Government & School Board

Six candidates seek 3 Republican at-large nominations to HC council

Six candidates are seeking the three Republican nominations to at-large seats on the Huntington County Council in the only contested race for a county-level office in this spring’s primary.

Two of the six, Shane Bickel and Jaime M. Miller, are currently serving on the county council; the third incumbent, John E. Hacker, is not seeking re-election.
Hacker, a long-time Huntington County farmer, has served on the council since 2000.

The filing period for candidates to secure a spot on the 2016 primary ballot closed Friday, Feb. 5, at noon.

Holdman bill dealing with abortion issues passes state senate easily

Legislation authored by State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) passed the Senate on Feb. 2 by a vote of 35-14.

Senate Bill 313 would:

• Prohibit abortions solely based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex of the fetus or disability.

• Ban collecting, selling or profiting on baby remains from an abortion procedure.

Commish to hold special session

The Huntington County Commissioners will hold a special session today, Thursday, Feb. 11, at 10:30 a.m. in the DAR Room of the Huntington County Courthouse, 201 N. Jefferson St., Huntington.

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss potential financing for courthouse repairs.

The public may attend the special session.

State attorney general candidate Hill to be at ‘Coffee with Candidate’

Photo provided.
Curtis Hill

The next meeting of “Coffee with the Candidates” will be held Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 a.m. at Moe’s Restaurant.

Republican Attorney General Candidate Curtis Hill will attend the meeting. Hill is currently the elected prosecuting attorney for Elkhart County. For the past 14 years, he has served in that position protecting the citizens of his county and building a reputation as a community and state leader.

School board hires coaches for sports and academics

Huntington County Community School Corporation board members spent much of their time on Monday, Feb. 9, behind closed doors, as they held two executive sessions — one before the regular open school board meeting, and one afterward. Personnel issues were the subjects of both executive sessions.

During a short regular meeting, the only departures from the HCCSC staff that were acted upon by the board included two classified employee resignations and one extracurricular employee resignation.

Warren Town Council launches an update to its comprehensive plan

Town leaders in Warren are looking to the future.

Working with several other agencies, the Warren Town Council will begin putting together a comprehensive plan spelling out projects the town would like to accomplish.

And the council will work with its financial consultant to draw up a 10-year spending plan, establishing the timing of major expenses and the source of funding for those expenses.

Common council hears that CSP in running for two new lines

A Huntington manufacturing facility is in the running to gain two new production lines that would see the plant nearly double in size and, its manager says, solidify its position in the community for years to come.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Huntington Common Council took steps that will eventually allow it to provide some financial assistance to help make that become reality.

Andrews council looking to raise water, sewer rates

The Andrews Town Council commissioned a water and sewer rate study at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 8.

The board hired Steve Brock, of Therber, Brock & Associates, a municipal financial consulting firm from Indianapolis, to perform the study. Council is looking to increase the monthly rate to $55, which is the projected fee for a household using 4,000 gallons of water.

Roanoke TC, attorney discuss ordinance ruling

Town Attorney Mike Hartburg was present for the Feb. 2 meeting of the Roanoke Town Council.

Hartburg addressed the ordinance issued to the property on Seminary Street. The owner had not maintained the property in keeping with the town’s code and the ordinance was issued against him.

Judge Thomas Hakes ruled against the ordinance in court in late December. Hartburg provided an analysis of the court’s decision, stating that the ordinance’s definition of a violation was “insufficient.”

Annual SWCD banquet Feb. 23 at HNHS

The Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting and banquet will be held on Feb. 23 at the Huntington North High School cafeteria, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The agenda for the event will include the election of SWCD board supervisor, presentation of conservation awards, reports about conservation programs and review of events for the past year.

HCCSC retains overall grade of B

The Indiana Department of Education released 2015 corporation accountability grades and the Huntington County Community School Corporation stayed steady, earning a B.

The final grades were approved by the State Board of Education during its Feb. 3 board meeting.

HCCSC has had a B rating since 2012, when it pulled its grade up from a C in 2011.

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.

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