Rensselaer Adventures

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

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pictures, Jan 21 2017

Saturday was sunny and warm. I saw two young guys jogging with only shorts and shoes (and socks) and they did not look cold.

The warm weather is the result of a warm front that brought us about an inch and a half of rain on Thursday and Friday. The river is full, but still a bit more than a foot below flood stage. The City is cutting down some of the trees that line the river in Weston Cemetery.
 What will be the high rate treatment plant now has a prime lakeside location. It probably would not have been used if it had been completed--though we got a lot of rain, it came down gradually over many hours.
 Today was Train Day at the Library. I did not get any really good pictures. The exhibit had trains with most of these gauges. One of the exhibitors said that the trains running on the Z gauges were very touchy--everything had to be just right or they would not run. When I was a kid I had a trains that used the O gauge but my kids had HO.
 The other day I stopped bywhat will be Embers Station because I saw the owner painting a decoration on the wall. He asked me not to take a picture of the painting in progress but did let me take some pictures of the progress inside. Below is what the two garage bays now look like. The pipes in the floor are drains and mark where a bar will be be. You can see the oven in the wall.
 A closer look at the oven. (For better pictures, see here and scroll through the series by clicking the arrows.)
 I had not realized that the oven was not inside the building but behind it.
 This week saw rapid progress on the Elza Street apartments. Below is a picture from Wednesday.
 Here is the site on Thursday.
 And here is the building on Friday.
 It has been a long while since I have visited the Antique Mall at Greene's Furniture.  (Here is a post from 2009.) While shopping for furniture on Saturday I stopped by. This large bronze stature is near the entrance. It would make a statement in any home.
 The old stove would be useful for power outages in winter. It was in excellent shape.
 I noticed these porcelain advertising thermometers because my father had one, but not for these products. They were once fairly common. The price on the Land O'Lakes thermometer was $99 and for the Burpee thermometer $140.
 There is a lot of stuff to see and if you are interested in antiques, a lot of stuff to buy.
 Speaking of furniture, two years ago R&S Used Furniture opened across from R&M. They have  closed because of health of one of the owners.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Court house faces

The Jasper County Historical Society has as its mystery photo this week a picture of a stone face. I recognized it as part of the Court House, but was not sure where it was. My initial guess was that it was around what was once the main entrance on the Washington Street side of the Court House. In addition to the gargoyles, there are two faces in the decorative trim.

Below are close-ups of the two faces on either side of this entrance (which is no longer an entrance).
They are stone faces, but not the right stone faces.
The mystery picture shows decoration around the Van Rensselaer entrance, which is now only used by Court House personnel.
Below are close ups of these two faces.
Here is the Historical Society's picture of the face above.

The Harrison Street entrance also has elaborate decoration around it, but no faces. The Cullen Street entrance is unadorned but is now the only entrance for the public. It was probably made the public entrance because it is the only one without steps.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A couple of meetings

The Park Board and Corporation held a special meeting on Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. Attending the meeting in addition to the members of the Park Board and Corporation were Mayor Wood and Councilman Cover, two people from the Jasper Foundation, Brianne Hooker and Jack Drone, and the two trustees of the Rex Blacker Trust, Ed Dumas and Rich Baunach.

Mr Dumas urged the Board to get behind a fund-raising campaign. He said that the people who had guided the fund raising for the Jasper County Hospital expansion could do the same for the parks. They would not do the actual fund raising, but would organize and coordinate the campaign. The campaign would not be limited to those who live in the city limits because many people in central Jasper County use the parks and they might be interested in contributing.

After making his pitch and answering some questions, Mr Dumas left. The Mayor and Mr Cover thought the Board should agree to the Dumas proposal. Some Board members wanted to know if hiring a professional fundraising organization would step on the toes of the Jasper Foundation, which under its previous personnel had been willing to do fundraising. Mrs Hooker said that she could not do what the previous head of the Foundation had suggested she could do, but the Foundation would help in any way it could. After further discussion, in which some people wondered how much money could be raised, the Board approved a motion to go with the Dumas' suggestion.

A couple hours later the Jasper County Council met. The first order of business was election of officers. The Council stayed with the incumbents, Rein Bontreger president and Andy Andree vice president.

The meeting did not have much on the agenda and the next item, a report from the Wabash Valley Alliance, was the most interesting. Wabash Valley receives County funds for their work in mental health and addiction counseling. During the July-to-June year they served 507 people in Jasper County, which was down 56 from the previous year. The cases were divided almost equally between males and females. The number 607 is about 1.5% of the population and would be higher if many the residents of the northern part of the county did not got to Lake and Porter Counties for services. Wabash Valley provided over $1.5 million in services and collected from insurance and government payments less than one million. The shortfall was covered by various grants and about $200K from the County.

