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May 2, 2013

Co-op watch program effective Anhydrous ammonia thief caught

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

Thanks to a phone call and quick thinking from a member of the Neighborhood Watch Committee at Laughery Valley Co-Op, Osgood, another meth manufacturer, distributor is behind bars at the Ripley County Jail.

Aubrey E. Roberts, New Richmond, OH, had no idea what he had gotten himself into when he went on to the co-op property and stole anhydrous ammonia, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Sheriff's deputies and officers from the Osgood Police Department, along with officers from the Indiana State Police, responded to the call around 10:30 p.m. in response to a complaint of a vehicle parked in the driveway of the business with a male subject acting suspicious around the said vehicle.

Deputy Steve Sullivan located the vehicle in the vicinity of the co-op and began following it. He eventually attempted to pull the vehicle over. This caused the driver to flee. Following a short pursuit, the vehicle came to a stop and Roberts was taken into custody. A search of the vehicle turned up a modified tank that was later determined to contain anhydrous ammonia.

"This is an excellent case of our community paying attention to their neighborhoods and calling when they see something out of place," said Sheriff Tom Grills. Grills also thanked deputies and supporting officers for their efforts in stopping the theft. The case remains under investigation.

Members of the public who are witness to or suspect illegal activity are encouraged to call their local police or the Ripley County Sheriff's Office at 812-689-5558 or 812-689-5555.

Reports can also be sent via email to the sheriff at sheriff@ripleycounty.com. Anyone with information on this incident or any other crime can remain anonymous.

Probation discusses heroin problem EMS ask for help with fees

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer


Pictured left from left Brian Hardebeck with Batesville Rescue 10 and Charlie Cozart, with Rescue 69 address the commissioners about a growing problem concerning operating funds.

Dale Holbert, Rescue 30, came before commissioners at the April 15 meeting, to request the $150 county Medic fee be waived, as it exceeds what rescue units get from private insurance and Medicare. Holbert said they are struggling and currently spend $330,000 a year to provide good quality medical care. He said they are forced to pay Medic without a guarantee of funds and have to" take the brunt of it."

Reiners told Holbert that commissioners want to help, but the fee is part of the 2013 budget. Holbert said he wasn't asking the county for more money, just to waive the fee so EMS can continue to provide good, quality service, while maintaining its equipment.

Representatives from Rescue 69 and Rescue 20 reported the same issue, and said Batesville is having the same problem. Commissioner Gary Stutler asked Jim Corbin, EMS director, how commissioners can help. Corbin said they could reduce the fee to the original amount of $100, drop it or split billing out between the county and EMS. Reiners said they, too, are providing a service and need to make something from it. He said adjustments to the fee would be made when they look at the 2014 budget.

Jim Freeman of EMS billing presented a form for approval allowing reimbursement from Medicare for the billing service. Freeman said Medicare reimbursement does not cover a rescue unit call. A combined total of calls for all units was 2,138 in 2012. Freeman said this is half the call-volume necessary to break even. It was reported 1,000 runs have been made this year - 500 inter-facility transports and 500 E-911 calls. Reiners signed the form presented by Freeman.

Shannon Schmaltz from the probation department presented commissioners with an outline of the Substance Abuse Program to review. Ordinance 2013-02 was presented by County Attorney John Ertel establishing the Ripley County Substance Abuse Outpatient Program Fund, which was unanimously approved.

Schmaltz said the program is set up to where program participants will have to go through the courts for drug and alcohol treatment. Sessions will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m., totaling 24 sessions in a 12-week period. Fees will be $25 a night with an incentive to reduce the fee to $20 a night if there are no issues, behavioral or other. He stated that if a participant misses two meetings, a warrant will be issued.

"Heroin is a big issue in this county," said Schmaltz. "We are dealing with all types of folks, including nursing students, kids, and others. The success rate for heroin is terrible. I feel the program will make a positive impact on the county."

Kelly Vollet said the fiber optic line for the phones had been cut during parking lot construction between the annex and the sheriff's office. She said it would need to be rebored and the responsible party will have to pay, adding it won't be cheap, as a new line needs to be run. Ertel noted the fiber optic line was in the plans and shouldn't have been cut.

