All posts by Tim J. Clark

BCRSD Meeting Notes Aug 9, 2022

Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD), Board Members: Clint Studabaker, Mike Leggins, Phil LeBlanc, Richard Hall, Matt Hanlon.  BCRSD Website

Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD)- Meeting Notes, Aug 9, 2022.

o. RSD Consolidation?  The Helmsburg RSD (HRSD) Board has yet to sign a joint agreement with the BCRSD. The expectation of the BCRSD is that once this is signed, the next needed step is to consolidate boards.  At a previous meeting when I questioned having two RSDs on the same project, the answer was that this was an acceptable practice in the State.  Stay tuned.

o. The current project concept is for the BCRSD to be responsible for collecting the wastewater from all new customers and for the HRSD plant to process it.  Another option is for the HRSD to expand its board to include a representative from Lake Lemon and Bean Blossom. The BCRSD can be converted to an advisory committee.

o. HRSD Capabilities.  HRSD has a plant, current customers, and a new customer base at Lake Lemon whose residents support sewer service as soon as possible. The Lake Lemon conservancy consists of 520 homes. Helmsburg and Lake Lemon have valid needs. HRSD has agreed to provide sewer service to the Bean Blossom area.

o. The need in the Bean Blossom area is based on speculation and a desire by a few (including the commissioners) for service and development in the area. The BCRSD failed to acquire land for a plant in Bean Blossom (thus the need for service from HRSD) and will need approximately 190 easements from property owners. If legal action is needed to attempt to coerce residents to grant an easement through threats of eminent domain,  this will lead to delays and a probable defeat in court.

o. Background. The BCRSD was a name change from the Bean Blossom RSD. The Bean Blossom RSD was created when an agreement for service could not be worked out with Helmsburg. Bean Blossom had to expand their customer base to help justify funding. They also had to speculate as to need. The two previous presidents of the BCRSD resigned over the issue of the lack of validation as to need.

Presentation of the BCRSD Wastewater Strategy and Sep 2021 Watershed Study. The date is still To-Be-Determined (TBD).

Timeline. April 2023 is the target date for submitting an application for project funding. This requires the completion of the respective preliminary engineering reports (PERs). Both boards are now in the process of selecting contractors to develop their respective PERs and rate studies.

Contractors. The BCRSD received five responses to the RFQ. Two vendors (GRW and BLN) were identified for an interview that will be followed by a selection.  Interviews are tentatively scheduled for Aug 15, 10am to 3:00 pm timeframe.

New Baldrige Award Category – Community

Congress Adds “Community” as the 7th Category of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards

Baldrige – America’s Best Investment

Communities of Excellence 2026

Awards are given across six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, healthcare and non-profit.

In addition, the categories are organized into seven criteria: Leadership; Strategic planning; Customer focus; Measurement, analysis and knowledge management; Workforce Focus; Operations Focus; Results

2022 School Referendum – Context and Analysis

FB Choice Decision 41214997_fb-image

Updated August 9, 2022

Facebook post at Brown County Matters

Aug 9, 2022. Part 1.2022 School Referendum – Political Aspect.  I found it interesting that the Brown County School leadership chose to take political action in 2021 that can be perceived as supporting a progressive left perspective in opposing Indiana’s education policies. These policies provide parents with choices that include Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) and Vouchers.

Despite their opposition, the budget bill (2021) containing the school voucher language and ESAs overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support, passed the House 96-2 and the Senate 46-3. The budget bill also reportedly provided more funding for schools and teacher pay. Note that over 50% of the state’s general fund is dedicated to schools and the majority of schools in Indiana have not relied on a referendum.  

Brown County Voters n i2016 supported a referendum and may support it again. Why take on a policy with strong support by those with conservative and religious values? Republicans have super majorities in State government. In Brown County, Donald Trump received over 63% of the vote in 2016 and 2020. The school superintendent has identified that she “ will form a political action committee to educate and campaign in the community.”   

In Part 2, I will provide additional context regarding the national influences affecting local educational policies and practices. I have also submitted formal requests for additional information (RFIs) from the School and the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) regarding the referendum.  This process can take up to 60 days.

School Board – Opposing ESAs and Vouchers

Commissioner Meeting Notes, Aug 3 and 17, 2022

Commissioner Meeting Notes, Aug 17, 2022.  2:00 p.m.

Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update. The Railroad agreed to open the crossing to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  They “estimated” a cost to the county of $155, 575.00 and added requirements that are not on other pedestrian trail crossings in Indiana and throughout the country.   Commissioner Biddle accepted this estimate without challenge.

