REMC: Check on those with medical needs

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Bartholomew County REMC is reporting that as of about 8:15 a.m. there were about 2,000 customers without power county-wide.

Marty Lasure, spokeswoman for the agency, says that the crews will make better progress in daylight. However, it will take many hours to get the outages restored throughout the day. Broken poles, trees and flooding issues will make restoration slower today.

Lasure said the cooperative is receiving calls from those who have medical needs such as oxygen that require electricity. Due to the slow restoration efforts today, they need to seek backup methods such as a generator or go to a place that has electricity.

If you know of anyone who has medical needs who might be affected, you should please check in on them.

Interstate 65 congestion easing near Seymour

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Indiana State Police report that  I-65 north lanes at the 47 mile marker no longer have water across the roadway.

Motorists are able to travel northbound without going through standing water on the roadway. The standing water across the south lanes of I-65 at the 47 mile marker is starting to recede. Motorists traveling southbound are able to use both lanes to slowly travel through the area at this time. Traffic southbound is moving quicker at this time and is currently backed up to the 53 mile marker

INDOT and Indiana State Police has just opened all lanes of travel for I-65 south at the 47 mile marker. ISP units are standing by in the area as the congestion clears itself out that

Emergency Chief says staff handled Monday’s weather well

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Monday’s weather kept Bartholomew County first responders busy. Ed Reuter, Director of Bartholomew County’s Emergency Operations 911 Center, says that between 12:01 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday, the Emergency Operations Center logged 396 Computer Aided Dispatcher Reports. While there were no reports of significant property damage, there were 40 trees that were reported down in area roads.

Reuter says that when the storm impacted Bartholomew County and Columbus at 1 p.m., that is when the Emergency Operations Center logged the most number of calls, with 71. He adds that all seven consoles were manned to process the high number of calls being received at the center. Reuter says there were no reports of major injuries or illnesses, however they did receive a third party call for a welfare check that was later upgraded to a water rescue off of County Road 800 North.

Reuter cited “great cooperation by all city and county public safety agencies, as well as the County Highway and City Street Department in handling these calls under extreme weather conditions.”

Work on tearing down damaged North Vernon buildings to begin this week

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Work on tearing down the buildings damaged in the November fire that decimated much of North Vernon’s historic district is ongoing. Ardell Mitchell, who was hired by the North Vernon City Council to shepherd the clean-up, gave council members an update during Monday night’s city council meeting.

Mitchell says that Hullman Excavating, out of Versailles, beat out two other bidders and won the contract to tear down the buildings and restore the land. He says that while some work should begin this week, removal work should begin, in earnest, next week. Mitchell says that most of the substantial demolition is scheduled to be done by September 7th. The work, including the seeding of the grounds, is scheduled to be completed, in total, by October 7th.

Mitchell shred concerns that the contractor had about safety. He says that rubble and debris will be removed from the site by a portion of Amvets Drive. Due to the narrowness of the road, the contractor requested a temporary closure of Amvets Drive from Fifth Street to Seventh Street. The city council approved the contractor’s request and will close that portion of the roadway from July 20 through Sept. 7.

Woman accused of lying to police

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Columbus police say a local woman is under arrest after allegedly lying about her identity while making a robbery report.

Sgt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the police department, reports that officers took a report of a robbery Thursday night in a parking lot on North National Road from a woman who claimed to be Sarah Taylor. The woman said that an unknown man asked her for a couple of dollars and then reached in the car and stole money from her hand.

But she later said that she knew the man and didn’t want him to get in trouble. And police found out that she was really 34-year-old Sarah Meyer of Columbus. She was arrested on a preliminary charge of false informing.

Deputy injured in fair ride mishap

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A Bartholomew County reserve deputy was injured Saturday night, when the floor of a ride at the county 4-H fair collapsed.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, says a woman suffered a seizure while on the ride at the fair. As rescue workers were on the ride trying to help her, the metal floor collapsed. Sheriff Matt Myers and Fair Board President Larry Fisher shut down the ride for the rest of the night, until it could be inspected.

Assisting at the scene were the Columbus Township Volunteer Fire Department and Columbus Regional Hospital paramedics.

