Rensselaer Adventures

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

City Council meeting 5-23-2016

The City Council meeting last night had a fairly light agenda but still had some interesting moments. In the citizen comments section Brad Cozza, the airport manager, announced that this year's fly-in will be on July 9 from 10 to 2. Construction of the new fuel farm is about half finished and if it is finished on schedule, there may be a ribbon cutting along with the fly-in. Then he announced that he would no longer be the airport manager when the fly-in occurs. He has taken a position with the Indianapolis Executive Airport that is owned by Hamilton County but is located in Boone County. The airport is considerably bigger than the Jasper County Airport, and although he has enjoyed his time in Rensselaer, he felt that he could not pass up the opportunity that this new position offered. The Airport Authority Board is conducting a search for a new manager. Mr Cozza thanked the Council and community for all the opportunities he had been given.

The Council established a LOIT Special Distribution Fund, mandated by the state so spending of the recently returned LOIT funds can be monitored. There were two resolutions passed that were needed for funding the Sparling water main project. The building inspector received permission to purchase a large format printer to replace a machine that no longer works. The Council agreed to pay an invoice for JCEDO; they are one of several government groups that fund it. The Council approved the appointment of Julie Koczan to the School Board; she currently holds the seat and no one else applied. With Mr Cozza's departure, there will be another appointment needed. If you are interested in serving the remainder of this term, apply to the City by June 6.

Mt Hood Pizza is doing some construction work that may have public impact and there were a few comments about that. They are apparently constructing new restrooms and they may be available to people using Potawatomie Park. We may learn more at the next Council meeting. There will be another public hearing involving the grant proposal for the Sparling water main project. There was a glitch in the paper work that has since been resolved but this meeting may be needed because of the glitch. The meeting will be on Monday, June 6 at 4:00. The City and Century Link need to have a meeting and figure out which utility poles belong to the City and which to Century Link. The Council approved a request from the electrical department to get a quote for an arc flash study update.

The Memorial Day ceremony will be in Weston Cemetery at 11:00 on Memorial Day. The Fire Department Fish Fry served 737 people last weekend. The gross from the City Auction was $14,840.

It appears that the state is beginning the resurfacing of US 231 from the Iroquois Bridge to SR 16. There is no repaving yet, but sidewalks along the highway are being improved, or at least the ends of them are.

Also meeting on Monday night were the Jasper County Planning and Development Committee and the Board of Zoning Appeals. More on those later.

Friday, May 20, 2016

City auction

I stopped by the city auction this morning to see what was happening. There were over 100 bicycles. The bidding was choice out, and the first bid went to $65. It did not take long for the bid to top at $10. I did not stay to see how low the final bids would be.

The city had five vehicles in the auction. An auction is one of the few ways that local governments can dispose of unwanted or surplus property.

Below are some water pumps. There were a number of items that would be on interest to a very limited audience.
Completely different were these decorative swords. I wonder how they got into the auction.
On the way to the sale, I saw the first concrete pour for the high water treatment plant. The workers there have been busy moving dirt for most of the week.
Today is the last day of school for the local schools. High school graduation is Sunday.

Update: Family Dollar in the College Mall will soon be Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree acquired the Family Dollar change about a year ago.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Miscellany 05-19-2016

As I began to write this post, I saw a hummingbird outside my window.

There have been school kids from the North Newton School District visiting Brookside Park in recent days. Also in the park, the swimming pool should be filled by now. Last night it was almost full. Now we need some warm weather so the water does not cause hypothermia for swimmers when it opens. It has been a cool spring.

There are free Tai Chi classes at Brookside Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00 in the morning. They take place on the tennis courts.

The historical society met on Tuesday night. They re-elected their present officers for two more years. The Pioneer Village at the Fair Grounds will be open July 17, 19, and 21 from 1:00 to 4:00. I did not stay for the program (it conflicted with the County Council meeting), but the presentation was recorded and you can see it here.

The stump of the tree that was cut down next to the bridge in Weston Cemetery is now a bench. Try it and you will see that it is cut just right.

There are new trees planted in at least two places in the cemetery. The row next to river in the old part look like sycamores.

