Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

March 22, 2014

Chamber dinner topics: state advocacy and local goals

(Continued)

According to the vice president, “This year, as always, there were numerous bills related to education. Three might be of interest to you.” House Bill 1004 establishes an early education grant pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds. “The Family and Social Services Administration gets to make the call what counties that will be in. There has been a lot of discussion about Common Core (a federal standards initiative) … the last couple of years.” Senate Bill 91 voids Common Core language in Indiana, but calls for state standards by July 1. The Legislature also created a panel to review Core 40 graduation guidelines and will make recommendations about career and technical education offerings.

About 15 percent of 800 water utilities and 500 wastewater utilities are under Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission jurisdiction. With the enactment of House Bill 1187, that number could rise, because now when communities are not able to agree on service territories, IURC has the authority to intervene.

Incoming board President Dave Cook called for a standing ovation for Bill Schirmer, who served as president for three years. Schirmer thanked former office manager Annette Wilhelm and welcomed membership director Melissa Johnston.

He paid tribute to “inspirational” past board members Rodney Grubbs, Allen Beneker and Jane Klenke. Attendees applauded two 2013 board members who stepped down, Sylvia Moore and Michelle Brier.

Cook detailed his goals for 2014. He wants to create a committee that can work with county and state governments. “We’re over 200 members strong, but we don’t get a lot of attention.” The president also hopes to name a chamber grant writer who can lend expertise to other county groups.

Johnston has been tasked with helping to develop a long-range plan. Cook also wants to develop a community profile for prospective residents and businesses with much data, including an inventory of available structures.

The chamber will continue to sponsor November Noel and After Hours, “a very good time to meet the fellow business individuals.” Cook admitted, “I think we have a problem. We don’t really know what each other does …. We don’t understand each other sometimes and we compete.” He wants to collaborate with the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce on an air show at Batesville Aviation and partner with Brookville Main Street and businesses to discuss the upcoming Main Street paving project.

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