The Press-Dispatch

August 25, 2021

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Take a look, it's in a book SPORTS SCHOOL Kickin ' it! Youth, middle school and high school soccer coverage in this week's edition. NEWS TIPS Phone: ���������������������812-354-8500 Email ����� editor@pressdispatch�net INSIDE Local ����������������� A1-8 Birthdays ����������������A4 Reunions ����������������A5 School ��������������������A6 Obituaries ��������������� A7 Sports �����������������B1-3 Church �������������� C1-5 Opinion ������������� C4-5 Classifieds ���������� C6-8 Home Life ������������D1-4 History �������������������D3 USPS 604-34012 $1.00  24 PAGES  Four SECTIoNS  FIvE INSErTS  PETErSBurG, IN 47567-0068 WEdNESdAy, AuGuST 25, 2021  PIKE PUBLISHING  voLuME 151, NuMBEr 34 By Andy Heuring Pike Central Middle and High Schools have moved to virtual learning, beginning on Tues- day and through the end of this week. This on- ly affects the middle and high school, not the elementary schools. Dr. Suzanne Blake, Superintendent of Schools, said all the high school and middle school teachers reported to work on Tuesday and will the rest of the week. "Students are ex- pected to log in to their classes at their regu- larly scheduled time. Teachers may hold Goo- gle Meetings with their classes or they may communicate individually during the class time," said Blake. "The decision to move to eLearning for the remainder of the week was due to the huge number of students unable to attend at this time," said Blake. Also, all athletics for the middle and high school have been cancelled until Monday. "Our intent is to return to school on Mon- day," said Blake. "We just feel like the numbers are increas- ing so rapidly. We wanted to get some sepa- ration to help stop it," said Blake of the move to virtual. She said as of Tuesday, Pike County schools had a total of 546 students and 21 staff out of school due to COVID. "This includes pos- itive cases and quarantines." So far, during the month of August, after just two weeks in school, they have already had a total of 646 individuals, including students and staff, on quarantine, with a total of 56 positive cases al- ready. There are about 1,770 students in the corporation. Blake said the number of positive cases already in the first two weeks of school are roughly half all the cases they had last year for the whole first semester. "Last year, we would quarantine students and a lot of them never tested positive, but this year, our quarantines are ending up positive," said Blake. She said about 8 to 10 percent of close contacts are test- ing positive so far this year. Pike Central had been cancelling numer- ous sporting events, including football, girls' soccer, volleyball and cross country. Athletic Director Dustin Powell said they are hoping to reschedule as many as they can. The Pike County School Board has a spe- cial meeting scheduled for Tuesday. One of the items on the agenda is to recommend a replacement for Forest Boger's position. At the last meeting, Boger announced he was re- signing. Boger said he is attending law school and he thought the demands on him from law school would not allow him enough time to meet and give proper focus to the school board. Middle, high school move to virtual learning See COVID on page 2 Coming Sept. 4 Call 812-354-8500 to list your sale by Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. Yard Sale Pike County Fall 2021 By Andy Heuring A 95 -year-old woman escaped a fast moving fire that destroyed the home and business of a Monroe City family. Ila Abrassart was at home last Tuesday morning at about 12:40 a.m. when she woke up and heard loud popping and crackling noises. Harrison Township As- sistant Fire Chief Michael Johnson said Abras- sart thought it might have been heavy rain, but when she got up to check on it, she saw it wasn't rain, so she went out the front door and walked around to the side of her house and no- ticed a fire behind her house. The attached ga- rage and another building were on fire. "She is lucky to have gotten out," said John- son. He said Abrassart didn't hear well and hadn't worn her hearing aids to bed, so it was fortunate she woke up. Johnson added there were smoke detectors in the house, but fire- men did not hear any of them when they got there. Abrassart called her daughter, Debbie, and she called 911. Johnson said a passerby saw the fire and stopped. She also called 911 and got Abrassart into her car until authorities ar- rived. Harrison Township Fire Department ar- rived to find the buildings engulfed. They were on the scene for about two hours. Fire spread to the house as well. Johnson said it didn't burn all the house, but it was probably a total loss due to smoke, water and heat dam- age. He said they had a cooler in one of the build- ings and it had an estimated $5,000 worth of peaches in it, which were the last of the sea- son. There was also heat damage to two vehicles. One had the paint melted off and both had the taillights melted. Harrison Township was assisted by Peters- burg, Vincennes Township, Knox County Sheriff's Department and Knox EMS. Fire destroys Abrassart home, outbuildings, peaches By Andy Heuring New cases of COVID have increased dra- matically in the last seven days in Pike Coun- ty and Indiana. There have been 68 news cases recorded in Pike County in the last seven days. This comes on the one-year anniversary of the first COVID death recorded last year on August 21. There was not another death in Pike Coun- ty until September 30. But over the next 22 days, there would be 17 new deaths reported as COVID broke out in Amber Manor. The deaths slowed and the last one for nearly five months was recorded on March 10, 2021. It wasn't until August 7 another was recorded in Pike County. So far, there have been 35 deaths in Pike County due to COVID. As of Tuesday, Pike County Schools Super- intendent Dr. Suzanne Blake said they had 56 cases so far this year and there were 546 peo- ple quarantined and not able to attend classes as of Tuesday. She said this led to them mov- ing to virtual school in the high school and middle school through the end of this week. "Our intent is to return to school on Monday," said Blake. They also cancelled all middle and high school sporting events. Pike County's 7-day positivity rate has in- creased to 15.6 percent and on Wednesday, the county will probably be moved to red. Pam Cosby, with the Pike County Health Department, said testing in Pike County has also increased significantly. She said they are doing 40 to 50 tests per day recently. However, she said that is about 30 different individuals. Because when they do a rapid test and receive a negative result, they then follow that up with a regular test. Cosby said the testing site would be closed on Wednesday because of staffing problems due to COVID, but would reopen on Thursday. She said they are hoping to expand the hours by one hour a day starting next week to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thurs- COVID cases rise dramatically in seven days Houchins benefit Debra McCrary picks up an order at the Adam Houchins spaghetti dinner ben- efit on Sunday. Andy and Jennifer Houchins worked the carry-out booth. Houch- ins suffered a spinal injury in a July 4 pool accident and is under going treatment at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Volunteers from the Otwell, Algiers and Peters- burg United Methodist Churches and Amber Manor sponsored the dinner. Highway 61 project continues Work on Highway 61, from Main St., Petersburg, north to Mona St. continues. All of the pavement has been removed down to the dirt on the stretch. The project is installing new storm drains, sidewalks and repaving the section. A second separate proj- ect, running in conjunction with the road project, is putting a new water line along the section. It was scheduled to be done by mid-October, but now it is expected to last well into November. During this time, the detour for non-trucks is Seventh St. When Phase I is completed, Phase II, which runs from Mona St. to Harvest Lane, will start immediately. Phase II is scheduled to be completed in July. The detour for it will be White River Ave. to Harvest Lane.

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