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

Friday, February 28, 2014

Old Postcards (updated)

The Jasper County Historical Society Museum, which is open the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, currently has a display of old postcards. There are many different kinds of postcards on display, but the part of the exhibit that I find most interesting are the old images of Rensselaer. For them the images on the postcards were enlarged and hung on the wall.

I do not know the date of this iron bridge over the Iroquois on Washington Street. It looks like it was single lane, which would not have been a problem back in horse and buggy days.
Below is another scene from Washington Street, from the intersection of Washington and Front. You can see the building that is now eMbers. It looks very small next to the three-story buildings next to it. They housed the Wright furniture business. Sometime before they burned they also housed the Wright Funeral Business, which moved either before or after the building burned and is now Jackson Funeral Chapels. Also notice the early street light over the intersection. I suspect that most of the lines on the poles were for phone service.
I was a kid before dialing the phone was universal. Back then you had to talk to the operator to make a connection. My parents wrote in my baby book that I used to like to call my father at work, telling the operator the number, but I have no memory of using the phone before the automatic switching equipment even though I think I was almost in high school before the switchover took place.

Here is another photo from about the same place. There are no cars to date the picture, but it may have been taken before there were many cars available.
The roller mills building was on Front Street and it burned after we moved to Rensselear. Dr Sy's dental office is now where it was.
For several years after we moved to our present house, old timers would tell us that we lived in the Sprague house. Mr. Sprague owned or managed the feed mill for many years. I think he died in the 1960s and a few years after that the family sold the house. For the next decade several different families or people lived in the house before we bought it.

Back to Washington Street, but from the intersection with Van Rensselaer Street. The circus came to town with exotic animals at some unknown date. There are no telephone poles, but there are something that look like street lights. I think that this picture was taken after the telephone poles were removed.
This picture is from almost the same location but taken earlier. There are no cars but I think that is because it predates automobiles.

The building below is the oldest building in the downtown. It was originally a bank building, but the bank failed in 1904, so this picture probably is taken before 1904.
The same street scene but after the automobile has arrived. There is a Coca Cola sign on the right side of the street, and though you cannot read it, a Drugs sign a bit further down. The street is paved with bricks. The cars are models of the late thirties or early forties, I think. (Car buffs can probably give a pretty accurate dating to this picture.)

Do you remember when most of the stores had awnings? I remember them for the late 1950s. I occasionally had to roll the awning on my father's store out or up. I suspect air conditioning eliminated awnings.

If you want better views of these pictures, visit the Historical Society Museum.

Update: More on the Jasper County Historical Society and their excellent curator, who worked hard on this exhibit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Desperately Seeking Springtime

We have had two months of cold and snow, so now that March is almost here, I am looking for signs of spring. I found one today, a yellow flower. I am not sure what kind it is.
 And there is a lot of green around.
 More green, the color of spring.
Spring, the season of birth and rebirth. The days are getting longer--it is not dark at 6:00 in the evening.
Spring vacation is just around the corner at SJC--only a little more than a week away. I saw park workers repairing the backstop at Roth Field this week--that must mean that soon there will be softball games. My brother in St. Paul wrote to say that my niece had appeared in the local news in a piece about potholes, and potholes are a sure sign of spring. And if it is almost spring in Minnesota, summer cannot be far away in Indiana.

We are all going a little bonkers with this brutally cold and snowy winter. Looking at the weather forecast widget on my computer, the highest temperature I see in the next five days is 28. There may be a major snow fall this weekend and I heard some predictions that the first week of March would be even colder than this week.

The river is falling, and each night it records the fall by leaving a ring of ice around the trees that are in the water.
 The formations near the bowstring arch bridge are especially nice.
The Great Lakes were almost 90% ice covered before the recent thaw, which knocked them down into the 60% range. Now they are heading back up--I will keep watching to see if they get up to 90%.

In non-weather news, SJC recently announced an agreement with Ivy Tech that will allow Ivy Tech graduates to earn a degree in business or accounting while taking classes on the Ivy Tech campus.

The group of Shakespearean actors who visited SJC and Rensselaer a few weeks ago blogged about their visit here.

If I were like the Jasper County Historical Society, I could ask if you know where the storm sewer grate in the first picture is located. Hundreds of people walk by it almost every day.

