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November 15, 2012

Ripley County Economic Development holds annual mtg.

Wanda English Burnett

"It takes everyone working together," was the simple message Gary Norman brought before the 2012 annual meeting of the Ripley County Economic Development where he serves as the executive director.

The event took place Tuesday, November 10 at the Sunman American Legion where a good crowd gathered to support the successes of the economic development and to welcome a new business, Solarzentrum North America (SZNA) to Osgood.

Norman said he remembered his first telephone conversations with Reinhard Peter, who along with his wife, Christine, own SZNA.

While Norman said Reinhard mixes a few German words from his homeland in his well spoken English, he said he learned to focus on the conversation at hand realizing the Peters were offering to bring a first class act to the county – one that will bring over 100 jobs.

The couple has already moved into the Osgood area and have a small version of a larger company already in operation in Osgood. They have hired six employees.

SZNA serves as the sole North American distributor and manufacturer for the PV-Therm module – which combines the benefits of a thermal solar collector and a PV module in one single entity. This provides heating, cooling and electricity to a facility or residential home, all at the same time.

The company, which will eventually be located in the Osgood Business Park, will produce both the PV-Therm module and high efficiency photovoltaic PV modules.

Osgood Town Board President Linda Krinop welcomed SZNA to Osgood. She said, "We are so pleased to have you in Osgood, all of Ripley County will be blessed."

The town board, along with their economic development representative, Brenda Wetzler, has worked tirelessly toward this goal and were very vocal in expressing their thanks for all the help they received.

Reinhard was also thankful saying of the board members, "If you need help - they are there." He said he looks forward to growing together with the new community he has made his home. "We can only do it together," he noted, telling the crowd they want to be able to give back to the community.

Reinhard's son, Andreas, who is also involved in building the business, spoke at the event as well. He said he has lived in three countries reflecting as many cultural influences. He said when everyone works together…things move forward. He and wife, Carla, now live in New Mexico, but will soon join his parents in the Osgood area.

Andreas said although they are moving from a large city to such a small place, they look at it as a very positive move. "We are moving from the desert to green," he laughed.

Rene' Adam and Benno Nieberle were at the economic development dinner meeting with the Peters. They bring their German expertise in helping with set-up for SZNA.

While SZNA was featured at the annual event, Norman also told the crowd about other positives in economic development in the past year.

Norman noted that Concepts Industrial, a company in Sunman, has expanded adding 25 new full-time employees. "They are a huge asset to Sunman," Norman said as he urged everyone to check out the outer façade of the old Pri-Pak building where the new company is located.

Concepts is a distributor and asset company that deals primarily with large automotive component manufacturers including General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Corp.

Norman talked about the Welcome Center located in Versailles on US 50 where the Ripley County Economic Development office is housed. He said due to the overwhelming success of visitors to the facility, the decision was made to do an acquisition of the building.

"Thanks to a grant we received from the Rising Sun Community Foundation and a loan from The Napoleon State Bank, we were able to purchase the property." He went on to say others with offices in the building continue to pay rent with the money going to equity.

The Ripley County Chamber of Commerce and Ripley County Tourism Bureau are also in the Welcome Center building. Both Amy Thomas, executive director of the chamber and Katherine Taul, executive director of tourism, were in attendance at the meeting, with Norman recognizing them for their support.

Norman thanked everyone in attendance for their interest and support of economic development in the county. He continues to work every lead that could bring business and growth to the county and to expand beyond the tradition "box thinking" to make Ripley County not only an attractive place for businesses, but for people such as the Peters to move in and become integrated in the community.

Ripley County Economic Development Corp. can be reached by phone at 689-4344 or email: ripleyed@seidata.com.

K&H Fine Foods Catering, Sunman, provided a meal from appetizers to desserts that had people coming back for seconds and taking some home.


Pictured from left Andreas Peter, with Solarzentum North America (SZNA), DeDee Holliday, Osgood Town Council, Linda Krinop, Osgood Town Council president; and Reinhard Peter, co-owner with his wife, Christine, not pictured, were at the Ripley County Economic Development Annual Dinner meeting where the Peters received baskets to welcome them to the community. They will eventually employ about 150 people and will be located in the Osgood Business Park.

Versailles Town Council hears concerns from fire chief about alarms

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

The Versailles Town Council met for its regular monthly session at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 8, at the Versailles Town Hall. All council members and attorney Larry Eaton were in attendance. The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the reading of the minutes from the October meeting, which were unanimously approved.

Present were council members Kiersten Libby, Steve Mathes, Sue Meisberger, and John Holzer. Fire Chief Ben Sieverding was also in attendance.

Sieverding reported that the department has responded to 34 calls since the October meeting. He also informed the board that someone had complained to the state about the fire alarms at the Tyson Activity Center during its Halloween haunted house. He said when the building closed down and was not being used, the fire alarms were all disconnected because they kept sounding off for no reason.

Sieverding said that the state inspector showed up in response to the complaint and the Versailles Fire Department was needed to provide a "fire watch" during the public event. Sieverding expressed concern that the fire department may not have the manpower to be able to provide a watch each day that the Tyson Activity Center is open to the public. He was especially concerned about the Tyson basketball leagues.

"We can't provide a fire watch every day for the basketball league. I don't want to start the season and not be able to cover it," Sieverding said, expressing that the department has had a lot of emergency calls during the past month, including a recent fire where the CO2 detector alerted the family. He said he is worried the department may not be able to cover the Tyson Gym if they have an actual fire to respond to.

Sieverding also reported that the new emergency sirens have arrived and will be installed soon. He said that Duke Energy has offered to assist with the cost by donating either the poles or the labor to perform the installation. Sieverding said that they would more than likely go with the labor, because it would save the town the most money, adding that he is still waiting to hear back from the Ripley County Community Foundation.

Steve Mathes reported that the Indiana Department of Transportation has approved the planning grant for the proposed walking/bike trails. He said that INDOT would like to arrange a meeting to present the check to the town in the next few months.

Mathes asked Eaton if he had an opportunity to follow up with the American Legion on the easement between the town hall and the legion. He reported speaking with Roger Kavanaugh with the Versailles American Legion. The council plans to meet with legion members and Surveyor Jeff French to outline what will be deeded to the legion.

John Holzer said that he is in the process of getting an estimate from Hughes Tree Service to trim the cherry trees in town. Questions regarding the cost were raised, as well as the town's responsibility to maintain the trees, considering many of the trees are on private property. In order to curb some of the cost, it was suggested that the courthouse and South Ripley Schools maintain their own trees.

Meisberger brought up a house located at 402 S. High Street that has been an eyesore for the town for quite some time. Libby said that the owner submitted a timeline to the town stating that he can have the property cleaned up by the end of 2013, but it appears that the owner has not performed any clean up as of yet. The property includes a barn that is collapsing. Meisberger stated that she had seen some kids playing around there and is concerned for their safety.

Libby said that the owner still owes for the sidewalk and there is currently a lien on the property. It was noted that the yard has not been mowed, but the city has maintained the bushes.

There have also been complaints received about the property at 234 S. Main Street, where the bushes are overgrown and the grass has not been cut.

A complaint about a home on Harvest Ridge was received, as well. However, Eaton said that he drove past and didn't see anything outside, with the exception of two cars that appeared to be operable. "No problems," he said.

Meisberger reported for Superintendent Kevin Hensley that the new curbs by the Tyson church are in, but the finish plate has not been poured yet. She also said the new tractor has been purchased.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Versailles Town Council will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 18, at the Versailles Town Hall.

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.

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