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February 26, 2013

Sheriff's office questioned over use of county vehicles, fuel for second jobs

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners met in regular session on Friday, February 15 at the highway department and annex.

At the last meeting, they dealt with an issue with the sheriff's office hiring a jailer without approval from commissioners. Commissioners later approved the new hire after reviewing information from the sheriff's office.

Major Dave Pippin was present to represent the sheriff's department regarding future issues on hiring procedures. Pippin presented commissioners with the application of Roxie Ensinger, the new hire. He said a background check had been done on the new employee. Pippin also presented signed nepotism statements from Sheriff Tom Grills, Candice Bingham and Ensinger.

Commissioners questioned Pippin about the use of sheriff's vehicles and county fuel to provide escorts for trucks installing the pipeline in the northern part of the county. Commissioner Reiners told Pippin that this is considered a "second job" to those taking part in the escorts and the use of sheriff's vehicles to provide the escorts has not been approved.

Pippin said it was his understanding from a discussion with Sheriff Grills that this had been approved. Reiners emphasized that commissioners had not been consulted nor had any approval been given. Pippin assured them that he would advise the sheriff and was certain that he would address the issue.

Pippin was also questioned about inmates' clothing being flushed and clogging the sewer system. Pippin responded that they are now using coveralls rather than pants and shirts, making it less likely that they can be flushed.

In other discussion, the fencing between the recycling center and highway garage was discussed. Quotes were received from Fencecraft LLC for $6,635.70; Indiana Agricultural Fencing for $10,800.00; and Indiana Wire Products, Inc. for $10,929.00. Additional information will be gathered and reviewed at the next meeting.

Drop chains for the dump trucks were again discussed. A set may be purchased to determine if they work satisfactorily. The spreader box has also been ordered and should be delivered in April.

Tom Armstrong was present to discuss Bridge 14. He said that since state funds were not being used, the State did not have an issue with the grid deck replacement. Also, there should be no issues with horse drawn buggies crossing the bridge.

Johnnie Lohrum, maintenance supervisor, informed commissioners that Maxwell Construction wanted to work on President's Day while the courthouse was closed. Commissioners said they trusted Maxwell Construction and decided to provide them with a key to the courthouse.

Repairs on the second floor and attic areas are needed to meet code.Lohrum presented a quote from Cintas for $5,327.00. Reiners stated he would like to meet with QPH to go over what piping in the basement needs to be changed that was covered by the quote.

Dave Drew of QPH advised commissioners that he had met with Sam Puterbaugh of LWC to review the preventative maintenance requirements for the annex building. Drew said that since seven units were no longer being serviced from the demolished buildings, he could provide preventative maintenance for the Annex for 2013 for an additional $1,500.00. He is to provide a detailed list outlining the maintenance to be included.

Gary Detmer of Maxwell Construction told commissioners that the scope of work provided by LWC did not include the pipe insulation on the south side of the main floor courthouse currently under renovation. Also not included was patching holes in walls, as well as phone or data lines. Puterbaugh informed commissioners that there was a difference of interpretation of prepping the walls for paint by LWC and Maxwell Construction.

The cost to finish the insulation of overhead pipes in rooms 122, 124 and 125 of the courthouse would be $12,175.00. Commissioners unanimously approved the amount. They requested that Maxwell Construction provide estimates for the data and phone lines and a change for the prosecutor for security for the child support office.

Puterbaugh answered to commissioners about invoices received for engineering fees for the gas pipe for future generator replacement to natural gas. Also discussed was a request for $15,000.00 for additional services for LWC to continue to oversee the completion of the parking lot and landscaping for the annex. Puterbaugh was questioned about the additional fees. Puterbaugh said that if the fees were not approved, that no one from LWC would be there to oversee the project. No action was taken at this time.

In other business:

• Clerk Mary Ann McCoy reported she had contacted the State and was advised the contract with ServPro for cleaning records should include the signing of a confidentiality statement stating that they would not discuss any information they may see during the cleaning.

• Donna Ashley of Phillips Supply presented a proposal for the finish on the Terrazzo floor, which included necessary equipment to prepare the floor and apply the wax.

• The contract for services from the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission was presented and approved.

• Commissioners unanimously approved a quote from Cardinal Pest Control LLC to treat offices and other rooms of the annex for $175.00 per month.

• Kaye Hunger was appointed to the board of Historic Hoosier Hills Resource, Conservation and Development.

