Taser used on man fleeing from traffic stop

Oct 17, 2017 37

Melvin Foree. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police used a Taser to subdue a man they say tried to walk away from a traffic stop last night.

35-year-old Melvin G. Foree of Columbus is facing charges of resisting law enforcement as well as possession of both methamphetamine and a legend drug injection device. He was also wanted on a parole warrant.

The incident happened at just before midnight, when a Columbus police officer noticed that a car was driving with another vehicle’s license plate near Sycamore and 12th Streets. While the officer spoke to the vehicle’s occupants, Foree, who was in the back seat, tried to leave the scene, first walking away and then running between houses, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the police.

Police say Foree would not stop and was shocked with the Taser to take him into custody. A search of the vehicle allegedly found a syringe with methamphetamine in the vehicle where he had been sitting.

Driver killed in Jennings County crash

Oct 17, 2017 42

The Price vehicle. Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police.

A head-on crash yesterday morning in Jennings County killed a woman from St. Paul.

49-year-old Angela M. Abston died in the crash on State Road 750 near County Road 200N at about 8:45 a.m. yesterday morning.

Investigators say that a van driven by 51-year-old Christean M. Price of Seymour crossed the centerline into the path of Abston’s vehicle, says Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, spokesman for the Indiana State Police.

Abston was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jennings County Coroner’s Office. Price sustained serious injuries in the crash. She was flown by helicopter to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Four passengers in Price’s vehicle sustained minor injuries. They were all taken to St. Vincent’s-Jennings Hospital.

Columbus officials continue work on overpass project

Oct 16, 2017 59

Movement continues on the project to construct an overpass taking vehicles over the railroad tracks at State Road 11 and Jonathan Moore Pike. During Monday’s meeting of the Columbus Redevelopment Commission, city engineer Dave Hayward says that the city had negotiated a contract with Strand and Associates to serve as project manager for the city.


The redevelopment commission voted unanimously to approve the resolution to hire Strand and Associates.

The body also considered a resolution to contribute a considerable sum to the overpass project out of the downtown Cummins Tax-Increment Financing District. Stan Gamso, attorney for the redevelopment commission, explains that Columbus officials began looking for possible avenues to help cover the city’s estimated $15 million contribution.

10-17 STAN GAMSO-1

That resolution, recommending that the city council approve the contribution, was approved. Gamso says that, in addition to the Cummins TIF District contribution, the fund contains $4 million from the redevelopment commission, with a $1.5 million contribution from the county still pending.

City committed to improving tunnel at Jackson Street garage

Oct 16, 2017 82

Columbus officials are making an effort to improve the safety and functionality of the pedestrian tunnel through the parking garage on Jackson Street. Heather Pope is the city’s director of redevelopment.


Pope talks about the goal of the project.


Louis Joyner, the architect on the project, says the design will also add drainage, as well as bicycle stands, among other improvements. He told the redevelopment commission that he still has a few minor issues to complete before the project can be put out for bid.

The city’s redevelopment commission took no official action during its meeting on Monday afternoon, but the body did indicate that the call for bids is expected to go out soon.

Toyota Forklifts announces Harvey relief effort

Oct 16, 2017 59

Toyota Forklifts announced a $50,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief in Gulf Coast communities on Monday. Company officials say the donation will be a team effort from Toyota with Toyota Industries Corporation, Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., Toyota Industrial Equipment and Toyota Commercial Finance joining together to support the effort. The funds will support affected dealership employees and the community as a whole, including the American Red Cross.

“The recent hurricanes caused major damage to many areas, including Houston, where some of our dealer employees lost homes and vehicles,” said TMHU director of human resources and training & development, Tracy Stachniak. “We rallied together to support our family members and the community of Houston. We’re proud the Toyota family is always eager to support one another in a time of need.”

In addition to the donations from Toyota, the company will make a dollar-for-dollar match for all donations in support of Toyota associates in the Houston area. The funds will be issued to employees as relief grants to cover utility expenses, home repairs, transportation, lodging, medical expenses, food, clothing and other needs.

The company says that the support will benefit employees at Toyota Lift of Houston, Toyota Lift of South Texas and the Houston community.

Cummins announces acquisition of battery pack company

Oct 16, 2017 75

Cummins announced Monday that it is acquiring the assets of Brammo, Inc., which designs and develops battery packs for mobile and stationary applications. Cummins officials say that adding Brammo’s battery pack expertise and resources is an important milestone in Cummins’ efforts to become a global electrified power leader.

“To be a leading provider of electrified power systems just as we are with diesel and natural gas driven powertrains, we must own key elements and subsystems of the electrification network,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc. “By adding the expertise of Brammo and its employees to Cummins, we are taking a step forward in our electrification business and differentiating ourselves from our competition. As always, when markets are ready, Cummins will bring our customers the right power solution at the right time to power their success.”

