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Recycling District celebrates 30th anniversary, Earth Day

Thursday is a pretty special day for the Shelby County Recycling District.

In addition to being Earth Day, it’s also the 30th anniversary of the district’s founding.

The district was founded as the Shelby County Solid Waste Management District in 1991, following a state mandate that all counties establish a solid waste management district.

“There was concern that Indiana may run out of landfill space, so the districts were mandated to be able to educate our residents about the importance of the three R’s,” Executive Director Lisa Carpenter explained.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Carpenter had to pull out a very thick binder containing the resolution establishing the district and the first meeting minutes to find more info about its establishment.

“Fortunately, I wasn’t around in 1991,” she said, flipping through the pages.

She pulled out Ordinance 1991-3, of which former commissioners Maurice Leap, David Mohr, and Kenneth Nigh signed the district into existence.

“I think it’s neat just to see this,” Carpenter said. “I mean, these are originals – [it’s neat to see] how old they are, and what great shape they’re in.”

The first meeting of the Recycling District (whose name was changed in 2015) occurred June 4, 1991. It was an organizational meeting that took place in Courthouse Room 107. There, it appointed Attorney Jerry Lux as the temporary chair, Maurice Leap as the vice chair, and Janet Miller as the secretary.

“I’m sure some people will remember this just fine, not me,” Carpenter said.

At that time, the first Recycling District board met on the first Tuesday of the month at 8 p.m. at the courthouse.

Since then, the district has grown quite a bit. It now has an office at the Professional Building, 1600 E. SR-44, and offers its services at the transfer station, 1304 N. Michigan Road.

“The transfer station is somewhat confusing,” Carpenter said. “That property is owned by Shelby County. The county commissioners and county council have been so gracious as to let us use that property for our recycle site and our pollution prevention center.”

The pollution prevention center was opened in 2003. It’s there that the district provides a location for county residents to dispose of household hazardous waste.

In 2005, it started grinding yard waste into mulch for residents. In 2006, it started its Clean Up and Shred Days (the next one is May 8 at the fairgrounds).

In 2016, it opened a permanent site for disposal of unused medicines. In 2019, Carpenter started as the first full-time director, but she’d already been serving part time for nine years prior to that.

In 2020, despite COVID-19, the district accomplished several things: it amended the solid waste ordinance to include overgrown grass and weeds, as well as requiring vehicles be registered operable; it created flag retirement boxes; it eliminated recycle containers outside the fence at the transfer station; and it received an Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) grant, which it used to publish recycling guides.

For 2021, Carpenter said the district is working on “a really great” project.

“We were fortunate to be awarded a grant from IDEM to purchase our own recycle roll off containers,” she said. “Most residents are aware we have containers throughout the community where they can drop off their recycling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We use a vendor for those, but we’re actually going to be able to purchase our own and we’re going to put messages on those.”

Each container’s message will contain information on how to properly dispose of different items. So for example, one may be placed in Waldron that explains how to dispose of household hazardous waste, and another one may be placed in Fairland that explains how to dispose of electronics.

The containers will be switched around, so different messages will get to different towns over time.

“The public will see these in place sometime this year,” she said.

And in the near future, the district hopes to build its own Recycling Building at the transfer station. It’s planned to be 9,600 square feet and designed in a way that would allow the building to expand in the future.

“That would be our home, instead of here at the Professional Building,” Carpenter said. “There was discussion about that before I came back to this role, but really a lot of our services happen out there, so we’re not on site. It would be an additional service to the residents of Shelby County. We would be able to have all of our services during regular business hours.”

“Currently, the pollution prevention center is open Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, so our goal would be that that service can be provided, if we have a building out there and we have staff on site, that service could be provided during regular business hours,” she added.

Carpenter said the district is planning to apply for grants to help pay for this. The district receives most of its money in the form of tipping fees from the county landfill – they get $2 for every ton of trash the landfill receives.

It also receives an itty bitty amount from property taxes – $.0039 per $100.00 of assessed value.

To celebrate the anniversary and Earth Day, the district will be doing two things: first, its board will head to Knauf Insulation to kick off the business’ employee program for food and beverage glass recycling; and second, it’s planning an event at the end of June.

