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December 27, 2012

White Christmas is one day late
For road conditions contact:
• 1-800-261-7623 •

Wanda English Burnett

Some people longed for a white Christmas in the county, but the request wasn't granted until the day after Christmas this year.

Blizzard warnings kept scrolling across television screens on Christmas Day, along with weather alerts in various other venues, forecasting some nasty weather for Ripley County.

True to the forecasts, snow began falling and it beautiful to some and a nuisance to others who have to get out in it. By 8 a.m. Wed. Dec. 26 Ripley County had issued a Yellow Advisory, according to EMA Director Patrick Rose. Yellow means routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation. Also, people should use extreme caution with schools and businesses implementing their emergency action plans.

Of course schools were not in session, so that wasn't an issue for Wed.

The Indiana State Police have issued a travel advisory for the district saying the roads are snow covered, slick and hazardous. On Wed. morning, the ISP reported an overturned straight truck on I-74 eastbound at the 153 mile marker, which is about two miles east of Batesville.

A little advice from the state police includes not to call city, county, or state police to check on road conditions. They note that police agencies want to keep the phone lines open for emergency phone calls.

For up-to-date weather information the best source is your radio or television. You can also check the National Weather Service at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/.

You can visit www.TrafficWise.IN.gov or call toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD for updated Indiana travel information. This includes road closures, conditions, construction information, crashes and other alerts.

Greg Prince with the Indiana Department of Transportation or INDOT, gives some tips for driving in inclement weather conditions:

• Accelerate gradually on ice or snow to avoid slipping and sliding.

• Drive slowly and carefully to avoid rear-end collisions and sliding on curves.

• Allow greater distance behind the car ahead; it take more time to stop on snow and ice.

• Brake early, break slowly, never slam on the brakes; if you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it; if you don't, gently pump the pedal.

• No cruise control; avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.

• Maintain good visibility, stay alert and use your headlights so others will see you.

• Give snowplows room to operate; don't tailgate or try to pass them.

ISP advise if you have to travel during any storm, carry a fully charged and functioning cell phone. Of course, the best bet is to stay at home if at all possible during storms such as the snow storm that hit Ripley County on Wednesday.


Pictured left is US 50 west of Holton. The roads were snow covered and slick at 9 a.m. Wed. morning with more snow coming down.

Judges bring halt to Community Corrections Program

Wanda English Burnett

Ripley County judges, Carl Taul, circuit court and James Morris, superior court, have both withdrawn their support for the Community Correction Program and have said they will not use the program, even if it is established.

Prosecutor Ric Hertel said he was very disappointed the court did not see the value in the $169,000 in additional services that would have been available through a grant from the Indiana Department of Corrections, IDOC.

In April of this year, local officials received a notice that the IDOC had determined Ripley County was qualified for the $169,000 grant to be used to establish the program.

The Community Corrections Program could consists of programs such as work release, in-home detention, daily reporting, and a drug court program. In essence, it could give the drug offender a chance to get clean, an opportunity to get their life together.

The program would have been operated through an Advisory Board, that was to be comprised of several law enforcement groups, judges, probation, citizens, ex-offenders, victims, and more.

Initially, the judges agreed it would be a beneficial program to the county. Ripley County is one of the eleven counties in the state (92 counties) that does not have some type of community corrections program like this.

The County Commissioners were on board with the idea and passed an ordinance, with Judge James Morris preparing the first draft. On Nov. 30 the commissioners appointed the advisory board members. Ten days later, the judges sent a letter to the commissioners withdrawing their support and copying those people who had just been appointed.

In an email sent on Monday, Dec. 17 from Judge Carl Taul, to Dalton Haney, program director for community corrections, it read in part, “Judge Morris and I have sent a letter to the Ripley County Commissioners office, with a copy to your office, advising them that the courts in this county will not support a community correction program in this county at this time. Let me be clear. I will make no appointments to the advisory board, I will not serve on the advisory board and no probation officer will serve on the board. We will not participate in any way. We will not attend any meeting nor serve on any drug court.”

The director of Community Based Programs, Mike Lloyd responded to the email saying he hoped in the future Ripley County would be a community corrections grant county.

Prosecutor Hertel said, “The prosecutor's office continues to believe that the additional alternatives provided by the grant, specifically an effective work release program, in-home detention program, daily reporting program and a drug court program, would be a benefit to the citizens of Ripley county, both to the offender and the community as a whole.”

He went on to thank the many individuals who have contacted him who were excited about all the new services that could have come to Ripley County. He told The Versailles Republican he shares in their frustration of not having the opportunity to have the program here.

The prosecutor thanked the commissioners for the support and attempt to provide more services to Ripley County, as well as the advisory board who had agreed to give their time, knowledge and experience, in order to serve.

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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