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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Have a nice Thanksgiving

The Christmas decorations were going up in downtown Rensselaer on Monday.
Some light poles got wreaths and others banners.
On Tuesday evening the Jasper County Historical Society meeting discussed old county schools. At one time there were dozens of one-room schools scattered throughout the county, and then gradually they were consolidated. A display of things from the Fair Oaks School was striking. It closed in the 1960s.
I only stayed for the beginning of the meeting and then left to go to the County Council meeting. The most interesting thing on the agenda was a presentation from Indian Trails Career Cooperative. I had never heard of this organization. It is headquartered in Monticello and serves ten area school corporations, supporting their career and technical education programs. The schools it aids are in White, Jasper, Carroll, Newton, and Pulaski Counties. The presentation was to inform the Council that Indian Trails wanted to apply for a grant that would have a three-to-one match, that is, for every dollar raised locally, the State would provide three dollars. The head of Indian Trails was approaching the five counties asking for $100,000 from each as seed money, which would provide a grant of $1,500,000. He had talked to area employers about what skills seemed most important in the area and had decided to focus on health care and welding. He noted that though no community had a great deal of manufacturing, the total in the five counties was substantial. In addition, many area businesses have large numbers of baby boomers who will be retiring in the next ten or fifteen years and it is unclear who will replace them. As a result, he said, the idea of offering internships to high school students has become something that they would entertain.

The Councilmen for the north part of the county seemed unimpressed because the KV school system is not in the Indian Trails network, having allied with schools from Lake and Porter. One Council member suggested that it was not just technical skill that was lacking but work ethic--the understanding that showing up was necessary.

The presentation will be repeated for the County Commissioners on Dec 4 and their decision will probably decide whether Jasper County agrees to cooperate.

In other business, the members of the Council personally donated $650 to the Vietnam Wall display that will be coming to Brookside Park next year. They approved an additional appropriation of $5000 to pay for part-time help with Court House security--a variety of things like additional jury trials, security needs at SJC and festivals had used the money in the budget. He also commented that increased health insurance costs will cut the real pay of his employees and may cause some to seek other opportunities.

A discussion of an additional appropriation for legal research made by the Court led to a discussion of the status of the current vacancy in one court. Apparently interviews were conducted in August but the decision of whom to appoint, which will be made in Indianapolis with little or no local input, has still not been made.

The last item on the agenda was an addition to the payment to the building inspector. She has been doing more inspections than anticipated. Apparently house construction is booming in the northern part of the county.

In a related item, I got this letter in an e-mail that Jasper County Airport sent out on Tuesday: "All 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th graders at Jasper, White, Pulaski, Newton, and Carroll counties will take a survey to gauge interest in entering an aviation program through school. If enough interest exists, Jasper County Airport will work with Indian Trails Vocational Cooperative to bring aviation management, maintenance, and flight programs to local high schools within those counties for the 2018-19 school year."

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