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April 23, 2013

Petition presented at Sunman mtg. to remove clerk-treasurer

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer


Sunman town resident, Dale Ellinghausen, pictured standing, presents the Sunman Town Council with a petition calling for the removal of clerk-treasurer Kris Schneider. Seated are town attorney Amy Streator and council memer, Harvey Dobson.

At the Sunman Town Board meeting on Thursday, April 18, one town resident submitted a petition to oust the clerk-treasurer and verbally called out for the resignation of the town marshal and town council president.

Dale Ellinghausen presented the town council with a petition containing 50 signatures asking for the removal of Clerk-Treasurer Kris Schneider.

Ellinghausen told council members that they want Schneider out of office. He went on to say that he has been a resident of Sunman for 36 years and heard from a state representative in Oldenburg that the Town of Sunman has a "bad name," because of Schneider.

Schneider was arrested in December 2012 for misusing the town's credit card to purchase personal items between March 2009 and March 2011, totaling $3,600. The probable cause affidavit shows that Schneider made full restitution of the amount in May 2012, prior to her arrest. The matter is set for jury trial in Ripley County on November 19.

Amy Streator, town attorney, asked Ellinghausen if he understood that Schneider is not a town employee and that the clerk-treasurer is not under the town's control. Ellinghausen said he did.

County Councilman Mark Horstman also addressed the council, saying that the people of Sunman took it upon themselves to put this petition together and felt they should be heard. This prompted Council President Wayne Jenner to ask Horstman if he was even from Sunman. Horstman said that he was not, but has fielded 25-30 calls at his office from people in the town with concerns about this issue and they asked him to be there for them.

Jenner responded by asking Horstman if he has ever made a mistake that he is sorry for, to which Horstman said of course he had.

"I have sat on this board for over 20 years and no one works harder for this community than she (Kris) does. She's made mistakes and has made full restitution to this town," Jenner said. "At this point, we can't do anything about it. She is an elected official and the decision is up to the courts."

Horstman then requested a public apology or statement from Schneider, to which Jenner responded by saying she cannot make a public statement while the matter is still in the courts.

Ellinghausen then informed Jenner that a lot of people are calling for his resignation, also. Jenner told Ellinghausen that was fine and asked him if he wanted the job. Ellinghausen said he'd take it in a "New York minute" if his eyesight was better.

Earlier on in the meeting, Town Marshall Bill Dramann presented his monthly report. Once he was finished, Ellinghausen voiced issues he has with people speeding down Washington Street and Dramann not doing "anything about it."

"You should be fired!" yelled Ellinghausen. He told council members the town needs a new marshal. Council told Ellinghausen they would take his comments under advisement. Dramann did not respond to Ellinghausen.

Dramann's report included: five VIN checks, 27 traffic stops, two citations, one agency assist, eight investigations, two citizen complaints, two domestic disputes, one fight call, one welfare check, two charges filed, two criminal arrests, two warrants served, two dog complaints, two civil processes, one gun permit, three suspended vehicles, one lockout, one criminal mischief, five theft reports, one business alarm, one special detail, two persons incarcerated, one traffic detail, six bicycle warnings, one trespassing, two 10-46 vehicles, two meetings, 90.30 reserve hours worked, and a combined total of 1,518 miles driven in all three police vehicles.

Ruth Sieg, organizer of the "Salute a Soldier 5K," to be held September 7, was at the meeting to seek the town's support for the walk/run. Sieg said she will be asking the police and fire department for their assistance in blocking off roads and directing traffic during the event. She hopes that residents who live along the 5K route will display their flag, and if they have a family member serving or who has served, to display the name on their front porch and show their patriotism.

Sieg told council that she is a 15-year resident of Penntown, but considers Sunman to be her home. She expressed heartfelt thanks to the town for the patriotism and support shown to her family when her brother, Tony Sieg, lost his life in Afghanistan and his body was brought back home one day before his 19th birthday. Sieg said the 5K is her way of thanking the town for being there and honoring Tony and the family the way they did during that time.

The 5K is being sponsored by the Sunman American Legion and will precede the annual Wine and Fireworks Festival. A special military tribute is also planned. Sieg said that a wheelchair division has also been added. All ages are welcome to sign up. Awards will be presented for overall top men and women walkers and runners, plus the top three in each age group participating.

Proceeds from the event will support the Tony Sieg Scholarship Fund. For information or questions on how to sign up, email Sieg at ritaseig@etczone.com or call her at 812-209-9945. Town council told Sieg that she has their support, 100 percent.