Tony Abbott, President, of Knobstone Hiking Trail Association (KHTA), did challenge the premise of the estimate and provided examples and references supporting his argument that the pedestrian crossing could be re-opened at little expense (less than 2K which would signage).  He reinforced that KHTA was just asking the commissioners to sign an amendment to the road closure ordinance that identifies that their intent was to close the road BUT NOT the  pedetrain crossing that provided access to the Knowbstone Trail.   Commissioner Pittman stated that he agrees with allowing a pedestrian crossing.

Next Step?  Commissioner can vote on the amendment to the ordinance allowing a pedestrain crossing and access to the trail.

Commissioner Meeting Notes, Aug 3, 2022.  Commissioner Pittman was absent. 2:00 pm – 2:45.

Audio of the Meeting 44 minutes

Agenda commissioner meeting Aug 3 2022

Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update.  38:10 mark on audio. Legal aspects still in the discussion phase. Commissioner Biddle provided a deed to the county attorney of the crossing and stated that per the deed, the RR owns 150 feet on both sides.  She also stated that she believes (no supporting evidence) that individuals coming within 50′ of the crossing would be committing trespassing on federal property because train right of way is considered federal.

Road Paving. 39:37 mark on audio. A citizen requested that Plum Creek Road be paved and requested some signage. The cost to pave a county gravel road is 300K a mile. To re-pave, a road costs over 100K a mile.

Helmsburg Sewer Projects.  Helmsburg Regional Sewer District (HRSD) board member Kyle Myers provided an update on several projects that the county is funding.

o. Helmsburg has bought additional property to support a plant expansion. They also received funding to extend the lines to cover two additional homes with the potential of adding additional customers.  However, given the demand for contractors, work may not begin until later in the year.

o. ARPA funds of 175K were approved previously by the commissioners to support repairs and a preliminary engineering report for upgrades. The HRSD is to provide invoices and the county will process the payments. Development of a preliminary engineer report has also been funded to identify requirements and costs for supporting an expansion to provide service to Lake Lemon and Bean Blossom.

o. The HRSD is also working on a grant to help reduce the monthly cost of sewer service from 92.50 a month.

CRT, DEI, EI, ESG

Updated Sep 26, 2022  

good bad compass

Preface

Critical Race Theory (CRT), Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI)/Equity Inclusion, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), are among the many controversial initiatives dividing the country.   

Variation is a natural part of creation. Variation represents a difference between an ideal and an actual situation. (Ref: American Society for Quality, Law of Variation).  Strategies that create, increase, and sustain divisiveness increase variation. Reducing variation requires an analysis of facts, an assessment of processes and systems, understanding (not necessarily agreeing) opposing points of view, and finding common causes to problems that both sides could agree to help resolve. Outline of a Community Decision-Making Process.

 In a biblical worldview, God is the moral authority and defines the ideal as perfection – all needs are met – heaven on earth. In the American system of government, the ideal is continuous improvement towards “a more perfect Union.”  The concept has also been expressed as “self-rule under God. ”  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 KJV)

    • In the area of quality, the customer defines the ideal.  For atheists and agnostics,  “man” claims to have moral authority and defines the ideal. 
    • In Marxist-based philosophies, satan defines the ideal that can be described as resulting in hell on earth.  

Within the quality profession, it has been proven through the Taguchi Loss Function that the closer a product or service (including government services and change strategies) gets to the ideal, the higher the quality and lower the cost (tangible and intangible) to the individual (customer) and society.  W. Edwards Deming reinforced a similar finding: “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)

The variation principle reinforces the fact that actions motivated by a respective philosophy or worldview will produce different results.   The design of the U.S. Constitutional Republic was influenced by Judeo-Christian principles that support continuous improvement and a needed balance of power within government and between government and the citizenry.

The Brown County Leader Network supports a secular and non-secular approach to systemic improvement.  Presentation of the concept.

Cultural Changes – “man” is the moral authority

Schools on U.S. military bases adopting ‘woke’ agendas Priorities now focus on ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion By WND News Services  Published October 2, 2022 at 1:27pm

    • Reflecting Department-wide priorities, the 2022 DoDEA “Blueprint for Continuous Improvement” strategic plan was recently updated to emphasize “diversity, equity, and inclusion” as “Core Values” for the system.
    • On the contrary, the new working definition of “antiracism”—given to us by Boston University’s Ibram X. Kendi—means assuming that all American society is shot through with racism, that every white person is racist, and that denial of racism is evidence of racism.

