Skip to main content
A1 A1

Madison’s Cam Mann (right) gets a high-five from head coach — and grandfather — Tim Torrance as the Southwestern dugout watches on after hitting in a home run in the Cubs’ win on Friday.

MCHS Hall of Fame
  • Updated

As Madison Consolidated High School’s Alumni Hall of Fame welcomed its three newest inductees on Friday, Principal Michael Gasaway pointed out to students gathered at Connor K. Salm Gymnasium “we are in the presence of greatness.”

Gasaway explained that the honorees for 2022 — Sue Wells Livers, Michael Bell and Robert Orrill — were being honored “not only what they did in high school, but what they’ve done with their careers and their lives.”

Livers, a 1966 graduate of MCHS, began her education at Broadway School where she spent “first, second and third grades in one room with one teacher” along with the city’s other black children. “It was exciting. I loved it.”

With the arrival of integration, Broadway School closed in 1957 and Livers began fourth grade at Lydia Middleton Elementary. “Although I was academically ready, I certainly was not socially ready,” she recalled. “I did not realize I was not wanted or accepted in the Madison school system at that particular time in 1957.”

Livers said, at that time, Crystal Beach had not been integrated and African American children had to swim in a creek. “Even John Paul Park was segregated. The top half was for white students and the bottom half was for the black students,” she said. “We played and had a good time together.”

After high school, Livers enrolled at Manchester College, where she was the only African American student in her freshman class. “Sometimes it felt like I was wearing a 90-pound vest while running a marathon, but I knew that my ancestors had never given up, so that was not an option for me,” she said. “In life, stuff happens. And what you do with that stuff helps make you, and helps you write your story. I believe God has a purpose and a plan for any problem that you might encounter. It’s what you do with that problem, how you work with that problem, how you turn that problem around that makes all the difference in the world.”

Over her career, Livers worked 34 years as director of nutrition for King’s Daughters’ Health, followed by a 10-year stint heading the hospital’s foundation where she spearheaded a $4 million drive for a new Cancer Center.

Livers, who was inspired by an opportunity to meet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he visited Manchester College on Feb. 1, 1968, is known for her historic portrayal of Mrs. Patsy Harris, who led many slaves to freedom through Madison in the 1800s on the underground railroad.

“History repeats itself if you do not take the time to study, if you do not take the time to learn and I hope that each and every one of you have that opportunity to learn more about Madison, to learn more about the history of this community,” she said. “It’s through this attempt to get a grip on and write our own stories that we build and become one. In life, choose to wrestle, don’t ever give up.”

Livers praised the students for being a part of “a symbolic generation that’s calling for a change for the better. We need you because our future depends on you. You’re dreaming, you’re doing, you’re being only makes a better future for each and every one of us.”

Bell, a 1963 graduate of MCHS, is executive minister at Glendale Christian Church in Glendale, Kentucky, where he has served for more than 50 years. He’s been called the unofficial mayor of Glendale, serving on many elected and appointed memberships on utility, civic, education and service boards. He was founder of the town’s annual Glendale Crossing Festival.

“This is the greatest honor,” said Bell. “I truly am blessed today.

“Growing up on Mulberry Street and being very poor, coming to high school, my senior class voted me most likely to succeed. I always thought they were doing it as a joke,” said Bell, noting he didn’t view himself as someone who would succeed. “Today is the first time that I realized that maybe they saw something in me that I didn’t see.”

Bell said he never through of himself as being that good of a student but “I had great teachers and the things I learned in the Madison school system I still use today.”

Orrill, a 1957 graduate of Madison High School, was unable to attend the event but will visit MCHS on May 2 to accept his inductee plaque.

Orrill is well known for his work on issues of continuity and advancement of education, particularly between high school and college curricula from the 1970s to the 1990s. Under Orrill’s leadership as executive director of the National Council on Education and the Disciplines, as well as senior advisor at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the nation’s top scholars and teachers collaborated on curriculum standards in the four literacies — quantitative, scientific, historical and communicative.