Vollet also presented a quote for $625 a month from Pinnacle for a larger mail machine at the annex. She said the smaller one cannot handle the volume. She suggested moving the smaller one to the courthouse. Vollet said they currently pay Pitney Bowes over $1,000 a month for one they use. Commissioners granted the request to take effect at the end of the year. She also reported a contractor has been called to look at the control panel to the door system at the annex, as it is not working properly.

Phyllis Knueven, owner of All American Vending, came before commissioners to address vending machine stocking and repair issues that were discussed at the April 1 meeting.

Knueven presented a report showing a loss in revenue trying to keep the vending machine fully stocked at the annex, adding that every time the machine is serviced, she has to dispose of many expired items that do not sell. Knueven went on to tell commissioners that she didn't want to stay where she's not wanted and it was costing her more to service the annex machines than what she was making anyway.

Commissioners told Knueven that they didn't want to switch vendors, but wanted the vending machines to be stocked and working properly, as well as the coffee machine. Knueven assured that any future issues with the coffee or vending machines would be promptly addressed. It was decided to continue with All American Vending on a trial basis.

Other business included:

• Warren Bruns of the Parks Department said he met with Patrick Rose of EMA to work on an emergency plan for the park. An ADA ramp is being built for the office building and they are applying for a grant to replace the junior leader shelter. The Farm Club will host a car show at the park this year, in addition to the tractor show.

• County Highway Superintendent Owen Heaton said Fencecraft will begin fence installation the week of April 15 at a cost of $7,628.09.

• The position of bridge foreman will not be filled at this time. The crew will work under the district foreman in their area of assignment.

• Becky Mullins of the maintenance department presented quotes from two cleaning firms to strip and wax courthouse terrazzo flooring. One was from Ultra Clean for $3,389.40 and the other from Clean Right for $925. She was advised to get more quotes and information.

• Tad Brinson of Building and Planning presented a re-zone request, Ordinance no. 2013-03, for commissioners' approval to change the property at 7331 E. State Road 46 in Batesville to general business to accommodate an aerial photography business. Commissioners approved the request. Brinson also requested on behalf of REMC an ordinance requiring a structure vacant for three months to be inspected prior to having it turned back on. The request was denied.

• Patrick Rose with EMA presented a memo of understanding with Ripley County Parks to commissioners for approval. The request was granted.

• Holly Rose with the Health Department presented a bid for an electronic sign to be purchased with funds from a CDC grant for preparedness. The grant is for $118,280. The proposed bid was $999 more than allowed. Rose will get another quote with different options.

• Aaron Bell with Southeast Indiana Solid Waste presented their annual report and updated on the recycling program. There has been an increase in recycling, averaging 427,000 lbs. per year. Future recycling drop-off points are being planned. He said they have given $6,500 back to schools in the school rebate program. Bell also said Holton was a learning experience and they are prepared to estimate the amount of debris that would be created in another disaster,. He also thanked the highway department for their support in the clean-up of some illegal dumping.

• Clerk Mary Ann McCoy asked commissioners to reconsider paying her claim for an overnight stay in Madison for a mandatory district meeting recently. The request had been denied due to the meeting being less than 50 miles from Versailles. McCoy explained it was less expensive to stay than to drive back and forth and weather wasn't good. The request was denied.

• The Ministerial Association was approved to use the courthouse lawn for the National Day of Prayer on May 2.

• Commissioners unanimously approved changing from HC-Gerber Life to HC-Companion Life per recommendation from Toni Stinson of Apex. The new network will allow a 9.4 percent increase for the June 2013/2014 period. Coverage for vision and voluntary life insurance with current companies was renewed.

• Ertel discussed an amendment to the Speed Limit and Maximum Weight Limit Ordinance 2-82 establishing a speed limit of 45 mph on county roads, unless otherwise posted. Weight limits will be the maximum weight limits set forth by Indiana Code IC 9-20-4-1 or as amended thereafter. Commissioners approved the ordinance amendment.

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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