|Boxes and boxes of fresh vegetables were loaded onto pallets in the warehouse at Just for Him Ministries at the Osgood warehouse facility. Those involved with distributing the food will pull onto a loading dock and fill their vehicles and then bless others with the gift of having nutritious food. WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO|
|A large crowd attended the fraud awareness program hosted by the Napoleon State Bank on April 11 . There are a variety of frauds in the area and just when you think you know the ones that are going around, another one surfaces. Chris Bedel of Bedel Security shared his expertise regarding online security. JARED ROGERS PHOTO|
Moritz ‘Mo’ Wiesmüller (pronounced ‘Vees-moola’) is all smiles. Even after an hour of questioning by a novice journalist, ‘Mo,’ as his American family and friends call him, bounds with energy and grins from ear to ear. It doesn’t take many questions to see that this young man is ambitious, and that we citizens of Ripley County are fortunate to know him.
JARED ROGERS PHOTO
Pictured left, Moritz ‘Mo’ Wiesmüller stands center with his host siblings, Trent and Lindsey Linville. Youngest daughter, Lydia, is not pictured.
Mo, a 15-year-old junior at Jac-Cen-Del High School, is participating in a foreign-exchange student program and living with the Linville family of Osgood. In Europe, a German organization known as StepIn corresponded with Programs for Academic Exchange (PAX), located in the U.S., to place Mo in our home community. Surprisingly, Mo only learned of his placement family a mere five days before boarding a plane in his native Vienna, a historic city of over 1.7 million.
“It came up in the summer of 2016 that I learned about the program and really wanted to do it. It’s an expensive investment; so, to show my mother I was serious, I worked all summer to prove my ethic,” Mo relates. He spent his summer assisting older adults, teaching them practical ways to utilize computers through the Austrian Computer Society. Additionally, he attended training sessions with StepIn that aimed to prepare students for the responsibility and challenge of integrating into foreign cultures.
Essential to his endeavor, Mo has learned to read, write and speak English fluently. His native tongue is German, but he has studied English for six years. “Most schools in Austria offer English language but some teach French first,” Mo says. His school in Austria, a specialized facility, conducts 80 percent of their school day in the English language. Besides language, Mo believes the most important cultural barrier to overcome concerns relationships. If one is to be successful, Mo states, “You have to communicate. You have to spend time with others and build positive relationships.” Such advice spans all ages and cultures.
Humorously, he adds, “The most surprising part [of the culture in Osgood] are the roads. They are really big and the only transportation here is cars.” In Vienna, Mo is used to utilizing public transportation, most often the subway, and also walking. He especially enjoys his walks to school with his little sister. “She’s proud of me, and she brags about me back home,” Mo shares about his younger sister, Fanny. He is also grateful for the support of the rest of his family, including his parents and grandparents. “My grandparents, Klaus and Birgid, are influential in my life,” Mo proclaims, “I visit them every week, which isn’t that common in Austria.”
Mo has developed a supportive ‘family’ in Osgood too, feeling right at home with the Linville’s consisting of mom and dad, Liz and Brandon, son Trent, and daughters Lindsey and Lydia. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mo was in need of a host family switch soon after his arrival to the states. Liz, who studied multiculturalism in college and taught English for a time in Spain, always had the thought in her mind to host a foreign student, but didn’t expect it to happen this way. “God has a wonderful sense of humor,” Liz recounts, “We didn’t plan on hosting a student, but Trent made a connection with Mo at school, and it felt like the right decision.”
Ironically, new friends Mo and Trent share the same birthday, May 16, and according to Liz, “They are like brothers from different countries.” They both enjoy playing soccer and taking the Student Media class at Jac-Cen-Del where creating the yearbook is a responsibility. Mo also competes in track and field for the Eagles where the 400-meter dash is his favorite event.
The family savors the opportunity to provide Mo with lasting memories during his stay. For spring break, they traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida, to visit Bob and Sue Dixon, Liz’s parents. “Mo finds great enjoyment in everything we do,” Liz beams. Mo recalls they were lucky enough to spot dolphins from the beach, a first sighting for him. He is also excited to take a camping trip with the family before he returns to Austria in June.
Beyond returning home, Mo has aspirations for his future. He is interested in studying economics, politics and journalism. He has previously worked at a TV station in Austria and thinks journalism could be a potential career interest. Whichever path Mo pursues, Liz and Brandon believe he has developed qualities needed for success. Brandon remarks, “He’s a good kid; he’s respectful and considerate of others around him.” Liz chimes in, laughing, “Are all kids in Europe like that?” Mo is sure that by the time his plane lands in his home country, he will already miss the people he has bonded with here. “I will take a part of the U.S. culture back with me; not as a tourist, but what it’s really like to live here. I am grateful for my caring [host] family and plan to continue my good relationships with everyone.”
The Linville family and Mo have more to look forward to: son Trent plans to visit his new friend in Austria over summer break. Like the old saying goes: ‘as one door closes, another opens,’ and the two young men relish the chance to continue to learn from one another. Such opportunity benefits communities both near and far. On behalf of those in the Osgood and greater Ripley County community, we wish Mo the best in his schoolwork and future endeavors.
At the April meeting the Board of Trustees of the Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation will be voting on the proposal from Johnson-Melloh Solutions to provide a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) for Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. The project is scheduled to begin the day after school lets out in May and should be substantially complete by the first teacher day of the 2017-2018 school year on August 1. Johnson-Melloh Solutions has guaranteed that the school building will be cool by that date. The project may be completed in only a few short months, but the process itself began last fall.
Making every effort to be financially responsible, the Board of Trustees chose to implement the design-build approach to the project to replace the elementary school’s original heating and cooling system. In an article in American City and County, Edward J. Pabor and Richard Pennington state that the advantages of a design-build over the traditional design-bid-build project include that the contractor is selected based on qualifications, capabilities, experience and price, thus avoiding some of the pitfalls from contract awards solely based on low price. The design and construction are performed by a single team, under one contract. This reduces the owner’s risk from diffused responsibility for design and construction. Time can be saved because ordering of materials and site work begin before the total design is complete. There is a close, contractual relationship between the design and construction teams, resulting in fewer change orders. Overall, design-build contracting has greater potential to save time and reduce cost.
On this particular project, a Request For Qualifications/ Request For Proposal was created by Lancer + Beebe Architects and advertised in local newspapers. Once proposals were received they were scored by a Technical Review Committee composed of architect Mark Beebe, mechanical engineer Tom Durkin, Board President Travis Neal, Board Member Jim Westerman, Maintenance Director Bill Craddock, and myself.
Before scoring the proposals, prospective contractors provided the Technical Review Committee with presentations detailing their proposals. The committee members individually rated the proposals according to a 100-point rubric and the scores were averaged. In the board meeting on April 6, the price proposals from prospective contractors were opened and divided by the average score established by the Technical Review Committee to establish which proposal was the best value for the project. At that time, the proposal of installing vertical climate control units in each classroom from Johnson-Melloh Solutions was determined to be the best value.
Local banks have been contacted in regard to the sale of general obligation bonds that will be sold to finance the project. A 1028 hearing for this project will be held at the April meeting with representatives from Umbaugh and Associates explaining the financial implications. The Board of Trustees have taken a financially responsible approach to replacing the original 27 year-old HVAC system of the elementary. Upon completion of the project prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the classroom temperatures will be more efficiently maintained resulting in a more optimal and comfortable learning environment as well as the realization of a substantial reduction in energy costs.