Hope officials want input on square revitalization

Mar 22, 2017 25

Main Street of Hope is holding a public workshop on Thursday, March 30 in the Fellowship Hall at Hope Moravian Church. The organization is encouraging you to bring their ideas to the 6 p.m. meeting in an effort to help plan the future of the Hope Town Square.

The Town of Hope received a planning grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for a Downtown Revitalization Plan. Officials say the plan will “establish a road-map to create a market-viable and sustainable downtown, as a unique destination within the tri-county region.”

Once this workshop has concluded, the organization says that a follow-up public meeting will be held on April 24 to review the plan prior to it being finalized.

Lucas’ bill on firearms passes House committee

Mar 22, 2017 27

The House Committee on Public Policy voted in support of a bill sponsored by State Rep. Jim Lucas that would allow correctional facility employees to keep their firearm on company property in a locked vehicle.

Under the Seymour Republican’s proposal, employees of the Department of Corrections who are legally allowed and licensed to carry a firearm, would be permitted to keep their handguns on prison property. It would require the firearm to be stored in a locked case and kept out of sight in a secured vehicle.

“Employers should not be able to infringe upon their employees who are legally allowed to carry a handgun with a license to carry,” Lucas said. He continued, “While they are at work, a person should not be prohibited from safely storing their firearm in a locked case in their trunk or out of plain sight inside their secured vehicle.”

With this proposal, Lucas says that state employees of the Indiana General Assembly who are licensed to carry a handgun would also be allowed to have a firearm in the state capitol building. This would include elected officials and full-time employees of the Indiana House of Representatives, Senate and Legislative Services Agency.

Woman accused of towing a stolen trailer

Mar 22, 2017 48
Susan Coomer. Photo courtesy of Columbus police.

Susan Coomer. Photo courtesy of Columbus police.

Columbus police arrested a local woman who was allegedly driving a minivan pulling a stolen trailer.

45-year-old Susan M. Coomer of Columbus pulled into a gas station on Gladstone Avenue near State Street Wednesday morning and an officer checked the license plate of the trailer she was pulling, only to find out that the plate belonged to another vehicle. The actual trailer had been reported stolen out of Greensburg.

Coomer was arrested at the store and was allegedly found to be carrying a small amount of marijuana, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus police.

She was arrested on preliminary charges of auto theft and marijuana possession.

Hope to continue investigating trash service

Mar 22, 2017 64

The town of Hope will continue investigating a possible town-wide trash service.

The Town Council last night decided to seek bids for a trash provider. That’s after a public discussion which included some angry questions and comments from the public.

Several people suggested that the town hold off on a new trash service until a recently enacted trash ordinance is allowed to make an impact. Under the new law approved two weeks ago, people can be fined up to $25 a day for having junk-covered properties. Others said they were concerned about the cost of a town-wide service and said they were happy to haul away their own trash for free.

But some residents supported the idea, saying that they were tired of the wild animals and vermin drawn to piled garbage around the community and suggested a trash service would help clean up the town.

Council President Clyde Compton took issue with one commenter who said the town would have to charge so much to administer the service that there was no way it would save money for residents.

The Town Council will accept bids and then take up to 90 days to consider those proposals.

Seymour man faces rape, other charges, after stand-off

Mar 21, 2017 143

A Seymour man is facing charges, including rape, following a stand-off at his home on Monday. WDRB television in Louisiville is reporting that a Jackson County Sheriff’s Department deputy was dispatched to the home of 46-year-old Alan Karenke after someone reported that a rape was occurring there.

The report says that when the deputy knocked on the door, Karenke came to the door in a bath robe and asked what the deputy wanted. When the deputy told Karenke about the allegations and asked to be allowed inside, Karenke allegedly cursed at him, told the deputy that he needed a warrant and went back inside.

According to the affidavit obtained by WDRB, the deputy wrote: “Due to the circumstances of a possible rape that had occurred, I went to the front in an attempt to try and gain entry,” the deputy wrote in the probable cause affidavit. “As I was coming around the house, I observed on the far northwest side of the house, a female with blonde hair had her head out of the window.”

“I asked her if she was okay, and I observed her look back at the door in the room,” the deputy wrote. “And at this time, I grabbed her out of the window and brought her back to my patrol car in the driveway.”

According to the station, authorities say the alleged victim is 18-years-old. The woman reportedly told authorities that she had awoken that night to find Karenke performing a sex act on her. The teen reportedly said that, after the alleged assault, she tried to leave, but was trapped by Karenke.

Once authorities learned that there were three children in the house with Karenke, they reportedly tried negotiating with the man to get him to allow them outside. Police say that when he refused, the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) was called to the scene. Once the team entered the home, they subdued and arrested Karenke on preliminary charges of Rape, Criminal Confinement and Resisting Law Enforcement. The children were found to be unharmed.