The field east of Weston Cemetery has a pool of water that probably is full of tadpoles. The yellow flowers blooming between the pool and the construction site are butterweed. There is a lot of it in area fields.

I drove past the hospital yesterday and saw a directional boring machine. At a couple of recent Commissioners Meetings there was discussion of a fiber cable that the hospital wanted installed, so that work must be finishing up.

I noticed that something bad has happened to leaves on my peach trees. It is caused by a fungus and there is nothing that can be done until the fall.

This year the National Speleological Society Convention will be held in Ely, Nevada from July 16 to July 23. How does this have a Rensselaer connection? A person who grew up in Rensselaer has written a mystery novel set in that upcoming convention. If you would like to know what kinds of things go on in a caving convention and cannot make to Ely this year, read the book. For more details, go to her website,

Finally, in the legals of the newspaper there was a notice for a meeting of Rensselaer's Board of Zoning Appeals on June 14 at 7:00 pm. The meeting is for proposed conditional use. The use is for campsites and the location is the former Biggs Fish Farm. The property is on the west side of the Interstate and is not in the city limits, but it may be that land bordering the city needs city approval for zoning changes. The Biggs property was sold at the beginning of the year to the owner of the Caboose Campground near Remington, and I recall speculation that the new owner would eventually make it into another campground.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

County Council 5-17-2016

The County Council meeting last night was more interesting for things not on the agenda than for the agenda items. Most of the agenda involved approving appropriations or transferring funds for Animal Control, Technology, Community Corrections, Extension, and Emergency Planning.

A member of the Animal Control Board requested that the Council approve a salary increase for the Animal Control director. He noted that last year all positions except three in the county had been granted a pay increase and the director of Animal Control was one of those three. Several members of the Animal Control Board plus a couple of others who were interested in the workings of department attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the increase, noting that the director had come into the position facing a great deal of hostility and that that hostility had been replaced with good will. They also noted that the department was being efficiently managed. The Council will consider the request at its next meeting.

A communication for the Jasper County Public Library informed the Council that they will need to make an appointment to the Library Board to replace a member whose term is running out. There was a question about why the term would run out in the middle of the year. If you would like to be on the Library Board, lobby your favorite Council member.

The Council broke into small conversations about a salary ordinance for 2016. It was passed. I did not catch why the previous ordinance needed to be amended.

The decision of the Local Option Income Tax, which had been scheduled for the May meeting, will apparently take place in the July meeting. The existing local income taxes, the CAGIT, CEDIT, COIT and whatever else there is, are being eliminated and realigned into new categories.  There is a lot of confusion as the change is being made, but upon investigation and asking the state officials for information, the view was that if a change was passed in May, it would have to be passed again in July. There is still an upcoming state meeting to discuss the changes in the law and several Council members will attend it. The July meeting will be on the fourth Tuesday of the month rather than the third because of the County Fair.

A citizen from the north end of the county then addressed the Council and I only partially understood what he was talking about. He is concerned that farmers in the flood plain are violating an ordinance by putting in dams in the drainage ditches and that this increased flood damage last year. That in turn affected crop insurance payments and that the failure to enforce the ordinance makes the County liable for the damage. The Council does not have jurisdiction and told him it was something for the lawyers to work out.

Tax abatements will be on the agenda for the June meeting. It will be an interesting meeting because each company tells what it has been doing to meet the terms of the original abatement.

Kevin Kelley announced that new visitor brochures had been printed and will soon be distributed. There was a large group of KV students attending the meeting, so he was asked to explain what was happening on the southwest corner of the I-65/SR 10 intersection. He explained that Compass Holdings had purchased 50 acres and planned a travel center or truck stop that would include a gas station, a Dunkin Donuts (which they were thrilled to hear), possibly another restaurant and perhaps a motel in the future.

Someone noted that the target date for the opening of the Comfort Suites was June 1. It may have been after the meeting that there was a brief discussion that the Rensselaer City Council will soon have to fill another vacancy on the School Board. One of their appointees will be moving to a new job.

I have been busy with home maintenance, trying to take advantage of the cool weather, so am not spending much time on this blog. I did notice that there were preparations in the park for the summer. The pool had a hose in it, either for cleaning or filling  and the infield of the softball field at Brookside Park was getting a new surface.