“On June 30, we are going to do environmental tours for anyone that’s interested,” Carpenter said. “The gentleman that has the new bus here in town” – Bill Pike with Shelbyville Transportation Ministries – “My plan is to have him come probably at 10 in the morning and have interested individuals who have already signed up for the tour get on the bus and then we’ll talk to them as we’re going out to the transfer station and provide them information about our services, and how to recycle right, and what you can do in your home to eliminate so much trash.”

“We’ll give them a tour of the transfer station, then we’ll take them to Pettit’s Recycling and show them what happens to their scrap metal,” she added. “You know, if you collect cans at home, this is what happens at Pettit’s with those items.”

There will be one tour at 10 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. You can sign up by calling the Recycling District office at 317-392-8904 or emailing Carpenter at lcarpenter@cleanshelby.org.

THREE IN A ROW: Shelby County Magic Basketball wins third consecutive Special Olympic Championship

Indiana Special Olympics held their State Basketball tournament April 3 at Pacer Athletic Center in Westfield, IN.

Four Shelby County teams competed in the tournament.

The Shelby County Magic won their third consecutive Championship defeating the Boone County All Starz in back to games.

The first game the Magic won 38 to 24 with balanced scoring and a strong defensive effort. John Wheeler had 11 points, Cody McQueary 11, Bredan Harris 10. Calvin Hanna and Chris VanArsdall 3 each.

In the second game, the strong defensive effort continued with more offensive punch. The Magic won 51 to 28. Cody McQueary led all scorers with 15 points and a shutdown defensive performance on the All Starz leading scorer. John Wheeler added 12 points, Willard off the bench added 9, Harris 7, Hanna 4 and Van Arsdall 4.

This is the Magic’s seventh State Championship in 11 State Tournaments.

The Shelby County Rebels received the Silver Medal after winning against Johnson County White 24 to 12 but losing in the Championship game Marion county Hurricanes 36 to 7.

In 3 on 3 Competition the Shelby County Ducks defeated the Shelby County Cardinals 20 to 10 and 20 to 8 win the Championship.

TC board approves Mendenhall Press Box upgrades

The Northwestern Consolidated School District Board of Trustees approved a contract this week with Antal Building Corporation to repair and expand the press box at Bud Mendenhall Field.

The press box has fallen into disrepair, Superintendent Chris Hoke told the board.

“There are some very evident safety issues that exist there that need to be mended prior to August,” he said. “In addition, from an operational standpoint, the press box is too small. We realized this last fall, when we had the radio in ... we live streamed games, we couldn’t adequately space in that area.”

Hoke said he looked into the costs of repairing the box versus replacing the box, and came up with a solution that would use the current box as a foundation for an expansion.

“We began to brainstorm around the idea, ‘Could we stick-build this ourselves?’ and talked to George Antal ... they did the second phase of the elementary school remodel, and the middle school as well,” Hoke said. “Low and behold, that’s the proposal we have before us.

Antal Building Corporation came up with a plan to make needed repairs and expand the box to 39 feet long.

“This plan guts the existing, leaves the structure in place that’s useable and we build out from it,” Hoke said. “The existing structure becomes the jumping off point for the expanded version. The ticket booth underneath needs some repair of leaks, and we’ll fix that while we’re doing it, but (the) Mendenhall field facade that is in the front remains untouched.”

It’s estimated to cost $175,000 and will be mostly paid for with money left over from the field house renovation. This plan is expected to be a one-time fix and will not have to be addressed again in the near future.

“We can swing this financially,” Hoke said.

Hoke told the board the contractor can have this done by the start of the next football season. Because of the time constraint, the board moved to sign this contract as an emergency provision – this way they don’t have to take the time to accept other bids.

“What I’m asking the board to approve is a contract with Antal on an emergency basis, based on timing,” Hoke said. “For this pricing point, it’s typically a sealed three bid situation. And that makes a ton of sense in most situations because what your main consideration there is price. But our main consideration for this is time, honestly.”

Board member Terry Morgan brought up the concern that if the board doesn’t take this contract now, the price of materials will increase.

Hoke agreed: “We want to try and lock in now, because the structural steel cost is going to go up by 20 percent in the next 30 days, is what the estimate is, or more.”

Morgan said three-quarter-inch plywood went up from $30 a sheet a year ago to $100 a sheet now.

Board member Ken Polston asked about installing a heating unit in the press box and the ticket booth: “That’s pretty cheap. That would solve our heating problem for the folks working in the booth.”

The answer was yes, but “We need to make it waterproof first,” Hoke said.

