Rensselaer Adventures

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ribbon Cutting at Endless Treasure

Endless Treasures had its ribbon cutting on Friday.
All the booth space in the store is occupied and the owner is trying to arrange space to allow more booths. The hallway leading out of the main room is now completely different. The original plan was for it to be tools and related items but it is now clothes. Previous posts are here and here.

In news that indirectly affects Rensselaer, CVS is purchasing 20 Fagan Pharmacies in NW Indiana. They will convert 8 to CVS stores and close 12. Among those to be closed are stores in DeMotte, Wheatfield, Roselawn, and Francesville. I think the closure will leave Francesville without a pharmacy.

I stopped by the big sale at SJC to see what was happening. I asked how long the sale would go on and was told ten or twelve weeks--there were still a lot of buildings to empty. As I was leaving, a van from Ancilla College arrived and I stayed to see where the people were going. Instead of going into the Recreation Center where the sale is, they were led to the field house. There are some things that the College is offering as complete units, such as science labs.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Beehler Legacy Exhibit

The current art exhibit in the Fendig Gallery is the Beehler Legacy Exhibit, which will run until September 27, The reception will be tonight, August 18 from 7:00 until 9:00.

Roger Beehler taught art at RCHS from 1969 until 1993. Artists that he influenced have submitted works for the exhibit, usually at least one that was done in high school. Each of the artists who has submitted works has an artists statement, telling what they did after leaving high school. If you went to RCHS or had kids in RCHS during the Beehler years, you will probably recognize some of the artists who have contributed to the show.

I stopped by the gallery on Thursday to see what it had and was very impressed with what is on display. I did not have time to read all the bios, but will get back and take a closer look. Both the quality of the works and the connections that the various artists have to Rensselaer make this a must-see exhibit.

 This is an example of a work done while in high school.
 You might guess that the person who painted this lives in Russia, and you would be right.
 This is not a photograph--it is a painting.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Viewing the solar eclipse without special glasses

On May 10, 1994 Rensselaer was in the path of an annular solar eclipse. Perhaps you remember it. The moon passed in front of the sun, but it was at an extreme in its orbit—the orbit is an ellipse not a circle, and the moon is about 30,000 miles closer to us at perigee (the point at which it is closest) than at apogee (the point at which it is furthest.) The disk of the moon was not large enough to cover the disk of the sun.

One of the pictures that I took of the eclipse of 1994 is below.
The leaves of the trees act like many pinhole cameras. If the sky is clear on Monday, you will be able to see the eclipse by looking down. It will be a lot easier on your eyes than looking up.

(Here is a post on another annular eclipse.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Budget hearings, Aug 2017 and a sale update

The County Council had a long meeting on Tuesday evening as they began their budget hearings for the 2018 budget. Before they began that, however, they heard essentially the same presentation from Umbaugh that the Commissioners heard earlier this month.

At its September meeting the Council will consider two recommendations of Umbaugh, to declare the Riverboat fund and the Jail fund dormant and transfer the balances to the general fund.

The Highway Department asked for an additional appropriation that I did not understand.

The President of the Council then read a long list of numbers that you can find at Search for Jasper County and click the budget notice date to see the document.

The Sheriff presented his budget. He noted that the State Police is understaffed and cannot fill its vacancies, and as a result, his department ends up responding to incidents on I-65 (Little fact that I did not know--Jasper County has more miles of I-65 than any other Indiana County.) He noted that the jail had averaged about 80 inmates during 2016 but as of Tuesday had 98 and a week earlier had 103. There are 8 or 9 level 6 felons (the lowest level of felony and these are no longer sent to state prisons but held in county jails) and that the state pays $35 per day to the county to house them, but the actual cost is about $55 or $56.

Most of his presentation was going through the budget line by line and explaining the numbers, and without a printed copy, it was hard to follow from the audience. There were a few items that were interesting. At present when a deputy reaches 20 years of service, his pension is maxed out. As a result, there is an incentive for employees to leave for anther job and build up a second pension. This causes a loss of experience and expertise and also generates trainings cost. He suggested that the Council and Commissions might want to take a look at what other law enforcement agencies are doing with pensions. He noted that Honeywell, which had pitched the Commissioners about doing energy savings for the County, decided that they did not want to include the jail in their proposal. Although the jail is only about ten years old, the building is in use twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and as result. some equipment needs to be replaced. Some locks are failing and there are problems with some of the plumbing.

Sheriff Risner cannot run for re-election in 2018--he is term limited. There are several people who want to become the next sheriff and the Rensselaer Republican has been running articles this week featuring these candidates.

The other program presenting on Tuesday was Extension, and its budget was simple compared to the Sheriff's Department.

Budget hearings will continue on Thursday starting at 8:30 am and continue most of the day.

On Wednesday I went back to the big sale to see what had changed.  There was noticeably less stuff in the Rec Center. Below you can see that there are plenty of computers left, but note the empty table behind. That table also had electronics when the sale opened.

There were still many musical instruments, but again, noticeably fewer than on Monday. Some of these large brass instruments (maybe all) were priced over $1000 each.
There are still lots of desks. I do not recall these desks being used before I retired in 2010. I wonder what happened to all the old wooden desks. I do not think any were still being used when the school closed.

I will be very surprised if anyone is willing to pay $100 for an overhead projector on an beat-up cart. The high school auctioned some of these overhead projectors and I do not recall if they sold or not.