Canoe race returns with a little help from friends

A long-time Montgomery County tradition is being revived thanks to Friends of Sugar Creek and the Montgomery County Visitors Bureau. A new canoe race, the Friends of Sugar Creek Canoe Race, will be held May 20 with hopes the race can return to the prominence it once enjoyed.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the race attracted as many as 500 canoeist from all over the United States, including past Olympic canoing medalists. The race celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. After two more years of racing, the event was canceled in 2016. Now, with the race being revived, local amateurs and professionals have the opportunity to race down one of the county’s treasures.

Seasoned canoe racing enthusiast and county resident Bob Stwalley went to the Visitors Bureau in January and asked for help in reviving the race. Bureau Director Heather Shirk contacted the Friends of Sugar Creek to help with the race. They quickly jumped on board.

Cindy Woodall, Friends of Sugar Creek Executive Director, said the decision to help organize a new race was easy for her group.

“The Friends of Sugar Creek felt like the canoe race is our thing,” Woodall said. “We also admire Bob Stwalley for all he has done for Sugar Creek. We decided to support the race and look forward to seeing it grow.”

The race will consist of two divisions. There will be several categories for both recreational canoeists and United States Canoe Association members. The minimum age to race is 5 years old and there is a class for all levels of canoing experience.

“We know the USCA racers will be here, but we would really like to see more recreational participants,” Woodall said. “There are no skills required other than it is for people who enjoy being active outdoors.”

The categories include single men and women classes as well as mixed classes. Kayak races are also scheduled.

Races will begin at the Sugar Creek Campground and end at Deers Mill Bridge. Both the campground and Clements Canoes will have canoes for rent for the races.

Emergency Management Assistant Director Brian Campbell will oversee safety and security for the race. He plans to have checkpoints along the 15.3-mile long race.

Timing will be provided by veteran timer Roger Criss from northern Indiana. Criss has raced in several previous Sugar Creek races.

The cost to race is $20 per USCA paddler. The fee for recreational division racers is $10 per paddler for those older than age 18. Youth, ages 5 to 18, is $5 per paddler. Military and retirees can race for free.

All participants will receive a “goodie bag” at the start line. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each classification.

Registration forms will be available at the Visitors Bureau, Clements Canoes and Sugar Creek Campground. Soon the registration form will be available at www.visitmoco.com.

North School Board OKs summer plans

Students of the North Montgomery School Corporation can now discover what trips will be available as part of the 2017 Summer William Bratton Trips. The June adventures were approved at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

One approved trip is for third-graders to juniors in high school. It is scheduled for June 23 to a family farm in Rockville where students will see first-hand how robotics is being used in farm production. 

Also third-grade students will be able to travel to Southern Indiana on two separate occasions. June trips to Marengo Cave and Spring Mill State Park are on the travel agenda.

A trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park is planned for Northridge Middle School students. 

Middle school students and high school students will have two opportunities to travel together. On June 7 a trip is scheduled to attend the Walt Disney musical production of Aladdin in a live performance. A June 22 Sports Day trip to Louisvillle is also planned for middle school and high school students.

North Montgomery superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said the trips are always popular and a “good way to get-away during the summer.”

More information on the trips is available at all North schools. Northridge teacher Jodi Webster is the lead sponsor of the summer travel program.

The board also approved the 2017 Summer School structure. This year there will be courses available for elementary and middle school students in reading and mathematics beginning June 5 to June 9. The agriculture department will offer an Ag Experiences class during the month of June.

The board approved a different approach to collecting late payments on school lunches. If a student owes $30 or more for lunches, the account will be turned over to a collection agency at the end of the school year. Moran said the number of delinquent accounts continues to climb and the new system will allow a better avenue to get the accounts current before the next school year.

Director of Business and Transportation Jim McBee reported he had been in contact with the Indiana Department of Transportation regarding a couple of safety projects planned along U.S. 231 North.  INDOT is planning on widening the intersection of C.R. 580 N. and U.S. 231 North. A turn lane will be constructed on the west side of U.S. 231 North from C.R. 580 N. and Cassida Road. McBee expects the projects to begin in the fall.

In other business the board approved:

• The hiring of  Ethan Kuhn — High School English, Clyde Rager — District substitute bus driver, Monica Bahlool — District substitute bus driver, Linda Redmon —  Sugar Creek Elementary Para Professional, Margie Staten — Northridge Middle School temporary Mathematics teacher and  Melynda Morehouse — Pleasant Hill Para Professional.

• The resignation of  Lindsey Goane — Sommer Elementary Counselor, Ashley Verhey — Sugar Creek Elementary Para Professional and Laura Kuhn — Pleasant Hill Elementary Instructional Coach, effective July 1.

• The retirement of Pamela Ray Raines.

• An April 10-11 field trip to the Health Occupations Students of America State Competition in Indianapolis

• A trip on March 25 for a high school FFA Livestock Judging event in Matton, Illinois.

Public invited to upcoming workshop

Montgomery County business leaders and government officials are ready to create the economic development vision they are desiring for the county and they are asking for the public’s help. With the aid of a $40,000 Office of Community and Rural Development grant, County Commissioner John Frey said the time is ripe to let others know what the county is willing to become.

“We were fortunate to get a grant that will enable the county to come together and put together an economic development vision together,” Frey said. “We have the opportunity to craft our story about where the county is going and what we want.”

