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July 31, 2012

Holton Long Term Recovery Group moves forward addressing unmet needs for community

Volunteers and staff of the Holton Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) are working together to address unmet needs in Ripley County as the area recovers from the March 2 tornado.

The LTRG has mobilized volunteers and resources in an organized manner to provide assistance to individuals and families who continue to have unmet needs after pursuing insurance, FEMA, and other means of assistance.

Holton’s staff consists of a case manager, Cynthia Melton, who helps each family affected by the disaster to develop a recovery plan by assessing needs, verifying assistance, and advocating for resources; construction manager, Darin Kroger, who oversees home repair and rebuilding projects; and a volunteer manager, Philip Deiwert, who recruits and coordinates volunteer groups, matching skills and experience to community needs.

The LTRG staff has received both training and support from Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other partners, including United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Catholic Charities, Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES) and United Way.

Holton LTRG has received extensive support from Holton Christian Church, Hopewell Baptist Church, St. John’s Catholic Church, Catholic Charities, Holton Fire Department the Town of Holton, American Red Cross and many other organizations.

The Lilly Endowment donated $3.15 million to be put towards the recovery efforts in the five Indiana counties affected by the March 2 storms; in addition to Ripley County, Clark, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties will receive funds distributed by the IND Fund. The Holton recovery project was recently awarded an initial grant out of those funds, which will be used for demolition, debris removal, and leveling and grading of properties that were severely damaged during the storm. Demolition contracts were awarded to two local contractors and work has already begun to ready the lots for rebuilding.

You can help by donating construction materials, tools, labor or furniture. Additionally, cash donations can be accepted through the Ripley County Community Foundation, which is serving as the group’s fiscal agent.

Volunteers are also needed. The LTRG is currently scheduling both skilled and unskilled volunteers to help with demolition and rebuilding projects through the fall. They also need volunteers with specific skills to serve on various committees - including individuals with expertise in real estate, insurance, legal, financial management and construction.

If you would like to be involved in the recovery efforts, please call the Holton Long Term Recovery office at 812-689-1300, or email the group at Holton.LTR@gmail.com.

Versailles Fire Chief expresses concerns about smoke detectors

Wanda English Burnett

At the July meeting of the Versailles Town Council, Chief Ben Sieverding noted that he was concerned about missing smoke detectors at the Tanglewood Apartments.

Sieverding said he has spoken to Heart House about the smoke detectors and if they do not comply with getting them in place, he will contact the state fire marshal’s office.

At the meeting Sieverding also reported that Jamie Vest has resigned from the Versailles Volunteer Fire Department. He also noted that he will speak to a representative from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation if necessary to give additional information for the grant he submitted for new fire sirens.

In other business:

• Minutes from the previous meeting were read and approved with a correction from John Holzer. He said he stated in the previous meeting that the town board would like the rummage sale items cleaned out of the Tyson Auditorium in 30-60 days, not 30 days as recorded in the minutes. It was decided that the board would request the items be removed by the middle of August.

• The condition of a property on North Monroe Street brought a citizen to the meeting. They noted the property has become unsightly and is affecting the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Town Superintendent Kevin Hensley noted he has spoken with the owner, who claims he is working on cleaning it up. Now, the clerk-treasurer, Kiersten Libby will talk with attorney Larry Eaton to see about sending a formal notice to the property owner.

• Marshal Joe Mann asked the council if the police department could request money from the Tyson Fund to supplement costs for the school resource officer. Holzer noted that no further funding could be applied for until the new superintendent is installed at the school.

• The marshal also gave a report of a number of complaints coming in concerning stray dogs and cats.

• Hensley reported water leaks, noted that a new employee has been hired for seasonal mowing, and asked about purchasing additional sprinkler systems for the sports complex since the summer has been so dry. He suggested the council request money from the Tyson Fund for a new jetter and camera system.

• Libby presented a request for re-zoning lot #23 in the Smith Addition from R-3 Residential to Local Business. The council unanimously voted to grant this request.

• A request from LifeTime Resources for funding from the town was unanimously denied.

• Holzer suggested requesting money from the Tyson Fund for remodeling the old firehouse to create a new town hall/community center. He stated that a decision needs to be made to renovate and use the property or sell it. Council President Sue Meisberger suggested checking into grants for a new town hall. Holzer said he would like to get a revised estimate on the cost of renovation and hold a special meeting to discuss it.

• Council member Steve Mathes reported that a grant for the proposed walking/bike trails has been submitted and the committee should hear something by September.

The next meeting of the Versailles Town Council will be held August 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the town hall.

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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