Letters to the Editor week of 02-7-08


Homecoming queen

Dear Editor:

As you know, on January 25th Brittany Hankins was crowned Homecoming Queen. Though her dress was a little short for some people, it didn’t show anything inappropriate. Our principal, Mrs. Haskell, was very disappointed that Brittany had won. She said, “Someone like Brittany should not be representing our school.”

When Mr. Curlin announced Brittany as queen Mrs. Haskell stormed out of the gym and ripped down one of Brittany’s posters. We didn’t expect this type of behavior, especially from our principal. She reads a quote every morning: “We are a community of one empowering our students to commit to lifelong learning to exemplify character and to contribute to society.”

We feel her actions were very rude and that she should make a public apology to Brittany and all of our guests. Mrs. Haskell always tells us we have some growing up to do. Maybe she has some growing up to do. Brittany worked very hard to win queen. After all she was the only one to make posters and hang them around school. We believe the students and staff should congratulate Brittany for all of her hard work.

Meghan Fugate

Kathy Rugg

SCHS Seniors

Zoning change

At the meeting of the Switzerland County Commissioners on Monday evening, a large group attended to voice their concerns about the proposed concrete plant on 56 near Tapps Ridge Road. A change in zoning from forest and recreation to industrial would be necessary to allow the plant to locate there.

The majority of the people objecting were concerned over the safety issue. Numerous accidents have taken place on the section of 156 between Plum Creek Road and Tapps Ridge Road, two resulting in fatalities. Other concerns related to the operation of the plant regarding the dust generated from the handling of large quantities of sand and gravel, the availability of water to operate, and the watershed issues relating to the cleaning of the trucks. Some were worried over their property values and others expressed how their life would be affected by the noise of a plant operating from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week.

I was there to oppose for all of the above reasons. I plead guilty to talking to my neighbors and the property owners that would be affected. I was surprised to find they had not been notified about a pending zoning change that would affect all who live in that area. I then discovered the proposed five acres of land is surrounded by the land belonging to the man hoping to sell the five acres, so the landowners adjacent to him did not have to be notified. Clever.

As a rural homeowner on 45 acres and an owner of business property in Vevay with a gift shop, I am concerned about the economic well-being of the county. I have observed and experienced a lot of change in the 32 years I have lived here. Tourism is now an important facet of the economic development of our region. Tourists as well as residents are attracted to the picturesque beauty of the land and the historic character of the communities. As decisions are made concerning zoning and land use, a careful evaluation of the short and long term impact on the county needs to be considered.

Citizen groups successfully stopped the plant from establishing in the Markland and Florence areas, at least for now. When the Commissioners were asked why the plant didn’t go in the Industrial Park by Markland Dam, the response was that it wasn’t a clean enough business. I’m sure they want to protect the county’s $2 million investment, and must be concerned over what potential businesses would want to locate next to a concrete plant.

The attorney for the concrete plant fielded most of the questions at the meeting, aided by the commissioners and the property owner hoping for the zoning change. A surprise near the end of the discussion revealed that if this site is not approved, the plant will be at the location of the former Randall Plant in Vevay next to the cemetery, which is already zoned industrial. No notification of property owners necessary. Too dirty for the Industrial Park but appropriate for a residential area?

Due to the many questions that were raised, no decision was made. The prospective business is supposed to contact INDOT so some of the traffic issues can be addressed. The final decision will be made at the next Commissioners meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 19th at 8:30 am. We all have some research to do.

Martha Bladen

Tapps Ridge

Great job

To the Editor:

Wow – last Tuesday evening the prince of darkness struck again. Mother Nature delivered a darkness blow to REMC.

No amount of my chronic griping restored the electricity power to our home. The blinking lights of the sheriff’s people and the yellow safety lights of the REMC equipment prompted my wife and me to say a prayer for the safety of these dedicated people.

As they worked to restore the electric power in an environment of hostile weather, the power was restored by morning. Our thanks to the sheriff’s people and the REMC workers.

Joe McElaney


Fire protection

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to Richard Peelman’s Letter to the Editor in the previous week’s paper concerning fire protection. Our department’s mission statement is: “Prevent Harm, Survive and Be Nice.” We are constantly striving to meet the needs of our residents during their emergencies and I appreciate the time that Mr. Peelman took in conveying his concerns. I would like to use this opportunity to clarify some issues that may not be seen by the public. Jeff Craig Fire Department and East Enterprise Fire Department (EEVFD) have had, and still maintain a long standing good relationship between departments and have worked well together on many fires throughout the years.

The Florence York Township Fire Department was formed as a licensing stipulation when the riverboat was awarded to Switzerland County. After a couple of years with struggling membership, the members approached EEVFD seeking a merger for experienced manpower. All volunteer fire departments throughout the country struggle every day with membership issues. EEVFD currently has 45 well-trained members and is one of the biggest departments in southeastern Indiana. The boundaries for the departments in this county were set years ago when 911 went into service after a lot of hard work went into studying what department could access quickest and serve that area best.

Your letter stated concerns regarding Mount Sterling, Fairview Road and Bennington Pike. EEVFD does not cover any part of Bennington Pike or Mount Sterling. However, we do cover Fairview Road as we are the closest department to that area. Another concern raised was Paul Furnish and Lewis Fritter responding first to the fire on Highway 156 in Florence. Paul Furnish, being the next door neighbor to the residence on fire, alerted the 911 dispatcher and responded to the firehouse where he met Lewis Fritter, a member of the EEVFD from the Florence Station, and they proceeded to take the first equipment to the scene and set up fire operations. They were assisted on the scene by several other concerned neighbors for water supply and were met with other EEVFD staff for actual fire attack. This fire resulted in a one room burn of residence where all occupants were gone at the time of the fire. We consider this to be a tremendous save of home and furnishing for this family, provided by not only the fire staff, but also by concerned involved neighbors who detected the fire and activated the emergency response system.

the multi-car fire at Belterra was dispatched at 1:30 a.m. Your concern for the response time and lack of response from the Florence Station is understandable, however, I was on scene within six minutes of the call being dispatched and upon my arrival all seven of the cars were on fire and no other cars were damaged beyond that. The first truck on scene was within nine minutes and responded from the Florence Station with a full crew. I believe a call at that time of night with a six minute response in a 110 square mile district is very good for a volunteer department.