In the 1990s, as the executive director of the Office of Academic Affairs at the College Board, he served as the chief architect of the Pacesetter initiative, which led to a standards-based 12th grade curriculum to address the “senior slump” of students electing easy classes rather than the more rigorous, college preparatory. He has also been involving in publishing books including “The Future of Education,” “The Condition of American Liberal Education,” and “Education and Democracy.”

Educated at Purdue University and Oxford University in England, Orrill’s stellar academic performance served as a key component in being named a Rhodes Scholar, as well as recipient of the University History Prize in 1964. Annually, only 32 college seniors nationwide merit the Rhodes commendation.

Orrill is also a member of the Cubs’ Athletic Hall of Fame for his basketball ability, wearing jersey No. 10 when he played on the Indiana All Star team.

Requirements for eligibility to the MCHS Alumni Hall of Fame are that recipients must have graduated from Madison at least 10 years ago, been recognized for a high level of achievement in their field, and demonstrated leadership, character and service in a variety of venues.

The MCHS Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2019 with the inaugural class of alumni including Bob Canida, Al Huntington and Wayne Perry. Due to cancellations related to the COVID pandemic, two classes were inducted together last year — Helen Cope, Marvin Eades and Damon Welch for the 2020 class and Ray Black Jr., Harold Hunt and Rodney Nay for the 2021 class.

Broadband upgrades funded in Jefferson, Switzerland
  • Updated

The Next Level Connections Broadband Grants program has awarded $189 million for 154 broadband infrastructure expansion projects across Indiana including those involving Jefferson and Switzerland counties in the program’s third round.

The total allocation more than tripled round two funding, announced Sept. 3, 2020, that earmarked $51 million for 50 infrastructure projects across the state.

Awards went to Spectrum Mid-America for $1,983,978.32 in Jefferson County to expand broadband access to 929 households and 27 businesses and to two separate projects in Switzerland County — $577,876.68 to expand broadband access to 282 households and seven businesses and another for $736,154.30 to expand broadband access to 185 households and six businesses.

Southeastern Indiana REMC was awarded $1,512,220.74 for projects in Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, $3,341,573.21 for projects in Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, and $3,733,403 for projects in Ohio and Switzerland counties. The three grants to Southeastern Indiana REMC will expand broadband access to 1,545 households and 123 businesses in Dearborn Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties.

Miles Communications received $231,417.74 for Switzerland County to expand broadband access to 15 households and 13 businesses in Switzerland County.

The third round of funding will provide broadband infrastructure to more than 52,900 homes and commercial locations in 80 counties. In addition to the $189 million awarded, the 35 telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributed more than $239 million in matching funds, resulting in more than $429 million total investment for broadband.

The program allows broadband service providers and utility cooperatives to apply for up to $5 million to expand service to unserved areas if they provide at least a 20% match.

“Our Next Level Connections program continues to bridge the digital divide throughout our state,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. “This investment will vastly grow economic opportunities in unserved areas and brings us closer to connecting all Hoosiers.”

Early voting available this week prior to May 3 primary
  • Updated

With just a week until the May 3 primary, so far 314 in-person voters have been to the polls for early voting out of the 21,940 registered voters in Jefferson County.

Early voting will continue at the Jefferson County Courthouse this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday as well as 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. until noon on Monday. The regular polls then open at 6 a.m. next Tuesday for regular voting.

Early voting is also continuing this week at two satellite locations. Voting at the Jefferson County Public Safety Center, 620 Green Road on Madison’s hilltop, will be Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at the Hanover Community Building at Hanover Park in Hanover on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Any registered Jefferson County voter — regardless of home precinct — can cast their ballot at any of the early voting locations.

Meanwhile, persons voting on the May 3 primary election day must go to the polling location for the actual precinct where they live from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters can check which precinct to vote at

Non-profit advancing cleanup of site in Hanover
  • Updated

Efforts to beautify a blighted area of Hanover are moving forward Clerk-Treasurer Keith Mefford said in a update to Hanover Town Council last week.

Deteriorating trailers at the northeast corner of North Madison Avenue and File Street are in the process of being moved and the space will eventually be replaced by a community garden.

“Those trailers have been there for years,” said Mefford. “There used to be four of them there. Two years ago, we got one of the trailers removed” and over the last few months they’ve been moving closer to removing the rest, which Mefford expects to be completed by this week. “When I say removed, we’re crushing them and putting them in a dumpster; they’re in that bad of condition.”

