Gov. Pence to visit TIEM on Thursday

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Governor Mike Pence will be in Columbus on Thursday join executives from Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) and its Japanese parent company, Toyota Industries Corporation, to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary of its Columbus operations.

TIEM has been manufacturing forklifts in Columbus since 1990, and recently produced its 500,000th forklift made in North America. Toyoata officials say that the company employs more than 1,500 Hoosiers who manufacture 40,000 forklifts annually for customers across North America.

The Governor’s Office notes that Pence met with executives of Toyota Industries Corporation in Nagoya, Japan, during his seventh jobs and economic development mission. The Pence Administration says that Indiana has the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita of any state. They add that Indiana is the only state that is home to three Japanese original equipment manufacturer automotive companies. In total, says the Governor’s Office, Indiana boasts more than 250 Japan-owned companies that support more than 52,000 Hoosier jobs.

Tuesday’s celebration is expected to begin at 10:45 a.m. at the company’s campus at 5559 Inwood Drive. Gov. Pence is expected to make remarks during the event.

LOIT option shot down by Bartholomew County Council

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A Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) for those who live and work in Bartholomew County is off of the table for now.

The Bartholomew County Council rejected the proposal, offered up by District 3 Councilman Mark Gorbett during the council’s Tuesday night meeting. He opined that the tax would be a good way to shore up the county’s budget following a near-disastrous budget session for 2016. Gorbett, the former Sheriff, had been pressuring his fellow council members for weeks to go along with the LOIT proposal, or offer up their own plan for dealing with the budget shortfalls, which are projected to continue for years to come.

Gorbett noted that the only reason that the county was able to balance the 2016 budget was through increasing the portion of healthcare costs paid by county employees and through the generosity of County Commissioners. He reminded the body that the Commissioners pledged not only to forego their already approved annex project, but also gave the council approximately one-million dollars that was earmarked for county roads. “We can’t keep doing this!,” exclaimed Gorbett, “We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.” He also pointed out that the Commissioners have made it clear that they will not be offering money up in 2017, especially if the council has no plan in place to deal with the budget shortfall.

Gorbett pointed to his experience as Sheriff in saying that the council was entering dangerous territory, budget wise, as it relates to public safety. He noted that this budget session marks two times since he was the county’s top law-enforcement officer that the council has held off on purchasing new vehicles for Deputies. “I feel for (Sheriff) Matt (Myers),” said Gorbett, who noted that crime is going up in this area. He went on to say that if steps aren’t taken, some services will have to be dropped. If not dropped completely, continued Gorbett, residents will need to start paying a fee to receive services like funeral processions, responding to false alarms and others. Perhaps eluding to future budget issues, the Sheriff’s Department announced a new policy last week that will see the department charge a fee to those who request the services of the Reserve Unit for private events.

Councilman Jorge Morales said that he was uncomfortable instituting a new tax and suggested that the issue be studied more in-depth. He suggested that there could be further savings squeezed from different departments. Councilman Jim Reed, who had previously supported the LOIT option, voted against it, saying that now that the 2016 budget is nearly finished and balanced, he also wanted to see if there is a way to increase revenue or decrease spending without the tax. He expressed hope that the changes to the county’s health insurance trust must alleviate some of the pressure on the budget.

The LOIT proposal failed on a vote of two-to-five. Along with Gorbett, First District Councilman Chris Ogle voted for passage. Morales, Reed, Laura DeDomenic, Evelyn Pence and William Lentz all voted “No.”

Columbus woman sought at “most wanted” fugitive

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Courtney Michelle Jones

Courtney Michelle Jones

Bartholomew County deputies are looking for a 25-year-old Columbus woman as their most-wanted fugitive this week.

Judy Jackson with the sheriff’s department, said that Courtney Michelle Jones is wanted on warrants charging counterfeiting, forgery, theft, receiving stolen property and failing to appear in court. She is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She has brown hair, blue eyes and several tattoes.

If you know anything about the whereabouts of Courtney Michelle Jones, you can call Captain Dave Steinkoening at 812-565-5940 or the sheriff’s department tip line at 812-379-1712. Tips can be left anonymously.

Lienhoop announces transition team for mayor

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Future Columbus mayor Jim Lienhoop and his supporters have begun working on the leadership team that will accompany him into office on January 1st.

Lienhoop said he has put together a transition team to help him through the process of filling the roles of new department heads and members of board and committees. That team is headed up by Mary Ferdon, and also includes Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer, City Councilman Tim Shuffett, Sherry Stark, and Alan Whitted.

Lienhoop said he was looking for members of his transition team with experience in government.

<a href=”″>Jim Lienhoop on his transition team</a>

Ferdon served as community development director in early in Mayor Kristen Brown’s administration and works with Volunteers in Medicine.

Stark worked under Mayor Bob Stewart as deputy mayor and head of the community development department. She was also the head of the Heritage Fund — The Bartholomew County Community Foundation and the board overseeing The Commons.

Whitted served as a deputy city attorney under Mayor Fred Armstrong and as city attorney early in Brown’s administration.

Lienhoop said he will not be making announcements on its new administration team appointments until early December, but they have let some current city employees know about upcoming changes so they can have more than two months to find new employment.

Leinhoop still must get through the November general election but he is facing no opposition.

Anyone interested in serving on a board or committee under the new administration should contact the transition team.

