INDOT to clear political signs from right-of-ways

Mar 31, 2016 322

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) personnel will begin removing political signs from right-of-way areas along state highways, U.S. highways and interstates in southeastern Indiana. Officials say the work begins on Monday. INDOT says that the signs are against the law and a cause for numerous complaints from residents and drivers. Officials say that political campaign signage is prohibited from federal and state highway rights-of-way, according to state law. They add that the signs clutter roadside areas, distract attention from the road and compromise the safety of drivers. INDOT adds that some signs even create sight-distance obstructions that could cause crashes resulting in injury or death. INDOT says that right-of-way areas to be cleared of political signage include: • Interstates and their interchanges • Intersections where at least one local, state or federal road intersects with a state or federal highway • All rights-of-way paralleling federal or state highways INDOT officials say that where right-of-way is not clearly marked, campaigns should estimate that the sign-free area extends from the road to... ...

Community clean-up set to begin

Mar 31, 2016 340

First Christian Church, in collaboration with Cummins CES High Horsepower Division and the City of Columbus, will be conducting the annual “Green-Up Clean-Up” event. Robin Hilber, Community Development Programs Coordinator for the city of Columbus, says that this event is developed with ideas similar to those of National Earth Day. She says that it encourages people to become good neighbors through efforts of cleaning up and repairing local neighborhoods, developing relationships between local businesses, churches and residents, and promoting community sustainability for future generations. Hilber says that on Tuesday, volunteers from Cummins, First Christian Church, and the community will canvass the eight areas of focus. She says these include State Street north to 17th and Washington, east to Gladstone and back south to State Street, as well as the Pence Park Neighborhood. Hilber says that residents living within the designated areas who would like to request a work order may call First Christian at (812) 379-4491 from Tuesday, April 5th to Friday, April 15th. Services offered include grass mowing, weed... ...

Authors attending Jackson County event

Mar 31, 2016 277

Seventeen Jackson County authors have been invited to display their books at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts (SICA) from April 5th thru May 13th. Executive Director, Darnell Dukes says that a greet and meet reception will be held on Thursday, April 7th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. He says that participating authors will be on hand to talk about their work and sign purchased books. “We’re excited to open our galleries to these talented writers, photographers and quilter. The reception will be an excellent time to learn about the authors and the idea(s) behind their works of art, however, if someone cannot make it to the reception, we will have copies available thru mid-May,” said Dukes. SICA officials say that some of the participating authors are: Don Hill (Ramblings and Recollections), Kevin West (Standing Twenty: Southern Indiana’s Remaining True-Circular Round Barns and Cuba Behind Open Doors), Art Robertson (The Dragonpillar), Cindy Claycamp (Quilts Reflecting the Poetry of James Whitcomb Riley), John Pesta (Safely Buried) and Don Clodfelter (Still a... ...

Two Schneck workers honored as Baldridge examiners

Mar 31, 2016 313

Two Schneck Medical Center employees are being honored by the Baldridge performance excellence program for serving on the Baldridge Board of Examiners. Stephanie Furlow, spokeswoman for the Seymour hospital, said that Tammy Dye, Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Quality Officer, and Suki Wright, Director of Organizational Excellence and Innovation, are being recognized for their service. Dye is in her sixth year as an examiner and Wright is in her eighth. The Baldrige Award is the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. ...

Sheriff to hold Hope town meeting

Mar 31, 2016 290

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department has announced an upcoming community meeting to be held at the Hope Town Hall. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on April 7th and will include Chief Deputy Maj. Chris Lane and other sheriff’s department employees. The goal is to strengthen the partnership between the community and the sheriff’s office and deputies hope that residents and business owners will come to discuss issues of importance to them or to help the sheriff’s department better serve the area. ...

