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County council learns about New Castle(s)

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Although the Henry County Council meets in New Castle each week, they took a virtual trip Wednesday to a sister city on the other side of the world.

The 2018 Newcastles of the World Conference took place in Shinshiro, Japan.

New Castle High School teacher Kelly Gant and NCHS yearbook editor Breana Endsley attended this year’s conference and gave a presentation to the Henry County Council at Wednesday’s meeting.

Cities all around the world share some version of the name “Newcastle.” By joining up, the different communities also get to share resources and ideas and develop business connections.

Many of the places that were involved came from Germany, Malaysia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Latvia and South Africa.

“We’re trying to make the world smaller by connecting all the New Castles,” Gant said. “It was an experience I am glad I got to see. This gave me the chance to learn about the different cultures and try the spectacular foods that they provided.”

Gant told the Henry County Council that representatives of New Castles worldwide are working on personalized day trips to show visitors what each community has to offer.

The group is also working to connect Rotary and Optimist Clubs in the sister cities. Gant would like to see a Newcastles of the World club started at New Castle High School to connect local students with other cultures.

“My experience was amazing,” Endsley said.

Endsley made friends from all over the world and is keeping in touch over social media.

Representatives from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and New Castle, Pennsylvania, will visit the seat of Henry County in June 2019. Endsley has already invited them to her graduation.

In a letter to the Indiana delegates, Shinshiro Mayor Ryoji Hozumi said he hopes the links between Newcastles will continue to grow into successful collaborations and exchanges for the future.

“In many areas, international interaction and exchange has deepened and spread,” Hozumi wrote. “We believe that it will further bear us fruitful achievements.”

The 2020 Newcastles of the World Conference will take place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

In other business, Sheriff Ric McCorkle told the council he has contacted neighboring counties to see if there is any interest in developing a regional jail.

A regional jail would service multiple counties and likely be close to county lines. An example of such a facility is the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, which serves five counties in that state. That facility was created 20 years ago and is managed by the judges, sheriffs and commissioners of the counties it services.

This could be an option as local discussions continue on what to do about the current Henry County jail.

The council is also looking for volunteers to serve as citizen appointments to the Henry County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and the Henry County Redevelopment Commission (RDC).

Longtime residents Maurie and Carol Goodwin recently announced they will have to give up their spots on those boards when they move out of the area.

County council president Nate LaMar said the BZA appointee cannot already be an elected official or citizen appointee and will have to live outside New Castle and Knightstown. The RDC appointee just needs to be a registered voter in Henry County.

LaMar said the council will name their appointments at their November meeting.

The Henry County Council will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 28 in the courthouse, 101 S. Main St., New Castle.

Local elected officials will also participate in Veteran’s Day ceremonies at Memorial Park at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 in the W.G. Smith Building to recognize the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and to dedicate the new Spirit of the American Doughboy and Flag plaza.