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December 13, 2016 • Headline News
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Quilts needed for Gatlinburg residents

Wanda Burnett

What would someone need who has just lost everything in a fire? A quilt was suggested by Chris Combs, who owns The Quilter’s Nook, Versailles.
When she heard about the plight of the fires that killed people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, area recently, she wondered what she could do to help. Then through her connection with The Fab Shop Network, it was determined quilts would be perfect. Combs explained that quilts are a personal gift with the talent of those creating them woven into the covering. That personalized gift will not only give warmth physically, but she is hoping it will help to heal those who have been through so much in that area.

“Give from your heart, not the scrapheap!” she encouraged those she sent information to. Just give something nice you would like to receive was her message. As of last Thursday, beautiful quilts were coming into her shop. More are needed. Any quilt will be accepted, according to Combs. She extended the deadline to Saturday, December 17 at noon. After that, she will incur the cost to have them shipped to another point in Tennessee, where they will be distributed. If interested, you can call 812-689-0980 or take your quilt to her shop on US 421 at the south edge of Versailles.

Upgrades, changes discussed for NMLRA

Sandy Day Howard

National Muzzle Loading Rifle AssociationFriendship citizens joined together with members of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association for a public meeting regarding the Pittman-Robertson Federal Grant. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the public of the proposed projects and to get feedback from residents and members. Clifford “Ted” Blackwell, board member and Chairman of the NMLRA and Chris Gergeni, NMLRA Managing Director co-facilitated as residents heard the proposal for the Walter Cline Range.

Blackwell explained that the association is working to complete the federal grant request; the meeting being an initial step in the process. He stated that the two major focuses of the proposed changes are safety and accessibility. He discussed the need for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant hard surfaces on the firing line, concrete parking pads for wheelchair accessibility along the firing line, access ramps and means for people to safely access the range and firing line, as well as ADA compliant walkways out to target frames. Gergeni explained that these walks would most likely go out to the 100 yard or 100 meter lines with short walkways off of the main walk to access target frames at each distance.

Community questions
“We are looking for your input about this project,” Blackwell stated, “You live here, and the projects we are proposing will affect you as well.” Blackwell explained some of the proposed changes and how they might affect the town. The first proposal would be to replace the cover over the firing line to make a uniform roof system and improve visibility up and down the line. Per Range Safety Engineer Clark Vargas stated the association needs to add a brow ridge along the forward firing line to block the view over the hill/backstop. Blackwell also discussed grading work that would allow for expansion of the long range to at least 600 meters.

Gergeni explained that the grant process is in its initial stages and that nothing has yet been finalized. The two discussed new safety control measures that would be put in place, which would include high visibility red and green lights to signify when the range is safe and when it is not, gate access onto the range that is tied into the light system to keep people from walking or driving onto the range when shooters are active, and gates that would require a code to access the range during non-event times. Other improvements and changes would include drainage work, leveling the firing line and the need to better align with targets safely. Gergeni covered the advantages to improving the ranges and how that would allow the NMLRA to host more events as well as work with other groups such as the National Riffle Association to bring more events to the facility.

A patron asked if high-powered rifles would be allowed on the range. Gergeni explained that these changes would allow for the use of high-powered rifles on the range, but only at specified times, under specified conditions with proper safety officers in place. Audience members also asked about the building of a ‘berm’. Gergeni informed the group that a 20 foot berm would be built between and range and town , per the Range Safety Engineer, but that the proposed site was at the east end of the youth range and not against town. This location would allow the view into the field from town to remain while also providing the necessary safety precautions. “Safety is always the first priority of the NMLRA,” Gergeni said. “One accident is one too many.”

Upgrades and remodeling
Blackwell discussed remodeling the bathrooms and bath houses, noting that the NMLRA would be making the new facilities ADA compliant. Insides of the facilities would be resurfaced and commercially sealed with new fixtures added. New shower facilities would be added and the plan would allow for private shower and dressing stalls, ADA compliant stalls, and better overall facilities for all visitors.

Gergeni opened discussion of the challenges the NMLRA faces to get these upgrades made and noted that the biggest barrier is the new flood plain map and associated regulations. He enlightened townspeople about the amount of property that is involved in the 2012 Corps of Engineers flood map for a 100 year flood. Patron Gary Stutler voiced his concerns regarding the need to clean out Laughery Creek west of the bridge on Maxine Moss Drive and as far as the curve in the creek east of the range. He mentioned that he had done the cleanout the last time and that the work had made a significant impact, keeping flooding to a minimum since the work was done. Gergeni will pursue state assistance to keep Laughery Creek clear of obstructions.

Non-NMLRA range use
A major concern for some in attendance appeared to be the “alternate range use”. Gergeni explained that the Pittman Roberston grants require that all ranges that receive improvement funding are required to offer 20 hours of non-NMLRA use per month. This can be from other groups, open range times, new public events, etc. He informed the group that the range already does some programming with other groups including the Miami Club Black Powder Cartridge Shoots, the Boy Scout Camporee, Womens Friendship Circle, and other events which come close to meeting that monthly requirement. He did say that there would be times that the NMLRA would have open range times on a specific range or two but only with sufficient certified Range Officers (NMLRA or NRA) on duty to ensure safe operations.He also explained that the new facilities would lend themselves very well to classes such as concealed carry/self defense, muzzle loading, basic firearms classes, etc.

One member asked if there would be funds available through the grant to make much needed repairs to “Commercial Row.” Gergeni stated that the grant can only be used for range and range support facility improvements. Gergeni explained that there would be designated times for modern guns on the range and that the NMLRA Board of Directors was working to put a fee structure in place to cover members and non-members using the range with modern guns.

Range trespassing addressed
Gergeni informed the group that there have been growing instances of trespass on the range with members and non members shooting assault type rifles and other modern guns without permission. New signs stating that black powder and .22 caliber guns only have been installed. A discussion of criminal damage and vehicular trespass which has occurred this year took place and significant damage was noted on a number of ranges. Ripley County Sheriff’s office is working together with the NMLRA to identify those responsible. The NMLRA will prosecute those responsible for any type of damage or destruction of their property or grounds.

The group discussed additional revenue being generated through additional events being offered due to the projected improvements. Part time jobs for locals are possible as the range would be requiring safety officers who would need certification.

Blackwell and Gergeni thanked everyone who attended and encouraged them to provide additional feedback. “We want to hear from those who have concerns or questions.” Blackwell stated. More information will be available regarding the grant as the request progresses.


Local Bulletin Board

December 8
Milan Park Board to hold special meeting
An emergency meeting for the Milan Town Board is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. The Board monthly meetings are now scheduled for the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Milan Town Hall. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15.

Deadline Dec. 19
Letters to Santa Contest
Buy The Versailles Republican dated December 1
Santa is getting his Christmas list together, but some of you children haven’t told him what you want; so, write him a letter! Santa will answer each child with a personal letter, and you have a chance to win a gift from Santa, too! The top two letters will be awarded gifts! All letters received by December 19 will also be printed in our Annual Christmas Greeting Section on December 22. Be sure to include your name, address, age, and phone number, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and you will receive a reply. All letters become the property of Ripley Publishing Company. Pick up a specially addressed envelope at one of the local businesses. Pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican dated Thursday, Dec. 1 for a complete list of businesses.

Polar Plunge seeks sponsors

Special Olympics Indiana’s largest signature fundraising event, the Polar Plunge, has raised more than $3 million dollars since its inception in 2000.
The 18 Polar Plunges around the state feature 2,900 plungers braving the icy cold waters in Indiana, as they fundraiser to support athletes with intellectual disabilities. Over 5,000 spectators and volunteers watch as both individuals and teams in costumes jump in freezing water to participate in this incredible team-building, bucket-list challenge. Sponsorship opportunities for the Polar Plunge are available for companies that want to partner with Special Olympics Indiana. Contact Greg Townsend at 812-584-6861 or by email at, or visit to download a sponsorship form.

Jan. 7: First responder breakfast with legislator
Police, Fire, and EMS members please join State Representative Randy Frye for a breakfast to discuss public safety issues for the upcoming legislative session. The breakfast, sponsored by the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department, will be on Saturday, Jan. 7 beginning at 8 a.m.

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