Decade In ReviewJanuary 3, 2020
Compiled by Herald Staff Writers
Photos by Herald Staff Photographers
In the second 10 years of the 21st century, area residents watched as the economy began to recover after a recession; they followed headlines after Osama bin Laden was killed; and they helped elect a new president who was later impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Locally, developments like new libraries and those included in Huntingburg’s Stellar designation began to take shape. Tragic stories made headlines, such as local Marine Alec Terwiske being killed in Afghanistan and a local resident witnessing the bombing at the Boston Marathon. But positive stories gleamed, such as the Southridge football team winning a state championship, Dubois County celebrating its 200th birthday and a local woman catching a 50-pound catfish at Patoka Lake.
What follows is a sampling of stories The Herald chronicled from 2010 through 2019. Each is listed with the date the story was published, which isn’t necessarily the date on which the event occurred. This is not intended to be an index of the top stories of the decade — though several enduring headlines are found here — nor is it a litany of life-changing events.
Rather, these headlines are simply a snapshot of the decade. They recall a few of our triumphs and tragedies. It’s a short reminder of the common threads running through our lives, how we changed without abandoning the past and what we’ve accomplished to prepare for the next 10 years and beyond.
Jan. 6 — End in sight for Love Boutique fight: Spencer County officials had reason to hope that the 4-year-old legal battle with owners of the Love Boutique, a sexually-oriented business, could come to an end as the end of their available appeals neared.
Jan. 11 — Morning fire kills elderly couple: An early morning house fire on Newton Street in Jasper claimed the lives of Wallace Wilms, 73, and his wife, Barbara, 67. It was Jasper’s first fatal residential fire in 33 years.
April 7 — Boy drowns in pool: Two-year-old Rodrigo Hernandez Jr. died of an apparent drowning in a backyard pool at his home along South Santine Road, on the north edge of St. Anthony.
June 14 — Holiday World’s Will Koch dead: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari owner and president Will Koch was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in a pool at his Santa Claus home.
Aug. 20 — Group concerned about possible biomass plant: Prompted by the possibility of Jasper’s coal-fired power plant being converted into a biomass-burning facility, about 30 people from Dubois and nearby counties gathered at Trinity United Church of Christ to discuss their concerns about the future of the plant.
Oct. 6 — Renovated gym to welcome visitors: The renovation of the Cabby O’Neill Gymnasium in Jasper was nearly finished, and public events were scheduled.
Nov. 4 — Sale of hospital sparks interest: After the announcement that the former St. Joseph’s Hospital building had been sold, the phone lines at Huntingburg City Hall were busy with callers inquiring about future jobs at the facility and contractors requesting contact information for the doctors who purchased the site and planned to turn part of it into a mental health facility.
Nov. 26 — Charges filed after fatal wreck: Tina Hemmer of Stendal faced criminal charges for her role in the fatal car crash Sept. 6 at Old Road 64 and County Road 900W on the Dubois-Pike county line. Twenty-two-month-old Blake E. Buse was killed in the accident.
Dec. 14 — Patrons thrilled with new library: Patrons braved the winter weather to be among the first to visit the new Ferdinand Branch Library.
Jan. 18 — Economy major factor in declining births: As families nationwide struggled to make ends meet during a difficult time in the economy, more couples were choosing to wait before starting or growing their families. Couples in the Dubois County area were making the same decision, two local obstetricians said.
Jan. 21 — Drivers advised to avoid dangerous intersection: The intersection where the new U.S. 231 crossed the old U.S. 231 south of Dale had been the site of more than 30 accidents since its opening in July 2010.
Feb. 3 — Groups band together to protect Patoka River: Several area organizations participated in an initiative to create a plan to protect the local Patoka River watershed.
Feb. 18 — Southridge’s six-phase renovation plans set: It was planned that renovations at the Southridge complex would be done in six phases, all expected to be done by the end of summer 2012.
May 2 — Roof caves; gym wrecked: All Jasper schools were canceled after the roof of the main gymnasium at Jasper High School collapsed.
May 18 — Students discuss Bin Laden as history unfolds: As the nation learned of the May 1, 2011, death of the man who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, teachers and students locally took time to discuss the historic moment.
June 27 — Duff tornado county’s 9th of ‘11: Dubois County’s ninth confirmed tornado of 2011 struck the heart of Duff just before 3 a.m. June 26.
Aug. 29 — Linemen flip truck, save woman: Three Forest Park High School football linemen used their brawn to assist a pregnant woman trapped in an overturned, burning pickup truck on Jasper’s south side.
