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Shawe’s Philip Kahn (35) dribbles against Southwestern’s Mitch Mingine during Friday’s game.

Holiday dancers and a trio of inflatable ornaments lead Saturday’s Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade down Main Street. With plenty of sun and temperatures in the 50s a huge crowd turned out for annual holiday event.

Merry Christmas Parade

Two more COVID deaths reported in Trimble
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Trimble County’s COVID-19 death toll climbed to 23 over the weekend as the county reported two new deaths in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Trimble recorded only five new positive cases of COVID-19 but the county’s positivity rate increased to 20.59%. The county’s overall number of residents who have tested positive for the virus is now 1,365 out of 8,474 residents.

Meanwhile, Carroll County saw its positivity rate climb to 15.23% with eight new positive cases since Friday for an overall total of 2,129 infected during the pandemic out of 10,810 total residents. Carroll’s death rate remains at 31.

Kentucky reported 2,813 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last day for an overall total of 794,816. There were 64 new deaths in Kentucky, bringing that overall total to 11,091. Kentucky’s statewide positivity rate is 9.21%.

Indiana had not yet updated its COVID numbers coming out of the weekend as of 4 p.m. Monday. Based on data released late last week, Jefferson County has had 5,856 positive cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic and 105 deaths. The county’s positivity rate is now 11.3%. Switzerland County’s positivity rate was 13.9% with 8 new positive cases and an overall total of 1,476 cases in the pandemic with 12 deaths.

COVID vaccines and COVID booster shots are available at the Jefferson County Health Department, 715 Green Road in Madison, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for ages 5 and older. All three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available including Pfizer pediatric doses. Walk-ins are accepted or schedule an appointment by visiting

Vaccinations and boosters are available Monday through Friday at the Switzerland County Health Department, 1190 West Main Street in Vevay. Kentuckians can find where to get vaccinated at

Jefferson, OurSIRDA members make pitch for READI grants
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With hopes of being awarded up to $50 million as part of the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority (OurSIRDA) made its presentation Friday in Indianapolis.

READI is dedicating $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments with the hopes of making Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. With 17 regions throughout the state, representing all 92 counties, applying for a piece of that grant money, the READI review committee will decide what regions will receive up to $50 million in funding.

OurSIRDA was the last of the 17 regions to make its presentation, highlighting six priority areas — Destinations, Natural Assets, Economic Development and Housing Sites, Workforce and Entrepreneurism, Connections and Gateways, and Infrastructure.

OurSIRDA is a collaboration of five counties that includes Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties. “We formed our RDA in 2017 when there was no incentive, no carrot, nothing to really motivate us. It was our own motivation. We are pleased to present to you the results today,” said Dana Huber, OurSIRDA chair, during Friday’s presentation.

Afterwards board member Kevin Kellems, who represents Jefferson County on the board, said “the final presentation by the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority to the state’s judging panel was effective.”

Kellems, who attended the Friday session in Indianapolis, said, “I am optimistic about our chances of being selected for this transformational funding — due to the degree of regional collaboration we demonstrate; the viability of specific projects we propose, and the impressive value-add brought to the table by stakeholders and advocates from Jefferson County.”

Madison Mayor Bob Courtney led the portion of OurSIRDA’s presentation on destinations. In his presentation, Courtney said, “On behalf of the 12,000 residents of Madison, we are thrilled to partner with you, the RDA, the five-county regions that comprises this READI proposal.”

“Destinations are those areas that are truly memorable and will make our region standout, the places we congregate to enjoy life with one another and we know southern Indiana already has good destinations. Well, we can make them great through READI. With help with READI funds, we’ll build great destinations throughout southern Indiana,” he said.

“Enhancing our downtowns and really emphasizing our small-town quality of place by expanding our offerings of entertainment throughout the district,” Courtney said. “Also, by promoting very unique visitor experiences.”

Courtney specifically spoke about Madison and how the READI funds would benefit the city. He told READI committee members, “A lot of you are already familiar with Madison. Madison is already a destination hosting over 300,000 visitors a year. The economic impact from our tourism economy is over $40 million a year. But why settle for that? We know it can be much bigger, better and greater. That’s what READI will do for us.”

A video followed that talked more about how the READI funds would help Madison. “This project is going to accelerate the path that we’ve been on. This planning is critical for our population growth. It really makes it the regional gem that we know it’s always been,” Courtney said.

The portion on Workforce and Entrepreneurism was presented by Tyiana Thompson, vice chancellor of enrollment services at Ivy Tech Sellersburg, who highlighted two projects that involve Ivy Tech — the Family Scholar House project at the Sellersburg campus and the Veterinary Teaching Center that’s a joint project of Ivy Tech Madison and Hanover College.

In that part of the presentation, Hanover College President Lake Lambert was interviewed. “In the United States, there are only two schools of veterinary medicine. Many highly qualified candidates that want to be veterinarians have to go abroad to seek a veterinary education.”

Lambert said the Veterinary Teaching Center “is an opportunity to recruit a lot more talent to Indiana by establishing the veterinary teaching center here. This teaching center is an innovative partnership between a private college and the state’s community college system, Ivy Tech, using their Madison campus to offer two different degree programs, a doctorate of veterinary medicine program and an associates degree in veterinary nursing through Ivy Tech Community College.”

