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March 20, 2012

Suspected drug activity can now be reported by calling a toll-free number

Wanda English Burnett


There are three things using drugs usually leads to: first, maybe a high, then perhaps jail time comes next, followed by death. That's if you do not get any help for the situation. That help could include intervention on the part of many people, or perhaps a phone call.

The Ripley County Prosecutor's office has created a toll-free tip line where concerned citizens and members of the community can now inform law enforcement of any suspected drug activity in Ripley County. The phone line will be directed to the prosecutor's resource officer, who will field all calls and messages. This information will be kept strictly confidential.

Right now you can call toll-free: 1-855-812-DRUG if you have a tip for law enforcement.

The overall goal of the tip line is to create a streamlined resource for law enforcement agencies in the county. "With all tips and information being filtered through the prosecutor's office, our goal is to better connect resources to combat the growing heroin and drug problem in Ripley County," noted Prosecutor Ric Hertel. He went on to say, "In short-term;, our goal is to post the number on all county school web sites and in several Ripley County publications. Long-term goals would be expand the reach of the tip line to be a "general" tip line, where community leaders and concerned citizens can phone in their concerns."

According to Dr. John Mehrle, superintendent of South Ripley schools, he has been on board since the beginning of getting the tip line up and running. He said the information about the tip line will be posted on the school's web site and will be sent out in school newsletters.The email is ripleycountytips@gmail.com. "Additionally, we have a "Report a Bully" anonymous link on our own school website," Dr. Mehrle told The Versailles Republican.

Dr. Mehrle noted, "Our School Improvement Committee has been working diligently to develop comprehensive anti-bullying and drug-prevention programs to ensure that our students have a safe school environment."

The committee at South Ripley consists of the superintendent, Dan Goris SR resource officer; Joe Mann, Versailles Town Marshal; Rodney Hite, South Ripley Junior High Principal; Melanie Evans, South Ripley teacher;Kate Bumgarner, Ripley County Deputy Prosecutor; and Shannon Schmaltz, Ripley County Chief Probation Officer. This committee meets on a regular basis and is looking for parents who might also like to serve on the committee. The hot line is just part of a comprehensive effort to safeguard the next generation.

Now it's up to you.

You are urged to call the tip line or contact law enforcement if you know of drug activity in your area.

Please be a part of this concerted effort to make the community the best it can be and safe for our children.

Drug dealers have no preference. They will sell to anyone. Drugs are never friendly-they have no boundaries and cross continents to reach their destination.

The above people are in place to help. They are concerned adults who know there is a drug problem and want to see it curbed quickly. Take advantage of their efforts and become part of the group.

Lilly Endowment grants $3.15 million

Wanda English Burnett

Six counties in Indiana, Ripley being one of them, will benefit from a generous grant or $3.15 million made from the Lilly Endowment Inc. according to information from the Indiana Association of United Ways (IAUW)

A meeting was held at the Holton Community Center last week with Sally Morris, executive director of the Ripley County Community Foundation in attendance to help with any questions concerning the grant money.

Morris noted, "In Ripley County, the Ripley County Community Foundation will be applying for and administering this grant. The Foundation will rely on the Long Term Disaster Committee in Holton to areas and determine needs."

She went on to say, "On behalf of the residents of Holton, the Foundation is grateful for everyone who continues to donate their time, energy and money for this cause."

Rachel Grossman, who is a loan documentation manager for The Friendship State Bank and the treasurer for the Holton Fire Department, where a fund has been set up, noted she was happy to be working with Morris. "She has so much experience and expertise, we are lucky to have her," she commented.

There is significant recovery ahead for the six counties mentioned and Ripley County will only get a portion of the money. However, it's a wonderful blessing that will hopefully leave no one behind when it's all said and done.

Cynthia Melton, township trustee, said the outpouring from other communities has been phenomenal. Bob McCreary, minister of the Holton Christian Church, who also has a fund set up people can give to, said the community has been blessed by the giving of others.

IAUW said they expect to offer startup grants immediately. These grants will provide up to $50,000 in flexible funding to local United Ways and in some cases to community foundations. This funding can be used for assistance in planning and facilitation efforts related to organizing and prioritizing a county's needs for long-term support from subsequent funding.

"The Endowment has been pleased with IAUW's administration of past Endowment-funded disaster recovery efforts," said N. Clay Robbins, president of the Endowment. "We believe the impact of disaster-recovery efforts are enhanced when local community organizations are involved in their design and execution."

The Indiana Association of United Ways has a history of a great working relationship with Lilly Endowment and many communities across the state.

The Holton community had already established a committee for various needs. This includes people in the Dabney area and up to the house on US 421 that was demolished by the March 2 tornado.

They have been trying to keep things organized, listening to people who have been through such disasters, and in some instances "muddling our way through" Melton noted. While she said some people might not think their decisions are perfect, they are working with a heart of love and doing the best they can at this time

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.

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