Monthly Archives: March 2016

Mayor appoints Abedian to Parks Board

The Columbus Park Board has a new member after Julie Abedian was appointed by Mayor Jim Lienhoop. Abedian is the Vice President of Community Partnerships and Corporate Responsibility at Columbus Regional Health (CRH). Her appointment comes after the resignation of former Parks Board member Dave Jones.

The city’s Executive Director of Administration, Mary Ferdon, says that Abedian is a 23-year resident of Columbus. Ferdon notes that Abedian, and her family, are “passionate about Columbus parks.” In a statement, Abedian said of her family, “We live next to the People Trail and log a lot of miles on them. Steve (husband and Director at Cummins) coached Parks and Rec soccer teams for years. Our boys grew up playing on city playgrounds and skating at Hamilton Center. They learned how to swim at Donner Pool, became accomplished college athletes playing on the local soccer fields, and had fun attending Strings Camp at Youth Camp,” says Abedian.

Ferdon says that Abedian’s work at CRH and on the Healthy Communities Council has engaged her in many health-focused parks facility projects and initiatives for youth and adults. Mark Jones, Director of Columbus Parks and Recreation, says that he is thrilled with the appointment. “Julie is a great addition to the Board and we look forward to having her work with the rest of the Parks Board to continue to grow our parks department.”

State AG to recognize Columbus Police for saving lives of overdose victims

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is scheduled to recognize Columbus law enforcement officers who have saved the lives of overdose victims.

The Attorney General’s Office says that Zoeller will be in Columbus on Thursday afternoon to recognize the Columbus Police Department, and its officers, for the several lives that have been saved as the result of officers being trained to use, and utilizing, the drug Nalaxone. The drug counteracts the effects of an opioid, like heroin.

With the heroin epidemic in, and around, Columbus, area law-enforcement has seen a marked increase in overdose responses this year. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office operates a grant program that funds Naloxone training and equipment for law enforcement agencies and other first responders across the state. Local law enforcement has benefited from that program.

Thursday’s ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Columbus Police Department, located at 123 Washington Street.

Crash leads to the arrest of a Columbus man

A Columbus man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after an early Tuesday morning crash.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that at approximately 1:32 a.m., Deputy Kris Weisner was

Dylan R. Burns
Dylan R. Burns

dispatched to a one-vehicle crash on US 31 at County Road 500 North. A witness told authorities that the vehicle had driven off the roadway and into a ditch.

When Deputy Weisner arrived at the scene, he reported seeing a single vehicle off the northeast corner of the intersection. The deputy reports that the vehicle went through a guardrail and was sitting atop the guardrail above a watery ditch.

Authorities say that the driver, 21-year-old Dylan R. Burns, was unable to exit the vehicle without falling into the water. Jackson says that members of the Columbus Fire Department and German Township Fire Department were able to rescue Burns by having him crawl out of the vehicle’s sunroof.

While speaking with Burns, Deputy Weisner says that he detected a

Photo courtesy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Dept.
Photo courtesy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Dept.

strong odor of alcohol. His report also stated that Burns had glassy eyes and slurred speech.

The Sheriff’s Department says that Burns was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for evaluation. Once he was released from the hospital, Burns was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a preliminary charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence. Jackson says that he has since been released on $5,000 bond.

Ivy Tech to offer “White Belt” training

Ivy Tech Community College is offering training courses and certification for professionals and students. Randy Proffitt, executive director of Marketing and Recruitment for the school, explains that the program provides “continuous improvement strategies for quality assurance, problem solving, customer relations, project team work, and eliminating waste.”

Proffitt says that a “White Belt” training session for professionals will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 7th at the Columbus Learning Center auditorium. He adds that a student training session will be held April 14th, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the same location. School officials say that the eight-hour, non-credit workshops are free and taught by Ivy Tech’s Certified Quality Trainers. They add that a final exam, lasting 30-minutes, will be administered at the end of the session.

Proffitt says that White Belt certification provides “a comprehensive launch into Lean processes and Six Sigma methodology.” He explains that the skills learned in these classes can be utilized in business, healthcare, manufacturing and other industries.

“This certification will add a substantial stamp of credibility to anyone in the job market and anyone who wants to advance their careers. It also is beneficial in helping employees perform their jobs better,” said Ivy Tech Project Director Pam Warner. “Quality training provides a competitive edge in attaining skills and learning to implement practices that work.”

Ivy Tech officials add that certification is held in partnership with Purdue Polytechnic Columbus, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and Ivy Tech Military/Veterans Services.

To register for one of these classes, visit the Ivy Tech Continuous Improvement website at

Man accused of strangulation in domestic dispute

Brandon White
Brandon White

A Columbus man is being accused of strangulation after a domestic dispute yesterday afternoon.

Lt. Matt Harris, with the Columbus Police Department, reports that officers were called to a home in the 1500 block of 16th Street just after 5 p.m. Tuesday about a domestic dispute. Police found the victim with ripped clothing and injuries to her face. She said she was choked during the incident after she tried to leave the home with a small child.

32-year-old Brandon L. White was arrested on preliminary charges of domestic violence in the presence of a minor and strangulation.