Summer events to team up in downtown Columbus

Mar 31, 2016 320

Three Columbus summer events will be combining this year on the same day in downtown Columbus, according to organizers. Steve Leach, with Fun on Fourth LLC, says that the Main Source Bank BBQ, Blues and Brew will be combining with ArtFest and with the  Firecracker 5k Race and all will be held on Saturday June 25th. Now in its third year, the BBQ, Blues and Brew festival had more than 6,000 people attend last year. Artfest, which normally has been held in August, is moving to the same weekend to avoid competing with other regional art festivals and to join up with the BBQ festival. It will be taking place at Mill Race Park. The 7th annual Firecracker 5k has normally been held on the last Saturday of June, but it was held at Tipton Lakes. This year, the race will start at Mill Race Park and end at Fourth and Franklin streets, which will also be the east-side entrance for the barbecue festival. Quaffon Brewing Co. of Nashville will be offering a random $500... ...

Veterans and officials gather for clinic ribbon-cutting

Mar 31, 2016 270

State, local and federal officials gathered yesterday at Camp Atterbury for the official dedication of the new Wakeman VA clinic. Gov. Mike Pence said the new clinic, which opened for business in February, will make for a signficant improvement in veterans’ health care. “We have made great progress together, working with so many that are gathered here in this room, on behalf of veterans in the state of Indiana,” Pence said. “Today is one more installment, of the commitment that the state of Indiana and the people of the United States of America are making in meeting the needs particularly in the areas of health care — both physical and mental health– of those who have served.” “Indiana is the proud home of more than half a million men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States,” Pence said. “We cherish that. We are proud of the contribution has made in the storied history of this country to our armed forces.” Major General Corey Carr, the head... ...

Columbus Police Chief releases statement on Coomes’ arrest

Mar 30, 2016 276

Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde has spoken out about the Wednesday arrest of former Columbus Police Officer Jeremy R. Coomes. Indiana State Police (ISP) arrested Coomes on a number of drug charges, as well as Official Misconduct, for alleged transgressions during his time as the supervisor of the department’s narcotics unit. Chief Rohde says that, in October of 2015, he made a request to the ISP to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the alleged actions of Coomes. Rohde says that “police officers must be accountable for their actions and conduct both on and off the job.” He added that police are “expected to adhere to the oath they take and a code of ethics that holds them to the highest of standards.” The Chief says that he wants city residents to “be confident that the officers on the Columbus Police Department will be held to these high standards and the responsibilities of the position in which they are entrusted.” Rohde went on to say that neither Coomes’ arrest, nor his... ...

City, county officials work together to fight heroin problem

Mar 30, 2016 227

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop announced a plan during his Tuesday night State of the City Address to further unite the efforts of the Columbus Police Department (CPD) and the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office to combat the supply of drugs, specifically heroin, in Bartholomew County. CPD Chief Jon Rohde says that his department and the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this week that will coordinate a Heroin Overdose Response Initiative within Bartholomew County. He says that the purpose of this agreement is to maximize inter-agency cooperation by “establishing consistency among heroin overdose investigation protocols and facilitating intelligence gathering and sharing between the agencies.” City officials say that this initiative will take much work. Mayor Lienhoop stated, “as we strive to decrease the drug supply in our community, we will continue to partner with other law enforcement entities, health care professionals and other stakeholders to achieve this mission.” He described the Heroin Overdose Response Initiative as a “proactive step to aggressively investigate situations that are likely to... ...

Former Columbus police officer arrested

Mar 30, 2016 378

A former Columbus police officer, involved in missing drugs from the department’s evidence room, was arrested Wednesday. Indiana State Police report that 38-year-old Jeremy R. Coomes was arrested on charges including:  Possession of Methamphetamine, level 6 felony  Possession of Cocaine, level 6 felony  Possession of a Narcotic Drug, level 6 felony  Theft, level 5 felony  Theft, class A misdemeanor (2 counts)  Possession of a Controlled Substance, class A misdemeanor   Possession of Marijuana, class B misdemeanor   Official Misconduct, level 6 felony The case began in October when Columbus police discovered during an audit that narcotics were missing from the evidence room. Coomes resigned that month and the case was referred to the Indiana State Police, according to Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, spokesman for the state agency. Detective Joe Loyd, of the Indiana State Police Versailles Post, was assigned to conduct the the investigation. According to Wheeles, Coomes became a Columbus police officer in 2005 and held the position of supervisor of the city’s narcotics unit from December 2011 until October.... ...