Rensselaer Adventures

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

An opening and a closing and more meetings

If the number of people attending is the measure of success, the grand opening of the rebuilt Marathon by the tracks, also known as Shorty's Marathon, was a huge success. There were many people who were there to take advantage of the free food.
When the radio station announced that gas was only $1.989, there were lines quickly formed at the pumps.
The Indiana Lottery had a tent. If you purchased $5.00 of Lottery tickets inside, you could spin a wheel and were guaranteed to win something. When I came back to fill up my gas tank a bit after 2:00, the Lottery tent was gone--perhaps they ran out of things to give away.

Below is the ribbon cutting. The people in the background to the left are in the food line.
It was nice to see a new store opening, but  this morning Facebook had news of a closing. Here is the message from Doggers:
Many of you may have already heard, but we wanted to announce that we will be closing our Rensselaer location at the end of August. Our projected closing date is set for Wednesday August 30th. This will be the last day that we will be open.
There were a couple of County meetings on Monday evening. The Planning Commission had a very short meeting in which they approved a change from A2  to R1 for a woman who wanted to separate a house from a farm property so she could sell it. She said she was tired of renting it and wanted to sell. The case had been on the agenda last month but she had not followed all the procedures correctly so the decision had been postponed a month.

The BZA revisited a case of a man who wants to build storage lockers on SR 10 between DeMotte and Wheatfield. The property is zoned commercial, but storage lockers are a special case. There is no zoning that allows storage lockers; to build them you must go before the BZA and get a special exception. The plan was to build 60 units as a first phase. The back of the units would be a solid wall with no openings. This wall would face the homes that are on the south side of the property.

Three people showed up to express concerns. One said that his realtor told him that the units would reduce his property values by $10,000. His neighbor worried that there would be a dumpster in the back and he did not want that. A lady from the credit union on the adjacent property did not want a barbed wire fence and did want security cameras.

Members of board worried that the amount of asphalt he was planning might cause a drainage issue and advised him to check with the Drainage Board. After much discussion, the board decided he needed to provide more detailed information the item will come up again at next month's meeting.

Update: This just popped up on Facebook from the Pub III:
To our patrons...we have decided NOT to renew our lease at the pub. This is our decision totally, and has nothing to do with the building owners....they have been nothing but supportive to us since day one....we will miss all of your smiling faces, stories and laughter....we cant express our gratitude enough for all of your support. THANK YOU-THANK YOU-THANKYOU from the bottom of our hearts!
Anyone with gift certificates, please use them at your earliest convenience.
If you would be interested in leasing or buying, i can get contact information to you.
Our last business day will be August 19th.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

News from Monday's City Council meeting

At every City Council meeting there is opportunity for public comments before the Council begins the main agenda. Usually no one speaks. However, there were three speakers at the meeting on Monday night. First, a representative from the SJC Alumni Board, which is now an independent organization separate from Saint Joseph'e College, asked for permission to use Brookside Park on September 30 for a homecoming celebration. The Alumni Board wants to keep the homecoming tradition alive. A reason for approaching the Council is that they will be serving alcohol. They noted that the event would be during the day and hoped that it would boost attendance at the Oktoberfest in the evening. The Council approved the request.

Next Linda Commingore of the Rensselaer Chamber of Commerce announced that the Tuesday Night Farmers Market would have their Kids Night on Tuesday. She said that there would be more Chamber members participating this year than last--27 compared to 15. She also announced several other upcoming Chamber events, such as the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting at Shorty's Marathon by the tracks on Wednesday.

Finally, Michael Manis, president of the Rensselaer Park Board requested Council approval of his talks with Project Coordinator Jerry Lockridge about using some of the City property on Bunkum for a dog park. He noted that presently people are letting dogs run free in the fenced ballfields and that causes problems. The Bunkum property was once the site of three water wells but their structures have been removed and the wells will be capped or filled in. The Council approved the request.

