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July 8, 2014 • Headlines

Decked out in patriotic shirts, Milan High School’s drill team participated in the town’s annual Fourth of July parade.
Fourth of July fireworks lit up the sky at the Versailles State Park on Thursday evening, July 3.
First Place in the Milan Fourth of July parade went to The Reservation Restaurant.
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New laws...
In effect: Lifeline law, guns on school grounds

Mary Mattingly

One week ago, on July 1, several new laws went into effect in Indiana. For example, for the first time in 70 years, alcohol will be allowed on the property during the state fair. It’s also illegal for a person under the age of 16 to use a tanning bed. Prior to July 1, a parent or guardian could give permission to the teen for use.

Ripley Publishing talked with State Rep. Randy Frye about a few of these new laws and what they mean. He co-sponsored one of the laws, Senate Bill 227, referred to as the lifeline law. This law protects intoxicated minors who call 911 to report a medical emergency. They can now avoid criminal penalties when reporting a crime, or sexual assault. “I think it’s a great law!” Frye who chairs the public safety committee said. “Kids are afraid they will get in trouble, but if they don’t report the drug overdose and run away, other kids could die. We don’t want that, and it does happen, particularly on college campuses.” It was not a controversial bill. Frye said he can’t recall any legislator testifying against the bill.
Another bill, the bill which allows guns on school property, that passed with the 2014 General Assembly drew more controversy. Guns, rights, and violence have been hotbeds of topic across the country.

Frye supported this bill. “Prior to the new law, anyone who had a permit to carry a gun and drove on school property was actually in violation and could be fined. Even if it was locked in the car, and you left to pick up your child, you committed a felony,” he said. “We thought that was ridiculous. So this law says you can have a gun (as long as you have the permit) locked in the car and out of sight, but cannot carry it into the school.” Students, even if age 18, are not included, he added.
One law was struck down after 70 years. State Senator Jean Leising of Oldenburg introduced the bill to remove the ban on alcohol sales at the state fair. The bill allows wineries and breweries to showcase their product at the annual event. Frye noted it is in a restricted area, much like a beer garden at a festival. Indiana was only one of two states in the country that did not allow any type of alcohol at the fair. It was more about economics, the state senator has said. “We do have a growing wine and brewing industry, so we can highlight those industries in our state,” Frye mentioned.

Another law in effect as of July 1 regards agriculture trespassing. Those who trespass and cause damage on farm property will be subject to stricter penalties. It will be cited as a misdemeanor. Farms will be treated the same as churches, schools and community centers.

You might notice a change at the fuel pump during a certain time of month. The state will change how it calculates tax on gasoline to a model that could change the tax rate from month to month. Under the new gas usage tax, the rate will be 7 percent of the average price of gas the previous month. This means prices could shift at the beginning of each month as the tax is recalculated. Currently, Indiana taxes gas at 19 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That rate does not fluctuate each month.

A “social host” bill regarding alcohol and minors also passed. Adults who allow minors to drink on property they own, rent or control would face jail time and fines. This means adults who take away the car keys from minor guests imbibing in alcohol at their home could face a penalty. This was strongly supported by the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking. Lisa Hutcheson with the Coalition has reportedly rejected the argument that it’s better to have teenagers consume alcohol within the confines of a home, where they can be monitored, rather than let them drink unsupervised. She said it’s unrealistic for adults to think they can monitor every teenager at a party.

Kindra Schuler with Ripley County Local Coordinating Council, a group also trying to reduce and prevent drug and alcohol use, believes it is a step in the right direction. “I have been to too many get-togethers where the adults allow underage drinking. Some parents will say no at their house; however, they know that their friend is having a party and okay their teen to go. If something does go wrong, then they have someone else to blame. Some parents need to understand that this is a real problem.”

What bills were missed?
Frye said he does think the state lawmakers erred on a few bills this past assembly. One of those bans a firefighter from holding public office. “It’s wrong-minded. I think it was a bad law and I hope to overturn it. It drives people out of fire-fighting service, not politics, and we can’t afford it,” Frye, a former firefighter, said. Also, he was disappointed the drug testing for welfare recipients bill did not pass the Senate. There had been several attempts to get this through in past legislatures.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ripley Publishing will discuss the revision of the criminal code, the new classification of crimes, in The Versailles Republican.

Few more candidates added to fall election slate

Mary Mattingly

As of noon Thursday, July 3, the Ripley County slate for political office was finalized. Candidates had until then to declare or even drop their candidacy. There were several offices that were unopposed. According to the Ripley County Clerk’s office, seven people have filed since the May Primary; however, only one is up for a major local seat. Rachael Melton Curl of Holton filed to run for county council District 3 for the Democrats. She will be facing Chad Pindell, a Republican, Napoleon, for the seat. He had won in the Primary. The other recent filings were either for trustee or board members.

Republicans for one of the two judicial court seats remain unchallenged. Ryan King, a Republican, remains uncontested for the Circuit Court seat. Current Judge Carl Taul is retiring soon; however, Jeff Sharp, a Milan attorney is facing John Kellerman II for the Superior Court position, currently held by Judge James Morris, who is also retiring. Current prosecutor Ric Hertel is also unchallenged for another term as prosecutor. Those three seat filings are made in Indianapolis.

According to a website, in 55 of the 100 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 18 Democrats and 37 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Local offices up for election in the fall without opposition: Commissioner district 1: Bob Linville (Republican); Auditor (Bill Wagner, R); Surveyor (Jeff French, R); Assessor (Shawna Bushorn, R); county council district 2 with Dephane Smith, R, and for district 4 county council Ed Armbrecht, Democrat. Facing opposition in the fall is Ron Decker ( R) and Bill Dramann (D) for the district 1 council seat.

New to file for the upcoming fall election include: David Forwalt (R) for Otter Creek Township Trustee; Wendy D. Meyer (R) for Brown Township board; Denise Schmaltz, (R), recently filed for Jackson Township Board Member; Gloria Gardner (R), filed for the Laughery Township board; Marilyn Hance, (D), recently filed for Shelby Township board--it’s the only one that has more than three candidates-- and (John R. Meisberger, (D), Bert Samples, (D), and Cheryl S. Welch, (R ), had previously filed.) Evelyn Strunk, R, filed for Washington Township Board. The three top vote getters make up the advisory boards. State representatives and senators file to run in Indianapolis at the state election board.

Randy Frye, a Republican for the 67th District, learned he had no opposition as of the Thursday deadline. (For District 55, Cindy Ziemke and Glenn Bailey won the May Primary. Chip Perfect of Lawrenceburg and Rudy Howard will compete for the state senate District 43 seat.) There will also be school board elections in Ripley County. School boards are non-partisan.

The clerk’s office, which handles the local election filings and much of the paperwork, reminds people they have until October 6 to register to vote. If they have moved or changed their name, they need to inform the clerk’s office. Poll workers for the day of the fall election, November 4 are needed for both parties. The positions are paid. If interested, contact the county clerk’s office at 812-689-6115.

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

• Local fire departments seek ways to recruit volunteers
• What does your insurance pay for and how can you tell?
• Milan students ready for new technology

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