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The Versailles Republican

April 23, 2015 • Headlines

South Ripley’s prom was Saturday, April 18, and buses took students to the venue at Clifty Inn, Clifty Falls State Park in Madison.
South Ripley prom royalty selected by the classmates for the 2015 prom are pictured from left: Queen Sarah Ake, daughter of Darrell and Pam Ake, King Drew Mattingly, son of Scott and Jeanette Mattingly, Prince Ty Tucker, son of Trace and Denise Tucker, and Princess Clarissa Cairnes, daughter of John and Rebecca Cairnes. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Tom Tepe Autocenter
Friendship State BankKing's Daughters' HealthWhitewater Motor Company Inc.
Ripley Publishing Company IncRipley Publishing Company, Inc.

Farmers Market coming to Versailles

Mary Mattingly

Other towns and cities have a place to sell produce and homegrown goods, and Versailles will soon too.
The Versailles Farmers Market will begin Saturday, May 23, and continue every Saturday (except for Pumpkin Show weekend on Sept. 26) through October. It’s the first time the town has held an organized market. Other nearby towns, such as Batesville, Osgood, Madison and North Vernon, all host a weekly market.

It’s a win-win for the gardener or farmer, and for the public, at least that’s how the Main Street Versailles committee sees it. “We’ll have local produce, healthier food options for people, and a place to come and gather,” said Steve Mathes, Versailles council president who is also part of the Main Street Versailles Committee. Handmade crafts, foods or goods may also be considered for the market.

The Main Street Committee is sponsoring the event. Some of those on the committee include: Louise Mitchell, Natalie Gilpin, Joyce Samples, Chris Meyer, David Monroe, Jeff and Sue French, Mary McCarty, Debi Black, John Holzer, Greg Hayes and Mathes.

To learn more about this idea, there will be a public meeting April 30 at 6 p.m. at the Versailles town hall . They’ll go over market rules, hours, fees and vision of the market. The county health department will also be there to explain any health criteria. “It’s not just talk. We want people to get as excited about it as we are,” Mathes said.

Tentative market hours are from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. It will be held at the courthouse square, and there is plenty of parking available. In addition to the local foods, they want to add to the atmosphere with live music or demonstrations, something else to bring people downtown.

“Some of the markets are social gathering spots, where people listen to music, stroll around the downtown area, that sort of thing,” Mathes said. It’s kind of a throwback to 50-60 years ago when downtowns were the place to be on a Saturday! The Main Street Committee is focusing on generating interest in downtown and area businesses.

Free drug testing kits available in county
Groups work to prevent drug use

Mary Mattingly

Ripley County’s medical, social services, law enforcement and county leaders are shouting that the county has a substance abuse problem. But not many are hearing the message. Last week there were just a handful of people who showed up for the Protect Your Family seminar at Batesville High School. It was presented by the Ripley County Prosecutor’s office, Margaret Mary Health, Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition and Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville on the evening of April 14.
K-9 Jinx
Pictured left is Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt, Sgt. Danny Hamilton with K-9 Jinx and Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel were part of the Protect Your Family anti-drug session.

Although it had been heavily promoted, and free drug tests were being given away, the low attendance could be a perception problem. “Maybe some people believe the drug problem is gone because it’s not in front of them as much,” Batesville Schools Supt. Dr. Jim Roberts noted. Or perhaps, he and others said, people were afraid they would be labeled as parents with troubled children if they attended. But the leaders stressed it was about helping those in need, not pointing fingers. The low turnout may have been due to other school activities that Tuesday evening. Ripley Co. Prosecutor Ric Hertel was disappointed in the turnout, but was passionate about the message and his presentation. “If you stood in my shoes, you’d agree we do have a problem,” he told the audience of 40, most who were there as part a sponsoring agency. “Do we have a drug problem in our community? It’s hard to not go on a rant about this…Maybe people feel they get labeled if they show up. Therein lies the problem. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, but to step up to the plate and get help. We are here to provide the tools.”

