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Crothersville Receives $700,000 State Grant For Wastewater Project

The Town of Crothersville will receive a $700,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) for water and sewer improvements.
Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch made the announcement that Crothersville was among 24 rural Hoosier communities will receive more than $15.3 million in federal grant funding to improve water infrastructure.
The Crothersville project will help build a new wet weather overflow main, install an in-line hydrodynamic stormwater separator, construct a duplex wet weather pumping station and force main, modify existing plant surge basins with concrete wall cores and many other key improvements.
The wastewater work is being required by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) as a part of the towns Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) agreement.
The total cost of the state mandated project is estimated at $6 million.
Town Council President Danieta Foster said that to pay for the project there will be a sewer rate increase. “But this grant will soften the blow,” she said.
Crothersville is the smallest of the 109 CSO communities in Indiana that are being ordered by IDEM to upgrade its system to prevent untreated wastewater overflows.
Back when the town’s wastewater system was constructed in the 1950’s, the conventional engineering wisdom at the time was to combine sanitary and storm sewers. That way, when a heavy rain event occurred, it would flush out the sewer system but left untreated sanitary sewer effluent to flow downstream.
Building a wastewater system big enough to treat all combined sewer waste is less costly that separating and building a stand alone storm sewer system, said Dan Wright, engineer with FBPH, the town’s engineering firm.
“By investing in our state’s water infrastructure, we are laying the foundation for regional growth and prosperity,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “These grants are supporting projects that are crucial to rural communities’ continual economic development and improving the quality of life for its residents.”
The State of Indiana distributes Community Development Block Grant funds to rural communities, which assists local government with various community projects such as: infrastructure improvement, downtown revitalization, public facilities and economic development.
“The leadership of these grant recipients embodies strategic planning, hard work and dedication to improving their communities,” said Matt Crouch, Interim Executive Director of OCRA. “Proper planning is necessary to ensure Hoosier’s quality of life can grow as we are coping through a pandemic.”
Funding for OCRA’s CDBG programs originates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program and is administered for the State of Indiana by OCRA.

Town Closes Street, Approves Employee Pay Schedule

Approving an employee wage schedule and closing a street on the town’s northside were approved by the Crothersville Town Council when they met Aug. 4.
At the request of adjoining property owner Michael Anthony, a platted but never paved or used street will be closed.
The closing of Maple Street, which parallels just north of Walnut Street, was unanimously approved but the town will retain a utility easement on the property. The property will revert to the adjoining property owners.
As a part of the budgeting process for next year and in an effort to retain police officers on the local department, the council unanimously approved a 10-year police wage scale, based on longevity.
New hires at the police department will start at $41,496, if they have not been through the Indiana law Enforcement Academy, $43,680 if they have. With each year of service officers will receive a 3% increase, with the exception of year 5 and 10, those years will include a 5% increase.
Senior patrol officers will receive the salary equal to their year of longevity, plus $4,500 annually. The Chief of Police will receive a salary equal to their year of longevity, plus $9,000 annually.
After 10 years of service there will be a $500 bonus for each year of service above 10 years.
Town employees also will receive wage increases next year. The office manager, 1st and 2nd deputies will receive a $1/hour increase.
The Water Superintendent will be paid $22/hour, Street Superintendent will be paid $22/hour.
Roger Jewell was promoted to Wastewater Superintendent at $22/hour.
And a new position has been created, Mason Boicourt, currently wastewater superintendent, will serve as Utility Director at a rate of $25/hr.
All Utility positions will be eligible for an increase of $1/hr for additional certification or licensing.
In a final employee matter, the council determined that Covid 19 testing will be required for any employee who travels out of state.
Councilman Chad Wilson proposed developing an area for food trucks to park and serve their products on town owned property on the south side of town just north of Industrial Way between US 31 & the railroad. Longtime residents will recall this as the site of a US 31 rest area which the State of Indiana turned over to the town several years ago.
No action was taken on the matter at Wilson’s request until he could develop details and cost for the effort.