The first opportunity for public input is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 12 at an Economic Development Plan Public Workshop at North Montgomery High School. Representatives from the local government, industry, school corporations and businesses will be on-hand to learn and listen to public input. Frey said the whole process is timely, especially with the changes Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has begun in terms of economic development. The commissioner wants the city and county to come together to form the vision in writing.

“What the mayor is creating with Stellar and the Economic Development Commission is exciting and has put the spotlight on our community,” Frey said. “There is no toll booth at the city limits. We are all in this together.”

Frey said the original idea for placing the county’s vision in writing was started in the Sites and Infrastructure Committee of Indiana West Advantage. The county had already submitted an application to OCRA and recently were informed of the awarding of the grant. A new committee was formed that includes several local government officials, business and manufacturing leaders and educators. Frey said the new committee was put together for one purpose — to bring about unity.

“We wanted a broad spectrum of individuals with different views and opinions serving on this vision committee,” Frey said. “We have some people from IWA, but we also have added others community leaders to get more people on-board with developing our county’s story.”

The meeting will begin with representatives from HWC Engineering describing the process of the purpose of the grant. Attendees will then be asked to provide input at various stations placed throughout the meeting room. 

“I have told everyone that this is going to be a learning experience for everyone involved,” Frey said. “I want to encourage the public to come to the workshop and be a part of the learning process.”

Frey has toured the county and looked at numerous potential sites outside of Crawfordsville. Areas such as the developing Nucor Corridor and the intersection of I-74 and S.R. 25 North near Waynetown are examples of future development sites. 

Montgomery County commissioners have gone on record stating they are in favor of joining the mayor’s effort to create the economic development commission. County officials are expected to vote on the matter on April 11 at the regularly schedule county council meeting at the courthouse.

MUFFY names partner agencies

Montgomery United Fund for You has renewed its support for local non-profit agencies as it doles out money raised during last year’s fundraising campaign.

MUFFY is splitting $300,000 between 17 partner agencies to fund programs for youth, senior citizens, families in need and other causes.

The nonprofits, which were announced Tuesday during MUFFY’s annual public meeting at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, have all received support from past campaigns.

This year’s agencies are: Abilities Services, Boy Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Club, Crawfordsville Adult Resource Academy, Community Chest, Family Crisis Shelter, Fuzzy Bear Preschool, Half Way Home, New Beginnings Child Care, Pam’s Promise, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Sunshine Vans, Volunteers for Mental Health, Willson Family Literacy, Youth Camps and the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau.

An additional $12,000 was given to donor-designated agencies, some from outside Montgomery County. 

Local agencies receiving those funds included the Animal Welfare League, Crawfordsville Youth Baseball, Montgomery County 4-H, Dr. Mary Ludwig Free Clinic, Nourish, North Montgomery Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Women’s Resource Center.

A MUFFY team visits each applicant, reviewing the agency’s finances to learn more about funding needs. Representatives from every agency later make a presentation before MUFFY’s board of directors to demonstrate how the money is going to be used.

Board members then meet to decide which agencies will receive funding.

“I wish I had a magic wand to fund everybody, I really do,” board president Kathy Brown said. “But unfortunately, we have to make some tough decisions.”

Brown praised the efforts of all local agencies for their work in the community.

Making the allocations is the last job Karen Branch said she would ever want. Branch, executive director of YSB, thanked MUFFY for its ongoing support. 

“I know how difficult it is for you and how you all agonize over it,” she said, “but please understand we are incredibly grateful for your continued support. Without you, the Youth Service Bureau would not exist.”

Also during the meeting, the board elected three new members.

Claudette Etter-Kirk and Denise Rosentreter are both retired educators from the South Montgomery Community School Corporation. Adam Nagele is branch manager at Hoosier Heartland State Bank. They were all elected to three-year terms.

The board nominated members Nancy Outcalt and Lori Holt of Pace Dairy and Kelli Welch of Franciscan Health for additional terms.

The board also approved the slate of 2017 officers. Brown will stay on as president. Heather Shirk is vice president; Frank Howland, treasurer; and Outcalt, secretary.

Outgoing board members Amy Katzenberger, Rhonda Mitchell and Mike Utterback were recognized.

Regular board meetings are held at 5:30 p.m.  the third Tuesdays of January, March, May, July, September and November at the library.

Club seeks applicants for Young Hero award

Members of the Montgomery County Civitan Club plan to honor local youth through its newly launched Montgomery County Young Heroes program. The program will recognize and honor youth in Montgomery County who are actively serving their fellow citizens in a specific project whether one-time or on-going. Civitan members will come alongside to support the project by raising awareness in the community and helping with resources of volunteers and/or materials. Young Hero projects can be a group or individual and will be selected quarterly by Civitan members. All Young Heroes will be recognized at the Civitan International year-end banquet for their contributions to our community.

Applications are accepted year round and will be held for consideration for the following 12 calendar months after they are received and can be resubmitted annually. Applications can be either for existing or new projects and can be obtained and submitted to the Montgomery County Civitan Club at the following locations: Teacher Credit Union, 1570 U.S. 231; Tri-County Bank & Trust, 224 E. Main St.; Whitlock Place Senior Living, 1719 S. Elm St.; or the Chamber of Commerce Office, 200 S. Washington St. The first quarter deadline is March 31.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow Montgomery County Civitan Club on Facebook.