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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It is open

I stopped by the Marathon by the tracks this morning to see if it was open. It looked open because the price of gas was displayed but the pumps were still turned off.
 I checked inside and discovered that I was a few hours early--they planned to open at 2:00. Shorty recognized me and told me I could take pictures.
 The store looks so neat before the customers come and start buying things.
The inside is a huge improvement from the old store.

I also visited the site of what will be the Watt substation, which is on Bunkum Road at the intersection of CR 850 W.
No one was working when I was there, but clearly a lot of work had been done.

Second June City Council meeting

The Rensselaer City Council met Monday night. Its first item on the agenda was signing a contract with KIRPSE to administer a downtown planning grant that the City recently received. The KIRPSE portion is $4000; another $40450 will go to the architect and the Council authorized the Mayor to sign that. The reason for this grant is explained here.

John Julien from Umbaugh, the City's financial advisor, updated the Council on what is happening with the project to connect the new well with the water treatment plant. I did not understand some of what he was saying, but he did say that he thought the project might be ready to be bid out this fall. He also mentioned that when the bonds for the Watt substation are sold, the City could refinance the bonds of 2010 that were used for the 69K line. The refinancing should save the City about $150K; interest rates are lower now than when the bonds were issued. It was noted that dirt is being moved for the substation. (I need to get out there an take a picture.)

A representative from IMPA then explained that the City had signed a contract earlier in which it agreed that IMPA would own the metering equipment of the Watt substation. Because this substation does not add any new territory and does not increase the load but only insures reliability, neither NIPSCO or IMPA will contribute funds to it. The part of the bid that was tabled at the last meeting was then approved.

The Project Coordinator, Jerry Lockridge, requested permission to get a quote for a new street sweeper. He noted that the current machine is a 1999 model and it has issues. The money needed is available in various funds. The estimated cost will be $200K.

Kevin Cochran, the Cemetery Superintendent, asked the Council to approve resealing the road and parking lot in the newest part of Weston Cemetery, that is north of Bunkum Road. The cost will be $6100. He also asked for permission to get quotes on a small excavator. He said that digging graves with the backhoe almost always requires that they move stones. A small excavator would be able to move among the markers more easily. It was also noted that other departments could on occasion use this equipment. Council approved both.

The Gas Department Superintendent, Carol Lockridge, announced that the department had received a new tractor and it was working out well. She also said that the department had ordered a new welding unit.

Stace Pickering, who is on the Park Board, informed the Council that they would soon see fundraising for park improvements.

I do not have a picture that fits any of the above, but I did notice on Wednesday that more barricades are shutting roads and parking lots at SJC.
I do not know why there is still a car in this lot west of Halleck Center. Both entrances are barricaded.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Odds and ends, end of June 2017

A few  items I have noticed:

Fenwick Farms Brewing Company has a Facebook page and it has pictures of the various stages of their construction. It appears that they have successfully brewed the first batch of beer. They are hiring.

Cooper Tire and CTS Tire Service have new ownership, Wonderland Tire. Customers should not notice any changes.

The blueberry farms in northern Jasper County are open for business.

Fairmeadow Home Health Center is downsizing and moving.
I was in White County on Tuesday and noticed that the old White County poor farm, which was an impressive structure, was mostly demolished. I mentioned the sale here but a post here has more information, especially in the recent comments.
Back in Rensselaer the asphalt for the Marathon station by the tracks is in place and on Tuesday a crew was painting markings. There will be three pumps so six cars can fuel at one time.
On other gas station news, the Speedway Gas project planned for SR 10 east of I-65 went before the JC BZA on Monday evening for an exception and variances. The exception was needed because there is no zoning that allows commercial fueling, that is, fueling for trucks. The zoning of the lot does allow gas stations. The only real concern voiced was about traffic. The station will have entrances both on SR 10 and CR 1100 and both roads are congested in the early morning when hundreds of residents rush for the interstate to commute to work. The variances were for three purposes. The station wants a sign 120 feet tall, which is what the two truck stops to the west have. The county plan only allows signs to be 60 feet. The county plan has a maximum size set for entrances and exits and Speedway said that they needed wider entrances to get trucks in and out safely. Finally, the code says that for what they have designed, they need 53 parking spaces and they wanted only 49. After about an hour of discussion, all the changes were granted.

The project went before the Drainage Board earlier this month but the Commissioners wanted changes so the revised plans will be presented at the July 3 Drainage Board meeting.

