North Vernon man arrested after standoff in CSL

May 26, 2015 2810

It was a tense Tuesday in Country Squire Lakes as authorities worked to locate a wanted man.

Jennings County Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Lt. Mike Mowry says that Deputies with his department joined Indiana State Police Officers and an ISP Emergency Response Team in arresting 26-year-old Floyd Wayne Johnson, III, of North Vernon. Authorities say that Johnson was wanted on a Jennings County Felony Warrant for Failure to Appear in Circuit Court.

Lt. Mowry says that Deputies received information that Johnson was in the area of Hawthorne Avenue in Country Squire Lakes. He says there were concerns that Johnson may have been armed. Officers reportedly set up, and maintained, a perimeter of the area for approximately three hours.

While in the area, Officers located Johnson inside the perimeter hiding in a small wooded area near Almond Avenue. Johnson was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Jennings County Jail without Bond.

Auto dealership receives initial approval for tax abatement, other benefits

May 26, 2015 809

Columbus’ Economic Development Target Area (EDTA) would be enlarged to encompass a new automobile dealership on the west side of the city under a recommendation by the Columbus Economic Development Commission.

The Economic Development Commission held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to consider the request of Chevrolet of Columbus. The owner of the dealership, Leo Portaluppi, told commission members that his business has been in a temporary location since its inception, but is required by General Motors to move to an approved, permanent, location. He says that his preferred choice is an interstate accessible site situated on a parcel of land at 400 Merchants Mile where it intends to construct and equip a new $4.2 million facility.

Portaluppi says that due to expense, regulations, flooding concerns and signage limitations, he wants the city to extend the EDTA to include this proposed new location. Without that extension, the business would not be able to apply for tax abatements.

Members of the Redevelopment Commission wrestled with the language and the intent of the EDTA. In the end, they voted, two-to-one, that the lack of development on lots at and near this location, along with the continued flooding concerns were enough to approve the recommendation for the expansion, as well as a 10-year tax abatement.

Portaluppi says moving to this new location will allow his dealership to retain 32 jobs and add nine more.

The Columbus City Council will make the final decision on whether or not to approve the EDTA expansion and tax abatement. Community Development Director Carl Malysz says there is a chance this matter would go before the council during it’s June 2 meeting. If not, it should be heard at the June 16 meeting.

Jennings County Lincoln Day Dinner attracts Senate candidate

May 26, 2015 451

The Jennings County Lincoln Day Dinner is being held tonight in North Vernon. U.S. Senate Candidate Eric Holcomb is the keynote speaker.

Holcomb is the former Indiana Republican Party Chairman and currently serves as the Chief of Staff for Sen. Dan Coats, who has announced his retirement. It is Coats’ seat that Holcomb is running for.

Tonight’s dinner is being held at the Rolling Hills Shrine Club on State Road 7, beginning at 6 p.m.

Fire destroys garage

May 25, 2015 637

A Friday evening fire completely destroyed a garage, but the actions of firefighters saved a nearby house.

Columbus Fire Dept. Spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson says that personnel responded to the blaze in the 3000 block of 13th Street just after 7 p.m. The 911 call came in after the owner of the home returned to her residence and discovered flames coming from the garage.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and found the detached garage fully involved with flames shooting from the doors and eaves of the garage. One of the residents of the home told investigators that he had been in the garage earlier in the evening. He told responders that he had heard a “pop” sound after turning on a light switch inside that garage. Before exiting the garage, the man did not notice anything wrong.

Although the garage was a total loss, Wilson says the rapid actions of responders limited the damage to the home to the exterior vinyl siding. The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported at the scene.

Columbus resident hurt in crash

May 25, 2015 673

One person was seriously injured in a Friday evening crash in the 7200 block of W SR 46.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Investigators say that A vehicle driven by Amanda Doles was stopped in the eastbound lane waiting to turn north. They say that a vehicle driven by Kristina Smith rear-ended Doles vehicle. Both Smith and a passenger, her son, were injured in the accident.

