DSI honors several during awards ceremony

Nov 8, 2017 190

Sam Simmermaker served as Master of Ceremonies for Wednesday night’s DSI Awards Banquet

Developmental Services, Inc. held their awards banquet Wednesday night. The 42nd edition was held at the Commons and White River Broadcasting’s own Sam Simmermaker served as Master of Ceremonies.

Six organizations and individuals were honored at the banquet. They were:

Volunteer and Service Award – Sandy and Doug Royer; The Seymour couple delivered Thanksgiving meals to residents of the Elm Street group home, purchased and delivered Christmas and birthday gifts for DSI clients, attended client events and donated to the Special Olympics.

Volunteer and Service Award – EMERGE Wrestling; – This Columbus-based professional wrestling group have raised nearly $3,000 for DSI and provided free tickets for DSI clients. In 2017, EMERGE wrestlers Ricky Ruckus and Donny Idol trained and worked with DSI client Justin Wells to help him fulfill a dream of competing in the squared circle. That culminated in a tag-team match at the organization’s annual “Downtown Throwdown” held on Fourth Street this past summer in front on nearly 1,000 fans, which saw Justin gain the win for his team.

Direct Support Professional Award – Brenda Wade; Wade has worked in a group home for several years, helping clients live more independently and aiding them in locating opportunities to help them help themselves. DSI specifically thanked Wade for her help in organizing transportation and working through clients’ mobility issues to ensure that they are able to attend community events.

Consumer Achievement Award – Joe Broomall; The Nashville resident serves as a volunteer at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. There, he works in the Paleo Prep Lab, thanks to the cooperative efforts of DSI’s community habilitation program, IMPG case management and the museum.

Professional of the Year – Brandon Shumaker; Shumaker is the fleet and facilities manager for DSI. His crew is responsible for fixing, building, cleaning, replacing and modifying items and facilities in 55 Indiana counties. Shumaker’s crew has important in the construction of Education and Enrichment classrooms, as well as a new fitness center for DSI clients in Columbus, a Personal Enhancement classroom in Seymour and maintaining security systems and vehicles.

Industry of the Year – GECOM; The company in Greensburg is celebrating 30 years and has the company has worked with DSI for 28 of those years to help provide opportunities for those with disabilities.

Employer of the Year – Amy Rodgers McDonald’s of Muncie); DSI says that Rodgers demonstrated extraordinary patience and compassion to make sure that DSI clients had the best opportunity to succeed, hiring four DSI clients. The organization adds that Rodgers has restructured tasks and work schedules to accommodate client needs, maximizing their productivity.

DSI William K. Hadar Scholarship Fund – Olivia Ortman; Last year, DSI announced that it was creating a scholarship through the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County to honor DSI’s longest serving chief executive officer. Ortman, a Columbus East graduate, received the first $1,000 scholarship. She is studying occupational therapy at Indiana University.

First overpass project payment due in December

Nov 8, 2017 71

Columbus will be making its first down payment on the overpass project soon.

The city must raise $15 million dollars for its share of the estimated $30 million project to put an overpass into the downtown area. That project will lift traffic over the railroad tracks at Jonathan Moore Pike and State Road 11.

City Council last night approved moving $5.5 million in funds from the Cummins Tax Increment Financing district on Central Avenue into the overpass fund. Previously the city has moved $4 million from the downtown TIF district to support the overpass project.

Tax Increment Financing districts are areas of the community where rising property taxes are harvested to be used for infrastructure or other spending to benefit redevelopment efforts in those districts.

Heather Pope, the city’s redevelopment director, said the first payment to INDOT of $10 million dollars will be due on Dec. 15th. The payment will help fund INDOT’s planning and engineering for the project, Pope said. The second payment of $5 million will not be due until the project begins seeking bidders in 2019.

Money for the first payments will come from the city and from Bartholomew County donations. County officials have pledged $1.5 million to support the project with their first payment due later this month. City officials said that city has not yet received the actual cash from the county but an interlocal agreement has been approved and the payment is expected by Nov. 15th.

The railroads have also pledged money to support the project.

Columbus resident arrested on gun charges

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Kenneth Wood; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

Columbus Police arrested a local man Tuesday afternoon on weapons charges after he was allegedly spotted with a handgun at his job. Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the department, says that shortly after 1 p.m., officers were dispatched to a business located in the 1300 block of Indiana Avenue. Once they arrived, police reported recovering the weapon. Harris says that later arrested 52-year-old Kenneth D. Wood, at his home in the 600 block of Hutchins Avenue after confirming that Wood did not have a permit for the weapon. During the investigation, officers noted that the serial numbers were scraped off the gun.

