Barbecue tasting is focus of Hope event

Jun 10, 2015 318

Barbecue fans can get their fill this weekend at Smoke on the Square, a fundraiser for the Hope Community Center.

The event takes place Saturday on the Hope Town Square and will feature 21 teams competing. Jeff Yarnell, organizer of the event, says that the only way to sample all the savory food from the competing teams will be as a judge for the People’s Choice Award.

Tickets for the People’s Choice judging are $6. Barbecued dinners and other food will be available for sale. There will also be live music, a bounce house, pony rides and more.

The event starts at 11 a.m.

Camp Atterbury warns of increased training noise

Jun 10, 2015 511

Camp Atterbury is warning that you might be hearing some increased noise coming from the base.

Through the base’s Facebook page, military officials say you will be hearing increased numbers of explosions, small arms fire and see increased air and ground traffic in the next few weeks and throughout the summer.

Officials at the base say the increased noise is a necesary part of training and operations to maintain unit readiness for future military operations.

Deputies, marshals arrest local man on drug charges

Jun 10, 2015 586

A local man was arrested by Bartholomew County deputies and U.S. marshals at about 6:45 last night as part of an ongoing drug investigation.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, says a citizen’s tip led officers to the Taylorsville area where they found 40-year-old Edward J. Harshman, who was wanted on two warrants alleging dealing methamphetamine. Detectives found Harshman driving on Main Street and he was taken into custody after a traffic stop.

Jackson said this is part of an ongoing investigation by the county’s joint narcotics unit.

U.S. 50 restrictions coming to North Vernon

Jun 9, 2015 561

You may want to give yourself extra time for your commute if you have to drive through North Vernon on Thursday.

U.S. Highway 50 will be restricted at Madison Street on Thursday while a storm sewer pipe is being placed and a drainage inlet is installed within the southwest section of the intersection. The work is dependent on the weather.

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Spokesman Harry Maginity says that Thursday’s closure begins at 9:30 a.m. and is part of North Vernon’s $2.2 million streetscape project. Flaggers will direct motorists through the intersection.

MAC Construction & Excavating, the project’s contractor, is charged with full-depth street reconstruction and street resurfacing, storm and sanitary sewer work, construction of sidewalks with ADA-compliant curb ramps, placement of ornamental lighting and landscaping.

The streetscape, which includes work at Madison Street between U.S. 50 and Poplar Street, Walnut Street from U.S. 50 to O&M Street, and O&M Street from Fourth Street to Fifth Street, is funded under North Vernon’s Stellar Community Project. Maginity says the funding sources include: the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Community and Rural Affairs and INDOT.

For more about North Vernon’s Stellar Project, visit www.northvernonstellar.com.

North Vernon leaders discuss water issues

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The plan by some leaders in North Vernon to utilize an old quarry as a new reservoir and primary water supply for the city is being met with some opposition.

North Vernon resident Lester Lee appeared before the city council Monday night to air his grievances. He says that experts say that communities should not establish a water supply near an existing cemetery. Lee notes that there is one running up against the quarry.

Lee is also concerned about a nearby “brown zone” that used to be a Superfund site in the 70s and 80s. Lee says that the site could be a source for thallium, a post-transitional metal that is highly poisonous and deadly to humans. He says that while initial indications are that any toxins from the site are migrating away from the quarry to the north and the west, there is no way to know for sure. Lee says the quarry site is 800 feet to the east of the brown zone.

Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell says that the concerns about the site have been well-vetted and that safety measures are in place. While noting that safety is of the utmost importance, he also reminded the council about the need to move quickly on the project as the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is involved. Mayor Campbell said that INDOT won’t wait for the city and that not being prepared will cost North Vernon taxpayers enormous amounts of money. He also reminded council members that studies have shown that this quarry proposal is the best option for North Vernon residents.

Council members indicated that they understood what Mayor Campbell was saying, but they also noted that city residents need to feel safe about their water supply. With that, the council agreed that a special meeting for residents to fully discuss their concerns will be held at the Education Training Center on June 22 at 6 p.m.

