Rensselaer Adventures

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lend Me A Tenor

Tonight and Saturday night are the two final performances of Lend Me A Tenor by the Columbian Players of Saint Joseph's College.

The play is a comedy that plays with the theme of mistaken identities.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

School Board and County Council

On Tuesday the Rensselaer School Board held an early meeting so some members could attend the County Council meeting. There was a presentation on the preschool program that began several years ago. It has gradually grown and now has three classes. There is a fee of $60 per week with a reduced fee for those who qualify for free lunches. There will be more expansion in the future if the state provides funding. I get the impression that the demand for this comes largely from working mothers.

To comply with Indiana law the meeting had a public hearing on the contract for the new superintendent, Mr Craig, who will soon be taking over. There were no comments.

In reviewing some financing challenges caused largely by red tape, the superintendent noted that over the past decade the enrollment has declined by about 200 students though this year it is up by 16. Further, the smallest grades are the lowest grades. Grades one and three have only 100 students, so as that cohort moves through the system, the middle and high school will see drops in their enrollment. The assessed valuation had risen by about 25% from 2010 to 2015 as a result of rising farm land values but has stabilized this past year as rising business and home values offset a decline in the value of farm land.

Two hours later the County Council met for their monthly meeting. They approved budgets of the Airport Authority, The Iroquois Conservancy District, the Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District, and the Rensselaer Central School Corporations. There was brief discussion of the school corporation, with a note from the superintendent that Rensselaer imports 47 students from outside the district and exports 18. He also noted that there was a teacher shortage, which an economist might note is a feature of licensing, not a bug.

Additional appropriations were made for the Sheriff and the Surveyor and some small transfers were approved. The Council also approved a property purchase agreement for the strip of land on the west side of the Fairgrounds that the Fairgrounds has leased for many years and used for parking.

Mention was made of the RCHS Soil Judging Team that won a state competition in the past week and will be going on to a national competition.

I finally got out of Rensselaer and snapped a picture of the grain pile at Pleasant Ridge. With many fields still to be harvested, it should be an awesome pile in a couple more weeks.

Also, the old elm across from the Post Office is now gone and also the ash tree that was behind it. The demise of the elm came from efforts to help it. Sometimes in life when we try to make things better, we actually make them worse. It is something to be aware of. Good intentions do not necessarily result in good results, something that economists study all the time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Parks and trees

On Monday evening the Park Board had a short meeting at an unusually late time of the month. (They usually meet on the first Monday.) A couple Boy Scouts attended; they were working on a merit badge and needed to attend a government meeting.

They heard a discussion of youth soccer. The Park Board is committed to having its own soccer program next year. They have been unhappy with the relationship and lack of communication that they have had with the SJC soccer league. The traveling squad, which has been playing games at Brookside Park, may remain as it is, but the youth soccer that plays at Staddon Field will not be welcomed back next year. There is a possibility of some confusion if there is not a friendly merger.

On Friday the Staddon Field property was finally transferred to the City of Rensselaer. I believe it was two years ago that the Jasper Foundation pledged the money to purchase the land from the school district. It has taken a long time for the transaction to be completed. I am sure there is an interesting story somewhere in there.

The board approved purchasing some additional picnic table frames. If you were at OktoberFest, you might have noticed some new tables with metal frames. They were purchased in the past year and they are much easier to move around than the wooden tables, some of which are falling apart. The park will purchase a few more. The tables in the shelters that are made from recycled plastic are extremely heavy and very difficult to move from event to event.

The very old and very big elm tree across from the Post Office came down today. The tree in the background is an ash tree, so it probably does not have many years left.
The picture above was taken this morning and the picture below this afternoon.
Trees are also being cut down in Weston Cemetery. Almost all of the trees in the western section are ash trees, and they will all eventually be removed.
The Beaver Law building has gotten a final coat that restores its former look.
Stopping by construction on Lincoln, I saw some large electrical equipment being unloaded. 
Finally, the repaving process has begun with milling the streets. You might notice that there are streets with signs telling people not to park and that a lot of sidewalks have been fixed as they meet the street. It is all part of the street repaving project.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Odds and Ends, Oct 17

Congratulations to the RCHS girls cross country team for advancing to semi-state. At the sectionals they were second to KV but at the regionals they nipped KV for fifth place by two points. Only the top five schools advance as teams so KV's season is over, though some runners may advance as individuals. When my kids ran cross country, the regional was in Lafayette and was not as competitive as the regional at New Prairie is. None of the five boys teams from the Rensselaer sectional advanced to semi state. Results are here.

Twenty-three bison have arrived at Kankakee Sands. See here, here, and here for more info.

Last week flat-bed trucks kept arriving at Weston Cemetery and unloading sections of concrete culverts.
 Also last week the construction site on Lincoln had another major concrete pour. While I was watching the torch festivities, I saw several concrete trucks coming and going.
With the forms removed, this is how the structures currently appear.
A smaller construction project is underway on Melville Street where what appears to be a storage facility is rising.
Last week the Fire Department had an open house to celebrate Fire Prevention Week. I stopped by but was too tired to stay long.
There are a lot of events coming up in the next couple weeks. There are some local government meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The Historical Society meets on Tuesday. The Columbian Players at SJC present Lend Me a Tenor on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Saturday the Iroquois Valley Harmonizers present their annual show at 7:00 pm at the high school. Long's Gifts last day of business will be October 20. SJC and Franciscan Health have a health fair scheduled at SJC for Oct 27. There will be a ribbon cutting for the Rensselaer Solar Park on November 1 and an RSVP is requested. (I have not yet found a document to link to.) YNG, the 3-D printer company, says that they will soon have a big announcement.

Before the morning rain on Sunday darkened the skies, the clouds at sunrise were very pretty with grays and pinks.
I have not been out in the country enough to have any sense of how far along the harvest is. I have seen grain trucks driving past my house and the elevator on Vine Street is humming. We still have not had a frost and the trees are still mostly green with only a few leaves down.

I am sure there are some things I should have included here and forgot. Maybe I will be able to post a bit more this week.