Rensselaer Adventures

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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Revisiting Morocco

In May when I visited the Morocco Homecoming I also took some pictures of what was once downtown Morocco. The building below is one that is along what was once US 41. I am not sure what purpose it had.

Below is another of the old buildings that flourished when US 41 went through Morocco. It was a diner and a garage and I believe that it was restored in the past few years.
Heading down the main street toward the downtown, this is what is left of an old hotel.
On the north side of the street is a building from about 1940. It is one of the newer buildings in the downtown and is a good example of the building from this time period. Behind it is a grain elevator. At one time Morocco had two railroads; now it has none.

The Butt Stop has moved to a laundromat further west and on the other side of the street.
There is a little park on the north side of State Street with murals pointing out historical highlights. Hall of Fame baseball player Edgar Sam Rice came from Morocco.
On the south side of the street is the first resale shop.

The building that was once Morocco Glass now is home to a Mexican restaurant. Part of the signage from its previous use is still on the building.
Next door is a second resale shop.
The north western part of the downtown has offices for insurance, lawyers, local government, and the North Newton School Corporation.
Here is the downtown viewed from the west.
What seems to be the newest building in downtown Morocco is a branch of the DeMotte State Bank.
I spent my boyhood years in a town about half the size of Morocco and it had a business district about half the size. Virtually all of it gone, The few remaining buildings are mostly empty. What has happened to Morocco's downtown is similar to what has happened to many downtowns of small towns than that stopped growing or declined in population. Even towns bigger, like Rensselaer, there is very little retail left in the old downtowns.

Here are some impressions of downtown Morocco from five years ago. Also here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Myers Retrospective at Fendig

The current exhibit at the Fendig Gallery is a large collection of art from Doris Myers. It runs until September 11, 2015. The opening reception drew more people than I have ever seen at a Fendig Gallery reception.

Many of Doris Myers' paintings are floral pieces or landscapes, This winter scene used to hang in the dental offices of Dr Bausman.
 Often her landscapes feature trees and water, with the trees reflected in the water.
 She showed her talents at an early age. This is a water color from 1936 when she was in eighth grade. The exhibit also includes her sketch book from high school, which has fashion designs and sketches of faces.
 This is a well-known sight (and site) in Jasper County.
 The exhibit includes a bit of her work as a potter. This set of dinnerware was done for the Grow family and is part of a setting for 18.
 Each plate has the Grow Farms icon.
The Fendig Gallery is currently open Monday through Friday from noon until 2:00, with extended hours till 5:00 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Another ribbon cutting

Dance Magic had a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning. The business is not only a dance studio but also offers classes in voice, piano, and fitness for ages 18 months to adult. The new studio is on the third floor of the building that has Unique Finds on the first floor. DanceMagic will have an open house and registration today, Wednesday, July 29 from 4 to 6 pm.

 The dance class from the studio was scheduled to perform at the Tuesday Night Farmers Market. I saw them there in uniform painting faces of little kids, but had other commitments so could not wait for them to perform.

We have reached the time of the year when there are a lot of vegetables available at the Farmers Market.

Earlier Tuesday I had traveled to DeMotte and Wheatfield to pick blueberries. The first farm we went to was closed for the season, but we managed to find another that was open. We were told that it was probably their last day for public picking. The morning was hot and humid and the berries were harder to find in big bunches than they had been earlier this month. While we were there the mechanical picker was picking just a few rows from where we were.

School has already started for some kids in the Indianapolis area and will start for others next week. It seems almost cruel to be sending kids back to school this early, while there are so many summer days left.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meetings, July 27, 2015

The City Council meeting for Monday night had a short agenda. The electric department asked for permission to seek quotes for a truck to replace a 1997 model. The Waste Water Treatment Plant will have the only class 3 operator retire and the city needs someone with that certification to fill out paper work. The retiring employee has agreed to work as an independent contractor 10 to 20 hours a month until another employee achieves certification, which may be a couple years off. The fire chief briefed the Council on the need to replace fire fighter breathing apparatus, which is nearing the end of its 15 year of useable service. The department is seeking a grant, but if the grant does not come through, another way will be needed to finance the replacement of the equipment.

Ernest Watson said that he would like to see soccer fields on the old Monnett School property. He said that he has talked to the RCS officials and has their cooperation. A committee composed of Watson, Councilman Hollerman, and Police Chief Phillips was appointed to look into the matter. Since the Park Board recently decided that they would like ball fields on the site, the discussions should be interesting.

The Clerk-Treasurer said that the Council needed to have a special meeting to discuss salaries. It has to be an open meeting and it is tentatively scheduled for August 5 at 5:30.

The representative for the city attorney discussed the agreement that is being worked on for having TV Cable install Internet in all city buildings. During the discussion it was mentioned that TV Cable pays a $9 a month rental for each city utility pole it uses.

Mike Murphy is retiring at the end of the week as Street Department Superintendent. He has been with the city for 17 years.  The transformer at the Banet substation has tested as OK and will be returning to service. (A squirrel gave it life in causing a power outage and considerable damage to the substation a few weeks ago.) The power plant has engine 14 back in normal operation.

The meeting adjourned with plenty of time to walk over to the Court House to attend the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals. There were two items on the agenda. One was from Rose Acre Farms for a special exception and a variance for a distribution center at US 231 and I-65. (It seems to be the property that once held the Carson Inn. However, the legal notice that the paper was supposed to publish was not published, so the item was continued until a special meeting for August 10 at 7:00. The project is on the agenda for the Drainage Board's Aug 3 meeting and it will also eventually need IDEM approval.

The other item was for a special exception for a cell phone tower along I-65 in the very northern part of the county. I think the variance was only to avoid landscaping, which was not an issue because the tower will be built in a storage facility and the base of the tower will not be visible from public roads. The tower will be built by SBA Communications and space on the tower will be rented by Verizon to handle some of the load it has at that location. Apparently the heavy demand for data has overloaded Verizon's current tower and it can be fined if it does not meet certain performance standards. There will also be space on the 195 foot tower for three other carriers. It seems that the the rapid increase in demand for bandwidth is such a problem that companies that would normally be competing are cooperating in trying to expand capacity. The representative for the project said a few years ago he was doing twenty cell towers a year and now he is doing 100.