Monthly Archives: June 2016

Dept. of Insurance warns you about consequences of fireworks

With Independence Day celebrations, comes fireworks. While much has been made about fireworks safety, along with where they can be legally set-off, one group wants to remind Hoosiers about another potential issue that could arise from improper use.

The Indiana Department of Insurance says that there are several state laws governing fireworks, as well as additional ordinances in many cities and towns. Jenifer Groth, a spokeswoman with the agency, is warning Hoosier homeowners and renters that accidental damage caused by fireworks that are banned in their counties may not be covered by their homeowners or renters insurance policies. She says that many insurance policies contain provisions disclaiming coverage for illegal acts committed by the insured. However, Groth says that residents who are injured or have property damage due to another person’s use of fireworks may be able to claim benefits under their insurance policy.

“It’s important for Hoosiers to consider the consequences before using fireworks,” said IDOI Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson. “If someone using fireworks accidentally starts a fire, to their own property or that of their neighbors, they may not be able to turn to their insurance company for coverage,” he says.

Groth cites the National Fire Protection Association, which says that more fires are reported nationwide on Independence Day than on any other day of the year. From 2009 to 2013, the organization says that fire departments across the country responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks, which included 1,300 structure fires.

USPS holding special stamp event in Columbus on Friday

The U.S. Postal Service will be in Columbus Friday to celebrate ice-cream sodas and fountain drinks.

Mary Dando, spokesperson for the postal service, says that the agency will celebrate five of those confections during an event at a downtown establishment that has been serving them since 1900. She says that Columbus Postmaster Terri Muir will dedicate the Soda Fountain Favorites Forever Stamp at Zaharako’s Ice Cream Parlor and Museum, at 329 Washington Street, during a 1 p.m. event.

Dando says that Muir will be Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Zaharakos owner Tony Moravec, one of shop’s original owners, Jim Zaharako, as well as other postal officials.

At the special dedication, Dando says that Zaharako’s will be serving all five of the treats illustrated on the Soda Fountain Favorites Stamps. They are: a double-scoop ice cream cone, an egg cream, a banana split, a root beer float and a hot fudge sundae.

Dando notes that the Soda Fountain Favorites Stamps went on Thursday and can be purchased at local Post Offices, as well as online at She adds that stamps, postal products and First-Day-of-Issue commemorative envelopes will be available during Friday’s special dedication.

Hawes makes bid for Bartholomew County Council

Bartholomew County Democrats have a candidate for the County Council-At Large.

The original candidate, Gabrielle Cheek, vacated her candidacy after May’s primary election. Nancy Ann Brown, Chairwoman of the Bartholomew Count Democratic Party, announced Thursday that the party’s central committee voted unanimously to place Diane Hawes on the ballot. Hawes filed her papers with the County Voter Registration office Thursday morning.

Brown says that Hawes is “very qualified” for the position, noting Hawes’ “extensive training, experience and education in Personnel and Organizational Leadership.” Hawes has an Associate of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from Purdue University College of Technology. She adds that she is also working towards completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville by 2018. Hawes is also a 2015 graduate of Leadership Bartholomew County, as well as a 2015 graduate of Collaboration through Coalition Leadership.

Hawes currently works as an Administrative Assistant to the Director of Turning Point Domestic Violence Services. She says that her previous work includes stints with Columbus Regional Hospital and the Dispatch Center for the Franklin Police Department, among others.

The new candidate is crediting her family for their support in her bid for office. Hawes credits Nancy Ann Brown, who also happens to be her mother, for her encouragement, as well as other attributes. Hawes also credited Brown with breathing life into the Bartholomew County Democratic Party. She also thanked her husband, former Columbus City Councilman Craig Hawes, whom she says also played a big part in encouraging her to run.

Hawes says that, due to the fact that she only recently decided to run for office, she does not yet have a website. However, she stressed that one will be up soon and that she hopes area voters will visit it to learn more about her.

Hope hires new town manager

J.T. Doane Hope town managerThe town of Hope has hired a new town manager.

The previous town manager quit in February and while the town council made a new hire in May, that candidate decided not to take the position on the day before he was supposed to start.

Yesterday, the council unanimously approved J.T. Doane of Bargersville for the job.

06-30 JT Doane-2

Doane has most recently been working in sales. He has a degree in political science from the University of Southern Indiana and previously worked for 8 years in the administration of the state attorney general’s office.

Council President Clyde Compton said he was happy with the new hire, but not with the process it took to get there.

