Government & School Board

HCCSC ‘grades’ for ISTEP same as previous

Despite a recent dip in ISTEP+ scores, Huntington County schools’ “grades” from the Indiana Department of Education remained the same from the previous year.

The annual Accountability Grade report card for 2014–15 for every school in the state, including Huntington County Community Schools Corporation and Huntington Catholic School, was released Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The final grades were approved unanimously by the State Board of Education during its Jan. 26 board meeting.

Local grades for the district are:

• Andrews Elementary School – A.

Local businessman seeking Dem nomination for third district rep

Huntington businessman Todd Nightenhelser signs paperwork in the Indiana Secretary of State’s office to put his name on the Democrat primary ballot as a candidate for the third district seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Photo provided.

Huntington businessman Todd Nightenhelser has filed as a candidate for the Democrat nomination for the third district United States representative seat being vacated by Marlin Stutzman.

Nightenhelser filed paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, in Indianapolis, on Monday, Jan. 25. He announced last August that he planned to seek the nomination.

If elected, Nightenhelser says he plans to focus on helping families, workers and small businesses.

Pair of Banks’ bills pass full Senate on Jan. 25

Bills authored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) supporting child safety and protecting employment for National Guard members and veterans passed the full Senate on Jan. 25.

Senate Bill 159, which passed by a vote of 50-0, would require the Indiana Department of Child Services to communicate with the United States Department of Defense regarding allegations of child abuse or neglect involving children in military families.

Less development money spent locally in 2015

Less development dollars were spent in Huntington County last year than in 2014, according to the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development (DCD), which released its annual report on Monday, Jan. 25.

Nearly $16.7 million was spent in the county last year, representing a drop of $5.8 million from the 2014 mark of a little over $22.5 million.

The most money was spent in May, with receipts totaling $3.4 million. The next-highest month was October, with $2.7 million spent. Five other months broke the million-dollar mark.

Fernandez to speak at Demos meet

The Huntington County Democratic Party will host its monthly meeting Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Huntington City-Township Public Library Huntington branch, 255 W. Park Drive.

The featured speaker will be Jorge Fernandez, Democratic candidate for the Indiana House District 50. Fernandez is a chemistry and physics teacher at South Side High School and has been named an “Everyday Advocate” by Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education.

All Democrats are welcome at the monthly meetings.

Leonard’s bill against unemployment fraud passes

Members of the Indiana House of Representatives voted on Jan. 25 to pass a bill by State Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington) to prevent fraud in Indiana’s unemployment insurance system.

Leonard’s proposal would require individuals to attend a meeting at a one-stop career center no later than four weeks after receiving unemployment benefits. WorkOne Career Centers provide a full range of employment services, including training referrals, career counseling and job listings throughout Indiana.

Holdman bill balancing religious liberty, gay rights passes committee

State Sen. Travis Holdman’s (R-Markle) legislation to balance religious liberty and civil rights protections for gay and lesbian Hoosiers passed the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure on Jan. 27 by a vote of 7-5.

Tom to seek Republican nod for third district seat

Photo provided.
Kip Tom

Businessman and farmer Kip Tom has filed to appear on the Republican ballot for United States Representative in Indiana’s third congressional district.

A lifelong resident of Kosciusko County, Tom grew up on his family’s farm. As one of Indiana’s larger grain commodity production businesses, Tom Farms has become a leader in agriculture and seed corn production, operating across seven counties in Indiana.

He has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Holcomb will run in GOP primary for senate seat

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Eric Holcomb

Eric Holcomb has submitted ballot petition signatures from all 92 counties along with his paperwork to be placed on the Republican primary ballot as a candidate for the United States Senate.

Holcomb, of Indianapolis, is a veteran of the United States Navy, served as an advisor to Gov. Mitch Daniels and is a former state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

Most recently, he served as state chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats.

Commissioners hold executive session

The Huntington County Commissioners will hold an executive session on Monday, Feb. 8, at 10:30 a.m. in Commissioners Room 103A, Huntington County Courthouse, 201 N. Jefferson St., Huntington.

The commissioners will meet to discuss a job performance evaluation of an individual employee.

