The Press-Dispatch

November 6, 2019

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch East Gibson News Wednesday, November 6, 2019 B- 7 Grow Southwest Indiana Workforce, Gibson County Economic Development Cor- poration, and Junior Achieve- ment of Southwest Indiana or- ganized the Gibson County Tour of Opportunity. The Tour of Opportunity is a day-long event that allows eighth grad- ers from Wood Memorial Jr. High and Princeton Communi- ty Middle School the opportu- nity to see first-hand what ca- reers are available in our area. Students toured Prodigy Mold & Tool, Heritage–a NIX Com- pany, Gibson County Coal – Vincennes University Gibson Center, Hirsch Farms, Toyota Boshoku Indiana, RiverOaks Health Campus, Princeton Fire Department, and Prince- ton Police Department to learn the type of careers available and the skills needed to pur- sue those careers. Eighth graders begin plan- ning their high school diplo- ma track during the second se- mester of the school year. For students interested in STEM careers, the Tour of Oppor- tunity is an exciting time for them to see firsthand what ca- reers are available. This is al- so a great way for companies to begin building a workforce pipeline. Pictured are (l to r): Brynley Bruce, Kayden Gibbs, Gracia Pierce, Wes Heichelbech, Paisley Adcock, Patrick Reyes, Brentley Doerner, Matheson Doerner, Rhett Ball, Jax Hudson, Madelyn French and Kadence Doerner. First graders having fun dancing to an Igor song on Halloween during music class. Pictured are (l to r): Paisley Adcock and Patrick Reyes. First graders having fun dancing to an Igor song on Hallow- een during music class. Pictured are (l to r): Brynley Bruce, Kayden Gibbs and Wes Heichelbech. Dr. Jennifer McCormick Council passes 0.2% jail tax By Janice Barniak Gibson County Council passed a .2 percent jail-supporting income tax in a special meeting Oct. 22, though with a divided council. By passing the tax before Oct. 31, the county will begin collecting on the tax during the next tax season, 2020, mean- ing the average taxpayer making about $43,000 per year would pay an addition- al $ 98 in local taxes. Gibson County Jail, built in 1989, is currently the subject of two lawsuits over jail conditions, including over- crowding. Councilman Craig Pflug said people have asked if the county needs a jail tax, and he said he believed that the situation with the lawsuits could poten- tially escalate. The money could be used for facility renovations, building a new jail or increasing staffing or programs that address root causes of drug use, among other ideas. Pflug said a large jail population has led to the overcrowding, and he wants to make it clear all those incarcerated are Gibson County residents, even the lev- el six offenders previously sent to state prisons. County Commissioners' attorney Jim McDonald said something had to be do- ne that would show an effort to address the jail that Gibson County could put for- ward in court. He added that by beginning collec- tions earlier, when the council or com- missioners decide how to address the building, they will already have money to put down on the project, which will re- duce the overall interest paid. "We're not the only county in the state doing this...we're not wrong," said Mc- Donald. Councilman Bill McConnell dis- agreed. "I don't think there's any one of us who doesn't think we could make some im- provements over at the jail. But I'm going to tell you right now. I'm going to give you some reason—I cannot support a tax to build that jail at this time," he said. McConnell said he wants to know from the Census which way population is go- ing in the county; he believes the coun- ty is losing population and that the pop- ulation will continue to decline with the loss of jobs in mining. He believed the tax would make the county unattractive to potential resi- dents considering moving to the area. "You tell me—you tell me, each one of you, what we can do to make Gibson County more attractive to these peo- ple so they're going to stay here? So they live here, send their kids to school here? We need that population. We are losing that population," he said. "I've al- ready told them I'm not going to vote for interest is 3500 people in Gib- son County, and I'm looking at each one of them." McConnell believed the council could find "a couple million" in their budget to use for upgrades that would appease the American Civil Liberties Union (AC- LU) that is working with those involved in lawsuits. "I am not going to vote for another tax I believe would be detrimental to our housing rush and to people who want to look at our tax rates," he said. South Gibson councilman Jeremy Overton, of Haubstadt, was unable to make the meeting. He explained in a statement, which he asked Auditor Sher- ri Smith to pass out before the meeting, he would have been a 'no' vote. "We've been pressured to fast track this tax without being given any details of the building design or expected costs. Once we pass it, we will have no leverage when Commissioner Bottoms attempts to fast track the building of a new jail," Overton said. "I believe that one year of delay for the tax won't make a dramatic difference in the overall cost of the proj- ect. The commissioners need to come up with an 18 - to 36 -month plan to de- sign and build a new jail in order to be bulletproof with the ACLU and avoid fu- ture lawsuits." He said