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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Safe Schools gearing up for National Night Out

Monday, June 11, 2007

National Night Out is coming to Putnam County.

Through the efforts of the Putnam County Safe Schools Committee, the event to introduce area youth to emergency services providers will take place from 7-10 p.m., Aug. 7, at Robe-Ann Park.

On Thursday, the Safe School Committee received an update from a handful of committee members that are preparing the event.

"I'm excited at how it's all coming together," Safe Schools Committee Chairman and Greencastle Middle School Principal Shawn Gobert said.

Old National Trail representative and committee member Tom Standers has been spearheading the event after suggesting Putnam County take part earlier this year.

While Standers was not at Thursday's meeting, two committee members that have worked with him on the event were.

"I know everything is kind of falling into place," said Greencastle Police Dept. Chief Tom Sutherlin.

Putnam County Youth Development Commission Executive Director and committee member Linda Merkel said several area churches will serve as vendors for the event, providing free drinks, popcorn and hot dogs.

In addition, Merkel said several area assistant principals and principals will take part in a dunk tank that will be set up.

The event will be targeted for elementary and middle school-aged students.

"The whole focus is on safety," said Mental Health American of Putnam County Executive Director Eileen Johnson said.

Merkel said all emergency and social services located within the county have come aboard to take part in the event.

"This is going to be our first year," Merkel said. "We're kind of learning as we go."

Some school safety specialists Thursday pointed out that school registration could be a conflict. But they noted that dates could be changed as National Night Out always takes place on Aug. 7.

National Night Out began in 1984 through the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit crime prevention organization. Four-hundred national communities in 23 states took part in the first event in 1984.

The 2006 event, however, involved more than 35 million people in more than 11,000 communities nationwide.

The committee's group that is setting up National Night Out for Putnam County has a meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 19, at Greencastle Police Dept.

Meanwhile, the committee heard an update regarding the possibility of finding someone to help it with grant writing.

For the past several months, the committee has been searching for a grant writer replacement for Jennifer Meadows, an independent consultant it had been working with.

On Thursday, Gobert informed the committee he had been in touch with Strategic Develop-ment Group, Bloomington, about possibly writing proposed committee grants.

Gobert said the committee had approached the Bloomington company prior to working with Meadows, who is based in Montgomery County.

However, Gobert said the committee was unaware of how much money it would have at the time and wanted to work with someone more local.

But the committee recently parted ways with Meadows and started looking for a replacement.

Gobert said he planned on having representatives from Strategic Development Group meet with the committee in September.

"We can decide in the fall if that's something they can do for us," he said.

In other business, the committee:

* Rotated its committee chairman. North Putnam Community School Corp. Assistant Supt. Kevin Emsweller will serve as committee chairman for the 2007-08 school year while Standers will serve as secretary.

The committee meets on the first Thursday of each month at Miller Education Center.

Its next meeting, however, is set as an organizational meeting for school safety specialists only at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 2.

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