Executive sessions are closed to the public.

County garners accolades at permitting recognition reception

Mandy Woods (front row, center), executive director of the Huntington County Department of Community Development, holds the award presented to the county and the DCD for its participation in the Permitting Excellence Coalition. With her are DCD staff member Kim Hostetler (front row, right) and Huntington County Commissioner Rob Miller; and (back, from left) DCD staff member Marla Stambazze and commissioners Larry Buzzard and Tom Wall.
Photo provided.

The Huntington County Commissioners and Huntington County Department of Community Development were among the jurisdictions participating in Northeast Indiana’s Permitting Excellence Coalition to be honored at a Permitting Recognition Reception on Jan. 20 hosted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Trio of school system administrators might not be brought back

Some of those in attendance at the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, expressed audible shock that not one – but three – administrative employees may not have their contracts renewed.

Most of those in the crowded, standing-room-only boardroom were there in support of Lincoln Elementary School Principal Adam Drummond.
But the board also unanimously approved notices to Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Chuck Grable and Salamonie School Principal Rick Reed that their contracts may not be renewed.

County council learns that tax to fund roadwork will not be in effect

A tax that would have started funding roadwork in the county this year will not be in effect, the Huntington County Council learned at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

The board passed the Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT) at its meeting on May 18 of last year. The tax combined the County Motor Vehicle Excise Surtax and County Wheel Tax, which are both paid at the time of a vehicle’s registration.

One Andrews eyesore on its way to rehab

One former eyesore in Andrews is well on its way to rehabilitation, the Andrews Town Council learned during its meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

But concerns remain about two other properties, council members said.

Pleased with the progress at a home at 19 N. Jackson St., council members gave the owner of the property an additional 60 days to complete the cleanup there.

HCCSC to keep current buildings in operation for 2016-17 year

Among items on a busy agenda for Huntington County Community School Corporation board members at its Monday, Jan. 26, meeting was a recommendation to retain current school buildings for the 2016-17 school year.

School Superintendent Randy Harris said there was a lot of “misinformation out there,” including a notice in a local church bulletin that said the school board had already made up its mind to close two school buildings — information which proved to be false.

SWCD meeting is tonight, Jan. 25

The Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District has rescheduled its January meeting to today, Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.

The meeting is open to the public ad will be held at the district office, 2040 Riverfork Drive, Huntington.

Markle council to resubmit Tracy St. project to DOT

Markle Clerk-Treasurer Carolyn Lane-Hamilton (left) administers the oath of office to Markle Town Council President Jeff Humbarger prior to the council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Markle Town Council members unanimously voted to resubmit a cut-down version of its Tracy Street project to the Indiana Department of Transportation, after bids on the project came in more than 15 percent higher than INDOT estimates and were ruled “unawardable.”

Jay Stankiewicz of DLZ explained the options to councilmen at their regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and said the amended plans had to be in to INDOT by today, Monday, Jan. 25, so they can be finalized by Wednesday, Jan. 27, in order to meet an April 6 letting date.

Grant will help make improvements to Huntington County polling places

Huntington County has been awarded $4,427 in state funding to improve voting accessibility.

The funding, which was requested by Huntington County Clerk Kittie Keiffer, was approved by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

The funding is available to counties who meet the qualifications of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Applications are approved with the consent of the bipartisan co-directors of the Indiana Election Division.

Banks’ bills benefitting veterans earn unanimous approval by state senate

A bill authored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) that would help veterans without a surviving family receive a proper military burial passed the senate on Jan. 19 by a vote of 50-0.

Senate Bill 145 would allow funeral directors to turn over the cremated remains of verified veterans to veterans’ service organizations so they can be placed in a state or national cemetery.

Senate Bill 76 also passed the senate on Jan. 19 by a vote of 50-0.

Election board to meet on Tuesday

The Huntington County Election Board will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m.

The meeting will take place in the Huntington County Clerk’s Office, located on the second floor of the Huntington County Courthouse.

The purpose of the meeting is campaign finance and election preparation.

For more information, contact Huntington County Voter Registration and Election Deputy Pam Fowler at 358-4820.

