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‘Hand Up’ funding brought to county

Steve Gilliland, executive director of the Harrison County Community Foundation, presented a request to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning that, if approved and put in place, will help aspiring students on their path to employment with funding for everyday items that have not traditionally been purchased with grant or scholarship money.
The program, called Hand Up Scholarship, will support clients of WorkOne and could be implemented by HCCF or Lifelong Learning or the funding could go directly from the county to WorkOne.
Gilliland asked the commissioners to consider $24,000, or $2,000 per month to help students or trainees with training costs or the purchase of a variety of items such as steel-toe boots, gas money or day care for their children.
The cost could be limited to $1,000 per person.
‘People have trouble coming up with the funding to complete training,’ Gilliland said.
Gilliland said the Foundation will focus its resources on the dual-credit program for county high school students and possibly Lifelong Learning students.
The recipient of any Hand Up scholarship funds has to be a resident of Harrison County for at least 12 months.
Ron McKulick, with the Work Force Investment board, said WorkOne is all about employment training and talent development.
Gilliland said the request was not brought to the county lightly and that they’ve been working on it for some time.
‘Give us a little time,’ Commissioner James Goldman said. ‘We’ll think about how we might want to fund it.’
If the commissioners approve the request at its next meeting (Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m.), then it will be sent to the county council for a vote. The council has yet to vote on a single additional appropriation this year because it is waiting until the Department of Local Government Finance approves the county’s annual report and tax rates are reported to the county, which auditor Karen Engleman expects to be in March.
Gilliland also reported that the county’s Community Fund at the Foundation has completed the replenishment cycle and received $821,936.12 on Jan. 10. The replenishment plan was put in place after a grant of $8 million for debt reduction for Harrison County Hospital.
The fund currently has a total of more than $46 million after $1.3 million was taken out of it to bring the county’s general fund out of the red by the end of 2011.
In other business, North Harrison Community School Corp. Superintendent John Thomas updated the board on how the corporation plans to spend its allotment of riverboat funding ($750,000-plus): summer school, $150,000; IREAD 3 summer school, $25,000; teacher training on new state requirements, $28,000; assistance in classroom due to cuts in federal funds, $40,000; library books in all schools, $25,000; full-day kindergarten, $180,000; computer lab in the middle school, $25,000; replacement of computers, $150,000; other technology needs, $25,000; software purchases/software licenses and renewals, $55,000; and band instruments and moveable equipment, $47,043.37.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel drafted a letter on behalf of Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes to the Indiana Department of Transportation to express concern with the intersection of S.R. 135 and Heidelberg Road, approximately 1-1/2-miles south of Corydon. The letter said Heidelberg Road intersects S.R. 135 at an approximate 45-degree skew.
‘I believe the angle of this intersection creates a potentially dangerous visibility issue that INDOT should consider addressing, particularly on the west approach of Heidelberg Road to S.R. 135,’ the letter said. ‘I would like to suggest that INDOT consider reconstructing the west approach of Heidelberg Road to S.R. 135, moving that approach to the south allowing for eastbound traffic on Heidelberg Road to meet S.R. 135 at a 90-degree angle, or at least more closely to a 90-degree angle.’
Mathes said Harrison County would help pay for the improvements.

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