The station will have eight auto fueling lanes and 4 commercial lanes. It will have a cafe with limited food but will not be a full truck stop. The representative from Speedway said that most of the trucks that stations like this get are independent owner-operators who want to fuel up, grab a snack, and get back on the road. He said the company thought there was enough demand to warrant spending the money to construct the station. It will employ 15 to 20. The construction will increase the width of both SR 10 and CR 1100 in the area of the proposed station.

Before the BZA meeting the Plan Commission met briefly to discuss a rezone. A lady from the northern part of the county wanted to split a house from a barn to make it easier to sell, but she did not bring the newspaper notice with her and it was not clear that it had been published in the right place. The item was continued to the July meeting. In her case the paper may have led her down the wrong path--it told her to publish the notice in the DeMotte paper rather than the Rensselaer Republican, which is where the notice must be. I feel sorry for those who run into the County regulations for the first time--there are a lot of rules that have to be followed.

(The answer to the last post: the actor playing Dr. Frankenstein was Augustus Phillips who was born in Rensselaer.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Frankenstein-Rensselaer connection: a challenge

Below is an early silent film, Frankenstein. It was made in 1910 by Edison Studios and for many years was thought to be lost.

(Here is a link to another site where the coloring is different.)

Believe it or not, there is an important Rensselaer connection to this film. Can you find it?

(I was surprised by how quickly the answer was given in comments both here and on Facebook. The actor playing Dr. Frankenstein was Augustus Phillips who was born in Rensselaer.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The mystery of Frank Clair

When I started exploring Weston Cemetery on a few years ago, I noticed that the site listed two famous people buried there. One was Charles Halleck and the other was a person I had never heard of, Frank Clair. His entry said that he had been a very successful coach in the Canadian Football League. I could not figure out what connection he had with Rensselaer nor could I find any record of his burial in Weston Cemetery. (You can find links to those burial records here.)

Eventually I found a marker for him because his daughter did have a burial record. But I still could not figure out how he was linked to Rensselaer and if he was actually buried there.

On Friday I discovered that he had not been buried in Weston Cemetery, at least not until this past spring. That is when his ashes and those of his wife were interred in the plot and the death dates were added to the marker. A search of the Internet revealed the obituary of his wife and the connection to Rensselaer.

Patricia Clair's maiden name was Bausman and her parents and brother are also buried in Weston. (I am pretty sure that sister Betty is in the adjacent grave.) Her brother was a notable athlete when he was in high school; his record for long jump set in 1936 has never been broken.

So a person famous for coaching in the Canadian football league is actually buried in our local cemetery though he never seems to have lived in Rensselaer.

(Another football player of some note who is buried in Weston Cemetery is George Zorich.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

County Council 6-20-2017

Tuesday night's County Council meeting began with four requests for additional appropriations. Animal Control wanted $22,000 for additional part-time workers, the Veteran's Services wanted $4800 to fund an increase in burial benefits for veterans (an increase of $200 to $350 per burial), the library wanted authorization to spend $229,000 to purchase property, and the Sheriff's Department wanted to put $782 dollars into a specific fund. 

The Library request was the most interesting. The property that they want to purchase is in DeMotte, adjacent to the library. There are three houses on lots to the south of the library. The Library already owns one and now would like to purchase a second, with the purchase of the third perhaps next year. The DeMotte Library has a steep entry into its parking lot. Removing the houses would allow a more user-friendly parking lot. The Library has the money--they received much more than that last year when the State returned excess income tax revenues that it had been holding as a stabilization fund, but it needs Council approval to spend the funds.

The Council then turned to abatements, most of which are in their final years. A representative from IBEC attended and reported that the company employed 38 people. They were planning to spend about $5 million for several projects, one of which would increase production from 57 million gallons per year to 60 million. They are also purchasing 100 rail cars for about $10 million.

Advance Auto has increased employment from last year but still has openings. The number of employees from Jasper County is up to 124 and turnover has declined. There is a proposal for a new apartment building near the plant--my understanding is that it is still in the drawing stages because I have not seen anything come before the county zoning or drainage boards.

Sharon Colee from Jasper County Community Services gave a lengthy presentation on all the services her agency provides. In addition to the three senior centers the agency operates in DeMotte, Rensselaer, and Remington, it manages energy assistance grants, public transportation with their van services, rental assistance, some home services, and some legal assistance. The agency is expecting a matching grant for a new van and has raised most of the match that they need to make. She was asked about the replacement for Sodexo as the supplier of food for the senior centers and responded that the bid was won by a catering service from Schererville and that they have been very happy with the quality of food. She also noted that in the past few years more people in their early 60s have been attending meals and events at the centers.

