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MCS reaches agreement with teachers association
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Madison School Board was presented a tentative agreement for a new contract between the school corporation and the Madison Teachers Association at a special meeting on Tuesday.

The new collective bargaining agreement is expected to be adopted at the next regular school board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

“This is the best package that Madison schools has had in many years, if ever,” said Madison Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Studebaker. Studebaker noted the contract addresses a salary compression issue — a situation where newer teachers are paid close to or more than experienced colleagues — that has existed for about a decade.

He said the compression began showing up in school districts throughout Indiana approximately 10 years ago when the state legislature permitted newly hired teachers to negotiate pay at the time of their hiring. Since then, more performance evaluation standards have been established.

“This has been a two-year process to get his done,” said Studebaker, who noted it addresses issues where some teachers were not “paid as well as they should have been because of the compression issue.”

Jodi Yancey, president of the school board, noted another issue in contract negotiations is the state requirement that the minimum teacher salary will be $40,000 while Madison Consolidated Schools’ minimum is currently at $37,000.

Additionally, Studebacker said the state also now requires 45% of the school corporation’s education fund must be used for full-time teacher salaries.

The plan proposed Tuesday also includes MCS paying a 2% premium increase on health insurance, which amounts to approximately a 0.4% raise overall.

Teachers will see the following pay increases:

• Base pay average 6.3% ranging from 1.5% to 19.25%.

• Base pay average is $2,947 ranging from $822 to $7,200.

• Stipend average of 1% ranging from 0.0% to 4.57%.

• Stipend average of $2 ranging from 0 to $2,178.

• Total base, stipend and health insurance is 7.6%.

• Total base, stipend and health insurance is $615,654.

A new placement scale was created to help resolve compression and will be used as a mirror scale for new hires. Teacher increases have been calculated by:

• Placing existing new teachers on the new placement scale.

• If existing placement did not result in a minimum 1.5% base increase, 1.5% was added to the base.

• If existing teacher placement did not result in a minimum of $3,000, the difference was calculated as a stipend for teachers with years of experience 0-20.

• Existing teachers with experience of 21 years or more will receive base increase of $2,250. If existing teacher placement did not result in a minimum of $3,500, the difference was calculated as a stipend for teachers with years of experience over 21 or more.

Senior Dances
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After being canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Madison Parks Department brought back its Senior Dances last Friday at Brown Gym and has released the schedule for dances through Dec. 17.

All dances will be 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays — with the exception of the Friday after Thanksgiving — and admission is $5.

Darryl and Country will performing this Friday and the list of bands scheduled to play after that includes: Paul Boggs Band on Nov. 12, Band of Brothers on Nov. 19, Mike Dean and the Smoking Cinders on Dec. 3, Old Goats and a Nannie on Dec. 10 and Paul Boggs Band on Dec. 17.

Charlie’s Beat
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First, before I get to this week’s story about music at the American Legion, I want to catch you up on an exciting upcoming show. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express are coming to Red Bicycle Hall next Wednesday, Nov. 10. It’s a 7 p.m. show so you’ll have plenty of time to catch the performance and still get home on a school night.

It’s impossible to overstate how truly influential this singer-songwriter is. We don’t often get original talent of this caliber playing in our little town. Even our resident Grammy-winning musician Robert Reynolds describes Chuck Prophet as “pure Rock & Roll bliss!” Tickets are available at RedBicycleHall.com.

On another note, I want to do a little mini-review for a show I saw last Friday at Mad Paddle. The house band madESSENCE played to a packed house and the energy was electric, to say the least. The addition of Brent & Catherine Sallie Evans has really added a spark. And when someone in the crowd shouted “Play Freebird” late in the final set, they absolutely did. They rocked the place down to the ground! Keep an eye out for their next show on Nov. 27.

Now, on to the Legion. I wanted to do a story about what I call the “Club Shows” that are a fairly significant part of our weekly music calendar. The American Legion, The Moose, The VFW and The Elks are all opening their doors to the public on various nights and hosting live music.

These venues are classic slices of vintage Americana, back when these social and veteran clubs ruled the social scene. They are cozy, clubby, friendly, and they are smoky (except for the Elks.) Most nights they are members only. But if I list them on the weekly music calendar, they are open to the public.

“I’m hoping the music on Fridays will encourage more people to come and discover what we offer here,” says Gina Copeland, bar manager at American Legion Post 9. “People can come in and enjoy our bar and music, and even participate in the big Treasure Hunt drawings we do on Fridays. The drawing jackpot is close to $7,000 right now, but it’s been as high as $150,000 in the past.

“Most of the bands we book are southern rock, classic rock, and straight country. But we’ve had Edgar Red before, which is pretty hard rock. And we have a band called Paradigm coming up next Friday, the 12th, that I’m very excited about.

“You know, I’ve been around the Madison music scene pretty much my whole life. My first bartender job was at the Electric Lady, and then the 3G when Cheryl & Steve Chucky owned it. “I did some time at the Crown Room, too. It seems like there’s live music everywhere now. And I’m just glad the Legion can be a part of that energy, and maybe pick up some new members while we’re at it.”

If you want to check out the music at the American Legion, the general public is welcome every Friday, as noted in the calendar. And if you’re the kind who likes a little smokin’ with their drinkin’ and dancin’, you’ll fit right in!


What the heck is “Patriotic Karaoke” at the Central on Thursday night? I don’t know. Should you go there and find out? Yes you should! If you haven’t seen the duo Joe Perkinson and Deano Crafton yet, you have three opportunities this week —Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Do yourself a favor and check them out. It’s this kind of feel good popular music show that just makes you want to smile and sing along. Tell them Charlie sent you!

Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.

