2021 in review


SOUTH MADISON COUNTY — As COVID-19 continues to exert its unyielding influence on virtually every aspect of life — sometimes with tragic results — Year 2 of the pandemic shows people to be equally persistent to gain traction and push forward with their lives.
Below is a selection of stories from The Times-Post in 2021, part of a time that is like no other in recent memory.

PPD turns former rental units into scenario practice spot

Originally published Jan. 7, 2021

PENDLETON — Improving preparedness is a worthy goal for any individual or organization, perhaps no more so than for public safety agencies.

A recent move to use a town-owned building for law enforcement and other training is intended to do just that, while also providing greater security for Pendleton Police Department, Police Chief Marc Farrer said.

PPD is working to finish its new live scenario training facility, a 2,000-square-foot space located behind Pendleton Police Department at 550 N. Pendleton Ave.

“You can do active shooter training in there; you can do responding to domestics; you could do medical issues, firemen could actually use it, if they put smoke in the building, something like that — whatever scenario you can think of,” Farrer said.

“That’s why having something like this is such a benefit.”

The facility is located inside a 20-by-100-foot building that has spaces set up inside to resemble rooms in a home.

“There’s one area you walk in and it looks like a living room,” Farrer said. “I got a TV entertainment stand and coffee tables and couches. And that’s the whole reason for the scenario-based training. It allows you to make it as realistic as possible.”

Nodine becomes new PFD leader

Originally published Jan. 21, 2021

PENDLETON — Chris Nodine retired from Anderson Fire Department last year after more than 20 years of employment with that agency.

But retirement in this case has meant only a shift to full-time work in the private sector, with a commitment on top of that to serve in the top spot at a different fire department — the one where he obtained his initial public safety training decades prior.

“I knew I had the chance to be chief at Pendleton (Fire Department) and progress that department, so I had a job offer from Mutualink, so it fit our family’s needs, and I retired,” Nodine, 47, said last week, about two weeks after taking the reins at PFD.

While Nodine is new to the chief position — replacing Jeff Moore, who stepped down effective Dec. 31 — he’s far from new to the department. Nodine, who lives in Pendleton with wife Kari and son Joshua, 11, grew up in Markleville and attended Pendleton Heights High School, graduating in 1991.

Markleville councilwoman follows in mother’s footsteps

Originally published Feb. 4, 2021

MARKLEVILLE — Darlene Coverdale is following a family tradition.

Coverdale was sworn in by Madison County Republican Party chairman Russ Willis on Monday as the newest member of Markleville Town Council.

Coverdale is replacing her cousin, Matt Gustin, who was on the board for five years.

He resigned because he moved out of town limits.

Coverdale is also following the footsteps of her mother, Sally Gustin, who was on the board for 35 years, until she passed away in 2013.

When her mother died, Coverdale took her spot on the board for six months, but did not run in the ensuing election.

“I wanted to carry on what she wanted for this community. So, here I am,” Coverdale said. “I’ve had a little taste of it. I think things are going smoother with the town now than they were back then.

“I’ve always been interested, and I love this community. I want to see things come to Markleville.”

Town moves on stormwater efforts

Originally published Feb. 18, 2021

PENDLETON — Pendleton took a significant step forward in plans to address problems with its stormwater system, first by approving a new fee to fund future projects, and second by approving a bid for one such project expected to start in spring.

The town council voted 5-0 to approve a stormwater ordinance that establishes a new monthly fee for local property owners to fund future stormwater projects.

“This is a big move on the town’s part. It really needs to be done,” Town Council President Chet Babb said, crediting town manager Scott Reske, the town’s stormwater board and others for moving things along.

The fees will cost most homeowners $12 per month, with higher charges for certain commercial and industrial properties and a discounted rate for government entities and churches.

Two local girls in first group of females to earn Eagle rank

Originally published March 11, 2021

PENDLETON — Two local youths who recently achieved scouting’s top rank also helped make a little history in the process.

Casey Davidson, 16, and Sienna Huther, 17, both of Pendleton, achieved Eagle Scout status as part of the first group of female Scouts in the country to do so.

Casey said it means a lot to be among the more than 900 female Scouts nationwide to earn the rank because it was an ambitious target they set for themselves about two years ago.

“Me and Sienna at the beginning, we were like, ‘We’re going to do it. We’re going to be one of the first.’ So, like, it was this really big goal for us to do it as fast as we could, while also doing everything correctly.

