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January 26, 2017 • Headline News
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Busy summer, now it’s time to rest
Where’s the bear?

Where is the bear

A black bear roaming through the region has decided to winter in Jefferson County. The bear is one of two confirmed in Indiana in the past year. It’s believed the bear came to Southern Indiana in July after swimming across the Ohio River from Kentucky, according to the Indiana DNR. Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge manager Joe Robb said the bear was spotted as recently as the first Sunday of January in a cornfield near US 421. And though winter is a time of hibernation for bears, Robb said it isn’t uncommon for bears to “pop out in mild weather. Read more details about the bear courtesy of the Madison Courier on the front page of The Versailles Republican.

CASA volunteers needed now: You can be the difference

Wanda English Burnett

Everyday there are children who are in desperate need of someone to just stand up for them, to let their voice be heard. But, sadly enough, everyday many of those voices are not heard. You can make a difference. Through the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer program everyone can become a part of something much greater. You can help a child be heard and who knows what they will do in life?

CASA Court Appointed Special AdvocateSUBMITTED PHOTO
Children need a voice. They often unfortunately become part of the court system with no one to speak on their behalf. The next volunteer meeting to become that voice through being a CASA is set for February 3.

America’s most vulnerable populace and yet it’s most valuable to secure the future of a bright and prosperous country is often thrown by the wayside. According to information from the CASA National website, there are more than 700,000 children who experience abuse and neglect and need someone to be their voice in court. There are children whose everyday ritual is to just survive. They move from place to place, in various foster homes and change schools often. They aren’t even afforded the security of knowing they’ll wake up in the same bed the next morning.

The CASA’s role is to listen to the child. It’s not about spending every day with him or her, actually it’s just a few hours a month. You get to know the child, find out what they need and what would be the best possible permanent home for them. If you’re not able to physically become a voice, by going to meet a child and getting to know them, and then perhaps taking their voice to a court hearing, you can still become a part. There is room for everyone. You do not need to be an attorney or teacher. You just need to love children and be willing to spend a little time with them.

According to Tonya Ruble-Richter, director for the Ripley-Jefferson group, it costs $3,180 per year to recruit, train, and support a CASA. You can give financially. This would ease the burden and allow more CASAs to be in place. Although this chapter is one of the fastest growing now, there are still 162 children waiting. “We need approximately 70 additional volunteers,” Richter told The Versailles Republican. She said, “Since we don’t have enough volunteers to serve every child, we have to decide which child will get a CASA and which child will not.”

That’s a big burden for administration to carry. “They have to look at a baby with multiple broken bones in different stages of healing and detached retinas and compare that case to a young girl who has been sexually abused and trafficked by her father,” Richter noted sadly. She said there is every kind of abuse and neglect, some not as severe as the example she gave, but every child in this situation needs help.

Last week at a murder trial in Ripley County a 12-year-old girl had to testify about seeing her 3-year-old brother being beaten with a metal and w wooden spoon. Her CASA representative was there when she took the stand giving her the confidence to face the task at hand. She looked over and saw the lady sitting in the pews and had a big smile on her face. She was empowered. Last year CASA’s served more children than ever before in Ripley County. There is also a new committee called “Friends of CASA” for those who want to help, but cannot be CASA volunteers.

“We need people to help in every type of case – we want every child to have a chance to have someone fighting for their best interest,” concluded Richter.
To find out more about the program or get signed up for the next volunteer training class, which is February 3 you can go online or call 812-599-2630.

If you’ve been thinking about this for a while, make 2017 your year to get involved! Speak up, and better yet let a child’s voice be heard!

Sunman man charged with theft, forgery

Wanda English Burnett

Carl R. Hall, 55, Sunman, has been formally charged with theft and forgery after an incident where he is said to have been making unauthorized charges.
George Heringer, owner of the Sherman House, Batesville, reported that Hall was making some unauthorized charges on his HPH Hospitality, L.L.C. account to Gillman Home Center.

Heringer noted that in December his business account was charged $477.73 for tools, then again in December there was a charge for $920.29 to buy more tools. An Affidavit of Probable Cause states that another $691.61 was again used in December 2016 to purchase tools. The affidavit states that the signature was of someone who is actually authorized to purchase items for the Sherman House, not Hall; however, this person did not make the purchases. Another employee, who is also authorized, had his signature forged on some of the receipts. It was noted that Hall had never been authorized to use the account.

According to Brad Wessel, Batesville Police Department, Hall initially denied making the purchases and said he had not been in Gillman’s for a long time. After Wessel reviewed the surveillance video, he saw that Hall was indeed in Gillman’s on the days in question and was by himself. Each time he went to the check out counter and left with tools. When the officer questioned Hall further, he admitted that he needed money and was taking the tools to Indianapolis to sell them.

Firefighters recognized for service (see page 3 for photos)

Versailles Fire Rescue holds annual banquet

The Versailles Fire Department held their Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Versailles Fire Station. Firefighters were recognized for their efforts during the past year. The department responded to 406 emergency incidents during 2016. The volunteer firefighters logged 1,496.5 man-hours at emergency incidents and 1,141.5 man-hours in training. The average response time for the department in 2016 was 6 minutes and 57 seconds. This is a very good response time for a volunteer fire department.

Versailles Fire Chief Ben SieverdingSUBMITTED PHOTO
Pictured is Chief Sieverding with a plaque that was presented to him by the Versailles volunteer firefighters for his years of service and dedication to the fire department.

Receiving Year of Service Awards were BJ Sieverding for 1 year of service and Randy Hornsby for 10 years of service. BJ Sieverding received the Most Training Hours Award spending 101.5 hours in training during 2016. Top responders for the department in 2016 were as follows: Josh Walston, 75 responses; Randy Hornsby, 113 responses; J.R. Bennett, 122 responses; Darin Laird, 128 responses; and Bryan Buchanan with 165 responses. The Top responder for the department in 2016 was Eric Grossman with 174 responses. The Chief’s Award is presented each year to a firefighter that shows commitment and dedication to the department. The recipient of the 2016 Chief’s Award was J.R. Bennett. The Annual Firefighter of the Year Award is presented to a firefighter – selected by his fellow firefighters – for outstanding service to the department during the year. The 2016 Firefighter of the Year is Bryan Buchanan.

Officers for the department in 2017 are as follows: Chief Ben Sieverding, Asst. Chief Adam Hunger, Captain Randy Hornsby, Captain Bryan Buchanan, Captain Dylan Peak, Lt. Zach Halcomb, Lt. Eric Grossman, Lt. Jr. Bennett, Safety Officer Darin Laird, and Lead Engineer Gary Back. Firefighters for the volunteer fire department are BJ Sieverding, Dalton Garner, Nick Schwarte, Sean Guenther, Alex Hafft, Dwight Bauman, Brian Jackson, Jeffery Wirtz, Nathaniel Pelfrey, and Josh Walston. The department also has two cadets, Ethan Morris and Jake Grossman.

For questions concerning the Versailles Volunteer Fire Department or for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter call Chief Ben Sieverding at 812-621-1150.

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