Monthly Archives: September 2016

Morgan Willow Trace to close Monday

Morgan Willow Trace will be closed Monday as Milestone crews install pipe across the road for a new storm line. The Columbus City Engineer’s Office says that the road will be open for the remainder of the week as crews excavate to grade, lay stone and finish up the project.

Officials say that , beginning on Thursday, Milestone crews will begin installing under-drain, patching and milling along Fox Point Drive. They note that this at will result in periodic lane closures of Fox Point Drive.

Store theft call leads to drug arrest

Samantha Sampson
Samantha Sampson

What started as a theft investigation at a Columbus store, turned into an arrest on felony drug charges yesterday.

Columbus police were called to a store on 25th Street at about 4:15 p.m. yesterday to help the store’s loss prevention officers in a potential theft case. During the investigation, police allegedly found store property and items from other stores in the possession of 23-year-old Samantha Sampson of Edinburgh, says Officer Justin Black. During a search of Sampson officers also allegedly found a syringe and prescription medication for which she had no prescription.

She was arrested on preliminary felony charges of possession of a legend drug and syringe, along with misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia charges, Black says.

North Vernon clerk stresses need to address revenue

North Vernon City Council has settled on a 2017 budget of $3.65 million dollars. However, that amount includes a nearly $464,000 property-tax cap that the state’s Department of Local Government Finance is instructing the city to classify as an expense, even though Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin says it’s really not. In actuality, said Gerkin, the 2017 budget will likely be slightly less than the city’s 2016 budget, which totaled $3,659,920.

The council held a special session Thursday night to go over the budget.  Gerkin said that that, while the city should be in “decent” financial shape in 2017, he expressed concerned for the years ahead if city officials wanted to do more than “the status-quo.” Gerkin pointed out that while city expenses and employee salaries are going up each year, North Vernon’s revenue has largely been stagnant.

“We all have a vision on how we want things to be, but the money just isn’t there,” said Gerkin, when discussing the council’s hopes for North Vernon in the future. He stressed that failure to take action in the near future could torpedo future efforts on things such as beautification efforts, purchasing extra equipment and other areas.

Without action, “I just don’t see the city’s revenue going up,” Gerkin continued. Council members thanked Gerkin and his office’s work and indicated that they agreed that action will need to be taken in the near future. What that action will be, has yet to be determined.

The North Vernon City Council is scheduled to formally adopt the city’s 2017 budget on Oct. 11.

Former Republican candidate endorses Democratic coroner hopeful

The Bartholomew County Democrat running for county coroner received an unusual endorsement this week — the losing candidate in the May Republican primary.

Republican funeral home director Ron Shadley announced earlier this week on Facebook that he was endorsing Democrat Paula Rothrock in the November election. Shadley ran for the Republican nomination earlier this year, coming up short to Clayton Nolting, a Columbus Police Officer.

Shadley explains that he believes the office needs changes, which led him to endorse the opposing party candidate.

“One, she is professional,” Shadley said. “Two, she is a medical person. She works at Columbus Regional in the emergency room. She is a former law enforcement officer, (but) no current ties to the law enforcement agencies in the county, which I think is important.”

“So, she knows the medical side of it, she knows the legal side of it. And working in the emergency room. you are going to see and talk to people in high-stress times of their life, emotional times in their life. And I feel like she has that capability too.”

Shadley says that he thinks it is important for the Coroner’s Office to be completely independent of police agencies.

For his part, Nolting was unperturbed by the announcement. He said people are free to support whoever they want.

“That is the great thing about America, people can endorse and support whoever they want,” Nolting said. “In May, it was clear from the voters in Barhtolomew County that they supported and endorsed me over my then-opponent.”

“I am committed to running my campaign the exact same way I plan on running the Bartholomew County coroner’s office, and that is in a professional, dignified and positive manner.”

Ron Shadley’s Facebook post

Kids Fun Run winners announced

Nearly 1,000 participants crossed the finished line in the 2016 Kids Fun Run. Kelsey DeClue, with Columbus Regional Health, says that numbers down slightly from last year, as 998 children, ages 2 through 12, crossed the finish line.

The 2016 Kids Fun Run, sponsored by Healthy Communities and MainSource Bank, was held on Friday, September 23th in Mill Race Park the evening before the Mill Race Marathon.

