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December 6, 2012

Commissioners have first meeting in new annex

Wanda English Burnett

Moving day has continued into the week for many county offices as they began Fri. Nov. 30 the massive project of moving every office on the first floor of the Ripley County Courthouse to the new annex.

While some offices are settling into the new annex building, located adjacent to the north of the courthouse, other offices from the probation department are filling up the space on the first floor of the courthouse from their perspective offices in the old annex.

The first official business was conducted at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 30 in the new annex when the county commissioners continued their meeting that had been recessed from Monday of that same week.

In the meeting room for the commissioners, council, etc. there is a 137 person capacity, far surpassing the small space where meetings for the public were previously held. There are flat screen monitors for those who are presenting a Powerpoint to make it easier for the public official as well as the public to view. Also, there is overflow room in the hallway with a monitor there as well. All meetings will be recorded.

"We are truly excited," president of the commissioners, Rob Reiners told The Versailles Republican on moving day. "People just don't understand when we say it was all done without adding to the taxpayers burden," noted Mark Busching, who is also a commissioner. Gary Stutler, commissioner, said the new facility is a foresight of previous commissioners who had the future in mind. Reiners was one of those as he has held his position for the past 14 years.

They also praised county council members, and elected officials who have held the reigns tight on spending in the past years. "It's because of people before us, that we have this beautiful, efficient building," Stutler noted. The annex is paid for in full, according to commissioners. "People can't believe it when we tell them we didn't even have to float a bond," Reiners said.

Everything in the new facility was built with the future in mind. There is plenty of additional space to grow and storage space that still boggles the minds of some of the employees who have dealt with cramped space issues for years.

There will be an open house in the future, but, there is still a lot of work being done outside the annex. When everything is completed, they will announce an open house date and invite everyone in.

Offices currently in the new annex include: assessor, auditor, treasurer, recorder, health department, planning commissioner/building inspector, technology, veterans service officer and surveyor.

Offices that will now be housed on the first floor of the courthouse include the many facets of the probation department, with the courts still being on the second and third floors. The prosecutor's office will remain on the third floor. Plans are to renovate the courthouse.

With the conclusion of the Nov. 26 meeting held in the new annex, the commissioners conducted a variety of business.

That business included:

• Jim Lovins resigned as dog warden for the county. He was replaced by Roxanne Collins, recommended by Lovins. She will begin her duties effective Dec. 19.

• Patrick Rose, Ripley County Emergency Management director, came before the commissioners to invite them to a practice evacuation at the Batesville High School.

• Commissioners signed a 6-year agreement for the Ripley County Food Pantry to use a building at the fairground park in Osgood. They also approved the annual contract from the extension office as presented by Dave Osborne.

• Commissioners decided to not allow police vehicles to be used for personal use. Dennis Dunlap, consultant for the county to revamp the handbook had a proposal about the use of police vehicles and the sheriff also submitted his Standard Operating Procedure on his policy, but both were rejected. Police officers can still take their vehicles home. This rule applies to all county vehicles.

• Ruth Riehle, Sunman, came before the commissioners to request they approach the owners of Concepts Industrial about clearing trees from a waterway and outside storage. She was advised to file a complaint with the zoning board. She was also advised to seek legal counsel and proceed through the court system since the county drainage board has no jurisdiction in the case since a waterway is not blocked.

• The request for a recording system for Judge Carl Taul's court was met with unanimous approval. The system cost $5,680.00 and was taken out of the cum cap fund.

• At the request of the commissioners, Mary Ann McCoy, clerk, appeared to address the fact that she had hired an employee without an application and review by the commissioners. She was told if she did not provide an application to the auditor's office before the end of Nov. 26 she would have to send the new employee home.

• McCoy advised the commissioners the cost of the ballots for the November election had exceeded her budget and requested the commissioner pay the excess. This request was met with unanimous approval.

The next regular meeting of the county commissioners will be held Mon. Dec. 10 beginning at 7 a.m. at the county highway, Osgood, and reconvening at the new annex building on the north side of the courthouse square in Versailles.


Pictured above from left county commissioners Mark Busching, Robert Reiners, Gary Stutler, and auditor Bill Wagner, are please to sit in the new seats in the meeting room at the new annex building located north of the courthouse in Versailles. On Fri. Nov. 30 the commissioners reconvenced from their Mon. Nov. 26 meeting and held the first official business in the annex. Pictured at right, President of the commissioners, Reiners, shows a part of the new annex not usually shown to the public. These are the intregal parts that keeps the building warm and cool etc. and is located on the top floor closed off to the public.

Greensburg couples killed in plane crash

Wanda English Burnet

The identities of four people involved in a fatal plane crash in Greensburg Sunday night have now been released.

Killed in the crash were Donald Horan, 46, his wife, Barbara, 44, Stephen A. Butz, 45, and his wife, Denise, 42. The couples were close friends just returning from a weekend in Destin, FL.

A call for help went out after the FAA notified officials that they lost the signal of a plane around 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening. About 125 first responders went to the scene, where the plane was located around 10:45 p.m. about a mile east of the Greensburg Municipal Airport just off County Road 200 West.

Greensburg Police Detective Bill Meyerrose noted, "It appears there was some impact in a field...the plane came to rest on a hillside in a wooded area."

It was noted that fog and mist were the weather conditions at the time of the plane crash.

Donald Horan was the pilot of the PA-46 Piper Malibu plane and had five years of piloting experience. He held a current license to fly.

The Horans and Butz's were well known in the Decatur County area where they lived and were known to be very generous.

Von McGuire, Versailles, said of Don Horan, "He was a wonderful man who never wanted anyone to know what he did for them." He recalled when his father, Russell McGuire, was gravely ill and had a dream as a local bluegrass artist, to meet George Jones. Don was one of the people instrumental in making that happen. "He gave so much that people never knew about," McGuire noted, saying he will be greatly missed.

The Horans leave behind four daughters, the youngest being a seventh grader and the oldest, a sophomore at Indiana University. The Butz' have two boys.

A press conference was held Monday evening with a spokesperson for the family, Brian Wenning, saying, "It is with much heaviness of heart that I announce God has called four of our loved ones home." He went on to say that six beautiful children are left behind to hurt and grieve over the loss of their parents. He asked for respect and privacy for the grieving process.

Greensburg Mayor, Gary Herbert, called the four "pillars of the community," saying it was a somber day at city hall. Herbert said Don Horan was a mover and shaker in the community, a go-getter, a great family man. He said he had worked with Don's father years ago and knew the family well.

The Horan girls, who have or now attend Oldenburg Academy, were in attendance at a prayer service there on Monday. President Sr. Therese Gillman said of the family, "They were extremely active. She said it was very upsetting to the school because, "we are very close, like a family...everyone knows everyone." Counselors were on hand for the students.

At the press conference Eric Kramer, who represented the Butz family, thanked the search efforts and volunteers.

The National Safety and Transportation Board, NSTB, have begun their investigation into the crash, which could take some time.

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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