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

Friday, July 31, 2015

Myers Retrospective at Fendig

The current exhibit at the Fendig Gallery is a large collection of art from Doris Myers. It runs until September 11, 2015. The opening reception drew more people than I have ever seen at a Fendig Gallery reception.

Many of Doris Myers' paintings are floral pieces or landscapes, This winter scene used to hang in the dental offices of Dr Bausman.
 Often her landscapes feature trees and water, with the trees reflected in the water.
 She showed her talents at an early age. This is a water color from 1936 when she was in eighth grade. The exhibit also includes her sketch book from high school, which has fashion designs and sketches of faces.
 This is a well-known sight (and site) in Jasper County.
 The exhibit includes a bit of her work as a potter. This set of dinnerware was done for the Grow family and is part of a setting for 18.
 Each plate has the Grow Farms icon.
The Fendig Gallery is currently open Monday through Friday from noon until 2:00, with extended hours till 5:00 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Another ribbon cutting

Dance Magic had a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning. The business is not only a dance studio but also offers classes in voice, piano, and fitness for ages 18 months to adult. The new studio is on the third floor of the building that has Unique Finds on the first floor. DanceMagic will have an open house and registration today, Wednesday, July 29 from 4 to 6 pm.

 The dance class from the studio was scheduled to perform at the Tuesday Night Farmers Market. I saw them there in uniform painting faces of little kids, but had other commitments so could not wait for them to perform.

We have reached the time of the year when there are a lot of vegetables available at the Farmers Market.

Earlier Tuesday I had traveled to DeMotte and Wheatfield to pick blueberries. The first farm we went to was closed for the season, but we managed to find another that was open. We were told that it was probably their last day for public picking. The morning was hot and humid and the berries were harder to find in big bunches than they had been earlier this month. While we were there the mechanical picker was picking just a few rows from where we were.

School has already started for some kids in the Indianapolis area and will start for others next week. It seems almost cruel to be sending kids back to school this early, while there are so many summer days left.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meetings, July 27, 2015

The City Council meeting for Monday night had a short agenda. The electric department asked for permission to seek quotes for a truck to replace a 1997 model. The Waste Water Treatment Plant will have the only class 3 operator retire and the city needs someone with that certification to fill out paper work. The retiring employee has agreed to work as an independent contractor 10 to 20 hours a month until another employee achieves certification, which may be a couple years off. The fire chief briefed the Council on the need to replace fire fighter breathing apparatus, which is nearing the end of its 15 year of useable service. The department is seeking a grant, but if the grant does not come through, another way will be needed to finance the replacement of the equipment.

Ernest Watson said that he would like to see soccer fields on the old Monnett School property. He said that he has talked to the RCS officials and has their cooperation. A committee composed of Watson, Councilman Hollerman, and Police Chief Phillips was appointed to look into the matter. Since the Park Board recently decided that they would like ball fields on the site, the discussions should be interesting.

The Clerk-Treasurer said that the Council needed to have a special meeting to discuss salaries. It has to be an open meeting and it is tentatively scheduled for August 5 at 5:30.

The representative for the city attorney discussed the agreement that is being worked on for having TV Cable install Internet in all city buildings. During the discussion it was mentioned that TV Cable pays a $9 a month rental for each city utility pole it uses.

Mike Murphy is retiring at the end of the week as Street Department Superintendent. He has been with the city for 17 years.  The transformer at the Banet substation has tested as OK and will be returning to service. (A squirrel gave it life in causing a power outage and considerable damage to the substation a few weeks ago.) The power plant has engine 14 back in normal operation.

The meeting adjourned with plenty of time to walk over to the Court House to attend the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals. There were two items on the agenda. One was from Rose Acre Farms for a special exception and a variance for a distribution center at US 231 and I-65. (It seems to be the property that once held the Carson Inn. However, the legal notice that the paper was supposed to publish was not published, so the item was continued until a special meeting for August 10 at 7:00. The project is on the agenda for the Drainage Board's Aug 3 meeting and it will also eventually need IDEM approval.

The other item was for a special exception for a cell phone tower along I-65 in the very northern part of the county. I think the variance was only to avoid landscaping, which was not an issue because the tower will be built in a storage facility and the base of the tower will not be visible from public roads. The tower will be built by SBA Communications and space on the tower will be rented by Verizon to handle some of the load it has at that location. Apparently the heavy demand for data has overloaded Verizon's current tower and it can be fined if it does not meet certain performance standards. There will also be space on the 195 foot tower for three other carriers. It seems that the the rapid increase in demand for bandwidth is such a problem that companies that would normally be competing are cooperating in trying to expand capacity. The representative for the project said a few years ago he was doing twenty cell towers a year and now he is doing 100.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rock the Arts 2015

My visit to Rock the Arts was fairly brief--other obligations kept me busy.
 Food vendors included the Pink Walras (hidden by the tend on the left), Martins, Lions, and Rotary. All of them had been at the county fair on Friday.
 There were a lot of booths selling art and art-related items.
 A giant kaleidoscope entertained both kids and adults.
 I think this was an elaborate tin-can or string telephone. Of else it could be inspired by the dome of silence from the Get Smart television series. (Not everyone reading this may be old enough to remember that series.)
 There were eight bands scheduled to perform. I am not sure which one this was.
 This group was with Xoe Wise. As she was performing, the thunder of an approaching storm could be heard. I left to avoid the rain. I heard later that the rain did not seriously affect the festival. It was fairly brief and total rainfall was not much.
There were about a hundred people signed up for the 5K glow run, so that will probably be back on the schedule for next year. A fair number of out-of-town visitors came to the event, one of the goals of the Tourist Commission.

