Railroad crossings set to close next week in Seymour

Jul 30, 2015 574

Drivers in Seymour should expect railroad crossing closures for the coming week as contractors repair railroad tracks in the area. Mayor Craig Luedeman’s office is reporting the following railroad crossing closures have been scheduled by the contractor:

Tuesday: RR crossing on County Road 340 North, between North County Roads 850 East and 900 East

Wednesday: RR crossing on County Road 300 North, between North County Roads 900 East and 950 East

Thursday: RR crossing at County Road 200 North, between North County Roads 900 East and 950 East

Mayor Luedeman’s office says that repairs will be done by Safety Services & Supply, a subcontractor for R.J. Corman. Initially, they plan to replace rail, then add rock. Once two weeks has passed, contractors are scheduled to go back to the crossing and do patch work.

Sheriff’s Department urges driver safety as classes resume next week

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Students start heading back to school next week. Bartholomew Consolidated Schools begin classes on Monday, while Flat Rock-Hawcreek Schools start on Wednesday.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department says that drivers need to be aware that school buses and children will be on, and near, roads across the county.Sheriff’s Department officials say this means that motorists need to slow down and pay special attention around school zones and in all residential areas.

Authorities remind you that it is illegal to pass a school bus that has flashing lights and its stop arm extended. Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers says that children are unpredictable and that drivers need to stay alert. “Saving a few minutes off your commute time is not worth endangering a child’s life,” he says.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies will be in regular contact with School Transportation officials to determine problem areas. Myers says that the Sheriff’s Office will saturate those areas issuing citations to drivers who illegally pass school buses and endanger the lives of children.

You may be watched and not even know it. Myers continued, “In some instances, Deputies will follow a bus in a marked, or unmarked, vehicle during its entire route to see if drivers are violating the bus’ stop arm and warning lights.” He adds that if you are stopped, you will most likely receive a ticket.

CRH update on repairs – 2 p.m.

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Columbus Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department suffered water damage Thursday morning.

CRH Spokesperson Kelsie DeClue says that a sprinkler head broke and flooded a significant number of rooms. She says that nine of the Emergency Department’s 19 rooms were affected and are unusable at this time. DeClue says that CRH is currently diverting all ambulances to other facilities, except for those with acute heart attack patients and those suffering from critical injuries. As of noon, she says that only six patients have been rerouted. DeClue says they were sent to Schneck Medical Center and Johnson County Memorial Hospital.

No injuries were reported and clean-up operations continue. DeClue says that she expects that another update will be forthcoming before the end of the day.

Columbus man behind bars on probation violation charge

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A Columbus man was arrested for allegedly violating terms of his probation.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that just after 8 p.m. Tuesday, Community Oriented Police and Problem Solving (COPPS) Unit Officer, Troy Love, received information that 43-year-old Arthur E. Bohner, of Brookside Drive, was at a residence in the 1300 block of Brookside Court. Police had a warrant for his arrest. Love found Bohner outside of the residence and placed him under arrest.

Love was assisted by Columbus Police Department Uniform Officers as well as the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, which is comprised of Detectives from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and Columbus Police Department as well as Deputy Prosecutor from the Bartholomew County Prosecutors Office.

Bohner was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a bench warrant out of Bartholomew County Circuit Court for Violation of Probation. Authorities say the original charges were two felony counts of Dealing in Cocaine. Bohner is being held on $150,000 bond.

Columbus man dies from injuries sustained in moped crash

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A Columbus man who was involved in a two-vehicle crash earlier in the week has died from his injuries. Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says 51-year-old Allen W. Posey passed away at 3 a.m. Thursday at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Harris says the on Sunday, at approximately 8:40 p.m., Posey, was traveling south on State Road 11 near Kenmill Street when the moped he was piloting was struck by an SUV driven by 61-year-old Deborah K. Johnson, of Columbus. Witnesses reported that Posey lost control of the moped causing him to slide into the path of Johnson’s vehicle, which was traveling north on State Road 11. Posey was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital and later transferred to Methodist Hospital. Authorities say that he was not wearing a helmet.

Harris says the crash remains under investigation.

CRH Emergency Department battling water damage

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Columbus Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department is wet this morning.

CRH Spokesperson Kelsie DeClue says that a sprinkler head broke and flooded a significant number of rooms. She says that about half of the Emergency Department rooms are affected and unusable at this time. DeClue says that CRH is currently diverting all ambulances to other facilities, except for those with acute heart attack patients. No injuries were reported and clean-up operations are underway.

