CHURUBUSCO — There is a new town marshal in Churubusco and his name is Mike Engle.
Long-time Whitley County sheriff’s deputy and recent Churubusco deputy town marshal, Engle was unanimously voted the town marshal at the town council meeting Wednesday.
The council had to find a new town marshal after Chad Fulkerson took a full-time position of school resource officer at Smith-Green Community Schools. Fulkerson tendered his resignation just moments before Engle was voted on.
Frank Kessler, council president, said the council interviewed three internal candidates.
“We had three very qualified applicants who came forward for the interview process,” said Kessler.
“I could see any of the three as our town marshal. But it came down to who had the best experience and qualifications.”
Mark Pepple, councilman, was impressed with the candidates as well.
“I can’t say enough good things about all three applicants. We have an awesome police department in Churubusco,” said Pepple.
Engle was thrilled about the opportunity.
“I’ve always worked second and third trick. Now I’m finally working first shift,” said Engle.
Details of his contract will be decided on later.
Officer Fulkerson was hired by SGCS as its full-time school resource officer at a recent school board meeting. Fulkerson will remain town marshal until Sunday.
Shellie Miller, principal at Churubusco Elementary School, and Matt Widenhoefer, assistant principal at Churubusco Jr. Sr. High School, were present at the town council meeting to announce the school had received the Safe Haven’s Grant of $25,000.
Combined with the town’s portion, that enables Fulkerson to work full-time for the school. But both principals were quick to point out the town’s needs came first and foremost and if Fulkerson is needed in the town he could leave the school immediately.
“We are so proud that we could partner with the town and receive this grant,” said Widenhoefer.
As a school, the principals took a proactive approach to the SRO grant.
“We live in a very different world today from when I was in school,” Widenhoefer continued. “We need Chad at our school. I’ve noticed that kids are starting to bypass my office and they go right into Chad’s office and tell him about troubles at home. They trust him.
“At first people were asking why there was a police officer at our school all of the time. Now everyone is excited Chad is there. The kids are especially excited and I don’t know how he walks with four kids hanging on to him at lunch time,” said Widenhoefer.
Fulkerson will offer pedestrian, children and cycle education for a grant the school is working on through the Department of Transportation.
“That grant will be awarded Nov. 12. We are grateful to Frank Kessler and Madalyn Sade-Bartl for helping us apply for that grant. If we can get it, we can re-up it each year. We are ecstatic and are so happy the town is on board with us,” said Widenhoefer.
Miller supplied the council with its first SRO report as was requested by the council.
The data tells the date an occurrence happened, as well as the reason and action taken.
Occurrences ranging from bullying, attempted rape, drug possession, gestures about shooting a teacher, violent outbursts in class and throwing of desks, child abuse, stalking to truancy to bringing ammunition to school were on the report. All of which Fulkerson and the principals, took immediate action and at all times involved the parents and/or authorities.
Engle told the council he has seen hardly any juvenile crime in Churubusco this summer.
“I’m not sure if we can credit Chad for this, but by setting the tone at the school it played over into summer in town,” said Engle.
Rick Krider, park superintendent, gave an update on the soccer field at the park.
“Greg Salesman of Salesman & Sons Trucking leveled the field out and we would be better off if we moved it to the west more,” said Krider.
The current soccer field is on the northwest side of the town park, adjacent to where the new fire station is being built.
“Smith Township Trustee Patty Amber said the township would contribute funds and the Churubusco Youth League would donate $1,000 toward the field. That makes $4,300 of the $6,500 needed for the field,” said Krider.
He said, “Churubusco High School is really pushing a girls’ golf program and that is a priority right now.”
Krider didn’t realize the size of a soccer field is bigger than a football field.
“Smith-Green is all for the soccer club but the girls golf comes first on their list. I’ll try to get the funds by the next meeting,” said Krider.
An update on the hand dryers for the park rest rooms was investigated by Sade-Bartl, town clerk/treasurer.
“I received three quotes and they ranged between $300 to $500 and that includes installation and five-year warranties,” said Sade-Bartl. “We could have them here within four days.”
The council approved the first Main Street Project Façade Grant.
Richard Littlefield, owner of McDonalds, requested $5,000 in a matching grant with Churubusco. His project includes painting his restaurant at a total cost of $10,850.
The council also approved the purchase of a photo spectrometer at a cost of $3,869. Jeremy Hart, town supervisor, requested the purchase.
Parker Conrad, a senior at CJSHS, was hired as an Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education (ICE) employee for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
“That’s how we got John Forker to work for our town. He began his career as an ICE employee. I think this will be a great opportunity for Parker,” said Kessler.
Kessler reported he attended a Whitley County Council meeting with Whitley County Economic Development Director Alan Tio.
“The County Council approved a $75,000 grant to help BRC update their electrical supply, thus getting more equipment and adding 37 more jobs to the Churubusco plant,” said Kessler.
Sade-Bartl reported she sent out estimates to home owners on South Main and Pleasant streets for the sidewalk repair project.
“I have given all of them a week to decide if they want to receive matching funds. The average cost of complete sidewalk replacement is $500,” she said.
The town-wide garage sale is Saturday, Sept. 29. Also on that night is a fundraising spaghetti dinner at the Boy Scout building, located in the park.
Prior to the town council meeting, an open house was held at the newly-remodeled town hall.
Members of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony to honor the extensive remodeling of the town hall.
A new rock façade was placed on the outside with new windows and a new address placard. Inside the walls featured textured paint and framed and matted copies of historic photos of Churubusco. A new clock and doors as well as carpet and laminated wood floors were in place. The remodel was completed by St. James Construction.