The construction will begin May 4 and is expected to be completed Aug. 20.

Local Briefs

Lions Club pork chop dinner set for April 30

The Blue River Lions Club fundraiser pork chop dinner is 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 30. Each plate is $10 and comes with pork chops, scalloped potatoes, green beans, a roll and dessert. The dinner is drive-thru only this year. The Lions Club is located at 4893 S. 300 W., Shelbyville.

The Lions use proceeds from the dinner to help with local projects like eyeglasses, Pantry Pals, the Salvation Army, cancer and diabetes support, and local Scout projects.

– Information provided

Spring rummage sale is May 7-8

The Disciples Women’s Spring Rummage Sale happening May 7 and 8 of at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. The 2020 rummage sale was cancelled due to Covid concerns.

The Disciples Women’s group will be accepting donated items on from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6. The sale is 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 7 and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 8.

– Information provided

Friends of the Blue River clean up Knauf Trail

Patrick Addis started the Friends of the Blue River after interning for the City of Shelbyville’s engineering department.

“I started it this summer, but essentially I was working for the City of Shelbyville this summer in the engineering department as an intern, and we were working at the new Knauf Trail, and when we went on tours to talk about it, I realized the entire riverfront is blocked off [by plants],” he said.

“I was talking with Matt House, the city engineer, to see what we could do to get rid of some of that,” he said. “I met with some people who knew about invasive species and they were like, ‘that’s invasive honeysuckle that can be removed,’” he said. “So I said, ‘Okay I’ll create a group and we’ll start removing it.’ ... I’d feel bad if people went for a walk by the river and weren’t able to see it.”

In addition to invasive honeysuckle, the riverfront is blocked by another plant called Winter Creeper.

“We’re also trying to get rid of Winter Creeper, which is a vine that suffocates trees,” Addis said.

The vine kills the trees, causing them to fall over and cause even more issues for the river.

“It’s an environmentally conscious effort but also serves the community at the same time,” he said.

While he started the group last summer, it didn’t really do anything because of COVID restrictions.

“Then nearing the end of the summer, Julie Alvis with Blue River Community Foundation reached out to me and someone had told her about me trying to start this group, so she was like ‘yeah do you have any funding?’ and I was like ‘No, we were just going to go for it.’”

Addis said Julie reached out to Lauren Ruble, who was a part of the Lilly Scholar Network, in hopes Ruble would apply for a grant on the Friends of the Blue River’s behalf.

“Long story short, Lauren ended up winning a grant and gifted it to the Friends of the Blue River so we were able to buy tools, tee shirts, and we’re actually going to buy lunch for the volunteers as well,” Addis said. “Right time, right place and right people.”

As the group’s coordinator, Addis is planning an event to begin removing the invasive plant species from the Knauf Trail this weekend.

“I’m really excited, honestly nervous right at the same time coming up to this weekend, but I think it’s gonna be great,” he said. “Even if we make a little dent in it on the first day, I think that’s phenomenal. The goal is to start planning events more regularly and once you get a dedicated group together, it’ll make a larger impact than any of us can imagine right now.”

The Friends of the Blue River’s efforts begin at 9 a.m. May 1. It was originally scheduled to be this weekend but they pushed it back due to weather concerns. Addis encourages volunteers to just show up.

“We have a Facebook page for Friends of the Blue River,” he said. “They, of course, could mark themselves as going on there, but other than that we’re keeping it pretty open. If they just want to show up to the trail head across the street from the Chamber of Commerce, we’re meeting right there. I’ve been telling people to park where the Taproom used to be. That’s where we’ll give everyone tools, gloves, glasses and whatever they need. We’ll walk down there and get started.”

This is the first of many clean-up events the group plans to host.

Addis said while he would like to do these events more regularly, he’s not sure he can make that happen until June.

“The challenging part on my side is I’m a student at Rose Hulman and I don’t live in Shelbyville,” he said. “I’m hoping to get regular meetings to be more regular at the beginning of June because then I can be there helping organize it and making sure everyone has tools. We might be able to do something in May, but that’ll be hard because of graduation and prom and stuff. So we’ll get some feedback to see if anyone has to do it in May. If not, then we’ll start doing it bi-weekly starting in June.”

“I’m really appreciative to the Blue River Community Foundation and the Lilly scholarship for making this possible,” he concluded. “If not, I’d be out there with Dollar Tree tools making it work.”