Black conservative group pens open letter urging schools to drop CRT, adopt 1776 Unites.  The Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites initiative aims to teach history, civics, and the founding ideals through an objective lens

What Is Critical Race Theory? PragerU – James Lindsay. Have you heard of Critical Race Theory? If you haven’t, you will. It’s coming to a high school, college, or workplace diversity training session near you. What do you need to know about it, and what can you do to stop it?  Presented by James Lindsay – New Discourses

CRT in Education Indiana –  Legal Insurrection Foundation

UPDATE March 2022: The Indiana legislature failed to pass a ban on CRT despite a Republican supermajority in both houses.

    • Indiana has joined other states in fighting back against CRT in K-12 education. The Attorney General, Todd Rotika, issued a Parent’s Bill of Rights in June 2021. Meanwhile, the higher education system has embraced some aspects of CRT and shown support for BLM, with the Republican-controlled legislature remaining oddly silent on the issue. (CriticalRace.org is an ongoing project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation).

Educator Kali Fontanilla Spills the Truth About Education, Interview by  Jill Simonian  ⋅    30.4k views. Kali Fontanilla, a former high school teacher in Salinas Valley, CA, quit her job after publicly denouncing the “leftist indoctrination” of students in California classrooms through ethnic studies programs. She talks with Jill Simonian of PragerU Kids to expose the underbelly of our current education system

    • About Kali Fontanilla.  Kali has 15 years of experience as a credentialed educator working in public and Christian schools teaching multiple subjects and grade levels. Her rebuttal statement to Prop 16 in California helped to stop the push for legal “reverse racism” and a new extreme version of “affirmative action” in 2020. She wrote the guide for the BLEXIT Foundation to expose the dangers of Critical Race Theory. She has been featured in newspapers across the country including the Epoch Times, Associated Press, Boston Globe, etc.
    • Exodus Institute. Vision: Exodus Institute seeks to redefine education in the 21st century by joining technology with traditional values. Mission: Our goals at Exodus Institute are to provide families with a quality alternative to public schools, and support homeschool families with enrichment courses that foster critical thinking, academic skills, and counter the left-wing indoctrination found in education, culture, and the media.

BLEXIT Foundation. The BLEXIT movement aims to uplift and empower minorities to realize the American Dream.  Founders Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum came together because of their shared desire to build a better future for America. Candace and Brandon seek to educate minorities across America about the history of our great country by highlighting the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the importance of self-reliance. The two believe it is time to take criminal justice reform seriously to stop the over-incarceration of minorities, to build strong families in the minority communities, and to value the life and the sanctity of every individual.

BLEXIT’s Guide Against Critical Race Theory  – _Packet_Web_Final.2,pdf

    • Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a worldview or framework that proposes that all aspects of life must be explained in terms of racial identities. “Critical race theory combines progressive political struggles for racial justice with critiques of conventional legal and scholarly norms which are themselves part of illegitimate hierarchies that need to be changed.”1 In other words, Critical Race Theory is putting on a color lense at all times and looking at all areas of American life (political, legal, educational, you name it) through the lens of race with the intent to dismantle systems that are deemed “white supremacist”.
    • DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion- While the original dictionary definition of these terms may be positive, when viewed through the lens of Critical Race Theory and applied to our schools, they become discriminatory and damaging. DEI is Critical Race Theory in action. These terms will show up in teacher Professional Development trainings, where teachers will be taught to address, discipline, and evaluate their students differently based on the color of their skin.

New tool helps parents, students assess DEI ‘sickness level’ at schools. ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it’

Hidden camera: Educator boasts of ‘sneaking’ left-wing agenda into classrooms.

https://www.wnd.com/2022/09/hidden-camera-educator-boasts-sneaking-left-wing-agenda-classrooms/‘I just keep trying to disrupt wherever I can’

 CRT/DEI and Christianity

Like Marxism, Critical Theory is something of a Christian heresy, taking the Christian themes of human dignity and justice and a world remade, and re-orienting these causes under new management. Most pertinently, CRT is slipping into the space where the Church belongs but is too often absent. ….  Because, the best antidote for the failings of Critical Theory and its inadequate worldview is for the Church to understand and live consistently with the Bible. (Ref: Critical Race Theory and a Christian Worldview)

Critical Race Theory in the Church by Brandon Clay and Frost Smith on September 29, 2020

