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

Monday, April 4, 2016

Commissioners Meeting and other things

The April Commissioners' Meeting had a lighter than normal agenda but the meeting still lasted most of the morning. A buried cable permit was discussed, delayed, delayed again, and finally passed. It was a request from the Indiana Fiber Network and the cable was for Franciscan Health Rensselaer. The cable's route was about five miles and there was concern about whether it would interfere with any buried drainage tiles. After a couple phone calls from the highway engineer to clarify the plans, the permit was granted with condition that the whole route be bored four feet deep and five feet below the bottom of any ditches. Installation should take about two weeks.

The Commissioners reviewed plans for a road relocation by NIPSCO. This road relocation has been discussed off and on for months. The background is that NIPSCO wants to expand their fly-ash dump and getting regulatory approval will be much easier if the permit is for an expansion of the existing landfill rather than for a new landfill. To make the expansion qualify as an expansion NIPSCO needs to have a county road that crosses its property vacated. The County's response was that it would vacate the road if NIPSCO would build a new road on the edge of its property to replace it. Today's discussion was about technical details and was focused on drawings that I could not see. The plan was approved with a note that all legal fees would be paid by NIPSCO.

Animal Control asked for and was granted permission to fill a part-time and mostly weekend position that had been vacated when the person in the position found a better job. It was granted. A policy from the Animal Control Board to rent live-catch traps for residents who wanted to trap stray dogs or cats was rejected by the Commissioners. Animal Control can now tell anyone who wants to use one of their live-catch traps that they cannot provide one. A request to use $1800 for supplies to build a small dog exercise yard was approved.

The Commissioners approved a request from the Little Cousin Jasper Festival to use the Court House lawn for the festival on September 9-10-11.

The part of the County's Unified Development Ordinance that was not passed last month, that dealing with the buffer zone around the Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area that would off limits to wind farms, was discussed. The new boundaries will be the northeast corner of the county with the southern limit of 400N and the western boundary of 100W.

The Sheriff received permission to fill four vacancies that will become vacant due to retirements or people leaving for other jobs. He also discussed an incident from Porter County that involved a concert (I think it is the one here) and wondered what permitting process the County had for events that might require large amounts of security.

The County has been investigating how best to codify its ordinances and put them on-line. The County Attorney reviewed proposals from the two companies that have submitted bids and said that one comes from the print end, producing a better print copy but a less desirable on-line version while the other comes from the on-line end, producing a better on-line version but a poorer print version. He recommended the County go with the better on-line version, and the Commissioner's approved that recommendation.

Several other items were discussed. A farmer from the northern part of the county was concerned with the trees along some of the roads that did not allow large farm equipment enough room to pull over to let on-coming traffic pass, and also about people who tear up farmers' fields with their vehicles. He recounted one case in which a person had gotten his vehicle stuck in his field and neither the sheriff nor the prosecutor pressed charges.

The Commissioners went into executive session at 10:30 to discuss insurance. They may have reconvened after the executive session, but I did not wait to see. I looked at the agenda for the Drainage Board (which I do not think ever appears on-line--it should) and it looked uninteresting so I skipped that meeting.

It has been almost a week since I last posted. The gap has been a combination of not finding much to write about and not being in the mood to write. If I had written anything, I would certainly have written about our strange weather. On Saturday we had strong winds with both sun and snow, often within the same hour. Some of the snow that blew in on Saturday was still on the ground on Sunday morning. When there were gusts, it sounded as if my windows were going to blow out. Most of one large tree blew down on Milroy Avenue and did some damage to a house. It was all quite a contrast to the previous Saturday when SJC had nice weather for a track meet. It also kept people from mowing. I have neighbors who have already mowed twice this year.



On Sunday the Jasper Count Fair Association had its annual Pork Chop and Chicken Dinner. There was literature announcing the headline attraction for this year's fair, a group called Parmalee.

I noticed that absentee voting is ready to begin on the second floor of the Court House. From April 5 till May 2 hours are 9:00 - noon and 1:00 - 4:00. On April 19, 21, 26 & 28 there are extended hours of 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. On April 23 & 30, both Saturdays, the hours are the same as the M-F hours.
 
Finally, the Rensselaer Republican has had some interesting letters to the editor in the past month or two. One of the people who wrote one of those letters asked me to post his letter on this blog. You will find it in first comment to this post.

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