Tuesday, May 10, 2022 8:05 PM
MILFORD – If approved by zoning boards, there may be a transition house for women in Milford in the parsonage of the former United Methodist Church.
Tammy Cotton, LITE (Living In Transition Effectively) Kosciusko County Jail program coordinator, spoke to the Milford council about their plans.
Prior to Cotton’s presentation, Rev. Mike Beezley, pastor of Clunette and Atwood Aldersgate United Methodist Churches and director of ministry and outreach at Milford Methodist Meeting House, addressed the council and explained when the church Milford United Methodist closed in late June, the district superintendent of the Northern Indiana District of the United Methodist Church wanted him to find ways to reach the community.
He said some felt there were no sufferers and there were services that could be beneficial in the area. Recovery services was one area they found in short supply. They started holding weekly Narcotics Anonymous and Alcohol Anonymous meetings in the old church and Bright Point was there to help people get health care services. Beezley felt that the church could also serve as a headquarters for LITE.
Cotton told the Council that she had been director of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce for 10 years and ran the Rose Home (now Rose Garden) for six years before becoming involved in prison services. She said she learned what Elkhart County offered to the jail and called the two county sheriffs together to see if they could do the same in Kosciusko County.
She said that LITE works inside and outside the prison. She shared that her daughter was incarcerated for a year at Kosciusko County Jail and that’s when she realized the need for help and her passion for the job. She said she wanted a place where people could come for clothes, toiletries and help with resources and that’s when Beezley told her about the old church in Milford.
“It’s not just for people in recovery – we want to serve the whole community as well as support family members of those incarcerated. We gave out free school supplies in the fall,” Cotton said.
She said they wanted to use the parsonage as a halfway house for women and sent the district a proposal, which they approved. She said there were three bedrooms upstairs in the old parsonage, so they want to house five women and leave one bed open as an emergency bed.
“We want it to be simple and user-friendly,” she said.
There will be a resident employee, April Harrison, who Cotton said just graduated and was a Rose Garden graduate. They want to turn the garage into a studio for Harrison and said the house would be manned 24/7, so if Harrison couldn’t be there, a volunteer would be.
Council Chairman Doug Ruch asked if this was the best location “in the middle of a residential neighborhood” and said he was concerned about the safety of the women at home as well as city residents.
Cotton and Harrison said they had a rigorous admissions process and women were not allowed to contact anyone in prison or anyone not approved by them. They said they were doing extensive background checks, including on the resident’s family members.
“During the six years I spent at the Rose Garden, we never had a problem. They come because they really want help. We feel we have precautions and procedures in place,” Cotton said.
Harrison said: “The risk is higher with drug addicts on the street. I understand that we are criminals – we made bad choices; but we need hope and understanding. Women are tested daily.
She also explained the programs a bit, saying that they have to complete 90 meetings in 90 days.
Dan Brown spoke in favor of the program saying, “We have pastoral leadership, an experienced cadre and very skilled staff in a faith-based organization. God does that.
The group was there to inform and ask for help. The Council did nothing.
In other cases, there have been some changes to Milford Fest street closures. At last week’s special meeting, it was decided that Superintendent of Streets, Water and Parks, Steven Marquart, would speak to Tom Beer of BAJA Amusements about the closure of the community building parking lot. Marquart said they will be closing half of the parking lot – the eastern half of the parking lot will be closed to Main Street and the western half will be open to parking.
Another change was to Main Street, which in the original request was to close Friday night. Marquart said they would close it Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Catherine to Fourth Street. Fourth and Catherine streets will also be closed from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall said she received a call that day from a representative of the People’s Motorcade informing them that the motorcade would be driving through town on Friday evening. She didn’t know the time yet, but the caller is supposed to let her know so they can provide police support if needed. She said she was told it was a 2-3 mile long convoy. They are planning a rally at Polk Auction on Saturday.
Marshal Derek Kreider said he would like to provide support to get them through quickly if they don’t have a state or county escort. Someone asked who they were and Gall said he had been told it was a ‘peaceful protest by people who love their freedom’.
Lawyer Jay Rigdon said it started as a protest against COVID restrictions and said several political groups presented themselves as non-partisan.
“As a lawyer, if you have any type of political group running across town, I would strongly advise against getting involved and not promoting or publicizing a group – of course you want to educate your public about safety,” did he declare. .
City Marshal Derek Kreider said he received a grant from the Indiana Department of Health for 50 units of Narcan to be distributed among officers. Kreider said he would also like to do a training session for the rest of the city staff so they can administer themselves or others if need be.
The Board approved the sale of the obsolete fire rescue truck and Gall will present the best options for doing so at the next meeting.
Superintendent of Streets, Water and Parks Steven Marquart reported that the spring cleaning was a great success with 175 visitors filling seven 30-yard containers and two 30-yard containers for metal. USI is inspecting ADA curbs this week. Marquart obtained approval to order a new self-flushing urinal from Mr. Rooter at a cost of $1,953.06.
He reminded residents to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds in their yards – any container that collects water as well as tall grasses and weeds. He said residents will receive the consumer confidence reports as well as information on mosquito control and no wipes in the pipes. He said he recently found a lot of masks in the sewers.
The Park Service is looking for lifeguards and concession attendants for the summer. Interested persons should contact the town hall.
Gall prepared a proposal on how long and when she would need help and determined that she needed 30 hours a month at $15 an hour, which would be $4,000 for the rest of the year. ‘year. The board approved the additional assistance.
In other cases, the Council:
• Approved clerk attending a course for $100.
• Approved Clerk Participating in the Indiana League of Municipal Clerk Treasurers and State Board of Accounts at a cost of $450 from June 12-16.
• Heard requests for proposals for letters of interest for trail concessions are due May 20 at 10:00 am and Robert Cockburn has volunteered to be the board member responsible for reviewing letters of interest.
• I heard the BBQ Chicken will be held at the Community Building on Memorial Day right after the parade while seats last.
• Understood if residents want to be on the garage sale card, the deadline is May 24 at 10 am and there is a cost of $3. Garage sale fees waived on weekends.
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