Oct. 25 — Commission examining idea for connecting to I-69: The coalition dedicated to maintaining and upgrading U.S. 231 was considering an idea to make a portion of the road into an interstate, I-67.
Nov. 9 — New library site decisively rejected: The search for a new Jasper Public Library continued following a decisive defeat of a referendum concerning the future of the facility. Voters rejected a referendum that asked them to spend a maximum of $7.3 million to build a new library on South Newton Street.
Nov. 17 — Sounds of Mass set for change: Mass would sound a little different for English-speaking Catholics worldwide as the Catholic Church implemented the first significant changes to the Mass in more than 40 years.
Feb. 2 — Schnitzelbank bratwurst named No. 1: The Schnitzelbank’s bratwurst sandwich prevailed as the winner of the Super 46 Sandwiches contest ahead of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
April 23 — Catholic School to close doors: John Paul the Great Catholic School in Jasper announced it would close next school year, but still exist as a means to support local Catholic education.
May 21 — Ellspermann announced as Pence’s running mate: Sue Ellspermann, a Ferdinand native, ran alongside Mike Pence as lieutenant governor — a position she held for three years.
June 1 — Local troops won’t deploy: Soldiers with the Indiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry, would not be deployed to Afghanistan as originally planned. The reversal was part of a nationwide effort to reduce U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
June 25 — Worsening drought ignites severe fire risk: With dry conditions worsening by the day, area officials warned that Dubois County’s increasingly brown landscape was ready to burn with the slightest spark.
Aug. 28 — Jasper Country Club to close at year’s end: The news was delivered in a letter sent by the board president to club members, and affected both the club’s restaurants and golf course.
Sept. 4 — Local Marine killed in Afghanistan: Dubois County native Alec Terwiske, 21, died in combat operations. He was a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines, serving with a mobility assault company. When his body was returned to the county, he received a hero’s welcome.
Oct. 9 — Merged foundation on ‘path moving forward’: The Dubois County Community Foundation rebranded itself after merging with the former Huntingburg Foundation.
Nov. 5 — Championship Refrain: Two Dubois County schools took home first place finishes at the ISSMA State Marching Band Finals in Indianapolis: the Jasper Marching Wildcats in Open Class B, and the Forest Park Marching Rangers in Open Class D.
Nov. 7 — Obama back; urgency awaits: President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney on his way to a second term in the White House.
Nov. 20 — Biomass plant protestors win appeal: The lawsuit filed by a group concerned about the City of Jasper’s pursuit to turn the city power plant into a biomass plant was sent back to court.
Feb. 6 — Principal retiring after 34 years: After 41 years at the school and 34 years as the head administrator, Ferdinand Elementary School Principal Lee Begle announced he would retire.
Feb. 18 — Manufacturing center ahead of plan: A new advanced manufacturing center — which would provide technology training for college students, learning opportunities for high school and elementary school kids and support for local businesses — was nearing completion at Vincennes University Jasper.
March 14 — Papal change creates wave of spirit, wonder: Catholic churches throughout Dubois County rang their bells after white smoke billowed above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, signaling that a new pope, Pope Francis, had been chosen.
April 16 — Jasper marathoner witnesses chaos: Dave Fuhs of Jasper finished his third Boston Marathon in what he considered good time. About 20 minutes later, he looked toward the finish line and saw the first blast. Then a second one. Two bombs had detonated, turning the scene into chaos.
July 24 — Historic home’s renovation underway: After years of sporting a rotting facade, the historic Dr. Alois Wollenmann House in Ferdinand was undergoing a major renovation.
Aug. 26 — Give it a ‘tri’: Patoka Lake staged its inaugural Head For The Hills Patoka Lake Triathlon, featuring a 500-yard swim followed by a 12.8-mile bike ride and a 3.1 -mile run. The event raised more than $8,000 to help Patoka Lake’s raptor program.
Sept. 10 — Hospital to implement cuts: A reduction in Medicare payments forced Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center to make $3.6 million in cuts.
Sept. 30 — Powerful cannon makes pumpkin fly: The Herbstfest’s pumpkin launch was an example of a popular harvest time sport known as pumpkin chucking, in which layperson engineers shoot gourds from homemade cannons.
Oct. 18 — Pair arrested for manslaughter: The Jasper Police Department arrested Petersburg residents Leslie M. Osborn Jr. and Zachary D. Parks and charged both with Class C felony involuntary manslaughter after a weekend altercation at Jasper’s J.R.’s Bar resulted in the death of Timothy R. Stafford of Dubois.
