2012 the year in review


May: Primary election here sees many candidates, few voters


Although there were many contested races in the May Primary election here in Switzerland County, those races didn’t translate into a big voter turnout at the polls.

With the county using a “Traveling Vote Center” concept for the first time, which involved polls being open at different locations around the county for two days each over a two week period of time prior to election day, it was hoped that more people would take advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballots.

But when all was said and done, only 24.67-percent of eligible voters chose to vote in the primary election, with 1,696 voters out of a possible 6,875 registered voters going to the polls.

Switzerland County Clerk Kim Hambrick said that every county in the state will be transitioning to the traveling voting centers in the coming years, and this year’s primary gave Switzerland County election officials the opportunity to develop their own process and ‘work out the bugs’ before it was mandated by the state.


Here’s what else people were talking about during the month of May:

– Memorial Day services were again held at the Veterans Memorial of the Switzerland County Courthouse. Pastor Wayne Daugherty of Fredonia Baptist Church opened the ceremonies with prayer; and the featured speaker was Darrell Hansel, a resident of Switzerland County who is very active in the American Legion and the VFW; and who currently serves on the National Executive Committee of the American Legion. As part of the observance, the Sullivan family donated an eagle monument that will be located at the Veterans Memorial and was given in memory of Lowell Wayne Sullivan.

– Melody Smith retired after 35 years of service to the Switzerland County School Corporation, including spending 33 of those years as the secretary at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. Also retiring were Evelyn Griffin, who was a custodian at Jeff-Craig for 25 years; and Amber Reed, who has been a cook in the school system for 26 years.

– The Switzerland County High School chapter of the Junior Historical Society was informed that it, once again, had been honored as the “Club of the Year” by the Indiana State Historical Society. High school teacher Janet Hendricks serves as the club’s sponsor.

– After an extensive search, Switzerland County Elementary School Principal Mike Jones was named as the new Superintendent of the Switzerland County School Corporation. Although the search took the school board six months to conduct, the board approved the new superintendent by a 6-1 vote.

– A community workshop was held on the preservation of cemeteries. The program was sponsored by the Switzerland County Cemetery Commission and the Vevay Town Council; and was conducted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

– Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman visited Vevay and Switzerland County as part of her continuing efforts to raise awareness and promote tourism here in the state. She visited each of Indiana’s 92 counties as part of her promotional efforts, and told those gathered here as she toured the Schenck Mansion Bed and Breakfast that about 260,000 Hoosiers are employed in the tourism industry.

– Volunteers at Musee de Venoge worked to construct an outdoor French Colonial bake oven that will be used by Venoge for future projects and events. The outdoor oven was built following one documented in a book called “The Bread Ovens of Quebec”.

– The “National Day of Prayer” was held on the lawn of the Switzerland County Courthouse, with various members of the community gathering to pray for different groups in the country, from elected officials to schools to the military.

– Greg Peelman of East Enterprise was among those boxers participating in the “Guns and Hoses” charity boxing event at Belterra Casino Resort and Spa. The event, which pits firefighters against law enforcement officers for the benefit of charity, helped raise funding for the Children’s Advocacy Center that serves Switzerland County.

– It was announced that the Switzerland County High School Marching Pacer band would be marching and performing at the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade.

June: Searching for a cure


The 2012 Switzerland County ‘Relay for Life’ event was held in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park, and with a large number of teams and a big turnout of community residents, the event was a successful one. With a goal for this year’s event of raising $60,000 for the American Cancer Society; this year’s ‘Relay for Life’ quickly passed the $50,000 mark by the end of the event, with more money coming in from donations and as participating teams counted their donations.

The annual auction was again a success, raising over $1,800 for the cause; and the different teams also had plenty of good food for sale all during the evening and overnight hours.

From the Survivors Dinner at the high school to start the event to the luminary service on Friday night that featured more than 615 candles glowing around the park course in honor of those fighting cancer and in memory of those who had passed away from cancer, this year’s event was truly a successful one.


Here’s what else we were talking about during the month of June:

– The inaugural Hot Air Balloon event sponsored by Switzerland County Tourism was a big success along the Ohio River in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park, A total of 12 hot air balloons came to the park, and the event featured a “balloon glow” on Friday night and the flying event on Saturday. The event featured a game that balloonists call “Hare and the Hounds”, with one balloon being ‘chased’ by the others.

– Sally Weales was officially hired as the new principal of Switzerland County Elementary School. She replaces Mike Jones, who had been named as the new Superintendent of Schools. Gregg Goewert of Indianapolis was hired as the new Principal of Switzerland County High School. A native of Ohio, he comes to Switzerland County after serving last year as the Principal of Watanabe High School in Indianapolis, which is part of the public charter school program.

– Olivia Hewitt was crowned as the Queen of the 2012 Switzerland County 4-H Fair. She is the daughter of David Hewitt and Christy Cutter, and will be a senior this fall at Switzerland County High School. Dorothy Lamson was the first runner up; Chelsea Duvall as the second runner up; and Hannah Slover was voted “Miss Congeniality”.

– The Outdoor Classroom at Switzerland County Elementary School was being resurrected by staff and students as part of a “Project Based Learning” program. Led by teacher Travis Griffith, the outdoor laboratory/classroom will be able to be used by all students in the school corporation.

– Dr. Elizabeth Tharp Jones retired at the end of June, ending her tenure as Superintendent of Switzerland County Schools. Along with her time as superintendent, she had a long career of service to the schools, serving in all phases of education, from curriculum director to principal at three of the four schools in the corporation.

– Corey McFarland and Lindsey Cook were the winners of the annual “Larry Tolbert 5-K” race that is held each year at the Switzerland County YMCA.

– The Vevay American Legion held an official flag retirement ceremony at the Switzerland County 4-H fairgrounds. Old flags that can no longer be used were retired by being burned in an official ceremony.

– Jeff-Craig Fire and Rescue put two new fire and rescue boats into service. Purchased using matching funds with a grant from the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, the boats can be in the Ohio River in an emergency within 10 minutes of getting a call; and the inflatable boat can also be used for winter rescues on ice-covered ponds.

– Switzerland County High School held its graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2012, with Samantha Helt and Laura Nay giving the Valedictorian addresses.

– A magical tournament run came to an end for the Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity softball team. Entering tournament play with a losing record, the Lady Pacers won the Sectional and Regional to advance to the Semistate for the second time in three years.