Rensselaer Adventures

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

More from Monday's City Council meeting

The big items, in my opinion, from Monday's City Council meeting were the Zing and Grandma's items. There was much more of lesser importance.

The Mayor acknowledged the Citizen of the Year award that the Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce presented to Kevin Cochran, superintendent of Weston Cemetery. There was a transfer of over $150k for the police department. The transfer was not explained but seems to be for covering expenses in moving offices. The gas tracker for December was a decrease of 8¢ per hundred cubic feet. Cemetery employee Ronald Cox received a ten-year service award; the picture of the presentation was in Tuesday's Rensselaer Republican. The power plant received approval to purchase a new overhead crane for the power plant. The cost will be slightly more than $25,000. The old crane was built in 1939, is no longer safe to operate, and spare parts for it are no longer available.

The Mayor and the Council seemed to be deciding that they do not want the INDOT property on the NE side of Rensselaer unless the State agrees to share liability if the hazardous chemicals beneath the lot migrate. One of the environmental statements said that digging deeper than four feet should not be allowed. Sale of water bonds for connecting the new well to the water treatment plant will take place December 14 and the Council approved something that allows payment to take place in this fiscal year to three entities that have worked on the financing.

There was an obscure discussion of the need of an ordinance to deal with hoarders whose activities affect neighbors. The City will see how other communities deal with the problem. It was noted that this was Police Chief Jeff Phillips last Council meeting and many people wished him well on his upcoming retirement. There are still a few minor things left to do on the Watt substation on Bunkum Road. The substation should be energized next week. The group doing planning for the revitalizing downtown has been meeting and the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for 4:30 on Jan 16 at Embers, will be open to the public for their comments. The Council approved $250 from the public relations fund for refreshments for the meeting.  The meeting adjourned at about 6:45.

For several weeks there has been a dumpster in front of the old bottling plant/dry cleaner building at the corner of Clark and Cullen Streets. Signs offering it for lease have been on the building for months, and the owner says that if it is remodeled, the entrance will go in the back of the building where there is room for a parking lot.

There is a lot of work to be done and it appears that in the past there has been a fair amount of patching.
Big changes are coming to the Rensselaer Republican. They will be more on-line and less on paper, if I read their announcement correctly.

The Jasper County Airport has begun a newsletter. You can view the first issue here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Surprises at the City Council meeting

In the last post, the 5K race on Saturday was identified as the Santa Shuffle. That was the old name; it was changed, if I remember correctly, to the Rudolph Run when people who had trademarked the name Santa Shuffle complained. I am surprised no one corrected me on that.

I did not expect much from the City Council meeting on Monday night because the agenda was short and routine. However, there were two items that surprised me. A person from Zing or TV Cable said that the Filson family wanted to sell their cable and Internet business to NITCO. The reason that this came to the City Council is that Zing leases access to City utility poles and for a merger to take place, the City has to be OK with switching the leasing partner.

NITCO is headquartered in Hebron and has a old Rensselaer connection. The first wires that were strung that eventually became Nitco were strung by Abraham Halleck, father of Charles Halleck. Both Abraham and Charles are buried in Weston Cemetery.

I would write more on this merger if I knew more. It will be interesting to see how this affects TV cable and Internet customers in Rensselaer and Morocco.

The other item that surprised me came near the end of the meeting when the various superintendents were commenting. Building inspector Kenny Haun said that the City had gone to Court and received permission to tear down the old Grandma's Kitchen building that is falling apart west of I-65. It is not in City boundaries, but there is a buffer zone around the City that the City regulates. Haun asked for and received permission to spend up to $35,000 to complete the demolition. He will be seeking bids for the job and the funding will not come from the City general fund but from some fund his office has. It was noted that pieces of the roof sometimes blow off and create a traffic hazard. The Rensselaer Republican headlined its Tuesday edition with this story.

I will write later about other things that happened at the City Council meeting.

The Library has several Christmas trees on display. People can vote for their favorite tree by leaving food donations for the food pantry. It seemed that the TOPS tree was ahead of the other three trees that are pictured below. TOPS stands for Taking Off Pounds Sensibly. Maybe the members are donating their food rather than eating--is that a sensible way to take off pounds?
I peeked in the old fire station on Monday morning and was surprised that the workers had removed the concrete floor. The floor was a problem because it was poured on top of the rubble of the old National Guard building and as the rubble settled, air pockets developed. I had thought that the air pockets would not be a problem for the new use as a police station.
Also there are two dumpsters at the site, one for concrete and the other for everything else.
By the way, the metal strips that were pictured a few posts back are bristles from the street sweeper brushes.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Santa Shuffle 2017

The weather was perfect for a race called the Santa Shuffle. There was no danger of overheating and the overnight snow gave it the holiday look even without the colorful costumes that some of the shufflers wore.
The snowfall was heavy enough for the City to send out salt trucks to salt intersections.
Yesterday the temperature in Rensselaer got below 15 degrees. The forecast for the next week is continued cold. The weather pattern that has set up has dry, warm weather in the west and cold weather in the east, with even Georgia getting some snow.

Also on Saturday, the Sayler Apartments on Elza Street had an open house. The interior views were captured nicely by the videos linked in this post. Work has begun on the next set. Notice the gaps between the ends of the floor joists. The side walls of each unit are separated from the side walls of the adjacent units with an inch of dead space. Because the walls are separated, the amount of noise from apartment to apartment is greatly reduced.
In other news, Reflections, which opened in September near the theater, is going out of business. The Rensselaer Police Department posted a picture of the demolition going on in the old Fire House to get ready for the remodeling into a police station.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Rensselaer woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow, the first of the season. The forecast for the next week is wintery.
 A chipper is back grinding up all the brush that the City has collected for the past few months. It looks different from onr that was here last year.
 I stopped by Superior Sales and Service to see if their moving sale had any bargains I could use. They will be moving to their new location on or about December 15.

I have not posted a picture of the quarry for a while, but then they seem to be controlling water level. The geese looked happy.
Not much else--I just wanted to do a post on the snow. It will probably be gone by mid day.