LOCAL NEWS

Health Department starts syringe disposal program

Montgomery County Health Profile results released in September are already spurring changes in the community. 

Proper disposal of used syringes was identified as an immediate need, and the Montgomery County Health Department has launched a program to meet it.

 

“We knew there was a need for a syringe disposal program before the survey,” Montgomery County Health Department Health Educator Samantha Swearingen said. “The survey told us the public wanted a program now, so we wanted to get right on it.”

An overwhelming 98 percent of the respondents indicated a need for such a program.

The new Sharps Disposal Program is free to county residents. Residents can pick up a one-quart container to place needles, syringes and lancets. Once the container is three-fourths full, residents are asked to bring the containers to the Montgomery County Health Department at 110 W. South Blvd. for disposal.

A second drop off location will eventually be at created at the Crawfordsville Police Department.

Swearingen said there is a health risk if needles, syringes and lancets are not disposed of properly. If someone is pricked by any of the used items, there is a risk of obtaining a disease such as HIV or Hepatitis C.

A recent HIV breakout in Scott County was caused by the re-use of syringes. According to the Indiana Health Department, two people with HIV, who did not dispose of needles properly, started the epidemic.

Swearingen said anyone who disposes of syringes in a tight plastic container, such as a milk jug or liquid laundry jug, can bring their containers to the health department for disposal. 

MCHD will give residents who bring in containers a new container.

“We believe this program can help prevent what happened in Scott County from happening here,” Swearingen said.

For more information, contact the Health Department at 765-364-6440.

Vote machines introduced

Montgomery County voters had their first look Monday at the new voting machines to be used in the upcoming primary election. 

Montgomery County Registration Clerk Karyn Douglas first spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Montgomery County League of Women Voters and then at a public meeting at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.

At both meetings Montgomery County Clerk Jennifer Bentley announced the vote center plans and the locations where voters will cast their ballots in May.

Vote centers provide numerous advantages, Douglas told the audiences at both meetings. She said the county will save money and there will be more flexibility for registered voters to cast votes. Another advantage is that it will take less volunteers on election day. Quicker election results will be another expectation with the new voting system.

“We will have significant savings from not having to print paper ballots,” Douglas said. “We also will be going from 132 poll workers to just 50 which saves us more money.”

In other counties that have already gone to vote centers, Douglas said people appreciate the fact they can go anywhere in the county to vote. No longer will a registered voter have to go to one precinct to vote. 

League of Womens Voters member Gail Pebworth is happy the county is moving to vote centers. She said the LWV has information about how the concept is being accepted in other counties.

“The League has been doing exit polling at other counties and the voters say they love it,” Pebworth said. “This is a great thing for Montgomery County.”

The actual process of voting should be quicker compared to the county’s old voting method. After supplying identification, which includes signing an electronic signature pad, the voter will be taken to a voting machine. At the machine the voter will use a touch screen to cast votes and when finished will receive a paper copy of the completed ballot. After making sure there are no mistakes, the voter will place the paper ballot into an envelope and drop it into a locked ballot box. The paper ballots will serve as proof of votes in case there is a recount ordered. 

The actual votes will be tabulated electronically after results are brought into the courthouse after polls close.

Vote centers will be at five locations. They are St. Bernard Catholic Church, 1306 E. Main St.; Rock Point Church, 429 W. C.R. 150S; Friendship Baptist Church, 1981 W. Oak Hill Road; North Montgomery High School, 5945 N. U.S. 231; and Whitesville Christian Church, 3603 S. Ladoga Road.

“The five vote centers are in locations that should attract high traffic,” Douglas said. “We feel anyone who is out would drive by at least one of the locations.”

Douglas is hopeful voters will take advantage of early voting opportunities. The new machines provide an avenue for voters to cast their votes before election day.

Douglas explained there will be satellite voting centers for early voting opportunities during the two weeks before the election in Darlington, Ladoga, Waveland and Waynetown. A schedule will be announced for satellite location times.

