Monthly Archives: April 2016

Driver pulled over after traveling 29 mph on the Interstate

A Hammond man was arrested for alleged drunk-driving after a Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputy reported seeing traveling 29 mph in a 70 mph speed zone.

Judy Jackson, Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson, says that at about 2 a.m. on Friday, Deputy Sgt. Kris Weisner was dispatched to northbound

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

I-65. When he got there, the deputy allegedly saw the vehicle moving slowly, braking erratically, crossing the center line and almost coming to a complete stop. Jackson says that Weisner stopped the vehicle at the 68 mile marker and spoke with the driver, 46-year-old Robert D. Mills. The deputy reported seeing several beer cans in the vehicle and Mills showing signs of being impaired.

Mills was arrested on preliminary charges of Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence. Jackson says that he has since been released on $5,000 bond.

Two-vehicle crash claims life of Columbus resident

A Friday afternoon crash involving a passenger-vehicle and a semi resulted in the death of a Columbus man.

Judy Jackson, spokesperson for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, says that at 12:54 p.m., police and medics responded to the scene on 25th Street, just east of County Road 500 East. Investigators say that, for unknown reasons, the westbound vehicle, driven by 24-year-old Samuel R. Winick, veered into the eastbound lane and crashed in to the semi tractor trailer. Winick perished in the crash, which closed a section of 25th Street for nearly three-hours.

Jackson says that the driver of the semi was 65-year-old Gregory Freeman, of Columbus, Ohio. His condition has not been released.

The Sheriff’s Department says that the investigation of the crash is ongoing.

Road repair project begins Monday in Columbus

Columbus officials say that contractors will begin work on the city streets’ crack sealing project on Monday. Crack sealing consists of cleaning, preparing and sealing pavement joints and random pavement cracks on selected streets throughout the city. Officials say that sealing cracks in city streets increases pavement life, allowing a longer time between more intense street maintenance, therefore saving money.

City officials say that, weather permitting, the crack sealing project is expected to be complete by the end of May. You are encouraged to plan alternate routes around the work whenever possible. Flagmen will be directing traffic. The city’s Engineering Department says that affected streets will be posted with signs reading “No Parking ” 24 hours before work begins in that area.

Areas scheduled for crack seal work include:
Crump Estates
Presidential Parks
Princeton Parks/Airport/Flatrock Park North
Shadow Creek Farms
Wildflower Estates
Terrace Woods
Champion Drive, Waterside, Westlake Park & Heron Cove in Tipton Lakes

Several arrests made in theft of construction equipment

Seven people have been arrested after an investigation into the theft of several pieces equipment and authorities say that more arrests are possible.

A Shelby County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson says that from late 2014 to the summer of 2015, their investigators, with the help of Indiana State Police, the Hancock County Sheriff Department, the National

Photo courtesy of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department
Photo courtesy of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department

Insurance Crime Bureau, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office, recovered several pieces of stolen equipment. Authorities say they include nine skid-steer loaders, two backhoes, a mini excavator, multiple all terrain vehicles, a compact tractor with implements, a large construction excavator and multiple trailers. The estimated value of all of the items recovered is over $800,000. All of these items, say the Sheriff’s Department, were stolen from homes and businesses in Hancock, Hendricks, Hamilton, Marion, Johnson, Monroe, and Rush counties from 2008 to 2015. They say that the stolen items were ultimately taken to Shelby County.

Shelby County authorities say that the following arrests have been made:

Tracey K. Shaw, 52, of Flat Rock; – Corrupt Business Influence (Class C Felony), Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony), Two Counts of Receiving Stolen Property (Class D Felony), Theft (Level 5 Felony) and Two Counts of Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Kevin D. Croucher, 40, of Flat Rock – Corrupt Business Influence (Class C Felony), Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony), Three counts of Receiving stolen property (Class D Felony), Two counts of Theft (Level 5 Felony) and Two counts of Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Andrew N. Harker, 41, of St. Paul – Corrupt Business Influence (Class C Felony), Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony), Two counts of Receiving stolen Property (Class D Felony), Two counts of Theft (Level 5 Felony) and Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Anthony L. Harker, 46, of Waldron – Theft (Level 5 Felony);

Jamey W. Pierce, 49, of Flat Rock – Theft (Level 5 Felony) and Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Richard O. Mumaw, 51, of Flat Rock – Two Counts of Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Aaron J. Christy, 32, of Indianapolis – Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony), Two counts of Theft (Level 5 Felony) and Theft (Level 6 Felony);

Shelby County authorities say that the investigation is ongoing.

