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Motorcyclist dies on U.S. 24
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A Kokomo man is dead following a rear-end accident on U.S. 24 at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday unjust west of North Jefferson Street.

Cale S. Hindman, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene after responding officers and medics treated him for injuries sustained in the crash.

“Mr. Hindman was traveling westbound on U.S. 24 from Ind. 5 at a high rate of speed when he struck the rear of another vehicle that was also traveling westbound,” Huntington Police Department officials stated in a news release issued Monday evening.

Blunt force trauma was cited as the cause of death, according to information received by the Huntington County Coroner’s Office, and the manner of death was ruled accidental.

Police say an off-duty officer with the Columbia City Police Department witnessed the crash before calling Huntington County Public Safety Dispatch at 10:26 p.m. on Sept. 12 to report that a motorcycle had struck a vehicle.

No other injuries or deaths were reported in the accident.

Huntington Fire Department and Parkview Huntington Hospital personnel arrived on scene to take over medical aid from Huntington Police Department officers.

The Huntington County Coroner’s Office was called just after 11 p.m. after life saving measures were unsuccessful.

The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, Markle Police Department and Huntington County Prosecutor’s Office also assisted the Huntington Police Department at the scene and with the investigation.

This story will be updated online at h-ponline.com if any further details are released.

New stadium begins to take shape

Last spring, the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees formally approved the construction of a new multi-sport athletic complex at Huntington North High School.

Now, four months after construction began, the Huntington community is beginning to see the new stadium take shape.

“Obviously, you’re starting to see some of the above-ground work. The ground-level and below-ground work has been going on for some time,” HCCSC business manager Scott Bumgardner said. “Really we’re starting to make some progress with some things above-ground, so it makes you feel like there’s more progress being made.”

Driving past the school on Jefferson Street or Highway 24, it’s easy to see that above-ground progress. The bleachers are now complete, Bumgardner said, and construction crews began work on the track next week

“The track has to go in prior to the turf going in,” Bumgardner said, “as well as the track being finished with its rubberized topping.”

Additionally, both the locker rooms and the concession stand are nearing completion. Bumgardner said that both facilities are framed in and awaiting finish work.

Bumgardner said there is still more work to do on the new softball field, which is awaiting the installation of its press box and dugouts. He said he hopes to have grass planted “as soon as we possibly can” because the Vikings plan to play on the new field in the spring.

The multi-use field at the stadium will have a turf surface, Bumgardner said, while the practice fields and softball stadium will use grass.

While many construction projects across the United States have faced delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bumgardner said that the new stadium has largely avoided those issues.

“We’ve been blessed by good weather, been blessed by having workers on site everyday,” Bumgardner said. “With everything going on now with material shortages with COVID ... we just haven’t been hit by that yet.”

Bumgardner said that he’s excited for the stadium’s completion for a variety of reasons – including that it will eliminate the potentially dangerous road crossing many students and spectators must make to attend and participate in events at Kriegbaum Field.

“When you realize the safety aspect of it, and just how unsafe that is, the fact that we haven’t had an injury or major injury is just a miracle,” Bumgardner said. “It really is chaotic and it really is dangerous. The fact that we’re going to get our kids on this side of the road is as big a factor as anything about the field.”

When the stadium opens, Bumgardner expects it to have a tremendous impact on students and many programs at the school.

“From our band to our physical education classes to our spring sports – that gives them a dry place to practice before grass would be ready... Just the number of kids that are going to use this, along with just the ability for our community to use it,” Bumgardner said. “We hope that it’s used all the time, by as many different sports and arts and students as possible.”

12 more named to Governor's Public Health Commission

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Top health officials in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne were named Tuesday to a new panel tasked with studying Indiana’s public health system and making recommendations for improvement.

Named to the Governor’s Public Health Commission were Marion County Health Officer Dr. Virginia Caine of Indianapolis and Allen County Health Department Administrator Mindy Waldron of Fort Wayne, the state health department said.