    • “Ultimately, the only way to deal with race issues is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, beginning in Genesis. Until people believe God’s Word revealing the true history of the human race, what our problem is (sin), and what the solution is in Jesus Christ, race issues will never be dealt with as they need to be. The fact is all humans belong to one race (Adam’s race), we are all one family, and all are sinners in need of salvation. We need to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31) and we need to be reminded of how Jesus taught us as Christians to pray, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).”
    • Three Biblical Problems with Critical Race Theory. How CRT affirms a non-biblical category of race, promotes ethnic discrimination, and promotes a false religion opposed to biblical Christianity

    • Dr. Voddie Baucham Hits Critical Race Theory, Says … – Christianity Daily.  Apr 7, 2021In his talk about Critical Race Theory (CRT), Dr. Voddie Baucham maintained that the Gospel remains to be the “answer and solution” to racism. In a recent interview with Faithwire, Dr. Voddie Baucham expressed his concern with how the CRT worldview has crept into churches, thereby influencing Christianity’s concept of social justice.

    •  Addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)  Nov 3, 2020.  Addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Christian School. The title of this article may have already stirred some emotional response in the reader—topics of diversity often do. As Christians, we can develop more understanding, compassion, and empathy for any group, while  holding fast to our biblical worldview and Christian practice. In fact, I believe our faith in Christ encourages us to show God’s love to all people, even if we disagree with them.

State of IndianaOffice of Equity, Inclusion (EI) and Opportunity

Brown County Schools

    • School Board – Opposing ESAs and Vouchers.  Resolution supported by the Brown County Educators Association (local union), the Superintendant, and School Board.  The teachers union is represented by the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) that is aligned with the National Education Association (NEA). NEA supports Critical Race Theory (CRT). 
    •  ‘Be a listening ear’: Teacher is new equity and inclusion coach. On Jan. 21, the Brown County Schools Board of Trustees approved Helmsburg Elementary School teacher Malini Stiles as the equity and inclusion coach for the district. … This is a new position that educators wanted to include in this school year’s teacher contract
    • SUPERINTENDENT’S CORNER: Students for Equity maps goals for school community  This week, it felt appropriate to yield my column space to student voice. As such, I present this column written by the Brown County High School Students for Equity Club, a student-led club working to advance equity and inclusion across our school district. 

    • ‘Holding our students accountable’: Group approaches school board about policy for hate speech, symbols  

      • There is no legal definition of hate speech in United States law, but …  generally “any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of people on the basis of race, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability or national origin.”
      • “Hate speech and symbols, or any language that is derogatory or offensive to certain groups of students, greatly intrudes on the learning environment by isolating and attacking groups of students for their identity, factors they have no control over in their lives,”

Town of Nashville, Brown County Indiana  proposed Human Rights Commission Ordinance

    • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Human Rights Program (HRP) is dedicated to holding the United States accountable to international human rights laws and standards as well as the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Other

Back To School: If You Can’t Change Your School, Do These 5 Things Instead BY: JILL SIMONIAN

    1. Examine Emergency Forms; 2. Opt Your Child Out of SEL, Sex Ed, and DEI; 3. File a FOIA Request Now; 4. Volunteer in Your Child’s Classroom and Library; 5. Don’t Waste Driving Time

What is ESG? ESG refers to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) information about a firm. There is growing evidence that companies that take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously perform better financially. This has naturally made investors sit up and take notice. (Ref: World Economic Forum)

DeSantis announces plan to combat ESG influence in Florida

    • “It takes power away from the American people and lodges it into these international corporate titans. And that’s not, I think, what our Founding Fathers ever intended,” he said.
    • In terms of ESG influence, DeSantis said asset managers will require extreme environmentalism to be considered along with typical fiduciary responsibilities.
    • “They will require ESG. The companies themselves will do it,” he said. “I think there’s a couple of reasons. I mean, I do think part of this is there’s woke employees in these companies and the inmates have basically run the asylum. So some of the CEOs bend to that.”
    • Fully implementing ESG governance into the U.S. financial or agricultural sector would throw the nation into chaos, DeSantis suggested– predicting a “disaster” for the U.S. economy.

Part 3. Closure RR Xing, Indian Hill Rd: Public Hearings

rr cross bucks

Updated Sep 7, 2022  

Question: Was a public hearing required or just a recommended step by the commissioners before deciding to close the railroad crossing at Indian Hill Road?