Operations from this acquisition will report under Cummins’ recently formed Electrification Business led by Julie Furber, Executive Director of Electrification at Cummins, and will continue to be based in Talent, Oregon. Cummins says that Brammo was founded in 2002 and has “made great strides in developing electric energy storage technology for mobile and stationary applications.”

“Brammo’s expertise across a broad range of applications uniquely positions us to enhance Cummins’ efforts to be a leader in the electrified power space,” said Craig Bramscher, Chairman and CEO of Brammo. “We see this as a very exciting opportunity to continue changing the way the world moves and stores power.”

Cummins says that this acquisition is expected to close by the end of this calendar year. The move comes as the Columbus-based business, known for its diesel-engine manufacturing, continues to branch out in developing renewable energy sources.

Central Middle School teacher/students honored

Oct 16, 2017 63

A Bicentennial map project allowing local students to see Indiana’s rich, shared history is the recipient of a statewide award.

The Indiana Historical Society announced Monday that Central Middle School teacher Alan Birkemeier and his students received its 2017 Outstanding Bicentennial Collaborative Project Award.

Rachel Hill Ponko, the IHS director of public relations, says that the award recognizes a Bicentennial-related event or history project implemented in 2016. As it is the final year for the award, the judging committee chose to recognize four projects, with Birkemeier’s “Incredible Indiana History Map” among them.

Hill Ponko says that the 8th grade U.S. History teacher started the project by randomly assigning students to research the history, people and tourism of one of Indiana’s 92 counties. Students then used their findings to create a brochure, a graph, a presentation and a to-scale map of the county.

“Through research, collaboration, community partners and various site visits, students were enabled to dig into characteristics associated with their designated county,” writes Randy Gratz, principal of Central Middle School, in a letter of support for the project’s nomination. “In addition, integration of social studies and math provided students with cross-curricular connections.”

“The massive map was impressive, but the students’ ownership, passion and enthusiasm for what they had learned was truly inspiring,” writes Greg Lewis, chair of the Social Studies Department. “Alan’s big goal of having his students better understand and appreciate the Hoosier state, county by county, had certainly been achieved in a big way.”

Central Middle School’s Incredible Indiana History Map will be recognized at IHS’s annual Founders Day dinner on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.

The Founders Day event, sponsored by Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., celebrates the accomplishments of historians, teachers, writers and businesses from around the state, as well as the work of IHS.

For more information on this event and other IHS programs, visit www.indianahistory.org.

Semi fire closes Interstate

Oct 16, 2017 66

Photo courtesy of the German Township Volunteer Fire Dept.

A semi fire closed Interstate 65 in Bartholomew County on Monday morning. Deputy Chief Matt Lynch, with the German Township Volunteer Fire Department, says that just before 9 a.m., dispatchers received several calls about a crashed semi at the 78 mile marker on I-65.

Photo courtesy of the German Township Volunteer Fire Dept.

Lynch says that firefighters from his department responded and observed a semi that had run into the ditch and came to rest in the trees. He says that the semi cab and trailer, which was empty, was about 80-percent consumed by fire. With no fire hydrants along the interstate, firefighters received help from the Edinburgh Fire Department and requested further assistance with water tankers from Clifford, Flat Rock, and Harrison Township fire departments. Lynch says that the fire was under control within 20 minutes, consuming 9,000 gallons of water to extinguish it.

Authorities say that fire crews were on scene for about three hours as the remaining diesel fuel was off loaded and the semi was towed from the scene.

The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.

Incident at store turns into brawl with police

Oct 16, 2017 61

Christopher Murphy. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Columbus man is accused of scratching a police officer in a Friday afternoon fight outside of a drug store.

28-year-old Christopher Murphy is facing charges of disorderly conduct, resisting law enforcement, intimidation towards a police officer and battery on a public safety officer.

According to police reports, a man was outside the Walgreens at 2400 Beam Road screaming at customers at about 4:45 p.m. Friday afternoon. When officers talked to Murphy, he allegedly threatened and attempted to fight with the police, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department. An officer received scratches and cuts to his arm during the fracas, Harris says.

Murphy was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital to be checked out before being taken to the Bartholomew County Jail.


Arrest made after stove bought with stolen card

Oct 16, 2017 114

Tyler Vandiver. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police say a local man used a stolen credit card and driver’s license to buy a stove Friday night.

An officer patrolling the parking lot at Menards on the west side of Columbus recognized 30-year-old Tyler J. Vandiver near a truck in the loading area. Vandiver was wanted on several warrants and the officer saw Vandiver go into the store.

The officer took Vandiver into custody and discovered Vandiver was allegedly carrying the fake credentials. The rightful owner said that his vehicle had been broken into and those items were stolen, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus police.

Other suspects who were with Vandiver allegedly fled, leaving the stove behind. And the truck was discovered abandoned in a nearby parking lot. Drug paraphernalia was also found inside, Harris said.

Vandiver is facing charges of theft, fraud and three Bartholomew County warrants.