Bartholomew County roads set to close

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The Bartholomew County Highway Department wants you to be aware of upcoming road closures.

County Road 330 West, between Ohio Ridge and Lowell Roads, will be closed to traffic from approximately 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, for Asphalt Overlay.

Department officials add that County Road 900 North, between 200 East and 300 East, will be completely closed to traffic at Bridge #73, beginning Monday, October 19th, running through Friday, October 23rd, 2015 for Bridge Deck Replacement

You are asked to avoid these areas if at all possible.

State Road 46 bridge inspection set for next week

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The bi-annual inspection of State Road 46’s cable stay bridge over the East Fork of White River in Columbus will require lane closures next week.

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Spokesman Harry Maginity says that bridge inspectors plan to be onsite next Tuesday. They will be working from man-lifts located in the right through lane and the right turn lane of the eastbound State Road 46 structure. He says that all traffic will be diverted to the center and left through lanes.

Maginity says that on the following day (OCTOBER 21), inspections are scheduled from the center and left through lanes. Drivers will be routed across the 400-foot structure via the right through lane and right turn lane.

INDOT says that each day’s inspections will be conducted between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and that orange construction barrels and arrow boards will be placed to direct traffic flow. They add that this work is dependent on the weather.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies make drug bust at Shelby County line

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Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies executed a vehicle stop near the Shelby County line that led to the arrest of two people early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that at approximately 3:35 am, Deputy Adam DeBoth conducted the traffic stop after he reported witnessing a vehicle cross the center line several times in the 8000 block of I-65.

The Deputy’s report states that the driver, 46-year-old Pierson Bowling, of Brookfield, IL, produced an out-of-state driver’s license, but the female passenger allegedly told Deputy DeBoth that her ID was in the trunk of the vehicle. As the woman showed him her ID, the Deputy reported seeing a syringe sticking out of her shirt. The passenger, 26-year-old Elizabeth Hidbrader, of Auburn, allegedly produced the syringe as well as a bag continuing a leafy green substance.

Hidbrader allegedly told Deputy DeBoth that other drug-related items were probably inside the vehicle.

Sgt. Kris Weisner and K9 Bolt arrived on the scene a short time later. Bolt allegedly alerted to the scent of drugs inside the vehicle and Deputies began a search of the vehicle shortly thereafter.

Jackson says that Deputies found four bags of a white powdery substance totaling approximately 50 grams, three additional syringes, a metal spoon with residue and a white crystal substance. Numerous plastic baggies were also allegedly found inside the vehicle. One of the plastic bags allegedly tested positive as methamphetamine, while another bag allegedly tested positive as Marijuana.

Jackson adds that since the drugs were actually found in Shelby County, Hidbrader and Bowling were booked to the Shelby County Jail.

Columbus Police arrest man on drunk driving charges

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A Columbus man was arrested Monday night on drug charges as well as for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that just after 10 p.m., Sergeant Oscar Olmeda heard the sound of squealing tires near the area of Eighth and Washington Streets. A short time later, he found a vehicle speeding north on Washington Street. Sgt. Olmeda reportedly stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, 32-year-old Richard D. Anderson. Anderson allegedly told Olmeda that he did not have a driver’s license, he had been drinking and also had a warrant for his arrest. While speaking with Anderson, officers reported seeing a clear plastic bag in the vehicle’s console that contained what appeared to be marijuana.

Harris says that Anderson refused field sobriety tests at the scene and was taken to the Columbus Police Department for a certified chemical breath test. He says the results of the breath indicated that Anderson’s Blood Alcohol Content was .166-percent, more than twice the legal limit.

Anderson was arrested and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of Operating a Vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Level of .15% or Greater, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Police say that Anderson was also wanted on a Bartholomew County Warrant.

Columbus man arrested on outstanding warrants

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A Columbus man was arrested on two warrants after he was found hiding under a bed inside a home in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Street on Monday.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that officers were called to the home at approximately 1:10 a.m. after receiving word that 44-year-old Shane L. Banks was there. Harris says that Banks was arrested and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on two Bartholomew County Warrants for Failure to Appear. He says this first warrant was related to original charges of Check Fraud, Theft and Possession of Methamphetamine, while the second was on original charges of Battery and two counts of Conversion.

Bank’s Bond was set at $22,500.

Freetown man faces drug charges

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A Freetown man was arrested on drug charges Monday after DUDLEY CHRISTOPHERmembers of the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team were contacted by a local parcel company in regards to a suspicious package they had received. The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team consists of officers from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, Columbus Police Department and a Deputy Prosecutor from the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that Dudley Evidenceofficers obtained a search warrant and confirmed the package contained five pounds of raw marijuana. He says that narcotics investigators conducted a controlled delivery of the package at a home in the 8100 block of State Road 135 South in Freetown. Upon delivery of the package, officers arrested 32-year-old Christopher W. Dudley.

Harris says that the Brown County Sheriff’s Department then helped execute a search warrant at the home. He says that officers allegedly found over seven pounds of raw marijuana, approximately 200 grams of Xanax, over 100 items of drug paraphernalia, over $75,000 in cash, as well as multiple firearms and ammunition.

Dudley was transported to the Brown County Jail and booked on the following preliminary charges: Dealing in Marijuana, Dealing in a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance.