Westside interfaith facility receives approval

Nov 22, 2017 1

Planning can go forward for an expanded interfaith facility on the west side of Columbus after the Columbus City Council gave its final approval to a rezoning of the property off of Goeller Boulevard. The Unitaraian Universalist Congregation of Columbus and the Hindu community asked the council to consider rezoning their properties from agricultural use to public and semi-public facilities. The goal is to build more facilities for local, small faith communities such as the local Jewish population. Neighbors said they were opposed because of concerns over drainage, the commercial septic system, vandalism and the large number of people who could attend to worship at several churches and temples planned for the property. Those plans they would have to come back before city and county planners for review before any projects can move forward. Although the properties are outside of the Columbus city limits, they are within the city’s two mile zoning jurisdiction. ...

Columbus approves $70,000 for police/firefighter OT

Nov 22, 2017 1

The Columbus City Council voted Tuesday night to give preliminary approval to an amendment to the 2017 Salary Ordinance increasing the overtime budgets for the city’s police and fire departments by a combined $70,000. The proposal calls for an additional $40,000 for fire department overtime and $30,000 for police department overtime. City officials say that about half of that amount is directly to three visits to the city this year by Vice-President Mike Pence. Jamie Brinegar, the city’s director of finance operations and risk, stresses that the change increase in overtime funds is being covered by personnel funds already allocated to each department for this year. He adds that this is merely a transfer of funds and not an additional appropriation. Brinegar also apologized to the council for the way the ordinance was worded. He says it was “misleading in that it only identifies overtime costs related to the Vice President’s visits” as the need for the increases. During this week’s city council meeting, Brinegar says that that there are... ...

Hope group ranks top improvements to Town Square

Nov 22, 2017 8

A downtown development group in Hope has put together a wishlist of improvements to the Town Square. Main Street of Hope presented the Town Council last night with its suggested priorities for items under the town’s recently adopted downtown development plan. Main Street members prioritized replacing the roofs of the Town Square shelterhouse, the bandstand and the pumphouse. They also want to make the facilities in the park more accessible and to improve lighting in the square. Susan Thayer-Fye, executive director of Main Street of Hope, said those were just suggested priorities from the community members in her group and the council is free to act on any or none of those suggestions. Town leaders are planning to apply for grants to accomplish projects around the downtown area. ...

Two arrested after suspicious vehicle reported at vacant home

Nov 22, 2017 8

Jennings County deputies arrested two people on drug charges over the weekend after a car was found at a vacant home in Sand Creek Township. The sheriff’s department reports that they found pry marks on the back door of the home as well as an outbuilding at about 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Deputies called in police dog Vampir and his handler to search the area. A woman who was inside the home surrendered and a man was found hiding in the garage. 34-year-old Ryan Beeman was already wanted on six warrants from several counties. He is now facing new preliminary charges of possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. 24-year-old Caitlyn E. Hersley of Greensburg was arrested on a preliminary charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. ...

Our Hospice warns of Virginia-based fundraising letters

Nov 22, 2017 7

Fundraising letters going around the community seeking donations to help with hospice care, are not from Our Hospice of South-Central Indiana, and the local agency will receive no money from any donations you make to this Virginia-based solicitation. Laura Leonard, with Our Hospice, says that there are at least two donation letters that have been mailed to community members. But they are from the Hospice Support Fund in Merrifield, Va. The local hospice is not affiliated with that effort. The out-of-area letters have subject lines such as “$1US Currency Enclosed. The Hospice Support Fund” and the other is titled, “Annual Fund Drive Voluntary Reply Form.” Instead, Leonard says that any request from Our Hospice of South Central Indiana will have the agency’s logo and will contain local contact information. Our Hospice does rely on donations to support its not-for-profit mission to ease end-of-life care for those who are terminally ill and for their families. Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, part of Columbus Regional Health, serves 16 counties here. For more information, you can... ...

