Unfortunately, it seems just a tad bit harder to get into the spirit of the season this year. I dunno, maybe because the season started in July? Shopping at Hobby Lobby for 4th of July trinkets at a discounted price when lo and behold, an aisle full of Christmas tree ornaments and garland. In July. Heck, we hadn’t even gone to the State Fair yet. What gives?
Then the unthinkable happened, almost dividing our nation. Black Friday started on Thursday.
Americans are resilient, man. With an unprecedented show of solidarity, and despite overstuffed tummies, we headed out to the 6:00 PM sales. Oh the joy and laughter that filled the stores. Look, an iPad for $299.00, Blu-Ray movies starting at just $5 and Subway open for a late night snack, too! T’is the season, to be sure.
Christmas in July, jump starting Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the saying “the early bird catches the worm” I love it when it all comes together.
Of course, I am far from political and prefer reading People Magazine over the Weekly Standard, still it seems that Christmas isn’t the only season being fast-tracked. Maybe some of you don’t know this, but mid-term elections are just around the corner.
Steve Craycraft, current county clerk, is running for auditor in 2014. Following in the footsteps of Hobby Lobby, Mr. Craycraft has had a pop-up advertisement in the newspaper for his campaign since 1974. Just kiddin’, of course. I can’t imagine the dollars his campaign stumping has raised.
I’m kinda keeping my eye on the judicial races. This happens every six years and those elected in ’08 are up for re-election. Three spots open.
Judge Feick squeaked over Diane Frye in ’08, and that was a close one, especially considering the Democrat sweep. The tough race for Linda Wolf and Tom Cannon was fought in the primaries, both being contested by some top guns. I am expecting a full slate in 2014 primaries on the Democrat side.
Now, this is just a prediction folks, so don’t take it to the bank. I think one of the Quirk girls is gonna run for judge. You see, a meth dealer wrote a letter to the editor complaining he received more time than a child molester. In his letter he cited both Wolf and Feick. Gee, Feick was the bad guy. I think it was “setting the tone” not that Judge Wolf is all that loved by the local party headquarters, mind you.
Next up, Megan Quirk filing election violation charges against a Republican poll worker. One charge stemming back to 2012, and he is a bad driver, too. Her complaint backed up by two county employees. A letter in the paper today praising Mike Quirk and his company, SOS, for working with her on the sewer bills. The very last Delaware County frontier for the Quirk family is to sit on a judicial bench. They occupy nearly every city and county spot already.
The election season has begun, ever so subtle. Keep your eyes on the letters to the editor, newspaper articles and see who starts getting targeted. I follow the careers of the officials from the moment they get sworn in. That way, I don’t have to walk in to the polls and guess at which one should get my vote.
Although, who hands out the best candy or fingernail file, does have some bearing on my vote. As it should. Is it Godiva or Dollar Tree chocolate?
Is the name familiar? Does the name begin with one of the early letters in the alphabet? Did they come to my house and shake my hand? All important factors in determining a vote.
Keep your eyes open and see who walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
If and when the referendum is passed we will begin strategizing -Tim Heller
December 9th 2013 the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) held their waiver hearing before the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). No ruling was made, and none was expected. In attendance, the Muncie Community school board, the superintendent, the financial officer, and approximately 60 citizens. I would have liked more people in the auditorium, but it is what it is.
Things went fairly smooth, and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) asked some compelling questions. I watched as they sifted through the paperwork which was presented. They were extremely attentive to all parties which spoke that evening. Asking for clarification when needed. City Council person Mary Jo Barton cited State and Federal law regarding elementary children on the public transportation buses. None of the IDOE members was aware of the law and asked Mrs. Barton to supply the law. Hopefully, she will do so.
I am going to skip through the opening remarks from MCS and the testimony of the 20+ people and get to the closing remarks. Read the rest of this entry »
Notice of Public Hearing: Indiana Department of Education, Muncie School Corporation
Monday, December 9, 2013 – 5:00pm
A public hearing will be held by the Indiana Department of Education on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as may be heard at the Northside Middle School Auditorium 2400 W Bethel Ave, Muncie, IN 47304 concerning the Petition for Waiver under Indiana Code 20-27-13-7 made by Muncie Community Schools to the Indiana Department of Education. Pursuant to IC 20-27-13-3, upon approval by a governing body, a school corporation must provide notice to the public of its intent to terminate transportation services for students and said notice must be provided at least three (3) years prior to the date transportation services are to be terminated. However, IC 20-27-13-7 allows a school corporation to seek a waiver of the three (3) year notice requirement by petitioning the Indiana Department of Education. Muncie School Corporation has made this request by way of a petition. A copy of the Petition is attached herein.
All persons in favor of, opposed to, or in any manner interested in Muncie Community Schools’ request for waiver of the three (3) year notice requirement are invited to attend this public hearing or forward written comments to Michael LaRocco, Director of Transportation, Indiana Department of Education Indiana Department of Education 115 W. Washington Street South Tower, Suite 600 Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. All comments by individuals of the public will be limited in time to accommodate all those wishing to make public comments.
Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, any individual interested in attending the hearing should contact Muncie Community Schools and advise what, if any, accommodation is needed to attend the hearing. For more information, contact Mark A. Burkhart, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Muncie Community Schools 2501 N. Oakwood Avenue Muncie, IN 47304. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend a public forum addressing blight in Indiana communities. Muncie was the third such forum held. Graciously hosted by Mayor Dennis Tyler at City Hall, the event saw a large and diverse group of citizens.
Indiana’s Abandoned Home program was presented by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority overseen by Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, and spearheaded by Senator Jim Merritt in conjunction with State Representatives Lutz and Errington, and State Senators Lanane and Eckerty.
I’ll admit not familiar with the legal complexity of blighted properties, still one doesn’t have to look far to see examples of houses and how it affects the surrounding neighborhoods. Blighted properties are a magnet for crime, vandalism, squatters, arson and a variety of other undesirable elements. It’s not just an urban problem, it extends to the rural area, too.
In Muncie, circa 2010, blighted properties were highlighted weekly in the newspaper drawing the public’s eye to the problems and solutions. Often a property would be targeted, and the end result saw it either rehabilitated or removed. We had a deconstruction program praised by Joe Hogsett, Indiana U.S. Attorney, which utilized prison re-entry program as the source of labor.
We had some fantastic successes in rehabbing apartments and homes, but sadly, not every property is worth saving or fiscally feasible to rehab.
Somewhere along the line, the zeal for targeting blight has diminished, The weekly articles ceased, information and progress on the properties became a guest column now and then with ideas but no real progress has been made. Oh, we have had successes and hope of future successes to come, yet blight is still here for now. And it’s very real.
With funding and legislation expected, how can those monies be evenly dispersed among 92 counties? The State of Indiana has designated “Divisions” which groups together counties based on population. Delaware County is Division Three and includes Clark, Elkhart, Hendricks, Johnson, LaPorte, Madison, Monroe, Porter, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh and Vigo Counties. Estimated amount of funds $19 million dollars. As presented, this will be a very competitive program. Municipalities will submit their properties and future reuse of properties. The criteria used for submission is point based and links to further information is listed at the end of this blog.
The program, is quite detailed and subject to change before it becomes finalized, just consider this as a heads up and something to watch.
I’m still trying to digest all the information, and certainly don’t consider this anything more than a basic source of information. Just keep your eyes out for further developments.
Muncie competing for state’s demolition dollars (Star Press article available for 7 days)
“For the seven calendar years immediately following the hold of the referendum, shall the Muncie Community Schools impose a property tax rate that does not exceed 39.39 ($0.3939) cents on each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation and that is in addition to all other property tax levies imposed by the Muncie Community Schools.”
The vote is Yes or No.
On the Yes side, all the taxpayers and citizens have been offered is “Keeping children safe.” Who in their right mind doesn’t want to keep children safe? Not anybody I know, probably not anyone you know, either. The Facebook page “Vote Yes for Muncie School Buses” has detailed how much the cost would be on a $100,000 home without deductions. The referendum would add $394.00 or $33.00 a month.
“VOTE YES IN NOVEMBER! It will give center township residents the option to raise taxes ($0.3939) cents on each $100 of assessed valuation. By doing this it will allow yellow school buses to run! THIS IS LESS THAN A TANK OF GAS A MONTH TO KEEP KIDS SAFE!!”
Sounds do-able for most, we can all add $33.00 to our monthly budget for the next seven years. Read the rest of this entry »
For those of you which live in the Univeristy Avenue area, you may want to take note of a citizen and homeowner who is shedding some light on Muncie’s aging storm/sewer system. You may just think “It’s not in my neighborhood…” It very well could come to yours. Sure, we have a lot on our plates, however planning ahead and preparing for the future can save a lot of headaches down the pipe.
The following letter was published in the Muncie Star Press on September 27th, 2013.
The city of Muncie has allowed and approved the construction of an apartment/commercial complex between University Avenue and North Street, and between Martin and Dicks streets, without proper sewage connections to the only 12-inch (inside diameter of pipes are only 9 inches) combination storm/sewage system that is 100 years old.
This line is too small for present use, much less adding extra sewage and runoff with new construction. The $50 million-plus project (200-plus apartments and maybe 10 retail stores) has not allowed any new sewage lineage.
It seems no one is willing to discuss this future problem with me as a local taxpayer.
Many of my neighbors cannot use their basements or flush their commodes in heavy rain in the area with combination storm and raw sewage.
No one wants to hear me complaining about this future problem. I think EPA should bring an injunction to stop this construction until Muncie invests and installs a new sewage system.
It seems the city only wants the new tax money from this project, yet refuses to install new sewage lines for all the additional development.
We have problems when most neighbors take the plug out of their basement drain, the water pressure in the sewage line will hit the basement ceiling. Pressure has cracked some basement floors.
Why will no one talk to me about this future problem?
Please help me before it is too late.
Muncie Sanitary District – Bill Smith (765) 213-6412
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler (765) 747-4845
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)