Indiana Central News
Hydrite is investigating chemical spill, thanks emergency agencies
On Saturday, August 15, 2015, Hydrite’s facility in Terre Haute, Indiana experienced a limited release of sulfur dioxide at approximately 7:00 p.m.
The situation was limited in duration and was quickly abated. Hydrite worked in cooperation with the Terre Haute emergency agencies to secure the area and took action to mitigate the off-site impact of the release.
An extensive and thorough investigation is currently being conducted to determine the root cause of the situation and to establish any corrective actions that may be required before the manufacturing process is resumed.
Hydrite would like to express its appreciation to the local authorities for their assistance with this matter.
Latest police station roadblock concerns officials
Aug. 6, 2015
The decision to move forward on the construction of a new police department was not entered into lightly. After five years of exploring every option, it was determined that the existing facility could not be rehabilitated. Based on that decision, we began the process in good faith with Mr. Lambert, who indicated his support for and the need for this project. Despite the very public comments by Mr. Lambert toward the mayor last year, we believed Mr. Lambert’s commitment to this project was real. As police officers, our goal was to do what was right for the other officers and citizens that utilize the department daily and not to take part in political differences.
In our meetings with Mr. Lambert, he explained that TIF bonding could cover $6.25 million of the construction costs and the city would need to come up with the remainder. Mr. Lambert further informed us that the TIF bonds would be issued in two series, and the second series would not be sold until the city produced its portion. Once a preliminary budget was established by our construction manager, the city moved forward with the bonding process. Essentially, it tasked the city with generating a little less than $3 million of the projected $9,078,000 budget.
On July 8, 2015, a meeting was held with members of Garmong, Assistant Chief Keen and Cliff Lambert to discuss a proposed lease agreement that could have potentially saved financing costs and reduced the number of years in comparison with the traditional bonding costs for the city. During this meeting, Mr. Lambert began the meeting by citing a newspaper article regarding city finances, and repeatedly told the potential investor that he should be concerned with the city’s ability to repay such a lease. While the purpose of the meeting was to explore financing options to meet the requirements set forth by Mr. Lambert, his comments seemed to conflict with what he was requiring the city to do. Ultimately, the private partnership lease was determined to be incompatible with TIF financed projects.
As the bonding process moved forward, the date of Aug. 6, 2015 was set for the introduction
of the bond ordinance before the city council. On Aug 4, 2015, we learned of a “Special Call” meeting of the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission for Aug. 5, 2015, one day before the scheduled city council meeting. According to the notice, the sole purpose of the meeting was
“to take action on a Resolution regarding the Series B Bonds for construction of the police station.” Neither Mr. Lambert, nor anyone from the Redevelopment Commission, notified us of the pending meeting, or that concern existed for the interest rate cap. Despite the fact that the commission had already approved the Series B bonds with an interest rate cap of 6 percent, and despite the fact that the city’s bond was one day before being introduced away from being introduced before the council, Mr. Lambert was now recommending to the commission that they lower the interest rate cap, a cap that they already approved and determined was feasible months prior. Likewise, a similar concern was discussed on the ability to fund other projects if the police department bonds would sell for the 6 percent cap they established and approved.
Not only had these bonds passed the approval of the Redevelopment Commission; but they were presented by Mr. Lambert and Umbaugh & Associates to the City Council reinforcing the solvency of the TIF. Based on Mr. Lambert’s recommendations, and with the 6 percent interest cap, the City Council also passed the ordinance.
Commissioner Conley is quoted in today’s (Aug.6) Tribune Star that he is concerned the city can’t pay their portion of the new police station. We explained in that May meeting, in which he was in attendance, that the payments would come from EDIT funds and at the time, no one on the commission had concerns with that. But at last night’s meeting (Aug. 5,) Commissioner Conley brings up sanitary district bonds, which have nothing to do with EDIT or TIFF funds, which have been designated to fund this project. He also mentioned car loan rates currently at 2.9 percent and said that’s what we should be paying. A a realtor, we would think he would know comparing car loan rates to building rates is like comparing apples to oranges.
Commissioner Nichols also states in today’s Tribune Star (Aug. 6) that we should not pay 6 percent, and he is doing what is responsible and prudent for the citizens of Terre Haute. Our question is, why in May, did he approve at selling the bonds at a cap of 6 percent? Was he not being prudent and responsible for the citizens of Terre Haute then? The timing of the special call meeting, the day before the city council meeting, to discuss this very issue raises doubt to his claims about the city’s financial future not being political.
Let’s not forget Cliff Lambert’s claims that the pooling of funds by our current administration was illegal and he reported his concerns with the Indiana State Board of Accounts. At that time, he trusted that entity with investigating his claims of wrongdoing by the city. When their report came back supporting the current administration’s actions, and pointing out several violations by Cliff’s own Department of Redevelopment, all of a sudden they don’t know what they are talking about and Cliff doesn’t agree with their findings. His motives are crystal clear.
Our frustration lies not with a legitimate question of the city’s finances. Our frustration is with a last minute attempt to change the conditions set forth by the commission, without any notification to us, and comments made to a potential investor in the direct conflict with obtaining those conditions. When you are ensured that you have the same goals, it becomes very difficult to understand how such actions support such an assertion. Our perception is that we were being tasked to fulfill the city’s obligation, while having the ability to do so blocked.
John Plasse, Terre Haute Police Department, Chief of Police
Shawn Keen,Terre Haute Police Department, Assistant Chief of Police
Marc Eldred, Terre Haute Police Department, Assistant Chief of Police
Take time to thank an officer during Police Week
INDIANAPOLIS – During the week of May 10, 2015, our nation celebrates National Police Week and commemorates police officers from around the country recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to keeping our communities safe. As the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, I want to acknowledge the unselfish work performed by agents, troopers, deputies and officers from Gary to Evansville and Terre Haute to Richmond for the work that they do. Over the course of my 21year career as a federal prosecutor in Indiana, I have been privileged to work closely with truly outstanding public safety officials and I know their work is extremely dangerous and profoundly heroic.
