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• County to look into CMHC protocol (front pg.)
• On The Record [courthouse news] (pg. 6)
• Superintendent's column (pg. 4)
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January 21, 2016 • Headline News
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County to look into protocol for admission into CMHC

Wanda Burnett

At the January 4 meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth reported concerns about Community Mental Health Center recently not accepting an individual. According to the unofficial minutes, the sheriff stated he had served a court order to have an adult woman taken to the Lawrenceburg center; however, CMHC released her after a few hours, and police were dealing with her again on Sunday night. Police again took her to the center but they would not keep her because she did not fit their criteria and tested positive for drugs. The next morning a 911 call was made after the woman gave a false report to nearby residents of several people being shot.

Read the entire story in The Versailles Republican dated January 21, 2016. Pick up a copy at your local newsstand.

New year, new councils for Milan, Versailles
Milan looking to replace Branigan: Read the story in the print edition of The Versailles Republican.

Versailles Town Council: Water and park clean-up discussed
Mary Mattingly

Two new Versailles Town Council members attended their first council meeting as officers and were updated on some old and new issues. Roxanne Meyer and Brian Samples joined Steve Mathes on the council. The first meeting of the year was Jan. 14.

Versailles Indiana Town Council 2016MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Steve Mathes, left, was chosen as the council president by new members Roxanne Meyer and Brian Samples.

Representatives from Hoosier Hills Regional Water District were on hand to address recent patron concerns about the quality and cost of hard water since the town switched to Hoosier Hills in July 2014. The town’s water rates were raised recently, the first time in many years. The company reps met with the Pecks, who were at the last town meeting and shared their water problems with the council. They said the hard water affected not just their dishes and appliances, but skin and hair, and did not think it was worth the 70 percent increase in rates. They said they could not afford a water softener. Upon investigation and a meter test, it was learned some of their problems were unique to their situation. The Pecks were not at the January monthly meeting. Greg Dole, president of the board at Hoosier Hills, and Scott Stirn, manager at Hoosier Hills, said the company’s water quality record is available on the website. Attorney Pete King was also present at the council meeting. They acknowledged the water may seem harder to Versailles users than the previous source. “It’s not extremely hard. It’s rated in the moderate range,” Dole said at 20 grains per gallon. There is no IDEM requirement though, they added. Hoosier Hills filters the water at the lines but that does not affect the hard water minerals. If you don’t want to buy a water softener, Stirn advised to try vinegar to clean coffee pots, even faucets where buildup occurs. However, a softener removes the calcium and magnesium, which is what attributes to the “hardness.” If you take a few ice cubes and let them melt, the sediment will sink to the bottom of the glass. “Nonetheless, it’s not harmful but it does build up” he said, and could affect performance of water heaters, shower heads, and other appliances that heat up.

Later in the meeting, Kevin Hensley, the town’s street and utilities manager, suggested to stamp on this month’s utility bills a reminder to homeowners to flush water heaters three times a year to help alleviate buildup.He added to make sure you turn off the water heater before you drain it. It was mentioned that a few cities may soften the water at the plant, but it is expensive to do and would ultimately affect consumer rates. The HH reps noted that at a nearby town a dump truck of sodium was used every week for the softener, and the cost of salt continues to increase. “I think we are much better off with the quality of water, “ Steve Mathes, council president, commented. Those residents with concerns or questions will be directed to the Hoosier Hills and the website for their quality water record and information.

Read how to combat hard water on the front page of The Versailles Republican dated January 21.

Pangburn park

Roxanne Meyer started her first meeting as a council member with a campaign to “Perk up Pangburn Park.” She is organizing a group for a special clean up day on May 14 make the Tanglewood Road park safe, inviting and a recreational environment for the neighborhood children. Restoring public parks and reinforcing appropriate use can cut down on vandalism, she noted. She referenced an article printed years ago in The Atlantic Monthly that theorized more people are likely to commit crimes in neighborhoods that appear unwatched and uncared for. “Perception affects reality, that the appearance of disorder begets actual disorder,” according to criminologists George Kelling and James Q. Wilson. Meyer added, “We want to give some hope, make it look like a fun and an exciting place to go,” as it once was years ago.