Kristina Smith was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital with minor injuries and her son, 29-year-old Kristopher Smith, Columbus, was Life-lined to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Doles was checked and cleared by EMS personnel.

North Vernon man arrested after allegedly hitting woman with his vehicle

May 21, 2015 1991

A North Vernon man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly striking a woman with his vehicle.

The North Vernon Police Department (NVPD) report that at 8:07 p.m., NVPD Officers responded to the scene, a local grocery store. Witnesses told police that a male driver was seen running into the woman, who was screaming. The vehicle was leaving as officers arrived.

Authorities say that a short pursuit with the vehicle ended on County Road 350 West near County Road 300 North. Police arrested 35-year-old Larry Marksberry, Jr. on preliminary charges of Domestic Battery and Resisting Law Enforcement by Fleeing in a Vehicle. He was booked in the Jennings County Jail.

Special meeting of the Economic Development Commission set

May 21, 2015 958

A special meeting of the Columbus Economic Development Commission will be held Tuesday afternoon.

Chris Schilling, with the city’s Office of Community Development, says that Chevrolet of Columbus is proposing to relocate to a new, interstate accessible site situated on a parcel of land at 400 Merchants Mile where it intends to construct and equip a new $4.2 million facility.

Because this proposed development involves a retail business, Schilling says the Economic Development Commission must hear and consider a request to designate the project site as an Economic Development Target Area (EDTA). That would require the expansion of the existing EDTA to encompass this proposed development.

The company will also be requesting a tax abatement on real property at the location. If approved, company officials say that they will be able to retain 32 jobs and add nine more.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

New bus route to city’s west side begins Friday

May 21, 2015 1116

The City of Columbus is expanding its bus service with another route that goes out to the city’s west side.

Transit Coordinator Cindy Setser says residents of the west side will have have additional transportation resources. The route will go as far west as Road 350W on Jonathan Moore Pike and loop through residential and business developments on the city’s west side. It will also travel through residential areas of downtown Columbus.

Both Setser, and Mayor Kristen Brown, who cut the ribbon representing the new route, said this was a consistent request from west side residents. The route will operate the same hours as all other fixed routes, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Fares will be the same as other roBusRibbonCuttingutes, 25 cents per person per trip. Children 18 years and under ride free and senior citizens 60 years and older ride for 10 cents per trip.

The new route begins running Friday. ColumBUS routes will not run on Monday due to the Memorial Day Holiday.

SALUTE! Concert set for Friday evening

May 20, 2015 722

One of the biggest events for the Columbus Philharmonic, and the unofficial start of Summer in Columbus, the SALUTE! Concert takes place Friday evening.

Margaret Powers, Executive Director of the Philharmonic, says this is an emotional event for everyone involved. She says that not only do concert-goers feel the energy, Music Director and Conductor David Bowden, as well as the musicians involved, are impacted. Powers says the emotional factor is likely to pick-up a notch with guest singer and soloist Greg Rolph. A Columbus native, Powers says that having Rolph back in town will be a real treat.

The SALUTE! Concert is being held on the lawn of the Bartholomew County Courthouse. It begins at 7 p.m. Columbus North High School Band boosters will be selling concessions, beginning at 5:30. You are encouraged to bring your own chair and remember the true reason for Memorial Day.

For more on the concert, as well as the Columbus Philharmonic, visit

Work to repair bridge on S.R. 9 to begin in July

May 20, 2015 515

Indiana Department of Transportation officials met with contractor representatives earlier this week at Seymour District offices to review plans for refurbishing the State Road 9 bridge over a Clifty Creek overflow located 0.39 miles north of S.R. 46 between Columbus and Hope.

Reith-Riley, the state’s contractor for this $773,141 district bridge project, is charged with replacing the 8-inch-thick slab deck, painting bridge beams, installing new rails and guardrails, and pouring new approach slabs. Work at the three-span, 110-foot bridge will be done one-half at a time. INDOT officials say this will allow alternating traffic controlled by signals at either end of the bridge to cross on a single lane.

INDOT anticipates work will begin in early to mid July. The contract completion date is November 13.