Link shared the businesses’ histories and futures. This year marks Link Equipment’s 25th anniversary. Link’s father, Don Link, started the business out of his front room after 14 years of employment with Galbreath, Inc. The company focuses on waste- and recyclables-handling–distribution equipment, with 15 employees and a full-service shop. The primary customer area covers Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Because of manufacturers’ regulations, the company is limited in geography on new-equipment sales, but it has carte blanche on used-equipment sales.
The company rehabilitates used equipment in-house. This summer, the company will launch a retail truck-equipment line, offering plows, toolboxes, bed liners, and related equipment. Additionally, Link has become a franchise affiliate of a hose-and-fitting supplier.
“We’re diversifying,” Link noted.
Responding to an enquiry, Link noted that despite past incidents with county government, the company remains committed to the community, both in terms of operating here and being willing to service local-government entities. Responding to another question about his vision for the next 25 years, Link responded that increased alternate-fuel usage and recycling should be expected, adding that the important question will be one of affordable processing.
Regarding Linkster’s, the family’s downtown-Winamac boutique cigar shop, Link called it “our fun place” and “Dad’s dream.” They hope to see new additions to downtown’s business district. In addition to these ventures, his mother operates the Winamac Events Center, a building available for rental for meetings, parties, and the like. Link was thanked for his entrepreneurial service to the community and taking time to address PCED.
In other business, the PCED board reviewed the following items:
Executive Director’s Report
Strategic Relationships: PCED director Nathan Origer reported on attending the monthly MidWest Indiana (now called ‘Indiana’s Technology Corridor’) meeting. He lunched with Jack Moore, of CenturyLink, who later provided him with maps showing where CenturyLink offers fiber-optic service in Pulaski County. (Origer noted that Eric Galbreath also provided maps showing where TVCable provides this service.) He had a breakfast meeting with a local resident, who recently moved back to Winamac, to discuss what is going on in the community. He attended the monthly Chamber-board meeting, and is working on a fundraising program with the Chamber’s executive director and one other board member. Discussion also followed regarding the inaugural issue of the quarterly Pulaski County Economic Development Dispatch. Origer said it was quite well received.
Infrastructure: Origer assisted Greenspace Winamac with another grant application for the proposed pocket park at the corner of U.S. 35 and Washington Street; the previous month’s grant had been awarded. He noted that the county’s Advisory Plan Commission continues to wait on the final land-use maps; Rhein-Bach has promised to deliver the electronic files, and WTH has agreed to finish them as appropriate. Origer met with PCED board members Andrew Fritz and Dave Zeltwanger, along with Brad Neihouser, to discuss west-side real estate for - and possible community response to - the PC-CARE; following that, Origer met informally with one landowner.
Business Retention/Expansion and Entrepreneurial Development: Three of the Summit run-up events were completed to-date: the presentation on the Revolving Loan Fund (with decent attendance), the Small Business Administration workshop (with abysmal attendance - Origer simply discussed SBA programs with the representative), and the talk by the business consultant from the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center. Additionally, on the morning of the board meeting, Origer met with an attendee of the RLF presentation; she and her husband have purchased a building in Winamac with the intent of opening a small lunch-service restaurant, and may require supplemental financial assistance. Despite the minimal attendance, Origer expressed his view that as long as even one or two entrepreneurs are introduced to helpful resources, then the programming is worth the effort.
Marketing: Origer attended the monthly Rural and Rustic meeting in Rochester.
Other: Origer noted that he continues to work with Pulaski Memorial Hospital on its Community Health Needs Assessment; both parties have been delayed on this project, however.
Workforce Development: Pulaski County’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.9 percent in April and 7.1 percent in May 2011. Origer suggested that the real unemployment rate is about 7.3 percent, based on the ratio between the official and real national-unemployment rates, but added that this is a rough estimate, with no easy way to calculate the rate precisely. Discussion ensued regarding the causes of the local-climate improvement.
Financial Report: Origer reported on fund balances through the end of May. The county’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) had a balance of more than $136,000. All borrowers continue to repay on time. Discussion ensued regarding legitimate uses of CEDIT moneys under current state statute, and regarding a Winamac RLF borrower.
Priority List and Monthly Calendar: Forthcoming events on Origer’s schedule for June and July were reviewed; those of note were the Winamac/County/Plymouth Tube/Indiana Municipal Power Agency meeting June 8 regarding the proposed substation for Plymouth Tube and the financing thereof; Link Environmental Equipment’s open house and the Chamber of Commerce’s golf outing (June 15); the last Summit run-up event and the Economic Summit (Jun3 18 and 28); PCED’s County Council appointment to discuss the 2013 budget at some point in July; and the August board meeting, in Monterey. Origer also pointed out the County Fair (June 30 June to July 6), Power from the Past (July 19 – 22), and the Winamac town-wide yard sales (July 21).
