Winners of this year's geography bee at Tzouanakis Intermediate School are (front, from left) Hannah Gellman, first place; Taylor Runnells, second place; Nate Staggs, third place; along with finalists (middle, from left) Lucas Eckrich, Levi Lewis, Jason Ummel, (back, from left) Brandon Peterson, Isaac Harms, Caleb Walker and Alina Carrillo. Gellman will now take a statewide test with the possibility of going to national competition later this year.
A meeting to discuss a decaying historic bridge has been set up between county and state officials.
A tour of old Bridge 159 is planned for Thursday, Feb. 15 when the county commissioners, project engineer and representatives from the state and federal highway departments gather at the Reelsville Fire Station at 9:30 a.m.
The old concrete arch bridge, built in 1929, has been replaced by a two-lane structure in a million dollar project that was many years in the making. The old bridge has been left standing to be restored as a pedestrian walkway. However, concerns have arisen about the old bridge's safety and the amount of money needed for a restoration -- $800,000 has been set aside by the state, but the county will have to kick in another $200,000 to $300,000 for its share of the project. That is money county officials say could be used for bridges that carry daily auto traffic.
Commissioners Kristina Warren, Gene Beck and Jim Baird plan to meet at the fire station, carpool to the old bridge site for a tour, and return to the fire station for discussion. That session is open to the public.
Meanwhile during their regular session on Monday, the commissioners also signed a letter of support for the Altra Indiana ethanol plant near Cloverdale, which is now under construction.
New general manager Chuck Moseman said the construction is moving along as fast as possible. Water for the plant will come from wells near the old A&C quarry south of the well field for the City of Brazil along the Big Walnut Creek.
Moseman said the banks funding the plant construction are asking for assurance the water can get from the wells to the plant, so he was asking for county support of water lines that may be installed along county roads.
The commissioners agreed, noting that the final route for the water line must come back to the commissioners for approval.
In other business, the commissioners:
Heard that legislation to change the allowed uses for the county's hazardous waste fund has passed out of a Senate committee and is heading to the House of Representatives for committee review. County 911 director Dave Costin and emergency management director Kim Hyten both testified before the committee about the legislation change, which would allow hazardous waste funds to be used for the construction of an emergency operations center.
Heard from Assessor Wanda O'Neal and Nancy Dennis of the Real Estate Office asking for additional data collection staff to assist with reassessment work. The commissioners tabled the request to their Feb. 19 meeting.
Received a project summary from Sheriff Mark Frisbie on the county jail roof replacement project by Walnut Creek Construction at a cost of $103,725. The project has been completed.
Interviewed Richard Lynch and Bryan Allen, who both expressed interest in serving on the citizens advisory committee of the West Central Solid Waste District. The commissioners will announce a decision at a later date.
Tabled a request to update the 911 dispatcher evaluation policy. The commissioners also noted they need to update the county employee policy manual.
Learned 115 steers were retinal scanned and ear tagged for the 4-H beef project during a recent weekend at the fairgrounds.
Saw that July 20-28 will be the dates for this year's county 4-H Fair.
Voted to reappoint Sandy O'Hair to the Clinton Township Advisory Board.
Learned that a hearing will be conducted by the Department of Natural Resources at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds on a request by people wanting to keep a cougar on their property.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the commissioners is set for for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19 at the courthouse annex. The meeting is open to the public.