The courthouse will be open daily for the two weeks prior to an election as well as the two Saturdays before election day.

For a county to move from precinct voting to voting centers, Indiana code states there must be a 30-day public comment period before the county can officially adopt voting centers. The countdown started Tuesday and will continue until a meeting scheduled for Feb. 1 at the library.

Duo to headline comedy, music show

The first comedy event of 2016 at China Inn, 121 S. Green St., will have a little different look than fans of the Comedy in Crawfordsville series are accustomed. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, stand-up comedians will start off the show, which will be headlined by comedy duo Nervous Vurn & Munchie. Then they’ll hand the mic over to local musician Zach Benge, who will close out the event.

The musical-comedy team of Nervous Vurn and Munchie is the most unusual pair working in show business today. With decades of experience performing everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry to the Bob & Tom Show, their unique brand of musical madness has produces more laughter than just about anyone else’s. Comedy teams are a rare find these days Nervous Vurn and Munchie are one of the best in the business.

The show will be hosted by Comedy in Crawfordsville series creator Neil Snyder and also will include an area undercard including Crawfordsville’s own Nathaniel Coder. China Inn has arranged for this to be a free event. Dinner menu will be available throughout the comedy show and an appetizer menu will be available during Benge’s set. 

The full bar will be available throughout. The comedy portion will contain some adult language. The entire show is expected to be over by 10 p.m.

Couple celebrates first baby of 2016

LAFAYETTE — Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health — Lafayette East welcomed the newest resident of Montgomery County on Friday.

Emma Ann Pack was born at 3:54 p.m. She is the daughter of Brianne Swem and Rick Pack of Crawfordsville. She weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and measured in at 19 1/2 inches long.

For being the first Montgomery County baby of 2016 at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health, the family received a gift basket of baby-related items from the Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health Auxiliary, St. Clare Auxiliary and Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health Gift Shops.

The baby was delivered by Dr. Erin K. Ramirez, an OB/GYN with Franciscan

Physician Network Lafayette OB/GYN.

Salvation Army sees big results

All indications point to the local Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign again exceeding expectations. In fact, after all the donations are counted, the local group expects to exceed its $55,000 goal.

Salvation Army Red Cross board member Barry Lewis said the board is excited with the success of this year’s campaign, especially in light of the national Salvation Army’s decision to nix ringing bells on Sundays. 

The local group did not know how that decision would impact efforts here. So, the local board added more ringing days to counter.

“We had more days ringing than ever before,” Lewis said. “The decision to not ring on Sundays obviously did not stop people from giving on the other days.”

One of the reasons the local campaign was successful was due to the involvement of Wal-Mart Optical employees. Not only did Wal-Mart Optical and Walmart give the Red Kettle Campaign significant monetary donations, their employees increased the number of volunteer hours ringing at local businesses.

“While the entire community continues to step forward, we are exceptionally proud of the commitment of the Walmart community,” Lewis said. “The Walmart store, optical lab and pharmacy have given grants and their employees rang more than 300 man hours. Jill Knowling, who joined our advisory board last year, and her crew have gone beyond the call and our local residents are the ones who will benefit.”

Lewis said the final tally of Red Kettle donations will not be known for approximately another two weeks. 

The funds are divided to allow the local Salvation Army to have funds to help the needy 12 months of the year. The funds are generally used to help with utility bills, rent, food, fuel and medical expenses for those in need. All of the money raised in the local Red Kettle Campaign will be used in Montgomery County.

This year’s volunteers represented more than 25 local churches along with civic groups, businesses and individuals. 

“Obviously, if we did not have all of our volunteers there is no way we could raise the money we did,” Lewis said. “The local board of the Salvation Army thanks each and every volunteer. The people of Montgomery County need to be thanked for giving and for trusting the Salvation Army as we get the money to those in need.”