Additional Background Information

Aug 26, 2022.  Follow-up information – requirements regarding pedestrian crossings – RR Signs/Signals:  Facebook Post – Brown County Matters

      • PART 8 – TRAFFIC CONTROL FOR RAILROAD AND LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT GRADE CROSSINGS.
      • Morton Marcus: Railing about rail crossings.
        • On May 26, 2022, the Norfolk Southern Railroad called the Starke County Highway superintendent about closing a rail crossing. The railroad then sent a letter – a petition – to the county commissioners who were advised by the County Attorney to hold a public meeting which took place on July 5th. The overwhelming response from Starke County citizens was against closure. Ten days later the Commissioners denied the petition. Matter closed, not the crossing.
        • Compare that with a similar situation in Brown County. The Indiana Railroad Company petitioned on May 20, 2019, the county commissioners to close the crossing at Indian Hill Road near Trevlac.
        • The commissioners approved the petition on May 6, 2020, despite the fact the law requires a public hearing. Without that public hearing, the Commissioners did not know their decision cut the popular Tecumseh Trail in two.

Aug 19, 2022. Creek Crossing – Concrete SlabPhoto taken on 19th. Zoom to verify no additional barricades. Check recorded dialogue and transcript of the commissioner meeting (Aug 17) at 00:30:00 to verify Mike Magner’s statements as to new barricades.

Indian Hill Rd Creek Crossing Concrete Slab

Aug 17, 2022. Commissioner meeting – Notes from Transcript

    • 00:28:30 Jerry Pittman (JP) Moving on to other business — the Indian Hill proposal.
    • 00:28:38 Diana Biddle (DB) DB Asks for Mike Moga  (MM) discussion of RR quotation.
    • 00:28:45 Mike Moga: Moga states RR has agreed to “allow” BC to open a pedestrian/bicycle crossing. The RR sent a cost estimate based on FRA (Federal RR Administration) requirements. Moga states that something — perhaps the requirements or the elements of estimate — are required by law (reference? )   “We (BC) would like to discuss estimate at this meeting, to determine how we will pay for it and what our next move will be.”
    • 00:30:20 ff: Auditor: “I have contacted the insurance company on the insurance question but have not heard back yet.
    • 00:30:50 ff: DB: The RR wants to know that we (BC) actually have insurance.
    • 00:33:30 ff: DB: “… You’re looking at a fully engineered … that’s what has to be done according to Federal standards.”
    • 00:33:55 ff Mike Moga: “I am told by the RR that the arm/guard warning is something that is in RR inventory; we can expect a discount …”
    • 00:34:20 ff DB: Reminds us that RR wanted another crossing closed if DOT# 292 193F were to be opened. Now that is off the table!
    • 00:34:45 ff DB: (had pre 7:30 am conversation with Darren Bridges) “BC can’t pay for all. Perhaps DNR — they have an interest. HHC might hold a fundraiser. Need to determine how much BC will need to put into the pot.”
    • 00:36:00 ff: DB states slab no longer viable. Mike Magnor (MM) states he just barricaded the slab. Biddle checks him — he says yes. DB continues stating slab “… was already cracked and in three or four pieces …”.
    • 00:36:40 ff: Tony Abbott begins rebuttal.
    •  00:56:15 ff: Tony concludes the presentation and asks for questions.
    • 00:56:18 ff: Jerry Pittman agrees with Tony.
    • 00:57:00 ff: Auditor chimes in: “…the RR owns the property. If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it their way!”   Tony rebuts. 
    • 00:58:45 ff: DB launches discussion of what would have happened if BC had denied petition to close crossing, i.e. BC wouldn’t have received direct payment of $3750, and INRD would have appealed to INDOT.
    • 1:00:00 ff: DB launches discussion (based on her assumptions) of track speed versus signal type. goes on to talk about “slow orders”. Tony rebuts.
    • 1:00:30 ff: DB mentions that HHC did not ask for easement when Tecumseh first built. An absurd statement, reflecting that she has no concept of right-of-way. 
    • 1:02:00 ff: DB offers to call Mr. Ray and Mr. McDonald(sp?) — each with INRD — to reach out … Offers that somehow federal standards of crossing signals are required. Tony rebuts re iNDOT and federal standards are the same. DB replies that speed will likely have to be changed.
    • 1:03:25 ff: MM indicated he wants time to review INDOT standards introduced by Tony. MM also wants to look at slab.
    • 1:03:30 ff: MM indicates that foot traffic over slab poses liability for BC.  However local property owner is taking 9000lb loads of hay over slab at that time!
    • 1:05:00 ff: Tony indicates INRD has not responded to letters, Koch invitation, BC meetings.
    • 1:06:00 ff: Jerry Pittman agrees with Tony. Talks Mexico.
    • 1:10:00 ff: DB talks Thailand.
    • Tim Clark speaks for Amendment.
    • 1:14:42 ff: DB I’ll reach out to the railroad, with your (Jerry Pittman’s) approval, and/to see if I can breathe some common sense into …” -Jerry Pittman (interrupts) Please, please, anything you can do would be appreciated … -DB “… It might be easier to do that than letting the lawyers duke it out.”