Lambert said, “Indiana is an agricultural state, but it is also a state with a growing biotech agriscience industry. To support all of those needs, Indiana needs more trained veterinarian professionals, and this program is going to make that possible.” Lambert said the “demand for these programs will serve not only Indiana students but also attract talent to Indiana to build out bigger opportunities for Hoosiers that Hoosiers will benefit from for years to come.”

Another part of OurSIRDA’s proposal that involves Jefferson County includes a workforce development plan involving industry expansion, new single and multifamily affordable housing, drinking water infrastructure, ADA accessible park improvements, and a focus on adult sport and outdoor recreation.

Following the presentation, there was an opportunity for questions. Courtney answered a question about the portion of OurSIRDA that provides for more housing.

“We’re the fastest growing region in the State of Indiana,” said Courtney. “We’re already making up for lost ground in regards to our housing needs. We have a growing workforce, growing population, so building new housing units will help us to accelerate population growth even further, but also provide more housing opportunity around specific price points without diminishing the occupancy rates of the existing housing.”

Courtney said housing “is one of the greatest needs across all of our communities. Small and large, and it is housing because we are also preparing and experiencing growth.”

He said the five counties in the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority “offer something unique I believe in southern Indiana relative to the rest of the state. That is a unique quality of life.” Courtney said today’s “workforce wants to identify a high quality of life, where they’re going to live, that’s going to create the demand for the workforce there. It’s not the old school where people move for their jobs anymore. Where they live is the top priority. We believe we already are fighting a limited supply that we need to invest in.”

Switzerland County is part of the SEI READI region that also includes Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Union counties. SEI READI gave its presentation last week on Monday, Nov. 29. Among the projects in the plan impacting Switzerland County is the Vevay Flats project that would create 48 new entry-level market rate apartments and the Switzerland County workforce housing that would add 111 single-family housing units to the county. The plan also includes for updates to the Florence Regional Sewer District. Additionally, it seeks assistance for improvements to the Switzerland County Technology and Education Center. Another project is a culinary hospitality project based within Belterra Casino Resort and/or the Ogle Haus for culinary/restaurant and hotel/business students.

An announcement by the IEDC of the READI grant awards is anticipated later this month. The next meeting of OurSIRDA will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, at Madison City Hall, with the hope that the region will know by then if it is one of the fortunate recipients of the READI grant.

BPWS told Main Street project finally complete
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Deputy Mayor Mindy McGee reported to the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety on Monday that Madison’s busy season of highway maintenance projects is finally done including a multi-phase main project to patch, seal, reconfigure and re-stripe Main Street.

“The good news is that the summer long Main Street maintenance project is done,” McGee told the board.

The project, intended to stabilize Main Street and extend the useful life of that roadway until 2026 when the city receives a federal highway grant for more permanent repairs, took months to complete hole filling, crack filling, sealing and striping while working around various festivals during the summer tourism season.

She said the project was completed Friday when striping was finished on the Hanover hill portion of the 4.5-mile highway and that the last arrows have been painted for turn lanes and crosswalk along some final crack sealing.

“The good weather helped us out and we were able to wrap that up,” she said.

Madison Police Chief John Wallace said he thinks measures taken to slow traffic — reducing Main Street from four lanes to three between Broadway Street and the railroad bridge with one lane each east and west plus a turning lane — have been effective.

“It has made a difference in slowing down the traffic,” said Wallace. “I haven’t seen any traffic backups and I haven’t seen any traffic issues. We’ve heard some minor complaints about speeding on Second and Third streets,” but he said he hasn’t seen much of that. “I think it’s working out very well” with the changes on Main Street. “I think it’s really helped to make our west end and our downtown safer.”

Wallace said the changes are also making parking safer on the west end. “Before you were always opening your car door into a lane of traffic. Now it’s much safer. And I’m sure we will see that in our statistics for mishaps and traffic issues down there.”

Wallace said issues with picking up and dropping off students at Lydia Middleton Elementary have now also improved after initial complaints about how traffic was backing up on Third Street. He said after discussions with school officials, changes have been made so now “we’re not having that backup” as parents are pulling over to the curb, and finding locations to park. “It’s all thanks to the cooperation of the school and the parents,” he said. “We will continue to monitor that to be sure it’s working.”

In other business,:

• Kathy Rohlfing, chair of the city’s tree board, sought and received approval to place trees along Jefferson Street along the side of Little People’s Boutique and Fine Threads building at 232 East Main Street in an effort to beautify are area she noted is mostly concrete.

• Bonnie Cox appeared before the board in reference to 1202 Wells Drive where there was a fire on Dec. 19, 2020. Notices concerning cleaning up the property had been sent to Cox but she said she had not received them perhaps because they should have been sent to the address where she now resides. Cox said she does plan to have the property cleanup completed by the end of the month, and will return to the next Board of Works and Public Safety meeting to provide an update.

• Final PACE awards were approved for Richard and Michelle Peak for $11,825 at 522 Mulberry Street, Phil and Jane Mullins for $7,500 at 707 East Main Street, and Jim Pruett for $7,500 at 205 West First Street.