Monthly Archives: October 2018

Columbus Rotary Club helps to fund addiction recovery program

A grant from the Columbus Rotary Club is helping to attack the opioid epidemic locally. Bob Morrison is a member of the Rotary Club and White River Broadcasting Station Manager. He explains that the grant is funding training for the SMART Recovery Program, a 4-Point Program that helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors.

Organizers say the program includes many ideas and techniques to help someone change their life from one that is self-destructive and unhappy to one that is constructive and satisfying. SMART Recovery was founded in 1994 and is an abstinence-based, not-for-profit organization with a self-help program for people having problems with drinking and using.

Morrison explains that the program trains 25 volunteers to provide help after an addict steps through the initial stages of recovery.

Morrison notes that the Rotary Club pursued this project out of a desire to make a positive impact on the community. Rotary members discussed the drug problem in our area and determined that they could best help by focusing on recovery. That led to the local club reaching out to its district leadership.

The training program will be held at Hotel Indigo. After training, SMART Recovery facilitators will be able to start and lead more recovery meetings throughout the community. SMART Recovery is being coordinated by the Recovery Programs team of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress.

‘Appeals on Wheels’ program coming to Columbus Nov. 13th

The Ivy Tech Community College Criminal Justice Club will host a State of Indiana Court of Appeals hearing at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Columbus Learning Center Auditorium. The hearing, which is part of the court’s traveling “Appeals on Wheels” program, is open to the public, and community members are encouraged to attend to learn more about the judiciary and appeals process.

The court will hear oral arguments in the case of Sebastian D. Durstock vs. the State of Indiana. Durstock is appealing his conviction of dealing in a narcotic drug, a Level 2 felony, and sentence of 17 and a half years in prison with two and a half years suspended to probation.

The case stems from an incident on Jan. 13, 2017, in which Lawrenceburg police officers and emergency medical providers responded to the report of an unconscious woman. As they were assisting the woman, officers heard water running in the restroom. According to the case, Sebastian Durstock walked out of the restroom, and officers noticed that he appeared to be under the influence of opiates. A resident of the apartment gave officers permission to search the bathroom, where the officers found a backpack containing a gun and a scale. The officers did a pat down search of Durstock for weapons and said they felt an object consistent with a syringe in his pocket. Officers removed the item, which they said was a syringe, and placed Durstock under arrest for unlawful possession of a syringe. During a search due to the arrest, officers found a bag containing fentanyl in Durstock’s pocket.

Durstock’s appeal raises three issues: whether the trial court erred by admitting evidence found on Durstock’s person during the pat down search; whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his conviction; and whether his sentence is inappropriate.

Traveling oral arguments are just like oral arguments in the Court’s Statehouse courtroom. A bailiff calls the court into session, the judges enter, and lawyers for the parties present their arguments to the judges and answer the judges’ questions. Following the hearing, the court will take questions about the law and the judiciary in general, but not about the case they’ve just heard.

Seymour Chamber of Commerce event Friday

The Seymour Chamber of Commerce will host an Economic Update luncheon Friday, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Pines Evergreen Room, located at 4289 US HWY 31 in Seymour.

Featured speaker Ryan Brewer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance, MBA Director, IUPUC, will discuss the changing economic environment and the impact on local, state, national and global economies.

Registration is required and includes lunch. Reservations can be made online at or by calling the Chamber office at 812-522-3681. Registration is $15 per person or a table of 8 is $120.

Schneck opens up new location in Salem

Schneck Medical Center Rehabilitation has opened a new location in Salem. Hospital officials say the new location is located at 403 South Main Street, next to Schneck Family Care.

“Our decision to expand to Salem was determined when we saw the need for physical therapy services to assist in getting members of the community back to the act ivies they love,” said Holly Wischmeier, Director of Schneck Rehabilitation. “Schneck provides athletic training for Salem High School. Schneck Orthopedics and Sports Medicine also serves the Salem community at the Schneck Family Care clinic. The Salem location is a natural extension of our rehabilitation services, providing easier access for our patients in Washington County and beyond.”

Schneck officials say the new clinic treats people who are suffering from issues such as work-related injuries, back and shoulder pain, post-surgery recovery and joint replacement, arthritis and the general effects of aging. In addition, Schneck’s team of sports rehabilitation experts works with students and adult athletes on sprains, strains, localized pain and sports injuries.

“Our commitment to working one-on-one with our patients is what makes our clinic unique in the rehab environment,” said Wischmeier. “We believe a therapist’s hands are the best clinical tools, and that patients only truly heal as a result of that personal and physical component of touch.”

For more information, call (812)-522-0177.

Columbus teacher to memorialize WWII military member

Alan Birkemeier; photo courtesy of The Indiana Historical Society

The Indiana Historical Society has announced that a Columbus teacher is among eight middle school and high school educators who traveled to Washington, D.C. Through a program titled “Understanding Sacrifice,” Alan Birkemeier of Central Middle School is embarking on a mission to memorialize a World War II service member who never made it home and to help invigorate World War II teaching in American classrooms.