In the comments at the end of the meeting, there was a question about the replacement of Judge Ahler of the Superior Court, who has been appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Northern Indiana. There are at least six people who have applied for the position and a decision to fill the vacancy will probably be made in September or October. The person appointed will face election in 2018.

As the evening started, storm clouds approached from the north. I spent an hour at the Jasper County Historical Society and during that hour we got a tiny bit of rain.
As I left the County Council meeting two hours later, I saw a large and bright rainbow in the eastern sky. The picture below does not capture the colors and hues of the sky.
To the west I could see the edge of the clouds and an impressive sunset.
A few other notes. Fair Oaks Farms has announced free admission days for residents of Jasper and Newton Counties on July 3 and August 7. Proof of residency will be required. White Residential Services will be closing their facility in Wheatfield (formerly Christian Haven). The site employs about 70 people. Finally, construction is underway south of Monon on new windmills. The bases are installed on many new towers and the parts including the blades are arranged next to the bases. Just west of the county line, south of the empty building that White County built in the hopes of attracting a business, was a large deployment area where the sections of the towers had been unloaded from trains. They are then taken by trucks to wherever the windmill will be constructed. Sorry, but I did not take the opportunity to stop and take pictures.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Odds and ends, 6-19-2017

The high school was having its entry way paved on Saturday.
Work continues on the rebuilding of the Marathon by the tracks. The concrete for the pump area was poured early last week and it looks like the pumps may go in soon.

Are you curious about what is happening with the Embers Station? Embers has a lengthy post on their website explaining their present situation.

Speaking of Embers, Camer1 revisited when he was working in Benton County. I think this was his most recent contribution. It is on the back of the building and is clearly visible from the parking lot of Endless Treasures.
On Friday evening and Saturday morning thunderstorms moved through Rensselaer with a impressive display of lightning and thunder. They also gave us about an inch of rain, so I expect plant growth to be impressive in the next week. Benton County and southern Newton County also got the rain, which they did not need.

 On Friday there was a meeting of the joint Benton-Jasper Drainage Board to discuss Carpenter Creek. Some of the watershed is in Benton County but about 75% of it is in Jasper. The Benton farmers had a court establish a special drainage district in 1962 before their Drainage Board was established and that group has been doing a good job in maintaining the drainage ditches that feed into the Jasper County part of Carpenter Creek. Jasper County is limited in what it can do by various state agencies--IDEM, Fish and Wildlife, and DNR. (Apparently there is a snail in the creek that is a matter of concern.)

Jasper County seemed to be pushing for a cooperative arrangement, making the entire watershed a single district under the joint drainage board. The officials from Benton County were not sure that the benefits to them of cooperating were greater than the costs. However, the attorney for the joint board said that if Jasper County petitioned a court for a joint district, the law said that a joint district would be the result.

The two county surveyors will investigate the matter and the joint Benton-Jasper Drainage Board will resume the discussion at a meeting on August 22 at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BPW and City Council 06-12-17

The Board of Public Works met before the City Council meeting on Monday evening. After approving some bill payment, the Board was told that there were no bids for converting the old firehouse to a new police station. Several potential bidders were nervous about some of the specifications, such as having the entire structure bullet proof The architect has made some changes in the plans and the project will be rebid. The Board also approved the Jasper County Fair Association’s fireworks display on July 1.

The City Council approved a request by the Eagles to close Harrison Street between Front and Van Rensselaer on June 24 for a fund raiser. It also approved a six cents decrease for the gas tracker for June.

At the last Council meeting one bid was received for the labor contract for the Watt substation that will be built west of Rensselaer on Bunkum Road and that bid was rejected and the project rebid. Two bids were received in the rebid and they were opened and read. The representative for IMPA and the Electric manager of operations and engineering left to discuss them. They returned at the end of the meeting and recommended that the low bid, from Power Construction Group for $339,765, be accepted. The IMPA representative said that even though the labor bid was higher than expected, other parts of the project had come in lower than expected, so the project did not exceed the budget. However, there was a question about whether the City would pay for the metering part of the substation and whether the City or IMPA would own it, so Barton moved to table the metering part but approve the rest of the bid. That passed (and I do not know exactly what that meant other than the issue will be revisited at the next meeting). Then a vote was taken to proceed with the project.