“So, it makes us both really proud that we were able to actually accomplish our goal.”

Casey and Sienna are members of Scouts BSA Troop 262, a group for girls chartered in February 2019 through First United Methodist Church in Pendleton.

Boy Scouts of America started allowing young girls to participate in its Cub Scouts programs beginning in 2018, while girls 11 and older were allowed to participate in Boy Scouts — which was renamed Scouts BSA — beginning in February 2019, said John Huther, Sienna’s father and the troop Scoutmaster.

Troop 262 is the only active female Scouts BSA troop in Madison County, he said.

Town could see COVID funds of almost $1M

Originally published March 18

PENDLETON — Pendleton Town Council voted on a range of ordinances last week, from one involving stop signs near Pendleton Elementary School to ones addressing town growth issues.

But one discussion point unrelated to ordinances stood out Thursday, March 11, as much for its brevity as for its significance — a mention of federal dollars that might be coming Pendleton’s way.

“It looks like we’re going to get a little over $900,000 from the COVID rescue plan — I don’t know the details,” town manager Scott Reske said.

“I want everybody to understand that $900,000 is tentative, OK,” council President Chet Babb added. “There’s nothing — they just signed the bill this afternoon, so we got this note yesterday. So, all that’s tentative, and it doesn’t mean that we’re getting $900,000 as we sit here right now.”

“Thank you for saying that,” Reske said. “It was the warning shot, what’s coming.”

Fair canceled for second straight year

Originally published March 25

LAPEL — Lapel Village Fair has been canceled for a second time, falling victim again to pandemic.

Lapel Community Association President Herschel Hinkle addressed Lapel Town Council at its March 18 meeting, informing it the annual event, normally set in July, will not take place this summer.

“The biggest thing is with the social distancing,” Hinkle said. “When we’ve had it, we’ve had big crowds. Most of our vendors have been understanding.

“Having our tent where people eat, trying to keep it clean and social distanced, the whole thing of trying to keep (the fair) safe was the main thing in deciding to cancel it.”

Town planner leaves legacy

Originally published March 25

PENDLETON — Pendleton Planning Director Rachel Christenson said some of the best times at the town for her have been when work begins on a big project.

“I always geeked out when we would get construction projects going. Construction kickoff days have always been my

favorite days,” she said. “When we did the ped bridge over the interstate, like, that is one of my most-favorite projects that we’ve worked on, because seeing that bridge actually happen was very exciting.”

As it turns out, that pedestrian bridge project that crosses I-69 along State Road 38 — which Christenson started working on in 2014 and which was completed just before the pandemic started — also spans most of her career with the town.

Christenson, who started as planning and zoning coordinator in April 2014, is leaving her town position to join an Indianapolis engineering firm. Her last day will be Friday, March 26.

Kayla Hassett, the town’s planning and zoning administrator, replaced Christenson, but recently resigned to take a job in the private sector, town manager Scott Reske said.

Hannah Urbanski, who was the administrator under Hassett, is now interim planning director.

Lapel passes plan for gas bills

Originally published April 8

LAPEL — At a special meeting of the town council on Thursday, April 1, Lapel Town Council approved a payment plan to cover dramatically higher natural gas costs reflected in utility bills residents received for February services.

The town also is giving residents more time to pay those gas bills.

The gas price increase was related to the February gas crisis associated with a polar vortex weather event that created winter storms in Texas and other parts of the country.

The agreement is to pay $402,590 of a remaining balance to Constellation New Energy, the town’s natural gas provider, during the next two years.

At the meeting, council President Chad Blake said the agreement received “favorable opinion” from the town’s legal and financial team. Blake said the goal is to pay back the money, financed at a 4% interest rate, in less than two years with no penalty for early payment.

Ingalls names new planning director

Originally published April 25

INGALLS — To help prepare for the inevitable growth of the town, Ingalls has hired Neil Stevenson as its new director of planning and development.

Stevenson has spent the past 12 years as a regional planner with Madison County Council of Governments (MCCOG), a regional planning organization funded in part by Pendleton, Anderson, Alexandria, Anderson, Daleville and Elwood, as well as Madison County.

He has worked with Ingalls through MCCOG on previous projects and is scheduled to begin his new position with the town on May 17.

The position is new not only to Stevenson but also to Ingalls.

