City redevelopment director, contractor step away

Sep 24, 2015 479

With only a few months left in Mayor Kristen Brown’s administration, the Columbus Redevelopment Department is going without its director and the main contractor pushing the city’s projects through the system.

Heather Pope, the director of the redevelopment department, is on a leave of absence and our news-gathering partners at The Republic report today that contractor Doug Pacheco is leaving soon to take another job. Pope has been on leave since earlier this month. Mayor Kristen Brown and City Attorney Jeff Logston said that because of privacy laws they could not say how long the leave is for, or whether Pope is still getting paid. Logston, in an e-mail, said only that the city is “handling this matter consistently with our policies.”

The Republic reports that Pacheco gave his one-month notice, as required under his contract, on Sept. 8th.

The Redevelopment Department handles money that comes from the city’s tax increment financing districts and oversees the leases on city owned property downtown including The Commons and the Jackson Street Parking Garage. Pope and Pacheco have been working on several big projects for the city in the waning days of Brown’s administration. That includes the sale of city-owned properties at Walesboro, on Second Street by the county jail, and along the East Fork White River.

Seymour Engine Plant recognized for safety

Sep 24, 2015 341

The Indiana Department of Labor is recognizing Cummins’s Seymour Engine Plant as one of the safest workplaces in the state.

The agency has announced that the plant has achieved certification in the Indiana Voluntary Protection Program as a “STAR” site. Indiana “STAR sites are leaders in workplace safety and health and are recognized for their success in protecting Hoosier workers.

To participate in the program, the agency says, a company must put togeter and implement a worker safety and health management system and complete an audit conducted by Indiana Department of Labor staff. There are 75 Indiana workplaces that have achieved the certificatio and 73 have been designated as “STAR” worksites.

Seymour Engine Plant has about 700 employees.

Driver runs off road in front of officer

Sep 24, 2015 731

An allegedly drunk driver drove off the road right in front of a Columbus police officer, leading to the Bedford man’s arrest.

Sgt. Matt Harris with the police department says that Officer Ivan Shultz was making a traffic stop at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night, when a car drove off the roadway and onto the grass, before nearly crashing and coming back onto the pavement.

Shultz stopped the car and arrested the driver, 54-year-old Michael B. Heatley of Bedford, who appeared intoxicated and who failed several field sobriety tests, Harris said.

fter Heatley was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital to have his blood tested, he was allegedly found to have a blood alcohol content of .19, more than twice the legal limit. He is facing preliminary charges of operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content greater than .15% and operating while intoxicated with a previous conviction.

Hartsville woman dies in cycling accident

Sep 24, 2015 2351

A 20-year-old Hartsville woman is dead after she was struck by an SUV while riding a bicycle Wednesday night.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, said that Mia R. Dora was biking with another cyclist on County Road 500N, southeast of Hope, at about 7:15 p.m. when she was hit from behind by the SUV and killed instantly.

The other cyclist, 22 year old Shawn Perdue, was not injured.

Jackson said the driver of the SUV, a 17-year-old boy, was going the same direction at the time of the accident as the cyclists and may have been blinded by the sun.

Marathon After Party to be fun for runners and non-runners

Sep 23, 2015 547

The Mill Race Marathon is Saturday. Even if you aren’t taking part in the race, there is still fun to be had.

Steve Leach is an organizer for the Johnson-Whitkemper Mill Race Marathon After-Party. He says the event includes a stunt-jump, where you can jump from a height of thirty feet on to an airbag, as well as zorb balls, where you can inside them and race another person. He says there will also be a great kids area for youngsters to enjoy. Leach adds that there will be booths that will focus on marathon runners. These include medal engraving and presentations, along with other activities. he notes that there will be plenty of food and alcohol for sale as well.

This event is free to enter. Leach says it will be held at Fourth and Washington Streets, running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the “Mill Race Marathon After Party” on Facebook.

Deputies search for most-wanted fugitive

Sep 23, 2015 1584
Christopher A. Corbin

Christopher A. Corbin

Bartholomew County deputies are looking for 21-year-old Christopher Alan Corbin of Columbus, as their most wanted fugitive.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department said that Corbin is wanted on a warrant for probation violation and he also failed to return to the county jail’s work-release program.

He is five feet five inches tall, about 148 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information or have seen Corbin, you can call Detective William Kinman at 812-565-5926 or call the sheriff’s department tip line at 812-379-17-12

BZA gives its approval for State Street apartment complex

Sep 22, 2015 1356

An apartment complex on Columbus’ east side is officially on its way to becoming a reality. The complex will be situated on 4.74 acres just off of State Street between Repp Court and Marr Road. Officials with the development company responsible for the project, Freeman Development Corporation, told the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) during its Tuesday night meeting that they hope to break ground next Spring.

