Monthly Archives: December 2015

New emergency management director selected

Shannan Hinton has been chosen as the new director of emergency management for Bartholomew County.

Hinton previously served as the deputy director of emergency management in Bartholomew County for six years, but has spent the past several years with the state Department of Homeland Security as emergency management coordinator for the seven-county region that includes Bartholomew County.

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She will take office in January after the retirement of Dennis Moats who has spent 24 years with the county. Although Moats retires on Thursday, he has accumulated vacation time and Hinton will not be able to officially take office until about Jan. 19th, she said.

Hinton said Moats is leaving the county in good shape as he retires.

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Hinton said she has gone on to earn a four-year degree in emergency management.

Jennings man arrested after hiding from deputies

A Jennings County man was arrested Monday afternoon on felony warrants for delinquent child support after allegedly hiding from deputies in the woods.

Lt. Mike Mowery, spokesman for the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, says that deputies were trying to serve a warrant on Damien J. Tolman on County Road 1000W, when he allegedly ran from deputies into a nearby woods. Deputies and an Indiana State Police Trooper blocked off the woods and Tolman was arrested after about a half hour hiding.

He is also now facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement.

Former mayor to seek Democratic party leadership

Former Columbus mayor and county treasurer Nancy Ann Brown would like to be the next chairwoman of the Bartholomew County Democratic Party.

In a letter sent to local Democrats on Christmas Eve, Brown announced that she would seek the position when the party meets on Jan. 18th, to fill the vacant chair. Priscilla Scalf has announced that she will be stepping down from the position in January.

Brown worked in the private sector at Home Federal Savings Bank as an assistant vice president, as administrator at Larry Nunn and Associates, and as office manager at Bartholomew County REMC. Since leaving the mayor’s office in 1983, she has also served on many local boards and commissions including with the Columbus-area Visitors Center, the Bartholomew County Senior Center and the United Way.

She was elected as Columbus’ first female mayor in 1980. From 1971 through 1978 she served as Bartholomew County treasurer.

Flood warnings continue through Thursday

Flood warnings continue for rivers in our area including East Fork White, Flatrock, Driftwood and Muscatatuck rivers.

According the the National Weather Service, two to five inches of rain fell between Saturday and Monday across parts of southern Indiana flooding many rivers and streams.

Among the affected rivers in our area:

  • East Fork White River at Columbus was at just over 10 feet as of 8 a.m. this morning, about a foot above the 9-foot minor flood stage. The river is expected to crest at 11.3 feet by this evening, possibly closing State Road 11 at Garden City. The river is under a flood warning until Thursday morning. Link to National Weather Service river gauge
  • East Fork White River at Seymour was at 17.7 feet at 7:15 a.m. today, about half a foot above the 17-foot moderate flood stage. It was expected to crest at 17.6 feet tonight, acording to river predictions. The river is not expected to dip below flood stage again before Saturday. Link to National Weather Service river gauge
  • The Flatrock River is under a flood warning until late Wednesday. The river was at 12.1 feet at 1:45 a.m. today, just over a foot above the 11-foot flood stage. It is expected to crest at 12.6 feet tonight. Link to National Weather Service river gauge
  • Driftwood River at Edinburgh was at 13.93 feet as of 3:30 a.m. today, just below the 14-foot moderate flood stage. The river is expected to crest at 14.7 feet by this evening. The flood warning is in effect until late Thursday night. Link to National Weather Service river gauge

The Columbus Parks Department reports that Mill Race Park, Noblitt Park and parts of the People Trail system are underwater. They will remain closed until flood waters recede and mud and debris can be removed.

In Bartholomew County, road closings include County Road 400N at Tinkey Bridge; County Road 800S between Jonesville Rd and U.S. 31; Tellman Road and Southern Crossing east of Jonesville Road. The sheriff’s department is warning that if you come across high water, don’t try to drive through it. Instead find another route to your destination.

Seymour Christmas Tree disposal

The Seymour Department of Public Works has announced the locations for Christmas tree drop off. Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman’s Office says the drop off areas will be sectioned off with orange snow fencing and will remain open until Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at the following locations:

Brown Elementary
Emerson Elementary
Redding Elementary
Jackson Elementary
Seymour Middle School
Seymour High School
Sixth Grade Center

New CFD Board of Chiefs announced

Incoming Columbus Fire Chief Mike Compton announced his selection of chief officers that will serve on the department’s Board of Chiefs.

Compton has been chosen by Mayor-elect Jim Lienhoop to serve as fire chief when Lienhoop takes office on Friday.

Fire Department Spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson says the Board of Chiefs serve as the administrative and operational leadership of the department. He explains that the board is comprised of six chief officers: Fire Chief, Deputy Chief of Operations, Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services and three Battalion Chiefs that serve as commanding officers for the departments three shift rotations. Wilson adds that Battalion Chiefs work a 24-hour tour of duty on their respective shift.

