City employees may get raise

City employees could get another raise next year, but will pay more for health insurance.

A 2 percent pay increase for full-time employees is included in the proposed 2018 budget, which goes to the city council for approval later this summer. Health insurance costs are increasing 10 percent.

The council moved in to budget season Monday with department heads outlining their spending plans for next year.

It’s the fifth time in six years raises would be granted to employees. The boost in salaries is made possible by reliable city revenue projections, said Mayor Todd Barton.

Raises are also key, the city says, for attracting and keeping employees.

“We’re continuing to fight the ongoing battle with retention in our police and fire departments,” Barton said, adding that salaries are part of the challenge.

The increase in health insurance comes as the city signs a new contract with provider Cigna.

“But that’s our first increase in quite a while, so we’re doing very well on the health insurance side,” Barton said.

Barton has met with each department head, balancing their wish lists with the amount the departments spent this year. Council members heard proposals from planning and community development, city legal, parks and recreation, police, the airport and redevelopment commission.

Planning and community development director Brandy Allen is asking for money to update the city’s zoning code, which have not been revised since 2009. The revisions are being spread across two budget years.

Allen said the updates would clear up loopholes and other discrepancies in the code.

Police chief Mike Norman is requesting $8,000 for K9 services and maintenance, which had relied on community donations. The donation fund was depleted with the addition of a second dog, Norman said.

The department also seeks funds for more training and equipment for SWAT negotiators and new radars and equipment for patrol vehicles.

The rest of the department heads will present their budgets at 6 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building.

Eighth annual MCMC conference set for July 28-29

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

The Montgomery County Men for Christ will celebrate its eighth conference July 28-29. The Friday event, hosted by First United Methodist Church, 212 E. Wabash Ave., is free and will run 7-9 p.m. All are invited and child care is provided.

The Saturday session, which is free as well, is an outdoor, men’s only event from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of Kevin and Jill Parker, 867 Walnut Hills. Men of all ages are encouraged to bring their Bibles and lawn chairs. Darilicious will provide a free lunch.

The conference this year focuses on the question, “So Now What?” This question arises particularly in light of the recent billboard and statistics indicating that Montgomery County is ranked 9 of 92 most at risk population for opioid abuse.

Conference leaders agree with the hash‐tag on the billboard that “This Ranking Matters” but also understands the drug use in our county is an evident symptom of one’s need for Christ in their life versus a needle. As leaders in a county that is a leader in heroin use, we get to be on the front line regarding the symptoms that point to the need for Jesus. Drugs, money, porn and the many other idols, are symptoms that require the truth. Heroin is being injected on the billboard, but what goes in the heart comes out. And if Jesus is not in us, the wrong god is (Matthew 6:21).

Author and Pastor Mark Shaw will speak to the epidemic that has befallen the nation and in particular Montgomery County.

Shaw and his wife, Mary, relocated to Indiana from Alabama in 2013 in order for him to lead Vision of Hope (women’s residential treatment) and Safe Haven (one family transitional housing home for those who have lost their home in a natural disaster, are fleeing domestic violence or have otherwise been displaced) in Lafayette. With over two decades of counseling experience working in a variety of settings, both secular and faith-based, Shaw has been addressing issues surrounding addictions of all types and supervising staff for many years. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001 and he is a Certified Biblical Counselor (International Association of Biblical Counselors; Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Level 2) and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (Alabama Association of Drug and Alcohol Abuse).

He has written 20 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Eating Disorders; Addiction Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ Centered Biblical Counseling (2013) and was co-editor of Paul, the Counselor (2014).

Shaw leads the ministries of Vision of Hope and Safe Haven, supervises staff and interns, regularly teaches residents in a classroom setting, and oversees the progress of each resident.

His passion is to train the local body of believers in biblical counseling and specifically, biblical addiction counseling.

Shaw’s intent is that all who attend the conference leave encouraged that there is great hope for those ensnared in addictions of any kind.

Hoover project moves forward

Plans to continue renovations at Hoover Elementary School are moving forward.

The Crawfordsville Community School Corp. Board of Education on Thursday approved a resolution for the project, which is scheduled to resume next summer.

Crews will finish upgrades to both the roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Classrooms will receive new projectors, white boards and lighting, and be re-painted and re-carpeted.

A $1.3 million state grant is funding the project. No one spoke in favor of or against the plans during a public hearing.

Board members also approved a teacher appreciation grant policy, matching requirements in state law. Teachers rated “highly effective” can now receive 25 percent more incentive pay than colleagues who are rated “effective.”

In other business:

• The following positions were re-appointed: Dr. Scott Douglas, corporation doctor; Dr. Janet Rucker, corporation dentist; and Stu Weliever, corporation attorney.

