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Hoosier Harvest Cookbook
 
2010 election coverage
 
Assessor candidate announcements

RHONDA HARDIN KELP (D)

No announcement published as of 4/27/10.

DONNA KELP LUTES (R)

The past four years have been emotional for Donna Kelp Lutes.

Actually, it’s been more years than that.

Lutes spent 20 years as Brown County assessor. The job, for her, was about more than sifting through property records and values and taxes. It was about maintaining local roots – hers and others’.

Lutes took a personal interest in some locals’ property plights – especially after the state-mandated reassessment.

"When people would come in, crying, I’d cry with them," she said.

She went so far as to attend state hearings with some taxpayers seeking adjustments.

"I don’t think you can find one taxpayer out there who can say I didn’t try to help," she said.

Having spent the past four years working as a real estate agent, commuting and trying to make ends meet, she sees both sides of the coin even better.

"I’m a whole lot more understanding," she said. "I look at things different now."

Lutes is a lifelong Brown Countian whose family’s roots run deep. The abandoned village of Kelp, now a part of Brown County State Park, was named after her family.

Lutes’ first job out of high school was at the old Nashville State Bank. She worked a while in the town water/sewer department, too. She’s a member of the Lions Club and has volunteered with the Agency on Aging, senior center and American Cancer Society.

She intends to stay here, and continue raising her children here.

"I’m ready to step in and take over, and start off new," she said, of re-entering the assessor’s office.

"Steve Gore stepped into a nightmare. … He’s done a great job. Has worked very hard and diligently, to help get things caught up," she said. "Hopefully, we are on track, and I will help us stay on track."

Lutes is still a Level 2 certified appraiser. And even though the county contracts a company to go out in the field and calculate property values, Lutes says she can help with that, especially if the value is disputed.

"I feel like I’m there as an advocate for taxpayers," she said.

Though Lutes has enjoyed the change of pace and the experience she’s picked up working as a full-time real estate agent, she says she’s ready for a return to the courthouse.

"I love that job," she said. "Even though it is political, and we have to run for office every four years, and people think we’re crazy for that, I’m back," she said.

"I know how to do it, and I think I know how to do it well."

Lutes welcomes feedback at (812) 340-1094.

— Written by Sara Clifford, with the assistance of Donna Kelp Lutes

MARI MILLER (R)

The past seven years of Mari Miller’s job as auditor have been, to say the least, challenging.

But, she’s seeking the job of Brown County assessor, in a continued effort to correct problems with property reassessment and delayed tax billings.

For the past seven years, Miller has worked with the assessor’s and treasurer’s offices to get the county caught up.

Having that experience, she says, is helpful in maintaining accuracy in property records.

As auditor, Miller can spend days tracking the owner history and tax status of a property.

"The big challenge is cleaning up all the exemptions, releasing mortgages, dropping homesteads …" Miller said. "Daily, people bring problems and errors to our attention."

As assessor, she’d be responsible for maintaining and updating those property records.

The process has also been improved since the auditor’s, assessor’s and treasurer’s office received new software that links their work on the same data – software with which she’s already familiar.

"The assessor also has more to do now because of sales disclosure data that the state started a couple of years ago," Miller said – data like sales price, that county assessors must enter into a state database.

Miller likes to be involved in running her office, and strives to be accessible to anyone who has questions.

If elected, she intends to sit in with current Assessor Steve Gore and learn what he’s done to help get the county back on track with its records and tax billing.

"I think Assessor Steve Gore has done an absolutely wonderful job," Miller said. "He’s put so much work into cleaning everything up and making the records accurate and keeping up with the appeals, that if he hadn’t have done that, I don’t think I’d want to run."

Miller, a Brown County resident for 18 years, comes from a long line of public servants. Her grandfather was a police officer and mayor of her hometown. Her mother worked in court offices. Her brother recently retired from a career in the Army.

Miller’s first job out of high school was as a police dispatcher.

Her personal interests include music (she once aspired to be an opera singer), reading, gardening and spending time with her family, which includes husband Mike and twin daughters.

— Written by Sara Clifford, with the assistance of Mari Miller

Obituaries
See Full List »

Carol Ann Spencer-Thomas, 73, Brown County
  Wife of Charles R. Thomas of Brown County

Robert 'Bob' F. Melton, 80, Brown County
  Husband of Annabelle Melton of Brown County

The Rev. John S. Honeay, 89, Greenwood
  Member of Unity Baptist Church and father of Barbara Ranard (Harvey) of Brown County

  • February 1
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 2
    Gnaw Bone Sewage District
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 3
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 3
    Bean Blossom Regional Sewer Board
    7:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Women's Bible study offered
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 4
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District annual meeting
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • February 4
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 4
    Van Buren Township Advisory Board
    7 p.m. Van Buren trustee's office, 4748 Christianburg Road
  • February 4
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • February 5
    Go Club meeting Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 5
    Jackson Township Board
    6 p.m. Jackson Fire Station, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • February 6
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 7
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • February 7
    Karaoke at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 7
    Cabin Fever Concert features local music
    7 to midnight The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Washington Township Trustees
    7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Reservation deadline for Valentine's tea at local shop
    Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 10
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 10
    Van Buren Fire Department
    6 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • February 10
    Peaceful Valley Heritage Preservation Society meeting set
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    BC Genealogical Society meeting slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 11
    East Hill Cemetery meeting slated
    7 p.m. Morgantown Community Center, 269 W. Washington St.
  • February 12
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 13
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North.
  • February 13
    Daddy-daughter Valentine's dance Friday the 13th
    6:30 p.m. Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 14
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 17
    Hamblen Trustee Board annual review
    6:30 p.m. 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 19
    Woodlands project dinner, meeting slated
    6 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 20
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • March 7
    Meet 'Wilderness Plots' author at the library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    'Wilderness Plots'-themed concert planned
    4 p.m. BCHS, 235 School House Lane
  • March 8
    Brown County bridal tour slated
    10 a.m. to 6 p.m. various locations
  • March 10
    Soil & water conservation district to celebrate 62 years
    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • March 21
    Venders needed for Jackson TFD yard sale
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jackson Township Fire Department, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • April 26
    County history center dedication slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould