A1 A1
Commissioners take steps to apply for OCRA grant; Drainage Board approves easement

Monday’s commissioners meeting doubled as a public hearing in regards to an application for an Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant.

No member of the public said anything in regards to the small business grant that Southeastern Indiana Regional Plan Commission (SIRPC) representative Mary McCarty presented at the meeting.

With McCarty’s assistance, the commissioners took the first steps to apply for OCRA’s $250,000 COVID-19 relief grant, which intends to help small businesses. This is OCRA’s third round of this grant.

At this time, the county will not match any amount of money in addition to receiving this grant, McCarty said. By contrast, the City of Shelbyville will match $80,000.

To meet language presented in the OCRA grant, the commissioners had to approve three additional ordinances: a fair housing ordinance, a drug free workplace ordinance, and a four-factor analysis.

Commissioner Kevin Nigh was present via phone, so he was not there to physically sign the documents McCarty needed him to sign. Nigh will sign them at a later date. The grant application is due March 11, and the county will find out in April if they received the grant.

The Commissioners also approved the Postage Meter Lease.

The lease pertains to a postage machine the auditor’s office uses to send mail. The price, which is paid monthly, increased more than $100 this year, totaling $238 each month.

Auditor Amy Glackman explained the price increased because in the past her office was using a refurbished machine, which allowed the lease to be cheaper.

“This postage machine has what’s called dynamic scale, so as you run the mail through it, it weighs it and puts the accurate postage on it, and that’s the one I would like to stay with because the auditor’s office does so many mailings, and we just run them through,” she told the commissioners.

Commissioner Don Parker praised the highway department’s handling of the snowstorm last week.

“Everyone wants to compare us to another county so I did the same thing,” he said. “My tour of the Rush, Bartholomew and Johnson, on that last snow, early in the morning, I could find very little significant difference. So I thought [our department] was doing all right.”

Parker also briefly mentioned HB 1381, pertaining to home rule and renewable energy. The bill passed through the Indiana House of Representatives last week and is now in senate committee.

He said he spoke to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch about it on Friday, who is president of the senate, and he thinks she will have some influence in regards to the bill.

“I encourage everyone to contact their senators and let them know how we feel about this bill, 1381,” he said.

Drainage Board

The Drainage Board met immediately following the commissioners meeting.

This board heard a request for a drainage easement located at 5590 W. 900 North in Fountaintown.

Jeff Powell, a surveyor speaking on behalf of the owners, said he needs a 25 foot reduction in the easement in order to build a house on the property.

The Amos Ditch runs through the property, and the statutory requirement requires an easement of 75 feet around the ditch. The easement provides space for county officials to enter property and maintain the ditch. Powell said the ditch is not currently under maintenance.

Powell would like to reduce the easement on the east side of the ditch for the house.

“The most logical place to access this ditch anyhow is on the west side, to dredge it,” he said.

The board approved his request.

Then the conversation moved toward the Glessner Ditch, which lies south of McKay Road.

There’s a plan before the city to build a new apartment complex in this area, which would increase the drainage to the ditch. This area of land where the complex will be has provided main access to the ditch.

“That’s how we’ve been accessing that portion of the ditch, because we can drive off by the road and go down on that property,” County Surveyor Taylor Summerford said.

The ditch runs north of McKay road (i.e., city limits), so the commissioners maintain the part south of the road, and the city officials maintain the part north of the road.

“We need to contact the city to let them know we have concerns about that,” Parker said.

Board member Chris Ross suggested having the city completely take over maintenance of that ditch, since “there’s no doubt to the south they’re gonna keep developing.”

No action was taken on the issue.

Local teams learn sectional fate

Two Shelby County schools learned they received byes while the other three will face non-county opponents to open the sectionals after the drawings were announced Sunday night.

Both Shelbyville and Triton Central drew byes in their respective sectional tournaments.

The Golden Bears (6-12) will play either Franklin Central (8-12) or Center Grove (11-6) at 7:30 p.m. March 5 in the semi-final of the Whiteland sectional.

Shelbyville learned its schedule following a 61-56 win over Seymour, which ended a four-game losing streak, including close losses to Hoosier Heritage Conference rivals New Palestine and Delta. The Golden Bears hope to gather some momentum this week entering the tournament with road games at Seymour and Batesville.