“It’s essentially taking the place of having an official town manager,” Ingalls town council president Scot Lawyer said. “It’s handling a lot of those same duties. In the past, previous town managers have been responsible for the street department. They’ve been responsible for the planning. They’ve had so many hats to wear.”

Schools get multimillion-dollar boosts

Originally published May 6

SOUTH MADISON COUNTY — For the third time during the coronavirus pandemic, schools are receiving federal funding to help pay for COVID-19-related expenses.

The third installment is the largest to date.

Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law March 11, two area public school districts are expected to receive nearly $4.8 million to help with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The other grants were from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and CARES Act 2.0.

According to figures released by Indiana Department of Education, South Madison Community School Corp. is expected

to receive $2,651,477, while the sum for Frankton-Lapel Communty Schools is $2,131,043.

Nationally, of the $1.9 trillion ARP Act (also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package), $122 billion went to elementary and secondary school emergency relief.

With the latest aid, Indiana, according to IDOE, received an estimated $1.8 billion for public schools and an additional $78 million for non-public schools.

In the initial funding allocated in April 2020, Frankton-Lapel received $262,299 and an additional $906,177 from CARES Act 2.0. South Madison received $291,171 from the first package and $1,137,640 from 2.0.

Celebration marks completion of Falls Park cabin restoration

Originally published May 6

PENDLETON — Scores of celebrants turned out to dedicate the recently restored log cabin in Falls Park on Saturday, May 1, at the park’s North Entrance, sharing mostly stories about the project but also some recollections from the past.

“It’s just incredible — just when you think the park can’t get any better, this happens,” said Bryan Williams, president of Pendleton-Falls Creek Board of Parks and Recreation, during the dedication ceremony.

The cabin project has been in the works for a few years. It was led by a group known as the Log Cabin Committee, in cooperation with the park board and Falls Park staff, and with the help of dozens of individuals, families, businesses and other organizations.

The cabin was built originally in the 1830s a few miles west of Pendleton. It was moved to a site on Mill Road more than 100 years later. It had fallen into disrepair until the recent effort to salvage it.

Towns to receive INDOT grants

Originally published May 13

SOUTH MADISON COUNTY — Pendleton, Lapel and Ingalls are among the state’s recipients of the latest Community Crossings Matching Grants Program, awarded recently by Indiana Department of Transportation.

The three South Madison County communities are getting a combined $1.3 million of INDOT’s $100-plus million awarded to be used on improvements for town’s roads and bridges.

According to the state’s list of communities receiving awards for this round, Pendleton will be getting $820,317. Lapel will receive $444,682 and Ingalls gets $61,740.

Community pays tribute to legendary coach

Originally published May 13

PENDLETON — One final knee. One final song.

Players from across 40 years of Pendleton Heights football gathered Sunday at the field that bears their long-time beloved coach’s name.

John Broughton, the school’s head football coach for 40 years and athletic director for 30, passed away at age 74 on Tuesday, May 11.

On Sunday — a day before his funeral and burial at Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton — a wake of sorts for the mentor of countless students and players took place at the school’s football stadium, John Broughton Field.

A video tribute was set up on a big-screen TV at the concession stand. Broughton’s casket was stationed under a tent at midfield.

Family, friends, former coworkers, opponents and, of course, his players, lined up for three hours to pay their respects, give condolences to the family, and share memories of the coach that led the Arabians to their only two football sectional championships.

Speakers critical of pride flag removal

Originally published May 27

PENDLETON — They were called “courageous” for speaking up by the head of the local school board.

Multiple residents, a student, a former teacher and other concerned citizens were among the speakers at the May 20 meeting of South Madison Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees.

They expressed disapproval of the board’s recent decision to remove LGBTQ+ pride flags from classrooms at Pendleton Heights High School.

Along with those who spoke at the meeting, many others attended to provide support.

The flags were being displayed in a handful of classrooms, but they were removed based on the premise that they are political.

Nearly all speakers addressed the board calling the dispute a human rights issue, not a political one.

Area schools to receive state grant

Originally published June 10

SOUTH MADISON COUNTY — Frankton-Lapel Schools and South Madison Community School Corp. are among a group receiving portions of a $3.52 million state grant.

As part of the East Central Education Service Center (ECESC), 29 school districts, economic and mental health agencies and universities are receiving the aid to recover learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This grant has the potential to impact nearly 51,000 students across the 14-county region,” said Katie Lash, executive director of East Central Educational Service Center (ECESC) in a press release.