Columbus hires two new firefighters

Jun 9, 2015 605

The Columbus Fire Department (CFD) has two new firefighters. These firefighters were sworn-in Tuesday morning by Mayor Kristen Brown at the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting at City Hall.

CFD Spokesman Capt. Michael Wilson says the department welcomes Marcus Gruner to the department. Gruner is a 23-yearDSCF3050-old graduate of New Palestine High School. He has previously served as a firefighter with Sugar Creek Township for five years. Gruner is a state certified Basic EMT.

CFD also welcome Michael Tucker to the department. Tucker is 27-years-old and is also a graduate of New Palestine High School. He has served as a firefighter with Buck Creek Township for five years and is a state certified Basic EMT.

In addition to their emergency medical training, Wilson says that both firefighters have been trained to the awareness and operations level for Hazardous Materials. He adds that Gruner and Tucker will undergo additional training with the department before they receive their station assignments.

Columbus moving forward with bike-share program

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The Columbus Park Foundation will be moving ahead with plans to create a bike share program for the city of Columbus.

April Williams with the Park Foundation said a study group has been conducting surveys to gauge public interest.

“We have had public open houses, an online survey and we did some internal surveys at Cummins and the hospital,” Williams said. “All-in-all we had about 7,500 respondents. Of those 7,500 respondents about 66 percent said they would use a bike share.”

The next steps will be to identify where bike share stations should be located, based on the public’s input.

“Moving forward, we asked the community to tell us what locations would be the most logical locaitons for them on a map of Columbus and what were their travel patterns,” Williams said. “Next, we will be looking at all those locations and what makes sense, logistically.”

After that, the not-for-profit group will have a better idea for how much money will need to be raised for the project.

Man accused of battering woman

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A Columbus man was arrested over the weekend after being accused of battering a woman in the 1900 block of South Talkington Road.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, says that 19-year-old Michael W. Nida II was Friday night after allegedly entering a residence, breaking a woman’s belongings, then choking her before leaving the scene.

Nida is facing charges of domestic battery, strangulation, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery with serious bodily injury. He has also been served with a protective order.

Northbound I-65 to narrow for bridge work

Jun 9, 2015 262

Northbound Interstate 65 between Edinburgh and Franklin will be narrowed to a single lane Thursday night while contractors work on repairing bridges along the route.

Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation says the work will be happening from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. The work will be done on the bridges over Sugar Creek and Amity Ditch, Maginity said.

Crews are working five 10-hour days, plus eight hours on Saturdays to complete this $21 million repair and resurfacing project by the end of the construction season, he said.

New CASA volunteers sworn-in

Jun 8, 2015 416

Several newly-trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers began their first full week of service on Monday. The nine volunteers were sworn-in late last week by Bartholomew County Juvenile Magistrate Heather Mollo as officers of the court.

In their new roll, these volunteers will work directly with area victims of child abuse and neglect, working to ensure that their needs are met and that their best interests are front and center in the court system. CASA volunteers do the work needed to make sure that judges, and others, hear the voices of these children in Bartholomew, Decatur and Jennings Counties.

Magistrate Mollo spoke to the CASA volunteers before administering their oaths.

“On behalf of the family court judges of the State of Indiana, thank you,” Mollo said. “Compared with you, my time with these children is often formal and brief. You are the one who provides the critical detail. Thank you for your heart.”

Advocates for Children is already looking ahead to the next training session. Rick Scalf, the agency’s Community Outreach Coordinator, said a record number children being removed from their homes is putting more pressure on the system. He says this pressure is increasing the importance of volunteers.

“The Department of Child services recently announce that 2015 is a record year for child abuse and neglect,” Scalf said. “We’ve already doubled the rate of cases from 2014. With the child protection system under that kind of pressure, and each department’s case load rising, it’s more important than ever to have someone standing next to these children, making sure that they don’t slip through the cracks.”

Scalf went on to say that Advocates for Children has seen increases in their waiting list in all three counties they serve. He says the children on these lists have already been removed from their homes, but do not yet an advocate speaking on their behalf.

Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or the upcoming training session are urged to call Advocates for Children at (812) 372-2808, or visit the agency online at www.apowerfulvoice.org.