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City council OKs $3,000 to support new CEO program for HS students

Vandalia officials said on Monday night that they will support an entrepreneurial program that will provide “real-life learning” for some high school students.

And to show its support, the city council voted unanimously to give the Fayette County CEO program $1,000 a year for the next three years.
The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities program, in its infancy stage in Fayette County, was explained to city officials by Pat Click, Sandy Michel-Stempinski, Todd Stapleton and Sally Emerick.

Through the program, provided by the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, students participating in the CEO program will have the opportunity for real-life learning through business visits, guest speakers and one-on-one mentorship.

By the end of their year in the program, each student will have created his or her own functioning business, participated in a business class and grown their network to dozens of business people and active leaders in the community, according to the Midland Institute.

Local students who have signed up to be a part of the program in the coming year are Blake Morrison, J’Amy Jackson, Cori Hipsher, Dustin Lott, Jamilyn Wheatley, Clark Pearson, Reyna Arenas, Marlee Nolen, Macy Cripe and Sarah Craig.

Debbie Hobbie, a longtime teacher in the Vandalia School District who is now retired, has signed on as the facilitator for the program.
Also at the meeting, the council approved an ordinance amendment related to fencing for outdoor special events in the city.

The ordinance amendment states that applicants receiving a Class T liquor license for a special event outdoor are to provide fencing, along with a means of ingress and egresss, as directed by the liquor commissioner (mayor) or his designee.

This amendment allows the liquor commissioner to approve special event licenses without fencing. It also allows the liquor commissioner to require fencing at an event at which fencing was previously not required if there were complaints stemming from that earlier event.

The idea of not requiring fencing was presented at an earlier council meeting, with events such as the Vandalia Historical Society’s Wine and Ale with Abe being mentioned, as well as an event to be held next year during Vandalia’s 200th birthday celebration.

The ordinance passed in a 4-2 vote, with Ken Hubler, Steve Barker, B. J. Clark and Russ Stunkel voting for it and Mike Hobler and Joel Rebbe voting against it; Dorothy Crawford and Andy Lester were not present for the meeting.

Also at the meeting:
• The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot No. 310 from the city to Seth Kruenegel of Vandalia.
• The council accepted the 2018 lake dam inspection report submitted by Milano & Grunloh Engineers LLC of Effingham.
Items noted in that report include replacing defective slab areas and resealing joints in the spillway and upstream face of the dam.
• The council authorized Evans Public Library to use the city parking lot at Johnson and Fifth streets from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on June 4 for a special event as part of its summer reading program.
• The council observed a moment of silence for Helen “Gail” Metivier, the sister of city Building Official Dan Barenfanger, and Hazel Stevenson, former owner and operator of Vandalia Greenhouse.

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