The new appointees also include Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association; Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley of Marion, Madison Mayor Bob Courtney; Hendricks County Commissioner Dennis Dawes; Carl Ellison. president and CEO of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition; and Paul Halverson, founding dean of the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Others include Kim Irwin, administrator of the Indiana Public Health Association; Hannah Maxey, director of the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research & Policy at the IU School of Medicine; Cara Veale, CEO of the Indiana Rural Health Association; and Ripley County Health Officer David Welsh.

The group’s goal is to make recommendations for changes that can be shared with the Indiana General Assembly and enacted through new policy during the 2023 legislative session.

The commission will hold its first meeting Thursday. It is chaired by former state Sen. Luke Kenley and former State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe.

More information about the commission can be found at www.in.gov/gphc.

Former County Council President Kline opens up about resignation

Former Huntington County Council President Ron Kline resigned from his position in May, just six months after being re-elected to a second four-year term last November.

Recently, Kline opened up about why he resigned and what he learned during his time in local government.

“You just can’t win. I’m a 120 percent guy. I can’t just back off; I’m in full bore,” Kline said. “There’s a lot of times that you can’t please everybody. I don’t know, I kind of take that personally. I want everybody to be happy.”

Between attending “15 meetings a month” and taking dozens of calls each day, Kline said that his work while on the council took up much of each day. Kline said that he also faced health concerns during his tenure in office.

“I didn’t want to just keep increasing my dose [of blood pressure medication] to take care of it,” Kline said. “That’s not a smart thing to do.”

Additionally, Kline said that he had “a bout with malignant” melanoma that was eventually removed, and that he often had trouble sleeping during his term. He first considered resigning in February, before making the decision official in May.

Now, months after leaving office, Kline said that his blood pressure is significantly down from where it was before his resignation.

“I miss a lot of it, but I feel better. My friends tell me I’m smiling more; I’m easier to get along with. I know it was the right move,” Kline said. “There was some council members that were pretty unhappy that I did that, but I’ve got to do what’s right for me.”

Since resigning, Kline said that he’s had more time to spend outdoors, including kayaking and fishing.

“I hadn’t had my fishing boat out in three years,” Kline said. “I’ve had it out three times since I resigned, and I’ll probably be going again very soon.”

While on the council, Kline served on multiple subcommittees, including one overseeing the county’s community corrections department. Kline said that that committee was his “favorite one” and that he was “there from day one” regarding the effort to create the new community corrections facility at Victory Noll.

He also served on the Local Anti-Drug Coalition Effort Committee, as well as many others. Kline said that some committees had bylaws that required the County Council president to sit on the board, which added to his workload.

Kline said that while in office, he talked to many Huntington County residents who didn’t understand the tax code, particularly regarding property taxes. He said that he’d talk to people who were concerned after their property values were assessed, leading to a higher tax bill.

“My standard answer was, let me send a realtor over and sell your house for what it’s assessed at,” Kline said. “They’d say, ‘Well no, it’s worth more than that.’ Well then stop complaining; you’re getting a deal.”

Kline said that his involvement with local government made him understand more about the importance of those taxes.

“If we want to stay with employee competitiveness, being able to pay – when we’re averaging whatever we’re averaging per employee, when you can go to McDonald’s and make within four or five dollars of that an hour, we’ve just got to do something to stay competitive,” Kline said. “It’s got to come from some place to give these people a little more money.”

He first got involved with local politics when a previous city administration considered annexing more land into the city – which would’ve included Kline’s home. Kline spoke against the policy at city council meetings and discovered a knack for public speaking.

Kline hopes that more people around Huntington County will follow that path to becoming more involved with their local government, particularly by showing up to public meetings.

“The number one thing: get involved. Every meeting in the county and the city is open to the general public, unless it is an executive session...” Kline said. “In my approximately four and a half years on the council, I’d bet in those four and a half years, other than my wife and the other councilmembers’ wives, I’ll bet there wasn’t 20 people that attended.”

For now, Kline is enjoying his time away from local government. Eventually, though, he plans to return – as a citizen, not an elected official.

“I’ll probably go back and attend some County Council meetings from time to time,” Kline said. “I’m not ready to do it yet.”