The project has advanced over the last few months thanks to a non-profit group, the Hanover Community Garden, that wants to locate a community garden at the site. “They thought it would work two-fold in first cleaning up the community, and secondly being a nice location that’s centrally located,” said Mefford, noting the location near an entryway into the town and just off the Hanover College campus.

Mefford said he “wants to make sure people know there’s a separation. It’s not the college’s project. It’s not the Town of Hanover’s project. It’s a not-for-profit organization that we’re just trying to help get up and running. They’re very energetic and very excited, but equipment, manpower and resources is not something they have a lot of.”

He said the group has a donor who has helped fund the project but since they have not set up their own account, the funds have passed through the town’s donation fund. “There’s no money from the town (government) being put into the program,” he added.

Despite the poor conditions of the trailers, Mefford said there were people living in them but they are getting help relocating. “It was important to this group that the residents are not made homeless, and not just pushed out onto the street,” he said. “It’s to be a win-win for our community” so Mefford has helped “orchestrate that situation to get these people in the right spot so they don’t have that happen to them” and that they all have a place to live.

“This has been an eyesore for many years,” Mefford said.

Council member Debbie Kroger said that when she rejoined the council 2-1/2 years ago “we had people here that were complaining about those trailers, and asking us what are we going to do about it.” Shortly after the trailer closest to the road was taken away and gradually the process has been moving forward. “Kudos to this group” that’s pushing the effort toward actually finishing the cleanup with plans to beautify the space.

Mefford said Hanover Community Garden has a three-year lease on the property with an option to purchase. He said the community garden will have flowers, vegetables and fruit. “It’s actually going to be pretty cool what they’re planning to do; they have some pretty big dreams,” he said.

In other business:

• Kroger was elected vice president of the council after Denise Buxton stepped down while continuing to serve on town council. Council member Treva Shelton said Buxton is “stepping down as vice president due to time constraints.” Additionally, council member Kathi Scroggins was voted to replace Buxton as the town’s representative on the Jefferson County Cable Advisory Board.

• Kroger announced a groundbreaking for the Lanthier Winery and Distillery in Hanover will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday. “We’re excited about that, and having another business coming out in Hanover.”

• Mefford reported that May water bills will be estimated “because of the timing of it, the weather, mowing to do, and there’s a lot going on.” Currently, each town water and utilities employee reads approximately 200 meters monthly. He said the town is working toward installing radio read meters, and once those are installed the meters will be read back to the town hall digitally with water bills calculated automatically for each customer.

• Approved a second reading of a no parking ordinance that includes West Street between Crowe and Main streets as well as on Sycamore, Maple, Volz, November and October streets. Parking in those ares has been cited as a safety concern because they are not conducive to street parking. The ordinance will get a third reading and then a vote on passage at the May 4 meeting.

Switzerland awarded $415K for bridge upgrade
  • Updated

The Indiana Department of Transportation has awarded Switzerland County Highway Department $415,421.62 in Community Crossings funds to rehabilitate the Upper Indian Creek bridge on Fairview Road.

Switzerland County Highway Clerk Carla Armstrong said the work will involve replacement deck beams along with minor pier improvements on the structure. The bridge, located in Jefferson Township, is about a mile north of State Road 56. The county has pledged a 25% match to secure the funds.

“It will be good to get another bridge done in the county,” Armstrong said.

Elsewhere, the Town of Patriot was awarded $43,200 for street paving with a 25% match.

Patriot town clerk-treasurer Linda Fisk said the funds will be used to resurface a loop of First Street from State Road 156 to State Road 250 where it meets at Columbia Street.

“This was awesome news,” said Fisk.

The announcements were made last week by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith a part of an overall $107.8 million announcement in state matching funds for local road projects throughout the state.

“Continuing to modernize and enhance our transportation infrastructure is critical to the economic success in and around our incredible communities and ultimately Hoosiers’ prosperity itself,” said Holcomb.

Awards were received by 224 Indiana cities, towns and counties. To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds of 50% for larger communities or 25% for smaller communities and have an asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges. The next call for projects will open in July 2022.