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The Versailles Republican

May 1, 2014 • Headlines

The 2014 South Ripley Prom was held April 26 at the Tyson Activity Center.
Crowned King and Queen were Austin Halcomb and Kelsey Cumberworth.

Jonathan Lamping willfully takes a tumble at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA Family Fun Day.
Kylee May, a preschooler, is fascinated with the gardening station at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA during Family Fun Day.
Dearborn County HospitalFriendship State Bank
Reminder: Fall registration opens May 20
Commissioner, sheriff races may draw voters Tuesday

Mary Mattingly

In just five days, Ripley County registered voters will have a chance to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The May Primary is Tuesday, May 6, and the local polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

Several of the races do not have opposition, such as prosecutor, judges, assessor, surveyor and auditor, but two races in particular are generating local interest. Clerk Mary Ann McCoy is counting on the sheriff’s and commissioner’s race to bring out the voters on Tuesday. The District 43 state senate race with three candidates, one being of Ripley County, also should help draw interest, she said. The Republicans have three candidates on the ballot vying for sheriff, four for commissioner District 1, two for a county council seat. Democrats have two candidates up for sheriff, “A local election does bring more voters…You can talk to your state candidates, but on a county level you often know them and the candidates and they encourage friends and family to get the vote out,” she said. As McCoy notes, the local officeholders have a lot of influence on your daily life. These are the people who patrol your neighborhoods, assess your property, control local tax rates, oversee roads, and create policy, to name a few of their roles.

In 2010, when there was no presidential election, the primary turnout was 27 percent. In the fall election, turnout was 43 percent, and better for the presidential Obama vs. Romney campaign in 2012 at 53 percent.

“It’s very, very important to vote, anytime you have an election. With the primary, this is your chance to select your party candidate. It’s your choice,” McCoy said. A person registered as independent may vote in the primary. On Tuesday, the voter will be asked which party ballot he or she wants, and will vote accordingly. Unlike the fall election, you cannot vote for a Republican in one race, and then a Democrat in another race.

Ginger Bradford, Ripley County Republican party chair, also encourages people to vote Tuesday. “It’s critical. Your vote does count and I think it will be a tight race with the commissioners and sheriff. So yes, vote!”

The commissioner seat in District 1 is open because long-time commissioner Robert Reiners, a Republican, decided not to seek another term, and the sheriff reached the two term limit.

Weather also plays into the turnout. Unfortunately, a rainy day will be an excuse for some to not vote, McCoy said. The clerk’s office tries to make it easy for those to vote. She said they have a traveling board that will go to homebound citizens and advised people to call this week if it is needed. They also opened the office on two Saturdays before the election from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for absentee voting. So far, the absentee voting has been low, she noted, but is picking up as the week goes on. They will be open on Saturdays again for absentee voting.

Those who vote at the courthouse office will do so by touchscreen, but on Tuesday, they will have a choice of touchscreen or paper ballot. McCoy said they are encouraging people to go with touchscreen because the state may go with a central voting system and would most likely use this model. “It’s really easy,” she said, just like touching your cell phone screen. If you change your mind before you submit it you can go back and make a change, unlike the paper ballot.
Other than to be registered to vote, the only other voting mandate is to bring a photo ID. Local license branches extended hours Monday and Tuesday for this reason.

The polling sites are the same as in previous years. Batesville had some precincts merge (Precincts 1-1 and 1-2, 3-1 and 3-2), but they still vote at the same place, either the Batesville Knights of Columbus or the Batesville Memorial Library.

The primary ballot is full of local names. There are 78 who filed at the courthouse to run for office, and another five that did so on the state level (prosecutor, state representative and state senate offices). Besides the five sheriff and four commissioner candidates, there are 14 township trustees up for election, six council members (two Republicans in opposition for district 3), 7 precinct committee members, plus assessor, auditor, surveyor and 29 township board members. School board elections are non-partisan so they are held in the fall.

Low interest among 18 year olds

If the 18-year-old Ripley County voters are a microcosm of society, it doesn’t look like a strong voter turnout for Tuesday’s Primary election.

Ripley Publishing discussed the upcoming election with several of the seniors in the county schools recently, to get their perspective on their first opportunity to cast a vote; however, the majority had not registered to vote. At South Ripley’s government class, of the 33 eligible, only one was registered to vote. At Jac-Cen-Del, of the 19 seniors in a government class (there are about 70 seniors in the 2014 class) none were registered. At Milan, of the 42 students 18 or older in three classes, 12 had registered to vote.

