1. Downtown Elkhart Inc. acquires 11 neighborhood properties near downtown Elkhart
Downtown Elkhart Inc. has finalized plans to acquire 11 neighborhood properties near downtown with the hope that revitalizing those neighborhoods will benefit the business district. The properties are found in several clusters in some of Elkhart's most run-down and challenged neighborhoods.
The funds to purchase the 11 properties, as well as the four to be demolished, come from a $370,000 loan from Lake City Bank and a $100,000 loan from Aurora Capital Fund (which is operated by the city of Elkhart). Indiana Landmarks, a state organization that works with historic properties, agreed to a $100,000 loan guarantee for several of the houses.
The cost of acquiring the properties was about $220,000, according to DEI executive director Dan Boecher. That leaves $250,000 for renovations which will not be enough. DEI will depend and work with private sources to pay for the remaining renovation costs.
2. Officials investigating drug case involving Concord Township Fire Department
The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department is investigating a report of possible tampering of drugs in the care of the Concord Township Fire Department.
A summary of a Feb. 21 report filed by the IU Health Goshen Hospital with the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department states that narcotic vials in the care of the fire department "had been tampered with" and its content had been possibly "removed without authorization".
Capt. Jim Bradberry did not provide any further details, citing the incomplete and ongoing nature of the investigation.
3. Mental health training awaits some Elkhart city workers
Around 30 city employees who work regularly with the public will be receiving medical health training this June. The training will help employees learn how to interact with and help people who are struggling with their emotions or appear upset.
Elkhart city councilman Brian Dickerson proposed the plan. He said his interest in mental health was spurred in part by the Martin's shooting on Jan. 15. Mayor Dick Moore endorsed the plan and mentioned it during his state of the city address on Wednesday, April 2.
4. Fairfield schools gets large gift from local man, in honor of his late wife
Ernie Sailor donated $50,000 to Fairfield Community Schools in honor of his late wife, Maxine Sailor, who graduated from Fairfield High School. Sailor's financial advisor, Matt Szynal of Edward Jones, said the endowment will fund ongoing scholarships for Fairfield students for as long as possible through "diligent investing".
He said a scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded to a senior each school year.
5. Frequently asked questions about referendums answered by Elkhart and Concord school administration
The Elkhart Truth approached Elkhart and Concord school administrators with questions from readers about three upcoming referendums in May. Two of the referendums will be for Elkhart, and one will be for Concord. The schools are asking taxpayers to vote for a temporary increase to property taxes to offset the losses from Indiana's capped property tax.
When asked about other sources of money, Elkhart schools' director of support services Doug Hasler said that they do receive state funding. However, those funds are used to cover instructional costs whereas the funds that come from property taxes are used for transportation services and capitol project funds.
Another frequently asked question is whether administrators could be paid less or if administrative positions can be cut. Hasler said that they have cut some administrative positions, but those measures provide little relief for the funds that would be affected by the referendums.
You can read the full conversation with Hasler and Concord school superintendent Wayne Stubbs here.