This Week in Music

Thursday, Nov. 4

Central Hotel — Patriotic Karaoke

Broadway Hotel — Joe & Deano

Friday, Nov. 5

Central Hotel — Mitch the Lonesome Troubadour

Mad Paddle — Johnny & Sallie

Off-Broadway Taproom — Hippie Fingers

American Legion — The Faze (open to public)

Riverboat Inn — Joe & Deano

Saturday, Nov. 6

Big Blue (Vevay) — Playboy Party

Central Hotel — Fullmoon Rising

Mad Paddle — Jordan Tyler Band

Off-Broadway Taproom — Joe Clark

Riverboat Inn — Joe & Deano

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Red Bicycle Hall — Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express

Crisafullis honored for preservation
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Severely damaged by fire in 2006, the former Elks Lodge building in downtown Madison was brought back to life by Valecia and Larry Crisafulli, who have turned it into seven market-rate housing units.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Historic Preservation Award was presented to the Crisafullis and their PlaceWorks LLC, for outstanding Rehabilitation Tax Credit Project on the former Elks building at 420 West Street.

“I wanted to give you guys an award because this building was in a state that it easily could have been demolished, and I feel you went above and beyond to restore it,” said Ashley Thomas, tax credit administrator for the Historic Preservation and Archaeology Division of the Department of Natural Resources. “You did an excellent job and I just feel that needs to be recognized.”

The Elks building, a two-story Beaux Arts Neoclassical style fraternal lodge, was built in 1904. The Aug. 25, 2006 fire resulted in the loss of the roof and many of the windows, making rehabilitation of the property even more challenging. Progress on the gutted structure had stalled for many years until the Crisafullis took on the project.

“Everybody gathered here has preservation in their hearts,” said Valecia Crisafulli, expressing appreciation to everyone who supported the rehabilitation. “This is not done without the great city participation,” she said. “Thank you so much for seeing the value in this place.”

Valecia said they had two goals in rehabilitating the former Elks Lodge. “One was to prove that ordinary people can do small-scale tax credit projects. This isn’t just for big complicated, multi-layered operations. We really appreciate all the support we got for that. But the second, even more important than that, was to create great spaces for people who want to live downtown because Larry is a visionary on this, and he’s always said we want spaces where we would want to live, where everybody would want to live. So that was our goal to get more people down here supporting our shops and restaurants and our great Main Street, and you all know that’s what it takes.”

She specifically expressed appreciation to John Staicer, president and executive director of Historic Madison Inc., for his support, along with Bill Barnes, president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, for being a “great neighbor” with the foundation’s offices next door at 416 West Street.

Attendees at the award presentation were able to tour three of the units in the building.

Efforts were made to restore many historical features including replicating the original windows.

Larry Crisafulli talked about some artifacts that were salvaged from the fire including burned timbers now on display in a hallway. “We didn’t want to throw them out so we stuck them somewhere we could display them,” he said. One window that survived the fire is also now displayed.

“Each year we look at preservation projects that have been completed across the state,” said Beth McCord, director of the Historic Preservation and Archaeology Division. “This is one that definitely deserved recognition. This is an example of the great things with the tax credit that can be accomplished without being a large corporation” and what can be done by individuals who take on challenging restoration projects.

“The way this one turned out is outstanding,” she said, noting that in spite of a devastating fire, “this building now has life again.”

Mayor Bob Courtney praised the Crisafulli’s Elks restoration at Tuesday’s Madison City Council, noting how it is just part of Madison’s overall focus on historic preservation.

“Not only has Madison been on the map for a very long time but it continues to stay on the map and stay relevant and lead the way across the state. And honestly across the nation in regards to the preservation effort,” Courtney said. “Thank you for your investment, too, because it drives our economy, and preservation really is key to our future.

“We like to say Madison is a small town with an historic future and we still firmly believe that,” Courtney added. “We are definitely one of a kind.”

To view a video report of this story, visit our media partner at WKMNEWS.Com.

Jefferson COVID death toll now at 99
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Jefferson County moved within one death of 100 total for the COVID-19 pandemic after two deaths from virus-related issues were reported this week by the Indiana Department of Health.

Jefferson County’s death total now stands at 99 while the positivity rate is up 10.5% with 26 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday and 11 new cases in the last day.

So far Jefferson County has seen 5,206 positive cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Tammy Monroe, administrator for the Jefferson County Health Department announced on Wednesday that Hoosiers ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for free COVID-19 vaccinations following Tuesday’s authorization of the pediatric vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for use in individuals under age 18.

The pediatric vaccine will be available on a walk-in basis beginning today at the Jefferson County Health Department, 715 Green Road. Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, parents who wish to schedule an appointment for their child to receive the vaccine can do so at www.ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211 or 866-211-9966 for assistance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins will also be accepted Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A parent or guardian must provide consent, and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Jefferson County Health Department also continues to provide booster vaccines for all those who are eligible. You may schedule a booster vaccine by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. Walk-ins are accepted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Additionally, King’s Daughters’ Health will host a walk-in COVID-19 vaccine booster event from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at its Main Campus Medical Building, 1373 East State Road 62, Madison. Participants will have the opportunity to receive a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Both Jefferson and Switzerland counties remain in the “Orange” metric for medium to high spread. Switzerland County’s death toll remains at 11 with 1,371 total cases, an increase of six since Friday. Switzerland County’s positivity rate is 8.9%.

Incidence rates in Trimble and Carroll counties are keeping both in the “Red” for high spread. Carroll County has recorded 27 deaths in 1,910 total cases, an increase of 12 since Friday. The county’s positivity rate is currently 5.65%. Trimble County has seen 17 deaths in 1,252 total cases, an increase of 21 since Friday. The current positivity rate in 13.04%.

Vaccination rates are: Jefferson County, 54.5%; Switzerland County, 37.5%; Carroll County, 46%; and Trimble County, 44%.