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Council takes 1st step toward increasing water rates

The Frankfort City Council took the first step to increasing water rates by 53.6 percent at its Monday, July 27 meeting.

The new rates will have to pass two additional rounds of votes in addition to a public hearing.

The proposed water rate ordinance passed on the first reading, 6-0, with councilman Steve Beardsley abstaining.

According to Dylan Lambermont, a representative of Wessler Engineering, over $13,600,000 is needed to expand and begin repair of the current Frankfort water network. This need is being driven by a forecasted demand in water usage over the next 20 years and the current condition of the system.

The proposed rate increase would be phased-in over three years. Much like the current phase-in of the wastewater rate increase over four years, which year 3 of 4 will take effect in August.

Todd Corrie, General Manager of the Frankfort Municipal Utilities, says this request to increase water rates has nothing to do with what the County is doing to expand water and wastewater from Jefferson to the I-65 interchange.

“This has nothing to do with what the county is doing. It is just for our present rate payers in the city limits,” said Corrie. “And that is one of the big things we want to emphasize. It is just our infrastructure that we are looking at right now, needing upgrades, expand a plant to full capacity, go to a different way to treat the water.”

Corrie continued by explaining the need for this is not a rush, but something that has been discussed for some time knowing a need for growth and system-wide maintenance.

“This is something that has been in the works for several years now, probably in between three and four that has been talked about. We (have) just been taking baby steps to get where we need to be,” Corrie said. “We’re getting, I wouldn’t say dire straits, but we’re getting pretty close on some issues that we have where water rate is needed.”

Lambermont delivered the findings of the analysis conducted on the Frankfort water system to the Council. He broke the report into two sections – items needing immediate attention and those items needing on-going maintenance, repair or upgrades.

Lambermont addressed the capacity by stating, “Over the next 20 years, an additional 2.1 million gallons per day in water consumption is estimated.” He noted this demand is forecasted to come from growth in the industrial park. The Water Treatment Plant on Armstrong Road is operating at its rated capacity and additional capacity is needed to meet current and future water system demands.

To that he noted the McKinley Water Treatment Plant is inoperable, in poor condition and has exceeded its useful life as well as wells #16 and #17 are beyond their useful life and are failing.

Lambermont continued by addressing some of the on-going maintenance that is needed and the desire to increase funds to be able to perform the necessary work from an annual approach.

One such item is annual water main replacement.

“We want to make sure we are setting money aside for water main replacement,” said Lambermont. He recommends implementing a plan where .5 percent of the water main is replaced annually.

“After we replace SR 28 & 75 in about 3 to 4 years, we want money to start a water main replacement program. This is based on .5 percent of the water system per year. So, if we went all the way around that’s 200-years to replace the entire water main system.” He projects the annual cost for this single project item at $875,000 per year.

In regards to when the project would start and how the projects are paid for, Lambermont stated, “We’re in permitting right now. We’re getting ready to advertise those projects to bid so they can move forward with the loan closing anticipated in the Fall, likely October.”

Construction could begin in 2020 with completion in 2022 should all Council procedural requirements be met and funding secured. Funding would be through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program. Documents made available by Stifel, Nicolaus, & Company, Inc., the firm hired to perform the financial analysis, shows the bond to be a 35-year bond with a blended interest rate of 2.5 percent / 2.75%.

Andrew Lanam of Stifel provided a breakdown of what the average rate payer would experience in this rate increase. Lanam defined an average user as using 6 units of water monthly.

An average user currently pays, with tax and fire protection included, $20.50 monthly for water. Under the proposed rate increase and 3-year phase-in, the first-year increase would go to $25.62, $28.70 in year 2, and $31.49 in year 3.

Below is a breakdown of the project and the associated costs. Note these figures are preliminary and could change.

The next Frankfort City Council meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber Room at Old Stoney.


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75 years ago, Marks rescued 53 survivors of USS Indianapolis

Thursday marked 75 years since the USS Indianapolis was sunk by a pair of Japanese torpedoes from a submarine after delivering essential components of “Little Boy,” which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan at 9:15 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945.

Sunday, Aug. 2 will mark the 75th anniversary of when Lieutenant Adrian Marks and his crew aboard a PBY-5A “Catalina” flying boat rescued 53 of the 316 remaining survivors of the USS Indianapolis. The USS Indianapolis had 1,195 on board when it was torpedoed. It took less than 12 minutes for it to sink. More than 300 sailors and Marines went down with the ship, and approximately 890 went into the ocean. By the time Marks landed his PBY-5A amid large swells, only 316 were still alive after enduring exposure, dehydration and shark attacks. Marks was able to fill his Catalina with about 50 of them, and his crew even tied some to the wings when they were out of room. They kept those survivors out of the water until rescue ships arrived.