Sectional 13 opens on the other side of the bracket with Greenwood (14-5) against Franklin (7-13) on March 2. The winner will play Whiteland (12-7) in the first game of the semi-final that Friday.

There was a pretty good chance that Triton Central would receive a bye, given that there are five teams in Sectional 44.

By receiving one of three byes, the Tigers (9-8) avoided facing Class 2A No. 6 South Ripley (19-1) and will instead play the host school, Milan (10-9), at 6 p.m. March 5 in the first semi-final game.

Triton Central and Milan previously met this season, where the Indians won 66-49 at the beginning of the new year.

South Ripley plays North Decatur (4-16) in the first round, with the winner facing South Decatur (12-7) in the other semi-final.

The Tigers are on a three-game losing streak, two of which were against Indiana Crossroads Conference rivals Indianapolis Ritter and Beech Grove. Triton Central hopes to find some momentum in the final week with one conference game (at Speedway on Saturday) and a non-conference game at home, against Hauser today.

Last week’s ICC game against Monrovia was postponed and has not been rescheduled.

Sectional 60, which will be hosted by Southwestern, is set up so that all three county schools could be playing in the semi-final.

Morristown (17-4) will play Oldenburg Academy (6-9) at 7 p.m. March 2. The Yellow Jackets, ranked seventh in Class 1A, are on a seven-game winning streak and have won 10 of the last 11 since the Shelby County Tournament.

The winner of Morristown versus Oldenburg Academy will play Jac-Cen-Del (14-6) in the first semi-final at 5:30 p.m. March 5.

Waldron (3-17) plays Rising Sun (5-9) in the second game of the first round. That game will take place at 5:30 p.m. March 3.

The Mohawks hope to pick up a couple wins before the tournament after struggling throughout the season. Waldron closes out the regular season with a 6 p.m. game Thursday at Indiana Deaf and a 7:30 p.m. game Friday at Anderson Prep Academy.

This week’s Southwestern game at Hauser took on new importance after the bracket revealed they will be playing in the final sectional first round game one week later. Wednesday’s game will not only be played to determine the fourth-place team in the Mid-Hoosier Conference but will also be a first look for both teams at their first opponent in the tournament.

The Spartans (7-9) will play the Jets (8-11) at 8 p.m. March 3 in the sectional with the winner playing either Waldron or Rising Sun two days later.

Southwestern has gotten on a roll recently, winners of four in a row.

Track Supers Field Day Set for June 14-15 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

The organizers of the Track Superintendents Field Day are pleased to announce that the 20th edition of the event will be held June 14-15, 2021, at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The event brings together track superintendents and staff annually to discuss best practices related to track maintenance, safety and operational issues for racing and training facilities worldwide.

“Because Track Supers Field Day is the only annual gathering for the hard-working men and women who help ensure the safety of our horses and riders, we felt it was important to have the event this year after being forced to cancel in 2020 due to COVID-19,” said Roy Smith, founder of the event and track superintendent at Indiana Grand for the past seven years. “We are proud to do our part to contribute to the greater good of the industry by helping put on this event at Indiana Grand, and we look forward to hosting attendees for two days of education, idea-sharing and comradery.”

The event was originally scheduled to be held at Remington Park in Oklahoma City but was shifted to Indiana Grand for a central location that would allow more attendees to drive.

“We sincerely thank Remington Park for everything they did in the original planning of this event, and we hope to be able to hold a Track Supers Field Day there in the near future,” added Smith.

“Caesars Racing is dedicated to safety at all of our facilities, so hosting this year’s event was an easy decision for us,” stated Joe Morris, Senior Vice President of Racing for Caesars.

“Thanks to the generosity of numerous sponsors, Track Supers Field Day invites track superintendents and staff to attend with no registration fee,” said Steve Andersen of Equine Equipment, the event’s title sponsor. “Attendees are only responsible for their transportation expenses, and a discounted hotel rate will be available soon. Sunday is a travel day this year, and meetings begin Monday morning. We’ll have more details to release soon.”

More than 100 attendees convened at the 2019 event held at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town in West Virginia. When the event was held at Indiana Grand in 2016, more than 90 attended internationally, including guests from England and Puerto Rico.