Some tasks on the list include planting seeds and flowers around the home run fence line and next to the playground, trim or plant bushes and pick up trash. Removing the 8 foot fence around the basketball court and planting low maintenance bushes would dress up the area. She would also like to see another backboard and goal, or the one they have repaired. An open slide would be better than the enclosed yellow tube slide. Meyer plans to ask for bedding plant donations from local greenhouses, along with coupons from restaurants to serve as incentives for young participants. They would like to paint an interactive US map on the court, and a labyrinth on the concrete pad starting at the bench and ending at the new Little Free Library. The park clean up would be from 8 to noon, and people would be asked to bring tools, such as rakes, brooms, shovels, buckets and trash bags. In the meantime, she wanted the blessing from the council to go forward, which they gave. They’ll also look into getting a liability statement from volunteers. Meyer also mentioned there will be four more mini-libraries set up in the area, and the response has been positive. She’s hoping some might want to install one in memory of a loved one.

Fire Dept.
Versailles volunteer firefighters have averaged one call a day in the last month. Chief Ben Sieverding commended the group for responding to 13 calls. He presented the 2015 annual report that showed they increased their response time to 7 minutes and 19 seconds. They also had 1729 man-hours/ emergency incidents; 1120 hours of training, and 413 emergency responses, up 45 from last year. The department spent $12,000 repairing the two old fire engines, one being 19 years old and the other 33 years old. The brush truck is currently out of service and being refurbished, thanks to the Tyson Fund. They also have 23 volunteer firefighters. “We have a good group,” Sieverding said. Adam Hunger is the asst. chief.

Marshal’s report
Joe Mann submitted his recommendations for a policy on hiring and standard operating procedures for a new deputy. The department is currently seeking to hire someone since Lee Mathews left. Local state police and the sheriff’s department have filled in when needed. He also noted that cabinets at the old firehouse have been painted, with the walls next.

Kevin Hensley said he’s had some inquiries about Sunset Strip lights. He also investigated a sewer problem on Chad Drive. There were roots from previous trees causing issue with the pipes, he said. He’s following up on installing stop signs for the town. He also mentioned they can remove the decorative flags around downtown without removing the brackets. Steve Mathes said he’d like to get a grant to buy more seasonal flags for the town.
Clerk Treasurer Kiersten Libby brought up the idea of paying utilities by credit card online, rather than just mail or drop off. This is something more businesses are doing and some say it is more convenient. She will investigate for the next meeting. The ordinance to establish compensation for the employees, according to the budget, was approved.

Town meetings

The new town council decided to change the meeting date to the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. However, February’s meeting will be the third Tuesday, Feb. 16, due to work conflicts with members. The meetings will now be held at the old firehouse and begin at 7 p.m. Use the side door by the bell for entrance. These meetings are open to the public. Also, Steve Mathes was nominated to be president of the council, with Meyer as vice president.

Local Bulletin Board

Town Hall meeting with Randy Frye Saturday, Jan. 23

State Representative Randy Frye will be holding a Town Hall meeting Saturday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Ripley County Commissioners Room in Versailles.

Reds Caravan to visit Ripley County
The Reds Caravan will visit Ripley County Thursday, Jan. 28. For more information, pickup a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local newsstand.

21st Century Scholars Program information sessions in February
Ivy Tech Community College is inviting area 21st Century Scholars and their parents to learn more about the college, its programs, and career pathway opportunities at upcoming events for high school students. More information is available on page 7 of The Versailles Republican dated January 21.

Art classes to be offered at Versailles State Park in April
Art classes will be open to the public of all ages, and include photography, birdhouse painting, watercolors, woodworking, recycled art, mixed media art, and beginning guitar. More information is available on page 3 of The Versailles Republican dated January 21.

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