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Above: What once was a blank wall is coming to life as a colorful “Kindness” mural, after Madison artists Steve Bickis and Kevin Carlson have made much progress over the last few days on the project supported by the Madison Area Arts Alliance. The mural, located beside the city parking lot at the northeast corner of Second and Mulberry streets where there are also plans for a park with landscaping and other improvements, will eventually cover the entire 180-foot wall of the former Hentz Bakery building at that site.


Madison Regatta course to resume racing under bridge
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One of the Madison Regatta’s most enduring images — Unlimited hydroplanes screaming from underneath the Milton-Madison Bridge — will return for this year’s running of the APBA Gold and Indiana Governor’s cups.

Regatta President Greg Thorpe made the announcement at Wednesday’s general membership meeting at The Boneyard Grill.

“It’s something that we have talked about and we know that it is something that people really wanted to see,” Thorpe said. “The response from H1 has been very positive and we even had one boat owner who wasn’t planning on coming to the race saying that they would now consider coming so that they could go under the bridge.”

The bridge has traditionally been the key landmark to Madison ‘s Wild Bill Cantrell Race Course. Boats cross under the bridge along the backstretch as they head toward turn two, then exit from under the bridge as they come down the front stretch. The race course last went under the bridge in 2016.

The Regatta moved away from racing under the bridge in recent years for a variety of reasons. Concerns about choppy water in the first turn prompted officials to try shifting the course to avoid the “holes,” and then there was the idea of keeping the course fully within the Regatta’s “footprint,” which ends at the bridge.

But those concerns now have been set aside. This year’s race course will revert to its traditional 2.5-mile course, rather than the 2-mile length in recent years.

The announcement of course changes was the highlight of a Regatta membership meeting that was short on details despite the race now being less than a month away.

Nate Davis announced that tickets are currently on sale for the Regatta Gala, a new event that will be held at the Livery Stable on Thursday, July 1. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature a meet and greet with racing personalities, a dinner and an auction. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple and can be purchased at all local banks, the Broadway Tavern and Hotel, and The Bottle Shop.

Applications for the Miss Madison Regatta Pageant are now available on the Regatta’s website, www.madisonregatta.com. And the Regatta is seeking volunteers to work in a variety of jobs, from the pits to safety. If interested, contact the Regatta.

The Madison Regatta will meet weekly from now until race week. The next meeting will be at The Boneyard Grill at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9.

JCPC seeking guidance on solar energy development
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With the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the Jefferson County Commissioners last month and the need for regulations to better address the emerging solar energy industry, Jefferson County Plan Commission (JCPC) is looking for guidance.

Plan Commission attorney Pat Magrath said the process for updating ordinances and fees would start with the JCPC researching and creating ordinances to be recommended to the Commissioners for review and possible adoption. He noted the process would also involve public hearings.

JCPC President Warren Auxier said he thinks the county needs to “bring in a professional” to assist with ordinance writing, and wondered if the Commissioners might have funding to assist with that process.

Commissioner David Bramer, also a member of the JCPC, said money has been budgeted for just such situations and “this would be one of those actions.”

In particular, there was discussion about ensuring standards are established through ordinances related to solar operations. Currently, there are no ordinances regulating solar operations, and there have been reports of interest for development of solar operations in Jefferson County.

Before regulations are specified, Auxier wondered if the Board of Zoning Appeals could consider conditional uses for solar in any approvals that might be given for solar operations. Magrath said he believed BZA approvals could to be “tied to specific considerations at the time.” He said those conditions provided by the BZA would prevent items from “being grandfathered in” before passage of any ordinances in regard to solar operations.

Auxier read from Indiana code IC-36-7-2-8 indicating support by the State of Indiana for the use of solar, stating “a unit may not adopt any ordinance which has the effect of prohibiting or of unreasonably restricting the use of solar energy systems other than for the preservation or protection of the public health and safety.” It also states “it is the policy of this state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to remove obstacles to this use.”

In other discussions, County Surveyor Mike Pittman expressed a need for more effective nuisance regulations to “motivate more people to be responsible to the issues we are finding.”

“We may not need a hammer but a soft push,” Pittman said.

Auxier noted that enforcing nuisance ordinances has always been challenging, but recent success has been achieved by the Jennings County Area Planning Commission in that area. He proposed asking a representative of that commission to meet with JCPC to “provide insight into what they have done to make it work” and the members agreed that would be a good idea.

One challenge that has been on the JCPC’s agenda since January is property owned by Lewis Handlon, 10218 West Polk Road, Lexington, in Republican Township. They have attempted to meet with him concerning nuisance violations. Lynette Anderson, secretary of the Planning and Zoning Office, said she was told that work prevented him from attending Wednesday’s meeting. Auxier suggested they work out a time to meet with Handlon in an effort to resolve the issue.

Gallatin named new PGA pro at Sunrise
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Roger D. Gallatin

Mayor Bob Courtney announced Friday the hiring of Madison native Roger D. Gallatin as the city’s new PGA golf professional at Sunrise Golf Course.

Gallatin, the current head pro at Hickory Sticks Golf Club in northern Kentucky, is a 1987 graduate of Madison Consolidated High School and the son of former MCHS principal and coach Roger D. Gallatin.

“Sunrise Golf Course is a tremendous community asset which not only contributes to the local quality of life but will now become a benefit to the entire parks system,” said Courtney. “Our vision is to bring more local and regional events and tournaments to Madison and make the course a Midwest destination. Roger is the right person for this job. He is a native Madisonian and will bring organization, enthusiasm, and effective communication and marketing expertise to the course.”