06-30 Clyde Compton-1

Police urge safety on the road during upcoming holiday weekend

As we enter the long holiday weekend, those who work in public safety are encouraging you to take steps to insure that your Independence Day weekend is a safe one. Officer Justin Black, with the Columbus Police Department, is offering these tips to drivers…

He says that these simple things could save you trouble and money. Black says that it’s also important for drivers to get plenty of rest before a long trip…

Officer Black adds that it’s also important for drivers to prepare for possible road closures due to construction…

He also notes that, at night, it may be tempting to look up from the road to catch a glimpse of fireworks…

Black urges you to avoid the temptation, or make plans to stop somewhere and take in a fireworks display.

If you happen to see impaired drivers, Officer Black urges you to do your part, and possibly save the lives of others, by calling 911 to report them.

Local man arrested after barricading himself in bathroom

A Columbus man’s attempt to avoid being arrested failed after an incident earlier this week.

Judy Jackson, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, says that at 10:12 a.m. on Monday, Capt. Christopher

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

Roberts and Detective Jason Williams attempted to serve a warrant on Michael F. Childers, 24, of 1314 Lafayette Ave. Jackson says that the attempt to make the arrest came about after detectives received information that Childers was staying at a home in the 1300 block of Franklin Street. When they got there, the detectives say that they were invited inside by an unknown man before being met by another man who said that he was Childers’ father.

Jackson says that, moments later, Detectives found Childers inside the home. He reportedly tried to barricade himself inside of a bathroom, but was ultimately taken into custody without further incident.

Childers was arrested on the outstanding warrant charging him with Violation of Probation on original charges of Criminal Confinement, Domestic Battery, Intimidation and Possession of Marijuana. The Sheriff’s Department says that Childers remains behind bars in lieu of $35,000 bond.

E-Town woman arrested after allegedly attacking deputies

An Elizabethtown woman was arrested Tuesday night after allegedly attacking Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies who were investigating a hit-and-run.

Judy Jackson, Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, says that at about 10 p.m., a number of deputies were investigating a hit and run accident at

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

South Aspen Road and Brush Creek. According to the report, the woman, Barbara Kennedy, 47, became upset when she was unable to drive down the road due to the investigation. Deputies say that Kennedy began attacking them.

Authorities say that Kennedy is facing preliminary charges of Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest and Battery on a Police Officer. Jackson says that the woman has since been released on $12,000 bond.

Child hurt in hit-and-run in Bartholomew County

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a hit-and-run involving a child that happened Tuesday night.

Judy Jackson, Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, says that deputies responded to the call at 10 p.m. According to the report, two boys were riding their bicycles home when one of them, a 13-year-old, was struck by a gold-colored, four-door vehicle, possibly a Honda.

The child’s uninjured friend reportedly told investigators that the incident happened while the pair was traveling south on South Aspen Road. As they were turning west onto Brush Creek, he said that the unknown vehicle struck his friend’s bike.

The father of the uninjured child reportedly told deputies that he was following the boys home. While the man saw the gold-colored vehicle leaving the scene, he did not see the incident. Jackson says that deputies searched the area, but were unable to find any vehicles matching the description.

The injured boy was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital with scrapes and scratches, said Jackson. She also noted that he suffered a small cut above the ear.

If you have any information about this vehicle, or driver, please call the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office at (812) 379-1650. Authorities stress that tips and information can be left anonymously.

Bicentennial torchbearers announced

Editor’s note: Due to a state error, Juanita Harden’s name was omitted from the list of official torchbearers for Bartholomew County.

The state of Indiana has released the names of the torchbearers for the bicentennial torch relay.

Among the 31 announced for Bartholomew County are WCSI’s own John Foster and Sam Simmermaker. There are four posthumous torchbearers on the list including former Columbus Mayor Bob Stewart, Hope newspaper publisher Larry Simpson, Susanna Jones and Vickie Lowney.

You can find a complete list below.

The torch will come through Bartholomew County on Sept. 18th, stopping for events at Hartsville, Simmons Winery and in Columbus at the library plaza.

