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Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019 4:00 AM
    This week, I’d like to introduce you to Montgomery County’s newest county councilman from District One, Tom Mellish. He takes over for Dick Chastain who retired after a long and distinguished career as councilman. I sat down with him this week to ask a few questions:
    FREY: What is your professional background?
    MELLISH: I am a retired Principal. I led Sugar Creek Elementary for 23 wonderful years. The world of education is a rewarding one and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    FREY: Where do you live and tell me about your family?
    MELLISH: I have lived in Montgomery County for over 27 years with my wife, Cynda. We have raised two sons who graduated from North Montgomery High School and now reside in the Indianapolis area. We could not be prouder of them and feel fortunate to have raised them in such a great community.
    FREY: Any current or past board work?
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  • Saturday, February 9, 2019 4:00 AM
    This week, the Senate considered several measures to improve school safety in our state.
    One measure would increase funding for schools to help students dealing with mental and emotional health issues. Additionally, at Indiana colleges, every teacher preparation program would be required to provide instruction to future teachers on mental health issues.
    Another proposed effort would prohibit school buses from picking up and dropping off students at locations that force students to cross highways, unless there is no way to avoid it. This legislation would also increase penalties for people who fail to stop when a school bus stop arm is extended.
    Finally, senators are discussing giving school districts the ability to use referendums specifically for school safety costs. This option would give residents voting on a safety referendum certainty that 100 percent of the property tax revenue raised would be used for school safety.
    As your state senator, I will continue to work on ensuring the safety of our students and teachers.
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  • Saturday, February 2, 2019 4:00 AM
    Stopping addiction means ensuring those who need help are provided with meaningful and effective treatment options.
    One treatment option for Hoosiers battling addiction is an Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) program, many of which have recently opened in our state. While these programs can be valuable, they are lacking appropriate regulations to protect patients. 
    To ensure these programs are operating responsibly, I supported Senate Bill 141, which would set common-sense regulations for OBOT programs and require doctors to outline a specific treatment agreement with the patient before starting treatment.
    For example, this bill would require doctors engaged in OBOT programs to:
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  • Tuesday, January 29, 2019 4:00 AM
    Hello! My name is Rick Hernandez and I am proud to be a local Montgomery County resident. Although I may not be someone who was “born and raised” in Montgomery County and have many “remember when” memories, I have found this county to be a great place for my family to live, work and play. I am from Houston, Texas and openly admit that I am a “city-slicker.” I’ve worked hard throughout my career to earn an education and have had the opportunity to lead organizations toward their goals. As we continue our conversation through this newspaper column, I’m looking forward to learning about each other.
    For those Montgomery County residents who have gotten to know me, you will agree I have little to no working knowledge when it comes to agriculture. Although, I have learned a great deal in my short time living here, I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination. You could only imagine my internal reaction when I was invited to participate on a tree committee. Needless to say the first meeting I attended was a head-spinning experience. There were a lot of terms and best practices discussed. I was way out of my comfort zone.
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  • Saturday, January 26, 2019 4:00 AM
    When banks move to foreclose on homeowners, it initiates a legal process that includes the publication of a notice of a sheriff’s sale.
    The published notice, whose cost is collected from the winning bidder at the sheriff’s run auction, serves to protect the elderly, the disabled, the uneducated, or people who are out of state, such as deployed members of the Armed Forces.
    There are stories from all over the country of people who didn’t realize their property was in foreclosure until a friend or family member saw the published notice. There were cases in Florida where homes were being foreclosed on by Wells Fargo when it had no mortgages on those properties.
    The published notices also increase the possible bidding pool for the foreclosed property. The idea being that more bidders mean the auction price should be higher, which serves the homeowner because the auction price is applied to his / her debt. Even after the loss of the home, the bank can still pursue the balance of the unpaid mortgage.
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  • Peck joins pilot program to create local road safety plan
    Thursday, January 24, 2019 4:00 AM
    This month, at our Coffee With the Commish event, we introduced you to our County Engineer, Jim Peck, who showed us Montgomery County’s Key Corridor Map. He explained this is a precursor to developing a Thoroughfare Plan, an all-encompassing plan for upgrading the quality of our roads, bridges, overpasses and increasing interconnectivity. 
    Jim is a very busy guy simultaneously working on several projects, which I will write about in upcoming columns, but today I want to talk about road safety and what he’s doing to help protect our citizens on our roadways. 
    Since becoming a county commissioner, I look at everything much more strategically - all in the interest of making improvements. Interestingly this year, I have learned a lot about road safety. Understandably most folks just focus on the visible problems with our roads; potholes, ditches, brush, etc., but the safety of our citizens traveling on our roads is a priority. It may surprise you that while local roads are less traveled than state highways, they have a much higher rate of fatal or serious injury crashes. In fact, according to the fatality analysis reporting system (FARS) and federal highway administration (FHWA) statistics for 2014, local roads can experience up to 3 times the fatality rate as the Interstate Highway System.
    Knowing the facts, the FHWA wanted a few rural communities with a County Engineer to join a very important pilot program on road safety. Enter Jim Peck. As a registered professional engineer, Jim was able to secure our place in this program.
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  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 4:00 AM
    2018 ended on an exciting note as we held three public meetings introducing Montgomery County’s first ever collaborative comprehensive plan. I hope you were able to attend one of them, but if you weren’t, I hope this article inspires you to check it out!
    The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to talk about new goals, resolutions, and resolves. At the beginning of each year, many people make personal resolutions for a desired, positive change. As a community, we have done that with our comprehensive plan; we have united to resolve to make positive desired changes happen in our county.
    Still not entirely sure what a comprehensive (comp) plan is? A comp plan is an official policy document which is used by community leaders and citizens to articulate the long-term vision for your community, and to set goals and strategies to achieve that vision. A comp plan allows the vision of a community to come to life. It’s a roadmap to a desired destination.
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  • Monday, January 7, 2019 4:00 AM