DeClue says that the elementary school challenge awards a $500 Hoosier Sporting Goods gift certificate to the first place school and a $250 Hoosier Sporting Goods gift certificate for the second place school. She explains that the winning schools are determined by the percentage of children crossing the finish line based upon current enrollment numbers. There are three divisions with the Elementary School challenge: Large Schools, with 500 or more students, Medium Schools, with 300 to 499 students and Small Schools with 299 or fewer students.

DeClue adds that a separate Preschool Challenge awards a $200 Hoosier Sporting Goods gift certificate to the first place school and a $100 Hoosier Sporting Goods gift certificate to the second place school.

The winning schools are:

Large School:
1st place – Parkside Elementary
2nd place- Southside Elementary

Medium School:
1st place – CSA Fodrea
2nd place- St. Peter’s Lutheran

Small School:
1st place – ABC Stewart
2nd place- St. Bartholomew

1st place- First Presbyterian Preschool
2nd place- Cummins Child Development Center

“We are so happy to see the support from the area schools and the parents who encourage their children to participate in our Fun Run. Creating a positive and healthy foundation for these children will help them grow, learn and be the future generations who live and thrive in Columbus, IN,” said Tara Hagan, Kids Fun Run Coordinator from Healthy Communities. “I would also like to send a special shout out to CSA Fodrea for having 34 percent of their student body participating. That is quite an accomplishment!”

Motorcycle crash sends Franklin man to hospital

A Franklin man is in an Indianapolis hospital after crashing an allegedly stolen motorcycle Thursday morning in Edinburgh.

Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox says that 24-year-old Cody Morris was traveling “well above the posted speed limit” when he crashed the motorcycle while headed south on County Road 800 East near State Road 252. Authorities say that the crash happened just before 11 a.m. They add that the motorcycle was reported stolen out of Shelby County.

According to the report, Morris was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital, where he allegedly refused to talk to investigators. The report further states that Morris was being prepped for transport to an Indianapolis hospital for treatment of a head injury.

Sheriff Cox says that Morris was not arrested and that the investigation is ongoing.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s set for Sunday afternoon

The Walk To End Alzheimer’s is set for Sunday in Columbus. Organizers say that this event will bring together more than 430 Bartholomew County residents, in nearly 60 teams.

Daniel Pearson, with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, says that someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. He notes that the disease affects more than 110,000 Hoosiers and their 334,000 caregivers, adding that there is currently no way to stop, prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.

Sunday’s walk is set to begin after a short ceremony at 1:15 p.m. at the Mill Race Center. Day of registration begins at noon. Parking is available at the Mill Race Center with overflow at Mill Race Park.

Organizers say that the walk consists of two routes. One is one-mile in length and is confined to within Mill Race Park. The other is described as a 2.6 mile “scenic walk through Columbus.” The walk is scheduled to take place, rain-or-shine.

Pre-registration for the Walk ends at noon on Friday. Organizers say that teams that have not pre-registered will need to fill out a registration form at the Walk.

According to the event’s website, just over $90,000 of the $92,000 fundraising goal has been reached. For more on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit

Seymour police offer tips to protect children during Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is Seymour kicks off today and the Seymour police want to help make it safer for children.

The police department is reminding parents today what to do keep your children from getting separated from you during this year’s event.

Among their suggestions, you can dress children in brightly colored clothing so they can easily be spotted in the crowd. You can also take a photo of your child with your phone before you leave home or when you arrive. They say this will help police find a lost child.

You should also speak with your child about stranger danger, and remind them of the importance of staying with you.

The police department wants to remind you that officers will be out in force during Seymour Oktoberfest, patrolling the downtown area.

The annual event runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Saturday.

For more child safety tips, you can go the police department’s Facebook page.

Jennings County adds new police dog to sheriff’s arsenal

Sgt. Allen Ritchie, Vampir and Sheriff Gary Driver. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department has a new police dog.

19-month-old German shepherd Vampir will be handled by Sg. Allen Ritchie. They have graduated from six weeks of training at the FM K-9 Training Centre in Elkhart according to an announcement from the sheriff’s department.

Vampir is certified in narcotics detection, tracking, and criminal apprehension. Authorities say Vampir can detect drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

Gallery opening tonight for Miller Prize finalists

A symposium on the art, architecture and design in Columbus kicks off this evening with a gallery opening at the IU Center for Art and Design on Jackson Street.

The gallery show will include work from the 10 teams of designers and artists who have been selected to compete for the first J. Irwin and Xenia Miller Prize next year. The gallery opening is from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight. And it is free.

The symposium, organized by Exhibit Columbus, runs tomorrow and Saturday at The Commons. For more information you can go to