Community, Lions Club, enjoy the return of June Jamboree

Originally published June 17

PENDLETON — The numbers aren’t all in, but Pendleton Lions Club President Betty Weist felt it was pretty safe to say the 2021 Pendleton Lions Club June Jamboree was a success.

“I think we did very well,” Weist said. “I don’t know exactly (how much money was raised). I know we did very well, because we didn’t have rain until late on the last day. We were full every night, which is good for us, because we can help the community. All of our money that we make from fundraisers goes back to the community.”

From June 8-12 the jamboree was back. The 51-year streak of having Luehrs’ Ideal Rides at the annual event in Falls Park was snapped last year because of the pandemic.

The event, organized by the Lions, raises money that is then put back into the community for scholarships and other needs.

Council approves bid on project

Originally published June 17

PENDLETON — Pendleton Town Council recently selected Calumet Civil Contractors Inc. of Whitestown for a reconstruction project on and near Franklin Street.

The $1.47 million bid was accepted unanimously by the five council members.

Town manager Scott Reske presented the bid to the board during the council’s regular meeting on Thursday,

June 10.

The project includes the reconstruction of a section of Franklin Street and the repaving of State Street from Main Street west to the county bridge, as well as replacing a storm line that runs down State Street.

Much of the cost for the project is tied to a Community Crossings Matching Grant from Indiana Department of Transportation.

The town recently received a grant of $820,317.

Reske said the section of Franklin Street to be rebuilt runs between Taylor and State streets. Work will include new curb and gutter, storm line and sidewalks. Construction is expected to begin this summer or fall and possibly go into early


OHOP awards $10K to shelter

Originally published June 17

PENDLETON — The women of OHOP have spoken; Open Hearts, Open Purses — a giving circle led by South Madison Community Foundation — voted during its annual banquet June 10 to award Willow Place its main grant of $10,550.

Willow Place is an emergency homeless shelter for women located in Anderson. It serves women experiencing homelessness for various reasons, including poverty, abuse and addiction.

“We are over the moon about the grant,” Willow Place founder and Executive Director Kelly Seleyman said on Tuesday. “I could cry even now just thinking about it.”

The OHOP awards event, which featured presentations by the three grant finalists, took place at The Edge in Anderson.

The amount awarded to Willow Place exceeded OHOP’s top grant of $10,000 after the Junior OHOP program (for participants younger than 18) also voted to steer its $25-per-particpant total to the shelter.

The funds will be used to expand the facility’s fire suppression system so the shelter can serve more women.

Ingalls moves on traffic plan

Originally published June 24

INGALLS — Ingalls approved an agreement for $6,391 with the Madison County Council of Governments (MCCOG) to develop an access management plan to help control traffic on State Road 13 near Interstate 69, in an area that previously was annexed into town.

Ryan Phelps of MCCOG, a regional transportation planning agency, delivered the access management and control ordinance development project proposal to the town council at a meeting Monday, June 14, at Town Hall.

With an expectation of increasing development in the area, the access management project’s goal is to control location, spacing, design and operations of driveways, median openings, interchanges and street connections to a roadway.

Pendleton creates road impact fee

Originally published June 24

PENDLETON — Pendleton Town Council voted unanimously at its most recent meeting to establish a road impact fee for incoming development, moving to recover some of the costs resulting from growth.

Discussion of the impact fee — which included an explanation of how it works from town attorney Jeff Graham, as well as input from town manager Scott Reske — was the primary topic in the Thursday, July 8, meeting, which saw passage of three growth-related ordinances and the introduction of a thoroughfare plan.

Recommended for approval earlier in the week by Pendleton Plan Commission, the impact fee, according to a statement in the plan, represents a proactive approach from the council to “ensure quality of life and ease of travel for the current and future residents as development continues.”

The fee is a one-time payment imposed on property developers, meant to offset the financial impact new development places on public infrastructure. In Indiana, impact fees can be collected on wastewater, parks or recreation, roads and bridges, drainage and water.

The road impact fee is determined by totaling the necessary project costs and dividing by the additional daily trips. From a study provided by consulting firm Banning Engineering and reviewed by Baker Tilly, an advisory, tax and assurance firm, the calculated road impact fee is $932 per new daily trip, or $8,798 per new single family residential structure.

Longtime educator Lord joins board

Originally published July 22

PENDLETON — When he saw how Terry Auker enjoyed the transition from long-time administrator to school board member, John Lord thought that might be something he’d like to do, too.