The spokesman mentioned that their clients included children and that schools referred some of them. Among problems the children had were hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and addiction. When asked about how much addiction affected their case load, he said that between 60% and 80% of their clients had some kind of addiction.

He mentioned that Lafayette hospitals are seeing an average of 1.5 overdoses a day that are treated with Narcan and said that the widespread use of Narcan may be increasing overdoses because it has reduced the risk of death from overdosing. (Economists call this the problem of moral hazard and it is a pervasive problem with anything that reduces the costs of bad decisions.) He also mentioned that Wabash Valley had sold its West Lafayette hospital and it was now called Riverbend Hospital.

In other business, the Council approved an interfund loan that is used to pay for ambulance service. I do not understand how it works but this is something the Council does every year The loan is paid back at the end of the year. The Council approved three additional appropriations. The Sheriff requested a large transfer of funds to allow his department to purchase a new computer server. In a future meeting he will request additional appropriations to replenish the accounts from which the transfers were made. The whole thing involved timing--the end effect will be that of an additional appropriation but because the request was not publicized early enough, it was done as a transfer.  The Sheriff noted that the jail had 1103 bookings in 2016 and currently has 81 inmates, several of whom are serving their sentences locally because all sentences less than one year are now served in county jails.

The Council had two vacancies to fill, one on the Alcohol Review Board and the other on the Redevelopment Commission (which rarely meets because its only responsibility is with a TIF district adjacent to Fair Oaks Farms). Both appointments were delayed until the February meeting.

Commissioner Kendall Culp reported that the Frost Law will be enforced beginning today (Wednesday). He said that the County should be getting its matching grant of $1,000,000 for roads from the state in the next week or two. Finally, he said that we can expect some higher taxes and fees from the state legislature to finance road repair. Because people are driving more miles with less gas, the revenues from the gas tax no longer are sufficient to keep the roads in good shape.

Below are some pictures. The first two are of the new hangar at Jasper County Airport. The building is almost finished and from the exterior looks almost the same as the hangar building to its south. (The old hangars to the east are the old hangars built 70 or 80 years ago and are showing their age.) The first picture is the south wall and the second is of the north wall.

Next is a park related picture. The City now owns this house on College. It is the first house south of the old Monnett building. It will probably be demolished as it cannot be sold or rented.
Finally, a crane was assembling itself on Tuesday at the construction site of the high rate treatment plant. I never did see what it was used for.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mostly updates

Below are some pictures I have recently taken. The first shows one of the many trucks carrying parts for the high rate treatment plant on Lincoln Street. This one was unusually large--the truck had an escort vehicle for its oversized load.
 The above picture was taken about a week ago. The picture below is from Sunday and shows the progress being made in framing the second floor of the Elza Street apartments.
 The Indiana Department of Transportation recently demolished the buildings on its old site in the northeast corner of Rensselaer. In the past week they have been taking down the fence that surrounded the property and digging out the fence posts. As the picture shows, those posts were anchored in concrete.
 Sydney Jacobs moved to the northern part of the old Chrysler building in mid summer and for a couple months did not have cars on the lot--I think there was some regulatory hurdle. Now they are fully stocked. With Ed White across the street, there are a lot of cars for sale on that block of N McKinley.
 The Visit Rensselaer Facebook page noted last week that there is a new statue in front of the hospital. It is, of course, a stature of Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone. I suspect that all the Franciscan Health hospitals have this or similar statue.
 An upcoming event that many kids will enjoy is the Family Train day at the library on Saturday.  Here is the post from two years ago.
 On Sunday the Prairie Arts Council had a reception for the photography exhibit currently showing in the Carnegie Center. It was well attended. Below is a picture of a saw-whet owl, which is a winter visitor to our region. This picture is used on the publicity cards for the exhibit.

Most of the pictures have short explanations with them, so you not only get to enjoy the wonderful pictures, but if you read the notes, you will learn a little about each of the birds pictured.
Over the weekend I stopped by the open house for Rensselaer's newest photography studio, Rustique Memories, which is located on the second floor above Unique Finds. The woman who runs the business is from Remington and is available by appointment most of the week. She also said that she works at Witko, which is located just north of Wolcott. I had never heard of the business, but they do packaging. (While searching for them up on the Internet, I found another Wolcott business that I did not know existed, Indiana Ribbon and Bow.)

For the past week or two I have been trying to clean out old computer equipment. I still have one old computer that reads floppy disks, so I decided I needed to check them and then toss them. Is there any use for these things?