The fact that the work these men and women perform every day is occasionally not fully appreciated, disturbs me. In 2014, 127 officers lost their lives nationwide; four in the state of Indiana. Already six officers have made the ultimate sacrifice in May of this year alone. The trend is unnerving and I pray for these officers daily. These startling numbers serve as a devastating reminder that our nation’s police officers put their life on the line every day, oftentimes for people they have never met. Their exemplary work is the foundation of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
As a state, we must never lose sight of the immense and unyielding difficulties that are inherent in the law enforcement profession. When others run from danger, our law enforcement professionals run bravely toward it and face the ugliness that sometimes follows. Like any organization, our officers are not flawless, 99 percent of them perform their duties professionally, every day without so much as a whimper of hesitation using only the force justified by the situation.
I am asking everyone who comes in contact with an officer this week to thank them and learn to appreciate the job they do. There are many challenges that our communities and neighborhoods face and our society expects police officers to have the ability to solve every single one of them. Those challenges cannot be met by law enforcement alone. Protecting our community is everyone’s responsibility. We cannot expect safe communities without supporting them. A police department is only as effective as the community that supports it. They cannot perform without strong support from all of us.
We properly expect our officers to be diplomats yet warriors, kind yet tough, confident yet humble and make instant decisions which we lawyers take months to analyze. It is a thankless job and one that few are equipped to handle. Please join me this week in recognizing their work and being truly grateful for their dedicated service.
Josh J. Minkler
United States Attorney
Southern District of Indiana
Renewable fuel technology not as far-fetched as some think
Recently the Tribune-Star published a piece by Stephanie Salter that criticized Powerdyne on several points in an attempt to persuade people to not support their location in our city. She not only criticized, she attempted to debunk the CEO Geoff Hirson. Let’s ignore all the arguments right now about the good ole’ boys and the group of uncivic-minded individuals who ruined the opportunity for this city that BASF had to offer and focus on Salter’s letter.
Miss Salter calls out four items specifically towards the beginning of her piece as being “fiction”. The only one that remotely comes close to being a fiction would be the first one, that Hirson claims to have a factory “in design” in Santa Margarita, CA.
“We’re going to construct a project precisely their residential property. They’ve offered us acreage, which’s within a high-income suburb where homes run anywhere from a million dollars up, and also we’re in the canyons merely behind it,” Hirson said.
I do believe that Hirson simply jumped the gun here. A memo obtained by (reporter) Arthur Foulkes proves that the Santa Margarita Chiquita plant was, if not currently still, considering Powerdyne at their facility and I want to come back to this memo and conversation between Foulkes and the plants representative, Mr. Jonathan Volzke. Now it is pretty logical that a company that is basically a startup in the very competitive field of alternative energy would not sit idly by while waiting for all the bureaucratic nonsense to be sorted out. The proposed factory was more than likely “in design” before they even approached Santa Margarita to begin talks.
The second point in this rather inflammatory paragraph is something about a solar farm for the Navajo Nation. A few refined Google searches and I found out that Eagle Energy is setting up solar energy systems throughout the massive reservation. Eagle Energy is an offshoot of Elephant Energy which is headquartered in Namibia, Africa although they have a US base in Denver. Maybe asking the Navajo Nation instead of the company that is actually distributing the systems about Hilson might be a bit prudent especially considering his background. At this time, because of the weekend, I have not been able to contact Eagle Energy or Elephant Energy to see if there is a Hilson connection.
But enough of this speculation stuff, let’s get to the stuff that I like, the science stuff, the factual stuff. The stuff that makes debunkers sit up and go “oooooh”.
Salter poses the question “The claim that he can turn seawater into jet fuel?” as if he may be lying about that. I don’t know if Hilson personally can but it can be done. The Navy flew a scale model plane on the stuff last April. I found too many articles to list here but it was discussed in Huffington Post, Washington Times and USA Today. Needless to say, extracting biomatter from seawater is a lot more energy expensive and a newer technology than extracting it from sludge.
Taking lipids from sludge has been around for awhile now, so it is a pretty refined process but still has plenty of room for innovation. It is very high yield and low cost. According to research done in 2012 by Eilhann Kwon of the Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology, sludge produces 2,200 times more lipids than soybeans. There is a massive amount of information on this process, the expected yield, the cost savings to communities not only monetarily but also ecologically. I couldn’t find details about this “cutting edge technology” other than that Powerdyne boasts that it is a closed system, which is actually pretty cool if you stop and think about it. It sure beats the natural gas spewing burn-offs of a petro refinery. Other than that, I have to assume that the process is basically the same, using a thermochemical process to extract lipids from the sludge and convert them to biodiesel, which plenty of scientists have signed off on, as well as environmental groups. This brings me back to that memo from Santa Margarita. They are looking at two companies. Two companies that are employing this new technology. If it were only one company and I hadn’t found the number of scholarly articles that are readily available through a simple Google search I would be skeptical. I’m tired of Terre Haute being left behind. I’m tired of no growth other than the occasional new retail store. We can be a leader.
“It’s a complex, high-risk endeavor”, said Salter. Not that high-risked when you look at the yield numbers and the savings on sewage disposal economically and ecologically. Those last two should be worth the risk themselves.
I guess there are just a few in this city that to keep us a small hick town instead of letting us rise to A Level Above.
Timothy A. Brown
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Vigo County
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News Writer: Lucy Pery PHONE: 317-527-4141