I am sorry for not having something of more importance to write about, but it has been too cold to get out and roam around comfortably and see what is happening. At least the roads are mostly clear of ice or snow--though that may change this weekend.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More water news from the City Council

The City Council meeting on Monday night was a long one with several presentations. The first of the presentations was about the storm water treatment plant. The city is trying to get funding in the form of a loan from the Department of Agriculture and the Kankakee Iroquois Regional Planning Commission was assisting with the grant application. The Council adjourned for the public hearing about the matter and two speakers talked about the financing and about the plant itself. The presentations did not cover much that has not been discussed in previous meetings. (See here and follow links back.)

The meeting resumed with approval of a motion to require those buying and selling precious metals to have a city license. There are four such dealers in Rensselaer that will be affected. There were a couple of other small matters before the second set of presentations. A representative from the engineering firm of Clark Dietz gave a presentation about providing water to west end of the city, the area just east of I-65, an area that was annexed about three years ago. (For a larger version of the picture below, click here.)
 Clark Deitz has prepared a preliminary plan for the city to provide water to west of the Interstate, trying to fit that into the overall picture of what Rensselaer will need in the future. Right now the city's two water pumps satisfy IDEM's requirements that the city be able to function if their largest pump is out of commission, but with future growth a third pump may be needed. Restarting Pump #2, which is in Iroquois Park, does not seem to be an option because of chemical contamination. The upgraded water treatment plant in Iroquois Park will be large enough to handle considerable growth.

Currently there is a ten-inch water main to the fairgrounds. Dietz suggests continuing westward with a twelve inch line because that would give greater water pressure at the end than a ten-inch line would. If there is not enough water pressure, than a new water tower would be required to give adequate pressure. (These results are from hydrology calculations that engineers do.) If there is future growth in the area, at some time in the future a new tank or booster pumping will be required, but that is down the road.

At present chlorine is injected into the water supply at the water treatment plant. The levels are kept as low as possible to minimize taste and odor issues for those close to the plant. Chlorine oxidizes out of the water over time (which is why you let chlorinated water sit in a container for a day or two before you pour it into your fish tank), and because of the time water will take to travel the three miles to the Interstate area, it will not have much chlorine left by the time it reaches its destination. One solution is to install a booster pump and add chlorine along the way, but a cheaper way is to try to adjust (increase) chlorine levels at the water treatment plant.

Phase 1 of the project, which has a price tag of about $2.5 million, is to extend the water main to the Interstate and adjust the chlorine levels. The Council decided to amend the professional services contract that the city has with Clark Dietz to allow them to continue planning with a survey of the area. The plan shown in the picture above is a preliminary plan based on aerial photographs; an on-the-ground survey would give them information to determine where modifications are needed. There was $57,000 left in some grant that must be spent by May 1 or lost, and this money would fund the survey. However, the complete plan will require additional funding.

At present, usage of water at the Interstate is about 26,000 gallons a day. When the water main is completed, people and businesses along the route will be able to connect but will not be required to connect. They will be able to keep their present water source if that is what they want to do.

The next presentation was by a financial consultant who had looked at water department financing and how the water main extension change those financials. He recommended open market financing for the project. Currently interest rates are about four percent and he suggested a twenty year loan. The city would have to pay a bit more than $200,000 per year in interest and principle repayment over those twenty years.

The consultant was working from a financial report that the Council members had but the members of the audience lacked. He said that right now the water utility is short about $150,000 per year in revenues and that gap would grow with the new water line. He said that to close the entire gap, the average water bill would have to increase by about $7.20 per month. He suggested increasing the rates in three steps, with the biggest step coming first. He said that if there is growth in the new area served, that growth may reduce the amount of future increases needed.

