Donors sought for African American Fund of Bartholomew County matching grant

Jan 8, 2018 73

The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County — is looking for donors for a new matching campaign to support the African American Fund of Bartholomew County.

An anonymous donor has offered to match up to $20,000 in donations in 2018 or 2019 to allow for a $40,000 increase in the fund.

The fund was created in 2012 and is meant to educate and inspire African Americans in Bartholomew County. It focuses on education, leadership development, arts and cultural events and more. The anonymous donor said the matching grant was meant to encourage tolerance in the community and respect for the African American community and those of other people of color.

You can find more information, or make a donation by going to You can also mail donations to 538 Franklin St., Columbus, IN 47201 in care of Heritage Fund.

For more information on the African American Fund of Bartholomew County, contact Tom Harmon, founding member of the AAFBC, at 812-528-9364.

Police find 1.5 pounds of meth in raid on Hege Avenue home

Jan 8, 2018 225

Photo courtesy of Columbus Police.

Jason Campbell. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police.

Seven people are under arrest and a pound and a half of methamphetamine is off the street after arrests by the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The team served a search warrant at a home in the 300 block of Hege Avenue Friday evening and recovered the meth, worth about $60,000, $24,000 in cash, marijuana, meth precursors, drug paraphernalia and stolen property at the home. That’s according to Lt. Matt Harris with the Columbus Police Department.

46-year-old Jason C. “Soup” Campbell of Columbus is facing preliminary charges of dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, stolen property, marijuana, a controlled substance, pseudoephedrine, drug paraphernalia and a legend drug as well as maintaining a common nuisance

Courtney J. Irvin. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

29-year-old Courtney J. Irvin, of Columbus is being accused of possession of methamphetamine, stolen property, marijuana, a controlled substance, pseudoephedrine, drug paraphernalia, a legend drug, and maintaining a common nuisance.

Five other people were arrested on a charge of visiting a common nuisance including 19-year-old Jayden M. Campbell of Scipio, 27-year-old Phillip B. Amburgey, of Hope; and 40-year-old Eric D. Caldwell; 59-year-old, Roger D. Leonard, and 19-year-old David A. Compton, all of Columbus:

Jayden Campbell was also wanted on an outstanding warrant.

Harris says the investigation into the sale of illegal drugs in Columbus and Bartholomew County continues.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office.

Roger Leonard

Eric Caldwell

Phillip Amburgey

David Compton

Jayden Campbell

Columbus downtown reopened after Saturday morning incident

Jan 6, 2018 121
Update 10:20 a.m.
Columbus Fire Department has given an all-clear after an earlier gas odor investigation in downtown Columbus. Street are open again.
Columbus Fire Department is asking you to avoid Downtown Columbus due to an incident. Avoid the Washington Street area. Downtown Columbus is closed at this time.
Capt. Mike Wilson with the Columbus Fire Department said he believes this is related to a gas odor investigation in the Fourth Street area earlier this morning.

Columbus man behind bars for auto theft

Jan 5, 2018 252

Gregory D. Everoad; photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Dept.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Columbus man who was allegedly driving a stolen car. Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the department, says that at approximately 2:30 pm on Thursday, Sgt. TA Smith saw a silver Nissan in the area of South Gladstone Avenue. The car matched the description of an automobile that the Columbus Police Department had reported stolen earlier in the day. Sgt. Smith initiated a traffic stop and arrested the driver, 27-year-old Gregory Everroad on a preliminary charge of Auto Theft.

Authorities say that Everroad remains in the Bartholomew County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bond.

Columbus Firefighters respond to first house fire of the year

Jan 5, 2018 144

Columbus Firefighters responded to the first house fire of the year on Thursday. They say this marks the third fire at the home, at 2143 23rd Street, since 2014. Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department, says that firefighters were called at approximately 4:36 a.m. due to a flue fire. He adds that when firefighters arrived, they found the three adult occupants and a dog had escaped the home. Firefighters entered the residence and quickly located the fire above a wood burning stove in the home’s living room. Crews reported the fire under control within 20 minutes.

Columbus Fire Department investigators have classified the fire as accidental in nature, and have determined that the fire was a result of combustible materials igniting near the chimney flu and wall. According to investigators, the house did not have electrical service utilities and the primary heat for the residence was the wood burning stove. A CFD report from the 2016 incident noted that the house had no electric, gas or water service. In fact, the report states that the home had been disconnected from gas service since 2009. Wilson says that GIS information indicates that the owner of the home is Sherry Rae Bornman, of Freetown. The occupants, who were displaced as a result of the fire, are being provided shelter aid through the Salvation Army.

Wilson says that the 2014 fire incident was caused by a space heater, while the 2016 and 2018 incidents were both attributed to a wood burning stove. Due to the amount of unrepaired damages caused by previous fires, investigators were unable to determine a current damages estimate dollar amount.