Florida woman arrested for alleged threats against Tony Stewart and his family

Nov 21, 2017 16

A Florida woman stalked and left threatening messages for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and his family for more than a year over anger that he failed to give her an autograph at a race, according to criminal charges filed last week. WRTV Channel 6 is reporting that 68-year-old Kathi Russell, of Cape Coral, was taken into custody on Tuesday on felony charges of stalking, terroristic mischief and intimidation for alleged harassment against Stewart from March 2016 through October of this year. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, Russell made hundreds of anonymous calls to Stewart, as well as his mother and sister throughout that time. Russell is also accused of placing an anonymous phone call reporting that a plane landing in Fort Worth, Texas, would be transporting narcotics. Investigators determined the plane was occupied by Stewart, and that the call was a false report that came from Russell. According to the affidavit, Russell told a DEA agent that the harassment started because Stewart declined to sign... ...

City Council approves $10 million payment for overpass

Nov 21, 2017 12

The Columbus City Council voted to approve the payment of $10 million to the Indiana Department of Transportation for the railroad overpass project that will take vehicle traffic over the railroad crossing on Jonathan Moore Pike near State Road 11 entering downtown. Mayor Jim Lienhoop talked about the vote after Tuesday night’s city council meeting. 11-22 OVERPASS-1 Jamie Brinegar is the city’s director of finance. He talks about funding for the project. 11-22 OVERPASS-3 With the state estimating the total project cost to be $30 million, that means the city is still a few million dollars short of its obligation. We asked Mayor Lienhoop about that gap. 11-22 OVERPASS-2 Tuesday night’s vote was unanimous, 6 to 0. Elaine Wagner was absent. The second reading of this ordinance is scheduled for Dec. 5th. ...

Appeals Court makes a ruling in Owsley estate case

Nov 21, 2017 13

An Indiana trial court properly applied district court precedent to determine that a claim for violation of a deceased man’s constitutional rights cannot be considered an asset in his estate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. TheIndianaLawyer.com is reporting that after Cary Owsley died from a gunshot wound in 2013, his wife, Lisa Owsley was appointed as personal representative of his estate. However, Cheryl Owsley Jackson, Cary’s sister, moved to remove Lisa as personal representative or to appoint a special administrator. The Marion Superior Court denied Jackson’s motion. On the same day, Cary Owsley’s son, Logan Owsley filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against multiple defendants, including Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett, coroner Larry Fisher and others, for their handling of the investigation. The defendants moved for dismissal on the grounds that Logan lacked standing and had failed to state claims on which relief could be granted. Meanwhile, the Bartholomew Circuit Court granted a motion Owsley had filed to distribute property,... ...

Columbus man identified as Flat Rock River victim

Nov 21, 2017 20

The victim of a boating accident on the Flat Rock River in Shelby County has been identified as a Columbus resident. 35-year-old Raymond Sanchez was boating on the river yesterday near Geneva and planned to float downstream to Noblitt Park in Columbus, his girlfriend told Indiana conservation officers. He was unfamiliar with the river and not aware that there were low-head dams in the river, officers said. Authorities say that at about 1 p.m. yesterday, witnesses saw a man in a Bass tracker Bantam boat go over the low head dam on the Flat Rock River in the Vandalia/Geneva area. The man was pulled from the water by Shelby County Swift Water Rescue Team. Sanchez remains in critical condition at IU Methodist Hospital according to conservation officers.   ...

Columbus native working on Ball State history project

Nov 21, 2017 15

Allison Griffith, a Columbus native and senior at Ball State University, is helping the college commemorate its past with the Centennial Documentary project. Griffith is working with a team of 41 students led by Christopher Flook, telecommunications lecturer and faculty adviser for the project. The Centennial Documentary, an immersive learning project, has been in production since the summer. The documentary is being filmed and will include interviews with historians, past presidents and notable alumni. The team of students expects to release three products from the project: a full-length documentary, a shorter version of the documentary and promotional pieces designed to celebrate the university’s centennial. ...