Wednesday, January 17, 2024
County Council Shows Support for Broadband Information
Communication, broadly defined, was the hot topic at last night’s two-hour Shelby County Council meeting. After council president Tony Titus clarified reports of the council’s actions in December and county residents provided thoughts on broadband, the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting further study of broadband access and funding efforts, pending legal notification requirements, and expressed an intent to support a formal Request for Information (RFI) at the February meeting.
With Indiana receiving $868 million in federal high-speed internet funding, counties are moving quickly to qualify for funds. Shelby County Commissioners passed an ordinance in 2021 to qualify for Broadband Ready Certification. The Shelby County Broadband Task Force, headed by former county council member Linda Sanders, now on the Shelbyville common council, has helped spearhead the efforts, resulting in the county receiving Broadband Ready Community certification in August 2022.
The next step is the RFI, beginning the process of gathering information and interest from providers. Titus clarified that the RFI could not legally proceed in December because the cost had not yet been published.
“It is statute we have to have that number advertised to the public before we can move forward,” Titus said. “We were all in favor of doing it.”
He said that council members were well aware of internet connectivity issues in parts of the county. But even with state and federal dollars, the project will not reach everybody and will be costly.
“Before we pony up and open our checkbook for up to $15 million bucks, we figured it prudent to do an RFI with the consultants so we would know what that money is going to go for, areas that we can hopefully target and what is the scope,” Titus said.
Due to an administrative issue, the council could not formally approve the RFI last night, so the resolution was approved to make clear the council’s intent for next month’s meeting following public notice.
Greg Lannan, with KSM, called the RFI process a “fact-finding stage” that will offer insights into potential providers. “You'll find out pretty quick who's serious about making a real investment,” he said.
Reneisha Rudder, an employee of the Southeast Indiana Regional Planning Commission who has been serving with Sanders on the local task force, called on the council to proceed.
“Shelby County’s economic development is at stake, the education of its students is at stake, what residents you’re able to retain and what new residents you’re able to attract in the future is at stake,” she said. “Not to say that everything's 100 percent on internet, but it is one of the most important factors these days.”
Rudder, who said much of the county areas outside Shelbyville are underserved, offered insights into the grant application process, noting that the providers may be the applicants. “So the communities the providers are in will have to work with them to decide which areas will get that funding and get that infrastructure built out,” she said.
Several county residents and school officials shared experiences and insights.
Skylar Aichenger, an IT professional who lives about two miles from Shelbyville, said he has struggled when working from home. In addition to using a cell phone hotspot, among internet options he has tried is a custom-made 3-D printed adapter and a 30-foot flagpole. “It’s better when there are no leaves on the trees,” he said.
Tammy Burgess, Fountaintown, said she used to work in IT but also struggled with lack of access at home. “Having an internet connection is really more of a utility in modern days. It's like electricity, water or sewage. There's not a whole lot you can do without an internet connection.” She added that some big internet companies want 2,000 homes in a compact area in order to provide service. “It is a burden when you live out here in the farm country, but (internet) is no less necessary.”
To some, there’s no need to start from scratch, but to finish what’s been started by private companies. Greg Barger said there is a high-speed internet line just a half-mile from his house. “Everything here is close. We just need to get it,” he said.
Brian Pullin, technology director with Shelby Eastern Schools, said 70 percent of their students do not have adequate broadband. He said Waldron, Morristown and Rays Crossing are all interconnected with a fiber ring, but additional work was needed. “For over 10 years we've seen no fiber expansion. There's plenty of fiber in the ground. There's plenty of fiber on the poles. If we can just get access to it.”
The district tries to avoid e-learning days, Pullin said, and cannot do synchronous learning given the limitations. SES facilities director Jeff Scott said that in the event of an e-learning day, teachers give students two days after coming back to school to complete the work.
North Morristown Road resident and Shelby County Broadband Task Force member Katrina Hall also emphasized the need for education and business opportunities, including agribusiness needs.
Northwestern Consolidated Schools board member Karen Humphreys said 20 percent of their students do not have home access to internet. She has internet at home, but it’s not reliable. Even her efforts to complete the internet speed test were unsuccessful. “(The website) suggested I go to another area to do the speed test,” she said.
Several other residents shared their experiences and encouraged officials to take advantage of federal funding opportunities. Titus said the council was on board, but warned of a “long, drawn-out process” ahead. “I mean, we understand and we’ll work towards it, but there is a process, and it takes time.”
With a resolution and plan for legal notice publication in place, council members intend to proceed in February.