No Injuries were reported.

Police suggest webinar to learn about scams

Jan 5, 2018 99

Columbus City Police are suggesting that if you want to avoid becoming a victim of a scam, that you might want to listen in on a webinar being put on next week by the Federal Trade Commission.

The free event will start at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and officials will talk about the top scams in Indiana, how you can avoid or recover from identity theft and some tips on how to avoid the newest scams.

The Columbus police say that they receive daily reports of scams going on in our community. They offer a few quick tips such as never giving out personal information to an unsolicited caller and to realize that legitimate businesses or government agencies will never ask that you pay a bill with prepaid gift cards or a money wire.

You can get more information at the FTC website.

Wish sent via balloon fulfilled for area pre-schooler

Jan 4, 2018 114

An area preschooler received a belated Christmas gift. Corey Londeree says that his three-year-old daughter, Landree, attends the Carousel Play and Learn Center in Greensburg. Just before the Christmas break, Landree’s class took part in an annual balloon release. Attached to the little girl’s balloon was a wish list of supplies for her class.

When dropping off his daughter at class on Wednesday, Londeree says that they learned that a package containing pencils and markers was delivered to the preschool, along with a note explaining that Landree’s note had been found in Pennsylvania.

Londeree says that his daughter was excited to get the items, but doesn’t yet grasp how far her balloon traveled. He added that the package was sent anonymously.

Columbus City Utilities offer tips to avoid frozen pipes

Jan 4, 2018 145

Frigid temperatures has led to Columbus Utilities staff have responding to over 100 customer calls concerning frozen water pipes. Keith Reeves, utilities director, says that many of these calls have been due to problems in the water meter pits, adding that crews have been able to thaw the meter service and restore service. However, he says that others have involved frozen piping within the home or business and may involve costly plumbing repairs to remedy.

Reeves says that the longer cold temperatures last, the greater the likelihood of frozen pipes. Columbus City Utilities is recommending that customers take precautions to prevent frozen pipes. They include:

• If there is snow covering your meter pit, leave it there. Snow cover acts as an insulating barrier and can help prevent the meter inside from freezing.
• Don’t open your pit or tamper with the valve inside. It’s against local code for anyone but Utility personnel to work in the meter pits and vaults. Without the proper tools the valves can be fragile and this damage can be charged back to the customer. Also, being underground chambers, the pits can sometimes collect dangerous gases from other sources.
• When freezing is a possibility, there are some things you can do to help prevent disasters. Open vanity and cabinet doors to expose pipes to the inside, warmer temperatures.
• Let a small (pencil-lead thin) stream of water run. Moving water is much less likely to freeze than water standing in a pipe. Make sure all crawl space openings are closed and, if possible, insulate the opening.
• Use wrap insulation on pipes in unheated areas.

You can get more information online at

Former inn owner files to have case dismissed

Jan 4, 2018 166

The former owner of a Brown County hotel which received attention for its online review policy is asking the Indiana Attorney General to dismiss the case. “The Brown County Democrat” is reporting local attorney and former Abbey Inn owner Andy Szaklay filed the motion Wednesday in Brown Circuit Court.

He says that the Attorney General doesn’t have the authority to request relief from the court for several reasons, and alleges that state is restricting the inn’s own right to free speech by asking for court action.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill had asked for injunctive relief and damages in his case, alleging that the inn violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. Katrina Arthur of Greene County told the Attorney General’s office that she arrived at the inn in March 2016 to find the room unkempt, with water pressure and air conditioner problems and smelling like sewage.

Arthur said she later received an email from the hotel asking her to post a review, and she did.

She told the Attorney General’s office that she took the post down upon receiving a threat of legal action from Szakaly, and that her credit card was charged an extra $350 in April.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office alleged that the Abbey Inn’s policy restricting negative online reviews was “unfair, abusive, and deceptive.”

According to the report, Szakaly says that since Arthur signed an acknowledgement and agreement to the inn’s policies. He also attacked the credibility of Arthur, saying the woman “has trouble telling the truth and paying her bills.”

For the entire story, visit

Legal Aid offering free clinics on Jan. 15th

Jan 4, 2018 89

The local Legal Aid office is planning free clinics in several area communities on Monday, Jan. 15th.

The clinics offer low income residents a chance to get free legal consultations from volunteer attorneys. Each consultation is about 10 minutes long and they are meant to answer general questions, to provide legal information or to give other assistance. There are no appointments and the sessions are available on a first-come first serve basis.

The sessions are all from 3 to 5 p.m. on January 15th.

The Bartholomew County session will be at the Legal Aid Office in the United Way Center on 13th Street. Other sessions include at the Jennings, Jackson and Decatur county public libraries.

For more information you can call (812) 314-2720