His presentation was varied from a similar one given at Milan by Dearborn-Ohio County prosecutor Aaron Negangard, Over 150 people attended that session. Hertel opened with a few key points to bring home the fact that the problem persists:

• 27 overdoses in 2014 reported by Margaret Mary Health
• 34 Hepatitis C cases
• 300+ on probation
• EMTs use of Narcan is up (an immediate treatment that reverses the effects of heroin)
• 70 percent of the 500+ crimes in the county are drug or alcohol related
• Indiana is No. 1 in the country for meth labs
• Nearby Connersville had 20 overdoses in 20 days, five of them fatal, in 2014

Hertel noted that 16 years ago, when he started as the prosecutor, heroin and meth were non existent. One of the reasons for the program was to distribute free drug testing kits. “We feel drug testing could be one more tool to put in our box,” said Geralyn Litzinger, community health director with MMH. “It is not just your problem, but our problem as a community.”

The kits are available at five different locations: county health department in Versailles, Batesville schools administration office, City of Batesville Memorial building, Margaret Mary Health office on Mitchell Avenue and Oldenburg Academy. “There are no questions asked. You don’t have to sign in or anything and we’re not asking for information or your results. Our goal is to make it available to you.”

It was emphasized that it is a tool for parents to use, a way to give a kid a way out of peer pressure. Amy Phillips, coordinator for Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition, was in the audience and spoke up. She said the tests are habits at her home, with her oldest being 13. “Our kids know that. I think if I tried to do it when they are 15 or 16 I’d get a lot of teen attitude. This way it is part of our family culture. And, I hope to God it becomes a culture in our community.”

A mother who has a daughter jailed and recovering from addiction was at the meeting and emphasized, “It can happen to you. I’m disappointed the community doesn’t believe this is necessary, but I applaud you for being here.” She said she learned something too. “I wish I had known about this four years ago.”

Drug awareness meeting
She was also one of 25 who attended the Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition monthly meeting two days later at the Osgood Town Hall, and shared the same thoughts. “You think no one else has this problem,” she said, and another mother agreed.

At the lunch meeting, the group approved $15,000 in grants for law enforcement, prevention and treatment. Twelve entities made the requests totaling over $31,000. The county is one of six that received a $2,200 grant from Interact for Health to develop a comprehensive regional plan to prevent opioid misuse. “It is for planning only. What do we need to do to prevent and protect our community,” Megan Benetti with IU’s CRI program said.

The first step was to gather data. The 25 people, representing youth, schools, law enforcement, social and government agencies, businesses and health care, were broken into groups to discuss the concerns related to heroin in the community, the risks, and how the community is addressing it. Awareness, prevention, supply reduction, treatment of opioid disorders and target age groups were mentioned. The strengths of the community were discussed, and they included the fact that the coalition exists and is active, the 4 schools’ support, various community events on drug use, drug testing discussions the k-9 program, and school resource officers.

The Ripley County Drug Free Coalition will meet May 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Osgood Town Hall. Interested persons are welcome to attend.

Bill passes; allows more to use Narcan
A bill related to the overdose drug problem in the state passed in the House last week. Currently, only emergency responders can legally obtain overdose intervention drugs such as Narcan. This bill gives health care professionals the ability to prescribe overdose intervention drugs to family members or friends if they are in a position to assist an individual at risk. The bill would require prescribers to provide education and training on drug overdose response, including the administration of an overdose intervention drug and information on local drug treatment programs. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) and Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) as Indiana is one of only four states in which the number of drug overdose deaths has quadrupled since 1999. The state has the 17th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S., according to a 2013 study from Trust for America’s Health.

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.

• Jail filled with substance abusers (front page)
• Milan player chosen for award (front page)
• Local mother raising funds for daughter's funeral (page 3)
• Team wins national Rube Goldberg Machine contest (page 7)
• Mortara Family Grant awarded at Milan High School (page 7)
• South Ripley prom photos (page 8)
• Spring improvement section: How to plant your garden from scratch (section B, page 6)
• On The Record from the Ripley County Courthouse (section B, page 9)
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