Ivy Tech invites students, parents to Go Ivy Day

Mar 20, 2015 554

Ivy Tech Community College Columbus will be hosting a Go Ivy Day for high school juniors, seniors, and their parents from 5:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8th, in the Lecture Hall of the Columbus Learning Center.

Participants will learn about the more than 40 degree programs that can be completed in Columbus, financial aid, scholarships, career options, and residential housing. They can also meet faculty and students. One student will win a new iPad.

Reservations for Go Ivy Day are requested: mozaeta@ivytech.edu or 812-374-5341.

Schneck executive awarded Sagamore of the Wabash

Mar 20, 2015 561

Gary A. Meyer, the president and CEO of Shneck Medical Center in Seymour has been awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash — the highest civilian award in Indiana.

State Represenative Jim Lucas said the award is given to honor those individuals who have served their communities in a manner that is well above and beyond regular contributions. This award is reserved only for those whose commitments and contributions have brought extraordinary positive change to their communities.

Warren Forgey, Schneck’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative and Operations Officer, who recommended Meyer for the award, praised Meyer as an outstanding citizen and community contributor who has given over 40 years of service to Schneck Medical Center.

IUPUC, other groups, set candidate debates

Mar 20, 2015 1259

IUPUC will be hosting a mayoral debate between Mayor Kristen Brown and her opponent in the Republican primary elections, City Councilman Jim Lienhoop.

That 90-minute debate will be at the Columbus Learning Center starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday April 1st.

Sandra Miles, IUPUC’s director of student affairs is one of the organizers of the event. She says it is important for students to get involved in local issues.

“IUPUC definitely tries to be as connected to the community as possible and we think this is an awesome civic engagement experience for our students to see how the democratic process works,” Miles said.

“We are trying to make sure our students understand that IUPUC is not just a place where they go to school but they are connected to a broader community and they should be engaged with it.”

Miles said that three students will serve as panelists for the debate and ask questions of the candidates.

“There will be traditional questions which will be gathered from our faculty and staff on campus,” Miles said. “And then we are going to have a flash round which will be a portion of the debate where the candidates will only be able to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. They won’t be eble to elaborate. And we are collecting those questions from members of our local community.”

Other opportunities to hear the views of the two candidates will include a forum hosted by the Republican Ladies League and News Talk 1010 WCSI on Tuesday March 31st from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Donner Center. If you can’t make it, that event will air live on News Talk 1010 WCSI and can be streamed here on 1010wcsi.com

And the Bartholomew County Landlords Association will host a debate on Saturday, April 11th at 8:30 a.m. at Hotel Indigo.

Mayoral candidates discuss issues with Kiwanis

Mar 20, 2015 964

Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown and City Councilman Jim Lienhoop both outlined their views of city government to the Meridian Kiwanis club recently.

The two will face off for the Republican nomination for mayor in the May primary. Lienhoop spoke to the club Thursday, and Brown appeared March 12th.

Lienhoop said one of the reasons he is running is because of the high turnover in City Hall. He said there has been an almost complete turnover in department heads during Brown’s tenure as well as the loss of experienced employees.

“I can’t run my business that way, I can’t imagine that any of you could either,” Lienhoop said. “When you talk about spending, part of what you have to have are people who know how to do what we do efficiently….”

“That takes years of experience. And we have seen, literally, decades worth of experience walk out the door in this current administration. We have got to stop that. We have to stem that tide, we have to stop that turnover.”

Brown said she has made many changes in the way the city runs and there has been pushback because change is difficult.

“I feel very strongly about what we are doing right now in City Hall and our efforts,” Brown said. “I am proud of our accomplishments. And I am even more encouraged by some of the projects we are working on now that are longer term. I feel very committed to those things and I felt that if I didn’t run or weren’t re-elected many of those things would fall to the floor and I feel strongly about the progress we are making and the direction we are heading.”

Both candidates spoke about the importance of bringing jobs to Columbus. Brown touted the expansion of Cummins during her tenure and Toyota’s decision to move its U.S. headquarters here.

“We have never before in our history had more people been going to work every day,” Brown said. “In fact, we are actually at about 52,000 jobs in the community — it is actually the county, our Columbus Metropolitan Area effectively is the county — 52,000 jobs right now, an all-time record high, almost 42,000 peak residents employed, all-time record high.”

But Lienhoop said the city has stalled on bringing new companies to Columbus. He said Brown is not taking part in overseas recruiting.

“That is part of the reason why I took it upon myself to go to Japan and China last fall,” Lienhoop said. “The city paid for the trip, but nobody paid me for my time. I just did that because I felt like it had to be done. I think we did some good over there but it is a pretty long … sales cycle. But it is critical for our community to continute to foster economic development. You can never take your foot off the gas. And that is more or less what we have done and that is what I want to do differently.”

The candidates also shared their concerns for the major increase in train traffic that will cross Jonathan Moore Pike into downtown Columbus. The CSX railroad has a proposal to use the Lousiville and Indiana Railroad tracks through town, more than tripling the number of trains that come through every day.

