Someone else’s back yard
During a stop at the Kokomo Tribune last Thursday, Mike Rucker, the CEO of juwi Wind Energy’s North American operations, was asked if he personally lives near a wind farm.
His company is in the process of developing the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, a project slated to install up to 94 turbines in Prairie and Liberty townships in northern Tipton County. Most of the opposition to the project is coming from homeowners who say they simply don’t want to live next to 300-foot tall windmills.
As it turns out, Rucker does not live near or in the midst of windmills.
Rucker said he currently resides in Boulder, Colo., and he said from his office can see the wind turbines at the National Wind Technology Center, which is about 7 miles away.
Rucker said he lived near a wind farm at a previous address in California.
Opponents of the juwi project are citing a loss of property values, noise from the turbine operation and shadow flicker from the turning turbine blades.
Done with that idea
When Republican Mitch Daniels was governor a repeated topic of discussion by members of the Indiana General Assembly was government reform based on the Kernan-Shepherd Report which advocated elimination of township government and the streamlining of county government offices.
During the Third House session last week local lawmakers were asked if local government reform would return to the front-burner during the first legislative session of Gov. Mike Pence.
State Rep. Heath VanNatter said “no” in reference to the plan as it existed during Daniels’ tenure.
“Merging townships has not been popular,” he said.
State Sen. Jim Buck said it’s a divisive issue among lawmakers.
“It will create a large bureaucracy,” he said.
State Rep. Mike Karickhoff said no bills have been filed and none were likely to be introduced during the 2013 session.
“Local voters rejected township consolidation,” he said in reference to last year’s local referendum vote on a plan to consolidate six Howard County townships into two units.
More of the same?
When the recession hit in 2008, Daniels rescinded a $300 million annual school funding increase the Legislature had already voted on, saying the state didn’t have the money. It wasn’t a cut, but rather a flatlining of the schools’ funding for the next two years. Two years later, the Legislature continued that flatline budget, while simultaneously finding money for school vouchers. Now newly elected Gov. Mike Pence is proposing a 1 percent increase for K-12 public education for the next two years and expanded vouchers.
By the end of the next biennium, that plan would mean school funding (as separate from full-day kindergarten) will have been essentially frozen for six years running. Pence is also calling for the Legislature to fund a $790 million state income tax cut.
We asked Karickhoff what he thought of a 1 percent increase in school funding for another two years.
“It’s too early to tell,” Karickhoff said. “I just got a 144-page summary of Gov. Pence’s budget plan, and I’m going to look at it. I don’t want to offer an opinion right now.”
Back on the agenda
VanNatter, as expected, signed on as a co-author of a bill to require welfare recipients to be drug tested. The idea is wildly popular among VanNatter’s ultra-conservative base in District 38, but is viewed as unconstitutional and mean-spirited by opponents. It went nowhere last year; we’ll see how it fares this time.
Someone else’s back yard
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Powell looking for Little 500 win
During the course of his 72 years, Jerry Powell has done a little bit of everything.
Powell has owned a trucking business, raced sprint cars, has his pilot’s license and is now owner of a racing team. He is also a tool and die maker and produces many parts on the race cars.
Layoffs at St. Joseph Hospital possible
St. Vincent Health announced Thursday it would be laying off employees across its 22-hospital system, which includes St. Joseph Hospital in Kokomo.
NHS principal takes job in Lafayette
Northwestern High School Principal Al Remaly announced he is leaving the district this summer to start a new job at Harrison High School in Lafayette.
Helping homeless vets
As residents reflect on the tireless work of the nation’s military veterans on Memorial Day, a group of Howard County vets is concentrating on veterans without a home.
Police arrest 4 dancers on sex charges
Kokomo police arrest women, employed at Little Daddy's and Big Daddy's strip clubs, on warrants Wednesday accusing them of prostitiution and indecent exposure.
An unfinished mural in the halls of Kokomo High School gave senior Trevor Douglas a reason to come to school every day and a reason to aim higher in life.
Local districts still struggling
While there may be more money alloted for K-12 education in the budget passed through the General Assembly last month, many school districts in the area won’t see high cash bumps due to changes in the funding formulas.
School dollars unevenly allotted
In the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last month, there is more money allocated for K-12 education over the next two years, but that doesn’t mean every school will get more dollars.
Tipton County cuts part-time hours
Part-time employees with Tipton County will be taking home smaller paychecks starting July 1 after the county council voted to lower the maximum number of hours worked to 28 per week.
Company invests $1.1 million in Miami Co.
A Logansport-based company is investing $1.1 million to expand its operations into a facility north of Peru. The company said it will bring over 30 jobs to the county.
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