    Earlier this week, lawmakers gathered at the Statehouse for the start of the 2019 legislative session.

    This year, we will craft another balanced budget for our state and continue to prioritize improving Indiana’s education and workforce systems.

    To stay up to date on what is happening at the Statehouse during session, visit iga.in.gov to view session meetings, committee hearings, calendars, proposed legislation, vote tallies and more.

    You can also keep in touch and follow along on what is happening at the Statehouse by connecting with our social media accounts.

    By law, the legislative session must conclude by April 29.

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  • Monday, December 31, 2018 4:00 AM
    This week, we highlight a key position in county government—County Engineer, Jim Peck.
    For twenty-five years, Montgomery County was one of the few counties in Indiana without a position focused on our road infrastructure, bridges, and county thoroughfares. We knew we were missing a huge opportunity and were at a disadvantage by not have this kind of expertise on hand to assist in planning for our county’s future. So in January of 2018, the County Commissioners hired Jim, and from my perspective was one of the best decisions we have made to-date. 
    When Jim accepted the position, he stated that he wanted to use his years of diversified experience to support a growing and progressive community. When you ask people who have worked with him, they will say one of his best qualities is his ability to effectively communicate with clients. We have found that to be the case in our community as well. He routinely keeps us informed, states the facts, and outlines the various engineering options. He presents various solutions so we can make the best business decisions. His involvement saved the county nearly $1,500,000 on the sanitary sewer system design alone. 
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  • Monday, December 24, 2018 4:00 AM
    Merchants around the world depend on the Christmas season each year for twenty to fifty percent of their yearly sales. 
    The travel industry from airlines to gasoline stations see a nice bump during the holidays. People are going to buy airplane tickets and buy gasoline. 
    Grocery stores do better during the holidays. People cook more for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. The alcohol industry does well during holidays. Wine, Beer and Bourbon Whiskey all do well normally and more so during December. 
    Charities and Churches enjoy December. People give more money to the church in December than any other month. People who want to give make sure their gifts are given by December 31st. Churches normally have special children and music programs during the month that increases attendance. 
    Counselors see a spike in activity during December. More people are depressed during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays than any other time of the year. 
    Funeral homes are busy in December and January. Check your local funeral home obituaries for last December and January and you'll be amazed at how many funerals took place. 
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  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 4:00 AM
    During my recent “Coffee with the Commish” events, I talked to some terrific people. I talked to people who agree with me. I talked to people who disagree with me. I talked to people who understand me. And I talked to people who misunderstand me. Every one of those conversations has been of great personal value to me and I have learned important things from each of them; one of the most significant being that there is a need for more effective and consistent communication. Many of the people I spoke with during these meetings voiced significant concerns about projects or ideas which we have been working on, only to change their view after understanding the process the commissioners are following to make decisions. This just confirmed the importance of communication in the process of education.
    In order to fully understand one another, we must be willing to sit down and listen to each other. We must be willing to give one another the opportunity to tell our stories, to learn about each other and allow others to be heard. We need to listen to one another and attempt to understand different perspectives and ideas. Then we can have compassionate, valuable, collaborative relationships based on understanding and education. Will we always agree with one another? Heavens no! But, if we can communicate and connect on some common level, we can create collaborative relationships sure to bring about great things. Important collaborations are happening in Montgomery County right now!
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  • Seeds have been planted
    Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:00 AM
