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May 25, 2017 • Headline News
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Across the hall and ‘On the Run…’
Milan teachers find ways to impact youth

Jared Rogers

Everyone has a ‘small world’ type of story to tell; for example, when we meet someone we know in a far away place. Often we seem to find random connections to others we didn’t know we had. The connection between teachers and mentors Danielle Lammering and Heather Carr, on the other hand, appears to be deeper than coincidence. It seems that every path they travel in life, they continue to meet.

Danielle Lammering and Heather Carr. JARED ROGERS PHOTO
Pictured from left are Danielle Lammering and Heather Carr. Both women say they enjoy teaching at Milan Elementary School.

Lammering and Carr teach across the hall from each other in the fourth-grade wing at Milan Elementary, but their unique relationship dates back much further than this appointment. The two first met in middle school in the Sunman-Dearborn school system. Danielle came from Bright Elementary and Heather from Sunman Elementary. Each played different sports in high school, and generally, maintained separate social circles before graduating in 2011.

The two women both happened to choose Ball State University for their higher education, although they didn’t connect there initially. Danielle entered with a nursing degree in mind, but she soon discovered needles and blood were not her forte. She switched to an education major, and in retrospect, she thinks it was meant to be. “When I was growing up, I would play ‘school’ with my younger brother, Ryan. I would be the teacher and tell him what to do,” she laughs. Heather, on the other hand, knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age and stuck to her endeavor upon entering university. The two ladies began to notice each other in class and formed a friendly bond based upon their shared history.

Soon after they graduated from Ball State in 2015, Danielle remembers hearing over social media that her acquaintance, Heather, had attained a teaching position at Milan Elementary School. Danielle, too, was hired by Milan, initially as a fill-in for a maternity leave, which turned into a full-time fourth grade position. They had no idea their paths would cross so closely until they saw one another setting up their classrooms across the hall. Both ladies credit their pursuance of an education career to caring and dedicated teachers they encountered as children.

Danielle recalls, “Mrs. Wendy Beck, my second grade teacher at Bright Elementary, always came to school with a positive attitude and motivated us. She wanted us to be the best we could be. Even when I was in trouble, I loved her.”

Heather remembers Mrs. Vicki Kile from Sunman Elementary. “I didn’t have her as a teacher, but she was our counselor and she connected with all the kids. She got to know us personally and was a role model to me. When I did cadet teaching in high school, she’d stay after school and gave me advice during our conversations.”

In addition to nurturing teachers, both ladies are quick to offer gratitude to their parents and fellow faculty. “My parents, Patti and Rick, are always pushing for me,” Danielle relates, to which Heather agrees regarding her mom and dad, Kim and Brad. Heather also chimes in, “All the teachers at Milan were so welcoming when we arrived. The support system is great here.” Both ladies are thankful for the ongoing support their fellow fourth grade teachers Jennifer Block and Kris Bushhorn offer them as well.

Lammering and Carr hope to continue in the tradition of great educators before them. Above all, they say, they are in the field to make a positive difference in children’s lives. They encourage their students to be inquisitive, explore their world and develop a thirst for learning. They also encourage parents to connect and motivate kids and to foster relationships that give kids the opportunity to thrive.

Outside of the classroom, the two teachers continue their mentorship with youth. Among other engagements, both have served as volunteer coaches for Girls on the Run, a program offered at Milan (and other Ripley County schools) through Margaret Mary Health that inspires young girls to develop self-confidence. “Girls on the Run teaches girls to see themselves as beautiful no matter what,” Danielle says, “And, it teaches them to extend friendship to everyone.” The program also promotes physical activity. “The girls like to run,” Heather says, But they enjoy forming friendships even better The program is open to girls in grades 3 – 5 and is offered in both the fall and spring. The culminating 5K walk/run for the spring 2017 session recently occurred on May 13 in Batesville. For those interested in future participation in Girls on the Run visit

The two teachers offer the following to young women: “Don’t give up on your dreams,” Heather declares, “I wanted to be a teacher, and that’s what I did. Sometimes people will talk negative about what you want to do, stick it out anyway [if you believe in it].” Danielle adds, “Stay true to yourself. Things in life can come up and influence you to make poor decisions. Be true to your values and live to a high standard.”

Residents of Ripley County are fortunate to have such inspiring young women teaching children in our community. One can only imagine how their paths will weave together again in the future.

Versailles Farmers Market to begin June 3

Jared Rogers

Main Street Versailles invites you to a weekly Saturday “Market on the Square,” 9:00am - 12:00pm on the Versailles town square, June 3 - October 14. Local vendors will offer a variety of food and craft products for purchase. Food products include beef, pork, eggs, honey, sorghum, fruits, vegetables, herbs, baked goods and more. Flowers, plants, jewelry, wood and metal creations, and other crafts are also available. Please note that available products fluctuate with each season.

