Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated Schools is scheduled to receive $2,227,633.20 from the American Rescue Act, the third phase of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund provided by the federal government, Superintendent Jeffrey Bates reported at Monday’s school board meeting.
He said 20% of that amount, about $445,526.60, must be used to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions such as summer school and after-school programs to address the academic health and social emotional well-being of students impacted during the pandemic.
“We are in the preliminary stages of deciding just exactly what we will spend the ESSER III monies on, and prioritizing things that will have the greatest and longest lasting impact,” Bates said.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:
• Opened the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Carroll Ray “Dutch” Kleopfer, who died at age 87 on April 24. Kleopfer had served on Southwestern school board for 12 years, drove a Southwestern school bus for 41 years and was a longtime supporter of Southwestern athletics and 2018 inductee in the Southwestern Athletics Hall of Fame.
“He was a lifelong supporter of Southwestern,” said Southwestern board chairman Rick Stockdale.
• Accepted the retirement of three elementary teachers after a combined 102 years as educators. Julie Bell is retiring after 36 years, Laura Chitwood after 34 years and Beth Truesdell after 32 years.
Shannon Dattilo also resigned as elementary teacher to take a position on the education faculty at Ivy Tech State College-Madison campus. “Thank you for allowing me to work here for 24 years,” Dattilo said. “I have been blessed to work beside amazingly talented administrators, teachers and support staff.”
Other resignations included Doug Rusk as social studies teacher and Tracey Thomas-Cloyd as physical education teacher, along with Jessica Barr as bus matron, Connie Dietrich as evening shift custodian and Denise Brierly as elementary cook.
• Hired Stephanie Brawner as middle school counselor and Carol Brooks as elementary teacher. Cindy Myers was hired as transportation for displaced students. Also, Laura Scroggins was named elementary and middle school robotics sponsor, and will share middle school spell bowl and math bowl spell sponsor duties with Stephanie Schindler.
• Approved a lease agreement for Hanover College to use the Southwestern pool from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 at a cost of $35,000. The college uses the facility for its men’s and women’s swim teams. Laura Cash Boldery, assistant to the superintendent/corporation treasurer, said the money goes into operations with most of it back into the pool budget. Bates estimated that maintenance on the pool costs from $5,000 to $6,000 monthly.
• Approved transferring up to $500,000 from the education fund to the operations fund. Boldery noted that cash flow is currently low, and the transfer will provides cash for the operations until funds from property taxes are received at the end of June.
• Accepted the low bid of $60,787 from Scottsburg Glass to replace 22 windows at Southwestern Elementary School so that work can be done over the summer. “We have been getting windows replaced as we have money one section at a time,” said Boldery, noting this will complete that project and “make a lot elementary teachers happy.”
• Awarded a bid to replace lights in the high school parking lot with LEDs to North Electric Inc. of Scottsburg, the lowest bidder at $14,000. The other bid was from Miller Electric LLC at $14,875.
• Awarded a bid to repair condensing coils and replace a fan motor on a high school air conditioning unit to Alpha Energy Solutions for $12,340. Another bid was received from Circle R. Mechanical of Columbus for $19,635.83.
• Approved contract extensions for four administrators — Matt Owens, high school principal; Robert Adams, elementary school principal; Krista Chatham, assistant elementary school principal; and Tom Scroggins, athletic director.
The City of Madison approved a resolution Tuesday to complete the purchase of eight parcels of property on the Madison riverfront for $10,000 less than the land’s appraised value.
The property, located along the north and south side of the 300 block of East Vaughn Drive, is owned and/or formerly operated by Madison Coal & Supply Company. It came available to the city several months ago when the owners contacted the city to gauge interest in buying the site located primarily at the corner of Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive.
The land, unused by Madison Coal & Supply for several decades, is essentially an empty lot on the north side of Vaughn that has been used as storage by Madison Regatta and green space extending from the south side of Vaughn Drive to the Ohio River.
Mayor Bob Courtney urged the council to pursue buying the property last year to protect it from undesirable development and to preserve the beauty of the riverfront. He noted that when property in such high value locations like the riverfront can be purchased, the city should to act on that opportunity.
The council agreed at the time to seek two independent appraisals with their average establishing the price the city could offer for the site. The appraisals averaged out to $169,751 but the owners of Madison Coal & Supply agreed to sell for $159,500.
“This property has not been used for 75 years or longer but this purchase allows us to maintain control over the open space on the riverfront,” Courtney said after the council adopted the resolution to purchase. He said although the city has no plans for the site at this time “we’re happy to actually acquire it.”
In other discussions, Courtney did provide a glimpse into his future plans for Jaycee Park along the Madison riverfront and a proposal to rename that park in honor and memory of former Madison Mayor Damon Welch.
Teri Bentz, a former president of Madison Jaycees, said while she supports recognizing the contribution Welch made to the city, she asked that the city not forget the contribution the Jaycees have made toward developing Jaycee Park and others as a whole by raising money and manpower to build playgrounds, a shelterhouse, volleyball courts and other amenities.
Courtney said the plan is to rename the park Damon L. Welch Park but also incorporate a way to reflect on the Jaycees’ contribution, too.
“We want to recognize former Mayor Welch and still recognize the contributions of the Jaycees,” Courtney said, noting the park along Vaughn Drive, located under the Milton-Madison Bridge and overlooking the Ohio River, was the proper site to honor Welch for all his efforts to improve Madison’s west end with projects like the Cotton Mill repurposing and the new gateway to the city coming off the bridge.
Courtney said the park will be the second in a series of city parks — behind only Gaines Park on Broadway Street — that he wants to make substantial improvements to as part of an overall master plan to upgrade all city parks. He said the project will include bathrooms, a repositioning of the basketball court and development of a walking trail to provide recreation and exercise for those who use it.
“It’s one of our most valuable parks, most visible parks and greatest assets,” Courtney said of Jaycee Park, noting it needs to be treated as such.
Before I get into the Richwood story, I want to tell you about a show from last Saturday night. Jimmy Davis and Bill Lancton were on the patio at Thomas Family Winery after a 14-month absence due to COVID.
Their musical performance was top notch, as you’d expect, but even more remarkable was the atmosphere and scene on the Winery side patio. The gathering of friends and out-of-towners, all enjoying the warm evening and excellent fare, was just overwhelmingly joyful and sublime.
What Steve and Elizabeth Thomas have created over the last 25 years is truly unique and beautiful. If you haven’t been to Thomas Family lately (or ever!) I urge you to come and join the family. It’s Madison at its finest. Anyway, on to Richwood.
When you hear the name Richwood on the River you undoubtedly think about the large mansion and the elegant weddings that take place there just about every weekend. But owner Colleen Sutton, who is actually a Madison resident, wants to broaden that image.
She and her brother, Zeb Haggerty, are hosting a musical evening at Richwood this Friday, May 21. The featured act is Jhonny and Sallie, with opening acts the Flyover Country Moose Club Band and Zeb. There will be a food truck or a grill going for food.
“There will be a suggested donation to help cover the cost of the bands,” says Colleen, “and it’s a BYOB situation for refreshments.”
“Zeb and I were talking not long ago and I was telling him about the dynamic music scene in Madison, and he was like, why can’t we do music here? Zeb is a great singer-songwriter in his own right. That was the spark that started us with music. This will be our second time,” Colleen added.
“We grew up in a music town,” continues Zeb, “a place called Palenville, New York, on the Hudson River, and just about 12 miles from Woodstock. The music and arts scene in that whole area is very developed and mature, as you can imagine. The famous Bearsville sound studio is right there, too.
“So when I moved here not long ago I saw the foundation for that same kind of music town. We have the venues, we obviously have the musical talent. It was only natural to get Richwood in on the act, to see if we can help make it happen.”
Colleen continues, “I can’t even count the number of times I had wedding guests come up to me and say how perfect our venue would be for live music. And with the Madison Music Movement thing happening now, there’s this added energy to contribute and be a part of it.
“We have plans in the works to expand the Carriage House, which is the main building where we have receptions. When completed it will seat about 300 people indoors, so you can imagine the kinds of shows we could host here, not to mention the bigger weddings.
“If you’re looking for a nice, relaxed Friday evening with some great live music, head across the bridge and join us. We’ll be getting started around 7:00.”
If you like classic rock played by some of the most talented musicians ever to pick up guitars and drumsticks, then the House Band at Mad Paddle Brewery on Saturday is your scene. Add to that their special guest musician, Corrina Wills on fiddle, and it’s a slam dunk. You won’t hear Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir played live anywhere else! If country swing is more your thing, the amazing (and foolish) Anthony Ray Wright will be at Thomas Family Winery on Saturday, too. Oh, and a special programming note: Live Lunch will not be Friday at Lytle Park as usual, but will be up at Grote Industries on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free as always!
