Last chance to be Sheriff for a Day

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Today is the last day for you to get a chance to be Sheriff for a Day by helping Pack a Patrol car with canned food for local food pantries.

The sheriff’s department will be taking food donations until 5 today for the contest. The person who donates the most food will get to shadow Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers for a day including touring the jail, meeting the staff, attending meetings and following the sheriff on his other duties.

All items donated to the sheriff’s department through 5 p.m. today will be tracked for the contest and every $1 donation will count as two canned food items. You can drop off items in the lobby at the sheriff’s department on Second Street.

The sheriff’s department will be taking donations for the Pack-A-Patrol car efforts through tomorrow.

Donated items will be delivered to Love Chapel and the Salvation Army.

Fugitive arrested after fight with officers

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Donald Estes. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Columbus man was taken into custody last week, accused of scuffling with officers who tried to arrest him for outstanding warrants.

38-year-old Donald L. Estes, was arrested Thursday afternoon after an officer saw him acting suspiciously outside of a residence in the 900 block of California Street. Police recognized that Estes was wanted and as they approached, he fled into the home says Lt Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus police.

When police entered the home, Estes refused to take his hands out of his coat pockets, Harris says. After a struggle, police used a Taser to subdue Estes and take him into custody. He was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on the outstanding warrants charging him with conversion, as well as a new charge of resisting law enforcement.

North Vernon company plans to add jobs

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Decatur Plastic Products, a manufacturer of custom injection-molded plastic parts and components, plans to expand its operations in North Vernon. The website, areadevelopment.com is reporting that the company plans to create up to 40 new jobs by 2019.

According to the report, the company will invest more than $3 million to update its equipment and provide training opportunities for employees at its facility located near Highway 7 in Jennings County. Decatur Plastic will also offer its employees training, as well as leadership and career development courses.

The website is reporting that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the company up to $75,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning that until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.

For more on this story, visit areadevelopment.com.

Jennings County to target impaired drivers

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The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department says that it has joined an enforcement drive aimed at helping to keep drivers and passengers safe. Sheriff Gary Driver says that his department is joining over 230 law-enforcement agencies across Indiana that will have assets aimed specifically at targeting seat belt violators and impaired drivers through the weekend after Thanksgiving. During this time, Sheriff Driver says that you can expect to see increased patrols and checkpoints.

The overtime for officers to participate in this drive is being paid for by funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Sheriff Driver says that the department is publicizing this blitz to give drivers a fair warning that violators will face penalties. In all states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent of higher. In addition, drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and license suspensions.

Unattended cigarette leads to apartment fire

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Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department

The Columbus Fire Department responded to the River Stone Apartments Wednesday afternoon after a fire was discovered on a second floor patio deck. Capt. Mike Wilson, department spokesman, says that firefighters were called to 3460 Limestone Lane shortly after 3 p.m.

Wilson says that firefighters arrived on the scene to find a smoldering wooden patio deck and melted vinyl siding on a second floor apartment. Firefighters also found that a third floor sprinkler head had activated and was still flowing water on the smoldering materials below. Firefighters marked the fire under control within minutes of arrival.

Columbus Fire Department investigators determined that the tenant had been smoking a cigarette outside. The tenant told investigators that he had placed a lit cigarette on a cardboard box, with the intention to briefly enter the apartment and then return to the patio deck. The tenant told investigators that he became distracted while inside the apartment and forgot that he had left the cigarette on the cardboard box.

As firefighters surveyed the damages, they found that the origin of the fire was near an external storage closet located on the patio. At the time of the fire the storage closet door was closed. Inside the closet were additional cardboard boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. The closet door was a fire rated door which protected the contents for at least one hour. Additional damages were noted to the vinyl siding on the second floor apartment’s exterior as well as fire damages to the bottom of the third floor wooden patio decking.

The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental and damages are estimated at $3,000. Investigators say that damages were greatly reduced as a result of the sprinkler system.

Ceremonies Saturday to honor Bartholomew County veterans

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The Bartholomew County community Veterans Day services will be held Saturday starting at 11 a.m. at the veterans memorial on the county courthouse lawn.

The highlight of the ceremony is the memorial balloon release by Bartholomew County funeral directors while the names of local veterans who have passed since last Veterans Day are read.

The event also features music and speakers, including U.S. Sen. Todd Young, the laying of wreaths, a 21-gun salute by the Bartholomew County Veterans Honor Guard and taps.

If you cannot attend in person, the ceremony will be broadcast live on News Talk 1010 WCSI.

The rain location will be the Donner Park shelter house.

One dead in Jennings County mobile home fire

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A mobile home fire early yesterday morning left a Jennings County man dead.

32-year-old Matthew M. Loper was found dead inside the home at 2910 E. County Road 200N., according to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department. Rescue workers were called to the blaze at just before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

An autopsy has been scheduled and the investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s department.

The Indiana State Fire Marshall’s office and the Indiana State Police are assisting with the investigation.

Volunteers needed to help with Cheer Fund toys

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The Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund is looking for volunteers to help box and wrap presents for their annual toy delivery. The toy boxing sessions will be held in the Doug Otto United Way Center on 13th Street from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, starting on Monday.

Capt. Mike Wilson with the Columbus Fire Department said that volunteers are needed to sort toys, clean used toys, stock donations on shelves, replace batteries and package gift boxes.

The Cheer Fund is also still accepting toy donations. You can drop those off at the United Way Center or at any Columbus fire station.

The delivery day for the packages is Saturday, Dec. 16th. Volunteers are also needed that morning to make deliveries across Bartholomew County.

For more information or to make a monetary donation you can go to www.cheerfund.com

Interfaith groups win approval for worship campus

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Planning can go forward for an expanded interfaith worship campus on the west side of Columbus after the Columbus City Council gave its approval to a rezoning of the property off of Goeller Boulevard.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus and the Hindu Society asked the council to consider rezoning their properties from agricultural use to public facilities. The goal is to build more facilities for small faith communities such as the local Jewish population.

Neighbors said they were opposed because of concerns over drainage, the commercial septic system, vandalism, noise and the traffic from large number of people worshipping at several churches and temples planned for the property.

Neighbor Lawrence Myers said that he was concerned about the effect on the values of neighboring properties if the campus fills the entire lot with buildings.

“How many would want to buy property right up next to a big community space,” Myers said.

Allan Gilford, representing the faith groups, said that the rezoning approval would give them the go-ahead to at least try to engineer solutions to those problems.

Whatever plans they develop at the property would have to come back before city and county planners for review, said Jeff Bergman, head of the city/county planning department.

Although the properties are outside of the Columbus city limits, they are within the city’s two-mile zoning jurisdiction.

Council members Frank Jerome and Lori Booher voted against the proposal.