Miller files candidacy for GOP primary for county council seat

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Terry Miller

Terry Miller has filed as a candidate in the Republican primary for a seat on the Huntington County Council. He will seek to fill one of the three at-large seats that are up for election in 2016.

Miller has served the last eight years on the Huntington Township Board, acting as the board president in 2015. He also served as Republican state delegate in 2014.

In announcing his candidacy, Miller says that he looks at every issue with a “common sense conservative approach” to arrive at a conclusion.

Roanoke council sets Jan. 26 executive session

The Roanoke Town Council will hold an executive session on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. at the Roanoke Town Hall, 141 W. Third St., Roanoke.

The agenda includes discussion of ongoing litigation and an employee review.

City gets kudos from NIRP business group

Huntington officials celebrate the recognition the city recently received for its efforts to streamline the business permitting process. Pictured are (from left) John Sampson, president/CEO, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership; Bryn Keplinger, director of Community Development & Redevelopment; Miranda Snelling, CDR office coordinator; Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters; Shad Paul, building commissioner; and Mark Wickersham, executive director, Huntington County Economic Development.
Photo provided.

The City of Huntington was one of 10 jurisdictions honored on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at a permitting recognition reception hosted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Nearly 20 government officials, business leaders and economic development professionals from Northeast Indiana attended the reception.

Common council meet is cancelled

The regular meeting of the Huntington Common Council scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6:45 a.m. has been canceled because of a lack of items for the agenda.

Commish to have exec session today, Jan. 25

The Huntington County Commissioners will hold an executive session today, Monday, Jan. 25, at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Room on the first floor of the Huntington County Courthouse.

The commissioners will discuss a job performance evaluation of an individual employee.

Warren council will meet on Jan. 25

The Warren Town Council will hold an executive session on Monday, Jan. 25, at 3:30 p.m. to discuss litigation that either will be initiated, is pending or is threatened in writing.

The executive session, which is closed to the public, will be followed by a special meeting which will not begin earlier than 4:30 p.m. The main topic on the agenda for the special meeting is a budgetary review for 2016.

Both meetings will be held in the council meeting room of Assembly Hall, 131 N. Wayne St., Warren.

Fetters wants everyone to enjoy life in Huntington

Mayor Brooks Fetters explains his plans for Huntington to members of the Huntington Rotary Club on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Brooks Fetters wants everybody to love Huntington as much as he does.

He plans to spend his second four years as the city’s mayor working to accomplish that.

“We just want people to be enjoying life and prosperity here in the city of Huntington,” Fetters told members of the Huntington Rotary Club on Tuesday, Jan. 12, during his annual state of the city address.

Banks’ bill extends benefits to Guard

State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) recently filed legislation extending employment protections for National Guard members and veterans.

Senate Bill 362 would extend the rights, benefits and protections found in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to members of the Indiana National Guard who live in another state during a state-sponsored activation.

Huntington County gets NWS ‘storm ready’ accolades

The National Weather Service has recognized Huntington County as a National Weather Service StormReady county. Participating in the presentation were (from left) Michael Lewis and Lonnie Fisher, of the National Weather Service office in Syracuse; Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters: Huntington County Emergency Management Agency Director Lindsie Goss; Huntington County Commissioner Rob Miller; Mark Frazier, of the National Weather Service office in Syracuse; Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall; and Melissa Christman, Huntington County Public Safety Dispatch director.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

The staff of the National Weather Service trekked through a snowstorm to congratulate Huntington County for being “storm ready.”

“The process of becoming storm ready is not trivial,” said Michael Lewis, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s northern Indiana office near Syracuse.

Wall again president, Buzzard VP for commish

Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.
Toom Wall

Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall was re-elected president of the commissioners for 2016 during the panel’s first meeting of the year on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Commissioners voted unanimously to keep Wall in the spot he held the previous year.

Larry Buzzard was elected vice president, a position he also held last year.

Wall was appointed to serve on the Region 3A board. He was also named to Drainage Board, Huntington County Economic Development Board, CR 900N Project committee, GIS Advisory Committee and District Planning Oversight Committee.