The BZA was required to be a part of this project as the property is currently zoned Commercial: Community. Under that zoning, the maximum height of primary structures within the zoning district is 40 feet. The applicant requested a variance to allow the maximum height of the buildings to be 50 feet. The applicant told the BZA that the variance is necessary due to the narrowness of the site, the layout of Repp Court and the restrictions of an adjacent cemetery.

Julie Aton, a member of the State Street Implementation Committee, spoke out in enthusiastic support for the project. Aton’s business would be a neighbor of the new apartment complex. She said that the proposal fits the overall plans for the corridor and supplies much needed homes for residents in that area. Aton noted that other developers, and those in control of capital, have balked at putting money into the area due to a lack residents and manpower. She said that having additional residents in that area will do much to show potential investors that there is a way to help future investments there be successful.

The construction of an apartment complex on this site will also necessitate the building of public sidewalks along the frontage of the property on Repp Court and State Street. As the construction of these sidewalks would leave a gap between the north end of the State Street frontage and the street’s intersection with Marr Road, the BZA asked Freeman officials if they would consider building the sidewalk all the way to the intersection. The developer answered that they would be willing to do so. While the zoning only calls for the sidewalk to be five-feet in width, Aton interjected that there is money available for an expansion of the People Trail system in that area and that the developer and the city might work together to bring that to fruition.

Only four members of the BZA, including one non-voting member, were in attendance for Tuesday evening’s meeting. Still, the three unanimous votes for approval was enough to get the project moving forward.

Tennessee man arrested for allegedly driving under the influence, with a child passenger

Sep 22, 2015 2100

A Tennessee man was arrested Monday for allegedly driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy CARNEY ANTHONY  DAVIDJackson says that late on Monday night, Deputy Teancum Clark was dispatched to assist Indiana State Police with a traffic stop at 25th Street and County Road 500 East. When he arrived, Clark spoke with the driver, 32-year-old Anthony Carney, of Memphis. He noted that Carney appeared to be under the influence of some substance. The Sheriff’s Department also reports that Carney’s seven-year-old son was traveling with him in the vehicle.

Jackson says that Carney was arrested and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence – with a Minor present. He was being held on $7,500 bond. Jackson noted that Carney’s son was released to the custody of his mother.

Washington man arrested on DUI charge

Sep 22, 2015 1750

A Washington State man was arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he reportedly left a downtown bar without paying his bill.

Columbus Police Department (CPD) Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris EDDELMAN JUSTINsays that at approximately 12:10 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 400 block of Fourth Street on a report of an intoxicated man who left the bar in a dark colored truck. Officers found the truck heading north on Central Avenue. They say that the truck struck a curb and side swiped a street sign near Seventh Street. Harris says that officers eventually stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, 27-year-old Justin C. Eddelman.

Officers report that while they were speaking with Eddelman, they noticed that he showed “significant signs of intoxication.” During the traffic stop, Eddelman allegedly refused to follow officers’ directions and became aggressive. This reportedly resulted in him being taken to the ground by officers and handcuffed. During the scuffle, Eddelman allegedly tried to bite and kick the officers.

Eddelman was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol-content. Eddelman reportedly refused the test, causing officers to apply for a search warrant. The warrant was later approved and the blood draw was completed. The results of that blood test were not immediately available.

Harris says that once Eddelman was released from the hospital, he was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail. He is facing preliminary charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Resisting Law Enforcement. Bail information was not immediately available.

Town approves water rate hike; More grants approved

Sep 22, 2015 660

Hope residents will be seeing their water rates going up soon, but a federal grant will help take the edge off of that hike.

The town received word last night that it had received a $925,000 grant toward the $2.9 million water system improvement project. Buzz Krohn, the town’s water rate advisor, said that is on top of a state grant for more than $550,000.

“That is going to help buy the rate down by about $6 a month for an average user, and about $4 a month for a minimal user from what it would have been without that supplemental program,” Krohn said.

Originally the town had expected rates to more than double over the course of two rate hikes. A minimal water user will see their bill increase from about $17.58 a month to just over $30, while an average user will go up about $20 a month to just under $49. The town council approved the new rates unanimously last night.

Krohn said that the interest rate on about $1.5 million that will still have to be borrowed will be about 2 percent on a 20 year bond.

The town plans to replace about a quarter of its water lines, most of which are more than 80 years old.