State police warn to be on alert for cycles

With the warm weather, the Indiana State Police want to warn drivers and motorcyclists to be on the alert for each other and to try to drive safely.

According to Sgt. John Bowling, spokesman for the state police, if you are driving a passenger vehicle you should make sure to check your blind spots before changing lanes and take extra caution at intersections. And you should be aware of road hazards that could cause a cyclist to cross into your lane.

Other safety tips for drivers:

  • Use your turn signals when changing lanes.
  • Allow at least two seconds of following distance between your vehicle and a motorcycle.
  • Be cautious and observant when turning left. This is a primary cause of crashes between vehicles and motorcycles.
  • Remember, motorcycles are entitled to operate in a full lane.
  • Obey all traffic laws.

For cyclists, Bowling suggests you should always wear protective clothing and make sure it is bright enough for you to easily be seen. You should also use reflective tape and your motorcycle’s headlight. And you should never perform stunts like wheelies on the road.

Other motorcyclist safety tips:

  • Always use turn signals when changing lanes and turning.
  • Check your motorcycle before each ride, and do not ride if any equipment is not operating properly.
  • Look for road hazards.
  • Be especially cautious around intersections, alleys, driveways, and other areas where an animal, pedestrian, or vehicle might enter your path.
  • Avoid riding in the blind spot of other vehicles.
  •  Ride defensively; always leave enough reaction time for unexpected movements from other vehicles.
  • When operating a motorcycle during inclement weather, slow down and use extra caution.
  • Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed.
  • Never ride impaired,


Early voting continues through Monday

Bartholomew County voters will be making choices in races ranging from the president all the way to town boards in towns like Hope and Hartsville during Tuesday’s primary.

But there is also still time to vote early. Early voting continues today and tomorrow in Bartholomew County at the county courthouse (until 5 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday), and at Donner Center, Flintwood Wesleyan Church and the Main Source Bank branch on Jonathan Moore Pike from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be early voting until 8 a.m. noon on Monday at the  courthouse.

Bartholomew County voters will be choosing candidates including:


President — Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John R. Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald J. Trump

U.S. Senator — Marlin A. Stutzman, Todd Young

Governor — Mike Pence

U.S. House District 6 — Chuck Johnson Jr., Luke Messer, Jeff Smith

Indiana Senate District 44 (western Bartholomew County): Josh Anderson, Eric Koch

Indiana House District 57 (northeastern Bartholomew County) — Sean R. Eberhart

Indiana House District 59 — Ryan Lauer, Milo Smith, Lew Wilson

Indiana House District 69 (southeastern Bartholomew County) — Nancy L. Franke, Jim Lucas

Circuit Court Judge — Scott Andrews, Kelly Benjamin

County Coroner — Clayton R. Nolting, Ronald W. Shadley Sr.

County Surveyor — E.R. Gray

County Commissioner District 1 — Susan Thayer-Fye, Larry S. Kleinhenz, Jorge R. “George” Morales.

County Commissioner District 3 — Rick Flohr

County Council at-large (3 seats) — William F. “Bill” Lentz, Michael Lovelace, Matt Miller, Evelyn Strietelmeyer Pence, James “Jim” Reed

Hartsville Town Council (3 seats) — Michael “Mike” W. Crull, Rex L. Dora, Steven Rucker

Hope Town Council Ward 3 — Ohmer J. Miller


President — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator — Baron Hill

Governor — John R. Gregg

U.S. House District 6: Danny Basham, George T. Holland, Bruce W. Peavler, Ralph Spellbring, Barry Welsh

Indiana Senate District 44 (western Bartholomew County) — Linda K. Henderson

Indiana House District 59 — Dale Nowlin, Bob Pitman

County Coroner — Paula Rothrock

County Commissioner District 3 — Brad Woodcock

County Council at-large (3 seats) — Gabrielle “Gaby” Cheek, Pam Clark, Lynne L. Fleming

Hartsville Town Council (3 seats) — Lisa L. Hayes, Mark Imel, Jeremy Kimball

Hope Town Council Ward 1 — Edward Johnson

Hope Town Council Ward 2 — Nellie Meek, Greg Sims

Arts Council finishes year with small gain in funds

Despite losing funding from the last city administration, the Columbus Area Arts Council finished the year in the black.

