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

Monday, July 16, 2018

The play and the fair

The Children's Summer Theater put on its 43rd production this past week. The play, Newsies, had a huge cast, moveable sets, and a lot of choreography.
 Even the ceiling was decorated. The setting of the play was New York City at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th when laundry was hung outside in porches or between buildings.
 I attended on the last performance and was surprised to see many empty seats. In the past productions have usually sold out.

Rensselaer's next play production will be the Carnegie Players production of Annie Get Your Gun. It will have four showings, on July 27, August 2, 3 and 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. each evening in the RCHS auditorium.

The County Fair had a large crowd on Sunday night.

There seem to be even more food booths this year. Many are old favorites but quite a few seem to be new.

There is always something going on. On Sunday there were musical performances both on the free stage and in the Community Building.
There were no events going on at the horse arena but these two little guys were fascinated watching riders and horses practice.
 The air was definitely warmer on the other side of the curtain.
While the musicians played and sang in the Community Building, people could watch a lady make little animals from rods of glass.

I do not attend many Tourism Board meetings, which may be a mistake because it seems a lot happens at them. I did attend the July meeting. Touch of Dutch requested and was granted some additional money to increase advertising. Their festival was cited as one that has been growing and developing. There was a follow up report on a car show and the Vietnam Wall memorial. About 4000 people signed the guest books at the Wall and probably at least that many did not sign.

The Board discussed their proposed donation to the Parks for People campaign. At the June County Council meeting only a $10,000 donation was approved and the item will be on the agenda again this month at the meeting on the 24th. The Board members reaffirmed their belief that good parks are an important determinant of quality of life that both attracts people to an area and helps retain them.

They mentioned a change in state law that allows out-of-county residents to serve on tourism boards if they own or are senior management in a county business related to tourism. South Shore is rebuilding the County's tourism website. A new Tourism Director will begin work on August 1.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Collections

The Fendig Gallery at the Carnegie Center has a new exhibit that will be on display until August 25. It is called "Collections" and as you might expect, it has paintings.
 It also has some sculpture. The exhibit honors Bob & Helen Lewis and these are from their collection. The late Bob Lewis was one of the organizers of the Prairie Arts Council.

However, the exhibit has some things you might not expect in an art exhibit, such as a collection of toys from old Cracker Jack boxes. (Younger visitors might not understand this one. At one time there was a prize in every Cracker Jack box.)
 Another unusual collection was of old cameras.
 A working phonograph that used cylinders was on display. These were considered outdated when I was a kid more than half a century ago.
 The opening reception for the exhibit was on Friday. Also on Friday Fenwick Farms was celebrating the completion of their outdoor seating area. The sidewalk in front has a plaque with their name. Fenwick Farms has done a lot to revitalize the south end of downtown.
 A number of summer activities have finished, including the summer swim team, which won its fifth consecutive league title. Tonight the Children's Summer Theater will have its final performance of Newsies. Other activities, however, are starting. Runners are gathering at Brookside Park in the mornings to get into shape for the coming school year.
The Fair has opened. Newton County Fair was this past week and it had its carnival rides canceled. I hope that they had a penalty clause in the contract with the ride company.

Finally, people in Rensselaer have been hearing the crop dusters this week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Short agenda

The City Council had an unusually short agenda on Monday evening. It approved a gas tracker decrease of 16¢ per hundred cubic feet for the month of July and also approved changes in job titles for apprentice linesmen. What were Apprentice Linesmen A, B, C, and D will become First Year Apprentice Linesman, Second Year Apprentice Linesman, etc.

The Cemetery superintendent received approval to accept a bid to reseal roads. The inside of the new Police Station is almost finished. The Department is expected to have full possession  on July 20th and to transfer dispatch to the new location on August 1. There were no major incidents with Cruise Night.

And then the meeting adjourned.

Below is a picture of the new police station after Monday's meeting.  The concrete for the sidewalks had been poured and signage was up on the building. The rest of the concrete has been poured since then.


For something completely different. I have always been fascinated with scams and the Internet has made them easier than ever. Below is one that I have found twice in my spam folder for one of my mail accounts. I suspect it is more effective than the usual Nigerian scam.

*****


You do not know me and you're probably thinking why you're getting this e-mail, right? 

In fact, I placed a malware on the adult vids (porn material) web site and guess what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser started operating as a RDP (Remote control Desktop) with a keylogger which provided me with accessibility to your screen as well as webcam. Immediately after that, my software gathered your entire contacts from your Messenger, FB, and email. 

What exactly did I do? 

I created a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you've got a fine taste omg), and next part displays the recording of your web cam. 

What should you do? 

Well, in my opinion, $1900 is a reasonable price for our little secret. You will make the payment by Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search "how to buy bitcoin" in Google). 

BTC Address: -----------------------(deleted)-------------------
(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it) 

Note: 

You have one day in order to make the payment. (I have a specific pixel in this email, and right now I know that you have read through this email). If I do not get the BitCoins, I will send your video to all of your contacts including members of your family, co-workers, and many others. Nonetheless, if I receive the payment, I will erase the video immidiately. If you want to have evidence, reply with "Yes!" and I will send out your video to your 14 contacts. It is a non-negotiable offer, and thus please do not waste my personal time and yours by replying to this email message.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Busy Saturday

July is full of events and one of the busiest days of the month is the Saturday after the Fourth. I began by skipping the things happening in Rensselaer and drove north to pick blueberries. Lots of other people had the same idea, including two groups that I recognized from Rensselaer.