You have concerns regarding the house fire on Markland Town Road in Markland. You stated that “the house was fully involved by the time the fire department got there, and that it took over 20 minutes for the EEVFD to arrive and that Jeff Craig arrived in eight minutes, after they were finally paged.” The dispatch received for the house fire in Markland came in as a house fully involved. It is hard for any department to save much of anything in the original area of fire when it is fully involved prior to the 911 dispatch. However, the fire was so hot, it had damaged the residence on either side and even across the street. The firefighters protected those exposures first, stopping the spread of the fire to an additional three homes, then continued until extinguishment of the original fire. The actual time for arrival for EEVFD was 14 minutes to the scene with equipment, and they responded by dispatch of the County 911 system. We asked for aid from the Jeff Craig Department and we appreciated their quick response and help with the emergency. I understand that this area may be plotted as a Jeff Craig’s first in area, but we were dispatched and responded accordingly. If we should have been the assisting department, rather than the first paged, we would have been very happy to help Jeff Craig, if requested. As I mentioned, there are some factors that may not be known to the general public, and it may look as if there are concerns to address. One of those factors is that one of the first responding firefighters from the Florence Station was actually out on a back-up call for EMS, when the fire came in. He freed from the EMS call, to respond to the Florence station to pull the fire engine from Florence and then responded to the fire scene. Therefore, the engine first on the scene did come from East Enterprise, but even then it arrived within 14 minutes. Safety is still paramount, and all fire staff know that if it takes an extra minute to get to the scene, but you arrive with a full crew of well trained firefighters to do the job, it is a benefit to all.

I would also like to explain how fire departments are rated in this country. All fire departments have an ISO (Insurance Services Organization) rating. This rating is on a 1 to 10 scale. Only 53 departments in the whole country have achieved a “1” rating. Currently EEVFD has a rating of 6. This rating is a two day evaluation of the department that takes into consideration many factors specific to that department including training, equipment, and availability of water and response time and personnel. What this means for homeowners who live within the coverage area of the EEVFD is a reduction of approximately $250 a year on their insurance for every $100,000 dollars of house value. The best way that we can improve response times for emergencies in this county is to have staffing that stay on station to be ready when the call comes in. Our volunteers donate too much from their families already, to ask this of them without compensating something back to them and their families. Unfortunately that is not possible due to funding so I would ask that we either try to plead to the county government that this funding be made available or as of now we are always accepting applications.

Jeff Darling

Fire Chief

East Enterprise V.F.D., Inc.

Leash law

To the Editor:

On January 18th my pet goat was killed by a pack of dogs. No one saw the actual attack but I was informed by a neighbor that two strays and another neighbor’s dog were seen cornering the goat. One dog was captured and taken away to the animal shelter after it was observed attacking one of my chickens by a Switzerland County police officer. I attended the Swiss Friends of Animals meeting on January 30th to voice my concerns and to acquire information about the leash law in Switzerland County.

Switzerland County Ordinance No. 01-03-05 states in “Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person(s) to permit any dog(s) belonging to such person(s) to run at large and not under restraint in Switzerland County, Indiana or on the streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks or other public places within the limits of the Switzerland County, Indiana.

Section 2. The owners of dogs shall keep their dogs under restraint at all times and shall not permit dogs owned by them to be at large in Switzerland County.

Section 4. Definitions

(a) The dog, for the purposes of this ordinance, is considered to be “under restraint” if the animal is controlled by leash, at heel beside a competent person, or on or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the public streets of the Town, or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.

(b) Any dog, for all intents and purposes of this ordinance, shall be deemed to be “at large” when it is off the property of its owner or keeper and not under the restraint of a competent person.

Section 5. Impoundment

(a) Dogs found to be running at large and not under restraint shall be taken by the Dog Warden and impounded at the County Animal Shelter and there confined in a humane manner for a period of five (5) days (including Saturday) or until such time as claimed by the owner thereof, whichever occurs sooner, unless said animal is confined due to that animal biting a person. In said case such animal shall be confined for fourteen (14) days.

Section 10. This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage, and publication one time in the local newspaper.”

Apparently not many people in this county are aware of this ordinance or I wouldn’t see their dogs at large. People assume that their dog is not a threat to other animals or people and it is all right to let them run free. This is where the trouble begins. The dogs pack up and begin to attack other animals, and who is not to say that it may not be a child the next time. Owners of these dogs (or cats, for that matter) do not spay or neuter their animal. This is where most strays come from. People from outside of the county probably dump their unwanted animals too. The Switzerland County Animal Shelter will pick up strays and should pick up your neighbor’s unrestrained pet if you call and give them the location of the animals. You may relinquish pets to the Animal Shelter for a fee instead of dropping them off on another person’s property.

Best of all there is a spay/neuter assistance program that will help owners with the cost of the procedure. The number is 427-2700 and they will give people the information they need. In my opinion the public needs to take responsibility of their pets and Ordinances that are already in “full force and effect” need to be enforced before new ones are made.

William Walter

Near Vevay