Rensselaer Adventures

This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Santa Claus is coming to town

I saw Santa talking to little kids on the Court House Square this afternoon. While I was there, he seemed to have lots of kids stopping by to tell him how nice they have been.
A bit later I saw him in Strack and VanTil. He was not talking to anyone--parents apparently prefer to shop for food without kids in tow. Santa sure gets around.

Unique Finds now sells household items and furniture on the second floor of their building. I stopped by to see what they had and was told that they are running a bit low on inventory.
 They get a lot of things from a shop in Merrillville whose owner repairs and repurposes old furniture, and she is selling well at her shop so they have not been getting much for the holidays.
The building permit is up in the College Mall where two stores are being combined into one space and then subdivided into rooms. Help at Home, which currently rents in the Mall, will be moving and expanding.
Also undergoing renovation is Big Dog Rental and Sales. I have been there to see what they are doing, but I can view their efforts on Facebook.

(The mystery picture in the last post was of the radio tower in the parking lot of the old jail. Anonymous got the answer on the third try.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Only a few more days till Christmas

I returned a couple grandkids to their mother yesterday and they have been replaced with peace and tranquility. It was fun while it lasted.

While they were here we decorated for Christmas. Lots of other people are doing the same--Strack and VanTil has sold all of its Christmas trees.
Speaking of trees, on the other side of the highway and a bit to the south, the tree stumps are all that is left from 14 trees that once were southeast of the reflecting pond. It looks very different now, and I suspect it will look a lot more different next summer.

This morning (Friday) there were many trucks being loaded with stone from the piles at the Babcock Quarry. The piles do not look that big, but it takes only two scoops from the big loader to fill a truck. I do not know where the trucks were going, but by the end of the day the pile may be noticeably smaller.
The quarry is piling crushed stone to form berms to keep people from driving on the areas that once stored rock.

(Would a rock from the quarry serve as a substitute for a lump of coal as a present for a naughty boy or girl?)

A building permit in the window of the old Hoover Furniture Building suggests that rumors that it will be the future home of Ayda's Restaurant are true. (At one time the building housed a creamery or some operation that produced ice cream--if you remember details, leave them in a comment. So the building may be going back to something related to its roots--food.)
 I took the picture below recently. What is it and where is it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Too many events

On Tuesday there were at least five events/meetings in the late afternoon and evening. At 5:30 the Animal Control Board met in the Library, at 6:30 the Jasper County Historical Society met at the museum, and at 7:00 the High School Music Department had its winter concert, the RCSC had a board meeting, and the County Council had its monthly meeting. Why is the third Tuesday such a popular day for meetings?

I peeked in the Historical Society meeting to see what goodies I was missing by going to the County Council meeting.
A few days ago the railing was installed on the Museums new ramp.

Then it was off to the County Council meeting. There was some routine transferring of money so that unbudgeted expenses could be met. The unusual snow of last winter resulted in some funds running short at the end of the year, so money had to be moved.

The most interesting item was a discussion of the upgrade of 911 equipment. The usual life of the equipment (much of it computer related) is five years, but the department is going on 7 years. The plan is in the next few months to completely replace the old equipment at a cost of more than $200,000 and less than $25,000. The funding for this comes from a tax on phones, and right now land lines are taxed about double what cell phones are. The legislature is working on equalizing the tax, which is probably necessary because people keep abandoning land lines. (A Verizon box is much cheaper for a home phone.) The upgrade will include the most recent version of the software and allow text messages to go to 911.

One member of the Council asked if the upgrade would interrupt 911 service. The answer was that whenever 911 service is interrupted in Jasper County, it is automatically switched to the White or Newton County 911 service. All 911 service in Jasper County is hosted by the Sheriff's Department, but there are 911 operators in the Rensselaer and DeMotte Police Departments. However, they act as satellites for the county 911 service.

There was some question if these plans were already in the budget or not. If they were not in the budget, then approval would not be possible until it had been advertised. However, the auditor checked her budget and discovered that more than enough money had been included in the recently passed budget, so the report was considered as an update to the council.

The other item that was interesting was the recognition by the Council of two members who were serving at their last meeting. Ron Sipkema did not run for re-election and was retiring after 16 years of service and Dan Stalbaum was defeated in his re-election attempt. He has served eight years. They were each given a plaque and a personalized tee-shirt. The Council members seem to be very close, something that can happen when people work together for a long period. With their departure, Councilmen Price and DeVries become the elder statesmen on the Council.

On an unrelated topic, I received an e-mail from Dan Perkins (whose farm has a blog at that his wife Julie had a recipe that was one of ten finalists in a Dannon Yogurt recipe contest. The winner is decided by viewer votes, so if you would like to help them out, you can vote here:
You can vote once a day until the end of the month. There is a substantial cash prize for the top two.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


The library has some new toys in their play loft that encourage building, legos and blocks.
The blocks are not made of wood but rather of a soft plastic.
 The last time I took them to the library, my charges complained that they missed the play telephones, the ones that had a rotary dials. There are still some of the older toys available, like the one that teaches kids how to open up various kids of latches.
 There is actual building activity in the College Mall. The spaces between one of the rentals and subway are being subdivided into little spaces. It does not appear it retail will be moving in.
 Walls are going up on the MacAllister building east of the airport.
 I was excited to see this vehicle last week.
 It was the truck of Jasper County Weights and Measures, which checks to make sure that gas pumps and scales are accurate. I sat through several county meetings that discussed the need for Jasper County to hire an employee to handle weights and measures. In the past the county had outsourced the job, but it had reached a level (maybe population) that meant that it now had to have its own Weights and Measures employee. Then the position was mentioned at more meetings as it was implemented. Now it is done and in operation.