Mellencamp Named To Lead Southern Indiana Center for the Arts

Southern Indiana Center for the Arts (SICA) has announced the appointment of Speck Mellencamp as executive director. He will lead SICA and his intent is to bring a variety of artists to both display their works and teach.
“SICA’s board of directors is very excited to have Speck as a part of our team,” said Eric DiBlasi, Jr., SICA board president. “He has ideas and plans that will take SICA to the next level not only as a gallery, but also a space where artists can gather, teach, and learn. We’re extremely fortunate to have someone with his enthusiasm and training in this role.”
A Bloomington native, Mellencamp is a 2019 graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Arts in oil painting. He recently had a collection of works on display at SICA and taught a series of oil painting classes earlier this year.
“I’m excited to be here! SICA is an amazing organization with so much potential to grow into a regional destination for art,” Mellencamp said. “Aside from displaying art, I want to make this a place where people come to create and learn more about how to further their artistic abilities.”
He began his role as director of SICA on July 22.
SICA is located at 2001 N. Ewing Street, Seymour.
More information on SICA events can be found at www.soinart.com.

Scott County Donahue Farm Earns Hoosier Homestead Award

State Representative Terry Goodin (D-Austin) and State Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown) recently announced that the Donahue Farm in Scott County was on of this year’s recipients of the Hoosier Homestead Award, which recognizes farms owned and maintained by the same family for 100 years or more.
The Hoosier Homestead Award Program honors families who have made significant contributions to Indiana agriculture. Instituted in 1976, the program recognizes the impact these family farms have made on the economic, cultural and social advancements of Indiana. In the past 40 years, more than 5,800 farms have received the honor.
“It’s a tremendous feat to be honored with a Hoosier Homestead Award,” Garten said. “These families have sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears for more than a century and have given so much to our state. Farms like these have contributed greatly to Indiana’s economy, culture and history, and for that I offer my congratulations.”
“For generations, families like the Donohues have made an outstanding impact on our state,” Goodin said. “Every day, they have rolled up their sleeves and done the incredibly hard work of sustaining a farm and I’m proud to see them get the recognition they deserve. I’m sure our communities will be reaping what they sow for another hundred years.”
To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year. The award distinctions are Centennial, Sesquicentennial and Bicentennial – for 100, 150 and 200 years, respectively.

Our Hoosier Wilderness Tennessee Garden

by Curt Kovener

All of our garden vegetables are producing well now: sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs. Back in the spring we planted some corn figuring Emma the Great Pyrenees would keep the raccoons away. And she has. Like most sweet corn, it is late due to an unexpected frost this spring. But we are pulling corn and enjoying our homegrown roastin’ ears.
And we planted four heritage Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. As an experiment, we caged two plants and allowed the other two to sprawl to see which produced the most fruit. So far it is pretty much a tie but the caged plants are easier to see and pick fruit.
Then there is the rosemary, sweet basil, Thai basil, and cilantro which are lush and producing because Becky has been diligent about pruning by harvesting regularly, drying, and using a mortar & pestle, grinding the herbs for future cooking.
The window over the kitchen sink is where small bundles of herbs are tied and left hanging to dry. And our kitchen smells heavenly.
Those are the plants we planted. But it seems our garden is producing a great deal more due to surprise volunteers, hence our Hoosier Tennessee volunteer garden.
Tomatoes, squash, cucumber and cantaloupe are growing amongst flowers on the front patio & back deck and in with elephant ears thanks to the compost amended and re-used soil from last year’s pot-grown vegetable plants.
One tomato is particularly interesting. It appears to be a compact patio tomato. But neither of us can remember ever growing such a dwarf. But is the setting fruit nonetheless.
Volunteer gardens are later fruiting because the seeds don’t sprout until the outside soil temperature is high enough to germinate. And they are not reliable because you do not know just what you may harvest.
But the price is certainly right and surprise plants add some intrigue, excitement and mystery to the garden as well as delightful side dishes for summer dining.