Bartholomew County (* indicates posthumous award)

  1. Paul Ashbrook
  2. Susan Baute
  3. Richard (Rick) Caldwell
  4. Sarah Cannon
  5. Merrill Clouse
  6. Fred Darling
  7. John Foster
  8. Eugene Gurthet
  9. Siddha Hall
  10. Solomon Hall
  11. Juanita Harden
  12. Carrie Harris
  13. Lucy”Dody” Harvey
  14. Don Harvey
  15. Jason Hatton
  16. Susanna Jones*
  17. Vickie Lowney*
  18. John Martoccia
  19. Cierra McCauley
  20. Mary McGuire
  21. Gregory Pence
  22. Larry Perkinson
  23. Ilya Schwartzman
  24. Sam Simmermaker
  25. Larry Simpson*
  26. Robert Stewart*
  27. Don Strietelmeier
  28. William Stultz
  29. Chuck Wells
  30. April Williams
  31. Brittany Young

Brown County

  1. Trent Austin
  2. Jerry Bell
  3. Jenise Bohbrink
  4. Kelli Bruner
  5. Thor Davis
  6. Keith Fleener
  7. David Frensemeier
  8. Alisha Gredy
  9. James Kubal
  10. Wetannah (Tona) Martin Nelson
  11. Thom Miller
  12. Lydia Miller
  13. Yvonne Oliger
  14. Abbie Oliver
  15. Pete Schrougham
  16. Lisa Shaner
  17. Mark Shields
  18. Phil Stephens
  19. Judith Stewart
  20. Gerhard Weber
  21. Lisa Wilson
  22. Christy Wrightsman

Decatur County

  1. Angela Belter
  2. Paige Coy
  3. Mary Lou Davis
  4. Melina Fox
  5. Dale Gauck
  6. Elizabeth Lecher
  7. Jennifer Maddux
  8. Daniel Manus
  9. Clark Martin
  10. Andrea McKee
  11. David Miers
  12. James Moore
  13. Paul Nahmias
  14. Sarah Nahmias
  15. Robert Nelson
  16. Daniel Nobbe
  17. Brandon Overlock
  18. Donald Polston
  19. Bryan Robbins
  20. Don Schilling
  21. Clair Schoettmer
  22. Pat Smith
  23. Brian Wenning
  24. Russell Wilhoit

Jackson County

  1. John Burkhart
  2. Dianne Cartmel
  3. Tonja Couch
  4. Jack Gillespie
  5. Amy Hartley
  6. Donald Hill
  7. Greg Hutcheson
  8. Vicki Johnson-Poynter
  9. Mike Jordan
  10. Eunice Lacey
  11. Sally Cate Lawson
  12. Aaron Louden
  13. Gary Meyer
  14. Rick Meyer
  15. Charles Moman
  16. Matt Nieman
  17. Doug Pogue
  18. Jeff Rider
  19. Theresa Rouse
  20. Carl Shake
  21. Rick Smith
  22. Clifford Sommers
  23. Steve Sunbury
  24. Morris Tippin
  25. Amy Marie Travis

Jennings County

  1. Helen Fox
  2. John Hall
  3. Harold Campbell
  4. Charles Waggoner
  5. Barbara King
  6. Larry Wasson
  7. Don Biehle
  8. Pat O’Connor*
  9. Dan Wright
  10. Trevor Miller
  11. Kerigan Ertel
  12. Ralph Cooley
  13. Steve Graham

Johnson County

  1. John Gilliland
  2. Jeff Beck
  3. Richard Gotshall
  4. Tom Brogan
  5. Ruth Callon*
  6. Jack Russell
  7. Dennis Patton
  8. Ron Davault
  9. Kimberly Lee
  10. Brian Webb
  11. Tim Coy
  12. Kenneth Coons
  13. Natalie Hinton-Jennings
  14. Chase Smith
  15. Payton Dillon
  16. Ryan Rueff
  17. Dr. James Gilliland

Shelby County

  1. Marsha Apsley
  2. Robb Barlow
  3. Howard Bettner
  4. Tom DeBaun
  5. David Klene
  6. Connie Larkey
  7. Ralph Lux
  8. James M. “Mac” McKeand*
  9. Pam Meyer
  10. Sara Robinson
  11. Scott Spahr
  12. Keith Starost
  13. Roland Stine*
  14. Andrew Tucker
  15. Jeffrey Wilson
  16. Camille Woods

New gas station plans move forward on 25th Street

A new gas station and convenience store is moving ahead on 25th Street in Columbus.

The developer for the new Ricker’s station at 25th Street and Cherry Street was approved for two variances at last night’s meeting of the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals.

The station would be built at the site of the former laundry and rental car business on 25th Street and would take up the entire block.

Melissa Begley, with the city planning department, says that the developers were seeking permission to place entrances on Cherry Street and Cottage Avenue, as well as on 24th Street. There will be no entrance directly off of 25th Street. Normally, the 24th Street entrance would be too close to the side street entrances, which is why a variance was needed.

The developer also wanted permission to put a dumpster in the front of the building behind a privacy fence and other screening.

Those variances have been approved. The developer must get their site plan approved by the city before construction can start, Begley said.