• A Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Anthony James Wood and Scott Stutler was signed for the Friendship Regional Sewer District. Resolution 2013-01 appointing Patrica A. Thomas and Resolution 2013-02 appointing Glen Kamman to the board of trustees of Friendship Regional Sewer District was approved, with commissioner Stutler abstaining.

• Grant agreements were signed with the City of Rising Sun and Ohio County for Riverboat Revenue Sharing.

• A certificate of farmer or state or local government unit for Laughery Valley Ag LLC for sales tax exemption was signed.

The next regular meeting of the commissioners will be Monday, March 4.


Major Dave Pippin, standing, came before the commissioners to represent the sheriff's office regarding future issues on hiring procedures.

Remembrance service set for Saturday, March 2

Wanda English Burnett

A service will be held Saturday, March 2 to respect, reflect and remember those who lost their lives in the tragic tornado that tore through Holton one year ago on that day.

Pastor Bob McCreary of the Holton Christian Church invites anyone who wants to be a part of the service to the church at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday.

He gave a brief overview of the service telling the Osgood Journal it will be a day to pause and with great respect remember the lives that have been taken from the community: Ronnie Pickett, Armando Hernandez, and Ted Tolbert. Tolbert died 11 months after the tornado from injuries sustained in the twister.

"We will have a special service to remember the loss that so many of our neighbors experienced, but also celebrate the path to recovery," Pastor McCreary noted.

He said the service will feature special music by the Keith Swinney Band, of which Pickett was a member. Also, Jack Bustle, who's house and barn were severely damaged in the tornado, will be playing with Ronnie Deaton. Both are members of the Common Ground Band. Jack and his wife, Gay, live on Versailles Street on the south side across from the homes where lives were lost.

The service will also include various speakers giving short talks and at 3:58 the church bells will toll after a moment of silence to show respect to the memory of the lives lost.

When the service concludes, the group is welcome and encouraged to walk up the street and place wreaths to honor the victims. Versailles Street will be shut down in that area and the people will be escorted by police, fire and emergency personnel, who are and were such a vital part of the community.

Pastor McCreary invites anyone who wants to be a part of this special service to attend.

Holton churches are stronghold as people worship, reflect and rebuild

Karen Reynolds
Contributing Writer

The crowd who gathered for worship at the Holton Methodist Church on Versailles Street, Sunday, Feb. 24 reflected a blend of both their congregation and that of the Wesleyan church.

Members of the Wesleyan church have found a church home as they have been worshipping in the Holton Methodist Church since the March 2, 2012, tornado that destroyed much of Holton, including their church.

Members of the Wesleyan church gathered at 9:30 a.m. for a Bible lesson taught by Marlin Kohlmeier, while members of the Methodist church joined them at 10:00 a.m. for a time of combined worship.

When the tornado struck the town it left the church that always stood as a lighthouse on US 50, destroyed. However, the Methodist and Christian churches' lights could be seen through the rubble as they both came forward with the love of God to reach out in any way they could from their locations on Versailles Street.

The Holton Christian church has remained faithful to those needing help and has opened their doors to people in many ways. The Christian church is where many people gathered the night of the tornado to take shelter, which undoubtedly saved their lives.

From that point on Pastor Bob McCreary of the Holton Christian Church and the congregation have been committed to helping people in the town. McCreary told the Osgood Journal there have been hundreds, even thousands of volunteers who have come to the town.

On Sunday, Dennis Hadler of the Methodist church had the main message. He preached from Isaiah 40 concluding that God knows everything, created everything and is still in control of the universe. He talked about people being more important to God than buildings.

Both Pastor Hadler and Pastor Wilbert Vandervort from the Wesleyan church, agreed the people are the true "church" and a building is just that, a building where they can gather.

The Wesleyans are making plans to rebuild in the near future. They are planning to build in the same location at US 50 and Marion streets, but will add a basement to the plans.

Pat Sproessig of the Methodist church said they have loved having the Wesleyan church people to worship with them. Sproessig's husband, Richard, noted, "Sometimes good things come from great tragedy." Another member, Lisa Milligan, said it will be sad to see the other congregation leave."

Kohlmeier noted, "The people of the Holton Methodist Church have become a new family to us. They gave up some of their worship time to accommodate us. We have been having a wonderful time together."

Walt Richey of the Wesleyan church quipped, "Once we were known as the Wesleyan Methodist Church; today we are known as the Methodist Wesleyan Church. Who knew?"

The Methodist church is an example of what it means to truly live out the mandate of Christ to follow His command and love your neighbor as yourself.

The combined worship style will continue until the new Wesleyan church is built.

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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