Retiring after 41 years as a teacher and administrator with South Madison Community School Corp. in 2019, Lord will now follow that same path of the man who hired him in 1978.

At its July meeting, the South Madison board of trustees appointed Lord to be its newest member.

He is replacing Chris Boots, who has moved to Florida. Boots was one of the board’s two Green Township representatives. Lord was eligible for the position because he resides in Green Township.

Jamboree is back, with something new to grow on

Originally published July 22

MARKLEVILLE — Dozens of people donated a little seed money — as well as time — to a cause near and dear to their hearts.

And in about a week, those people and others in the Markleville community and beyond will reap what was sown.

The cause is the Markleville Jamboree — the annual weekend celebration that includes music, games, food and other family fun — which is set for Aug. 6-8 in Markleville Community Park, on again after a one-year pandemic-induced hiatus.

“This year we have the whole thing back again,” organizer Dianna Smith said.

The jamboree returns with several new and changed events, as well as a new feature around which this year’s event is planned: A 2-acre field of sunflowers with a path leading to a new gazebo in the middle.

“The idea came about, just because we had such a dreary 2020,” Markleville Police Chief Tim Basey said. “(Street Commissioner Todd Leever and I) were just talking about certain things to do, you know, to make it a little better year, a better jamboree.”

Council approves development ordinance

Originally published Aug. 19

PENDLETON — With a focus on what the Pendleton of tomorrow will look and feel like, Pendleton Town Council passed a sweeping almost 250-page ordinance that overhauls zoning and subdivision regulations and more.

“This ordinance that we’re looking at tonight … is probably one of the most important ordinances we’ve done since I’ve been on the council,” Council President Chet Babb said prior to a 5-0 approval of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Babb’s been a councilman for more than 11 years.

The document’s overarching stated intent is to “promote the public health, safety and general welfare,” with a list of more specific goals, including: guiding future growth and development; protecting and conserving the value of land, buildings and other improvements; avoiding scattered and uncontrolled subdivision of land; establishing reasonable standards and procedures for subdivisions; preventing the pollution of air and water; and encouraging wise use and management of natural resources to preserve the integrity, stability, natural beauty and topography.

Kayla Hassett, the town’s planning director, said she was proud to present the document to the council “after a very long process.

“This is a document that controls our zoning, our subdivision ordinance, uses that are allowed in the town, land uses, things like that, so it’s really the planning department’s guiding legislation.

“It’s the most important document that (town planner) Hannah (Urbanski) and I utilize on a daily basis, when someone comes in and says ‘where can I put my yard barn,’ ‘how tall can my fence be,’ ‘how close to the road can my house be,’ ‘how wide can my driveway be.’ Those are all things that are covered in this document.”

Town recognizes bicentennial

Originally published Sept. 16

ENDLETON — Deb Tozer said when she was growing up in Pendleton, she was always looking for ways to leave town.

Recently, as a wife and mom, she saw this past weekend — specifically with the Pendleton Bicentennial Celebration planned — as an important time to head back home.

“You begin to appreciate just the idea of the roots of a small town like this … the meaning of family and friends,” said Tozer, who made the trip from Parker, Colorado, with her husband, Tony Keever, and three children, Sam, 17; Luke, 15; and Logan, 11.

“I want other people to feel that, which is why I drug my family back.”

The appreciation for Pendleton was on full display this past week, at several events, but especially during the bicentennial celebration Sunday afternoon in Falls Park.

The occasion was delayed a year because of COVID-19, but that didn’t seem to diminish its significance to the scores of people who gathered to look back on two centuries of history, and look forward with a nod of appreciation to those responsible for recently completed bicentennial Legacy Projects.

Boy Scout Troop 232 conducted a flag ceremony, and Town Council President Chet Babb welcomed people to an event that was “a year in the making, twice.”

After Pendleton Police Chief Marc Farrer gave praise to past PPD leaders and the town, and his fiancee Sammi Thatcher sang the national anthem, Kevin Kenyon, chairman of Historic Fall Creek, Pendleton Settlement, delivered a timeline of Pendleton history. It ranged from 1816 and the arrival of settlers at the falls, to 2020 and tornado recovery efforts, with about 100 significant moments in between.

He mentioned the establishment of churches, schools, industry and civic organizations, as well as significant historical events, such as the execution of white men for killing American Indians in 1825, and the visit of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1843.