The Council then finished up with a few minor items. It approved the expenditure of about $12,000 for a new mower for Weston Cemetery. The fire station had 17 cubic yards of fill pumped in under one bay but did not have funds to do more. The fire department has an engineering firm coming to discuss the proposed fire station on the east side of town. The City offered the School Board $40,000 for Staddon Field and was turned down. The Mayor said that he would attend the Park Board and Corporation meeting next week to discuss options. On August 2 the Jasper County Preservation Society will host a movable feast that will highlight the architecture of Frank Fisher. The City has responded to fifty to sixty water line freeze-ups so far this winter. And with that, the meeting adjourned.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, George (updated)

The river is rising from the rain and the melting snow. It is approaching the top of its banks. The USGS river gauge site says the river is a bit above eight feet, but it has been erratic lately. It looks more than eight feet to me.
The ice-free roads gave me a chance to get out of town and look around. I passed by the railroad on CR 400S where last July I noticed a new platform. I had no idea of why it was there, but took a picture anyway.
The platform looked a lot different today. It had a little house on it. 
And from the other construction around the intersection it appears that there will soon be a gate on this crossing. This crossing was mentioned at a County Commissioners meeting in December because CSX wanted permission to use some of the road's easement for the gate. The Commissioners thought the gate a good idea so had no objection to the railroad using some of the road's easement.
At one time today was a Federal Holiday--George Washinton's Birthday. Now Washington's Birthday is combined with Lincoln's in Presidents' Day. My family thinks that February 22 is a good day to celebrate George's birthday.

Update: Lake Weston has reformed, but the river seems to have peaked. There is a benefit to the cold week ahead--the thaw is put on hold so the flooding will not inconvenience us much if at all. As the river recedes and the temperatures at night falls into the teens, we should get some interesting ice formations.

A comment left below that says that the river gauge is showing levels about four feet below where they should be sounds right. This amount of water looks like a river height of about 12.5 feet.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Foggy with a chance of potholes (Updated)

We got our February thaw this week, though the temperatures never got into the 50s as some forecasts promised. The warmer weather did melt some snow but there is still plenty left. On Thursday afternoon the moist, warm air met the cold snow and we had dense fog, something we have not seen for a while. It was pretty but with visibility down to a few hundred yards, it made driving dangerous.
 Something else making driving difficult are the ubiquitous potholes. Now that the roads have lost their layer of ice, the holes are more noticeable.
The pothole shown above looks like it had already been filled once.

The river has risen a bit but it is far from flood stage. We did not get enough rain or enough snow melting to cause serious problems. The forecast is for cooler weather in the days ahead, so we will still have lots of snow well into March.

Only four more weeks until spring--if the vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring.

Do you remember years when we had crocuses blooming in February?

A windmill in Benton County caught fire this morning. A video is here.

Update: (Friday evening) The pothole shown above was filled this afternoon when I passed by.

A train derailed in Newton County today.

I traveled over to Monticello this morning and was surprised by how much water was standing in the fields. Every low spot in the fields seemed to be flooded. There were a couple places along SR 114 east of Rensselaer where the water was running over the road. Below you can see a beautiful little lake that is not supposed to be there.
There seemed to be less snow on the ground by Monticello than there is in Rensselaer. Perhaps they started with a bit less, or perhaps they got a bit more melting.

The high water was apparently the reason that school was delayed for two hours this morning.

The Rensselaer Central School Board has decided to make up snow days with longer school days during most of the rest of the year.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In praise of dirty snow

We have lots of dirty snow around and it is wonderful. After a couple of weeks in which the temperatures have stayed below freezing, it is nice to have melting and the dirtier the snow gets, the faster it melts.
 There have not been many snow men this winter despite all the snow. Maybe the snow has been too deep for easy snowmen.
On Tuesday I noticed two boys waiting at the bus stop a bit before ten o'clock. I asked them it they were sure there was school. They said that they were. I wonder how long they waited there.

The river had some icebergs in it on Tuesday. Despite the melting, it has not risen noticeably. That may change tomorrow when the forecast is for much higher temperatures and rain.
We are not done with winter--Chad at WLFI says we will get some very cold weather to start March.

I missed drive your tractor to school day again this year. It was held on Monday, and a tractor may have been a good choice for a ride as school was let out early because of the snow.

Historical Newton shared some pictures on Facebook of the demolition of the elevator in Goodland.

On Tuesday night I finally attended a county council meeting. It was very short, lasting less than half an hour. There were some motions to change some budgets that had been messed up because of computer error, and a motion to fund additional repairs to the jail for $140,540. There was also some concern about the South Shore Air Show that will be held this July. Officials want to know how it will affect the county and what county services will be needed. They have not gotten answers. (Here is an article about how those to our north perceive the matter.)

