Dive Team finds body of missing Shelby County man

Feb 10, 2015 1080

Members of the Indiana State Police Dive Team found the body of 43-year-old James Hellums Tuesday afternoon. The team was assisting the Shelby County Sheriff Department in the search for Hellums, who was reported missing on January 4.

Hellums, of Shelbyville, was last seen attempting to get into a canoe on the Flat Rock River in Geneva, when he and the boat were swept downstream. ISP divers located Hellums’ body in the Flat Rock River, near Geneva, at 12:45 p.m. The canoe was found two weeks ago in a log jam on the river about 20 miles from where Hellums was last seen.

Shelby County Sheriff Dennis Parks says the search for Hellums was a collaborative effort. Along with personnel in his own department, Sheriff Parks thanked the county’s Fast Water Rescue Team, Shelbyville Fire Department, Waldron Fire Department, Indiana State Police, Shelbyville Police Department, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and area residents.

Vandals strike nature preserve

Feb 10, 2015 1060

Vandals struck the Touch the Earth Nature Preserve in western Bartholomew County over the weekend. It is located on Country Club Road between State Road 46 and Harrison Lakes Country Club.

Kurt Weisner, site steward for the preserve, says the incidents took place sometime on Sunday. He says that vandals tore up two wooden bridges on a hiking trail, then dumped cut lumber on the trail. An estimate for the damage has not yet been established. Weisner says that while they don’t have video of the vandalism, they do have evidence regarding a strange vehicle that was seen in the area around the time these crimes were committed.

As for repairing the damage, Weisner says the preserve operates on donations. He says that sometime this spring, a work day will be organized to repair the damage. If you would like to help out the nature preserve with monetary donations, or physical labor, contact them at www.sycamorelandtrust.org, or by phone at (812) 336-5382.

Anyone with information on this vandalism is asked to contact the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department. Tips can be left anonymously.

North Vernon hires company to clean fire debris

Feb 10, 2015 883

The North Vernon City Council took a step Monday night to help move along the cleanup of the historic district that was decimated by fire just a few months ago.

The council voted unanimously to hire Harmon Construction to help facilitate the cleanup. Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell says that Harmon was the perfect choice, as the company was there in the immediate aftermath of the blaze and were responsible for securing the site.

“They’re a local company and they’ll really help move everything along,” added Campbell.

Mayor Campbell stressed that Harmon will not have the power to act unilaterally. He says the company will assign one person to manage the communications between the affected property owners, their insurance companies and the city. The overall goal, said Campbell, is to get the area, especially the south end of the block, cleaned up legally, quickly and in a manner satisfactory to all involved.

Campbell said he would like the properties to be cleaned up by the time he leaves office.

Company officials told the council that a specific timetable can’t be set, but indicated that they were hopeful this would not be an issue one year from now. The contract total will be based on the work performed, but it the estimated cost to the city is about $57,000.

Races set for Columbus primary election

Feb 9, 2015 2914

The ballot has been set for the Columbus primary elections in May.

The filing deadline for candidates was Friday and almost all of the Republican incumbents in Columbus city government will face challengers for their seats who are supporters of Republican mayor Kristen Brown.

The last candidates to file for the races were Bob Sullivan who will challenge Councilman Ryan Brand for the District 2 seat in the Republican primary and Nathan Barr who will challenge incumbent Tim Shuffett for the District 5 seat.

The only incumbents not facing primaries from within their own parties are Councilman Dascal Bunch and Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer.

Other Republican primary races include:


  • Incumbent Kristen Brown vs. Jim Lienhoop

District 3

  • Incumbent Frank Jerome vs. Russ Poling

District 4

  • Incumber Frank Miller vs. Justin Hohn

At-large City Council

  • Incumbent Kenny Whipker vs. Laurie Booher, Charles Doup and Debbie Kramer

Democrats had no candidates file for mayor or clerk-treasurer. Chris Rutan will seek the District 1 seat in the general election against Bunch. Tom Dell is seeking the at-large seat as a Democrat and Elaine Wagner is running for the District 2 seat.

