Board accepts paving bids

Crawfordsville streets are due for a major upgrade this summer thanks to funds obtained through the Indiana Community Crossing Grant.

On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works & Safety received three bids for paving projects totaling more than $1.5 million.

Mayor Todd Barton opened bids from Midwest Paving of Noblesville and Lafayette-based Reith-Riley Construction and Milestone Contractors. Total bids range from $1,552,375 to $1,744,156. The bids were broken up by work to be done on each individual street and were bundled together in two phases. Street Commissioner Scott Hesler will study the bids and bring a recommendation to the next board meeting on April 12. Hesler expects the work to start in the summer and possibly continue to the fall.

Residents near the city’s newly acquired warehouse at 1201 E. Elmore St. will soon seen activity around the building. Barton said the building contains six cranes that need to be removed. The board approved a $48,280 contract with B&L Engineering to remove the cranes.

Crawfordsville EMA Chief Paul Miller presented a contract with Franciscan Health Crawfordsville. The agreement states the hospital will be the supporting agency for advanced life support. The contract is merely an agreement with no money involved.

The board also accepted and placed under advisement three bids for a new pickup for the Street Department. Bids were received from Etter Ford, Kenny Vice Ford and Kristi Hubler Chevrolet.

City Administrator Dale Petrie presented the board with a change order for Fire Station #2 for additional outdoor lighting near doorways. The board approved the additional funds in the amount of $1,265.

Wabash College fraternity Phi Gamma Delta received a noise abatement from 10 p.m. to midnight Friday. The board also approved the fraternity’s request to close the alley between Jefferson Street to College Avenue from 8 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday.

Residents traveling along Washington Street on Friday need to be aware that from 4 to 6:30 a.m. crews will be pulling manhole covers. Traffic should not be hindered, however drivers are asked to be aware of workers along the street.

Dave Harrington received permission to place his Gigglin’ Pig food truck on North Green Street in front of the Backstep Brewery 5-10 p.m. Friday and 2-11 p.m. June 9 and June 10.

Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Director Fawn Johnson reminded the board of the annual Community Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at the General Lew Wallace Study Museum.