Legal Aid offering free eviction and housing clinic

The local Legal Aid office holding a Housing and Eviction Clinic for residents of the agency’s eight county district on Tuesday.

The agency says that the COVID-19 housing crisis has created a need for renters to know their rights and responsibilities Volunteer attorneys will provide information related to housing and eviction issues between 3 pm and 5:30 Tuesday afternoon.

To take part you must pre-register by calling Legal Aid between 12 pm and 2 Tuesday at 812-378-0358.

The district includes Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Rush, and Shelby Counties.

Drug den across from school busted in downtown Columbus

Christopher J. George. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Jail

Bartholomew County’s Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested three people on drug related charges Thursday in an apartment across the street from St. Peter’s Lutheran School.

According to police reports, they received information about the dealing of fentanyl and heroin at the apartment. After detectives arrested several people on drug-related charges, police had enough information to serve a search warrant at the home in the 800 block of Fourth Street.

Detectives found more than 10 grams of fentanyl/heroin, methamphetamine, synthetic drug material, stolen property, syringes, drug-related paraphernalia and a significant amount of packaging material used to make illegal drugs ready for distribution.

Evidence photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

34-year-old Christopher George was arrested on preliminary charges of dealing in cocaine, conspiracy to commit theft, maintaining a common nuisance, several drug possession charges, possession of a syringe and possession of stolen property.

Carrie Narozny is being accused of dealing in a narcotic, maintaining a common nuisance, resisting law enforcement, several drug possession charges, possession of a syringe and drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen property.

Charles F. Russell. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Jail.

24-year-old Charles Russell of Columbus was also arrested on a preliminary charge of visiting a common nuisance

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.

Bartholomew County issues new COVID-19 restrictions

Bartholomew County is making some changes to its COVID-19 restrictions to comply with new guidance from the state.

Effective at noon on Saturday, Bartholomew County bars and restaurants will no longer have strict capacity limits, but will instead have limits based on social distancing.

According to the order released by county health officer Dr. Brian Niedbalski, people from non-household parties must be spaced six feet apart at tables, counters, and other seating arrangements. Masks should be worn when not actively eating or drinking. He also strongly encouraged, frequent hand washing and proper sanitation.

Many business will still be limited to 50 percent capacity, including movie theaters, bowling alleys, and similar indoor entertainment venues, large retailers including groceries and hardware stores, and gyms, fitness centers, and personal services.

Gyms and similar businesses must screen employees daily, wear facial coverings, and equipment must be spaced to satisfy social distancing. Equipment must be cleaned after each use. Group fitness classes can take place, with social distancing.

Social gatherings, public meetings, and all other events will be limited to no more than 100 people and they must adhere to social distancing guidelines. The health department will not be taking submitted plans for larger events.

You can read the Bartholomew County order here.

Seymour Main Street to see state grant for staffing

Seymour’s Main Street program will receive a share of $205,000 dollars in grants through the state’s Taking Care of Main Street program, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced yesterday.

She said the goal is to support Indiana Main Street organizations that provide leadership and services to the public. The grant program is paying special attention to organizations that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

Seymour Main Street is receiving $15,000 to offset salary expenses. That is so other operational funds can continue to be allocated toward local grant programming.

Local students lead Maverick Challenge awards

Several local high school students took home cash awards for their business proposals in the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored Maverick Challenge regional event recently.

Students competing in the Maverick Challenge take their business ideas from a concept to a developed business plans, work with local mentors in improve those plans then pitch those proposals in multiple rounds of judging both at the local and regional level.

The challenge was launched in 2008 to further the innovative spirit in regional high school students. This year’s virtual event was held last weekend.

A team from Bloomington North High School took first place with a plan for a computer science app for students.

Trey Nebergall of Columbus North High School took second place with Aspire Group, his plan for a real estate media company that provides professional photography, video, drone, and 3D tours for real estate agents. He received $1,000.