“Honestly, I have banded together with the other mayors,” Brown said. “We have been pushing for some sort of funding. We have been to Coats, Messer, Young, the governor. We are doing our best but I think it is going to be a done deal and we are going to be struggling to find the funding for it. That is the unfortunate reality.”

Lienhoop said Columbus should be uniting with other communities on the issue.

“What we need to be able to do is work together with some of the mayors in some of these other communities,” Lienhoop said. “Because when we go somewhere else and ask for money to fix that problem, they don’t see… a $35 million problem. They see a $100 million problem. Because is they take care of us, they have to take care of Franklin, Seymour and all of these other communities up and down the line.”

CRH awards grant to sheriff’s department

Mar 20, 2015 520

Columbus Regional Health is giving a grant to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, so the sheriff can buy a life-saving drug for heroin overdoses.

The county will use the grant to purchase Narcan, a prescription medication that blocks the effects of opiates and reverses an overdose. Deputies will be able to administer the medication and it does not require a medical professional

In many cases, police are the first to arrive at the scene of an overdose. Julie Abedian, president of the hospital foundation, said the request was initiated by a hospital physician who trained deputies and police officers.

The drug will be bought from the hospital at cost.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said the total amount of the grant is not yet known.

Scooter driver arrested after dropped drug pipe

Mar 20, 2015 639

A Columbus man was arrested on drug charges Wednesday after he allegedly dropped a drug pipe during a traffic stop on his scooter.

Officer John Searle pulled over the scooter near 13th Street and Beam Road at around 6 p.m. Wednesday night because the scooter didn’t have a license plate, according to Officer Courtney Plummer, spokeswoman for the Columbus Police Department.

The driver, 49-year-old Kevin J. Henry. pulled out his billfold and dropped the pipe, police say. A search allegedly revealed a loaded handgun, more drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Preliminary charges include carrying a handgun without a permit, reckless possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.

Schneck chosen as one of the best places to work

Mar 20, 2015 461

Schneck Medical Center in Seymour has been chosen as one of the nation’s “150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

According to Stephanie Furlow, spokeswoman for the hospital, Schneck was chosen as outstanding workplace because of its benefits offerings, wellness initiatives, and efforts to improve professional development, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance and a sense of community and unity among employees. This is the second time that Schneck has been selected by Becker’s as a best place to work.

Schneck has also been named as one of Indiana’s best places to work and recognized nationally as a best place to work in healthcare by Modern Healthcare and HealthExecNews.

Deputies warn of high-water driving dangers

Mar 19, 2015 826

This week is Severe Weather and Flood Preparedness Week in Indiana and emergency officials are stressing the importance of not driving into flood waters.

The slogan for those efforts is “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

Capt. Chris Roberts, head of the detectives division of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and an organizer of the county’s water rescue team, says driving on to flooded roadways causes dangerous situations for those stuck and those trying to rescue them.

“Even with their safety equipment, there is no guarantee when they go out there,” Roberts said. “So we are very conscioius of everybody involved and all the resources being applied.”

Roberts said that the unnecessary water rescues tax the emergency response system, tying up police, firefighters and paramedics.

“Bartholomew County has several rivers and streams and areas that tend to have flooding in the roadway,” Roberts said. “Especially state Road 11, Southern Crossing, 1100S and 400N — they are typically the ones that particularly flood. We do get a lot of calls out there from motorists who try to go around the barricades and cross the water and get stranded. Luckily we have been lucky not to have any injuries with that. But it does cause a great deal of resources to be devoted to retrieve them.”

He also said there are hefty fines that can be applied to those who ignore high water signs and road closings.

“If a road is closed by a barricade, there is a law for disregarding a traffic control device,” Roberts said. “The penalty can be a citation. I believe the court cost is $118 plus the fee, so you are looking at over $122 in citation if you are caught going around that barricade.”

Columbus to begin yard waste pickup with new dates

Mar 18, 2015 902

The Columbus City Garage will be starting up its yard waste program next week.

But with the changes to the city trash routes and the addition of curbside recycling there will be some changes to the yard waste program. Now, yard waste Toters should be at the curb on the same day as your trash and recycling Toters.

The city redrew the trash routes earlier this year to make them more efficient. Most residents saw the day of their trash pickups change earlier this year when the new routes went into effect.

The Toters should be out by 7 a.m. All grass, leaves and garden debris can go in the yard waste toters. If you have large piles of brush you can call 812-376-2508 to arrange pickup.

The yard waste program runs from March 23rd to December 11th.

Mayor looks for buyers of Water Street properties

Mar 18, 2015 988

Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown would like to see the city of Columbus sell three city-owned properties on Water Street, along the East Fork White River.

The mayor briefed the City Council on the plan to seek proposals for the three properties, which total just over 22 acres and include an unused storage building and the former wastewater treatment plant. Brown said the city had no use for the property.

Brown said the properties need to be appraised and rezoned, but then should would like to see proposals for the properties. Her hope is that they could be turned to a commercial use.

A large portion of the properties are in the river’s floodway, while the rest lies within the 100-year floodplain.

Council President Tim Shuffett questioned whether the properties could even be sold because some of the area is the site of a former city landfill and is likely contaminated.