White was arrested in February for sleeping in a laundromat.

New VA clinic to be dedicated at Atterbury today

The Veterans Affairs Administration will be unveiling the new clinic at Camp Atterbury this morning. A dedication ceremony is happening at 11 a.m. at the new Wakeman Clinic which is at 3791 10th Street.

Gov. Mike Pence, Major General Cory Carr with the Indiana National Guard and Dr. Ginny Creasman, director of the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Fire shuts down Rightway Fasteners plating operations

Columbus firefighters battled a fire overnight that destroyed an important piece of equipment at Rightway Fasteners and led to the evacuation of the plant.

A fire alarm alerted firefighters at about 11:25 p.m. to the blaze on South International Drive and when they arrived they found thick smoke IMG_8582throughout the zinc plating building, says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department. After fighting their way through the smoke, firefighters extinguished a fire in the electrical conduits of the zinc plating machine and the surrounding ventilation system.

Company officials said the machine was a total loss. It was due to be replaced next year.

The zinc plating for the plant will have to be shipped to Kentucky until the machine can be replaced, company officials told firefighters.

No one was injured.

Mayor Lienhoop highlights challenges in first State of the City Address

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop gave his inaugural State of the City Address Tuesday night from the Columbus Learning Center. A packed crowd listened to the Mayor talk about the many good things that the city has going on, but he also addressed a number of challenges. Among them, is Columbus’ susceptibility to joblessness due to the cyclical nature of the automotive and diesel engine businesses…


Lienhoop says that he has hopes that a new agreement between the city and the Columbus Economic Development Commission will pay dividends and expand the employment opportunities for those who live and work in Columbus.

The Mayor also talked about the necessity of educational attainment. He says that we are fast reaching an era where a high-school diploma alone won’t be enough to get a good job…


The Mayor also said that his administration is working on a proposal to improve area graduation rates…


Lienhoop said that the proposal is in its early stages, but he anticipates that it will ultimately provide tangible benefits.

The Mayor also talked about drug addiction, particular heroin addiction…


Mayor Lienhoop noted that more needs to be done to stifle the demand for illicit drugs in Columbus. He compared the drug issue to that of an infectious disease, noting that those suffering from an infection can go to the hospital, while those dealing with addiction, have nothing.

Lienhoop said that, like in the legal marketplace, demand fuels supply. He added that if every drug dealer in Columbus was arrested at once, demand would bring new ones in to the city. With that, the Mayor says that it’s time to address the demand for these drugs…


Mayor Lienhoop added that the fight won’t be quick, but it is one worth winning.

Lienhoop’s first State of the City also featured an update on the Columbus Municipal Airport from airport director Brian Payne:

Brian Payne

Area farm families honored at Statehouse

A few area families were honored at the Indiana Statehouse Monday for their family farms. Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Director Ted McKinney presented 46 families with a Hoosier Homestead Award in recognition of their commitment to Indiana agriculture.

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years, and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year. The award distinctions recognized are Centennial (100 years), Sesquicentennial (150 years) and Bicentennial (200 years).

Those honored include:

Bartholomew County: The Schulz family received the Sesquicentennial Award.
Decatur County: The Fletcher and Fischmer families received the Centennial Award.
Johnson County: The Long family received the Centennial Award.

State officials say these families are among the more than 5,000 Hoosier Homestead farms.

Cummins announces Middle-East partnership

Cummins has announced a joint-venture in the Middle East. Jon Mills, Cummins’ director of External Communications, says that the Columbus-based diesel engine manufacturer is joining with the Olayan Group in the formation of Cummins Arabia. He says this new venture “a fifty-fifty, three-country distribution joint venture company in the Middle East.”

Mills says that this joint venture consolidates the distribution of Cummins products in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Those products are currently distributed by Cummins’ wholly-owned UAE distributor and Olayan-owned independent distributors, General Contracting Company (GCC) in Saudi Arabia and General Transportation and Equipment (GTE) in Kuwait. He explains that these three countries represent some of the largest markets for Cummins in that region. Mills says that the partnership allows Cummins to greatly expand access to the Saudi and Kuwaiti markets and operate closer to its customer base. At the same time, he says that it will provide for the training and employment of nationals in each country.

“Cummins is pleased to partner with Olayan, which is a highly respected leader in the global distribution business,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO of Cummins. “Olayan brings years of Middle East experience, and this partnership provides opportunities for our companies to grow and expand in this region while enhancing the service and support we provide to customers.” Linebarger went on to say that “Cummins will continue to look for new ways to build global partnerships that drive growth and success for our company, our partners, and our customers.”

Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Company, said: “We view our new joint venture as a natural evolution of the close working relationship that has existed between us and Cummins for more than 60 years. We began distributing Cummins products in Saudi Arabia in 1956 and have always viewed ourselves as operating in a real spirit of partnership. This new company will further enhance our product offerings and services in the region and is truly a win-win proposition – for Cummins, for us, and for our customers.”

Mills says that the joint venture will be formed and the new operating structure implemented in the second half of this year. He added that it will be headquartered in Saudi Arabia, where dedicated facilities will be built.