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The Ferdinand Town Council covered a lot of ground during their last monthly meeting of 2020 on Tuesday night.

Town Council President, Ken Sicard, kicked off the meeting by recognizing two firefighters for their service. Jared Oser is retiring after 9 years and Pat Jochem is hanging up his hat after 23 years. Their last day is Thursday, December 31st. Council members then gave the fire department the green light for their newest hire. Sabrenia Becher will begin fighting fires on January 1st, 2021, pending a drug test.

The town’s newest police officer is officially on the force. Officer Joshua Clouse began working the nightshift on Friday, December 4th. He took over the position of former officer, Ted Bieker. Bieker recently retired after serving the department for over 30 years.

Sicard also made a few announcements on behalf of the street department. The town’s curbside leaf pick-up ended for the season last week, but it didn’t come without a few challenges. After several street department employees tested positive for COVID-19, the electric department decided to step in and help and with leaf and trash pick-up for about two weeks.

The street department is also getting ready for the winter season. Employees are equipping vehicles with salt spreaders and plows and are cleaning out the town’s limb and waste yard.

The electric department is also making sure the town is ready for snow. Sicard says they have started trimming trees to keep power lines cleared and removed trees on 8th and 9th Streets to prevent future power outages.

Next on the agenda was the Parks Department’s report from Park Board President, Matt Weyer.

Any event or league is required to send a COVID-19 response plan to the Dubois County Health Department. The parks department has also been working on several items, including diagnosing a potential water leak near the MBCI Football Field. There is some additional work that needs to be done to determine the cause. Weyer then gave some updates on the park cleaning and sanitization protocols. Cleaning Concepts has been cleaning the shelters and restrooms on a daily basis. As we head into the winter months, cleaning service and sanitization can be minimized to only those facilities that remain open. The two restrooms at 18th Street Park and the one at 5th Street Park will remain open. The portlets out at Old Town Lake will also stay open for the time being. This will continue until the end of the year. The parks department and council will discuss how to proceed in 2021 during the next town council meeting.

Weyer then updated the town council on a few upcoming projects at Old Town Lake. The parts are in for workers to start installing bird netting in the pump house as well as painting the bollards. Weyer says these features will be installed soon.

Weyer also says that construction for the fishing pier and kayak launch will begin this winter. The lake will be temporarily lowered around January 1st to accommodate this project. Weyer hopes to have these two features completed by late winter or early spring 2021. The park is expected to remain open to the public during this construction.

The next update was from Ferdinand Town Manager, Chris James. The town recently received a $4,800 grant through the I-Pep Safety Grant Program to purchase AED devices. Since the town also contributed $1,200, they now have $6,000 or purchase a total of four AED devices. Proposed locations include Ferdinand Town Hall, the youth soccer and football fields just west of 5th Street Park, and the Ferdinand Police Department.  Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center is also donating 3 AED units to the police department in early 2021. Dayshift and nightshift officers will each have a dedicated device. The third unit would likely stay at the station.

James also says preparations for the 2021 Ferdinand Folk Fest is underway. The committee will meet in the coming weeks to select potential performers. Official announcements will take place in the spring. The 11th Annual event is scheduled for Saturday, September 18th, 2021.

James then shared some good news from one of their Dubois County Leadership Academy teams. Team Teacher Pack was recently awarded a $5,050 grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation. This will go towards purchasing materials for teachers at several Elementary Schools throughout Dubois County. The team has already purchased the supplies and is putting the items together before making their deliveries.

After this, Sicard gave an update on the town’s response to COVID-19.

The current restrictions put in place by the Dubois County Health Department and the Indiana State Department will stay in effect until further notice. The town hall is also closed to all in-person traffic and will continue operating on an appointment-only basis.

Sicard then began discussing the Employee Handbook. There are a few job title changes, but for the most part, the book remains the same.

Towards the end of the meeting, Sicard announced that they are moving their monthly meeting start time up. Instead of starting at 7:30, each council meeting will start at 6:30 pm.

The next Ferdinand Town Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 pm on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 at the Ferdinand Community Center.

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