Gallatin has more than 35 years experience in the golf industry and has served as head PGA professional at Hickory Sticks in California, Kentucky, since 2013. He’s also held jobs as a manufacturers’ representative for Mizuno and Bridgestone among others and in equipment marketing. He’s taught golf, organized leagues, tournaments and outings and managed youth programs along the way while traveling across the country hoping to get an opportunity to come home to the place it all started.

“Being named the golf professional at Sunrise Golf Course is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Gallatin, whose father died in 2019 but his mother, a sister and several family members all reside in Madison. “I have committed my life to the game of golf, and I now can apply all the experiences I have accumulated over 35 years at the course where my journey began. This is nothing short of a dream come true. It is a true privilege to be chosen to lead Sunrise into this exciting new future.”

Gallatin, a golfer for the Cubs in high school, loved the game enough that he wanted to make it a career so he headed off to Starkville, Mississippi, for college and enrolled in what was then one of the first golf course management programs in the country at Mississippi State University. He did not play collegiate golf for MSU, instead focusing on the business side of golf and obtaining a degree in business administration-professional golf management.

Gallatin became a PGA Professional in the 1990s and over the years has worked in the industry in various capacities — mainly in the Kentucky and Indiana region — along with some travel nationwide. He served internships out of college in Memphis and Indianapolis and as a professional in Noblesville and at his current course.

Along the way, he’s always held an interest in returning home to Madison — the community and the course where it all started — but the right opportunity never presented itself until now.

“I’ve always kept an eye on Madison and hoped I’d be able to work something out,” Gallatin said. “At this point in my career, I’m more into the management side of the business and that’s what Sunrise needs.”

Gallatin noted that Sunrise is “family golf at its best” in that the city has a quality municipal course open to everyone. However, he said it’s also a course that could use some improvement.

“The course is very nice but it needs some work,” Gallatin said, noting he will consult with the course superintendent at Sunrise just like he has at Hickory Sticks to “improve course conditions” and bring the facility up to another level.

Gallatin also said the course needs a higher profile online to promote the facility and bring in cash-paying customers and tourists to enjoy one of the better municipal courses and towns around and provide the injection of capital needed to make the facility even better.

“The biggest avenue I see is the online presence,” Gallatin said. “It doesn’t have much online presence so there’s an opportunity there to expand that and expand our customer base.”

With experience in maintaining and operating budgets of over $1 million, increasing profit margins, and developing marketing strategies Gallatin is eager for that task. Gallatin has done all that before at Hickory Sticks, a course that opened in 1998, was struggling a few years ago but has bounced back in a big way the past couple of years.

“The golf industry is booming — and it’s from east to west — after being in decline a few years ago,” Gallatin said, noting his job is to make sure that boom also comes to Madison. “The bulk of that has come in the public golf sector at places like Sunrise. We had 27,000 rounds at Hickory Sticks last year and that’s what we want at Sunrise.”

In addition to a new golf professional, golfers can expect to see expanded services at Sunrise Golf Course. Over the next few weeks, the city will update the clubhouse, implement new marketing strategies, and reopen the grill with an expanded menu. Alcohol will also be available for purchase in the clubhouse or out on the course and the newly branded Sunrise Café will be open to the public.

Gallatin will begin his new job Sunday, June 20.

County seeks bids on jail bonds
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The long process leading toward construction beginning on the new Jefferson County Sheriff and Justice Center took another step forward Thursday.

Jefferson County Commissioners President David Bramer told that board Thursday that bonds for the project were put up for sale earlier in the day and the process was a success.

“It went very well,” said Bramer. “The interest rate was less than planned, which will make our annual payments less.”

Bramer said paperwork is still being finalized, but expectations are that contracts should be awarded in two weeks. Because construction bids received last month were higher than expected, a resolution was recently passed to increase the amount that can be borrowed to up to $45 million.

In other business, the Commissioners:

• Heard a presentation from Rick Anderson, business development director at Johnson-Melloh Solutions, an Indianapolis company under the umbrella of Veregy Energy Solutions, on projects that could lower the county’s energy costs.

Johnson-Melloh Solutions has worked with Madison Consolidated Schools in adapting its buildings to solar energy. Anderson said the company works with Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems and lighting.

“We do a ton of solar,” Anderson said, proposing that the county’s energy costs can be reduced with solar, allowing the county to “spend what you save on infrastructure.”

Anderson offered to do a preliminary analysis on the county’s buildings with recommendations.

Bramer said the Commissioners “will think about it for a little bit,” because the county also expects a similar presentation soon from PSG Energy Group, also from Indianapolis.

• Received a request from Tammy Monroe, administrator of the Jefferson County Health Department, to replace windows and doors at the JCHD building.

“The health department is a 30-year old building and it is needing some repairs to the windows and the doors,” she said. In particular, Monroe said the windows need repair on the north side from the parking lot side of the building.

“Doors have rusted out on the bottom and are in bad shape.” Monroe said, adding “the gutters are in horrible shape, but we will work on that later because windows are now the biggest concern.”

Monroe said she is in the process of getting cost estimates for the work from Glass Unlimited of Madison and Kinsinger’s Custom Windows of Vevay and would report back at the next meeting with more estimates.

• Appointed Erica Cline, archivist and grant writer at the Courthouse, to the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.