2009: The year in review

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October: Lock breaks

Person of the Month: Greg Curlin. The county native and longtime agriculture teacher at Switzerland County High School was elected as the President of the National Association of Agriculture Educators at the group’s National Convention. He will spend a year learning the position and its responsibilities before formally taking charge at the end of 2010.

Story of the Month: Broken lock. The traffic on the Ohio River was closed for nearly 11 hours when one of the gates on a lock at the Markland Dam and Locks failed in October. The gate broke free and fell to the bottom of the river; and its recovery and move to Louisville for repair means that river traffic will be substantially slowed until the gate is returned and installed sometime next year.

Picture of the Month: Golden Hammer. Mike Danner, owner of Danner’s Hardware in Vevay; officially received his “Golden Hammer” from the Estwing Company, signifying 50 years in the hardware business. Mike is the third generation to receive the cherished award, following in the footsteps of father Emmett Danner and grandfather A.V. Danner.

A.V. Danner bought the building and store in 1897, and it has been in the family ever since.

Honorable Mention for October: Otto Thorwarth of near Pleasant has been cast to play Ron Turcotte in the upcoming Disney movie, “Secretariat”; Trenton Ricketts, Caleb McClellan, and Maggie Armstrong were selected to play in the state All Star soccer games; it was a clean sweep in cross country, as middle schoolers Robin Furnish and Braden Burk and high schoolers Allie Mathews and Corey McFarland all won the individual conference championships; Ariel Clark was crowned as the Queen of the Aurora Farmers Fair; Myrtle Ritchie turned 100 years young; Governor Mitch Daniels visited the Vevay Newspapers office; Patriot held its “Music in the Park” series; Kathe Spoores and Michael Douglas were chosen to be a part of the “Great American Marching Band” for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

November: New factory, jobs

Person of the Month: Howard Bragg. Switzerland County resident Howard Bragg is well known by many people; but many got a new view of him when he discussed his time while serving his country during World War II.

Story of the Month: New factory. After lots of work developing the Markland Business Park, Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation executive director Jon Bond announced that a new factory would be locating in the park.

Process Systems and Services will be building a new facility in the park, and expects to be up and running and employing some Switzerland County residents in the Spring of next year.

Picture of the Month: Outdoor alcohol. The Vevay Town Council allowed an ordinance that would have allowed alcohol to be served at the outdoor tables of Vevay restaurants to die without a vote. Under the state guidelines, the area on the sidewalk would have had to have been separated by a fence or some other divider, and town sidewalks simply are too narrow to allow the practice.

Honorable Mention for November: Marine Jamin Moore, a native of Switzerland County, was highlighted for his exemplary work with his platoon while serving in Korea; Dan Bixler was looking for ghost stories to incorporate into his walking ghost tour of Vevay, which he hopes to begin in the spring; Mike Bear’s Mustang was judged “Best of Show” at the Patriot Car Show; burglary arrests were made in the county; John Sieglitz was honored as the “Technology Director of the Year” by the Indiana Department of Education; Karen Miller was honored as the “Main Street Board Member of the Year” by the State of Indiana; Jennifer Coy ran the New York City Marathon; Marine Joe Spoores was home on leave from Okinawa for the Thanksgiving holiday.

December: Vevay bag program

Person of the Month: Joe Ricketts. The Switzerland County community lost a true icon with the passing of Joe Ricketts in December. From the beginnings of the Swiss Wine Festival to bringing industry to the county to , Joe Ricketts spend his life being a leader in this community; and his passing leaves a big hole in the heart of the county.

Story of the Month: Bye bye bags. The Vevay Town Council officially ended its 15 year program of requiring residents to used specially-purchased ‘Vevay Trash Bags’ as a way of using a user-based fee system. Beginning in 2010, Vevay residents will be able to use nearly any bag they choose; and will also be subject to a monthly fee for trash disposal.

The town’s recycling program will continue as it has been running, with collection of recycling occurring on the first and third Fridays of each month.

Picture of the Month: Advanced Technology. Switzerland County High School celebrated its new Advanced Manufacturing Technology class. Students will be working with robotics, and will have the opportunity to earn dual credits through Vincennes University. The program is a community effort of the schools, the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation, and area manufacturers.

Honorable Mention for December: Holiday packages were being filled in time to send to military troops overseas with county ties; Saturday H1N1 vaccination clinics were held for the convenience of those who wanted to be vaccinated but were working; the presence of a US Marshal in Vevay caused a stir; Gerry Riley was honored by the members of Macedonia Baptist Church for her years of service playing the piano; the murder of Rising Sun youth Conner Conley caused an outpouring of sadness in this county as well; it has been 10 years since U.S. Shoe closed in Vevay; Patriot was organizing a Main Street program; thieves wanting copper wire were hitting electric substations in the area; the home of Lowell and Missy Reynolds burned on Christmas Eve morning; Governor Mitch Daniels announced that the state is cutting funding to school districts by 50-percent beginning in January of 2010.