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June 28, 2012

Ripley County LCC holds annual meeting Group continues to work to prevent substance abuse

Wanda English Burnett

A recent study on substance abuse shows that one out of six Ripley County adults reported that they had friends or family members who had experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers. One in ten adults in the county reported binge drinking in the 30 days before the survey.

With those numbers firmly in hand, Paula Goodpaster, coordinator of the Ripley County Local Coordinating Council Against Substance Abuse,(LCC) knows the coalition's work is cut out for them.

The annual meeting of the LCC was held June 21 with Goodpaster telling those in attendance that things have changed for the better over the years as far as LCC's work in the community. She said while they aren't completely recognized, they are becoming more known. She also alluded to the media by passing around an Osgood Journal with a story about a heroin bust published. She thanked the media outlets, saying they have helped get the word out about what the LCC is doing and why.

She noted that people are more involved and was thankful for that

Amy Phillips of the YES home said, "Paula is doing a full time job for part time pay." She continued by saying LCC is now pursuing a grant to change that. "We want our communities to be safe," she noted, adding, "We don't want to be known as the ‘heroin capital'.

Kurt Enneking, investigator for the Ripley County Prosecutor's Office and a part of LCC, facilitated the meeting and gave problems, goals and objectives for the next year.

In Enneking's report he noted that illegal use of prescription drugs, marijuana, and heroin is a pressing problem in the county. To add to the problem, finding treatment for addiction, which is accessible and affordable is also a problem. The third identifying problem is that residents in the county minimize or (understate) the abuse of alcohol and tobacco.

Goals LCC has set forth include: improve tracking of specific drug use, reduce recidivism by drug abusers, increase treatment options and providers in the county and make them affordable.

More goals would include increasing the awareness of problems in the community from the misuse and abuse of substances, increase awareness of available support and treatment that is already available, increase support and involvement in the schools and increase youth involvement with the coalition to help with prevention in schools and the community.

One of those goals is being realized as a youth coalition has been formed.

Objectives include: broadening the community survey, conducting training, events, and public meetings, continuing to work with the media, the development of a website and Facebook page and working toward collaboration between court and treatment, investigate and develop a drug court.

Enneking's report went on to say they need to develop a regular ongoing reporting system with partners to gather data and look for ways to pay for treatment for those who cannot pay.

Two other things the coalition will work toward is to select youth leaders and develop agreements with schools. They will also apply for a Drug Free Community Grant.

Amy Phillips talked about how some of the school corporations are getting enthused about the group. She gave high praise for Jac-Cen-Del's new superintendent, Dr. Leanna Phillippe, saying, she is truly involved and interested in working with the coalition. Batesville has already been on board, and South Ripley has also recently come on board. Amy reported she would talk with Milan's superintendent Dr. Thomas Reale and hopes they will complete the circle of all schools working toward the same goal with the coalition.

Pamplets were given out on alcohol and drug abuse.

Findings from the Greater Cincinnati Survey commissioned by The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati were reported for Ripley County.

Alcohol, used in the right manner, is perfectly legal. However, it is no secret that it falls into the hands of those who are underage. Also, if the survey is correct, it means that one in ten adults are binge drinking in this area, which is defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion for woman and five or more drinks on one occasion for men.

Smoking is another issued that was brought up at the LCC meeting. Goodpaster was thankful for the new no-smoking law for Indiana coming up July 1. This means smokers will not be allowed to light up in any public place other than a bar or club and then in a designated area. ATC Officer Chuck Peters was in attendance at the LCC meeting and said there were varying degrees of fines and penalties for smoking where you're not supposed to be and they would be carried out.

The problem of prescription drug abuse continues to hurt those who indulge. It is common, easily accessible and can take place behind the scenes, until someone has to be transported to a hospital or worse.

Prescription drugs have been around for years and are safe when used as directed. However, when they are not used are prescribed, serious adverse health problems can arise.

One in five reported that they had friends and family members who abuse prescription pain relievers. There is good news. For residents who have a medicine cabinet full of unused prescription medicine, they can get rid of them easily and safely.

There are take-back programs through several venues, pharmacies and always at the Ripley County Sheriff's Office, Versailles. Also, the Batesville Police Department has an ongoing take-back program. Get the medicine out of your house!

LCC is committed to working alongside many in the community to reach their goals as outlined above.

The 2012 Ripley County LCC grants awarded were: $10,000 for prevention going to the Choice Program at Batesville Community School Corporation; Youth Mentoring, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati; Reaching the Community, Prevent Child Abuse in Ripley County, United Families and FIRE, One Community One Family; Exploratory Committee: Drug Courts in Ripley County, Ripley County Prosecutor's Office; and Random Drug Testing, South Ripley School Corp. (holding for school board approval).

LCC awarded treatment grants in the amount of $9,000 to United Families and FIRE and Exploratory Committee: Drug Courts in Ripley County. Grants for law enforcement in the amount of $10,000 went to: Forensic Cellular Data Extraction Device, Batesville Police Department; Indiana State Police's D42 K-9 replacement, Indiana State Police Alliance Foundation and Exploratory Committee: Drug Court in Ripley County through the prosecutor's office.

Prosecutor Ric Hertel released this statement, "Approximately two-thirds of all criminal cases filed in Ripley County have an underlying component" of drugs or alcohol. This includes the traditional drug and alcohol crimes, but also violent and property crimes that are fuled by drug use."

He went on to say the influx of heroin from the Cincinnati area and the abuse of prescription medications are the biggest concerns for the community.