Nov. 18 — Grandma’s sleepover a sweet scene: Making new memories was on the agenda for the Brescher family as 20 girls, young and old, donned pajamas and plastic leis for a slumber party for their beloved grandmother, Aline Brescher, 80, who was stuggling with moving out of the home she shared with her husband for the past 60 years.
Jan. 20 — Kimball announces split: Kimball International announced the company was spinning off its electronic manufacturing services division, Kimball Electronics, resulting in two publicly traded, standalone companies.
Feb. 20 — Fair adjusts: Organizers of the Dubois County 4-H Fair shortened the fair week to six days rather than seven, a move meant to draw more people to the event’s livestock shows.
April 28 — Foster homes in line for rescued dogs: Authorities removed 37 dogs from a Huntingburg home. Of that number, nine were dead. Area residents fostered the survivors, which were eventually adopted.
June 5 — Drug sweep nets 14 arrests: An early-morning drug sweep resulted in 14 suspects being taken into custody for dealing cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs. The sweep was dubbed Operation Big Brother.
June 27 — Trucker murdered, rig burned: The body of a Ferdinand truck driver was found in the burned shell of his semi on Detroit’s west side. The 31-year-old man, Mike Boeglin, was shot and the rig set on fire.
July 25 — Holiday World announces steel coaster: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari announced that the park’s new attraction in 2015 would be a steel wing roller coaster named Thunderbird. It was the first launched wing coaster in the nation.
Aug. 14 — A Stellar City: The long wait was over and it was stellar news for the City of Huntingburg as it was named one of two winners of the state’s Stellar Communities honor.
Oct. 7 — County to issue same-sex licenses: The Dubois County Clerk’s Office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to turn away appeals from Indiana and four other states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.
Nov. 26 — Morning fire claims 3 lives: On the day before Thanksgiving, an early-morning fire along Third Avenue in Jasper killed two adults and a 3-year-old child.
Dec. 29 — Retired principal killed: Retired Heritage Hills Middle School Principal Susan D. Grundhoefer was killed in a two-vehicle accident south of Dale.
Jan. 21 — Home is where famed heart belongs: After keeping Bill Schroeder’s Jarvik-7 artificial heart in a box for 30 years, Margaret Schroeder loaned her husband’s heart to the Dubois County Museum. The heart was surgically placed in Bill in 1984 and remained until his death in 1986.
Feb. 5 — Stay or go? Young talent can be lured back: At a time when many young professionals were leaving small towns and rural areas for the country’s metropolitan areas, some were choosing to come back to Dubois County, citing leadership and job opportunities, family ties and the desire to start families of their own as reasons for coming back.
Feb. 10 — Habig, Ruckriegel firsts in Business Hall of Fame: Robert Ruckriegel and Arnold F. Habig were the first businessmen inducted to the Junior Achievement Dubois County Business Hall of Fame. Ruckriegel was the chairman of SERVUS!, and Habig founded Kimball International.
Feb. 19 — Weather leaves learning out in the cold: A snow storm blew threw southern Indiana, granting Dubois County students a whole week of snow days.
March 27 — Religious freedom: Dissent, support: Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law the previous week, setting off a nationwide response that varied between support for the bill and accusations of legalizing discrimination. In Dubois County, responses were also varied.
April 6 — Cross-carrying mission about Bible’s message: Pastor Bob Eckert of Lighthouse Worship Center in Jasper dressed as Jesus and hauled a 9-foot-long, 100-pound cross he built along Highway 231 between Jasper and Huntingburg.
Sept. 15 — With vote, all eyes on Hoosier Desk: After decades of debate, the Jasper Public Library Board voted to join the Jasper Community Arts Commission in a joint building project at the Hoosier Desk site, located at the corner of Third Avenue and Mill Street in Jasper.
Nov. 4 — To be determined: For the second time in the county’s history, an election ended in a tie. Terry Seitz and Wayne Schuetter tied in the 2015 Jasper mayoral election, each winning 1,856 votes.
Nov. 10 — Deer crashes into home for 80-minute visit: A nine-point buck found itself in the master bedroom of Darrell and Jan Blocker’s home on Gatsby Court in Jasper. During its stay, the deer traipsed through the master bedroom and kitchen before being escorted from the home by police.
Dec. 18 — Southridge adds soccer as varsity sport: In a 3-0 vote, the Southwest Dubois School Board voted to add varsity soccer to the list of sports that receive school funding. The program began as a co-ed team playing a boys’ schedule.
Jan. 11 — Details emerge in murder, rape case: East of St. Henry, Jeffrey D. Perry was killed and two women were injured by Kyle N. Popplewell of Ferdinand.