In other business, the Council voted to pay $26K to First Group Engineering for help on road assessment. This company had worked with the City last year to help obtain state grants for road improvements and the City was happy with the results. This year the grants will be 75% state money and 25% local money. A representative from KIRPSE was supposed to attend the meeting to discuss a downtown planning grant but could not make it so that item will be on a future agenda. The Council approved flowers for the funeral of the Mayor’s brother. Finally, the Council approved hiring a company named Peerless to help seal and properly abandon wells 3, 4, and 5 on Bunkum Road. None of them have been used for several years because of contamination.

On Tuesday night we received some much needed rain. The amount of rain varied tremendously in our area, with northern Benton County getting three or four inches. My rain gauge said that Rensselaer received only about half an inch. The ground was dry--there was no noticeable rise in the river. The forecast says that we may get more rain this evening.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A couple totally unrelated items

A few years ago I put a few garlic cloves in my garden. I did not harvest them properly, so the next year I had more garlic. Plus the type of garlic I planted sent up a flower stalk (called a garlic scape) that had little bulbils on them and they fell to the ground and sent up more garlic plants. As the garlic infestation grew, I learned that it was standard practice to clip off the scapes because they drew nutrition from the cloves and resulted in smaller cloves. I also learned that the scapes were edible and that there are a variety of recipes on the Internet for them. They have a very mild taste and they arrive early in the season when the garden is still not producing much.

As you get older the tax world changes if you have saved money in tax-deferred instruments such as IRAs and 401k plans. When you turn 70½ (with some exceptions) the government requires you to start taking money out of your tax deferred accounts so that you will pay the taxes you avoided when you were young. These withdrawals are called mandatory distributions.

Several months ago the Jasper Newton Foundation had a page in the annual report about how to avoid the taxes on the mandatory distribution by making charitable contributions from an IRA. This way of making your charitable donations can save significant money. Suppose that you annually give $1000 to your church or another non-profit organization. If you take the money in a mandatory distribution and then send it to the charity, you will pay taxes on the distribution. If you are in the 15% tax bracket, you will pay about $200 in taxes with the state and local income taxes added. However, if you have your financial organization write the check to the organization as a qualified charitable distribution, the check counts as part of your mandatory distribution but is not counted as income so you pay no taxes on it.

This way of making charitable contribution is quite new so many people are not aware of it. I asked the Jasper Foundation if they were getting donations using this method and was told that with one big exception, the answer was "No". I have found that some financial organizations make it much easier to make contributions in this way than others and I suspect that this is because some of the financial institutions have not yet updated their procedures.

If you are retired and approaching or taking mandatory distributions from tax-deferred savings, this way of supporting your charities is something to consider. You will need to talk to your financial advisor or financial institution to find out exactly how to make the gift.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Coming soon: Endless Treasures

On Monday I got a chance to peek inside of the former Long's Gift building, which soon will be the home of a flea market called Endless Treasures. Opening is scheduled for July 1.
 Right now there is not much inside and I expect much of the moving of merchandise will happen just before opening. The large room at the back of the building (nearest the alley) has tape on the floor marking where the booths will be. A booth in the back of the room is a wall booth and has an assortment of pictures--the only booth that currently has stuff in it.
 The layout that Longs had remains--a corridor snakes around to a series of other rooms. I cannot think of anything that makes more sense for the space than a flea market. There will be numerous cameras monitoring people in the back (or front) rooms. Below you see a hallway leading out of the main room. It will be painted black and the booths here will have things like tools.
 A wall of one of the little rooms is being removed and the area is currently a mess. There is a lot of work that has to be done in the next three weeks.
 The name, Endless Treasures, was picked because of the layout of the space--you keep going on and on and you never know what treasures you will find around the next bend. You do, however, finally reach the end shown below.
I look forward to seeing how completely different the space will look on July 1.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June's Park Board meeing

The Park Board and Corporation met on Monday night at Iroquois Park. Because the old Monnett building is now privately owned, Park meetings can no longer be held there. The group decided to meet in the picnic shelter rather than in the headquarters building.
The Park Superintendent noted that the LaRue Pool had opened a week later than intended because water had gotten into a conduit with electrical wires and that problem  had to be fixed. The pool should be open until school starts and maybe a weekend or two after that. The pool will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year--I wonder how many municipal pools are older than that.

