Use of tower would aid in communication

Diane Raver | The Herald-TribuneBoard attorney Frank Kramer (from right) swears in trustees Gary Gellert, Glenn Scholl, Mike Norman and Dawn Burke.

ST. LEON – Local ham radio club member Gary Puckett asked Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corp. trustees Jan. 10 about their plans for the tower at the annex building, the former North Dearborn Elementary School located on North Dearborn Road.

"I've been a ham operator for decades. What the hams do in the county is provide communication and services for events, such as the Bright parade .... When the tornado came through in 1990, we were prepared with our own source of power."

When the hurricane hit Puerto Rico last year and power was out, which it still is in some places, "I have a friend (there) .... who said the ham radio was the only source of communication."

The Guilford resident pointed out, "We are a community service sort of organization, and we help with emergency management. We just bought a new 220-megahertz repeater (to aid with county communications) for North Dearborn Road, but our antenna's not high enough" to reach all parts of that area.

"The tower at the old North Dearborn Elementary School would help us to be a great communication source for that part of the county.

"All that we do is volunteer stuff .... Would there be any way the school board could let us use the tower and get an antenna up at a respectable height to make communication possible? .... The hams in the area would be grateful. We would put the tower to good use, and it would serve the community well."

"We'll take is under consideration," board President Mike Norman said.

Trustee Gary Gellert wondered, "How many ham operators are there in the area?"

"In our local club, there are 25-28," Puckett revealed. "The tower is about 50-60 feet high, and that would get us up high enough with our antenna. We have the antenna connected to the back of one of our members' outbuilding in that area, but it's not high enough."

Superintendent Dr. Andrew Jackson noted, "We have to see if we have the authority to give this to a nonprofit .... I would have to get with Frank (Kramer, the board's attorney) to see the legality of that."

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

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• Members voted for leadership positions: Mike Norman, president; Brandon Burress, vice president; and Dawn Burke, secretary. Appointments were also approved: Mary Ann Baines, treasurer; Tammy Vonderheide, assistant treasurer; Sara Hylton, Indiana School Board Association representative; Burress, legislative liaison representative; Cheri Huff, recording secretary; Burke, Gary Gellert and PTO representative Erin Darringer, Sunman-Dearborn Endowment Committee; and James Graf, Dearborn County Redevelopment Commission representative.

• Members decided to continue meeting on the second Thursday of the month, except for May and October, when they will gather on the third Thursday.

• Personnel recommendation were OK'd: new: Patricia Marmouze, East Central High School study hall monitor; Jeanmarie Schmeltzer, Sunman Elementary School long-term substitute teacher; Zachariah Strub, Bright Elementary School long-term substitute teacher; Erin Estep, SES instructional assistant; Connie Flaspohler, SDCSC WIDA test administrator; Kendra Horner, NDES long-term substitute teacher; Jeff Sizemore, Sunman-Dearborn Middle School girls basketball coach; resignations: Krista Kirchgassner, SDCSC Title I homeless tutor; Melissa Myers, BES instructional assistant.