County visitors to have access to kiosks

Feb 9, 2015 503

The Columbus-Area Visitors Center is installing its first informational kiosks in the county.

The visitors center eventually plans to have many of the kiosks at strategic locations around the county to provide calendars, details on points of interest and other information to tourists. Lynn Lucas, executive director of the visitors center, says the kiosks are built around an iPad running a special app to provide visitors information and will tap into a central database at the visitors center for updates.

The first kiosk has been installed in the former Hope Star-Journal building on the Town Square in Hope. An agreement has been signed to install the second in Taylorsville at the outlet mall.

The Hope kiosk will be inside the Heritage of Hope Visitors Information Center, which is still under construction inside the former newspaper and bank building on the Town Square. Lucas said the center, which will be a satelite office for the visitors center, is nearing completion and is mostly waiting on Internet access before it can open.

Judges seek more money for upcoming trials

Feb 9, 2015 663

Two judges will be asking the Bartholomew County Council for more money to cover the costs of jury trials this year.

During last week’s council work session, Superior Court 2 Judge Kitty Coriden explained that some high profile cases that have already have taken place have depleted the court’s funds. Both Coriden and Circuit Court Judge Steve Heimann will each be asking for $10,000 for their courts.

Tuesday night’s County Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the County Governmental Office Building on Third Street.

Two women injured in I-65 crash

Feb 9, 2015 2119

A three-car accident on the interstate Saturday injured two Kentucky woman but left a Seymour driver unscathed.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, says that 30-year-old Sharry Rothrock of Seymour was driving northbound on the interstate about two miles north of State Road 46 when she began experiencing troubles with her mini-van. The van stalled and Rothrock began cutting across traffic to get to the shoulder, when she was struck by a car driven by 56-year-old Faith Young of Owensboro, Ky.

Rothrock’s van was knocked into the southbound lanes where it collided head-on with a car driven by 60-year-old Jacqueline Sheffield of LaGrange, Ky. Sheffield had to be cut from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries to her legs. She was flown by Lifeline helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and was in stable condition. Young was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital with bruises to her arms and legs.

Rothrock was uninjured.

All the drivers were wearing seatbelts, Jackson said.

Organizers seek adult volunteers for Turning Point Dance Marathon

Feb 6, 2015 662

The annual Turning Point Dance Marathon to fight domestic violence is coming up in a few weeks.

Gracie Webb is a Columbus East High School organizer for this all-night event, taking place from 6 a.m. on Feb. 28 through 6 a.m. March 1. She says that they need approximately 255 adults to volunteer for set-up, tear-down and chaperoning. So far, they only have about 150 adult volunteers.

Webb says the goal for this year’s event include attendance of 600 students and $137,500 to Turning Point. She says the best the dance has done, attendance-wise, was over 560 students.

For more information on this year’s dance marathon, visit www.turningpointdv.org/dance_marathon.

Greensburg Police Department under investigation

Feb 6, 2015 1076

The Indiana State Police is conducting an audit of the Greensburg Police Department’s (GPD) Evidence Records.

In late December 2014, the Indiana State Police was requested to conduct an investigation regarding missing evidence, specifically cash, from the Greensburg Police Department property room. Indiana State Police Department Spokesman, Tommy Walker, says that an audit of the GPD property room conducted by the State Police Laboratory Division last month resulted in the discovery of several discrepancies concerning evidence.

Members of the investigative team say that the Greensburg Police Department Interim Chief and all current department staff have been cooperative and transparent during this investigation.

Walker says that this investigation is ongoing and that no other information will be released until the investigation is completed.

Hope man faces child neglect charge

Feb 6, 2015 1859

A Hope man is facing charges of child neglect after a vehicle crash on Wednesday afternoon.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 33-year-old MICHAEL FURSTMichael G. Furst after the one-vehicle accident on County Road 525 E, just north of State Road 7 in Elizabethtown. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the vehicle empty. Witnesses told authorities that they saw the driver walking towards CERAland with a small child. Deputies found Furst and his two-year-old daughter outside of the CERAland gym. He allegedly admitted to deputies that he was driving the vehicle when it crashed.

Furst was arrested for Child Neglect (endangerment) and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.