Most of the meeting was directly or indirectly focused on planned fundraising for park improvements. The fundraising is being financed by the Blacker Trust. The goal is to raise over a million dollars, but the number keeps changing. The fund raisers do not want the Park Board or Corporation to start any projects until this fundraising has been completed and members of the Park Board had problems with that. The City received almost $90K from the sale of the Monnett building and there is fear that the money will be used for non-park purposes if the Park does not move to use the money. The group decided to get an estimate of what it would cost to put a trail around the perimeter of the Monnett and Staddon Field parcel.

The fundraising people seem to be focused on baseball fields in Brookside Park. There is room for at least two fields in the area west of the tennis courts. The preliminary plans that the fundraisers had drawn up increased parking by demolishing the J C Cruiser Shelter and the Park Board was unanimous in condemning this idea.

The money raised will go to an account with the Jasper Foundation. Exactly who will control that money is not clear to me.

Mainstreet Rensselaer is planning a trail from the corner of Milroy Park by Busy Bee to the south corner of the park.

The next Park Board meeting is scheduled for July 17.

In other bits and pieces, I noticed that a lot of the ash trees at SJC in the grove along the highway are dead or dying. Do not plant ash trees.
I had not visited the apartments at the north end of Elza lately and was surprised today to notice that a foundation is in for another ten-unit  building. The first building still needs finishing touches.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Volunteers and generations

On Tuesday night the Jasper-Newton Foundation hosted a presentation about how organizations could attract volunteers. The theme of the presenter, Kenneth Culp III, was that different generations respond to different incentives and appeals and that many organizations are still trying to find volunteers with the methods that worked 70 years ago but which are no longer very effective with the newer generations. The attendance exceeded the expectations of the Foundation. The audience almost filled the conference room at the Farmhouse at Fair Oaks Farms.
Dr. Culp identified six generations: (a) the Civic or Builder generation born between 1901 and 1929; (b) the Silent generation born between 1929 and 1946; (c) the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964; (d) Generation X born between 1964 and 1981; (e) the Millennials, born between 1981 and 2001; and (f) the Digitals, born since 2001. Rather than tell you about the characteristics he attributed to each of the first five of these groups, I am going to list the characteristics in a random order and your challenge will be to assign the attributes to the proper group. Feel free to leave your answer in the comments and I will update this post in a few days with the correct answers.
(1) Interested in how volunteering benefits them, their personal life comes before job, not team oriented, focused on the short-term.
(2) Like stability, willing to help in any way they can, attracted to the mission of the organization.
(3) Efficient and economizing, willing to help others, attracted to the reputation of the organization.
(4) Interested in outcomes, attracted to volunteer opportunities that give them benefits or new experiences.
(5) Want to make a difference, work often comes before family, good team players, look for volunteer opportunities that fit their skills.
Of course when one speaks in generalities and stereotypes, there are many people that do not fit well in their chronological generations and may not fit into any of the sets of attributes that are given.

Update: Here are the generations matched to their characteristics:

Generation X: (1) Interested in how volunteering benefits them, their personal life comes before job, not team oriented, focused on the short-term.
Silent generation: (2) Like stability, willing to help in any way they can, attracted to the mission of the organization.
Civic or Builder generation: (3) Efficient and economizing, willing to help others, attracted to the reputation of the organization.
Millennials: (4) Interested in outcomes, attracted to volunteer opportunities that give them benefits or new experiences.
Baby Boomers (5) Want to make a difference, work often comes before family, good team players, look for volunteer opportunities that fit their skills.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

County matters

The Commissions met for about three and a half hours oedn Monday morning in their June meeting. Near the top of the agenda were four public hearings. One was for a speed limit on a county road leading to Remington from the south and the other three were for vacating alleys and streets in the booming villages of Virgie, Asphaltum, and Kersey. When they were platted, their founders had high hopes that they would grow into substantial communities but they have not. The land set aside for streets and alleys is now farmed. By vacating the land, the County will be put it back on the tax rolls. A number of people attended these public hearings but no members of the public spoke.

The Commissioners approved use of the Court House lawn for Kids Night at the Tuesday Farmers Market on July 25. There was a long discussion of the Smallfelt Ditch. Landowners want to deepen it and that will require crossing County roads in three places. Their plans for crossing the roads were approved. The ditch was also on the agenda for the Drainage Board in the afternoon, but I did not find the topic fascinating enough to attend that part of the meeting.