For more on this story, visit wdrb.com.

Local judge appointed to judicial committee

Mar 21, 2017 108

Bartholomew County Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton will represent other Judges in Judicial District 21 on the Board of Directors of the Judicial Conference of Indiana.

A press release from the court explains that District 21 includes Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Jennings, and Decatur Counties. The board directs activities that “promote an exchange of experience and suggestions regarding the operation of Indiana’s judicial system, promotes the continuing education of judges and seeks to promote a better understanding of the judiciary.”

Members of the board of directors are elected to two-year terms by the other judges in their district. Judge Worton’s new responsibility includes quarterly meetings, but is not expected to effect his ability to handle his court’s caseload.

This marks Judge Worton’s second appointment to a judicial committee, as he also serves on the State Judiciary’s Courthouse Security Committee.

North Vernon man facing numerous drug charges

Mar 21, 2017 155

A North Vernon man was arrested on drug charges after police there executed a search warrant on a home in the 100 block of Hoosier Street. North Vernon Police say they visited the home at 8:20 p.m. Monday night after Officer Kyle Hall obtained the warrant following observations he made while responding to a call for service at the address.

NVPD says that Officer Hall, Officer Lucas Newsom, Reserve Officer Michael Holliday and Sgt. Keith Messer served the search warrant. They allegedly found, and seized, 9.1 grams of methamphetamine, four syringes, multiple clear plastic baggies, several containers containing meth residue, multiple prescription pills, and 10 cell phones.

Officers arrested 39-year-old Jonathan D. Russell on preliminary charges of Dealing in Methamphetamine, Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of a Hypodermic Needle, Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Legend Drug Act Violation and Possession of Paraphernalia.

Cummins announces plan to cut water use in half

Mar 21, 2017 66

Cummins announced on Tuesday that it plans to cut water usage by half. A press release from the Columbus-based diesel engine manufacturer says the company has increased its facility water goal to a 50 percent intensity reduction by 2020, compared to its 2010 consumption rate. Cummins made the announcement on the eve of “World Water Day,” created by the United Nations to “serve as a way to have global education and preparedness for future water management.”

Cummins says the revised goal represents a total water savings of 763 million gallons of water since 2010. Company officials say that is equivalent to the water needed for drinking, sanitation and hygiene for 395,000 people for a year.

“Thanks to the hard work of our employees around the world, we have surpassed our initial target, but we know we should do more and are raising the bar with a revised goal,“ said Brian Mormino, Executive Director of Environmental Strategy & Compliance.

To achieve the 50 percent reduction, Cummins says it will expand the work it does with its sites in water program management, including intensive engagement with higher water use locations, water balance creation and sub-metering. The company also announced plans for high impact and showcase projects, such as an alternative bio-tech system for producing high quality treated wastewater for process reuse at one of its engine plants.

Brown County crash claims life of Bloomington man

Mar 21, 2017 71

One person was killed and another injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday afternoon in Brown County. Dep. Gregory Pittman, public information officer for the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, says that at 2:41 p.m., deputies responded to a head-on collision just west of the old Ski World resort on State Road 46 West.

Pittman says that the eastbound driver, 60-year-old Timothy Ellison, of Crooked Creek Road, was taken to Bloomington Hospital for minor injuries. The westbound driver, 28-year-old Joseph E. Dusard, of Bloomington, was trapped in the vehicle and had to be removed by fire units. Pittman says that emergency personnel, including a doctor at the scene, tried to resuscitate Dusard, but were unsuccessful. Dusard was pronounced dead on the scene.

Pittman says that both drivers were wearing seat belts and airbags were deployed. State Road 46 was closed for several hours in both directions. The crash remains under investigation.

Hope man hospitalized after Tuesday morning crash

Mar 21, 2017 105

A Hope man was hospitalized after his overturned vehicle was discovered Tuesday morning. Judy Jackson, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, says that deputies were called to the 5800 block of East County Road 450 North at 9:46 a.m. on a report of a vehicle that was off the road and possibly submerged.

Photo courtesy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department

Photo courtesy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department

When deputies arrived, they reported finding the vehicle along the side of the river next to a bridge. The driver, 21-year-old Tony Whittington, was conscious, but trapped inside the upside-down vehicle. The fire department, working with Bartholomew County Water Rescue and Recovery, extracted Whittington from the vehicle. He was then life-lined to Indianapolis with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries. Jackson says that investigators believe that Whittington may have been trapped inside the vehicle for about four-hours.

It is not known at this time what caused the accident, but Jackson says that a report is being forwarded to the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office for drug-related items allegedly found inside the vehicle.