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
Grote Industustries — Live Lunch: Joe Perkinson & Deano Crafton (11 a.m.)
Elks Lodge — Willis Tucker
Mad Paddle Brewery — Tracy & Elaine
Richwood on the River — Jhonny & Sallie Show, plus The Fly Over Country Moose Band, with special guest Zeb Haggerty
Mad Paddle Brewery — Joe Perkinson & Friends
Red Bicycle Hall — Comedy Night (2 shows)
Off-Broadway Taproom — Amy Noel
Lighthouse — Bobby Adams
Mad Paddle Brewery — House Band with Corrina Wills
Off-Broadway Taproom — Charlsee Gandee
Thomas Family Winery — Anthony Ray Wright
Elks Lodge — Joe Perkinson
Hanover Town Board held a public hearing Tuesday on a potential $5.8 million sewer project involving both the town and Hanover College prior to its regular meeting at city hall.
Katie Castro Jackson, project manager with Wessler Engineering of Indianapolis, presented a preliminary engineering report on a project to improve the town’s existing sanitary collection system and treatment plant and provide a new extension of the sanitary collection system to Hanover College.
Castro Jackson noted the actual cost of the project will be determined after the project is designed and advertised for bids. She said Tuesday’s public hearing was required to be eligible for funding from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program, administered by the Indiana Finance Authority to provide low-interest loans to municipalities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements. Additional funding is also expected to be sought from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).
Wessler Engineering will now request approval to continue design work on the project. Castro Jackson said an application for construction will most likely be submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in December with approval sometime in February of next year with a projected completion by August of 2023. She said the completion date “seems way out, but time moves very quickly.”
During the hearing Castro Jackson outlined several reasons for the necessity of the project. She said the wastewater disinfection system is outdated and past its useful life as well as a need to improve and increase lift station capacity to handle growth from future development. The project will provide a new ultraviolet disinfection system and a new lift station at the plant to increase capacity and efficiency.
Meanwhile, the collection system will include work to reduce bottlenecks near the plant and provide accessible manholes for maintenance along the interceptors. She also cited a termination of above ground lines and laterals at the college as well as new upsized interceptor and manholes along Hanover Beach Hill Road to the wastewater treatment plant as well as a sewer extension along College Avenue with lift stations and in-line meters.
Castro Jackson also provided several alternatives for both the town and the college to move forward.
The recommended alternative for consolidating college sewer lines is estimated to cost $2,972,000 and would include 1,420 linear feet of 10-inch PVC pipe along College Avenue and 490 feet of force main from grinder stations placed at buildings south of College Avenue. It would also include two new lift stations, both with estimated peak flow of 288,165 gallons per day.
The recommended alternative for the wastewater treatment plant is estimated to cost $2,908,000 and would increase the interceptor to 18 inches to the plant with approximately 2,270 linear feet of 18-inch PVC. The project would also involve adding 11 new manholes for access, the new ultraviolet disinfection system and a new plant lift station with estimated peak flow of 167,935 gallons per day.
The improvements would help decrease or eliminate back-ups, improve maintenance and compliance at the wastewater treatment plant, and improve storage capacity while eliminating potential surcharging at the plant lift station.
There were questions about how the project would impact Hanover Beach Hill, the road from the treatment plant to the Hanover Beach community along the Ohio River. Council member Treva Shelton noted it is important to maintain access on that road because residents don’t have other access to their homes.
“We will do our best so it’s not closed completely,” said Castro Jackson. She said there could be instances when only one lane might open, and there could be delays as flaggers alternate traffic during work periods.
In another matter related to the town’s water service, the council approved up to $7,000 for a federally mandated Risk and Resilience Assessment required for community water systems serving more than 3,300 people. Town attorney Devon Sharpe recommended the council conduct the assessment due to the town’s population of 3,546 being slightly more than the requirement.
“This is an unfunded mandate by the federal government,” said Tyler Graves, business development representative for Wessler Engineering. He noted that communities that do not comply with the RRA certification face the possibility of a civil penalty not to exceed $57,317 for each day in which a violation occurs. The deadline for submitting certification of completion is June 30. The RRA also includes an emergency response plan that includes strategies and resources to improve resilience including physical security and cyber security.