WARSAW — At the Kosciusko County Council meeting held Thursday, Nov. 14, a grant request by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Voelz and Kosciusko County Teen Court Director Betsey Vastbinder was approved.
The $129,039 grant is through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Voelz requested permission to reapply for the grant in 2020.
Vastbinder introduced Lana Horoho, a case manager added to the team in July.
“We currently have 45 open cases with teens and young people in Kosciusko County,” Vastbinder said. “This past week we closed our first three cases. We had our first donation as well, to our program, from a parent who appreciated Teen Court’s compassionate support for her daughter.”
When asked if it was a challenge for Vastbinder and Horoho to have 45 open cases, Vastbinder responded, “It can be tight some weeks.”
Vastbinder said she and Horoho both work 30 hours per week.
“That would be one of the changes I would hope to make with the grant, if you give us permission to reapply, would be to bump both of us up to full time,” Vastbinder said.
County Prosecutor Dan Hampton received permission from the council to apply for a grant in order to create a child advocacy center.
The purpose of the centers, said Hampton, is to offer forensic interviews for children who are victims or who have been significant witnesses for criminal cases.
Hampton explained that a child advocacy center offers specialists for interview techniques for children to reduce the number of interviews children are exposed to.
When asked what sort of staffing would be needed, Hampton said they would need a director for the center.
“The director I’ve got in mind is actually Kelly Bugg. You may know Kelly — she was with the Department of Child Services for 20, 30 years as a forensic interviewer so she’s already got that experience,” Hampton said.
Rick Shepherd, representing the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, received permission to apply for $36,200 worth of grants through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The breakdown of the grants is as follows:
•2020 DRE Police Comprehensive Hoosier Highways Injury Reduction Program — $1,500
•2020 PED Bike Police CHIRP — $9,000
•2020 Click It to Live It CHIRP — $10,300
•2020 DUITF Operating While Intoxicated CHIRP — $11,000
•2020 SIDEP Police CHIRP — $2,200
•2020 DDE Police CHIRP — $2,200
In other matters, a yearly resolution with the Kosciusko County Solid Waste Board was approved. County Auditor Michelle Puckett said the inter-local agreement allows the county auditor to act as the controller for the solid waste district. Puckett said the county is paid $6,000 per year for this service.
Council President Sue Ann Mitchell asked Puckett if there has ever been any discussion about raising that amount.
Puckett replied that there has not been any serious discussion but said she could request an increase.
“We have been the controller of the solid waste district since 2000 so we’re going into our 20th year for that service,” said Puckett.
Mitchell said they have spoken with department heads about reducing budgets. These reductions will be addressed at the December meeting.
In other news:
- Emergency Management Director Ed Rock received approval to spend $67,147 in grant money for perimeter chemical testing and communications.
- Council approved a budget approval request by Nicole Wallick, coordinator at Kosciusko County Coalition on Drug Education, in the amount of $76,000.
- Judge Michael Reed received approval for a salary ordinance amendment to replace a court administrative assistant.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 12.