The IHS says that over the next nine months, Birkemeier and the other teachers will research the life and sacrifice of their chosen service member, called a fallen hero. In June 2019, the group will travel to Europe to continue their studies. Along the way, teachers will deliver a eulogy to their Fallen Hero at respective burial or memorial sites. Birkemeier will be among those visiting Luxembourg American Cemetery where his service member, Staff Sergeant Francis L. Raub of Indianapolis, is listed on the Wall of the Missing.

“This program allows me to shine a light on an unknown Hoosier hero and honor him by making his story known,” said Birkemeier. “Then the program will take these fallen heroes and use their stories as a lens to develop deep, meaningful World War II education.”

At the culmination of the program, Birkemeier and the other teachers will create a lesson plan and a Fallen Hero profile. These materials will be published by the program’s sponsor, the American Battle Monuments Commission, on its website in November 2019. The website is a free online classroom resource that currently hosts 54 lesson plans and 58 Fallen Hero profiles.

As Birkemeier begins to research Raub’s life and career, he welcomes information from anyone who knew the Hoosier hero. To share your story, email Birkemeier at [email protected].

State senate candidates competing for District 41

Sen. Greg Walker; photo from
Ross Thomas; photo from candidate website

Election day is Tuesday. Voters in Bartholomew and Johnson counties will be deciding next week between Republican incumbent Sen. Greg Walker and Democrat Ross Thomas for Indiana Senate District 41.

Republican incumbent State Sen. Greg Walker was born and raised in Columbus. He attended Indiana University and earned a degree in finance, later working toward his masters in business administration. He and his wife Allison have four children. He has worked in taxation and finance, and as a revenue agent for the state of Indiana. He now does business consulting and concentrates on the state senate.

He has held the senate seat for 12 years and that was his first run for office.

Democrat Ross Thomas, grew up in Jennings County and holds a degree in political economy from Tulane and a law degree from Indiana University. He has a law office in Indianapolis and lives in Columbus with his wife Amy and their three children. He serves on the board of the local Little League Babe Ruth League and this is his first run for office.

We asked the candidates what the general assembly’s role should be when it comes to education and funding.

Walker says he’s for local control.

Thomas says he has a problem with school vouchers.

We asked the candidates about how legislators should approach the issue of abortion.

Walker says that lawmakers are focused on safety.

Thomas says the state has to follow federal law.

We asked the candidates about their thoughts on low-level felons serving time in county jails instead of the state prison system.

Walker says its a double-edged sword that impacts local budgets.

Thomas says we need to consider why people are in jail.

The general election is Nov. 6th.

Wanted Columbus man facing meth-dealing charge

Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.
Jared Harris. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police arrested a wanted local man on charges including dealing methamphetamine after he was seen at a store Tuesday evening.

Officers noticed 34 year old Jared A. Harris enter a store in the 1100 block of Washington Street at about 6 p.m. Tuesday evening and recognized that he was wanted on a parole warrant. He was taken into custody without incident, according to police reports. But a search allegedly revealed several small bags of methamphetamine hidden in his clothing.

He is being held on preliminary charges of dealing and possessing meth along with the outstanding warrant.

AT&T grant to fund drone training program in schools

Student-operated drones fly at Columbus East High School Tuesday. WRB photo.

AT&T is making a $15,000 Aspire grant to help Bartholomew Consolidated Schools C4 students learn more about drones and unmanned vehicle technology.

About 290 students studying public safety will have access to drones and the chance to earn a certification.

AT&T Indiana President Bill Soards explains the importance of drones to his industry at a check-presenting event at Columbus East High School yesterday:

Soards explains the Aspire grant program helps students learn the skills for good-paying jobs.

Soards said that the grant will allow students to learn the skills they need for jobs that don’t even exist today.

The grant was made to the Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation. Since starting in 2008, the Aspire program has provided more than $450 million to programs for schools, Soards said.

Student-operated drones fly at Columbus East High School Tuesday. WRB photo.
Student-operated drones fly at Columbus East High School Tuesday. WRB photo.
Student-operated drones fly at Columbus East High School Tuesday. WRB photo.

Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools try first e-learning day Thursday

Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools will not be in session tomorrow.

Instead, the Hope-area school district is using its first ever e-Learning day and students will be doing their work from home.

Superintendent Shawn Price explains:

He said that FRHC schools decided not to use e-Learning days for inclement weather. There are two e-Learning days built into the calendar, regardless of the weather.

The administration and teachers at the schools will be using the e-learning days for districtwide training and planning, Price said.

Students who may have problems accessing the internet from home will still be participating. There will be after school sessions this week and the deadline to turn in e-learning assignments is Monday, Price said.

Flood watch in effect tonight, communities move trick-or-treating

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for our area. The Indianapolis office reports that there will be heavy showers across the southeastern corner of the state tonight. The flood watch remains in effect until Friday morning.

Several area communities have rescheduled trick-or-treating hours due to anticipated bad weather this evening. Hope, North Vernon and Hartsville are all moving events to Friday.

However, Columbus trick-or-treating will still be going on tonight.