Aug 17, 2022.  Commissioner Meeting Notes. Audio – Discussion on the Pedestrian Crossing begins at the 28:30 mark. Tony Abbott’s rebuttal at the 36:40 mark. My comments at 1:11.

    • Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update. The Railroad agreed to open the crossing to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  They “estimated” a cost to the county of $155, 575.00 and added requirements that are not on other pedestrian trail crossings in Indiana and throughout the country.   Commissioner Biddle accepted the scope of work and this estimate without challenge.
    • Tony Abbott, President, of Knobstone Hiking Trail Association (KHTA), did challenge the premise of the estimate and provided examples and references supporting his argument that the pedestrian crossing could be re-opened at little expense (less than 2K which would signage).  He reinforced that KHTA was just asking the commissioners to sign an amendment to the road closure ordinance that identifies that their intent was to close the road BUT NOT the pedestrian crossing that provided access to the Knowbstone Trail.   Commissioner Pittman stated that he agrees with allowing a pedestrian crossing.
    • (1) KHTA is not advocating for bicycle traffic. (2) Based on prices of commercially available passive warning signs — used at Indian Hill Road crossing DOT# 292 193F at least as long as Tecumseh Trail has existed —  initial estimates indicate that  two 1st class Reflectorized Cross-Bucks can be had for less than $2K.   An amount Commissioner Pittman agreed to fund.
    • Next Step?  TBD. Commissioners can vote on the amendment to the ordinance allowing a pedestrian crossing and access to the trail.
    • Facebook Post – Brown County Matters

Aug 10, 2022.  ‘Unintended consequence’: Trail supporters request pedestrian crossing for Indian Hill railroad by Suzannah Couch.

    • For more than 20 years hikers have traveled through Brown County on the Tecumseh Trail, making their way across the Indian Hill Road railroad crossing on their trek down one of the longest hiking trails in the state. … Now hikers take a 5- to 6-mile walking detour around the railroad crossing following its closure two years ago at the request of the Indiana Rail Road.
    • Abbott then said that severing the Tecumseh Trail could have been identified as a compelling reason if the commissioners had held a public hearing before the crossing was closed. Under Indiana Code, a public hearing should be held not more than 60 days after a petition is received to close a railroad crossing.

Aug 3, 2022. Commissioner meeting.  Indiana Hill RR Crossing – Update.  38:10 mark on audio. Legal aspects still in the discussion phase. Commissioner Biddle provided a deed to the county attorney of the crossing and stated that per the deed, the RR owns 150 feet on both sides.  She also stated that she believes (no supporting evidence) that individuals coming within 50′ of the crossing would be committing trespassing on federal property because train right of way is considered federal.  Audio.

Tecumseh Trail – Impact of Railroad Crossing Closure.  The presentation on July 20, 2022, at the Commissioners Meeting by Tony Abbott, President, of Knobstone Hiking Trail Association included information that suggested a public hearing may have been recommended if not required to be held by the Commissioners.

The fact that a public hearing was never considered should be a concern and something to prevent in the future. Information and examples of a public hearing on the closing of a railroad crossing in Starke County are provided below.

Legal Opinion – Brown County Attorney: 

    • “Barnes and Thornburg attorney Veronica Schilb, who represents the county, said last June that because the county and the railroad company came to an agreement on the closing, no public hearing was required before it was closed.” (Ref: Closed ahead: Tecumseh Trail users lobbying for pedestrian crossing at Indian Hill, By  Suzannah Couch, 
    • QUESTION?  What are the supporting statutes that support this opinion?
Starke County – Railroad Crossing – Discussion, Public Hearings, Rejection of the Closure

June 22, 2022. In contrast, Starke County Commissioners Look for Resident Input on Proposed Railroad Crossing Closure,  Anita Goodan, WKVI

    • County Attorney Justin Schramm suggested waiting until the next meeting to discuss it more in order to get more information about why Norfolk Southern has identified this crossing as one to close. Additionally, Schramm advised the commissioners to gather comments from the property owners before making a decision and they agreed. Letters will be sent to the property owners in that area to attend the next meeting on July 5 or send correspondence concerning their opinions on the matter.