He noted people of local renown, including Thomas Pendleton, who platted the town in 1830, and P.F. Phipps, who helped turn a dumping ground into what is now Falls Park, as well as those of wider renown, including television and film actor William Walker, who graduated from Pendleton High School and appeared in the 1962 film “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

He finished with several recent developments, including the creation of the Pendleton Artists Society and the historic walking tour through town, and the Memorial Day Tornado and town response.

Stephen Jackson, Madison County historian, delivered a speech titled “Falls Park — Through My Eyes,” describing what he sees when he looks at the park.

Near the end, he said, “Who can forget Monday, May 27, 2019?”

“Residents and first responders reported multiple funnel clouds in the southern part of the county. I can see beautiful and historic Falls Park suffering the worst of the damage as in excess of 100 trees were


“However, there’s an old saying that says, ‘It’s not how you get knocked down, but how you get up.’ At 6 a.m. the following day, I can see volunteers arriving to begin the cleanup — a clear example that the pioneer spirit is still alive and well in Pendleton.”

Student group files lawsuit against schools

Originally published Sept. 30

PENDLETON — Claiming the school district is not allowing it to exercise the same rights as other clubs, the student-led Pendleton Heights Gay-Straight Alliance (PHGSA) is suing the school and the school corporation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU), on behalf of PHGSA, filed a lawsuit Wednesday, Sept. 22, according to the ACLU, maintaining the school has imposed undue, unequal burdens on the group.

The suit was filed with the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

South Madison Community School Corp. superintendent Mark Hall said, as of Tuesday, Sept. 28, they had not received any court papers.

“We have not been served the complaint,” Hall said. “Due to it being pending litigation, I can’t make a comment.”

The PHGSA provides gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and allied students a place to meet, as well as

social, emotional and educational support to one another.

PHGSA is considered an unofficial club at the school.

According to the lawsuit, Pendleton Heights Principal Connie Rickert has ruled the PHGSA can meet, but cannot publicize its existence on school bulletin boards or WEEM (the school’s radio station), while other curricular and non-curricular groups are able to do so.

It cannot fund raise on school property nor do any advertising on school grounds.

The lawsuit claims the differential treatment meted out to PHGSA violates First Amendment rights of the group and its members and violates the Equal Access Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Markleville’s Muterspaugh Drive made official

Originally published Oct. 7

MARKLEVILLE — In a ceremony on Saturday, Markleville unveiled its newly named street, Muterspaugh Drive.

In August, Markleville Town Council approved changing Tariff Street to Muterspaugh Drive, in honor of beloved resident Charles “Chod” Muterspaugh, who passed away in November 2020 at age 82.

Muterspaugh was a volunteer fireman with Adams Markleville Fire Department for 54 years.

He worked at Elston Richards Warehouse for 17 years and was a custodian at Pendleton Heights High School for 21 years. He was also a custodian for town hall and a member of the parks department.

The town began the process of changing the street name earlier this year. There is only one home on the street, and it is owned by Muterspaugh’s daughter, Betty Muterspaugh.

Leaders talk about expected growth

Originally published Oct. 14

ANDERSON — The common topic from South Madison County leaders speaking at the 2021 State of the County was growth.

It was the second time the Madison County Chamber had organized the event, held at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson, which brings Madison County leaders together to talk about areas they govern.

The previous event took place in 2019.

Last year’s event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week’s gathering — which featured an appearance by Gov. Eric Holcomb — was originally scheduled for earlier in the year, but was also postponed because of pandemic concerns.

“It’s an exciting thing to be able to come here and talk about Lapel (and its impending growth),” Lapel town council president Chad Blake said of his opportunity to share happenings in his community. “Lapel has had a history of not being proactive. We want to be ready.”

Blake spoke about the town’s creation of a comprehensive plan, approved earlier this year, to aid Lapel in being ready for its expected growth.

“This was a great opportunity for networking and meeting some of my counterparts,” Blake added. “This is an event that they could make an entire day out of.”

Pendleton town manager Scott Reske spoke on behalf of the town. Like Blake, he spoke about the forthcoming growth.

“It’s good to hear what the other communities are doing,” Reske said. “Lapel and Ingalls and Pendleton are experiencing

the same growth impact. It’s really good when everyone comes together and hears what’s happening.”

