Ex-Berne mayor eyes council seat

    John Minch, who recently ended an eight-year run as mayor of Berne, has announced his candidacy as a Democrat candidate for one of three at-large seats on the Adams County Council. Minch has filed the necessary paperwork to participate in the May primary election.
    He is the second Democrat and sixth candidate overall to announce plans to seek one of the three at-large council seats. Other candidates who have filed petitions of candidacy include Democrat Robert Thomas and Republicans Rob Noetzel, Tony Mellenkamp, incumbent Dennis Bluhm and Pat Norton. Incumbent Republican Kenyon Sprunger reportedly will not seek re-election, while incumbent council president Randy Colclasure has not yet announced his intentions.
    "Eight years ago I was encouraged by Berne residents of both parties to run for the office of mayor," Minch said in his campaign statement. "Their support helped me make my decision to enter politics and run for mayor. These past eight years have been challenging, productive and exciting. However, as a believer in term limits, I chose not to run for a third term."
    Minch said that decision "has allowed me to consider serving not only the citizens of Berne, but all the citizens of Adams County as an at-large member of the county council. Having served as vice president of the Economic Development board of Adams County, I have been in a position to provide positive input into the decision-making process. As a 40-year educator, I have encouraged and assisted in the active role of all three county superintendents in the economic development process for the benefit of our county. My philosophy remains that the education of our young people will lend itself to the development of a productive work force."
    Minch and his wife Jane have lived in Adams County for 40 years. In 1986 they purchased a restored 1907 Victorian house on Berne's Main Street and opened the Schug House Inn, a bread and breakfast inn.
    Minch is a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in rural Bryant, where he serves as chairman of the church finance committee. He and his wife are members of the Swiss Heritage Society and founded the Historic Homes of Berne committee.
    They are the parents of two children, Alison and Ted, and have six grandchildren.
    During his tenure as mayor, Minch served on the Adams County Solid Waste District Management Board. "Because I believe strongly in preserving our natural resources, I encouraged the continued use of the county recycling facility located at the south edge of Berne," he said. "The total process of disposing of solid waste in Adams County is recognized as being tops in the state."
    Minch said his experience in interacting with county governmental agencies has prepared him for the county council position. He said his goals in "to make Adams County a united entity in which mutual respect and cooperation prevails."
    "During my mayoral tenure," Minch continued, "I was able to put my administrative skills to work in developing a balanced budget every year. I was also able to spearhead applications for various grants, which resulted in nearly $2 million for the benefit of Berne citizens. Additional state-mandated storm water separation projects, a new water tower, and safer routes to schools for South Adams students have been assisted by these grants.
    "When I first took office, one of my greatest concerns was for the protection and emergency services for the residents of southern Adams County. With this in mind, I set about to seek the support of Adams Memorial Hospital and its board of directors to build a combined facility which would house the Berne police department as well as EMS personnel. This building was dedicated in 2004 and has served our community well. It is an example of new construction. However, many historic county government buildings deserve a fair evaluation as to their ability to remain in continued service."
    Minch said while Adams County is touted as Indiana's first county, and "as an elected councilman I shall do my very best to help preserve our county's number one status."