Though he was born in Lagoda, Marks spent the bulk of his years as a Frankfort resident and opened a law practice and title company there after the war. He died on March 7, 1998 at Clinton County Hospital.

When the time came to plan the building of a new terminal and hangar at the Frankfort-Clinton County Airport several years ago, it was decided that it would be named in honor of Adrian Marks. From the ceiling of the terminal’s lobby hangs an impressive model of Marks’ PBY-5A which was created by local modeler Terry Laughner. The Airport Authority board hoped to finally dedicate the terminal on the 75th anniversary of the rescue but, like many things, the novel coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that.

“We got working on the project and, as time went on, people like myself who didn’t really know anything about it, learned about it and learned that the survivors have a reunion every year in Indianapolis,” said Mike Nichols, who is on the airport board. “This year is the 75th anniversary of the sinking. The plan was that we were going to have a celebration here at the airport on (July 26) at the terminal. A lot of the people who would have been at the convention would have been able to come up and speak.

“The whole thing fell apart because of COVID,” he continued. “It was cancelled, so we didn’t have it this year. But they are having a virtual convention which people can view on Facebook, YouTube and so on.”

The USS Indianapolis CA-35 Virtual Reunion Commemorating 75 Years is online from July 20 to Aug. 1 and can be found at ussindianapolis.com.

“We had hoped to make that our dedication (on July 26) with those people speaking – the last Marine, the last guy alive who was rescued by Adrian and so on,” Nichols said. “We thought it would be a good thing.”

The airport board had also invited Sara Vladic and Lynn Vincent to speak at the ceremony that would have been in Frankfort. They are the authors of the book, “Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man.”

“We actually have a four-minute segment on our airport and Adrian Marks, in particular, in Frankfort, Indiana,” Nichols said. “That is going to be on YouTube, and that is also going to be on that virtual reunion. It was put together by Kaspar Broadcasting.”

There is a plaque on one of the walls of the terminal which tells the story of Marks and the rescue.

“We are really proud of the airport being named after him, and that is why we put a storyboard together so somebody could come in not knowing anything, look at that board and understand,” Nichols said. “That board sums it up pretty good.”

Nancy Hart of the Clinton County Historical Society is currently gathering stories of Marks’ life in Frankfort after the war.

“Not the war. Everybody knows that,” Hart said. “My interest is getting personal views and conversations and tidbits of Adrian and his personal life. His interests and his hobbies – just the everyday like of Adrian Marks.

“I just think it is time for people to get to know that man behind the heroic act,” Hart continued. “For instance, the family owned a mynah bird named Henry who could imitate Adrian’s laugh down to a T. Adrian’s laugh came from the bottom of his stomach. He projected his voice, and the bird could do that.”

Marks and his family also raised German Shepherds.

“One dog from each litter would be donated to the Leader Dogs for the Blind in Michigan,” Hart said. “They gave each dog a name, and he added another part of that name. He added ‘Long Nose’ to it. That is the type of thing that he would do.

“Judy was one of those dogs,” she continued. “Adrian added ‘Long Nose’ to her name, so Judy Long Nose was taken to Michigan. The family walked into the building, took her leash off and said ‘Heel!’ The office staff advised the family that the dog should not have been trained to heel. Despite being trained to heel, ‘Judy Long Nose’ was accepted into the program.”


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Bulldogs graduate Class of 2020

Fifty-seven members of the Bulldogs’ Class of 2020 were finally able to bring their high school days to a close on July 25 with their long-awaited graduation ceremony at Clinton Central Junior/Senior High School.

“I was just happy and grateful that we were able to get it in,” said principal Brad Smith. “One of the questions not knowing what the future held was ‘Would we be able to follow through?’, and we were. Even though we couldn’t have everybody there, it was nice for them to at least have some of them there. We were able to broadcast live on Hoosierland TV, so it was nice for the seniors. They were able to get closure for their senior year. It was nice to be able to do that for them and for their families. So, I was very happy with that.

“One of the things that we did too is that we tried to keep the ceremony as traditional as possible,” Smith added. “That is something that all of our senior classes had and earned. We didn’t have the band or choir, but everything else we tried to keep as close to traditional as possible. The ceremony was well-received given all the conditions and being smack-dab in the middle of the pandemic. I think everyone thought we did the best we could do under the conditions we were under. I couldn’t be more pleased under the conditions.”

During the ceremony in the main gymnasium, speeches were given by Salutatorian Mackenzie McWhirt and the Valedictorian of Clinton Central’s Class of 2020, Hanna Cheek.

“I feel that the keynote speakers should go with the Valedictorian and Salutatorian,” Smith said. “It is their day. That is who everybody wants to hear from.

“They did an outstanding job,” he added. “And they speak for not only their selves but their classmates. Nobody knows better than they do because they went through the whole thing together. Letting them lead the way when it comes to graduation – that was a well-earned honor.”

Smith said that they even had time for senior awards between the practice and the ceremony.

“We didn’t have the celebration we normally would, but we at least had one together after practice and before graduation,” he said. “It was just nice to give the kids what they earned and deserved and follow through that last piece of a K-12 career. I have always believed that graduation is not a day for the school or the staff, but a day for the students, family, friends and community. It is their day, not ours. So, it was nice to be able to give them that.”


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Pizza King opens at new location in Frankfort

The new Pizza King opened its doors to the public in time for lunch Thursday at its new location at 1628 W. Ind. 28 in Frankfort.

A longtime staple in Frankfort, Pizza King made its comeback thanks to co-owners Joe Eavey and Craig Cooper, who work together at Dave’s Auto Repair.

“My first job was at Pizza Hut here in Frankfort, so I kind of had a love for making pizzas,” Eavey said. “I really enjoyed that environment. As I got older, I went to school to work on cars. I married and got into a different business to make money, but I always liked the pizza business.

“I found through some people in town that John Fausett had his Pizza King for sale,” Eavey continued. “I thought that may be a good opportunity. So, I bought the business off of him, partnered up with Craig Cooper here at Dave’s Auto Repair, and we opened a Pizza King.”

Eavey is the owner of Dave’s Auto Repair in Frankfort.

“Our initial conversation was just take over John’s operation and see if we could add delivery to the mix,” Cooper said. “At some point, we met with Ed Brogan from corporate in Lafayette. I saw the retail space at the Depot and took a picture of it, sent it to Ed and asked what he thought about locating here. He was like, ‘Oh yeah. Absolutely. A great location.’

“It evolved from taking over carryout to getting this space where we could put in a small dining room as well.”

The new Pizza King is currently only dealing in carryout business, but the Eavey and Cooper hope to soon add delivery and then, eventually, open at least a portion of the dining area.

“We are carryout,” Eavey said. “Dine-in, we were going to try to do 50 percent capacity. We have the chairs and barstools on order. But because of COVID, all the deliveries have been delayed for our project. We will have dine-in. Once we get everyone in there and comfortable, we will get delivery in there. I feel like delivery is pretty strong in this area.”

The tables that are already in place in the new Pizza King’s dining area may have a familiar look to them for some.

“We thought it would be a nice tribute,” Eavey said. “They rescued that wood from the bowling alley (lanes), and we used that for our tabletops and our point of sale. It is from the Frankfort Bowling Alley. It is neat and makes really nice, sturdy tables. That wood is one-and-a-half, two inches thick. We thought that would be nice. That bowling alley had been there for many years. It was a shame to see it go. At least we have something from that place.”

Eavey says that Pizza King has a special place in the hearts of Frankfort residents, and he recalled his own memories of eating there in the 1980s and 90s when it was on Wabash St.

“Pizza King used to be across from Wendy’s,” he said. “I remember going in there and getting really good Pizza King pizza back in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. It has been (in Frankfort) quite a while.

“I think (Pizza King pizza) has a unique taste and a unique crust,” Eavey continued. “It is like a thin crust. Depending on how you cook it, it can be a crisp crust. I think people like the crispy dough. I think the pepperoni and cheese has a special blend unique to Pizza King. I think it has the taste that people crave. I have always liked it. I have eaten it since I was a little kid.”

Both Eavey and Cooper believed that the west side of town needed more dining options.

“When you drive on the west side, other than Jimmy John’s, there are not a lot of places to go,” Eavey said. “The community has been really supportive and excited about this.

“It has taken about a year to do this, but we wanted to do it right to make sure it lasts,” he added. “It seems like a lot of people around Frankfort like Pizza King pizza, and I wanted to give that back to the community. I actually got Brenda Goff as may general manager at Pizza King. I worked with her at Pizza Hut in 1994, and she has always been a really good manager. She said she would work with us, and it seems that everything is going pretty good so far.”