The County IT guy wants to be able to junk obsolete electronics rather than try to sell them at auction. He argued that the costs of getting them ready for auction exceeded the revenue received. The matter was turned over to the County Attorney for research. A person from Honeywell pitched on energy savings; he offered a free preliminary audit that they accepted. The airport manager gave a short report on Aviation Career Day and announced that the date of the annual EEA fly in was July 8. The Health Department wanted a change in their personnel policy requiring some employees to attend their Board meetings.

In May's meeting there was an item in which a family was complaining about the behavior of a neighbor. June's meeting seems to have featured the other side of the dispute, with the roles of good neighbor and bad neighbor reversed.

At 10:00 bids for paving and road materials were opened. There were a number of bids and, as is the Commissioners' practice, all were accepted.

The Sheriff reported on the communications tower, stating that it had been in operation for several months and the the County Highway Department was also using it. Two representatives from Motorola were present and the Commissioners formally accepted the tower. (I am not sure exactly what that meant.) There was discussion of the costs and benefits of inmate catastrophic insurance (the cost of using the helicopter as an ambulance is about $60K) and more discussion of the need to repair the west wall of the northern annex.

The meeting ended with discussion of various matters that mostly affect the running of offices. There was a long and hard-to-follow discussion of road repair. The way that the state grant process will work this year has changed and the various people involved with roads discussed how the County should adjust to those changes.

The Drainage Board had a long agenda in their afternoon meeting, but only two of the items looked interesting to me. Pilot Travel Center of Remington will do a complete rebuild at the end of the summer (mentioned here) and they presented their drainage plan. Their retention pond will be bigger and configured in a different way. Currently water is pumped into the pond and drained by gravity. The new pond will fill by gravity and will be drained by pumping. The plan was approved.

The second item was a proposed Speedway on SR 10 at the I-65 intersection. It will be built on a property that has a drainage ditch. The proposed plan is to culvert the ditch in a 48 inch tile. The Commissioners accepted that but wanted the tile to be concrete, not plastic. There were also questions about the easement of the open drain and the Commissioners suggested that the best way to deal with this issue was to extend the tile. The Commissioners wanted to see a new plan at the next meeting (July 3).

In some other news, construction is evident near the intersection of Front and Washington. The "Top Secret" building is getting a new front. (Of course if it were really top secret, the business would not have a webpage.) The words "Miller Jones Co" are now gone. I do not remember was that was. Who can help?
Across the street Embers Brewhouse has been doing landscaping and is looking beautiful. A fence stops the inclination to stroll through the grounds. The fence is required because the plaza will be part of the cafe that serves beer. When the Brewhouse opens, it will not be serving beer it brews--the person who was to do the brewing has pulled out of the project. However, they will be serving various area craft beers.
Down the block along Front Street a new business will be opening in month. The old Longs will become a flea market called Endless Treasures.

Below is a picture of fencing being installed along Sparling Ave by Lake Banet.

Friday, June 2, 2017

June is lovely

June is here and the warm, sunny weather this week has people dressing and acting like summer has arrived.

A bit of sunny news for Rensselaer arrived on Thursday when the City was informed that its OCRA grant proposal had been funded. The $550K grant will help purchase the land west of Sparling on which the City drilled a water well over a year ago and will also fund a water main that will take the water to the water treatment plant in Iroquois Park. The Rensselaer Republican was on the story and had it in today's paper.

On Friday morning the Park Department had an event called a Park Hop. It featured a proclamation by the Mayor about National Trails Day and then a walk on some of the City's trails. It appeared that most of the people attending were girls scouts.
 I took a look at the map on the table to see where our trails are. A lot of them use city streets and county roads.
 Lots of summer activities have started or are about to start. The Rensselaer Summer Swim Team has had its first meet (and had a record broken. That is impressive because the records go back to the 1970s.) Softball has begun at Brookside Park. LaRue Pool opens on Monday. I received a notice in my Rensselaer Adventures e-mail that St. Luke's Lutheran Church will host its Vacation Bible School June 12-16. The signs are up announcing Art Camp later in June, but registration closes June 9.
 The week saw a lot of changes at the Ember's Station Brewhouse. The last paving brick was placed, there are now decorative lights, and a fence is being erected.
 The manhole on Jefferson has been installed and the excavator is now in the back yard of the Jasper County Public Library where it will apparently dig a pit for another manhole.
 I noticed a crane doing something to the elevator north of the tracks.