When I got back I headed to Brookside Park to wander the car show. I always enjoy seeing cars older than I am.

This green vehicle made a tremendous amount of noise as it drove into place.
The car show had a lot of cars on display and a lot of people checking out the cars. The weather was ideal for the event.

Next I headed for the airport and the fly-in, with a stop at the Jasper County Fairgrounds. There was some kind of event going on in the horse arena/horse barn area, but I did not stop to see what it was. The food stand for one of the churches (I think from DeMotte) was being renovated with a lot of people helping out. This booth is just to the east of the Commercial Building.
Workers were putting a new roof on the Community Building. I was told that the old roof was almost 40 years old.
Though the Fair does not open to the public until this coming Saturday, parts of the fair will begin this week. 4H entries will begin arriving on Tuesday and will be judged before the Fair opens. Dogs and cats have their judging before Saturday. And last week the new Fair Queen and her Court were selected.

Across the highway the Jasper County Airport recently put up a new sign. You can read more about it on the airport website.
When I was there the fly-in seemed to be pretty quiet.
In the evening the annual Cruise Night began. The weather was ideal and there were hundreds of people lining the route. Below you can see a few of them sitting by Flat Iron Park.

Not everyone had lawn chairs. A monster truck provided a vantage point for some onlookers. Is it more fun to watch the cruise or drive in it?
There were many onlookers in Milroy Park.
I saw this old car with a golf cart that mimicked a car in the Save-A-Lot parking lot. I wonder if either vehicle or both took part in the Cruise.

On Friday I noticed what may have been the last bit of landscaping work for the Sparling Avenue sidewalk. (I guess the work will not be officially over until the port-potty further south on the sidewalk is removed.)
The little bit of trail that connects the loop in Potawatomie Park to College Avenue is now finished.
Only a few more days until the County's biggest festival, the County Fair, opens.

Friday, July 6, 2018

July is already here

Monday's Commissioners meeting was mostly uneventful. First on the agenda was a recommendation from the Plan Commission to rezone a parcel in Jordan Township from A1 to A3, a changed needed for a proposed hog farrowing farm. There was discussion with comments from the audience. My guess is that the concerns from Carpenter Creek Winery were the ones that worried the Commissioners the most. CC has argued in all the regulatory meetings that they may be affected by emissions and bacteria from the operation that will be about a mile and a half away. Eventually the motion to approve the rezone passed with one for and one abstention. (Kendall Culp who chairs the meetings only votes to break ties.) The proposed farm still needs a variance from the BZA and that will be on the July agenda.

There was an agenda item about public works projects. The County wants to use its own labor force (employees of the County Highway Department) to resurface some roads and the law says that the public must be able to comment on that use. There were no comments.

NIPSCO wanted to close two roads between DeMotte and Wheatfield while they install a gas pipeline. They are not using the County right-of-way but are concerned about safety. The Commissioners told them that they could not close the road but could put up signs to indicate the road was closed to thru traffic and open only to local traffic.

Both Community Corrections and the Sheriff requested permission to fill vacancies and the requests were approved. The Sheriff was concerned about some areas where farmers had planted corn into the County right-a-way making intersections blind. The agreed-on procedure for these cases was to contact the farmer of property owner and give them 24 hours to correct the situation and if nothing was done the County Highway Department would mow back the offending rows.

The County Recorder requested and had approved an ordinance that deals with watermarking documents. The Commissioners approved a contract with Trane for work on Community Corrections and the County Jail.

The Commissioners then took up a revised ordinance for CAFO setbacks that the Plan Commission had sent to them. The old ordinance required that any CAFO be 1320 ft from the property line. That setback is one of the most restrictive in the  State of Indiana. At its last meeting the Plan Commission had approved changing the ordinance to 1320 feet from CAFO foundation to foundation of a primary structure (this is called the buffer zone) and 500 feet to roadways and property lines. After discussion, the Commissioners sent the ordinance back to the Plan Commission recommending that the set backs to roads and property lines be 200 feet and that mention of maneuvering areas be eliminated. If the Plan Commission accepts these recommendations, the ordinance becomes effective and does not have to come back to the Commissioners.

In the afternoon the Drainage Board met. It heard from State Representative Gutwein on an attempt to address issues of Kankakee River flooding by having all eight or nine counties in the watershed cooperate. The Board also approved drainage plans for two proposed hog farms, the one under consideration for Jordan Township and the proposed farm raising pigs for medical research. In the former case, the Board altered the plan to reduce runoff further. In both cases there will be no more or less run off after the project is completed than there is currently. There were other items on the agenda but I did not think they looked interesting so I left.

The Rensselaer Park Board meeting scheduled for Monday evening was cancelled.

The weather on the 4th and before was very hot and muggy. That should have resulted in a big crowd at the swimming pool, but little storms with lightning and thunder kept popping up and kept the pool closed. On the 4th I watched fireworks that neighbors were setting off with a background of lightning displays from storms in Lake County. A cold front passed through on Thursday bringing rain and less humidity.

The big rains from a couple weeks ago have resulted in an abundance of mosquitoes. The annual invasion of the Japanese beetles is underway. On a happier note, I have seen several Monarch butterflies.
Blueberry season has begun with the U-Pick farms in northern Jasper County open.