Jan. 18 — Avian flu slowing down: The spread of avian flu in Dubois County, an outbreak discovered in early January, slowed after 10 farms and nearly 250,000 had been affected in the Dubois area.
Feb. 5 — Lifelong Ranger retiring: Jim Mehling announced his retirement after 35 years of teaching and principal duties at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School.
Feb. 18 — With plans in place, $4M designated for Parklands: The Jasper Common Council agreed to designate the funds from the city’s economic development income tax fund for the future 75-acre nature park.
March 1 — Sheriff to council: “Go ahead and kiss my...”: Irked by a county council decision regarding employee pay, Sheriff Donny Lampert let a three-letter expletive fly in frustration at a public meeting.
April 8 — Bracket garners national attention: Jasper High School senior Rebecca Gentry’s nearly perfect NCAA tournament predictions attracted national media attention.
May 2 — Bear market for Braunecker: Forest Park graduate Ben Braunecker signed a deal with the Chicago Bears after teams curiously passed on him in the NFL draft.
Nov. 9 — Trump Wins: Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the nation’s 45th president.
Nov. 9 — New library and cultural center coming to Jasper: Voters approved the Jasper Public Library Board’s property tax referendum, with 60% of voters in favor of the move to build a new facility at the Hoosier Desk property.
Nov. 9 — Jeeps saved in ‘great ending for our kids’: Voters approved the Northeast Dubois County School Corporation’s property tax referendum, adding approximately $500,000 to the corporation’s general fund annually for seven years.
Jan. 23 — A front-row seat to history: The world watched as power transferred from former President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump and as thousands participated in a number of Women’s March events held around the country in response to Trump’s election. Some locals traveled to be part of the marches, and others, the inauguration.
Feb. 10 — Down with the old: Demolition of the Jasper Cabinet building began as construction crews made room for the River Centre development along the Patoka River.
Feb. 15 — ‘All right, OK’ fan remembered: Jasper Wildcat fans honored the late Francis Ebenkamp — an iconic Wildcat fan — who died the previous week at 91. Ebenkamp had a signature black and gold outfit he wore at games and coined the cheer “All right, all right, all right. OK, OK, OK. All right. OK. Go, Cats, go!”
Feb. 20 — 17-year-old killed in accident: Northeast Dubois High School student Chad Knies, 17, was killed in a single vehicle accident near Patoka Lake.
March 3 — ‘Straight Pride’ fliers posted at school: Fliers explaining how students can celebrate their straight pride caused a stir before school at Jasper High School. Although the fliers were removed before students arrived at school, word of their existence spread, leading other students to host an event to promote love and unity.
April 24 — Lexi’s warmth leaves legacy: Southridge High School sophomore Lexi Mattingly died on April 20 from a congenital heart condition. Her passing left in its wake a host of people who loved Lexi and the warmth and magnetism she embodied.
April 25 — Artificial turf approved: An anonymous donor agreed to pay the $871,969 necessary to install an artificial turf field at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium.
May 19 — Woman snags 50-pound catfish at Patoka Lake: Dubois County fisherwoman Trisha McAfoose reeled a 50-pound flathead catfish into her kayak at Patoka Lake.
Aug. 22 — Once in a Black Moon: The Great American Eclipse passed over Dubois County, bringing with it a 97% solar eclipse and all the mystery and magic that comes with such a celestial event.
Aug. 28 — Expressions of respect follow chief’s passing: Jasper Police Chief J. Michael Bennett died unexpectedly on Aug. 25 while on the clock. He had served as chief of the Jasper Police Department since 2012, and the city mourned his passing.
Sept. 26 — Parents fight to make medical decisions for daughter: Jade and Lelah Jerger of Huntingburg found themselves in a battle with Child Protective Services after an Indianapolis hospital turned the couple in for treating their daughter’s epilepsy with a natural hemp extract rather than the pharmaceutical drug Keppra.
Oct. 5 — Call leads to arrests of Huntingburg dentist, renter: A call about an unruly juvenile resulted in the arrest of Huntingburg dentist Alan Friz on preliminary charges of neglect of a dependent, a level 5 felony, and criminal confinement, a level 6 felony. Authorities found a closet area in a bedroom that had been converted into a lockable cage where the juvenile was allegedly kept for extended periods of time.
Nov. 27 — LEGENDARY: The Southridge Raiders brought home the Class 2A football state championship in a 15-14 win over Woodlan at Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 25.
Jan. 25 — Archbishop Buechlein dies: Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein, a Jasper native who was known as a man of prayer, died at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey infirmary at age 79.