Update: Rensselaer Central Schools just posted this on their Facebook page. RSC has canceled school ten days and has delayed school 13 days. Two of the cancellations were waived, two were made up on President's Day and MLK Day. One will be made up on June 1. That leaves five more days to make up. (And there is no guarantee that there will not be more cancellations.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A jumble of things--Feb 17 2014

It is time to clean out the picture files, all those pictures that have accumulated for the past week or two and I have not fit in another posts.

On Sunday the sun melted away our early morning snow enough so that I could ride a bike. I rode out to the east end of the Lintner Industrial Park to see if anything had been done on the solar panel farm and was surprised to see that people had been at work despite the awful weather. Fencing was up and there were piles of what may be solar panels.
 I could not be sure but there may be a row of solar panels already up at the north end of the parcel.
The construction in one of the buildings downtown, mentioned here and identified in the comments as an office for Dr. Sheets, now has the paper off the window so you can peek inside. It does not appear to be completely ready, but it is getting close. And Dr Sheets name is now on the window.
It is hard to keep track of the medical field in Rensselaer--it keep changing. Late last year the hospital contracted with Indiana Emergency Care for emergency room services. Dr Pellicore left town last fall. Dr Wakefield left the Clinic of Family Medicine and set up his practice in the space that Dr C Louck had vacated for his new building. I think that there are now only two physicians at the Clinic of Family Medicine, Dr Chiganti and Dr Darnaby. Dr Louck had an associate, Dr Finley, for a few months who left. Dr Sheets is no longer associated with the Pinnacle Medical Group, which now has Roger Handtke DO on its sign along with a nurse practitioner. What have I missed?

The H&R Block office was open even though it was Sunday.  These are the busy times--they are open into the evening. Have you got your taxes done yet? I finally got the final 1099 statement so that I could do mine.

There is a new business downtown in the small office that formerly housed Ardent Papers Photography. (It is in the building that also has Cornerstone Realty and Manpower) Stearns Home Loans is a company headquartered in California that is expanding into the Midwest. It recruited D Leeper from one of the local banks and he has represented the company since October but only began working out of his present office in the past month. He says that in his line of work a small interior office works well for him.

The Building Trades house on Vine Street still has a lot of exterior work to do.
On Friday and Saturday a group of five actors from London performed Shakespeare's As You Like It. It was performed with a minimalist set and each actor played several roles, which was quite entertaining when the actor was playing two people who were interacting. A scarf or hat or coat identified which person the actor was playing, so there were constant changes of articles of clothing. No pictures were allowed during the performance, but they did not say anything about pictures before the performance began. The coat rack holds their costume props.
As You Like It is a romantic comedy that features misidentification of characters. 

I did not hear how the Valentine's night sponsored by eMbers went. Usually they post something on Facebook.

If you wandered down the hallway from the SJC theater, you could see a display of relics. They were assembled from the C.PP.S and from parishes in Chicago that had closed. For many centuries relics were a big deal. Now not so much.
Another display of mementos from the past is on display at the entrance to the SJC Library. In 1973 Neighbor Day was invented to help raise money after the Administration Building at SJC burned.
I did not get a good picture of the souvenir plate or bowl that commemorated the dedication of the Administration Building. I do remember the dishes on the right--some of them were still in use when I arrived at SJC, though I do not remember how widespread their use was.
Last week SJC had an open house for their Student Success Center, which is in the back of the library where at one time the vinyl record collection was kept.  The Student Success Center is funded by a large grant that SJC received a year or two ago. Its goal is to improve student retention.

Speaking of libraries, below is a picture of what used to be the conference room at the public library. Until the work areas are fixed, this is where much of the library staff hangs out doing their work.
The Monday snow is upon us and visibility is very limited. Most area schools closed early. Was it early enough?