• Members accepted the following resignations: Mary Fossnock, middle school math teacher; Heather Allen, Hoover music teacher; Trevor Fanning, middle/high school choir teacher; Adana Hedge, educational consultant; Janna Surber, educational consultant; Lesley Shrader, educational consultant; Misty McCarty, middle school aide; Evan Morgan, middle school math teacher; and Jill Coffing, West Central Indiana Special Services Cooperative director.

• The following hirings were approved: Ashley Sanders, middle school math teacher, and Leslie Oaks, K-1 teacher.

• Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker reported 17 percent of students have registered online so far for the upcoming year. Bills will now be sent out in September, after the window for switching classes has closed.

National memorial in works for Gulf War

More than 25 years after serving in the Persian Gulf, Greg Carey knows there is less interest in the stories of driving Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

“It’s just something that’s not in the forefront of people’s consciousness, I guess,” said Carey, who built roads for the Army during the war.

Carey got his first look Tuesday at plans for a national Operation Desert Storm memorial, which aims to educate younger generations about the war and honor more than 380 Americans killed in combat.

The war lasted from August 1990 to February 1991, led by a coalition of 35 nations against Iraq. By one count, three Indiana service members were killed in combat, and eight others died of non-hostile causes.

As the 20th anniversary of the combat phase approached, Marine infantry veteran Scott Stump said his then-preteen children didn’t seem fully aware of what happened, beyond their father’s experiences in the war.

Some veterans say the war is often merely remembered for the continuous television coverage or misperceived as the first chapter of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“I came to realize if something didn’t happen and happen very quickly, this story — as unique as it is — would be forgotten,” said Stump, who lives in North Carolina.

He recruited other Gulf war veterans and their families to form the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, raising funds for the site. 

Members also reached out to Congress for legislation authorizing the memorial, which President Donald Trump signed in March.

The $25 million, privately-funded project has key ties to the Hoosier state.

One association board member lives in Kokomo and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) co-sponsored the legislation. Indianapolis-based  firm CSO Architects designed the proposed memorial.

Plans call for depicting a timeline of events, an engraving of the names of the fallen and statues representing a service man and woman.

Organizers want to build the memorial on land near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a nod to the Vietnam veterans who commanded Desert Storm. Another site is under consideration across the Potomac River.

The foundation continues seeking corporate donations. Stump hopes the memorial will be dedicated in 2020.

To donate to the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, go to ndswm.org/.

Other chefs inspire Fornari

Dining with the Chefs, an event benefiting the Montgomery County Free Clinic, takes place at 6 p.m. Aug. 5 at Wabash College’s Allen Center.

Cooking is both an act of love and an expression of personality, so we are profiling the chefs who bring this mouthwatering event to life. Laura Fornari is the Sous Chef at Wabash College for the Bon Appétit catering company. Some of her most memorable food experiences concern creatures from the deep.

Where did you receive your training as a chef?

I graduated from The Chef’s Academy in Indianapolis, but most of the training I have received was, and still is, from all the great chefs I try to surround myself with. I have learned many things from family and various chefs.

How long have you been cooking and in what capacities?

I have been working in the culinary industry now for almost six years and most of this time has been spent in fine dining institutions. When my career first began, I started as a table busser and worked hard at every job after that to learn as much as possible to become better. 

What are your sources of inspiration for creating new recipes?

The reaction of others to my food is how I find inspiration for creating new dishes.

What is “food sense” and how does a chef develop this?

Food sense is the development of one’s palate and I believe it is developed the more one cooks and works with different, unique and interesting ingredients.

Describe your ideal meal.

Potato chips and a cup of coffee.

What would you say to a young person who wants to be a chef?

Work hard at everything you do, even if you think it seems ridiculous. Watch everyone around you and soak in the multiple ways of doing tasks. Experiment with different ingredients and ask questions as much as possible. Be able to accept constructive criticism.

What do you think about recent public trends such as attention to local sourcing and organics?

I think local sourcing is important because it not only supports the economy but it also allows us to have access to the freshest ingredients that are in season. It also allows those who have worked hard to produce the ingredients to receive recognition for their hard work.

Who is/are your chef idol/s?


What is your favorite food to prepare?


If your cooking was a song, what song would it be?

“Somebody to Love” by Queen

Favorite utensil?


Strangest ingredient you’ve ever used in a meal?

Squid Ink.

Worst food experience?

I once went to a sushi bar with my oldest sister and she convinced me to try sea urchin. It was difficult to keep it down.

Hat or no hat?

No hat.

Tickets for Dining With the Chefs can be purchased at http://mcfreeclinic.org/chefs; or you may send a check for $75 a ticket to Dining with the Chefs, Montgomery County Free Clinic Inc., P.O. Box 86, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.