The hospital hopes to have an update on this situation later today.

BZA approves zoning variance for homeless shelter

Jul 29, 2015 504

The Columbus Township Trustee’s Office and Love Chapel have received approval to establish a homeless shelter on the city’s east side.

The Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals approved a zoning variance during a Tuesday evening meeting to allow the shelter in a township-owned building at 421 South Mapleton Street. Elizabeth Kestler, with Love Chapel, says that when the building is completely ready, 35 beds will be available as an entry point for emergency housing for those needing shelter.

Kestler says the building, to be named Brighter Days Housing, measures approximately 3,500 square-feet. She noted that there has been a lot of support for this project, as this area has been in need of a homeless shelter for quite some time. A number of neighbors disagreed with that assessment during Tuesday’s meeting. A number of residents spoke during the public comment section of the meeting to raise concerns about the possibility for increased drug and criminal activity, as well as diminished property values.

First District Councilman Dascal Bunch spoke on behalf of many residents in his district who are opposed to the shelter. He says that business owners in the area are also concerned about how a shelter will affect their businesses. Bunch also said it would be a good idea for a public session to include area residents to get their thoughts before the project moves forward.

Janet Gross, a business owner with a location near the Love Chapel, says she is also against the shelter. She says that a similar shelter on Cherry Street has brought an increase in crime and drug activity, including discarded hypodermic needles. She adds that the lack of sidewalks in east Columbus and the city’s efforts to revitalize the State Street area should also disqualify the site as a homeless shelter.

Other residents expressed concerns that the site would not be acceptable for a homeless shelter due to its proximity with Pence Street Park. By law, registered sex offenders would not be allowed to utilize a shelter so close to a park. That means that a section of the homeless community would still go without service.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously to approve the variance.

SR 7 work scheduled this week

Jul 28, 2015 442

State Road 7 in Bartholomew County will not have to closed this weekend.

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Spokesman Harry Maginity says that the contractor working on the project will not require a second weekend of complete closure to finish repair operations at the Little Sand Creek bridge as originally scheduled. Instead, Dave O’Mara crews plan to complete work at the bridge, located 1.8 miles south of U.S. 31, on Thursday.

Maginity says that drivers may experience intermittent short-term closures of up to 20 minutes in length that day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and from 6 p.m. until dark. Should work remain, operations with intermittent closures will continue into Friday.

Load weight at the State Road 7 Little Sand Creek bridge has been restricted to five tons since box beams were damaged in a crash. This $116,489 repair project is intended to shore up the bridge and remove weight restrictions.

Maginity adds that INDOT has scheduled the letting of a contract in October that would replace the State Road 7 Little Sand Creek structure with a new 90-foot concrete beam bridge measuring 51 feet, side-to-side.

Columbus man arrested on domestic violence allegation

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A Columbus man was arrested Monday evening on a domestic battery charge.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy MACE JASONJackson says that at approximately 6:30 p.m., Deputy Sgt. John Martoccia, responded to a domestic disturbance in the 9000 block of East Randal Street in Columbus.

When Martoccia arrived, he spoke with a woman who told him that 33-year-old Jason Mace, of Randal Street, had slapped and choked her. Mace had left before authorities arrived.

Later that evening, authorities were notified that Mace had returned to the residence. Martoccia and Lt. Greg Duke responded, allegedly finding Mace in the backyard of the home. Deputies say that he was arrested without incident.

Mace was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Minor, as well as Strangulation. He was released on a $15,000 bond. The alleged victim was notified of his release.

Shots fired in alleged domestic disturbance in Elizabethtown

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Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of shots fired early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says at PRADO ERNESTOapproximately 5:31 a.m., Deputy Sgt. Gary Knoef responded to a domestic disturbance in the area of the Hilltop Trailer Park on US 31 in Elizabethtown. When he arrived, Knoef made contact with a woman who said her husband had choked her and broken her cell phone in an effort to keep her from calling 9-1-1.

The woman also told Knoef that her husband, 28-year-old Ernesto Prado, of Elizabethtown, had fired shots as she and two children ran from their trailer. The alleged victim also said that she was holding the couple’s 18-month-old child and that their eight-year-old child was also in the room at the time of the attack.

Investigators say that there were no guns in Prado’s possession when they arrived to investigate. However, Knoef reportedly did find a firearm and eight spent shell casings in the home.

Prado was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of domestic battery with children present, strangulation, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, intimidation with a deadly weapon, interfering with a 9-1-1 call and criminal confinement. He is being held on $50,000 bond.