Seymour Police urge driving safety as prom approaches

Apr 29, 2015 623

Members of the Seymour Police Department (SPD) will be conducting a driving exercise for several Seymour High School students.

SPD Chief Carl Lamb says this event takes place Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. He says that that students will attend a one hour Power Point presentation on the effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body, then how they affect drivers behind the wheel. After the presentation, Lamb says that students will drive golf carts through a course, then drive the same course while wearing fatal vision goggles. Fatal vision goggles are goggles that simulate different levels of impairment.

Lamb says that this exercise is being conducted approximately one week before the Seymour High School prom. The hope is that students will think twice before driving while under the influence, or getting in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.

Brown campaign and supporters fight back

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Mayor Kristen Brown’s campaign is fighting back against charges made by a supporter of her mayoral primary opponent, City Councilman Jim Lienhoop.

Victoria Griffin alleges that she was headed into Donner Center on Monday when she was accosted by men wearing Kristen Brown shirts who were campaigning outside the early polling location. She filed a complaint with the Bartholomew County Elections Board, which will hold a hearing Friday morning.

Volunteer coordinator for “Friends of Kristen Brown,” Tamara Kiel, says that Griffin’s allegations are false and that she is upset that they are not able to go in front of the elections board before Friday. She added that she scheduled and knows the volunteers working on Brown’s behalf and that these allegations are incompatible with their nature and behavior. Kiel went on to say that she “knows 100-percent” that these allegations will be dismissed by the County Elections Board.

Two supporters of Mayor Brown, Glenn Petri and Kenneth Scobel, stopped by our studios Wednesday afternoon. The pair say they were the only Brown volunteers working outside the Donner Center all day on Monday. Petri and Scobel say that there were no confrontations with anyone that day and that they don’t know who Griffin is.

“It didn’t happen,” said Petri.

The men asserted that they merely greeted voters as they came and went. Petri says the only extended conversations that they had were with friends and acquaintances that stopped by to vote. He added that the only other interaction they had was when they helped former Mayor Bob Stewart from his car to the front door of the Donner Center.

Both men say they will be in attendance during Friday’s meeting of the election board to vigorously defend themselves.

Complaint filed against Brown supporters

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Supporters of Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown are being accused of intimidating tactics outside an early voting center.

Jay Phelps, the Bartholomew County Clerk, says a complaint has been filed with the county election board over an incident Monday afternoon.

Victoria Griffin alleges that she was headed into Donner Center when she was approached by men wearing Kristen Brown shirts who were campaigning outside the early polling location. The men got into her personal space and angrily told her that she should not support Brown’s opponent, Councilman Jim Lienhoop for mayor, according to the complaint. She said the encounter got so heated that parks employees came to the door to see if she needed help.

Griffin said she had actually already voted and was only coming to Donner Center for business dealing with the Columbus Park Foundation, where she is a board member. She felt she was being intimidated by Brown’s supporters.

Griffin said she is a supporter of Lienhoop, but she was not wearing any buttons or other markings for the candidate.

Phelps said the county election board will discuss the issue at a meeting Friday morning. He said he is seeking any witnesses to the incident and is still trying to positively identify the men involved.

Hope Summer Playground to celebrate 25 years

Apr 29, 2015 605

The Hope Summer Playground program will celebrate its 25th year at the Hauser ball diamonds with a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, the first day of games for the softball and baseball program.

About 300 children take part in the program each year.

The organizers of Saturday’s event are inviting former Hope Summer Playground board members, volunteers and coaches to attend the festivities as well as members of the Flat Rock-Hawcreek school board.

Mayoral candidates talk about local divisions

Apr 29, 2015 664

The race between Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown and her opponent in the Republican primary, Councilman Jim Lienhoop, is a tense one.

We asked the candidates:

This election seems to have either created or revealed a large divide among the local Republican Party. You and your opponent have been campaigning pretty hard against each other and the sides seem to be pretty bitterly divided. How do you repair those divisions once the election is over?

Brown’s response: 04-29 kristen brown Question 11

Lienhoop’s response: 04-29 Jim Lienhoop Question 11

We also asked: If you don’t win on May 5th, how will you handle the last eight months of your term?

Brown’s response: 04-29 kristen brown Question 12

Lienhoop’s response: 04-29 Jim Lienhoop Question 12

Seymour woman injured in Bartholomew County crash

Apr 29, 2015 1350

A Seymour woman was seriously injured in a car accident yesterday in southern Bartholomew County.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department says that 69-year-old Sandra A. Connelly was driving on County Road 800S near State Road 11 at about 4 p.m. Tuesday when she lost control of her vehicle and it rolled over.