Flood dangers today and tomorrow

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The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a flash flood watch for much of our listening area, running through 5 a.m. tomorrow.

The affected area includes Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson and Shelby counties.

Additional rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms are expected to develop early this morning through late tonight with the potential to produce significant rainfall. Rainfall of two to five inches has occurred in the last six days with pockets of up to nine inches of rainfall. Additional significant rainfall will likely cause flash flooding in these areas.

The National Weather Service has extended the flood warning for the Driftwood River near Edinburgh until Friday morning. At 10:30 last night the river was at 10.5 feet. Flood stage is 11.0 feet. The river is expected to pass 13 feet by Wednesday morning.

Emergency officals are asking you to use caution and you should not drive through water covered streets and roadways. They say that although “High Water” signs may not be posted, if you cannot see the street or roadway, do not attempt to drive through the water.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says that some of these severe storms may occur rapidly. The department suggests:

  • Have an all-hazards weather radio nearby during daily activities. Keep the weather radio turned on at a volume loud enough that alerts can be over day-to-day activities. Alerts could provide important details about severe weather, with safety precautions to follow.
  • Know where to take shelter in the event of severe weather. Residents living in manufactured housing should identify another location to take shelter.
  • Consider turning up the volume on cell phone notifications. Be familiar with the notification settings of weather apps.
  • Keep all electronic devices fully charged in case of a power outage.

In areas where flooding is already underway:

  • Do not walk or drive through any flooded areas – it takes only six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and only two feet to move a vehicle. If a road is closed, find another route.
  • Follow the directions of public safety officials – that includes evacuation orders, road closures or requests to stay at home or stay away from certain areas; public safety officials give orders for public well-being. Follow their guidance.
  • Pay attention to signage.

Joint pain info session sets for Thursday

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Columbus Regional Health’s Joint & Spine Center will be offering a free joint pain information session from 12 to 1 p.m., Thursday, at Mill Race Center in Columbus.

Dr. Darryl Tannenbaum, a board certified orthopedic surgeon, will discuss common causes of joint pain and treatment options. The session is free but registration is required.

You can call 1-800-699-1019 or go online to

Franklin man arrested on drug/burglary charges

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Deputies from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Johnson County man early Friday morning on Burglary charges.

Sheriff’s Department Spokeswoman Judy Jackson says that shortly RICHARD ELLINGTONafter 2 a.m., Deputy Sgt. Kris Weisner and his K-9 partner, Bolt, were dispatched to an alleged burglary in progress in the area of County Roads 8900 North and 300 West. The homeowner called 9-1-1 after we saw a man breaking into a storage shed on his property.

Jackson says that Indiana State Police Trooper Jacob Tolle, Sgt. Weisner and Bolt arrived on the scene within six minutes. Weisner reportedly let his K-9 loose and all three began searching the area. Bolt and they began searching the area. They found the suspect lying in a wooded area behind the shed just minutes later.

The suspect, 39-year-old Richard Ellington, of Franklin, was immediately taken into custody without incident. During a search, Ellington reportedly told authorities that he had a used syringe in his pocket. He allegedly told them that he had used it earlier in the evening to inject Methamphetamine. Trooper Tolle also reportedly found a capped syringe and crescent wrench in Ellington’s pockets.

Ellington was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of Burglary (Level 5 Felony), Possession of a syringe (Level 6 Felony) and Possession of Marijuana (Class B Misdemeanor). He’s being held on $26,000 bond.

Ceremony to honor veteran this morning

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A ceremony will be held this morning at the Bartholomew County Veterans Memorial on the courthouse lawn to honor a Korean war veteran.

The family of William R. “Bob” Hilycord will receive a Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medal in his honor at a ceremony at 10:30 this morning. Hilycord was shot down in his very first mission of the war and spent time in a prisoner of war camp. After he was repatriated, he spent time at several military hospitals but never received the honors he was due for his hardships.

He passed away in 2001 before he could receive the medals, but his family and Bartholomew County Veterans Service Officer Tom Crawford continued the crusade to get Hilycord recognized.