On the main agenda there was an additional appropriation to cover some park repairs and the authorization to set up a fund to handle grants better. The Electric Utility requested acceptance of bids to purchase a standby generator and DC storage batteries for the Watt substation under construction west of town on Bunkum Road. They were approved. The Council also approved funds for electric linemen to participate in a lineman competition in Mishawaka. The argument here was it was both education and a networking event that allows City linemen to work better with other linemen when that is needed.

The Council approved a bid of $6975 to construct a small parking lot near the bridge over the creek in Weston Cemetery. The mayor presented several awards--look for the pictures in the Rensselaer Republican.

Attorney Michael Riley said that he is working on getting easements to move the city gas line near the intersection of Mt Calvary Road and US 231. In 2018 the State plans to move the highway about 15 feet to the east (which is why that stretch of road was not fixed when the rest of it was). Saint Joe's has turned the matter over to its lawyers so no one knows how long the process will take.
The City wants to move a tile on land north of town so it can be used for another solar farm. The matter should be on the agenda of the Drainage Board on August 7 (which is also free admission day for Jasper County residents at Fair Oaks Farms.)

As I finish this I can hear the crop duster planes flying overhead--they are loud. They have been here for several days so should be about finished. And speaking of crops, sweet corn was abundant at the Tuesday Night Farmers Market.

Coming this weekend--the first showing of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by the Carnegie Players and the Rock the Arts festival.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Miscellany, July 24, 2017

There is a new store front in downtown Rensselaer.
The orange sign in the window says that they will appear before the Alcohol Review Board on August 8 at 10:00 at City Hall for a beer retailer and L, B, and W retailer permits. However, they may already have some kind of permit because on the bottom of the form it indicates that the premises are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages. Usually the Alcohol Review Board meetings are quick and uninformative but this one may have some interesting tidbits.

The new auto parts store is open but I have not stopped by yet. Shorty's Marathon by the railroad tracks will have its grand opening on Wednesday with a ribbon cutting at noon. The hours are posted at the eMbers Station.
 We went from much needed rain to too much rain in a very short time. The river will crest at about 10.5 feet if we do not get more rain, but flood stage is 12 feet. The storm that passed through on Friday night shut down the County Fair so some events were postponed until Saturday. I did not have enough energy to go out and see how that worked out.
 A truck took out a power line last week and some of the City suffered a power outage. I had an cable outage at about the same time and it might have been related. The Library had internet problems, but that was from a bad router or switch. The Library also changed the software used to reserve computers so the next time you want to do that, you may need some help.

I noticed that the ash trees in Weston Cemetery are not looking good.
 One of the storms last week knocked down most of an ash tree. The trunk was partially rotten.
 Some idiot has been throwing glass over the fence into the baby pool area at LaRue Pool. The baby pool was closed a couple days last week as a result.

My neighbors have some unwanted plants growing in their parkway. Can you identify what kind of plant it is?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Some more fair pictures

I did not get to the fair as much this year as I have some past years. The heat and humidity discouraged me and I had some other things I wanted to do. I did go out one afternoon and found that nothing much happens until the evening. All the rides were shut down.
This year the midway featured a freak show. The Rensselaer Republican had an article about what was inside.
Animals are a big part of our fair. On Wednesday night pigs were being judged.
The goal of all those who enter pigs, cows, or something else is to win a big ribbon. Below are some of the big winners in the 4-H building.
 On Wednesday night the tractor parade came through the fairgrounds.
The night before it had gone to the Courthouse Square in downtown Rensselaer.
The horse area continues to be its own little world.
Again this year there was a display of insects in the Community Building. The Rensselaer Republican had an article on that as well.
 High winds from the storms that have passed through this week (giving us about and inch and a half of needed rain) did some minor damage at the Fairgrounds.
 The log cabin got air-conditioning this week. This historical area is one area that is active during the day and shuts down in the evening when everything else comes to life.
 I noted a basswood tree next to the log cabin that has been almost defoliated by Japanese beetles. They have been a nuisance this year.
 One more big night and then tear down.