Hazardous materials to be removed from North Vernon site

Feb 22, 2017 77

The Indiana Department of Transportation is slated to begin removing contaminants at a waste site near the U.S. Highway 50 bypass adjacent to Buckeye Street. Officials say that personnel and equipment will mobilize on Friday. Clean-up is scheduled to begin Monday. INDOT says this “source reduction operation” will focus on two areas of concentration where discarded drums of lead paint, chromium, trichloroethylene, glass and debris pose an environmental concern. Officials say that materials from these two areas, inside of one acre, of concentration will be removed from depths to 15 feet by contracted hazardous materials professionals. Hazmat transports will then carry the waste to a specialty landfill in eastern Michigan. INDOT officials anticipate trucking activities to continue for 16 days. Once the removal is complete, officials say the site will be capped with clay and rimmed with monitoring wells. INDOT says this work is part of Phase II of North Vernon’s U.S. 50 bypass project. ...

Turning Point Dance Marathon this weekend

Feb 22, 2017 77

The annual Turning Point Dance Marathon begins Saturday night at Central Middle School in Columbus. Cameryn Morris is encouraging area high-school students to take part in dancing the night away for a good cause… Morris talks about the purpose of this yearly event… Morris says the money raised will stay local… The dance marathon runs from 6 p.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday. For more on this event and Turning Point, visit turningpointdv.org. ...

North Vernon considering switch to solar power

Feb 22, 2017 57

The city of North Vernon is looking into a move to make its facilities solar-powered. Kurt Schneider, vice-president and partner of Johnson-Melloh Solutions, says he has driven well over six-thousand miles back-and-forth from Indianapolis to North Vernon to come up with a proposal and meet with stake-holders in the city… 02-23-kurt-schneider-1 Schneider says his company led the switch to solar at the Jennings County Public Library. He then worked with city officials to determine how all of the city-properties might benefit from a similar change… 02-23-kurt-schneider-2 Schneider says that the total cost of the project, including interest, is just over nine-million dollars. The good news, is that he says the city won’t have to pay a lot of money up front… 02-23-kurt-schneider-3 Schneider says the saving would be substantial… 02-23-kurt-schneider-4 Schneider says that the city is poised to reap a net savings of over $5.8 million in utility costs over the next 20 years if his company’s proposal is carried out. The North Vernon City Council is expected to discuss... ...

Sheriff’s Dept. helps nab alleged identity thieves

Feb 22, 2017 61

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office says that it assisted the United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Secret Service and the Louisville Metro Police Department in the service of a search warrant. Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, says that Detective Sgt. Chad Swank has been conducting an investigation into an identity theft/deception case involving a local victim. Sgt. Swank’s investigation grew to include several other victims in other states. Jackson says that Sgt. Swank and US Postal Inspection Service Agents have been working together tracking the suspects. They have been identified as 36-year-pld Patrick M. Smith, of Lexington, KY and 26-year-old Shelby K. Morgan, of Louisville. Authorities say the pair were found at a Louisville-area hotel. A search the suspects’ hotel room allegedly uncovered several forged driver’s licenses and identification cards from multiple states, equipment to make the cards, as well as narcotics. Authorities also seized several electronic devices for further forensic examination. Smith and Morgan were arrested and are being held in a Louisville-area facility pending possible... ...

Cut water main leaves some without service

Feb 22, 2017 70

Southwestern Bartholomew Water Corporation says that a cut water main on County Road 550 West line has led to some customers being without service.  Affected customers are on County Road 550 West, south of Youth Camp Road to County Road 300 South. Officials say that other customers impacted are on County Road 225 South, County Road 250 South and County Road 275 South. A boil water advisory is in effect until noon on Saturday. Customers should bring water to a full boil for five minutes before consumption or use in cooking and food preparation. ...

Hope firefighters move into new station

Feb 22, 2017 63

Hope volunteer firefighters are finally operating out of their new fire station. Chief Randy Wood explains the move from the aging fire station just off the Town Square to the new facility on the east side of the town on Aiken Street.:   Wood said that the new building offers more space and more bathrooms. He said firefighters are much more likely to stick around after a fire run with the new facilities. Wood said that there are still a few odds and ends to take care of including some trim and carpeting that needs to be nailed down. The department has been constructing the new facility for more than four  years with the project being  hampered by cost overruns, a now-settled lawsuit from the former contractors and a dispute with the Town Council that disrupted the department’s funding last year. ...

Columbus police to offer safety class for high school girls

Feb 22, 2017 65

Columbus police are hosting a self-defense class for young women. The Situational Awareness for Everyday, or SAFE classes, will be held Friday at Columbus North High School and March 9th at Columbus East. The all-day classes feature classroom time and physical drills with Columbus police officers. The March class is also open to students from Hauser, CSA New Tech and Columbus Christian Academy high schools. It is aimed at senior high school girls and students must sign up prior to the start of class. You can sign up at the schools and lunch is provided. ...

Johnson deputies warn of sweepstakes scam attempt

Feb 22, 2017 65

Deputies are warning about a fraud attempt, where a scammer tried to lure a Whiteland resident in with a promise of a Mercedes Benz and a multi-million dollar sweepstakes consolation prize. The only catch was that the victim was supposed to send in $299 to cover the Indiana taxes so he could claim the award. Johnson County deputies report that the would-be victim recognized that it was a scam attempt and played along, gathering more information. The caller claimed to be named Michael Anderson and calling from the 775 area code, which is in Nevada. The would-be vctim was told to mail the check to a Florida address by express mail. And the scammers suggested he should keep his good fortune confidential, because they would soon be mailing a lot of cash to his home. The resident called deputies who were present for the return call. ...

Former mayor sues Columbus Police Department

Feb 21, 2017 93

A former Columbus mayor is suing the city’s police department and its chief. Kristen Brown filed the lawsuit on Friday in Bartholomew Superior Court 2. The suit alleges that CPD and Chief Jonathan Rhode denied Brown access to public records. According to the filing, Brown made a public information request on Sept. 8 to Chief Rohde for an incident that took place on Aug. 23. The incident involved criminal mischief or vandalism and a domestic disturbance where two vehicles were damaged. Brown alleges that Rhode responded with a publicly available “incident report” on Sept. 26, 11-days later than what the Indiana Access to Public Records Act requires. The former mayor also alleges that Rohde did not include all of the information that she requested. This led to Brown filing a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor on Sept. 30. The public access counselor issued an advisory opinion that sided with Brown. You can read the advisory opinion here (PDF) . The court filing states that Brown again pressed CPD... ...

CPD Chief Rohde honors officer, veteran

Feb 21, 2017 78

A Columbus Police Officer was honored for his work with the Bartholomew County Veteran Treatment Court. Officer Brian Kushman received a Letter of Commendation from Chief Jonathan Rohde during Tuesday’s meeting of the Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety. Chief Rohde says that Kushman, a 16-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department and an eight year veteran of the U.S. Army, volunteered to become a mentor to the Veteran’s Court when it began last year. Participation in the Veteran’s Court is voluntary and each applicant is screened and evaluated before they are allowed to start the program. During the program, participants are paired with a mentor who is a veteran. Local officials say that the goal of the program is to restore the lives of veterans who have been arrested, while holding them accountable for their actions. Chief Rohde said of Kushman, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your military service and for your service to our community as a police officer. I commend... ...