Phase 1 of State Street project nears completion

Sep 18, 2017 34

Work continues on Columbus’ State Street Revitalization Project. Heather Pope, the city’s redevelopment director, says that work on the bridge over Haw Creek is nearly finished…


Phase 1 also includes tying the gateway nodes to the people trail connection along Haw Creek.

Pope says that Phase 2A is “coming along nicely,” noting that all of the right-of-ways on the south side of the street are in place…


Pope says that work on lighting, landscaping and other architectural elements on the north side of State Street likely won’t get underway until this winter.

County contributes $2 million to railroad overpass fund

Sep 18, 2017 41

The Bartholomew County Commissioners officially signed an agreement with the city on Monday as it relates to the overpass project taking vehicle traffic over the railroad at State Road 11 and Jonathan Moore Pike. The county is set to contribute $2 million dollars over the next three years.

Dave Hayward, Columbus city engineer, explained during Monday’s meeting of the Columbus Redevelopment Commission that the county commissioners signed the pledge that morning. John Dorenbush, a member of the Railroad Community Committee, explained that the county will contribute $1.5 to the railroad fund by mid-November, with the remaining $500,000 paid out over the next two-years.

The cost of the project, estimated at $30 million, will be split between the state and local governments. Of the $15 million local contribution, the downtown Cummins TIF District is expected to contribute $5 million, while CSX and the Louisville & Indiana railroad companies have reportedly pledged to cover $1.5 million. However, Dorenbush says that the city does not yet have a signed agreement from the railroads. Mayor Jim Lienhoop says that the city is working on securing the remaining funds. He, as well as Dorenbush and other city officials, indicated that they were confident that the funding will be in place well before work is slated to begin. The city is scheduled to make a payment out of the railroad fund to the Indiana Department of Transportation before the end of the year.

The Redevelopment Commission also gave its blessing for Hayward to continue his work in negotiating with an engineering firm to serve as project manager for the overpass work. While this will be an INDOT project and the state will have its own project manager, Hayward says it is important for the city to have its own project manager to keep the project moving along and to work on Columbus’ behalf. The commission agreed with Hayward that the position is necessary. Redevelopment Commission member George Dutro, who also serves on the Railroad Community Committee, says that the position is needed to ensure that the overpass is built “the Columbus way.” Don Trapp, another member of the Redevelopment Commission, said it just makes good sense having someone on-site looking out for the city’s best interests. He, as well as other city officials, have stated that the project should be aesthetically pleasing and compliment Columbus’ architecture.

No official action was taken on Hayward’s continuing work to negotiate a professional manager services contract. An update on these negotiations are expected at next month’s meeting of the redevelopment commission.

VA to help veterans sign up for benefits at Columbus campus

Sep 18, 2017 82

The Veterans Affairs administration in Indianapolis will be holding events Tuesday and Wednesday in Columbus aimed at getting veterans signed up for benefits they are entitled to.

Alison Quinn, with the Veterans Health Administration office in Indianapolis explains.

Quinn says that they will be set up on the campus of IUPUC and Ivy Tech from 10 to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday.

Quinn said that it is important to bring a copy of your DD-214, although if you have lost the discharge form, the VA staff will help you fill out the paperwork to receive a replacement. You should also bring an estimate of your annual income, she said.

Pete Scoville, with the Veterans Health Administration office in Indianapolis, says that veterans, especially younger ones, don’t know what their benefits can do for them.


Officer injured in brawl at children’s restaurant

Sep 18, 2017 78

Zach Tillison. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Columbus man was arrested after a brawl at a children’s restaurant over the weekend that injured a police officer.

Police were called to the Chuck E. Cheese on North National Road at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon after a man was discovered unconscious in a booth with an unsupervised small child in the restaurant.

Police tried to administer Narcan to the man, 33-year-old Zacheriah A. Tillison of Hope, but Tillison became combative says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the city police. During the struggle, an officer injured their knee.

After Tillison was subdued, he was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital to be checked out and then taken to the Bartholomew County Jail. He is facing preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement, public intoxication and child neglect.

The officer was treated for the knee injury and released.

The 4-year-old girl was released to her mother.

Parade entrants still wanted for Hope Heritage Days

Sep 18, 2017 55

There is still time to sign up for this weekend’s Hope Heritage Days parade.

The annual festival in northeastern Bartholomew County is celebrating its 50th year and organizers hope to make this the best parade ever. Michael Dean, CEO with Heritage of Hope, explains.

Dean says that you can still sign up in several categories, including horse-drawn entries, fire trucks and parade floats.