Pat Scharf with the Sunman Beautification Committee requested permission from the town to place a memorial park bench in honor of Ginger Hartman in front of the ROD building. Scharf said they have received a lot of donations and felt a bench would be fitting to honor Hartman. She said the bench will be inscribed to say, "In loving memory of our friend, Ginger Hartman."

Ruth Riehle addressed the town council with four questions. Her first request was for a copy of the mobile home report recently received by the town and presented at the meeting, to which council had no objections. She then asked if the hole in the road near another town resident's home had been repaired. The response was that it had not.

Riehle then asked if Concepts Industrial has applied for any more building permits or plans, to which council told her they had not. Riehle also asked what the legal situation was with Schneider. Atty. Streator told her that it depends on the judge.

Resident Denny Larkin was in attendance to see if council had acted on his request at the March meeting to have a mailbox at his residence. Board member, Jared Wolf, told Larkin that 38 houses were counted in that area and they are looking at putting one cluster box up at Taylor and Kuebel streets and another at Neiman and Maple streets. Schneider plans to mail out letters to the residents to make sure that all of them are in favor of having a mailbox in lieu of their free post office box.

Council reported that it has received the report back from the engineer for the Safe Routes to School. The environmental report has been submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation. They are waiting on the categorical environmental report to be approved in order to proceed with the right-of-way work. Schneider said things are on schedule, adding they plan to let it out for bids in May 2014 and completion by August 2014.

Next on the agenda was an inspection report from the State Board of Health regarding the mobile home park in the town. Jenner told those in attendance that anyone interested could have a copy of the report. Findings stated that the mobile home park is in "reasonable compliance." Schneider contacted the health inspector and told her that even though the report says they are in "reasonable compliance," they are still an eyesore. Their response was that they handle a checklist, not the cosmetic end of anything.

Jenner turned to Atty. Streator to see if there was a particular ordinance that they could use to get the owners of the trailers in the mobile home park to take care of the issues. Streator suggested that if they are dealing with a nuisance ordinance, to send them a letter, adding that the ordinances are very specific on how to proceed. Then, if after they follow this procedure, and it's still a problem, the town would have to file a suit.

Terry Knueven, utility manager, reported the new casing is currently being installed in well no. five. A video had shown a hole in the screen half the size of a baseball which had allowed seven-and-a-half feet of gravel to pull through it. The new casing will block off the short section of screen and a smaller pump is being installed. The project is costing an additional $10,000.00.

Other business conducted included:

• A clean-up day at the community park is scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday, May 4. Scharf asked that all who attend bring a broom.

• Council approved for Schneider to get a price from All Shred to destroy old documents from the 40s through 60s that are taking up space in the garage.

• Council again tabled its decision on what to do with the Quality of Life Fund amount of $886.33 from the Ripley County Community Foundation.

• Council unanimously approved Knueven to obtain quotes on a mobile generator due to being close to backing up.

The next regular meeting of the Sunman Town Council will be at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 16, at the Sunman Town Hall.

Sheriff's office investigating daytime burglaries in Adams, Franklin Twps.

Wanda English Burnett

According to information from the Ripley County Sheriff's Office, they have been investigating several daytime burglaries in both Adams and Franklin townships.

The sheriff notes that it is not clear if any of the burglaries are related, but, there is a consistency in the items taken from the homes, which include: jewelry, flat screen televisions, other electronics, and prescription pain medicine.

There are no suspects however the police are working with other agencies to develop similarities in burglaries and to match evidence as they develop possible leads.

Burglaries have taken place in the areas of CR 1100 North, CR 500 east, CR 800 N and CR 700 N.

In a statement by Sheriff Tom Grills, he said, "It is difficult for our small agency to isolate extra patrols to these specific areas, especially when our commissioners are cutting costs to the sheriff's office in several ways. It appears to me that public safety, increased manpower, and equipment to the sheriff's office is not a priority to the commissioners. The sheriff's office has a large county to cover with very little manpower. We are doing the best we can."

The sheriff urged the public to assist the sheriff's office in being diligent and paying close attention to activity in your neighborhood. He noted that people should hide valuables in their homes, and secure residences.

If you are a victim of a burglary do not enter your home, or leave the residence immediately so that evidence will not be destroyed.

For more information you can contact the sheriff at 812-689-5555 or 812-689-5558. You can also email the sheriff's office at: sheriff@ripleycounty.com and remain anonymous.

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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