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February 2, 2017 • Headline News
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The vote was unanimous
S.E. Career Center denied use of county property

Wanda English Burnett

At a meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners Monday morning, January 31, the Southeastern Career Center, Versailles, got an answer about their request to use a portion of the Ripley County Fairground Park for a CDL class training students how to drive a semi. The vote was unanimous, and it was no. Brad Street, executive director of the school told the commissioners, “I respect your decision.” He also noted they had tabled the request a couple of times and the school was just needing an answer so they could pursue other avenues if need be.

Commissioner objects
Commissioner Rodney Stratton did most of the speaking about the matter, saying he didn’t feel it was safe with the county property being only a little under an acre where the driving school for students to obtain a CDL license would be held. Stratton said in that area there are shelter houses, playground, a fair ring, and a horse ring. He felt that the driving school would be dangerous to those camping there since camping is a year round option. He also talked about the safety of those coming to get food from the pantry and said they too could be at risk. The liability issue was huge with Stratton saying, “Don’t be delusional that the county won’t be sued.” He said he wasn’t willing to gamble that an accident wouldn’t happen. He said he had officials with 180 years of experience that he had talked with who said, “That (the CDL driving school) is a bad idea,” (on county property).

Ripley County Commissioner Rodney StrattonWANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Ripley County Commissioner Rodney Stratton, has a list of reasons why he believes a CDL class requested to be held at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park, Osgood, would be the wrong thing to do. He had talked with a number of people and said they were against it too.

Commissioner Stratton went on to say he had a list of things as to why their request would be a bad idea and said his job first and foremost was the security and financial stability of the county. When Stratton asked why the Southeastern Career Center had not prepared their own property for the intended class, Street noted that the opportunity had come to them after budget and they were only in need of a place for one year until they could figure something else out for the students.

Attorney, superintendents weigh-in

Attorney Larry Eaton was in attendance and spoke to the commissioners saying it would only be for one year just to get the class started. Superintendent Rob Moorhead from South Ripley was in attendance and noted, “We’re looking for partnerships.” Superintendent Tim Taylor, Jac-Cen-Del, also spoke to the commissioners asking for the one year window to get the project up and running. Commissioner Stratton asked him how many acres JCD had available, and since it was substantial, asked why they didn’t have the training there. Taylor noted it was an infrastructure problem in a short amount of time.

Local school superintendents, Rob Moorhead, left, South Ripley, and Tim Taylor, right, Jac-Cen-Del, came before the commissioners Monday morning in support of the Southeastern Career Center’s request to have a driving school at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park.

Southeastern Career Center needs something to begin in the fall of this year. Stratton had mentioned the age of those taking the class as perhaps being an issue. Sherry Engel with Indiana DriveTrain spoke and said her first job was driving a truck, bringing product to the square in Versailles at the age of 17.

While Stratton had been the primary commissioner responding to the request, Gary Stutler said the liability wasn’t as big of an issue with him, but he did believe the career center could find a better place for their training school. Commissioner Bob Linville agreed. All representatives for the school and commissioners were respectful to each other, they just had differing opinions about the outcome. Stratton emphasized he wasn’t against the project or the class in any way. He agreed the career center is a wonderful asset to the community, he just felt strongly about not having the training on county property.

Editor’s note: This was only a portion of the commissioners meeting. The rest will be published in a paper next week.

2017 Brings changes to “full retirement age”

By Charo Boyd

Social Security AdministrationEvery worker’s dream is having a secure retirement to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Social Security is here to help you secure today and tomorrow. Part of that commitment is ensuring you have the most up-to-date information when you make your retirement decisions. “Full retirement age” refers to the age when a person can claim their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part or full time. In other words, you don’t actually need to retire from your work to claim your full benefits. Also note that waiting until you’re 70, if you can, will bring you a higher monthly benefit. The choices you make may affect benefits your spouse or children can receive on your record, too.

As the bells rang in a new year, they also rang in changes in 2017 for people considering claiming Social Security retirement benefits. For people who attain age 62 in 2017 (i.e., those born between January 2, 1955 and January 1, 1956), full retirement age is 66 and two months. Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

You can learn more about the full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at

Things to remember
There are some things you should remember when you’re thinking about retirement. You may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start them any time before full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2017 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced permanently by about 26 percent. On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefits will be permanently increased. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of one percent for each month –– or eight percent for each year –– that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70.

If you decide to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should also understand how continuing to work can affect your benefits. We may withhold or reduce your benefits if your annual earnings exceed a certain amount. However, every month we withhold or reduce increases your future benefits. That’s because at your full retirement age we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months in which we reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings. In effect, it’s as if you hadn’t filed for those months. You can learn more at

If you pass away, your retirement date can affect the benefit amount your surviving loved ones receive. If you started receiving retirement benefits before full retirement age, we cannot pay the full amount to your survivors. Their benefit amount will be based on your reduced benefits. You can learn more by visiting our Retirement Planner at

Local Bulletin Board

Reservations due March 18
Art in Nature II to offer free art classes

Are you a budding artist but never got to try your hand at watercolor painting, wood turning, or recycled art? Art in Nature is the perfect opportunity to feel free to attempt artistic aspirations guided by talented local artists ready with the tools you need. Scheduled for Monday through Saturday, April 3 – 8, at the Recreation Hall in Versailles State Park (VSP), classes will be held nightly from 6 – 8 p.m., plus a jewelry making class Saturday from 1 – 3 p.m., and an art show of all the created art Saturday evening from 6 – 8 p.m. For a complete schedule and how to register pick up a copy of the Osgood Journal dated January 31, 2017.

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