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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Four meetings

Weather postponed two county meetings that were scheduled for Monday, the Commissioners meeting and a drainage board meeting. Both were rescheduled for today (Friday).
There were several interesting items in the Commissioners meeting. A report on from the IT director revealed that a new website for the county will be up and running next Tuesday. It will have the same url as the current website, but will be easier for the various departments to update. Also, 44 new printers were in the process of being installed in various county facilities. (I had seen them about two weeks ago when I was showing some visitors the court house.) The county leases this equipment and it was, according to the report, cheaper to upgrade than to continue to maintain the current equipment.

The Sheriff reported that repairs to the jail were almost done but had been delayed by the weather. In the 72 hours after 8:00 am Sunday the department had 2181 non-emergency calls and just over 300 911 calls. They responded to 43 slide offs and accidents (which does not count those stuck in the road) and transported 16 motorists. On Tuesday many of the non-emergency calls were asking what a county road was--people wanted to know if they would be ticketed if they drove on the state or U.S. highways. There was one fatality that may have been caused by the weather. A trucker stopped on the SR 10 exit of I-65 went into diabetic shock. The ambulance responded but was slowed by the poor road conditions. By the time they reached him, he was dead. Perhaps they would have saved him if road conditions had been better, but perhaps not.

Both the sheriffs department and the highway department had problems on Monday with diesel fuel jelling because of the cold. There is some additive that will liquify the fuel and it was used when necessary. The cold and snow also caused mechanical problems--at one point only three of the state's 16 or 18 plows in the area were operational. The sheriff's website had 13,000 hits during the the snow emergency. The sheriff and the commissioners were pleased with how well the emergency telephone announcements went--there are currently over 10,000 numbers on the list to be called. (If you did not get a call and want to be notified in the future, go to the sheriff's website at  and click on "Code Red Registration" on the left under the heading "Pulbic Resources.") REMC reported only one person with a power outage during the emergency.

A concern of the Sheriff was with the reach of their radio transmissions. He was interested in putting receivers either on a cell phone tower or on a 340 foot tower that is near Gifford. He will investigate further about options.

There were two citizens with concerns. One wanted a hunting club in the northern part of the county shut down. The other argued that DeMotte and maybe the county were not following county ordinances. I did not understand either position very well, but neither did the two commissioners who were at the meeting.

The commissioners meeting adjourned and a few minutes later the Finance Committee, with the same commissioners but a different supporting cast, met. The meeting was very short and approved some reports.

In the afternoon at 1:00 the Bi-county Drainage Board met. It consisted of the two Jasper County Commissioners who were at the morning meeting and one Newton County Commissioner. Two other members were absent, but a quorum was three. They opened two bids for clearing a ditch that drains into the Kankakee River on the border of Newton and Jasper County and accepted the lower bid. The Bi-county Drainage Board then adjourned and the Jasper County Drainage Board opened its meeting. There was nothing exciting in the meeting--much of the discussion involved a question of how to correct a mistake in billing that affects 166 parcels of land along some ditch. The initial billing was wrong, and trying to correct it on the computer for the next four years was deemed more difficult than just doing the billing manually. The most interesting part of the meeting was at the end when two members of the audience expressed concerns. Both said that the city government of DeMotte was not transparent and that attempts to gain access to documents that should be available to the public were met with considerable resistance.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the information

glen dulaj

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you getting this information out to us. You are better than the paper!

Anonymous said...

I agree; I appreciate your blog. Good info shared re our community from businesses, schools, community in general, weather related, city/county/state business.

Anonymous said...

What a handsome photo of our courthouse gargoyle! You often show talent...