Government & School Board

Banks announces his legislation to expand, extend GI bill moving on in U.S. House of Representatives

Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has announced that legislation he introduced in March has been included in a bipartisan legislative package that would expand and extend the GI Bill.

The Banks legislation would make permanent a pilot program called VetSuccess on Campus, which places counselors on college campuses to assist veterans in navigating their GI benefits and charting their higher education path.

County departments fine-tuning spending

Huntington County departments are fine-tuning their spending for 2017 as they hammer out budget proposals for 2018.

Four county officials appeared before Huntington County Council on Monday, July 17, seeking transfers or appropriations of funds already in their 2017 budgets.

Desiree Fritcha, Huntington County Drug Court coordinator, asked — and received permission from — the council to spend a $6,175 grant awarded to the local court by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Roanoke council authorizes water sampling at lagoon near wastewater treatment plant

The Roanoke Town Council authorized water sampling at a lagoon nearby the town’s wastewater treatment plant at its meeting on Tuesday, July 18.

A total of four samples will be taken at the lagoon on Monday, July 24, by Element Fort Wayne, an environmental testing laboratory. The samples are being taken to determine if it would be safe to discharge the lagoon into the nearby Little River.

State department of transport announces plans for Next Level

The Indiana Department of Transportation has announced road construction plans for the first five years of the 20-year Indiana’s Next Level roads program.

Over those five years, INDOT will resurface nearly 10,000 lane miles of pavement, including 191 lane miles in Huntington county, and repair or replace approximately 1,300 bridges, including 13 bridges in Huntington County.

The five year investment total in Huntington County is estimated at $31,842,150.

Zay joins governor to sign bill

Photo provided.

Gov. Eric Holcomb (seated at right) ceremonially signs into law Senate Enrolled Act 366, which waives fees associated with obtaining an identification card, learner’s permit or operator’s license for foster children, Wednesday, July 12. SEA 366 also allows foster children to contract for a policy of motor vehicle insurance as well as complete driving practice with individuals approved by the Indiana Department of Child Services. State Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, (seated at left) authored the bill in the Senate.

DNR wants help to monitor turkeys

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is asking for help from the public to monitor summer production of wild turkeys. 

Volunteers will use a web-based survey to record wild turkey sightings during July and August to help provide information about annual turkey reproduction. This online system allows for broader coverage across the state and greater participation from the public. 

The surveys provide useful estimates about annual production by hens and the survival of poults (young turkeys) through the summer brood-rearing period.

Fort Wayne resident Tritch to seek Democrat Third District nomination

Photo provided.
Courtney Tritch

Fort Wayne resident Courtney Tritch has announced that she plans to be a candidate in the 2018 Democrat primary for Third District congressional nomination.

The seat is currently held by Republican Jim Banks.

Tritch recently started Courtney Tritch Consulting after serving as vice president of marketing for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. While living in Chicago, she owned a small business, Sweets by Courtney.

Andrews TC addresses wastewater rate complaints

The Andrews Town Council addressed complaints about the town’s new wastewater rate at its meeting on Monday, July 10.

In May, the board voted to raise the rate to $72.87 for 4,000 gallons of water consumption. Residents’ July bills are the first to reflect that increase.

While council members said they regretted that the rate hike would be difficult for some residents to bear, they defended the increase, stating that it was necessary in order for the town to secure financing for its wastewater treatment plant project.

Lots of questions directed at HCCSC board in Monday eve work session

Members of the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees spent most of their time during a public work session Monday, July 10, answering questions and concerns posed during a previous session by residents, parents and teachers.

The board also noted that a vote on proposed school realignment plans will take place on July 24.

Board President Matt Roth and Superintendent Randy Harris presented most of those answers, going through topics one by one:

Next phase of sewage plan to cost Huntington almost $10 million

The area outlined in red will be the site of a 2018 project to separate storm and sanitary sewers.
Graphic provided.

The next phase of a long-term plan to keep sewage out of area rivers will cost nearly $10 million, the Huntington Common Council learned on Tuesday, July 11.

The City of Huntington will sell bonds to pay for the work, and those bonds will be repaid through an increase in sewage fees of around $6 a month.

The three separate projects, scheduled to be under construction next year, are part of a nine-phase long-term control plan designed to keep untreated wastewater from flowing into area rivers as mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

IDOE seeking input from the public

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is seeking public comments on the first draft Indiana’s plan to fulfill the new federal education requirements, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The public comment period will stay open though 11:59 p.m. on July 20.

ESSA was signed into law in December 2015 as the update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA replaces the previous update to the law, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Roanoke council agrees to extend water main

The Roanoke Town Council voted to extend a water main out to the under-construction Dollar General along U.S.-24 at its meeting on Wednesday, July 5.

A total of 360 feet of pipe will be extended underneath the highway to the business. Phil Hibbert, the town’s supervisor of operations, stated that the cost of the project would be $25,000, but requested $27,000 from council to ensure that any unforeseen overages could be covered.

The board opted to pay for the project using TIF funds.

In other business:

HCCSC to hold exec session, then public work session this evening

The Huntington County Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees will hold an executive session on July 10, at 6 p.m., followed by a special public work session at 7 p.m. at the Horace Mann Education Center.

Agendas are accessible on the HCCSC website,

Banks’ staff member to be in Huntington July 13 to meet locals

A member of Congressman Jim Banks’ staff will visit Huntington on Thursday, July 13, to meet with local residents and assist Hoosiers experiencing problems with a federal agency.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Huntington County Courthouse Annex, 1350 S. Jefferson St., Huntington.

