The Press-Dispatch

December 2, 2020

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, December 2, 2020 B-3 EAST GIBSON Submit East Gibson news items: Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Council, commissioners look at scaled-back jail project By Janice Barniak If the council funds a jail using only the jail tax, they'd have $24.6 million available to use, far less than the near $40 million it would take to build the original jail plan favored by commissioners, which had 288 beds and was projected to meet the county's needs for 20 years. The council and commis- sioners met last week to dis- cuss a scaled-back project that would meet jail needs for 10 years with 196 beds, but could be added onto in future years at a cost of $29.2 million. "It makes it legal from a safety standpoint," said American Structurepoint's Rick Conner, who is working on the jail design. Gibson County is being sued by the American Civ- il Liberties Union on accu- sations the conditions at the jail don't meet minimum stan- dards for prisoners. In 2019, the jail had a daily average of 128 prisoners. Throwing a wrench into projections is that the State of Indiana has said the amount of EDIT revenue counties re- ceive could drop in 2021 and commissioners won't know by how much until at least Nov. 30, Commissioner Steve Bot- toms told the council. If ED- IT contributions for the proj- ect were made, there would be $ 36.5 million available. That comes in right at the cost of doing the smaller proj- ect with the community cor- rections piece, at $2.3 mil- lion and the sheriff's office at $5.3 million, all in one place, as they are now, but on a new site. "I don't think the sheriff's office and jail should be sep- arated...I run the jail," said Sheriff Tim Bottoms. The council decided to have contractors bid on a 196 -bed jail with two alternates. "I think it's the right thing to do given your financial sit- uation. It's easily achievable... what you find in these things is the operational costs are darn near the capital costs," said Conner. The county's budget for a 288 -bed jail would have been $ 38.5 million, which would have included the jail itself, but not the community cor- rections or sheriff's office, and design fees, among oth- er soft costs. That original contract had too many unknowns in it, said Councilman Jeremy Overton. Commissioner Steve Bot- toms said he didn't want to spend the money anymore than anyone else. "Nobody wants to do it, we don't feel like we have any choice," Bottoms told the council. "We don't even want to build a jail." The next meeting of the council and commissioners together to discuss the jail is 4 p.m. Dec. 1. By Janice Barniak Carmen Leffler turned 103 Nov. 24 at Good Samaritan in Oakland City, and the com- munity rolled out a drive-by parade to celebrate her mile- stone. To put 103 years into per- spective, the year Leffler was born, the U.S. was in the mid- dle of World War I (then just called the Great War), and women were still fighting for voting rights; it was the same year light switches and ham- burger buns were invented. Leffler grew up to be a homemaker and is now the only one of her original fam- ily still living; all her siblings have passed. Her husband lived to be 102 before his pass- ing. Her son, Dale Leffler, said she raised three children. "All three mean boys," joked Dale. "She's worked hard all of her life. Dad was the same way." He said what he remembers most about her while he was growing up is that no matter how many people came over to visit, no matter what else was going on, she always managed to feed everyone. "It sounds simple, but with three boys, I don't think it was." BIRTHDAY PARADE FOR OC'S 103-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT Carmen Leffler came out to see her birthday parade at Good Samaritan in Oak- land City Nov. 23. She turned 103. (Photo was taken at a distance and zoomed in). Oakland City woman arrested for battery Ashley Heck, 39, of Oak- land City, was arrested Nov. 27 after police say she bat- tered another person. At 7:27 p.m., Gibson Coun- ty Central Dispatch was dis- patched to the 1200 block of West Morton Street in Oak- land City to investigate a dis- turbance that was in prog- ress. Deputy U.B. Smith ar- rived on scene and upon lo- cating the disturbance, a Gibson County Ambulance crew was called to the scene to take one of the partici- pants to a local hospital for treatment for a head injury. The other participant, 39 -year-old Ashley Heck, of Oakland City, was taken in- to custody and transported to the Gibson County Jail, where she was charged with battery with se- rious bodily injury. She re- mains in cus- tody on a $750 bond. As- sisting Depu- ty Smith in his investiga- tion was Deputy Bryce Jut- zi, Oakland City Police Offi- cer Jeff Hill and an Indiana State Trooper. Ashley Heck

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