Offices closed for holiday

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Because of Christmas Eve today, most local government offices are closed today and also tomorrow for Christmas.

The Bartholomew County Landfill will be closing at 1 p.m. today.

White River Broadcasting offices will be closing at 2 p.m. for the holiday. From the news department, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Christmas tree pickup begins Monday

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The Columbus Sanitation Department will begin picking up your live Christmas trees with normal trash routes starting Monday.

Jeff Whittington, the sanitation foreman, asks that you remove any ornaments, tree stands, lights or other metal material from your tree before you put it out to the curb. The trees are turned into mulch at the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District site.

Whittington said that the live tree pickups will run Monday through Friday, Jan. 15. If you want to dispose of an artificial tree, or other large items, you can call the sanitation offices at (812) 376-2509

Storms blow through area; tornado hits Greenwood

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There’s tornado damage in Greenwood this morning, according to our news-gathering partners at Metro Networks.

The National Weather Service confirmed the EF-One twister yesterday after storms moved through Central Indiana.  A spokesman says the tornado traveled on the ground for a quarter mile, damaging three homes and an animal hospital.

Storm damage was reported throughout our listening area, with serious damage in Shelby and Decatur counties and scattered lawn furniture and power outages in Bartholomew County.

Columbus Police Department to hire additional officers

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The Columbus Police Department is looking to hire additional officers. Sgt. Matt Harris is the department spokesman. He says the last day to submit an application is Dec. 30th.

Harris says that once the applications are submitted, prospective candidates will have to through a number of other steps. He says these include a written and physical test, psychological profile, background check, a meeting with the captain’s advisory board, and more. Harris says the first portion of the testing is set for Saturday, Jan. 16th. He adds that an officer’s starting salary is approximately $48,000 per year with additional incentives like shift differential and clothing allowances.

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Suspect named in Franklin graffiti case

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Police in Franklin may have a break on a recent graffiti case.

Officers with the Franklin Police Department (FPD) began investigating multiple reports of spray paint graffiti in the northern part of downtown Franklin on Dec. 12. A department spokesperson says the graffiti was found on public and private property, including an FPD vehicle. Investigators say they were able to identify several persons of interest and one suspect. Police say the suspect, identified as Charles Nelson, was interviewed by detectives and charges have been submitted to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office for multiple counts of Criminal Mischief.

Franklin Police Detectives are still investigating the case. If you have any information, you are asked to contact the Franklin Police Department Tip Line at (812) 346-1100. Tips and information can be left anonymously.

Teen stabbed in Franklin

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Franklin Police are searching for the suspect in an alleged stabbing that took place early Wednesday morning inside of a city park. A spokesperson with the Franklin Police Department says that officers responded to the scene, in the 100 block of Washington Street, at 2:12 a.m.

Officers reported finding 19-year-old Christopher L. Jones suffering from three stab wounds to his abdominal area. Witnesses told police that the stabbing took place at Scott Park after Jones intentionally met with his alleged assailant to settle a dispute over a mutual female acquaintance. The witnesses say that a fight eventually broke out, which led to the stabbing. Investigators say they have identified a suspect whom they are looking for.

Franklin Police are asking for anyone with information in this case to come forward. You are asked to contact Detective Sergeant John Borges at (317) 346-1142. Tips and information can be left anonymously.

Columbus restaurant to be featured by Indianapolis TV station

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A Columbus restaurant will get statewide television exposure in the coming weeks.

Vicki Michael, with Skooter’s Family Restaurant, says that the restaurant came in first in a recent Facebook poll by Indianapolis television station WISH-TV Channel 8. Michael says that representatives of the station told her that Skooter’s was mentioned more than any other restaurant in the poll, which asked viewers to name the best place for the ideal breakfast dining experience.

Michael says that Channel 8 will be broadcasting live from Skooter’s on the morning of Monday, Jan. 4 as part of meteorologist Randy Ollis’ “Randy on the Road” segment from 5 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. She says that Ollis is expected to “help out” at the restaurant and deliver breakfast to patrons’ tables, as well as his usual weather duties.

You are encouraged to visit Skooter’s on the morning of Jan. 4 and take part in this event, as well as a nice breakfast. The restaurant is located at 1602 State Street on the east side of Columbus.

Franklin police arrest school bomb threat suspect

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The Franklin police are reporting that they have a suspect in custody in a bomb threat against Franklin Community High School.

The schools closed Friday after the bomb threat. The police department says that the suspect is being referred to juvenile authorities for review of the case.

Hope council works to replace missing ordinance

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The town of Hope has a law on the books regulating livestock within the town limits, but town officials can’t find a signed copy of that law.

When the law was first passed by a previous council in 2011, no signed copy was put on file. To cover their bases, the town council voted earlier this week to reauthorize the law on the advice of town attorney Cindy Boll.

The council intended to pass the reauthorization by waiving a second reading. While the four council members present voted unanimously to suspend the rules, allowing for the law to be passed immediately,  Councilman Jerry Bragg voted against the final ordinance. Boll said that the accelerated schedule required two thirds of the council voting in favor to approve it with the second reading rules suspended — which meant all four members present had to approve. Because there weren’t enough members present voting in favor to meet the legal requirements the reauthorization only passed on first reading. A final approval has been scheduled for next month.

Boll said the issue came to light after several people came in looking for copies of the law.

Hope resident Tim Saylor was recently cited for having chickens on his property. Several neighbors came to Saylor’s defense at Monday’s Town Council meeting. Nancy Banta suggested that with the problems finding a signed copy of the law, that Saylor’s chickens be considered as grandfathered in. Another neighbor cited Purdue statistics that show Saylor’s chickens had a negligible smell from 14 feet away.

The council assured Saylor that his chickens could stay on his property through the start of the year while the issue is worked through.

Taylorsville to get new tornado siren

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Taylorsville will be getting a new tornado siren. William Tapscott is the Coordinator for the Taylorsville Crime Watch. He says that the town’s original sire, which was approximately 50-years-old, stopped working about six-months ago. Due to the age of the siren, fixing it was not possible.

Tapscott says that his group worked with Bartholomew County emergency management director Dennis Moats and Bartholomew County’s Emergency Operations Center Director Ed Reuter to get the specs for a new siren. The original plan was for the Taylorsville Crime Watch to raise the money needed for an updated siren system, possibly utilizing used parts.

Tapscott says that his group got a nice surprise a few weeks ago. He says that Moats, Reuter and German Township Trustee Chris West met with the Bartholomew County Commissioners. Tapscott says that the Commissioners pledged $10,000 from the county’s telecommunications fund to purchase, install and maintain a new tornado siren. He adds that the siren will be synched with the county’s emergency system to provide the most advanced warning available for Taylorsville residents. Tapscott says that the new siren is expected to be installed on a cell tower in March.

Tapscott went on to say that Taylorsville Crime Watch is raising money for a second siren that would be installed at the Edinburgh Outlets. If you would like to donate, he says you can simply stop in any local Main Source Bank and offer a deposit to the organization.