Sheriff Myers to address jail overcrowding

Apr 25, 2017 37

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers is slated to present findings about the jail’s staffing and overcrowding issues. Judy Jackson, department spokeswoman, says that Jail Commander Major John Martoccia will be joining Myers in the presentation during Monday evening’s work session of the Bartholomew County Council. The Sheriff’s Department says that occupancy at the jail continues to increase. Sheriff Myers has said recently that a factor in recent overcrowding is a change to state law that requires low-level felons to be housed in county jails instead of the state’s prison system. The Sheriff says that overcrowding issues are being faced by many jails throughout the state and Monday’s presentation will be an attempt to “get in front” of the problem. ...

WorkOne offices in North Vernon slated to be vacated

Apr 25, 2017 140

The North Vernon Education & Training Center is facing another possible vacancy after WorkOne officials informed the city that they will be unable to afford the current lease. Kurt Kegerreis, WorkOne spokesman, talked to the city council Monday night about how his organization is funded. Kegerreis says that funding for the 10-county region, which includes Jennings, Jackson, Bartholomew and Decatur, has been cut. Kegerreis says that WorkOne’s financial situation isn’t expected to improve anytime soon. 04-26-kurt-kegerreis-3 Kegerreis explains that WorkOne’s financial situation is due to the fact that funding is directly tied to the unemployment rate… 04-26-kurt-kegerreis-4 Kegerreis says that WorkOne would like to stay at the ETC, but they would need the city’s help to make that happen. Regardless, he stressed that WorkOne would strive to keep some kind of presence in Jennings County. Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin says that WorkOne currently pays the city $1,788 per month for the use of five offices and a conference room at the ETC. The agreement with the city allows WorkOne to terminate... ...

Firefighters respond to smoke at Walmart

Apr 25, 2017 34

Columbus firefighters were called to the Walmart on Whitfield Drive Tuesday afternoon after a customer noticed light smoke coming the refrigerated meat counter display rack. Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman, says the customer notified employees who then called the fire department. Wilson says that firefighter found an electrical short within a meat counter light. The wall mounted light, which had a plastic housing, was heavily charred and was producing a light amount of smoke. Firefighters used a dry chemical fire extinguisher to extinguish any combustible materials surrounding the light while store staff cut power to the display rack. Investigators say the incident was electrical in nature and caused less than $500 in damage. No one was hurt. ...

INDOT announces bridge work on State Road 58

Apr 25, 2017 32

One bridge on State Road 58 in Bartholomew County will reopen to traffic, while another will close. The Indiana Department of Transportation is installing a bridge deck overlay on the State Road 58 structure spanning the south fork of White Creek. That work is expected to be finished by May 1st. That will be in time to reopen the bridge about 9.5 miles west of Interstate 65. INDOT officials say at that time, the State Road 58 bridge over a branch of White Creek about eight miles west of I-65 near Waymansville will close for removal. Plans call for the structure in Jackson Township to be replaced by a 41-foot-long box beam bridge with 35-feet of clear roadway, side-to-side. INDOT says the state’s contract allows a closure of up 120 days. Detour signs will route westbound traffic via I-65, U.S. 50, State Road 11 and State Road 258. Eastbound traffic will detour via State Road 258, State Road 11 and I-65. ...

Salute! Concert set for May 26th

Apr 25, 2017 31

The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic has announced the date for this year’s Salute! Concert. The organization said Tuesday that this free show will be held Friday, May 26th on the lawn of the Bartholomew County Courthouse at 7 p.m. Organizers say that the concert, now in its 17th year, honors those who have served, or are serving, in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year’s program is welcoming two-time Grammy Award winning vocalist Sylvia McNair as the Philharmonic’s guest soloist. Columbus North High School senior Sarah Pankratz will join the orchestra at the Salute! concert this year with her rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind.” For more on this event, visit thecip.org. ...

Hope looking for public opinion on downtown plans

Apr 25, 2017 34

A reminder that the town of Hope will be having a public workshop on Thursday, put on by its Main Street organization. The group will be looking for your input on a proposed downtown revitalization project on the area centered on the Town Square and the one block radius surrounding the square. Among the options being proposed by consultants Storrow Kinsella are better traffic flow around the square, slower traffic on State Road 9 through town, and improvements to park facilities such as the bandstand, shelter house and playground. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday evening at the Hope Moravian Church fellowship hall and you are invited to attend. ...

Driver accused of carrying heroin

Apr 25, 2017 33

What police at first suspected was a drunk driver turned out to be a driver carrying heroin on National Road yesterday. Columbus Police were called by a report of a witness who saw the suspicious vehicle at about 10:50 a.m. in the morning. Officers saw the car turn into a parking lot in the 2900 block of National Road. When the police approached, the driver was talking on his cell phone allegedly with an uncapped syringe sitting in his lap. 32-year-old William J. Stillabower was also found to be carrying heroin in his pocket, according to police reports. He is facing preliminary charges of possession of a legend drug injection device and of heroin. ...

Columbus seeking your transportation plan thoughts

Apr 25, 2017 30

There is still time to give your thoughts on how federal road dollars should be spent in and around Columbus and Bartholomew County. The Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is going through its four-year planning process and the period for public comments ends on April 28th. Jeff Bergman, planning director for the city and county says that this is the time for residents to give their thoughts on the Transportation Improvement Program. That lists what projects should be done and how they should be ranked. Projects could include road and bridge improvements, Safe Routes to School work or People Trail connections. City officials say that you can fill out the survey at columbus.in.gov under the planning department section. The deadline is Friday. ...

North Vernon Marine’s funeral set for today

Apr 25, 2017 31

Flags in Jennings County will be at half-staff today in honor of a Marine killed in a training accident in Okinawa. The funeral of Lance Corporal Jacky “JR” Koenig Jr. will be held at noon today at First Baptist Church in North Vernon. The 20-year-old Marine died Sunday April 9th at Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa, Japan. He was a 2014 graduate of Jennings County High School where he competed in track, cross country and wrestling. He joined the Marines in 2015 and was stationed at .Camp Pendleton in California. Gov. Holcomb ordered the flags at state facilities in Jennings County be flown at half-staff and asked businesses and residents to do the same from sunrise to sunset today. ...

Human Rights Commission announces art/essay winners

Apr 24, 2017 46

The Columbus Human Rights Commission has announced the student winners of the 2017 J. Irwin Miller Art and Benjamin M. King Essay Contests. The winners will be honored at the Commission’s Annual Dinner Meeting, set for May 11th at 6:30 p.m. at The Commons. Organizers say the theme for this year’s art and essay contests is “Advocating for Others.” Those students being recognized are: 2017 J. Irwin Miller Art Contest: Elementary School Division: Jessica Meza, St. Bartholomew Catholic School Middle School Division: Emma Nolting, Central Middle School High School Division: Kate Stewart, North High School 2017 Benjamin M. King Essay Contest: Elementary School Division: Fareeha Parvin, Southside Elementary School Middle School Division: Jordan Spurgeon, Central Middle School High School Division: Emma Perry, CSA New Tech Tickets for the dinner can be purchased in advance only. They are $30. Tickets can be purchased at the Human Rights Commission office inside of City Hall or online at www.columbus.in.gov/human-rights/. The deadline for purchasing tickets is May 5th at 5 p.m. ...