Reske talked about the projection of Pendleton’s population. He said with current developments there are 800 housing lots

sold or under construction in Pendleton. With the new homes, a conservative estimate would increase the town’s population from 4,500 to 6,000

Local community foundation turns 30

Originally published Oct. 14

PENDLETON — During the past three decades, South Madison Community Foundation has helped steer millions of dollars to causes in Adams, Fall Creek, Green and Stony Creek townships.

It has awarded grants and scholarships, supported civic projects and activities, and played a part in responding to needs, from tornado recovery in the Pendleton area to band boosting in Lapel.

And its existing pool of charitable funds has grown to more than $10 million to keep the giving going into the future.

Now the organization wants to recognize all it has been able to accomplish with the help of donors and its

citizen board.

“We’re going to have a big celebration … to celebrate our 30 years,” said foundation project specialist Sue Patton, describing a week of activities that will be capped off with an outdoor open house.

Ingalls council leader steps down

Originally published Oct. 28

INGALLS — After two years as a member of the Ingalls town council, Scot Lawyer has resigned.

Lawyer had been the board’s president since January 2020.

The council accepted Lawyer’s resignation at its Oct. 25 meeting. Lawyer’s resignation is effective Nov. 1.

“My heart attack six months ago and just doing too much and having a lot of issues that were causing a lot of stress,” Lawyer said of his reasons for stepping down from the council.

“My family doctor asked me to do it, and it finally got to a point where I wasn’t going to burn the candle at both ends. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do, to be perfectly honest, but I felt like it was something I needed to do.”

In a brief resignation letter to the council and town attorney Gregg Morelock, Lawyer wrote, “It has been an honor to serve with this council for the Town of Ingalls over the past two years.”

Lawyer was appointed to council in August 2019, replacing Chris Bradshaw, who had resigned because of plans to move out of town. Lawyer had previously served on council in the mid-1990s.

Community award honors local family

Originally published Nov. 4

Dozens of people came together in Lapel recently to honor and recognize the Jack and Jackie Howell family’s years of accomplishments.

The family received the first Lapel Community Honor Award, presented during a dinner at Lapel American Legion Post No. 212, Saturday, Oct. 23.

The award… is presented by the Legion and sponsored by several local businesses.

Tax increase to benefit public safety

Originally published Nov. 11

LAPEL — Lapel, Pendleton and Markleville were among Madison County municipalities joining the county to pass a local income tax increase for public safety.

A boost from .25% to .55%, which was passed by Madison County Tax Council late last month, is expected to generate about $8 million across the county, according to Madison County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Hanna, who spoke to the Lapel town council at its Oct. 21 meeting.

Pendleton’s five-member town council voted unanimously for the tax increase at a special meeting in late October. It was the second time the council voted to adopt the change. Initially, it voted for the increase in September.

“There were some questions and legalities brought up,” council President Chet Babb said prior to the special meeting vote.

“(Town attorney Jeff Graham) thought we were OK, but it affects the whole county; we need vote (again) on this ordinance

with public hearing.”

President Daniel Roseberry said Markleville’s council voted unanimously, 3-0, to adopt the income tax modification at its Oct. 25 meeting.

Ingalls did not hold a hearing or vote on the increase.

“The effect across the county would be substantial,” Hanna told the Lapel council. “Municipalities such as Lapel and Pendleton are growing communities. You’re looking at having to provide public safety resources for those growing communities. This is one way, and to some degree the best way, to provide those resources to your community because it’s a tax that doesn’t just affect Lapel. It affects all taxpayers across Madison County, and you receive a respective share.”

Hanna said of the projected $8 million, the county would get $3 million — with some portion devoted to a county jail project — the city of Anderson would get $3.5 million, and so forth on down.

Marvel resigns from town council

Originally published Nov. 18

LAPEL — Tom Marvel may be leaving his spot on the Lapel town council, but he will continue to serve his community in a major way.

With a change in his status with the Lapel Stony Creek Township Fire Territory, Marvel has resigned his seat with the council, where he was the board’s vice president.

At the territory’s Nov. 7 election of officers, Marvel was named the fire department’s chief, which includes a two-year term from 2022-24.

“I’m a career firefighter. I’ve served with the volunteer fire territory here since 2009,” Marvel said. “I didn’t think it was fair for me to hold both those positions, especially since there are other people that are going to do well on the town council in the future. I’m not sure who the person will be, but one of those people is probably going to take my seat.

