Owen-Carr Township Community Fund committee supports projects

The Owen-Carr Township Community Fund committee recently approved three grants from the fund.

Those grants include:

— $8,000 for a shelter house at the historic Carr High School west of Medora

— $5,000 to repair leaks in the pond and repair of a performance stage at the Norman Station Conservation Club in Owen Township

— $1,975 for the purchase of a vitals-thermometer device for the Carr Township Volunteer Fire Department

The vital statistics reader and companion thermometer will help improve delivery of emergency medical services to residents in western Jackson County, Fire Chief Joe Barnes said in his grant proposal.

The department plans to place the device in its vehicle that makes most of its emergency medical runs. The device will allow firefighters responding to medical emergencies to better assess the health of patients and share those vital statistics with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services crews en route to the scene of wrecks and other medical emergencies, Barnes said.

The readings should provide firefighters with better information when making triage decisions and better prepare EMS crews on how to respond once they arrive, he said.

A tree falls

Plans for the shelter house arose this spring after a storm knocked down a 200-year-old beech tree on the Carr High School grounds along County Road 250S west of Medora.

Over the years, the shady beech served as a gathering area for various family and community events, including an annual bean supper that raises money for the preservation of the old school building and the adjacent Weddleville Cemetery.

The school was built 164 years ago and is the last standing pre-Civil War high school in Indiana, said Chuck Darkis of the Weddleville Cemetery Association. The school operated from 1857 to 1934. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The tree was a central gathering place for the historic building,” Darkis said. “The shelter house will provide a new gathering place for the activities held there, such as picnics, memorial services, weddings and the annual old settlers-style bean dinner held in August.”

Repairs needed

Reva Atkins of the Norman Station Conservation Club reported that a leaking pond and a collapsing performance stage are threatening the organization’s future funding.

The Owen-Carr grant will provide funds for materials to repair the leaking pond and improve the performance stage.

The stage is where the club presents bluegrass concerts that help raise money for operating the conversation club. The pond also is important to help attract campers, another source of income for the organization, Atkins said.

Volunteer labor will help keep the costs down and provide the club’s input toward the repairs, she said.

Trash to grants

The Owen-Carr Township Community Fund and the Owen-Carr Township Community Endowment are funded with quarterly donations from Rumpke Consolidated Services, which operates the Medora Landfill in the two townships in western Jackson County. The donation is based on the tonnage of trash taken to the landfill.

A number of residents in the two townships had been struggling for some time with how they might build a better community. Traditionally, they have been strong supporters of their small crossroads communities and the town of Medora. They rallied around community projects such as the creation of a scholarship for Medora High School students and the rebuilding of the Carr Township Conservation Club after the building was destroyed in the record 2004 snowfall.

Recognizing the strength they had as a community, the residents created a permanent charitable fund to gather money for future projects and help many small local groups. Working with the Community Foundation of Jackson County, they established the Owen-Carr Township Community Endowment.

Anyone may donate to the endowment, which can accept gifts of cash, stock, real estate and other real property. All gifts are used to benefit the communities in Owen and Carr townships.

In addition, Rumpke has committed to making a donation to the fund for each ton of material accepted at the Medora Landfill.

The decision by Rumpke was simple, local landfill Manager Brad Marlow said.

“We see this as another way to be a good neighbor and give back to the community,” he said.

The fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, and a local committee of residents of Owen and Carr townships reviews all requests for funds.