Rensselaer Adventures

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cars and candy at the city council meeting

The City Council meeting on Monday night had no big surprises. Cars and candy were the main topics.

The Park Department wanted authorization to look for a replacement for a 1994 pick-up that is starting to have issues. The Electric Department gave an update on its search for a replacement for an old SUV that no longer is reliable, and at this point two citizens, one a car dealer, objected to the way the search was proceeding. The council had previously authorized bids for a new vehicle, but the two members of the audience argued that an lightly used vehicle would be as good and would save money. Further, they argued, the city should try to buy locally, supporting local businesses. The council responded by amending its motion of the past meeting to allow for used vehicles with 15,000 miles or less.

Planning has been going well for the upcoming Trunk or Treat event that will be held Friday evening at the Fairgrounds. About $7000 has been donated to the Truck or Treat or the Haunted House (14 rooms!) that the Fire Department is sponsoring. Lots of people are involved, and among other things, McDonalds will have a bouncy house there.

There will be Veteran's Day ceremonies on Nov 11 at 11:00 at Weston Cemetery. The Council approved some spending of public relations funds for a breakfast to honor RCHS athletic teams that have won their sectionals (so far boys soccer and girls cross county). The fire department's aerial truck seems to be working again. Soil borings will be made Monday for the new fire house. LED street light have been installed on Owens and Mattheson Streets.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Today may have been the last great day of autumn, with temperatures in the mid 70s. What a great day for the local schools to have fall break I saw some kids enjoying the day in a very unusual way--they had a bounce house in their front yard.

High school soccer may be finished but some soccer league was still playing in Brookside Park on Sunday. The park was busy over the weekend.
 The farmers also appreciate the nice weather, but not for play. They work. The elevator was busy even late on Sunday with grain trucks delivering corn. Around Rensselaer it appears that more than half of the fields have been harvested.
Back to play, but of a different sort. The Columbia Players at SJC put on their production of Arsenic and Old Lace late last week. The play is a comedy about serial killers, some well-meaning and some not.
The leaves have been raining down all day and a lot of trees are now bare. This may have been our last great day of autumn, but we should have a few more good ones in the weeks ahead.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Downtown windows

The Beaver Law offices were getting new windows on Wednesday. I stopped by and asked what the final color would be and was told it would be like it had been.

This morning you could see the old colors reemerging.
 The new windows are among the few downtown on Washington Street that are not covered with messages of encouragement for the football team. I thought it was interesting that many of the messages meshed with the business of the stores.  Do you like your coffee strong and bold? 
 The sign in the left windows reads "Tic Tock No Stop on Our Way to The Top." Naturally, the store is Steffen's Jewelry.
Lyon's Crop Insurance has "Harvest a Win" and Claim A Victory." I did not see any "We are Banking on a Victory" messages at Lafayette National Bank, but that would have fit.
The one message I did not think fit the store at all was "Hustle, Hit, never Quit" on the windows of what was Bub's BBQ. 

I suspect the downtown windows will remain painted for a while.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Many things

Is it my imagination or does the sky look different in the fall than it does in the summer? I kept wondering that yesterday as the dark clouds mixed with patches of very blue sky.
 The city leaf vac is roaming the streets searching for leaves. It has ended one of the old rituals of fall--burning leaves. (Do you miss the smell of burning leaves?)
The Animal Control Board advertised that it was meeting in the Library on Monday night and because I had never been to one of their meetings, I decided to attend. (I was told that it had been a long time since any member of the public had been at one of their meetings.) They had six members plus the director of the shelter present, which was enough for a quorum, something they did not have at their last meeting. (A quorum is necessary for any vote to be official.)

After a brief discussion of the director's report on how many animals were received and what happened to them, the Board had a lengthy discussion of finances relating to donations. The whole issue came up when the Animal Shelter had a float in a recent parade. They wanted to use some funds in their donation budget to pay for some expenses, but were told by the auditor that they could not do that because they lacked the appropriate line item in their donation account. If that does not quite make sense to you, you can understand why the Board spent about half an hour discussing it.

I do not think I have ever been to a meeting where members had as many cell phone calls. Most of the members got at least one, and at this point in the meeting the chair of the Board received one and had to leave because of an emergency involving one of his dogs. The meeting continued with a discussion of a policy for comp time. I do not understand the nuances of this, but the issue is important because animal control people often have to come in at odd hours to deal with a problem. As I understand it, they are paid time and a half for these calls, but then are expected to adjust their work schedules so their total time worked is not affected. The policy passed and a couple more people had to leave.

Then there was a discussion of personnel issues that I did not understand at all, followed by a discussion of a pit bull that is being held at the shelter pending a court decision. The dog had bitten three people and its fate will be determined at a November 10th hearing. At this point two more people had to leave, so only the director and one member of the board were left. Since I was no longer at a meeting bur rather a conversation between two people,  I left as well.

The Tuesday night Historical Society meeting had one of the largest crowds ever. The program was about Indian artifacts. All of the items shown below and much more were found by one local collector.
Our area seems to be unusually rich in these artifacts. Much of our area was once swamp so people camped on the sand hills, and those hills are often full of arrowheads, spear points, axes, and other stone items used by the Indians. However, finding them has gotten more difficult because of the advent of no-till farming--wind and water erosion are friends of the arrowhead hunter. Also, land owners are much less willing to let collectors onto their properties than they used to be.

(Normally the County Council meets on the same Tuesdays as the Historical Society, but this month they moved their meeting back a week because county officials who need to be at the meeting were out of town. The County Council meeting will be next Tuesday.)