Maggie Connell of Seymour High School received the Judges’ Choice for Research & Preparation for her project, Sunset Vistas, an independent retirement community in Seymour. Connell was awarded $175.

Legislators to take part in education Third House Saturday

Columbus area educators and retired educators will be making their case to local legislators with an education-focused, virtual Third House session tomorrow morning.

Republican legislators, State Rep. Ryan Lauer and Sen. Greg Walker, will take part in the event at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning via Zoom. The Columbus Educators Association and Bartholomew County Retired Teachers Association are organizing the event focused on education-related legislation.

The event is expected to last an hour and will include both presentations by the legislators and the answering of questions submitted by viewers. You can sign up for the virtual session here.

Schneck begins easing visitor restrictions

Schneck Medical Center in Seymour is easing some restrictions on hospital visitors.

All visitors are required to complete a screening when they enter the facility. Anyone with fever and/or chills, sore throat, muscle aches, runny or stuffy nose, cough, fatigue, headache, vomiting or diarrhea can not visit patients.

Once screened, visitors will receive a wristband to wear while in the building. All visitors, older than 2, are required to wear a mask while in the facility and should practice social distancing.

Patients who are not in isolation are allowed to have two people visit at a time but those visitors must remain in the patient’s room.

In other changes:

  • Isolation patients: Visitors are not permitted. End-of-life patients may have limited visitors, as determined by the nursing supervisor.
  • Labor and delivery patients: Visitors are limited to two people at a time and must remain in the patient room throughout the visit.
  • Newborns and pediatric patients: Parents/banded visitors are able to remain with the patient throughout the hospitalization. Additional visitors are limited to two people at a time.
  • Visitors are limited to two at a time in the surgery visitor area.
  • Visitors are limited to two during the patient’s stay in the Emergency Department and they must stay in the patient room at all times.
  • Patients may have two visitors accompany them to their outpatient test or physician office visit.
  • Patients may have two visitors accompany them to their Cancer Center clinic appointment.

Driver arrested after drugs found in vehicle

Brian L. Bay. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A Columbus man was arrested early this morning after a traffic stop uncovered drugs in his vehicle.

According to reports from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, deputies stopped a vehicle after a traffic infraction at about 1:08 this morning near County Road 650N and U.S. 31. Police determined that the driver, 50-year-old Brian Bay had a suspended driver’s license, with court ordered specialized driving privileges that he was violating.

Department police dog Argo was brought to the scene and alerted to the smell of drugs in the vehicle. A search revealed methamphetamine, syringes, a scale and prescription medication that did not belong to Bay.

Bay was arrested on preliminary charges for possessing the drugs and for violation of specialized driving privileges.

Evidence photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Hope approves, extends search for town manager

The town of Hope is once again on the hunt for a town manager.

The town has been without a manager since December of 2018, when the Town Council declined to renew the contract of the previous manager.

Earlier this month the council held a special meeting to iron out the responsibilities and job description of a town manager, and to ensure certain benchmarks such as semi-annual visits to all businesses in town and regular reports to the council on all the town manager’s activities.

After voting last month to reopen the search, the council had hoped to have applications in hand by the end of February. But with the job description revisions adopted this week and the recent bad weather, Council member Clyde Compton proposed extending the search deadline.

The council voted to approve the job description changes and to take applications until March 31st.

Update: Gleaners changes location of Friday food distribution

Gleaners Food Bank has again changed the location for the food distribution today at the Columbus Municipal Airport.

The location will once again be the corporate aviation hangar at 5175 North Warren Drive. That change was announced yesterday afternoon and is different than the previously announced alternate location. However it is a return to the usual spot for the pantry distributions.

The food distribution was originally scheduled for last week, but delayed because of the severe weather.

The Columbus event will be from 4 to 6 pm. today. Gleaners says you will still stay inside your vehicle and there are no early arrivals, or parking on the main streets in the area.

You can check for updates before the event on the Gleaners website at Gleaners.org.