January 26, 2014

PUBLIC FORUM: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014


---- — Asking board to stepup to the plate

An open letter to the Logansport Utility Service Board:

Please consider your power and your duty.

You have power. The City administration cannot abolish the Utility Service Board. The Board can only be abolished by a public referendum. I.C. 8-1.5-3-3 (g) Your Board relationship with the City Council is controlled by law. You are only required to submit a budget and recommend reasonable rates to the City Council. Otherwise, all utility matters are your exclusive business, including the award of contracts for “purposes that are necessary for the full and efficient construction, management, and operation of each utility.” I.C. 8-1.5-3-4. That is your duty. You did the unusual act of relinquishing your duty for one year. I am asking you to exercise your power and do your duty.

When you authorized the Memorandum of Understanding that Mayor Franklin could negotiate a public-private partnership with Pyrolyzer LLC, you handed over your duty to set electric policy. You limited that handover specifically for the duration of the RFP (Request for Proposals) process.

Remember how Franklin, Pyrolyzer and your own lawyer have strictly enforced your one-year handover of your duty. Remember the flurry of letters designed to keep you out of negotiations. It would be a mistake to choose to entangle yourselves further with the Mayor and his Council, but that is what the City’s amendment to Ordinance 2013-47 attempts to do.

You will recall that at your last meeting, December 2013, with your handover ready to expire, Franklin told you that he sought an extension at least until April. His City Council had already passed an ordinance for such an extension on first reading.

On January 3, 2014, at the last minute, Franklin changed what he had told you. What started as the ordinance for an extension was amended to include 1) an admission that there are no contracts to award pursuant to your RFP, and 2) an attempt to broaden the scope of what your RFP advertised. As to the first point: If there is no public-private agreement between the City and Pyrolyzer, then, according to the law and your RFP, the RFP process is terminated. That means that your temporary handover of your duty is also terminated. As to the second point: The scope of the RFP process cannot be broader than what you advertised. And look at what that broader scope is. The City Council’s amended ordinance says that you are handing over your duty with no time limit. But, as we have seen, the city administration does not have that power unless you hand it over again.

Members of the Board, now that your one-year handover of your duty has expired, please exercise your exclusive power, and duty, to find the best solution for supplying electricity to LMU customers.

Jim Brugh


Snow removal has beena big job this winter

I would like to express a sincere thank you to everyone who helped clear roads after the snow storm of Jan. 5 and 6. The employees of the Cass County Highway Department worked long hours in very harsh conditions to make sure emergencies were handled, and then to open roads, many of which were plugged with drifts of 5 to 6 feet or higher. The mechanics in our shop worked feverishly to keep vehicles running in the extreme cold, resulting in all personnel being placed in a piece of equipment with minimal delay. And our office staff dealt with hundreds of calls, some from individuals who were less than cordial or patient.

To the volunteer fire department and other businesses who allowed us to pull a truck into bay for a quick thaw or repair, and to those individuals or businesses in the local agriculture community who used their own equipment to open a road or assist a highway vehicle, we say a sincere thank you. And especially to the City of Logansport’s Department of Public Works for offering their assistance in the county after the city streets were opened, we express many thanks. The city and county street and highway departments enjoy a good working relationship which was evident during the storm.

We would also like to thank the Cass County EMA, sheriff’s department and central dispatch employees who worked closely with us through the event. Finally, a thank you goes to those citizens of Cass County who did heed the advice, and for a time, the order, to stay off of roads until they were opened. Progress is much faster when plow vehicles can work on opening roads instead of responding to stranded vehicles, which delays overall cleanup and prevents that road from being opened until the vehicle is removed.

It takes a community working together to overcome a storm like the one we endured. Last week once again displayed the cooperative spirit of many people in our community.

Jeff Smith

Cass CountyHighway Superintendent

Tractor will golong way to help trail

The Friends of the Panhandle Pathway want to thank the Cass County Community Foundation Board of Directors and Executive Director Deanna Crispen for their generosity in providing a matching grant for the Panhandle Pathway for the purchase of a new tractor to help maintain the trail.

A thank you also to the generous donors who helped in providing the matching monies for the grant and to Pulaski Health Foundation, our fiscal sponsor, for their support with the project.

The Friends of the Panhandle Pathway have seen use of the trail increase each year. This is a 22-mile trail that extends from Kenneth in Cass County to Winamac. It is the desire of the Panhandle Pathway to extend to France Park in the near future.

Steve and Tona McIntyre

“Tractor for the Trail”Fundraiser Co-Chairs

Relying on services provided by MHA

My name is Tara. I’ve been involved with the Mental Health Association for over eight years. My dad used their services for many years. Karen was his health care representative for many years. Later, she took care of his money. The Mental Health Association helped him in many ways from doctor appointments to clothing, to grocery shopping and making sure he took his medication.

My dad is deceased now. He would be very upset if he knew the United Way dropped them as an agency. I’m upset just thinking they might not be around in my future. I have lots of friends that count on the Metal Health. All of us want to know why the United Way has done this to them. We were told other agencies would help us but they don’t do what Mental Health does. I’m upset because Kim had to find another job. She’s always been good to all of us. I can’t tell you all the times she has helped me.

I hope there are people out there that will financially help the Mental Health Association. Just the other day, the MHA found a mattress for me and my significant other. The Gray Mill donated it to us. We had been sleeping on the floor for what seemed like a very long time. People who have money, beds, rides and clothing hardly ever think about people like us.

It’s not that we don’t want all of the things people have; it’s just that we have mental illness and only get so much each month to live on. For as long as I have been around, the Mental Health have helped us with all kinds of different things.

When the end of the month comes and we don’t have any money or food, they make sure we have something. You might question why we don’t go to the Salvation Army or Emmaus. We do. We can only go once a month. We are very thankful for what we get, but sometimes it’s not enough. It’s hard to be hungry. It’s hard to be broke. But most of all, it would be terrible to be without the Mental Health Association.

Tera Hudson