"The prosecutor's office believes that the continued interdiction efforts of the Indiana State Police and the use of K-9s by area law enforcement such as Batesville and Milan police departments, are steps in the right direction," Hertel noted. He concluded by saying his office is currently exploring community-based alternatives for drug offenders that include Community Corrections and a Drug Court.

Those interested in learning more about the LCC can contact Goodpaster at 812-212-8406 or ripleylcc@hotmail.com.

Editor's Note: Watch for more stories concerning alternative sentencing and a drug court in upcoming issues of the paper.


Pictured at left, Osgood Town Marshal Eric Rousch, reads the Osgood Journal after Paula Goodpastor, coordinator of the Ripley County LCC group, showed a story at the annual meeting and told the group how important the media is to their progress.

Personnel issues approved at SR June meeting

Karen Reynolds
Contributing Writer

At the South Ripley School Board meeting on June 18 unanimous approval was given to accept the resignation of Karen Halcomb-Hafft effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Prior to this, Halcomb-Hafft had requested a leave of absence, which had been continued for several meetings.

In other personnel changes, the following were approved unanimously:

• Retirement of Bob Meyer, high school principal, at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

• Matthew Gadberry to fill the position of art teacher at the junior/senior high school effective with the 2012-2013 school year.

• Jessica McConnell to fill the position of extra-curricular varsity volleyball coach for the 2012-2013 school year.

• David Baugh to fill the extra-curricular position of varsity boys soccer coach for the 2012-2013 school year.

• Resignation of Wendy Meyer from the position of 7th grade girls basketball coach, effective immediately.

• Resignation of Travis Wrightsman from the position of varsity baseball coach, effective immediately.

• Todd Callahan and Jill Moore will be summer school bus drivers for July 25-27, 2012.

Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, school lunch prices will increase by 10 cents per lunch, due to equity requirements from the state and federal governments. An adult lunch will also increase from 2.75 to 3.00.

Under financial concerns, the following items were approved unanimously:

• Daily rates will be used for bus driver compensation effective July 1, 2012. New rural daily rates were established at $66.45, while town rates are $56.10. The proposed daily rates include compensation for all time involved including driving, fueling, cleaning, and pre and post trip bus inspections. Special Needs, preschool and Career Center routes will remain hourly, but will be adjusted to a new bus driver hourly rate of $18.70.

• Textbook rental fees for all schools were approved. Parents have the option to pay for books with credit cards at registration for the 2012-2013 school year.

• The art textbook committee approved materials to be used ongoing for this next school year.

• Approval to purchase two heated pass-thru cabinets and a dishwasher for the Elementary Cafeteria from H & H Products at the cost of $33,303.16, which will be paid for with cafeteria funds. This will include a guarantee that no charges will be submitted for any service calls or labor fees as long as South Ripley owns the equipment.

• Approval of a resolution to transfer $300,000.00 from the General Fund to the Rainy Day Fund. The Rainy Day Fund's purpose is for retirement/severance pay for staff and for the purpose of purchasing new school buses. After an appeal, the new maximum levy approved by the state of Indiana for bus replacements is not enough to fund needed bus replacement needs. If there should be a need for additional transfer to the Rainy Day Fund, this will be reviewed in November 2012.

• The tax draw from the county was received in the amount of $2,025,212.00, which represents a 58.5% property tax collection for 2012.

Board member Randy McIntosh, on behalf of the Administrative Non-Certified Committee, made the recommendation to rollover the contracts for the administrative non-certified staff which includes contracts for Principal Mark Collier, Assistant Principal Amy Linkel, Junior High Principal Rod Hite and Business Manager Lana Miller. In addition, Technology Director, Bob Dicken, has his contract extended to December 31, 2012.

In other news:

Annual approval was given for the school superintendent to attend the budget hearings and make appropriate changes to lines 1 & 2 of the submitted 2013 state budget, in all funds at any time during the budget process.

Board members wished Dr. John Mehrle the best as he leaves South Ripley to be a superintendent elsewhere.

Work is ongoing to hire a superintendent to replace Mehrle.

New smoking law takes effect Sunday

Wanda English Burnett

On Sunday, July 1 the anti-smoking legislation that Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law will take effect.

With few exceptions, the law prohibits smoking in places of employment and public places and areas within eight feet of an entrance to such a place.

Places of employment are described as all enclosed areas where people are employed, but excludes private vehicles.

A public place is an enclosed area of a structure in which the public is invited or permitted.

Establishments that are conditionally excepted from coverage include bars, riverboats, and certain fraternal clubs, but the law will apply to all Indiana employers.

Also, the law requires an "owner, operator, manager, or official in charge of a public place or place of employment" to remove ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia from areas where smoking is prohibited. These people are also responsible to post conspicuous signs at each public entrance to a "no-smoking area." The signs must read "State law prohibits smoking within 8 feet of this entrance" or other, similar language.

Employers must inform each of their current and prospective employees about the smoking situation.

Further, outdoor smoking areas are not prohibited, as long as they are more than eight feet from a public entrance and are not themselves enclosed.

The above mentioned responsible parties for putting up signage are also responsible to tell someone if they are caught smoking, they need to quit. If the person does not comply, they must be asked to leave, even if that means law enforcement has to become involved.

The new law also prohibits any discrimination and retaliation for reporting a violation.

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission is primarily charged with enforcing this new law. However, local health departments, along with law enforcement officers and others are also allowed to enforce it.

Violating the law is an infraction that is punishable by fines up to $1,000 each.

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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