Three chief officers presently serving on the board will remain in place under Chief Compton. Wilson says that EMS Deputy Chief Mike Kutsko, Battalion Chief Mark Ziegler and Battalion Chief Dan Cleland all serve under current Fire Chief Dave Allmon.

Two additional reassignments were also announced Monday. Wilson says that Captain Andy Lay, an 18-year CFD veteran has been named Deputy Chief of Operations, while 26-year-veteran Captain Terry Whitis has been named Battalion Chief.

Wilson says the CFD Board Of Chiefs is as follows:

Chief of Department- Mike Compton
Deputy Chief of Operations – Andy Lay
Deputy Chief of EMS – Mike Kutsko
Battalion Chief (A Shift) – Terry Whitis
Battalion Chief (B Shift) – Mark Ziegler
Battalion Chief (C Shift) – Dan Cleland

Incoming Chief Compton expressed his gratitude to these men and their willingness to serve as leaders of the administrative staff. He sais, “Each of these firefighters bring a number of strengths to the Board of Chiefs. I look forward to many successes as we work together to serve the citizens, the city and our department.”

Woman suffers minor burns in house fire

A Columbus woman escaped a house fire Saturday afternoon with minor injuries. The Columbus Fire Department (CFD) is crediting a working smoke detector with possibly saving the woman’s life.

CFD Spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson says the fire happened late Saturday IMG_0488morning inside of a home in the Wehmeier Addition. At 11:47 a.m., Wilson says firefighters were called to 701 Glendale Dr. for a reported structure fire. As firefighters arrived on the scene, they reportedly found the sole occupant of the residence, a 73-year-old woman, inside the home of a neighbor.

The woman reportedly told firefighters she had turned on her gas oven, then walked to another room in the home. A few minutes later, the she reportedly told investigators that she could hear a smoke alarm sounding inside the home. When she returned to the kitchen, the resident reportedly found the oven on fire, with flames burning up to the ceiling. The woman told investigators that she escaped through a rear door located near the kitchen as debris began to fall on her. Neighbors then reportedly called 911.

Wilson says that the woman sustained minor burns. He adds that she declined to be transported to the hospital. Wilson adds that fire Investigators have ruled the cause of the blaze “accidental.” Damages are estimated at $45,000. The Red Cross was called to assist the woman, who was renting the home.

Commissioners find cheaper salt barn bidder

Bartholomew County Commissioners have found a company that they hope can build the new salt barn for the county highway garage on State Street. And at a cost the county can afford.

The commissioners tentatively awarded a bid this morning for $399,154 to Davies County Metal Sales to construct the building. The only other bidder was Dunlap and Co. with a bid of $523,000.

Previous bids, opened last month, came in at more than half a million dollars, well over the County Commissioners budget for the project. But county officials were able to trim the cost of the project by allowing contractors more freedom in constructing the roof and designing other aspects of the building, said Commissioner Rick Flohr.

The commissioners approved the low bidder, assuming the proposal met the required specifications.

Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz said that county had about $350,000 set aside in the highway garage budget to pay for most of the project and the commissioners could draw from other funds if needed. Commissioners also agreed to encumber those funds at the end of this year, so that they do not have to be reauthorized next year by County Council.

The county has been under pressure from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to construct a barn to cover the county’s supplies of road salt, which now mostly sits in the open and leaches into the soil.

Flash flood watch in effect until tonight; flooding expected through mid-week

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a flash flood watch for our area through tonight. Flood warnings are also being issued for most rivers in our area through Thursday.

Heavy rain is expected today, leading to the flash flood danger. According to the agency, a flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that could lead to flash flooding. You should monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

The flood warnings are in effect from this afternoon through Thursday afternoon on rivers including East Fork White River, Flatrock, Driftwood and Muscatatuck rivers.

East Fork White River at Columbus is expected to rise above the 9 foot flood stage by early afternoon Tuesday and continue to rise to 11.3 feet by early Tuesday afternoon. The river is expected to fall below flood stage by Thursday.

Links to the National Weather Service river gauges and forecasts for East Fork White river and Driftwood River:

East Fork White River at Columbus

East Fork White River at Seymour

Driftwood River at Edinburgh

Swearing-in ceremonies set

You are invited to attend a swearing- in ceremony for Columbus city officials.

The ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Friday in the Cal Brand meeting room at Columbus City Hall for Columbus Mayor-elect Jim Lienhoop, Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer, City Council members and city department heads. A reception will be held afterwards in the City Hall lobby.

The ceremony will also be streamed live on the city’s website at

Seymour’s city leaders will be sworn in tonight after their City Council meeting. The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall on Chestnut Street.