This year’s grand marshals will be former clerk-treasurers John and Shirley Robertson.

Dean gave credit to shop owner Adora Paetzel, who is organizing the parade for the first year.

Hope Heritage Days kicks off on Friday. The parade is Sunday with the military plane flyover at 2:15 p.m. and the parade itself starting at 2:30 p.m.. You can sign up online at

Electrical fire damages home on east side of Columbus

Sep 18, 2017 56

An electrical fire damaged a Columbus home Sunday afternoon.

The resident had just finished baking a cake when she noticed flames coming from behind the stove at about 3:55 p.m. Sunday in the 500 block of Gladstone Avenue. Firefighters extinguished the fire and it immediately reignited, leading firefighters to believe it might be electrical.

They shut off power to the home and were able to quickly put the fire out, says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department.

When officers went to the basement they found charred flooring and evidence that a short had caused the fire. Damage was estimated at $5,000.

Wilson said the home did have smoke alarms, but they did not sound because they were more than 10 years old. Firefighters installed three new alarms in the home.

Two adults and an 11-year-old escaped from the fire unharmed.

Bomb threat disrupts Columbus Target store

Sep 17, 2017 135

A bomb threat led to the evacuation of the Columbus Target store on National Road, but no bomb was located.

Police later determined that Targets across the country received similar threats.

At about 9:45 p.m. Saturday night, Columbus police were called to the store. Employees were already evacuating the store as police arrived.

The Columbus police bomb squad search the building and found nothing unusual says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the department.

Harris said police found that several other Target stores across the country received similar threats on Saturday.

Promotions announced at Bartholomew County Jail

Sep 15, 2017 130

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department has announced a number of promotions among staff at the jail. The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Jail Commander, Major John Martoccia, announced that they are:

Lieutenant Nichole Kinman promoted to Captain.

Martoccia says that Capt. Kinman has been with the jail for 13 years. She is a 2003 graduate of Columbus East High School. Capt. Kinman earned a BS in Criminal Justice from IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a Criminal Behavior concentration from Tiffin University and a second Master’s degree in Homeland Security.

Sergeant Tyler Stillabower has been promoted to Lieutenant.

Martoccia says that Lt. Stillabower has been employed by the jail for almost 10 years. He is a 2008 graduate of Jennings County High School.

Correction’s Officer Kyle Weaver has been promoted to Sergeant

Martoccia says that Sgt. Weaver has been employed by the jail for two-and-a-half years. He has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

“These are excellent choices,” said Sheriff Matt Myers. He added that the three “have the experience they need and this is a good opportunity to advance their leadership skills.”

Attentive neighbor helps to catch alleged burglars

Sep 15, 2017 147

Two Jennings County residents were arrested on burglary charges earlier this week after an observant neighbor noticed suspicious activity.

The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department says that the 911 dispatch center received a call on Sunday, Sept. 10th about a suspicious vehicle parked in a neighbor’s driveway in Geneva Township. Deputies were able to intercept the vehicle and stopped it. They say that the vehicle’s trunk was open, exposing an air compressor and a weed eater. Authorities determined that the air compressor, weed eater and a gas can were stolen from an outbuilding behind a residence located on County Road 740 North.

Deputies arrested 35-year-old Jeremiah Anderson, of North Vernon, and 35-year-old Jerry L. Woodson, of Scipio. Authorities say that both men are facing preliminary charges of Burglary, Theft and Criminal Trespass.

The recovered property was returned to the owner.

Columbus man faces drug charges after approaching police with a bat

Sep 15, 2017 144

Timothy K. David

A Columbus man was arrested Wednesday night on drug charges after Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of suspicious activity in the 600 block of Collier Street in Columbus. Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, says that when deputies arrived shortly after 11:30 p.m., they called out to a man in the area. They say that man, 46-year-old Timothy Kristian David, picked up a bat and began walking toward them. After several commands to “drop the bat”, deputies say that David complied.

Deputies report that as they spoke with David, one of them noticed a syringe with an orange cap sticking out of David’s sweatshirt pocket. David was then taken into custody. A search allegedly revealed a plastic baggie from David’s front sweatshirt pocket containing a large amount of a white crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine. The baggie also contained three additional baggies with green leafy substances inside, which appeared to be marijuana.

After being taken to Columbus Regional Health for clearance, David was arrested on preliminary charges of:

Resisting Law Enforcement,
Possession of Methamphetamine,
Possession of Marijuana, and
Possess of a Legend Drug Injection Device.

Jackson says that David is being held without bond.