Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Attendance: 59

Invocation: Fred Nieter

Greeters: Alan and Jenny Lucht

Guests: Randy Poulston’s grandson, Ryan and Karen Hamilton (Rob Edling)

Birthdays: Bob Ibach, John Ames

Announcements: 1) There will be a Retirement Open House for John Elliott Friday , February 1 at First Source Bank from 3-7 pm. All Optimists are invited! Please RSVP to 574-268-1259. 

50/50(Kris Farwell): Ron Chambers won!

Membership: None

Induction: None

Sergeants: None

Program: Bob Conley, Kosciusko County Commissioner for the Southern District, was our speaker. Bob also has been a barber for 50 years and owns a barber shop on S. Buffalo Street in Warsaw where he cuts hair along with his son Nelson. Bob was born and raised in the county on a farm near Pierceton. His parents later bought a farm south of Warsaw, where he grew up. He graduated from Warsaw High School and National Barber College in Indiana. He has 5 grandchildren under the age of 4! Bob tackled many topics, especially the road situation in the county. There are 1200 miles of roads ( and 1200 miles of drainage tile!).  He said the new wheel taxes allowed them to turn the corner on doing extra road work. They’ve been able to acquire new chip and seal machinery which is a big improvement. He discussed jail overcrowding; the jail was designed for 302 people, and the low for last year was 315 with the high 385. Work release has 50 men and 20 women. Some people are on home detention, if not they would be in jail. Bob said as of November 13 last year the County has $65,000,000. The president of the County Council said they are”extremely solvent.”He said the Commissioners work well with the County Council. They all treat the taxpayer money likes it’s their own. He said he has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and takes it very seriously. One of the biggest issues he discussed is the status of U.S. 30. He said the current plan according to the Northeast Indiana Regional Chamber of Commerce is to upgrade it from a highway to a freeway. This involves retrofitting intersections and ingress and egress points, with no stoplights. As it stands now there are 549 impediments between Fort Wayne and Valparaiso! He said the NEIRCC is asking for $5,000,000 from the state budget for the environmental impact study. Upgrading to a freeway would add 10,000 jobs and $900 million in personal income growth. Bob tackled many questions from the audience including county roads, sewers, school bus crashes and changing to Central Time.

Special event: Ken Anderson, who been in the Club since 1990, served me breakfast! He has not done that for anyone else, so I’m honored!