Rensselaer Adventures

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

World War I Centennial

The Jasper County Historical Society is celebrating the centennial of the ending of WWI this year. Currently they have a display of WWI items with local connections at their Museum. Most of the items are paper items and documents, but there are a few exceptions, such as the uniform and trunk shown below.
 They also have a gas mask that a local soldier brought back from the war.
 One of their WWI treasures is this cabinet.

The card explains why the local historical society is proud of this cabinet and the records it contained.
 At one time there were hundreds of thousands of these cards, but almost all were destroyed after the war. For some reason, no one bothered to destroy ours.
 As mentioned in a previous post, the Jasper County Historical Society has scheduled a three part series called "World War I at Home and Abroad." Part 1 will be part of the monthly meeting at the Historical Society Museum on Tuesday, February 20 at 6:30 pm. Part 2 will be held at the Rensselaer Library on March 7 at 6:00 pm and will focus on food and rationing during WWI. The last part will also be at the Rensselaer Library. It will discuss how the men and women of Jasper County served in the war. Its date is April 24 at 6:00 pm. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served.

Our roller-coaster weather continues. Most of the snow melted late last week, but on Saturday evening we got a couple inches of wet snow, ideal for making snowmen.
 By Sunday afternoon much of it had melted and today (Monday) the rain is melting most of the rest.

A couple post ago I posted a picture of the fog that we had on Thursday. Below is the same view without the fog. Can you tell that it was taken from the parking lot in front of the hospital?
I had been visiting Maple Street on the north side of the railroad tracks every few days to view the cleanup from the train derailment. This week I was surprised to find that in the block to the west of the train derailment cleanup a new building was going up. It looks like it will be for storage and will probably look much like the building to its west.
 The second of the Elza Street apartment buildings is almost framed in. Soon there will be no progress that shows on the outside.
The Internet keeps changing life as we know it. I have finally started downloading books and reading them on a device. Brick and mortar stores are closing because people are buying more on-line. I recently read that banking is being impacted, as people increasingly use on-line banking and as a result branch banks are being closed in record numbers.

Addendum: Both yesterday and today I heard and then saw sandhill cranes flying overhead.
The days are getting longer and the angle of the sun is getting noticeably higher.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Halleck murals panels 5 & 6

Panel 5 covers the 1920s and 1930s. The highlight of this period was in 1935 when SJC became a four-year college, though discontinuing the high school classes was still a few years in the future.
 Below is the explanation for the panel.
 Panel 8 is another with doors into the ballroom. Its subject is the college farm.
 Older alumni remember the time when the College raised hogs and turkeys for the dining hall.
 Below is the text for panel 6. Again, for a larger view of a picture, click on it to open it in its own window.
The post for panels 3 & 4 is here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ice in the alley

The alley opposite the CourtHouse that connects Van Rensselaer and Front Streets used to host an event called Art in the Alley. This past week it hosted ice in the alley.
 These pictures were taken on Monday when we still had lots of snow on the ground and cold temperatures.
 Lots of other buildings in Rensselaer also had impressive displays of icicles.
 Around the corner the sign for the Ritz theater reveals that it was not always the Ritz.
Thursday was very warm and the warm air over the snow created dense fog. Local schools were first on a two hour delay and then, when the fog did not lift enough, they canceled. We had some rain about noon and the fog returned in the late afternoon. The warmth and rain melted most of our snow.
Can you tell where the picture above was taken? You would have no problem if the fog were not there.

The Jasper County Historical Society has scheduled a three part series called "World War I at Home and Abroad". Part 1 will be part of the monthly meeting at the Historical Society Museum on Feb 20 at 6:30 pm. Part 2 will be held at the Rensselaer Library on March 7 at 6:00 pm and will focus on food and rationing during WWI. The last part will also be at the Rensselaer Library. It will discuss the men and women of Jasper County served in the war. Its date is April 24 at 6:00 pm. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served.

WWI is the subject of the current exhibit at the Historical Society's Museum. On November 11 we will celebrate the centennial of the armistice that ended the "War to End All Wars."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Goodbye, Grandmas

Grandma's was half gone on Tuesday afternoon. I stopped by because at the City Council meeting on Monday night, Building Inspector Kenny Haun announced that it would be demolished this week.

  Another view.
Before the City Council meeting, the Board of Public Works met. They approved paying Bowen Construction for completing the lining of the sewer from Van Rensselaer to the lift station and released the final payment for the high water treatment plant, signaling that the City considers the project finished. They also approved payments to Commonwealth Engineering for helping the City get up to speed in operating the high rate treatment plant and to Titan Construction for work converting the old fire station for use as a police station. In a meeting with Titan, the City said they wanted stronger glass in the windows and that will probably be the subject of a future change order. Finally, the Board approved to changes to the Standard Operating Procedures of the Police Department. A dress code change will allow certain styles of facial hair, and the Department is now authorized to use stop sticks. A few weeks ago the State Police requested help in stopping a vehicle on I-65 and the local police had to decline because they did not have stop sticks. What is a bit strange about their lack of stop sticks is that the current police chief is an instructor in how to use stop sticks.

There were a lot of items on the City Council agenda. The Council approved additional appropriations that transferred $1000 that CSX paid the City for police work on the train derailment to the line for police salaries and approved $525,423.28 from the LOIT tax for streets. The gas tracker for February will be a five cent per hundred cubic feet decrease. In a hard-to-follow conversation, the Council ratified a telephone poll approving payment to state unemployment for a person who had resigned rather than facing termination. The decision was done with a phone poll because there was a late-fee penalty looming. No one was quite sure if he should get or was getting benefits.

The utility department had two changes that were approved. One makes the final invoice penalty-exempt because the second change will cause utility deposits to be used to pay the final bill, with any remainder being refunded (and any shortage billed).

The Council approved the purchase of a new wood chipper by the electric utility and allowed the project coordinator to seek bids for a replacement dump truck, plow, and salt box for the current 1992 truck. One of the three pumps in the lift station has failed and it is unclear whether it would be better to repair or replace it. The cost of a new pump is about $30K and plans for the future include rebuilding the lift station. (These pumps were installed in 2011.)

The Council approved granting $250 from the public relations fund to help purchase a trailer to be used to provide identification documents for children in case they are lost or missing. The Council also approved forming a committee to plan a City employee picnic.

The Mayor and Council congratulated Lenny Larson on his election as President of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Municipal Electric Association.  The Park Department is beginning to get ready for summer programs.
LGS, which was awarded the contract for constructing the water main connecting the new well to the treatment plant, has been spotting utilities and may soon begin digging. And almost at the end of the meeting came the announcement about the demolition of Grandmas.

The Rensselaer Republican story on the demolition is here.