Ivy Tech update: Origer noted that the primary issue continues to be that a suitable building, owned by a willing landlord, has yet to be found; or that the payback costs on a building purchased and appropriately renovated by a qualifying non-profit organization is longer than the life of a lease that Ivy Tech can promise. Discussion ensued regarding whether other communities in the county would be feasible, or if Winamac alone works, as well as potential buildings. Additionally, it was suggested that approaching Ivy Tech with a small committee of community members, to show the broad community support for the project, may be advisable. Origer will continue to work with Ivy Tech and other involved players to bring Ivy Tech to the community.
Economic Summit 2012: Origer reported on the last pre-cursor event, with the Purdue Center for Regional Development, on June 18, at the Francesville-Salem Township Fire Station. Focusing on economic gardening and the Indiana Home Town Competitiveness Program (HTC), this event would be, Origer noted, “the most important [of the pre-cursor events]”; brief overviews of economic garden and HTC were provided. Origer continues to work on organizing the June 28 Summit.
Brownfields Assessment (KIRPC): Origer met with KIRPC officials, KIRPC-region economic-development directors, and consultants from IWM, and reported that KIRPC would be applying for a regional-coalition brownfield-assessment grant. Origer asked the board to provide to him any sites worth considering for this project — abandoned factories, grain elevators, gas stations, mechanic shops, and the like. On a tangent from the mention of grain elevators, he noted that he had contacted someone from Tate & Lyle, which recently purchased the Overmyer Grain facility north of Francesville.
ITC (MidWest Indiana)/Northwest Indiana Forum — Financial-investment obligations: Continuing discussion from the May meeting regarding Pulaski County’s regional identity/ies regarding continued membership in Indiana’s Technology Corridor (ITC; formerly MidWest Indiana), joining the Northwest Indiana Forum, or embracing both directions, Origer presented two potential expenses relating to ITC membership: a one-time licensing fee of $1,650 for PCED use of Executive Pulse (economic- development customer-relationship-management software), and $2,000 local-match contribution for the grant recently awarded to ITC by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for marketing, especially through a new, vastly improved Website to be developed by Brand Acceleration. After lengthy discussion, the board approved both expenditures. At this time, the board’s position, as expressed in the discussion, is to attempt to be involved with both ITC and the Forum.
OSHA 30 training: Returning to a topic from April, the director presented information from Heritage Safety group about the company, the programs that it offers, and the OSHA 30 training that it provides. The board supports hosting the programming, but specific PCED involvement remains to be determined. Members suggested that it be delayed until late fall or winter, when more potential participants — especially self-employed contractors — would be available; enquiring as to whether any municipal employees would benefit from this was also encouraged.
Public outreach — County Fair: Origer attended the Chamber board meeting at which the idea of again having a booth at the fair was met with skepticism. Origer asked the board if this would be worth pursuing. Given the general ineffectiveness of last year’s attempt, the idea was scrapped, with the director noting that he would spend one or two evenings, in a CDC shirt, walking the fairgrounds and engaging residents as appropriate.
Election-2012 debates: The director, having spoken with one candidate for state office from this district, expressed concern about whether PCED could successfully conduct a debate without risk of creating too much commotion, given the heated nature of legislation passed in the most recent session. The issue was tabled until the August meeting.
IEDA Summer Conference: Best Practices: Origer requested permission to attend this conference, in mid-June in Merrillville, noting that the agenda looks to be quite relevant to PCED’s current objectives. Approval was granted.
Youth summer-employment flyers (CWI/WorkOne): Origer noted the flyers from CWI are distributed electronically. Companies are encouraged, when possible, to offer summer-employment opportunities to high-school students and other young adults. The flyers included examples of wage break-outs, tips for youth seeking employment, and how firms can make best use of young summer help.
Board Member (Community) Reports
Items discussed during board member reports included the Star City Sewer project, the hospital specialty clinic construction project, the Winamac park, agriculture crops status, the status of the county's proposed irrigation ordinance, banking and industry updates, and some individual business highlights.
Pulaski County's unemployment rate fell to 6.1. percent in April, down from 7.7 percent (revised) in March, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Friday (May 17). The rate was 6.4 percent a year ago.