Versailles Farmers MarketShopping at the market supports our local economy, especially impacting the livelihood of local farmers and artisans. Local foods are often more fresh and tasty compared to their store-bought counterparts, as they are harvested and prepared especially for the market. Many store-bought food products travel hundreds of miles before reaching the consumer, which can be detrimental to both the environment and the nutritional value of a product. It is incredibly satisfying to have the opportunity to interact with the people who grow our food. Additionally, supporting local crafters and artists enriches our culture. Each product bought locally comes with a unique story and style, and is often created with greater care than mass produced goods.

The market will feature a variety of specialty days this year, including “Retail Day” on June 17, “Adopt-a-Pet Day” on July 15, and “Kids’ Market Day” on August 19.

Main Street Versailles invites interested vendors to contact for information on setting up at the market. There are no setup fees for vendors, but certain food products must be evaluated prior to sale per Indiana health regulations. Both vendors and customers are needed for the market to thrive! Community members can follow market updates on Facebook at and on Twitter at @MainStreetVers

From the Versailles State Park special insert in The Versailles Republican:
The Friends of Versailles State Park continue to serve in 2017

The Friends of Versailles State Park, created in 2012 to encourage more people to visit the park and help with park projects, continues to build upon their public service this year. They have been hard at work in 2017, already completing the construction of four bat boxes and six wood duck boxes, installed with the help of park staff.

Natalie Brinson photo

Bruce Fiscus, chairman of the Friends group, reports that the bat boxes are scored on the inside so the bats can hang, just as they would in a cave or tree. He says bats are beneficial creatures to have around, as they eat their bodyweight in insects, including mosquitos, each day. The wood duck boxes are mainly found in the wetlands area of the park, across US 50 east of the main entrance, while some are also located at the lake.
The Friends have also improved the bird viewing room at the park’s Nature Center by adding a fence, a water feature, and upgraded feeders. The water feature allows birds to enjoy a fresh drink along with their meal of sunflower seeds from the feeders. All of the plants found in the bird viewing garden are native to our region and were transplanted from areas within park boundaries. Fiscus notes that Friend Darlene Pettit was a great help in identifying and transplanting the native species.

Next, the group plans to reclaim the old fence posts, fashioning them into birdhouse kits. “We’ll cut them out, bag them up, and the park naturalist (Alex Estes) can use them in a building program with kids. The kids can either take the boxes home or donate them back to the park,” Fiscus says. The boxes will be wren houses, which are the classic style of birdhouse most folks think of.

Also in the works at the Nature Center, Fiscus shares that the Friends group plans to assist in adding a “park history” room to further expand educational capabilities. “We want to highlight park history from fossils to FDR,” he says, “Including things like the old 4-H camp and the fire tower.” The group currently seeks photos, information, and funding for the project.

Another significant task currently underway is the construction of a handicap accessible trail. The park was awarded a $20,000 grant from Duke Energy in the fall of 2015 to purchase a trail building machine. Fiscus said that Friends board member, Guy Schwering, has been hard at work using that machine to construct the accessible trail, with plans to open it this season. In fact, Guy is working on multiple trails, with plans to link them together; one will extend from the group campground to the dam. As if they weren’t busy enough, Bruce is excited to share that the Friends also plan to renovate the playground near campgrounds B & C soon. They hope to procure grant funding for the project, and like the new trails, make the playground handicap accessible.

In addition to these service projects, the group actively fundraises to increase their reach. They look forward to selling glow sticks to children at this year’s fireworks show on July 1. “The kids love them,” Bruce smiles. Also for sale are hiking stick medallions, designed by Friend and local artist Debi Black. They are available for purchase in the park office.

Along with serving, the Friends always make sure to have fun. They host monthly “first Saturday” hikes, open to all, and also “destination” hikes, only for members. Bill Dallman leads the destination hikes to old cemeteries, homesteads, and farms on park land. The group is planning more kayak outings this season, too, open to all who would like to explore the Versailles Lake and Laughery Creek with other nature-lovers.

The board of directors for this year are: Bruce Fiscus, chairman; Jack Wilker, vice; Connie Kelley, secretary; Vinnie Mastrandrea, treasurer; Vickie Bullard, Guy Schwering, and Michael Hood, members at large.

Anyone interested in joining the Friends of Versailles State Park may become a member with annual dues of: $15 Individual; $25 Family; or $100 Sponsor; lifetime memberships are $150 Individual or $250 Family. Memberships may be sent to Friends of Versailles State Park, P.O. Box 102, Dillsboro, IN 47018. More information is available by calling Bruce Fiscus 513-260-0291 or email The group also has a Facebook page: Friends of Versailles State Park. They always welcome new volunteers and friends!

Read more Versailles State Park information inside the special insert in The Versailles Republican dated May 25, 2017.

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