She was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be cut out of it by rescue workers. She was then flown to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis by Lifeline helicopter.

The sheriff’s department, Columbus Fire Department, Wayne Township volunteer firefighters and Columbus Regional Hospital paramedics all assisted as the scene.

Advocates for victims of sexual assault to wear denim Wednesday

Apr 28, 2015 725

Wednesday is “Denim Day,” a day meant to shine a light on the crimes of sexual assault and rape.

Kelly Benjamin is the Child Support Court Magistrate for Bartholomew County, and an organizer for this event. She says that “Denim Days” came about as the result of an incident that took place in Italy in 1997 where a man convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman was freed by that country’s supreme court. The court ruled that the victim was wearing jeans that were so tight, she must have helped to remove them, thus consenting to the rape.

Benjamin says this enraged the female members of the Italian Parliament, with many showing up the next day on the steps of the Parliament wearing jeans. She says that by wearing jeans today, you are standing up for the rights of everyone to be safe and to shatter the myths surrounding sexual assault.

For more information, visit www.rainn.org.

North Vernon City Council approves tax abatement

Apr 28, 2015 517

A Jennings County employer says it will retain 217 employees and add six jobs as a result of new equipment and a tax abatement.

The North Vernon City Council voted Monday night to approve a 10-year tax abatement on personal property being purchased by North Vernon Industry Corp. (NVIC). Company officials told the council that NVIC was spending $2.4 million on the equipment, which will result in a fifth furnace being added to the facility, a gray iron foundry that was established in 1996.

Company officials say the six new hires will likely come from a temp agency, as that is how they usually determine who they want on a permanent basis. An NVIC representative told the city council that once these temp workers make it on the company payroll, they start out at $13 per hour, plus benefits.

Council members vote five to zero to approve the tax abatement.

Cummins releases first quarter figures

Apr 28, 2015 462

First quarter results for Cummins, Inc. showed growth.

The Columbus-based engine manufacturer on Tuesday reported first quarter revenue of $4.7 billion. Company officials say that is up seven percent from the same quarter in 2014. They say that the increase year-over-year was driven by stronger demand in on-highway markets and distributor acquisitions in North America. Currency negatively impacted revenues by three percent compared to last year, primarily due to a stronger U.S. dollar.

Revenues in North America increased 17 percent while international sales declined by six percent. Within international markets, company officials say that lower revenues in Europe and Brazil more than offset growth in China.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased to $562 million for the first quarter or 11.9 percent of sales, up from $528 million or 12.0 percent of sales a year ago.

Net income attributable to Cummins grew 14 percent in the first quarter to $387 million ($2.14 per diluted share), compared to $338 million ($1.83 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2014. The tax rate in the first quarter of 2015, including discrete items, was 26.3 percent.

“Record profitability in our Components Segment, execution of our distributor acquisition strategy, the successful launch of new products in China and improved results in our Power Generation Business all contributed to earnings growth in the first quarter. Strong performance in these areas more than offset the impact of weak demand in a number of international markets.” said Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger. “We expect profitability for the remainder of the year to increase from first quarter levels as revenues improve and we capture more benefits from cost reduction activities. During the quarter, we returned $277 million to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchase, consistent with our plans to return 50 percent of full year operating cash flow.”

Based on the current forecast, Cummins expects full year 2015 revenues to grow between two and four percent, and EBIT to be in the range of 13.5 to 14 percent of sales.

Mayor, opponent tackle employee morale, transparency

Apr 28, 2015 888

The primaries for the Columbus city elections are a week away. We talked to the mayoral candidates about city employees’ morale and the openess of city government.

Mayor Kristen Brown and Councilman Jim Lienhoop were asked : The issue of city employees and their morale has been brought up. What is a reasonable amount of turnover among city employees and department heads and how important is the morale of Columbus city employees to you?

Lienhoop’s response: 04-28 Jim Lienhoop Question 3

Brown’s response: 04-28 Kristen Brown Question 3 part 1

04-28 Kristen Brown Question 3 part 2

 

We also asked the candidates: The issue has been brought up of openness in city government and city business being done behind closed doors. Specifically in caucus meetings or through the private corporation that operated during the last administration. How would you ensure that the average member of the public has input on city decisions?

Lienhoop’s response: 04-28 Jim Lienhoop Question 4

Brown’s response: 04-28 Kristen Brown Question 4