“For many years I never attended, and I didn’t go the first 10 years or so,” said Doug Bowling, track superintendent at Charles Town. “And then when I started attending, I saw how valuable the networking and friendships are. The classes are always helpful, but you get to put faces with names and develop relationships, and then you have the ability to call someone when you might need a little help. It’s one of the greatest tools we have as track supers.”

More information will be coming regarding registration, schedule and speakers at www.tracksupers.com.

City reopens some facilities to public

Because the COVID-19 numbers are trending in the correct direction it has been determined that beginning Monday, the City of Shelbyville will be opening some facilities to the public.

In all cases masks and social distancing will be required at all times within city facilities.

Entrance into those facilities and participation in any programming or activities will be conducted at the participants risk of exposure.

The Shelbyville Parks Department will be opening their office as well as the Civic Center for walking, pickleball and open gym, however COVID protocol must be observed.

The Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter will be reopening with the following conditions: Owner relinquishment will remain by appointment only and stray animals will need to be picked up by shelter staff at the place where they are located rather than being dropped off at the shelter.

The Fire Department, Street Department and Water Resource Recovery lobby areas WILL NOT be open to the public to limit potential exposure.

City Hall and the associated offices will be open to the public, however, appointments are encouraged to limit exposure and masks and distancing will be required at all times while in the building. Conducting business electronically is also encouraged.

Strand Theatre starts social media campaign; Tries to stay visible online while theater is still closed

The Strand Theatre has upped its social media presence in an attempt to stay on people’s minds online while the physical theater is still closed due to COVID.

“You might notice some things happening with our social media. (Warning, tech talk ahead),” theater staff said in a weekly newsletter. “For small businesses like the Strand, social media is critical. The Strand Theatre uses Facebook and Instagram as our main platforms to interest you into coming to events, help us renovate the building, and engage with our community. We would not be where we are without our social media following. It is an excellent way to get the word out. We also use Twitter for these Weekly Newsletters.”

As of Friday, the Strand had 503 Instagram followers and 4,731 Facebook likes.

“Our presence on social media is driven by many things, with upcoming events being at the top of that list,” the newsletter said. “As you can imagine, the Strand has lost a significant amount of social media presence since we have 0 upcoming events because of the pandemic. Instead of gaining 3 or 4 Facebook likes a week, we are losing 1 or 2 because we are not present with new content.”

This caused a problem for the theater’s social media presence because social media websites have algorithms that generate what posts its users see.

“When a page has a following on any social media platform, the platform uses the same algorithm to: show more posts of pages you like/follow in your feed; recommends popular pages to those who haven’t liked it; recommends posts of popular pages in ‘explore posts’ sections; and show relevant posts of pages you like/follow at the beginning of your feed, rather than chronologically,” the newsletter said.

Since the Strand hasn’t been able to post much because the pandemic eliminated its events, its social media pages have not been showing up in people’s newsfeeds as often.

“The algorithm is beatable,” the newsletter said. “Over the next few weeks, the Strand will be working to beat the algorithm. This is only possible with your help!”

On Facebook and Instagram’s stories, the Strand is playing “games” for its followers to “play.” These games include polls, where one can vote between popular favorites (like Coke and Pepsi), and also trivia.

“The more interactions we have on any of our posts and stories will convince the algorithm to put The Strand’s page out there, so more people can be aware of who we are and what we do,” the newsletter said. “This will be invaluable down the line when we reopen.”

The Strand’s social media pages can be found at https://www.facebook.com/The.Strand.Theatre and https://www.instagram.com/strand.shelby.

In the meantime, the Strand volunteers are still working on the stage project.

“We are having fun working on the theater,” the newsletter said. “The technology upgrades continue. Strand board member and network engineer Cody V. has been working on our data infrastructure. We installed a new open frame rack in the projection booth. We are in the process of installing all our equipment in one rack.”

Anyone interested in seeing the improvements in person, stop by on Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon. Anyone interested in helping with the work session are welcome to join at that time.

The Strand is asking people to wear a mask inside the theater.

“The Strand is slowly getting through 2021. With luck we will be open on a limited basis starting this summer,” the newsletter said. “Right now there is too much uncertainty. Our volunteers are the best, and we look forward to welcoming them back at that time to do what we are here to do, provide live entertainment for our community.”