“There are a lot of aspiring people in the community that want to serve. Opening that up to them was a goal of mine, so I could concentrate on being the fire chief and make our fire department the best it can be.”

Marvel was appointed to the board in July 2018, replacing Clay Parkison, who had been appointed a few months earlier to replace Matt Cates, who moved out of Lapel.

Christmas in Pendleton returns

Originally published Nov. 18

PENDLETON — In another sign that life is getting back to normal in Pendleton, the streets downtown were again bustling with Christmas cheer long before the arrival of Thanksgiving.

Christmas in Pendleton, the annual celebration organized by Pendleton Business Association, returned Saturday, Nov.

13, after a one-year pause because of the pandemic.

“We had a lot, a lot of people show up,” event coordinator Lori Anson said.

The day included the perennial activities such as the parade and faux snowball fight, as well as some new attractions, such as a miniature horse show and a Colts In Motion traveling exhibit.

Plus, “more vendors than ever, by a long shot,” she said.

Gardner returning to town council

Originally published Nov. 25

INGALLS — The newly appointed member of Ingalls Town Council will not have to learn a new position so much as just have some catching up to do.

Madison County Republican Party Chairman Russ Willis appointed and swore in Justin Gardner to take over the seat left open when council president Scot Lawyer resigned Nov. 1 for health reasons.

Gardner is a returnee to the council. It is the second time he has been appointed.

“I was approached with Scot stepping down, and I enjoyed my time on the council before,” Gardner said. “I liked having some input with what’s going on and putting in the effort to see the town go in a forward direction.

“I look forward to getting back to doing that.”

Local man receives kudos for historic preservation

Originally published Nov. 25

ANDERSON — Madison County Historical Society Inc. honored Pendleton resident Jay Brown with its 2021 Elwood H. Phillips Award on Monday at Anderson First United Methodist Church.

“Jay has been involved in the preservation of history since he was a young man beginning with helping out the historical museum next door to his grandmother’s home in Salem, Indiana,” Deb Weston, vice president of the historical society, said in a release.

Weston pointed to Brown’s efforts to help move and restore an 1830s-era log cabin to a site in Falls Park and the rebuilding of the Conestoga wagon that pioneer John Rogers used when he came to the Pendleton area in 1818.

Both preservation efforts, which took place in the past several years, were covered in The Times-Post.

“In addition, Jay purchased the two-story homestead built by John Rogers in 1837 and restored it as his Brown family home,” Weston wrote.

“Jay’s significant contributions to the preservation of Madison County history most deservedly allows him to join the previous 38 winners of this award.”

Christmas comes to Markleville

Originally published Dec. 9

MARKLEVILLE — The Hardy Building in Markleville was the site of the annual Christmas in Markleville celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4 , during which Santa visited with children, vendor booths offered goods for sale and lunch was provided without charge (although free-will offerings were accepted).

“There were a lot of kids there to see him (Santa),” said Jan Fox, a member of the events committee. “And we made the most money we ever made on the donations for the hot dogs and chili.”

The event garnered about $425 from booth rentals and donations, which will be used for community needs.

The event could mark the end of era of sorts, Fox said, as she and her husband, Wayne, sold the Hardy Building in August.

Located at One W. Main St., the 15,000-square-foot building dates to 1914, two years after the town was incorporated.

There were a few scheduled events, including Christmas in Markleville, that were allowed to go on as part of the deal.

The Foxes owned the building for 27 years, and the Christmas event has taken place there the whole time.

“It seems like it is probably the last time it’ll be there,” Jan Fox said, saying organizers have been considering where they might hold the Christmas event next year.

However, the new owner, Ryan Miller, said he is more than willing to help continue the town tradition, if organizers

want to.

Bozell to join Lapel council

Originally published Dec. 16

LAPEL — Already serving the community in one capacity, Noah Bozell will add town councilman to his responsibilities for


Bozell, 21, is one of the co-owners of Hersberger-Bozell Funeral Home in Lapel and is the corporation’s secretary-treasurer.

Beginning in 2022, he will also be a member of Lapel Town Council.

On Monday, a caucus among the three Madison County Republican party committeemen determined Bozell will be the replacement for councilman Tom Marvel, who is resigning from the board this month.

“I had a couple people in the community reach out to me that thought I might be a good fit,” Bozell said. “I’m a business owner in Lapel, and I thought it’d be great to open up another way for me to serve the community.”

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