July 5, 2022. Starke County Commissioners to Meet Tonight, by Anita Goodan, WKVI

    • During the commissioner’s last meeting, Starke County Highway Superintendent Dan Dipert brought the request from Norfolk Southern officials to the attention of the commissioners stating that the railroad and INDOT would pay the county money to close the crossing, which could cover the cost of the maintenance of those roads, if the commissioners agree to the closure.
    • It was a goal of the commissioners to explore the railroad company’s need to close the crossing, as well as get input from residents in that area about the request.
    • ….  It has been railroad philosophy for years to try and eliminate as many highway crossings as possible. In general he would say that if the residents of the road are against it then they should not agree to have it closed. He advised that if they choose to close the crossing they need to get as much as possible from the railroad and it should be negotiated. Richard Beachamp also spoke up and said he has property on 225 S. He said if they closed the crossing it would make the travel time longer for emergency vehicles to get to their location.

July 7, 2022. Starke County Commissioners Discuss Railroad Closure Proposal by Anita Goodan, WKVI

    • With the majority of the residents voicing opposition to the railroad closure, the commissioners are leaning toward denying the request from Norfolk Southern officials. 

July 19, 2022Denial of the petition: Starke County Commissioners Reject Proposed Railroad Crossing Closure, July 19, 2022. By Mitch Columbe, WKVI

    • After hearing from the public and with majority of the residents voicing opposition to the railroad closure, the commissioners voted to deny the request from Norfolk Southern officials. 
Background Information – Brown County – Indian Hill Rd. RR Crossing Closure

Commissioner Meeting Notes, July 20, 2022.

commissioner meeting july 20 2022

Commissioner Meeting Notes, July 20, 2022. 6:00 p.m.  One of the most efficient meetings I can recall attending.  Glad I got it on audio.

o. Highways.  Work on Clay Lick and Helmsburg Road beginning July 21, 2022. Road closed to through traffic during the day. Wholesale fuel costs were $2.75 a gallon last June; $5.60 this June.

o. Nashville Bike Pedestrian Trail Master Plan. A Nashville and a “county” project. The Department of Health is providing 20K for a master plan; the county contributing 20k (ARPA funds). Nashville’s contribution not mentioned. No idea at this point on the cost to implement the plan once developed.    “… purpose will be to create a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for Nashville, but it also may advise the town council on matters involving bicycle and pedestrian transportation; recommend updates to town policies regarding sidewalks; review bicycle and pedestrian ordinances and regulations; create a citizen-driven process for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure requests, including sidewalks, crossings and bike racks; advise the council on opportunities for funding such requests; and advocate on related issues.  (Ref: BCD Democrat, Town council appoints bike/pedestrian board)

o. Indiana Hill Railroad Crossing- open to pedestrian traffic.  Mr. Tony Abbott, Knobstone Hiking Trail Association, provided an excellent presentation making the case for a decision by the commissioners to open up the Indian Hill Rd. Rail Road Crossing for pedestrian traffic. Standing room only crowd. Commissioners are supportive of re-opening to pedestrian traffic pending review and advice from the county attorneys.   

Audio of the meeting – Trail discussion starts at 19 minutes.

Updated Post with audio: Part 2. Closure RR Xing, Indian Hill Rd. Opening up the Tecumseh Trail

2022 Mid-terms – who wins?

June 23, 2022. Yes, Biden Is Hiding His Plan To Rig The 2022 Midterm Elections, BY: MOLLIE HEMINGWAY

    • …  President Biden ordered all 600 federal agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process” 
    • Biden gave each agency 200 days to file their plans for approval by none other than Susan Rice, his hyperpartisan domestic policy advisor. Yet fully nine months after those plans were due, they are all being hidden from the public, even as evidence is emerging that the election operation is in full swing.
    • As with previous efforts to destabilize elections, the chaos and confusion that would occur are part of the plan. The Executive Order copied much of a white paper put out by left-wing dark money group Demos, which advocates for left-wing changes to the country and which brags on its website that it moves “bold progressive ideas from cutting-edge concept to practical reality.” Not coincidentally, Biden put former Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman and former Demos Legal Strategies Director Chiraag Bains in key White House posts to oversee election-related initiatives.