The state's April rate dipped to 8.5 percent (seasonally adjusted), from 8.7 percent in March. The April 2012 rate was 8.3 percent. The U.S. rate improved to 7.5 percent (seasonally adjusted), down from March's 7.6 revised rate. A year ago, the national rate was 8.1 percent.
INDIANAPOLIS -Private landowners looking to improve wildlife habitat on their property may qualify for financial assistance through the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, particularly if they want to benefit bobwhite quail and ring-neck pheasants.
Bobwhite quail and ring-neck pheasant are prized game birds. However, populations of both have suffered from permanent habitat loss or lack of maintenance on existing habitat.
WINAMAC - Winamac Community High School will hold its Senior Awards Night at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 28, in the socialtorium. The public is welcome to attend.
Seniors will receive special recognition in the form of academic competition awards, honor roll, scholarship awards and special academic and athletic awards. Representatives from various colleges, local organizations and the school will present these awards.
INDIANANPOLIS - The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is encouraging county agriculture organizations to submit a voting certification form in order to participate in the Indiana State Fair Board Elections.
This year, District 3 and District 7 board seats are up for election. The individual elected to represent the districts will serve a four-year term on the Indiana State Fair Board of Directors.
WINAMAC - The Pulaski County Public Library has once again expanded its services, adding digital magazine and MP3 music file downloads.
The library’s website now offers access to over three million downloadable songs, including Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists via The Freegal Music™ Service. Freegal is an online database, providing access to music files that are legal, do not expire, and are compatible with PCs, Macs, iPods, iPads and other MP3-compatible devices.
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law Thursday (May 9) that will expand the state’s school voucher program in front of 150 students, including some who already are benefiting from the program.
Students from seven different private vouchers schools met at the Calvary Christian School auditorium with signs that said, “I yearn to learn” and “school choice now.”
INDIANAPOLIS – The organization that regulates high school sports will decide next week whether to let some homeschooled students participate in high school athletics.
The move by the Indiana High School Athletic Association comes two years after the issue bubbled up at the Indiana General Assembly, where lawmakers considered but never passed a bill to mandate the change.
FRANCESVILLE - The 45th annual commencement exercises at West Central High School will be at 2 p.m., Sunday (May 26), in the school gymnasium. The program will begin with a baccalaureate service with the address given by Don Nedza, followed by the graduation program.
Forty-nine seniors will receive diplomas. Commencement addresses will be given by valedictorian David Putt and salutatorian Evan Kaeb.
WINAMAC - Commencement exercises at Winamac Community High School will be at 7 p.m., Friday (May 31), in the school gymnasium. The program will include the tradition of awarding several community scholarships.
The Class of 2013 numbers 87 seniors, and will be led down the aisle by valedictorian Kathleen Budd and salutatorian Andrew Brandon.
WINAMAC - Eastern Pulaski Community School Board president Mike Tetzloff outlined the search timeline to hire a new school superintendent at the board's monthly meeting Monday (May 13).
Applications for the position will be accepted until May 28. Interviews will be completed by June 29, and the new superintendent will be named in early July; however, he/she will not be officially placed until the end of July after a public meeting.
WEST LAFAYETTE - Farmers worked long hours anywhere soils were dry enough to support tillage and planting equipment during the week ending May 12, according to the Indiana Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The most planting progress occurred in northern and some central areas. At this time farmers are ahead of both 2009 and 2011 when approximately 15 percent and 18 percent of the corn acreage had been planted respectively.
INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence Thursday vetoed House Enrolled Act 1546, concerning unauthorized collection of local option income tax in Jackson and Pulaski counties after legal authority for those tax collections had expired.
The Pulaski County Democrats Central Committee has reorganized for the 2013 year. New officers elected were: county chair Bill Reutebuch; county vice chair, Laura Bailey; secretary, Diana Dutton and treasurer, Jenise Barnhouse.
Long time secretary, Betty Podell, and treasurer, Betty Parcel, have retired from their positions after nearly 40 years each.
INDIANAPOLIS - Citing her broad background in facilitating job creation in rural and agribusiness communities, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets announced Tuesday (May 14) the appointment of Connie Neininger as ISDA director of Economic Development & Trade.
INDIANAPOLIS - Nearly 60 Pulaski County residents crossed the finish line in the running of the 37th annual One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Saturday (May 4), in downtown Indianapolis. A field of 35,000 participated in the event.
Mike Haschel of Winamac led county runners, finishing with a time of 1:19:20 and a 59th place finish overall. He was followed by Glenn Bailey who completed the Mini in a time of 1:27:07.