The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce issued a media release announcing the following award recipients and business nominees for this year’s 2024 Chamber Awards Gala: Jody Butts and Sara Lewis, Dick Kitchin Volunteers of the Year; Mike Dooley, Shelby County Community Lifetime Achievement; Dr. Phil Batton (Today’s Dental Care), John A. Hartnett Sr. Business Person; Debra Tracy (Shelby County Development Corporation), Face of Shelby County - Customer Service; John Corn (Morristown Elementary), Golden Apple Outstanding Educator; Debbie Stafford, Outstanding Citizen; Jordan Caldwell, Beau Browning Maverick Award (under 40); Renee Aldridge, Rising Star Award; Tom DeBaun, Pay It Forward; C-Tech Corporation, Seniors Helping Seniors and Sherri’s Heavenly Balloons, Business of the Year; Boys & Girls Club of Shelby County, Canine Castaways Rescue Inc. and Shelby County United Fund for You (SCUFFY), Non-profit Champion.
Mr. Barrett is retiring as the city’s Animal Shelter Coordinator, and he will be replaced by Mr. Barrett. Keith Barrett, who has served as the shelter’s department head for nearly 20 years, will be stepping aside as his son, Adam Barrett, was appointed by Mayor Scott Furgeson to begin today. Adam Barrett is a 2006 Triton Central High School graduate and has worked at Knauf Fiberglass the past seven years. “It’s going to be a transition period,” the younger Barrett said, “but luckily I have a mentor forever, because (Keith) is always going to answer my phone calls.” Barrett is familiar with the building, and will also have the help of Chris Browder, long-time administrative assistant/technician. “The longer she stays, the better for all,” he said. Keith Barrett will remain on board in the short-term to assist with training.
The Shelbyville Board of Works issued orders to appear for the owners of 549 Eastern Ave. and 905 Pike Street regarding trash and debris on the properties.
Mayor Scott Furgeson yesterday noted he had received a letter from George Young regarding the history of the structure at 13-15 W. Broadway, in which he implored the city to preserve the building. Furgeson said the city was still working on a court order regarding access to assess the building’s structure. Young’s business history of the building including the following: 1897 - Young’s Palace Livery, 1913 - John Kuhn Livery, 1915 - Dorsey Feed, 1917 - A.W. Bowen Ford Agency, 1920 - Roy Gable Electric & Deglow & Huber, 1924 - Marshall Bros Garage, 1936, Meloy Bro Advertising & Schlosser Cream Station, 1946 - Meloy Gift Shop, 1952 - Dr. Robert Major, optometrist, 1954 - Dr. Robert Major & Food Plan inc & Farmer Mutual, 1958 - Dr. Robert Major &Pittsburg Plate glass & Farmers Mutual, 1971 - Dr. Robert Major & Adams Paint & Farmers Mutual, and 1975 - Adams Paint.
A vehicle turning left onto W. McKay Road from Miller Ave. struck the stop sign in the intersection. The driver said she and another driver moved the stop sign off the roadway.
Thefts were reported in the 900 block of Belvedere Dr., 700 block of Colescott St., 1900 block of Meridian St. and the 2400 block of Raleigh Blvd., Shelbyville.
A fireworks complaint was logged from the 400 block of W. Taylor St., Shelbyville.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS: In 2022, KFC China sold $100 million worth of New Orleans-style wings, sauces with sugar or honey in vegetable oil with onion powder, garlic powder and a little bit of chili powder. The best part is that New Orleans-style wings were invented in China about 20 years ago by KFC, and there is absolutely no such thing in New Orleans. It’s like a reverse General Tso’s chicken, which was invented in the U.S. for American palates by a Chinese chef. (Wall Street Journal / Numlock)
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This Day in Shelby County History
2014: The Shelbyville Central Schools board elected new officers, with Dr. James Rees elected president, David Finkel as vice-president and Gayle Wiley, board secretary.
2004: The Rotary Club of Shelbyville presented a $10,000 check to the local Salvation Army at a meeting held at Fiddlers Three restaurant. The donation was generated by the Rotary Club’s charity auction and was the largest single such donation in the club’s history. Amy McQueen, auction chair and president-elect, presented the check to Salvation Army Advisory Board chair Scott Mullins and advisory board member Carl Seals.
1994: Rebecca Karnes, of Shelbyville, won a $250 savings account in a National City Bank promotion.
The temperature was 19 degrees below zero, according ot the Shelbyville Wastewater Treatment Plan thermometer, an official National Weather Service observation station.
1984: A.N. “Nick” Kaufman, who founded the K-T Corp. in a former filling station building in Shelbyville as a two-employee business 20 years’ prior, was named president of Alco Aerospace Manufacturing. K-T Corp. had been founded at the corner of Harrison and John Streets, and later expanded into a 136,000-square-foot facilitated on a 15-acre tract on Elston Drive.