    Editor’s Note: This is an ongoing series about collaborative economic and community development efforts between the City of Crawfordsville, County Commissioners, and County Redevelopment Commission. 
    By Cheryl Morphew
    President of CRMorphew Consulting LLC 
    Construction has been the theme this year throughout the community. While frustrating for some, construction in the economic development world is a very good thing. In fact, it is a positive indicator about the level of confidence in the local community. Investors—be it private or municipal—only invest when they have the financial capacity to do so and can receive a solid return on the investment (ROI), both of which signify a healthy economy. Another reason we in the economic development field love construction is that it clearly is a sign of growth and of better things to come. In most cases when a municipality or public body initiates construction it reflects their proactive efforts to improve their community which in turn can bring new residents, new talent, and new business investment. Here are just a few of the many examples that have occurred or are still occurring in our community.
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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 4:00 AM
    The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently awarded a combined $100 million to Indiana towns, cities and counties to improve their roads and bridges through the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program, which was established by the General Assembly in 2016.
    Through this program, INDOT matches up to $1 million when localities invest in road and bridge repairs. Counties with populations below 50,000 and cities and towns with populations below 10,000 receive a 75/25 percent match, while counties with populations of at least 50,000 and cities and towns with populations of at least 10,000 receive a 50/50 percent match. 
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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 4:00 AM
    We’ve stated before that economic development will not happen overnight, and it won’t happen in the absence of a plan. Last year, the County RDC sanctioned an Economic Development Plan to study the feasibility of growth in certain areas of our county. Areas like I-74 / S.R. 32 and south of S.R. 32 in the Nucor corridor. That plan verified what elected and appointed officials already knew: utility infrastructure was a challenge because it didn’t exist, but more importantly it identified what types of infrastructure, and at what capacities, would turn that around. From that, plans have now been developed in cooperation with the Regional Sewer Board to install water and sewer to those areas to support future growth. This is so critically important from a business development perspective. There has been no growth in those two areas for many years simply because there is no water and sewer. The old adage build it and they will come holds true. When companies are looking to locate to a community or specific site, they are most interested in those communities who are prepared, not those who say, “if you come, then we will build”. Speed-to-market for business is so critical today that those communities who are not ready are overlooked.
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  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:00 AM
    As we move into the final months of the year, we find ourselves at an important juncture. This position truly showcases the essence of planning. All the hard work we’ve collectively put into creating an overall comprehensive plan for Montgomery County is coming together.
    The 2018 midterm election made clear, by a 2-1 margin, that the citizens of Montgomery County are ready to move forward. We heard you loud and clear, and we will continue on the path to formalize the community’s vision of strategic and economic growth, responsible spending and the preservation of the unique character of our community including our rich "farm" heritage.
    Last January, we hired Jim Peck as our County Engineer. This was a giant step in the right direction. Having a long-term plan for infrastructure improvements is critical for both residential and commercial growth. We must be ready for growth and having a clear plan and strategy are essential to achieving this. This year, we will see progress on many projects including the sewer project along SR 32 and Nucor Road, and the addition of a water main in the same corridor. 
    The vision is coming into focus. Citizens have shown considerable support for the need of a strategic plan - to protect property rights and ensure growth is strategic and sustainable. In response, we are delivering. Our work with Chris Hamm from HWC on the comprehensive plan is nearly complete and we are eager to share specifics in the coming weeks. This plan encompasses a holistic approach to maintaining our heritage and making Montgomery County an even better place to live.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933

 

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