County considers seizing tax refunds for unpaid property taxes

Dec 12, 2017 4

A proposal that would allow Bartholomew County to collect on past-due property taxes by seizing state tax refunds is being considered. County Treasurer Pia O’Connor brought up the proposal during Monday morning’s meeting of the county commissioners. O’Connor explains that the program allows local governments to collect delinquent debts from an individual’s state income tax refund. She adds that there would be no cost to the county, beyond those associated with notifying those who are eligible to have their refunds seized. O’Connor says the program will help the county’s finances, while ensuring that taxpayers are paying their fair share. She noted that a pilot program in Marion County revealed over one-million dollars in old debts eligible for collection. Commissioners expressed concerns about the program. Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz says that the process seems “too intrusive.” He added that while he agrees that people should be responsible for their debts, there is already a system in place to deal with delinquent taxpayers. Commisisoner Rick Flohr expressed similar concerns, saying that the program... ...

North Vernon and Jennings County agree to discussions

Dec 12, 2017 4

North Vernon and Jennings County are a step closer to addressing the need of a new jail and other long-standing issues. Last month, the city council received a letter from county officials wanting to collaborate to address the jail issue. Larry Greathouse, city attorney, said then that this would be a good opportunity to address several, unspecified, issues affecting both units of government. The council voted two weeks ago to allow Greathouse to start further discussions between the city and county. Since then, city officials say that the county has agreed to those discussions. The first is set for Jan. 9th in Vernon. The council passed a resolution last night allowing Brian Hatfield and Jack Kelley to represent the city at these meetings. Greathouse says that there is no official docket of discussion items at this time and added that no official action will be taken. He says that  any proposals that come up in these meetings will ultimately need to be approved by both the City Council and the... ...

Victim loses thousands in immigration related scam

Dec 12, 2017 4

A Columbus resident is out thousands of dollars after scammers pretended to be with the Department of Homeland Security and threatened her immigration status. Lt Matt Harris with the Columbus Police Department says the victim received the call at work. Harris says the caller was very persuasive and had some of the victim’s personal information, which made them sound legitimate. Further adding to the believability, the caller used masking technology to make the call appear as if it was coming from Homeland Security on Caller ID, and even encouraged the victim to look up the number to see if it was legitimate. The caller talked the victim into paying a non-existent fine by buying Apple iTunes gift cards. Harris said he could think of no legitimate business or law enforcement agency that would ever ask you to pay a debt immediately with the purchase of gift cards. If you receive such a call, he recommends simply hanging up and contacting law enforcement. ...

Restaurant blaze put out by good neighbors

Dec 12, 2017 4

Good Samaritans stopped a kitchen fire yesterday at the Tasty Express restaurant on 25th Street. Columbus firefighters were called to the scene at about 3 p.m. with reports of flames inside the restaurant and evacuations of nearby buildings. But by the time firefighters arrived, the fire was already extinguished, says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department. Prior to the firefighters arrival, Haley Jewell and Madison Woodard were at their desks across the street at Columbus Optical when they noticed thick black smoke coming from the restaurant roof. Jewell called 911 while Woodard ran across four lanes of traffic to alert neighboring businesses. Woodard then grabbed a fire extinguisher from a neighboring nail salon and along with Pickers Paradise owner Dale Burton and his fire extinguiser, they put the fire out, Wilson says. Firefighters say that a fire extinguishing system in the restaurant’s kitchen did not activate automatically nor did workers there manually trigger the system. “We’re not sure if this was a training issue that led to not... ...

Snappy Tomato Pizza Morning Mindbender Answers: 12-11 to 12-15

Dec 12, 2017 7

Snappy Tomato Pizza Morning Mindbender questions and answers: Monday 12-11-17 Q: 10% of us say we don’t own what? A: Books Tuesday 12-12-17 Q: 90% of millennials say they plan on doing what this Christmas? A: Helping others with tech gifts ...

Jennings parents arrested on neglect charges

Dec 12, 2017 4

Two parents at Country Squire Lakes in Jennings County were arrested on drug and child neglect charges Saturday after police found their home didn’t have running water, there were many violations of the health and safety codes and drugs were out in plain view. All while two young children were in the home. Jennings County deputies report that they went to the home on Shrimpton Court at about 4:15 a.m.  in the morning Saturday, looking for a fugitive who turned out not to be at the home. But while searching for the suspect at the residence, they noticed the poor conditions inside. The children, ages 4 and 5, were placed with a relative and deputies arrested Apache and Skylar Blair on preliminary charges of child neglect, and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. ...

Lane restrictions tonight on I-65 south of Columbus

Dec 11, 2017 14

Lane restrictions tonight: INDOT contractors will be repairing guardrails between Columbus and Seymour tonight, which will lead to some right-lane closures. The work is going on between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on southbound Interstate 65 just south of Columbus at the 67 mile marker and on northbound Interstate 65 at the 65 mile marker, near the Walesboro exit. Later in the week, crews will be working to repair a damaged cable barrier in the median. ...

North Vernon celebrates first steps to solar power

Dec 11, 2017 16

North Vernon officials are celebrating their first solar-powered building. The North Vernon Fire Department had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon for the solar-power system for the station. Kurt Schneider, vice-president of Johnson-Melloh Solutions, the company hired by North Vernon to help facilitate the changeover from conventional to solar-power, talks about how the city-wide project is going: Schneider, says that solar lighting of city facilities will be done by the end of the month: Mayor Mike Ochs says that he is proud of the project and the fact that it will save money for taxpayers. ...

Child neglect charged in marijuana smoke case

Dec 11, 2017 14

A Columbus man was arrested Friday on child neglect charges after his daughter was left smelling of marijuana smoke in a car. The Columbus police department was called to a report of suspicious activity in a car on 7th Street at about 3:45 p.m. When officers talked to the man in the car, 32-year-old Joshua C. Janes of Columbus, they smelled a heavy scent of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, and his daughter was in the back seat. A search also revealed unsecured firearms inside the vehicle as well as a glass smoking device. Janes is facing preliminary charges of neglect of a dependent and possession of drug paraphernalia. The girl was released to a family member and the Department of Child and Family Services assisted with the investigation. ...

Downtown Columbus turning extra festive for Thursday event

Dec 11, 2017 12

Downtown Columbus will be the place to be on Thursday afternoon for Christmas festivities. The downtown merchants will be holding A Not so Silent Night celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. Erin Hawkins with the Columbus Area Visitors Center explains: Hawkins explains that this is a chance to explore downtown businesses: Local shops and restaurants will be open late and offering special deals that evening. The event will also include a scavenger hunt, carriage rides, music, Santa Claus at The Commons, an ugly Christmas sweater contest and ugly sweater 5k run. Kidscommons is also offering a low-cost option to watch your children while you shop that night. You can call kidscommons at (812) 378-3046 ...