July 15, 2022. Slow down on the November ‘red wave’ talk, Exclusive: Brent Smith explains the 2 battlefronts on which conservatives should be engaged

    • We’re heading into uncharted territory against an enemy we have not previously encountered. … When I say enemy, I don’t mean opponent. I didn’t misspeak. I mean exactly what I wrote – ENEMY. This enemy is the current Democratic apparatus – the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history, one that has already eclipsed the previous worst administration, that of Woodrow Wilson.
    • Just 45 days after his inauguration, Biden was handed Executive Order 14019 to sign. The order demands that all 600 federal departments and agencies “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about and participate in, the electoral process.” …   It’s each individual state’s job to run the election how they see fit. So once again, this administration is acting unconstitutionally.

July 15, 2022. TOLD YA SO  The Democrats’ plan to steal midterms: Say goodbye to Biden,  Wayne Allyn Root: ‘It’s the 2020 game plan but updated with scarier names’

    • First, I’ve been warning nonstop that Democrats are planning to steal the 2022 midterms, just like they clearly stole the 2020 presidential election. More on that in a moment.
    • Second, I’ve been warning that Democrats (and their PR wing in the mainstream media) are planning to bring back COVID-19 hysteria again, just in time to steal the 2022 midterm election. This is the perfect timing to demand universal mail-in ballots, with no voter ID or signature match to steal the midterms.

    •  

      Third, I’ve been warning that Democrats would find a way to force President Joe Biden out of office and then blame this whole economic disaster on him – thereby deflecting blame from the Democratic Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Town Hall Meeting – Proposed HRC Ordinance July 7, 2022

Updated July 12, 2022

Background Information and Context on the Proposed Ordinance to include copies of the previous versions of the ordinance.

This post shared at Brown County Matters

Nashville Town Hall Meeting Notes – Roundtable Discussion – “Human Rights” Commission July 7, 2022, 6:30-8:30.  Audio of the Meeting

o. The latest draft of the ordinance was introduced (working to confirm the revision date). The second reading and possible vote is scheduled for July 21, 2022. The elected representatives of the county government chose not to participate in this initiative.

    • July 9, 2022. The latest version of the ordinance. Nashville Draft – 2022_07_07 Human Rights Ordinance. Current version of the proposed and “revised” ordinance that was first shared at Thursday’s meeting. They made it more generic and vague. What is the difference between civil and human rights laws? What “human rights laws” are not covered by the Constitution?

Note: There was discussion that this initiative could be put on the ballot in Nov.

o. The problem? The ordinance represents an incomplete solution without documented and published evidence of the need. The report submitted by the committee did not include footnotes and references to substantiate opinions. The lack of participation by county elected official (s) also indicates a lack of support from the larger community.

o. Intent of the HRC? The Nashville “Human” (not civil) Rights Commission (HRC) will provide education and facilitate the collection and dissemination of information regarding allegations of violations of “civil rights” laws. Complaints will be passed to the Indiana “Civil Rights” Commission (ICRC) for resolution. The ICRC has a website (in.gov/icrc/) and toll-free number (1-800-628-2909 ) for reporting complaints.

o. Civil as Opposed to Human Rights. “Human” Rights is much broader in scope than Civil rights that are protected by U.S. law. The United Nations developed a Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. These include rights addressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The first amendment protects free speech which includes being tolerant of just about anything. Some countries pass laws to limit speech – hate speech is among those laws. Canada proposed human rights legislation that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Jordan Peterson became famous for protesting against these laws. Guidance regarding love, tolerance, acceptance, and understanding are provided in the Bible. This is in contrast to countries that believe government can assume this role regarding thought, speech, and behavior.

o. Motivation. It was reinforced that the motivation and desire for the ordinance originated from the Nashville Solidary Rally for Social Justice on June 23, 2020. It was alleged that “100” complaints originated from Brown County. This rally was a follow-on from the George Floyd riots that were sparked by the perception that black men were “systemically” and disproportionately being targeted by white cops. This perception was debunked by the stats. Another controversy is the conflict between “equality of outcomes” which are discriminatory and supported by the justice movement, and “equal opportunity” supported by the U. S. system of government.

o. Brown County Leader Network (BCLN). Methods and tools for working towards “a  more perfect” union, community, county.

Church and State

June 26, 2022. Founding Fathers never intended U.S. to be secular or hostile to religion – Washington Times

    • “Today, the court leads us to a place… of [dismantling] the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” she bemoaned.

      But what is this “wall” of which Justice Sotomayor morns? Where did it come from? What is its context? And why was it considered important to our nation’s Framers?