The classes were aware of the election, but when asked why they didn’t register we heard answers such as: “I don’t know how” or “ I don’t know where to go.” At Milan, some responded that their vote won’t matter, or their parents didn’t vote, and they didn’t want to be up for jury duty.

JC Boyken, the one South Ripley senior in the government class who had registered to vote, told fellow students it was easy, and to go online to do so. He was encouraged to do so by a friend, who had a relative running for the sheriff’s position. He said his interest and education were expanded when he attended the American Legion Boys State camp where they have simulated government and elections.

Of voting he said, “I’m just interested because I’m an American and it’s your responsibility.” He admitted he doesn’t like current national politics and feels the politicians are not honest. The SR seniors said they feel they would be more inclined to vote if it was a presidential election, but did feel they would cast a vote in the November General Election. One JCD student said he wanted to register to vote for the fall, “to make a change.”

Of the 12 MHS registered student voters from the three classes, only five plan to vote on Tuesday. Two said they just didn’t care about politics to take the time to vote. On the other hand, Brandon Beard, a senior at Milan, said he is looking forward to exercising his constitutional right on Tuesday. “It’s a chance to voice your opinion, and it’s your right. Then if it doesn’t go your way, you can say you at least voted.” Knowing someone running for office can help, but it’s not a guarantee to bring out voters. Most students at Milan had heard or knew of the sheriff candidates, and little of the other races. JCD students said they’ve noticed the signs posted by candidates. Beard knew of the candidate for judge, Jeff Sharp, because he was his football coach, and said he also knows of his values.

The South Ripley class mentioned hearing such names as “Bradley” “Mann” and “Cumberworth” for sheriff, and one mentioned a commissioner candidate. Just a few said they overheard their parents talking about the elections.
When asked what party they would sign up for, several SR students replied, “Republican” “because that’s what my parents are.” On the other hand, the few Milan registered student voters said their parents had no influence on their voting or party decision.

And, an FYI, for those students, or citizens, fall registration opens May 20.

EMS fundraiser is for heart equipment

Mary Mattingly

Feed your face and save a life. That’s the idea behind EMS Rescue 69’s fundraiser at Gold Star Chili on Saturday, May 10. Many may be aware the county’s four rescue squads are struggling to make ends meet. Representatives from the squads have been meeting with county and health leaders for the past six months to come up with a solution to offset increasing operating costs. One way is to ask for community support through various fundraisers like next Saturday’s “Tip a Tech” event at the local restaurant for Rescue 69.

Charley Cozart, chief with Rescue 69, said in order to keep a quality staff and equipment, plus a timely response, they need help from the community. “This is going to an organization that in return is going to help people,” he commented.
The money raised through the Gold Star Chili event will go toward a new cardiac monitor. All tips the EMS members earn as servers and 10 percent of the profit from 11-4 that day go to Rescue 69.

The state’s new certification allows EMTs and Advance EMTs to conduct more advanced life support, such as cardiac monitoring; therefore, the squad wants to purchase new, or rather a refurbished, cardiac monitor. It will transmit EKGs as the ambulance is en route to the hospital. “It actually gives more time for staff to be ready to take care of the patient and then send them onto Christ Hospital if need be,” Cozart said. These cardiac monitors cost close to $10,000.

About the squad

Ripley County’s squad has been in existence since 1974. Volunteers once made up the squad, but it has since gone to a paid 24/7 staff. They have 18 employees, with two on call. The squads are subcontracted by the county and receive just a portion of their operating costs from county tax dollars. Billing revenue and donations are their major source of revenue. There has been no increase from the county budget in 10 years, according to Cozart.

“Primarily, our runs are off Medicare and Medicaid patients,” Cozart explained. The average run from start to finish takes around two hours. The government allows a certain payment for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. But by law, they have to accept the patient whether they have insurance or not. “Some of the runs, we lose money before we leave the building. It’s hard to compensate for that loss,” he said. “So, community support helps to offset the costs.” They are afraid with the new Affordable Care Act they will have to operate with less revenue as there will be fewer dollars from the insurance providers.

The EMS squads are looking at other options too, and possibly a countywide EMS fundraiser. Jamie Vest, assistant chief, said he’d love to have new cots, monitors, and other needed equipment, all needed to better serve the public. They will be getting a new truck in the summer, paid primarily through grants, thanks to Rising Sun Regional Foundation, Tyson Fund, Ripley County Community Foundation, and the Reynold’s Foundation. Their other ambulance is a 1994 model.

“We are thankful for Gold Star, and we hope the community will support our cause for the good we do.” There will be prize giveaways for children and others as well.

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

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