Friday, February 14, 2014

21st Annual Regional High School Art Exhibit

The 21st Regional High School Art Exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Core Building until March 2, 2014, which is also the date of the reception and awards program. There are always some interesting items on display, though not everyone will agree on what is interesting. I liked the highly detailed drawing of a spider from a South Newton High student.
 This drawing from KV took me back in time. I recall when op art was very popular in the 1960s.
 This combination of weaving and found objects reminded me of some of assemblages that one of our local artists makes.
 I always enjoy seeing tessellations. This was one of three on display from Rensselaer Central High School
If you get out to SJC, take a look at what is one display. You may find very different things that you find intriguing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

One more meeting

On Tuesday evening a special joint session of the County Commissioners and the County Council was held at the Jasper County Fairgrounds. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the two elected branches of county government to share concerns and information. Sometimes coordination between the two branches is needed and the meeting explored some of those areas. Although the meeting was open to the public, it was not well publicized. There was no mention of it on the County's meeting schedule.



The first item on the agenda was a report on the newly formed Tourism Commission, a five member board with four members appointed by the Commissioners and one by the Mayor of Rensselaer.  The five are from Fair Oaks Farms, Hamstra Builders, Knights Inn, Saint Joseph's College, and one retired. The Commissions goal is to promote tourism in Jasper County. It is funded with an innkeeper tax that is raising almost $150,000 per year but its budget will be approved by the Council. The actual day-to-day work will be done by the staff of the Jasper County Economic Development Commission. The Tourism Commission will be willing to partner or support county festivals and events. They will also be working with the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, which I was surprised to learn, was commissioned by the state. Although it began as the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the South Shore CVA has a region-wide focus and will promotes events in Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper Counties. It has a staff of about twenty people and the new county initiative plans to rely on their expertise to get started and create things like logo, website, and slogans.

There was a discussion of finances that was hard to follow because the members of the audience did not have the pages and pages of numbers that the council and commissioners had, followed by an update of progress on the jail heating/cooling system, details of which the commissioners had but the council did not. This was of joint concern because of a proposal to do an additional $140,000 of upgrading work at the jail. The Council would need to approve the expenditures of funds. (There were no decisions made at the meeting--it was only for sharing information.)

There was some discussion of building inspection--the salary is set by the Council but the permit fees are set by the Commissioners--and also how to get the right sized staff in various departments. Funding CASA was an issue because until recently the position was covered by Gibault, which found it a profitable part of their experience in Rensselaer. However, now that the position is handled by the county, it seems to be losing money and they were trying to figure out how to make it all work.

A discussion of Warning Sirens focused on two questions, should the county change the maintenance company from one in Joliet to one in Lafayette and whether they should be doing annual inspections on the sirens. When they upgraded the sirens they installed two-way communications so that all the sirens can be monitored centrally and the purpose of that was to eliminate the need for annual inspections which are quite expensive.

A member of the Council suggested that the county consider the possibility of a Violations Bureau. At present the county can take people who ignore rules, such as obtaining building permits, to court, but the legal costs of doing so often exceeds the revenue collected when the county wins the case. The councilman thought that a violations bureau might be a solution and urged the commissioners to consider investigating whether this might work for the county.

Finally, two hours into the meeting, the auditors office told the officials that they were still not happy with the financial software that they have been working with for the past three years and that they would like to research other systems. And with that, the meeting ended.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Limelight is bigger this year

The annual Limelight on Special Creations is on display in the Fendig Gallery. This year it includes not just the work of students from area schools served by Cooperative School Services, but also some items done by those served by the Rensselaer office of CDC Resources. The additional participants make the overall look of the exhibit much better--last year it looked sparse.
The students served by Cooperative School Services in the area schools must have some instruction from art teachers because they use a lot of different techniques in their pieces. There were at least two from the KV schools that used short pieces of yarn to form images.
 I would have given this one the most impressive drawing award if such an award existed. This student was from Benton Central.
 At North Newton some were seeing what could be done with carved rubbers stamps.
This glass mosaic reminds me of work done by David Herriott who I think lives in either Benton or Newton County. I wonder if there is a link.
 The Limelight exhibit is done as part of Indiana Disabilities Awareness Month, which is March. However, the exhibit fits the gallery calendar better in February than in March.

If you want a reason to smile, stop in and take a look at the exhibit.
The hours of the Fendig Gallery are 10am till 2 pm Monday through Friday.

And in other news, the Rensselaer Branch of the Jasper County Public Library is open today for the first time in over a month. Bibliophiles can rejoice.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More meetings (updated)

Both the Rensselaer City Council and the Jasper County Library Board had meetings last night. I opted to go to the Council meeting.