March 5 — A ‘busy’ first Sunday for sales: Sunday liquor sales began in Indiana after decades of failed legislative attempts.
March 14 — Group protests plant: Concerned citizens, including the group Spencer County Citizens for Quality of Life, voiced their opposition to a $2.5 billion direct coal-hydrogenation plant proposed for Dale at a standing-room-only Town Council meeting.
April 12 — Astra once again open for business: The Next Act’s 31⁄2 years of work on the Astra Theatre on Jasper’s Square culminated when Next Act’s president, Marc Steczyk, declared the newly refurbished theater open for business.
July 16 — Events celebrate county’s 200 years: Dubois County celebrated its 200th anniversary with various activities around the 200th day of the year.
Oct. 16 — Kmart closure to leave ‘big hole’: Sears Holdings, which operates both Sears and Kmart stores, announced that Kmart in Jasper was among 142 unprofitable stores that would close.
Nov. 5 — Drivers await overpass opening: The railroad overpass was set to open in Huntingburg. The overpass and the roadway on either side, which runs from Styline Drive to the intersection of 14th and Chestnut streets, was named Progress Parkway.
Nov. 7 — Braun ‘taking Indiana values to D.C.’: Jasper businessman Mike Braun defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly to claim the U.S. Senate seat.
Nov. 26 — Cub Scouts welcomes girls: The Boy Scouts of America began opening its programs previously reserved exclusively for boys to girls. Local packs opened their programs to girls and had 18 girls participate.
Dec. 27 — New mayor chosen: A caucus of Republican committee members chose Dean Vonderheide as Jasper’s new mayor. He was to finish the term of Terry Seitz, who resigned to accept a senior staff position with U.S. Sen.-elect Mike Braun.
Jan. 22 — Man pleas for kidney donor: Bill Pfister’s life hasn’t been the same since a stroke disabled both of his kidneys. The Jasper man was compelled to place an advertisement in The Herald, pleading for a donor.
April 10 — VFW building demolished: The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 673 building on Newton Street in Jasper was demolished. The local club sold the building in late 2017, but continued operating inside its walls until earlier in 2019.
May 16 — Health center to open: Crossroads Behavioral Health, a geriatric behavioral health facility, prepared to open the following week in the former St. Joseph’s Hospital building in Huntingburg. St. Joseph’s closed in 2007. Since then, parts of the facility were considered for various uses.
May 28 — Crowd welcomes veterans memorial: The Ferdinand community welcomed its veterans memorial during its grand unveiling on a strip of land near Pine Drive that is visible from State Road 162.
June 12 — Schneider sentenced: Kyle D. Schneider, 27, Huntingburg, was sentenced to 85 years in prison for the Jan. 11 killing in St. Anthony of 23-year-old Chloie E. Lubbehusen of Huntingburg.
June 19 — Celestine Elementary to close: In a unanimous vote, the Northeast Dubois School Board decided to close Celestine Elementary at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
June 19 — County’s first Pride: Hundreds gathered at the Jasper Municipal swimming pool to participate in the county’s first Pride event, hosted by advocacy group ONE-Dubois County.
June 25 — Jasper Girl Scout killed: Jasper Girl Scout Isabelle Meyer, 11, died after a tree fell on her at Camp Koch near Cannelton.
Sept. 5 — Semi slams through Wendy’s: No injuries were reported after a semi drove through the Wendy’s restaurant in Dale.
Nov. 6 — Dubon first Latino on council: Jose Alfredo Dubon won the District 4 seat on the Huntingburg Common Council, making him the first Latino member on the board.
Nov. 6 — Man sentenced in Birdseye homicide: Jason A. Atkins, 41, was sentenced to 45 years in the Indiana Department of Correction for the 2017 murder of 49-year-old Darin L. Atkins in Birdseye. Sarah K. Andry, 43, is also charged with murder and Level 3 felony aggravated battery in the case. Her jury trial is set for Feb. 24, 2020.
Nov. 16 — Man killed in Dale hit-and-run: A Dale man was killed in a hit-and-run accident that also resulted in the arrest of the suspect, Amanda K. Huff of Dale. Eugene Hufnagel, 82, Dale, was operating a motorized, three-wheeled mobility scooter when a Chevrolet Blazer struck him and then left the scene.
Dec. 19 — Trump impeached: President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Dec. 23 — Rink whisks skaters into Christmas: Backed by a festive soundtrack, people of all ages took to a miniature ice rink in Huntingburg’s Market Street Park, gliding and skimming across a carefully constructed horseshoe of faux frozen water.
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