Huntington County gets emergency food, shelter funds from DHS

Huntington County has been notified that it will be awarded federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) funds through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as appropriated by Congress.

Huntington County has been recommended to receive an estimated $4,561 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

Warren council cancels

The Warren Town Council will not hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 10.

A special meeting may be scheduled later in July, town officials said.

Local DCD invites residents to apply for funds for home rehab projects

The Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development invites Huntington County residents who satisfy certain qualifications to apply for grant money that would fund rehabilitation projects at their homes.

To qualify, a resident must either be disabled or age 55 or older. Applicants must also own their homes and make no more than 80 percent of the median Huntington County income.

Additionally, applicants must be willing to accept a forgivable loan and allow a lien to be placed on their home for up to three years.

Huntington County Soil, Water Conservation District to meet

The Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the district office, 2040 Riverfork Drive, Huntington.

The meeting is open to the public.   

Children now qualify for more hearing aid assistance

The Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education at the Indiana State Department of Health is working to make hearing aids more available to deaf and hard of hearing children in Indiana through changes to the Hearing Aid Assistance Program of Indiana.

As of July 1, children age 3 and older are eligible for up to $2,000 per hearing aid, including bone anchored hearing aids, through a participating audiologist. Previously, children age 5 and up qualified for up to $1,500 per hearing aid.

Local emergency planning group to hold tabletop exercise on July 25

The Huntington County Local Emergency Planning Committee will hold a tabletop exercise on July 25, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Historic Forks of the Wabash, 3011 W. Park Drive, Huntington.

During the exercise, participating agencies will propose responses to a scenario involving a semi that overturns at the south junction of U.S.-24 and Ind.-9, causing an injury and releasing sulfuric acid.

The event is open to the public.

Public watershed meet July 20 at Andrews

Watershed planning to protect water quality in the Wabash River Watershed is currently under way.

Residents living between Andrews and Lagro along Silver Creek or one of the other tributaries that enter the Wabash River are invited to a public meeting on July 20, at 6 p.m. at Bethesda Baptist Church, 116 S. Main St, Andrews.

Attendees will be invited to offer their opinions and provide input into the process.

Local Democrats to meet on Wed., July 5

The Huntington County Democratic Party will hold its monthly meeting July 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Huntington Branch of the Huntington City-Township Public  Library.

Plans for the 4-H Fair booth will be discussed. Volunteers are needed for various times during the fair.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting.

State Sen. Zay gets his study committee spots to prep for 2018 session

State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) will serve on the following study committees during the summer and fall months to help prepare for the 2018 session of the General Assembly:

•  Interim Study Committee on Education.

• Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the discussions on important topics facing our state,” Zay said.

Bridge maintenance set for Ind.-5 near Ind.-16

Bridge maintenance is being performed on Ind.-5 just north of Ind.-16, the Indiana Department of Transportation has announced.

The project began June 26 and lane restrictions are expected to remain in place through mid-July, weather permitting.

The lane restrictions are scheduled to take place over Clear Creek, located between Ind.-16 and CR 700N near the City of Huntington, during daytime hours,

The contract was awarded to Pioneer Associates Inc. for $507,000 and also includes repairs on various structures throughout the Fort Wayne District.

Huntington Street Department closes for Independence Day

The Huntington Street Department will be closed Tuesday, July 4, for Independence Day.

Customers whose normal trash pickup day is Tuesday will have their trash picked up beginning at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5. All other trash pickup days will remain the same.

Orange sticker items and brush and limbs will be picked up Monday, July 3. Brown bags will be picked up on Wednesday, July 5.

Andrews council discusses recent crime in town

The Andrews Town Council discussed crime in town and ways to prevent it at its meeting on Monday, June 26.

Both the board and Town Marshal Austin Bullock attempted to calm the nerves of citizens in attendance who were shaken by a home invasion that had occurred in town on Monday, June 19.

Hgtn. Common Council wrestles with upcoming landfill problems

Two sections of the Huntington Landfill are full and overdue for final closure.

The remainder of usable space at the landfill is filling rapidly, and the proximity of wells that provide water to the City of Huntington precludes any expansion.

The Huntington Common Council wrestled with those problems during its meeting on Tuesday, June 27, ultimately laying the groundwork for a bond issue to fund the permanent closing of those two sections of the landfill.

Three new administrators to serve in HCCSC schools

(From left) Jennifer Shepherd, Jeremy Willson and Melinda Otwinowski.
Photos by Rebecca Sandlin

The Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees approved a slate of new administrators during its regular meeting Monday, June 26, in anticipation of the quickly-approaching new school year.

Three assistant principals and one interim principal were approved.

Jail revamp gets initial OK from county council

The Huntington County Council has given preliminary approval to a plan to enclose an outdoor recreation area at the Huntington County Jail — and, in the process, possibly give jail inmates the tools they need to turn their lives around.

During its meeting on Monday, June 26, council members gave Tom Wall, president of the Huntington County Commissioners, the OK to seek bids for the conversion of the jail recreation area, a project estimated to cost about $370,000.

Zanesville council to discuss starting utility

The Zanesville Town Council will be holding a public meeting in July to discuss creating a storm water system utility.

The board made the announcement at its meeting on Tuesday, June 20. The public meeting will be held July 10 at Zanesville United Methodist Church, 11811 Wayne St., at 6:30 p.m.