After the normal preliminaries, the mayor asked the council to endorse a letter protesting the elimination of the business personal property tax, a priority of Governor Pence, unless there is some replacement of the revenue lost. The tax apparently is a source of money for local governments, not for the state, and there is no proposed substitute in the governor's proposal. The council agreed with the letter.

Natural gas prices will be going up because the cost that the city pays has gone up. I think it was 14 cents per hundred cubic feet. The utility office asked for and got permission to purchase a new folder-insert machine, the machine that prepares the utility bills that we get.


And then the interesting part of the meeting began. A group of citizens had written the mayor arguing that we should worry about what the approach to the city from the west will look like as development continues. They were concerned that new buildings would be cheaply made with little or no landscaping and that as a result the major entryway into Rensselaer, along SR 114, would become an unsightly mess. The solution that they apparently suggested in the letter, based on the discussion that followed, was to have an architectural review committee established that would review any new construction and suggest or mandate changes if the committee thought they were needed.

Councilman George Cover responded to the proposal by saying that at present anyone who wants to build has to go through many reviews already. Plans have to go to the state and then be considered by the zoning board and perhaps some other commissions or boards. He did not think it wise to add another layer of bureaucracy for developers to go through. There was support on the council for his contention that developers already had enough red tape, but there was also support for the idea that we did not want ugly buildings to mar the approaches to Rensselaer.

Early in the discussion someone suggested the whole question may be moot. Apparently the FAA has approved an east-west runway for the airport and is now enforcing height restrictions for new construction. The MacAllister Machinery building plans have had to be changed to meet those requirements, and any building along the north side of SR 114 from the Airport to the west would be affected. So future development may be very limited.

Everyone in the discussion accepted the premise that most development would be done by outsiders or franchisers and that many of these builders would have standardized designs that they would want to build. However, the concerned citizens thought that often there were several standardized designs available, and that we should try to get the ones that were the best.

After ten or fifteen minutes of discussion, there was a move to table this discussion. (Can one move to table a discussion? I thought that only motions could be tabled, and there was no motion on the floor.) That motion failed by a 2 to 3 vote. (In the few meetings I have been to, I had not seen any motion that had a split vote--it was exciting to see dissension.) Then Councilman Cover moved that the Council NOT establish an architectural committee. That motion passed three in favor, one opposed, and one abstention. The building inspector was asked to work with the concerned citizens to see how their concerns could be incorporated into the existing review process.

(As the discussion unfolded, I could not help but wonder if the proposed Dollar General store west of Kirby Risk was the catalyst for this concern.)

There was then some more routine business and announcements before the adjournment.

A question for readers: Of the four mains ways that a stranger would enter Rensselaer, which is the least attractive approach and why? What is the most attractive approach and why?

The lobby of city hall has a sketch of the new storm-water treatment plant that the state is mandating that the city build.
 Here is a closer look at the plant part.

The meeting I missed, the Library Board meeting, had on its agenda an update on repairs. I stopped by during the afternoon to see what I could learn and was told that every day they are getting closer to reopening.

The Library would be open now if it had not been for the second cold snap that burst a pipe in the meeting room. The staff had relocated there after the initial flood, so the second flood meant that they had to relocate again. The repairs to the meeting room were almost done on Monday. The plan was to then move the staff back to the meeting room.
 As you can see in the picture below, the public areas of the library are in good shape. However, the staff areas were still in the public areas on Monday. (See the screens on the right side of the picture below.) Once the staff is put back into the meeting room, the library will be able to reopen. Assuming that the -17 degree below zero temperatures we had last night did not cause any more problems and that there are no more surprises, patrons should be welcomed back sometime this week.
 The work areas behind the circulation desk will not be fully repaired until some time in March. They need new tiling or carpets.

Chad on WLFI forecasts that we will be getting above freezing next week and that we will be getting into the 20s and maybe even into the low 30s later this week. We just have to endure a bit more of this bitter cold before we will get more pleasant temperatures (and lots of slushy, melting snow).

Update: The Jasper County Public Library announced on Facebook this afternoon (Tuesday) that the Rensselaer Library would be open on Wednesday.