Last year, the organization which sponsors arts, artists and performances in the community, was projected to lose as much as $50,000.  Instead, the council saw a small gain of $3,926.

The council held its annual meeting yesterday at Yes Cinema, thanking donors and volunteers for their generous support.

Outgoing director Karen Shrode talked about the year’s successes.

“It was a truly remarkable year in every sense of the word,” Shrode said. “The fact that we barely broke even does not tell the deeper story. Which is the fact that we banded together to sustain this organization, because we all believe in its mission and in the benefits it brings to the community.”

Shrode said that Rock the Park and the downtown Block Party both made record or near-record amounts — $30,000 for the Block Party, and $35,000 for Rock the Park. The annual unCommon Cause fundraiser netted more than $118,000. She said that sponsors were asked to contribute more for events last year and they came through for the community organization.

During the 2014 budget process, then-Mayor Kristen Brown cut the arts council’s funding from the city. Over the previous 10 years, the arts council has received $148,000 to almost $192,000. Instead, Brown wanted the council to compete with other community organizations for $50,000 in possible grants through the parks department.

Shrode said that there is hope that the new city administration will restore the lost funding.

Republican Ladies League hosts candidate forum

Candidates running for public office in Bartholomew County on the Republican side of the ticket gathered Thursday night to introduce

Republican Ladies League President Tami Hines introduce Coroner candidates Ron Shadley and Clayton Nolting
Republican Ladies League President Tami Hines introduce Coroner candidates Ron Shadley and Clayton Nolting

themselves, and hopefully win-over voters, ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. Candidates for State Representative, County Commissioner, County Council, Coroner and Circuit Court Judge gathered at Columbus City Hall as part of the Bartholomew County Republican Ladies’ League forum.

Ladies League President Tami Hines says that she was pleased with the turnout from both the candidates, as well as the audience. She says that events like these are important as we head into the primary.

The lone Republican who did not take part was County Council candidate Mike Lovelace. Hines says that he declined the invitation.

Candidates for State Representative talk about why they are running

Area voters on both sides of the political aisle will be voting to select their candidate to represent them in Indiana House District 59 in this year’s primary election. Republican incumbent Milo Smith is facing two challengers from his own party, while Democrats will select between a local advocate and a BCSC educator.

We asked the candidates why they are running for office.

Smith says that it’s all about helping others…

Republican Ryan Lauer, who ran for State Representative two-years ago, says that he’s focused on the education of our children…

Republican Lew Wilson says that the state’s infrastructure needs more attention…

Democrat Bob Pittman says he is frustrated with state leadership…

Democrat Dale Knowlin says that, as a teacher, he is worried about what he sees in education…

Property taxes due by May 10th

The Bartholomew County Treasurer’s Office is reminding county residents that the spring installment of their 2016 property tax bills are due by May 10.

County Treasurer Pia O’Connor says that payments can be mailed to her office, at PO Box 1986, Columbus, IN 47202. They must be postmarked by the due date. You can also make your payment at any Centra Credit Union, First Financial Bank, Jackson County Bank or MainSource Bank location. O’Connor says that you will need to have your tax statement if you wish to use this option. Taxpayers can also pay their bill via the 24-hour drop box on the Third Street side of the Government Office Building, at 440 Third Street. You may also pay your bill, in person, at the Treasurer’s Office. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the office will be closed Tuesday, May 3 for the primary election. O’Connor says that another option is to pay your bill with a credit card. However, she says that credit card companies will assess a fee.

O’Connor says that a five-percent penalty will apply to any payments up to 30 days late. After June 10, she explains that the penalty goes up to 10-percent.

For more information, visit or call the Treasurer’s Office at (812) 379-1530.