Wood is facing preliminary charges of Carrying a Handgun without a License, Possession of a Handgun with an Obliterated Serial Number and Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon.

City to construct new maintenance building at Lincoln Park

Nov 8, 2017 71

The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department will be constructing a new maintenance building at a cost of just over $200,000.

That’s after the Indiana Department of Environmental Management warned that the current building in Lincoln Park is inadequate, especially for an area that also has some of the city’s wells for drinking water.

Mark Jones, head of the parks department, explains that the existing building is used to store many materials including chemicals. He said that there have been no spills or other incidents, but the discussion with IDEM came about after an audit of parks facilities.

Jones, head of the parks department says that the existing building started out as a two-bay garage which is too small for the city’s needs.

Jones said that the city will be building a structure that allows for space for the up to 15 employees who work there now, as well as facilities to safely clean equipment. The building will not be air conditioned and will largely be a shell.

The City Council last night approved spending the money to construct the building out of the parks department’s cash reserves. Jones said the estimated cost to construct the building is about $200,000 but that is before the design work has been completed. He asked the Council to approve $240,000 in spending for the project.


Traffic stop turns into arrest for meth possession

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Columbus police say that a traffic stop last night turned into a drug arrest for a Nineveh man.

Police saw a vehicle driving without taillights at about 11:40 last night on U.S. 31 near Central Avenue. After stopping the vehicle, the officer allegedly noticed the smell of narcotics inside the vehicle and saw methamphetamine in the center console.

32 year old Kyle L. Stewart was arrested and is facing preliminary charges of possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance. Two other people in the vehicle were released.

Wanted man arrested after spotted by Columbus Police

Nov 6, 2017 116

William Cox; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

A wanted Columbus man is behind bars after police spotted him walking near 11th Street and Franklin Street on Friday afternoon. Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department, says that at approximately 2:45 p.m., Sgt. Oscar Olmeda spotted 42-year-old William C. Cox. Harris says that Cox had a felony warrant for his arrest. After Cox was taken into custody, officers reported finding a syringe and a stolen debit card in his possession.

Cox is facing preliminary charges of Possession of Stolen Property and Possession of a Syringe. The warrant was for Failure to Appear on original charges: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Theft of a Firearm, Theft and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm with a Prior Domestic Violence Conviction.

Rep. Messer to hold mobile office hours in Columbus

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Congressman Luke Messer, a Republican representing Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District, announced Monday that his staff will host mobile office hours in Columbus on Thursday. Mobile office hours will be held Thursday, from 10:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Center’s CMT room, located at 2501 Lincoln Park Drive in Columbus.

Constituents who need help navigating the federal government or have questions are invited to stop by and speak with staff members.

For more information, visit messer.house.gov.

Franklin Police investigate shooting

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Franklin Police are investigating a shooting that left one man injured. Authorities say that at approximately 1:52 a.m. on Sunday, officers responded to 1531 Younce Street on a report of a person shot. Upon arrival, police found 21-year-old Tristan Lear shot in his left forearm multiple times. Lear was transported to Eskenazi Hospital where he was later released in good condition.

Investigators say that the shooter and another subject had left the scene just prior to officers’ arrival. Soon after the incident, police say they located the shooter, 24-year-old Michael Lentz, and another person who allegedly fled the scene. Authorities say that Lentz is cooperating with investigators.

Franklin Police say that once the investigation is completed, findings will be forwarded to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office for review to determine if any criminal charges will be filed.

Portions of People Trail system closed due to high water

Nov 6, 2017 76

Portions of the People Trail system are closed due to high water. Columbus Parks and Rec says that currently, high water is across the trail in the following areas:
Hawcreek by the hospital and by State Street bridge;
the Northbrook area;
sections of the Clifty Park trail.

They will reopen after the water has receded and crews have cleaned any mud and debris left behind.

Columbus streets flooded

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A number of streets in Columbus, and throughout Bartholomew County, are flooded to the heavy rainfall. Officials from the city have released the following statement:

Due to the extensive rain the Columbus area experienced today, many streets and storm sewers are flooded. The flooding is also compounded by leaves in the streets and storm sewers, which inhibits drainage.

The Columbus Police Department and Department of Public Works employees have been out all Sunday evening dealing with flooded streets and putting up barriers as needed. They will continue throughout the night and into Monday clearing streets and working on alleviating the flooding.

Please use caution when driving and do not drive through high water. We would appreciate any help residents can provide by removing leaves and debris that may be clogging storm grates along their street.