Shelbyville wrestlers Craig Lawson and John Shuck won South Central Conference championships in their weight classes.
1974: Former Shelbyville Mayor Ralph VanNatta discovered a body along I-74 on his way to work at the Statehouse from his home at 155 W. Broadway here. He flagged down an officer, who believed the man had suffered a gunshot wound and had been dumped.
1964: Junior High School student council members met with Principal Robert Clapp and Mrs. Reece, sponsor, to discuss over-crowded conditions on stairways and halls in the school. Participating students were Sally Sears, Janet Rowland, Warren Krebs and Pam Beck.
Triton Central received the Shelby County Victory Bell trophy for the first time as a result of its win over Morristown in the county tournament finals.
1954: Six Shelby County draft registrants left for service in the armed forces, bringing the total to 347 since the Fall of 1950 from here. The six were Raymond Stocklin, William Towne, Bradley Nigh, Thomas Robinson, Fred Heppner and Robert Armstrong.
1944: Factory whistles and the fire siren heralded in the start of the fourth war loan drive. Herbert C. Jones was city drive chairman.
Cora Colee, Flat Rock, received serious burns after her apron caught fire while she was cooking.
1934: Plans were made for a “Birthday Ball” to celebrate President Roosevelt’s birthday on Jan. 30, sponsored by the Lions Club. Russell Ray, Nathan Kaufman, Lloyd Abel, Rufus Fix, A.M. White, Joe Labarbera, Charles Slifer and Bill Carithers were in charge.
Broadway Service offered its “auto laundry” service for 75 cents, which included vacuuming and checking the tires, battery and radiator.
1924: Charles Sindlinger received the “monster” ice machine he had ordered for his meat plant business for $4,000 (approximately $70,000 in today’s money).
Mr. and Mrs. J.G. DePrez passed through the Panama Cancel. They had sailed from New York harbor on the steamer Equador and were in route to San Pedro, Calif., where they would remain two months on vacation.
1914: Feed supplier Will Dorsey requested that those who had made recent orders contact him. A mouse had eaten three pages of his order book.
The Republican encouraged people to get treatment when feeling symptoms of a cold. “Intelligent people realize that common colds should be treated promptly,” it said.
Gregory D. Haskins, 60, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, January 14, 2024, at his residence. Born December 24, 1963 in Shelbyville, he was the son of Mary Lou Haskins. Survivors include two sisters, Lisa Starks and Stephanie Haskins, both of Shelbyville; four nieces and nephews, LaShaunda Haskins, Chris Starks, Kenecia Haskins and Jakayra Owens; and his great-nieces and -nephews, Darian Watkins, Brooklyn Brown and Christian Haskins. He was preceded in death by his mother and a sister, Cynthia Haskins Dobbs.
Mr. Haskins was a lifelong resident of this area and graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1982. He had worked as an internet tech with Veterans Affairs for several years.
A Gathering of Friends and Family will be from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home, 437 Amos Road. Online condolences may be shared at glennegeorgeandson.com.
Melvin L. Jones, 95, of Shelbyville, passed away Saturday, January 13, 2024, at The Willows of Greensburg. Born October 24, 1928 in English, Indiana, he was the son of Stanley Luther Jones and Ilene (Benham) Jones. He married Ruth Irene (Abner) Jones on October 19, 1968, and she preceded him in death on July 25, 2008.
Survivors include two daughters, Debora Phillips of Shelbyville and Paula Hatchett (Andrew) of Bloomington; two brothers, Mervin “Red” Jones of Bloomington and Steve Jones (Karen) of Florida; sister, Charlene Smith of Bloomington; three grandsons, Wesley Hatchett, Jeremy Hatchett and Johnny Phillips; granddaughter- Renee Price; and 13 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; spouse; son, Martin Bock; grandson, Melvin Douglas Phillips; and four sisters, Vera Deno, Eloise Helms, Rosemary Luff and Naomi Belcher.
Melvin had lived in this area since 1983 after previously moving from Irving, Texas. He was a chief electrical engineer for Overhead Door Corp. for many years, retiring from there. He graduated from English High School and was a member of Grace Wesleyan Church. Melvin enjoyed woodworking, and loved his church and being involved in family and church activities. He was a US Air Force veteran.
Funeral services will be noon, Friday, January 19, 2024, at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home, 437 Amos Road, with Pastor Jose Rivera and Rev. Harvey Weaver officiating. Friends may call on Friday morning from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery. Military rites will be conducted by the American Legion. Memorial contributions can be made to Grace Wesleyan Church, 56 E. Franklin St. Shelbyville, IN 46176. Online condolences may be shared at glennegeorgeandson.com.