that the plan should include, at minimum, written protocol for what actions to take when the jail exceeds ca- pacity, weekly or bi-weekly ranking of prisoners best suited to be transferred to community corrections, similar ranking of prisoners best suited to be transferred to other jails if necessary, thresholds for transferring to community corrections, thresholds for transferring prisoners to neighboring jails, a deadline within six to 10 months for the commission- ers to review designs from at least two additional designers, including plans for building on or adjacent to the cur- rent site, after which the commission- ers could approach the council to review options and discuss the designs, expect- ed costs and funding options. Commissioner Mary Key attended the meeting, and said, in the past, people have said they were against the tax be- fore seeing a plan for a jail. "I see that plan as the first baby step. I guess this tax could be considered the first baby step," she said. The council said it could be two to three years before the county broke ground on either a new jail or a remod- el, but costs would be considerable. There are 287 beds in one proposed plan, according to McConnell. "I can't imagine the bond it would take to build that," he said. "It's going to take cash we don't have," said Councilman Derek McGraw. McConnell voted no, the other five present councilmen voted yes, and Over- ton was unable to attend. There is a meeting at 8 a.m. Nov. 6 to look at the results of a jail study that will provide more information on what the jail needs. OCU graduates 61 from Rockville Correctional Facility Oakland City Universi- ty (OCU) recently celebrat- ed commencement ceremo- nies at the Rockville Correc- tional Facility (RCF), where 61 students were recognized for their educational achieve- ments. The graduates complet- ed both educational and vo- cational programs, includ- ing high school equivalency, building trades, culinary arts, master student to master em- ployee and cosmetology. The partnership with OCU and the Indiana Department of Correction provides offend- ers with skills, trades and na- tionally recognized certifica- tions in high-demand career paths to increase the likeli- hood of successful re-entry upon release. OCU president Dr. Ron Dempsey addressed the grad- uates during the ceremony, con- gratulating them on receiving their certificates, and applauded their hard work and dedication, while offering words of encour- agement and praise. The grad- uates, visitors and staff enjoyed the keynote speech presented by Matt Miller, an award-win- ing educator and author. The speech focused on new begin- nings and how to use failure as a motivator. A fter the ceremony, those in attendance were invit- ed to partake in a meal with the graduates. Rockville Correctional Fa- cility is part of the Indiana Department of Corrections. Prison Education Enterprise is one of Oakland City Univer- sity's four educational enter- prises, which also includes main campus undergraduate, graduate studies and non-tra- ditional students. Incarcerated students accepted diplomas from Oakland City University in various fields at the Rockville Correc- tional Facility graduation. Students from North and East Gibson schools toured Gibson County businesses on a Tour of Opportunity to help them recognize local work options last week. Tour of Opportunity aims to keep students local The Oakland City University School of Education welcomes all Tri-State school leaders and teacher candidates to attend the Fall 2019 "Learn and Lead" Se- ries No. 3 educational leader- ship event featuring Indiana Su- perintendent of Public Instruc- tion, Dr. Jennifer McCormick, on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 9 -11 a.m. in the Cornwell-Reed Au- ditorium. Dr. Jennifer McCormick is In- diana's 44th Superintendent of Public Instruction. A national- ly-recognized educator and in- novator, Dr. McCormick has served at every level of the K- 12 education system. As Indi- ana's education system lead- er, Dr. McCormick is an ener- getic and tireless advocate for children, dedicated to improv- ing educational outcomes. She serves as a devoted ambassa- dor for ensuring all stakehold- ers are working together for stu- dent success in Indiana. Dr. McCormick has served on a number of community boards and makes her home in Indianapolis with her husband, Trent, a public school adminis- trator. They have one son, Cael, who attends West Point Military Academy. The Oakland City University School of Education sponsored "Learn and Lead" events pro- vide Tri-State educators and fu- ture educators with relevant, re- search-based learning opportu- nities to hear directly from ex- perts in the field of education. Dr. McCormick's topic will be "Why Education Matters." Additional registration infor- mation for this event, contact the School of Education office at 812-749 -1506 or email dsteen- Dr. Jennifer McCormick to speak at OCU Nov. 7 WOOD MEMORIAL UPCOMING SPORTS SCHEDULE FRIDAY, NOV. 8 Girls' Varsity Basketball vs. Perry Central, A, 5:30 p.m. SATURDAY, NOV. 9 Girls' Varsity Basketball vs. Springs Valley, H, 5 p.m. MONDAY, NOV. 11 Girls' 8th Basketball vs. St. James, A, 5:30 p.m. Boys' 7 & 8 Basketball vs. St. James, A, 6:30 p.m. TUESDAY, NOV. 12 Boys' 7 & 8 Basketball vs. Owensville, H, 5:30 p.m. THE IGOR DANCE

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