Visit Rensselaer has many more pictures here.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A few final pictures from the fair

The fair is over and today people will pick up their exhibits and clean up the fairgrounds. On Friday night the auction of animals was taking place in the show arena.

In the goat barn a goat was eating its neighbors hay.

 There were a lot of big ribbons on the open class canning entries.
 The door of the Community Building provided an interesting view of the some of the food booths.
Entertainment for Friday included cloggers from Valparaiso. Elvis was scheduled for the free stage later in the evening.  The always popular demolition derby was the attraction in the grandstand.
 The Sheriffs Department provides free face painting and the Farm Bureau sold their delicious milk shakes, both highlights for these two young fairgoers.
It will all be back in another year.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The next big thing

This is the last day of the county fair, but preparations are already underway for the next touristy event, Rock the Arts, which will being at 2:30 on Saturday in Potawatomie Park. The weather has cooperated and the park has dried out so that the alternative of having the festival in the city parking lot is not needed. Nonetheless, the decorative facade for the parking lot was finished this week with the installation of the iron fencing.
 On the other side of the bowstring bridge the port-a-potties were being set up
 as was seating for the musical performances that will be pretty much non stop.
 Speaking of parking, earlier this week I was in Indianapolis to meet people at the airport. While waiting in their cell phone lot, I noticed that there were spaces for handicapped parking. I have been trying to figure out why handicapped parking is needed in a cell phone lot and have not come up with any answers. So I ask you, why is handicapped parking needed in a cell phone lot?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More scenes from the county fair

The Jasper County Fair remains a popular destination with lots of events. On Monday the free stage hosted Slim Pickins, a Bluegrass band.

 On Tuesday Blend, an accapella group, performed.
 On Monday evening hogs were being shown in the Show Arena.
 Little goats had their turn on Tuesday evening.
 The sheep were making fashion statements.
 The always popular battle of the barns competition took place on Tuesday evening.
 I thought this might be one of the teams for the battle of the barns until I read the backs of their shirts. The queen and her court served as referees, making sure the participants ran the obstacles correctly.
 A lot of kids were there either as spectators or participants.
On Tuesday evening the retired iron tractors traveled into Rensselaer to visit the Farmers Market and then after they returned to the fairgrounds they paraded again. Things slowed down when there were mechanical failures. There is good reason some of that iron is retired.
 On Tuesday a demonstration of how wheat used to be thrashed was given by the Retired Iron building. There were a lot of belts on the old machines.
 The carnival vendor is Anderson Amusements from Ohio.
 There was no fire, just smoke from the tractor and truck pulls on Monday evening.
 Part of a large collection of insects is on display in the Community Building. The man who owns the collection said his father began the collection in 1958. Even the little bit on display is impressive--the entire collection must be huge.
 On Monday evening William Roeschlein was demonstrating egg decorating and tatting in the Community Building.
 On Tuesday evening a lady from Lafayette was showing how she works with glass.
 In the mall by the livestock barns Fast Action Motor Sports was letting people race cars. It must have been difficult because there were lots of pile ups and crashes.
Just three more days of the greatest show in Jasper County.

(The Fountain Park Chautauqua has begun and a couple people have told me I should check it out, that it, too, is a great show. Maybe some year, but not this one.)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Scenes from the county fair

I did not make it out to the fair on Saturday--the heat and humidity sucked away all my energy. I did get out there yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. There were a lot of people there and a lot going on.

When I got there the Madd Hoss Jackson Band was on the free stage. They were also the opening act for the grandstand show.
 The main act in the grandstand was Craig Morgan. He travels with a lot of stuff.
 An even more famous person was at the fair: Cinderella. Little girls could have their picture taken with her. I asked what happened to Elsa and was told she had been at the the fair earlier and had already left. But Barbie was coming soon.
 In the show arena little kids were getting practice in showing animals. We start them young in Jasper County.
 In the 4H exhibit hall this bench made from old car parts caught my eye. Judging from the ribbons, it also must have caught the eye of the judge.
 In the mall by the animal barns various age groups were vying for trophies with a pedal tractor pull.
 The Community Band gave an excellent performance in the Retired Iron Building. The director said that they were looking for new members and that they have a weekly practice at South Newton High School.
 There were a lot of food booths, many returning from past years and some new. I recognized the typeface on this food booth.
 There is a new carnival providing the rides this year. They were still setting up the rides late in the afternoon.
 Another attraction was a man showing exotic animals to an audience with lots of kids. This critter is from Central and South American and is a relative of the raccoon, a coatimundi.
 There may have been even more of these dioramas this year than in the past.
 Barbie finally made it to the fair.
 There is a petting zoo again this year near the exhibition halls.
 I visited some of the people at the Volunteer Fair but never did get a picture.

The owner of Anytime Fitness recognized me and posed for a picture.
There is always something happening at the county fair and there is not entry fee. I hope to get out a few more times this week.