Monthly Archives: November 2018

CFD adds rescue unit to reserve fleet

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Dept.

The Columbus Fire Department has added a rescue unit to its reserve fleet after a two-year capital funding project. Capt. Mike Wilson, department spokesman, says Squad 5, formerly under the call sign of Squad 2, was placed into reserve status on November 9th at Columbus Fire Station 5. He explains that the 1998 Pierce manufactured rescue squad served as the department’s specialized rescue unit until early this year. In 2017, the Columbus Fire Department purchased a new heavy rescue unit to replace it at a cost of $ 452,816. In February of this year, CFD transferred the Squad 2 call sign after the delivery of the new heavy rescue unit. Squad 2 is housed at Station 2 on Arnold Street.

Columbus Fire Chief Mike Compton, said that the department requested the $150,000 refurbishment request after evaluating the current and future service area and delivery needs of the community, particularly on the west side of Columbus and Bartholomew County. In addition, the refurbished squad was outfitted with updated extrication equipment. Wilson says the reserve unit will primarily be utilized for mutual aid calls within the county during an instance when Squad 2 is already dedicated to an emergency call.

According to Columbus Fire Department data, one third of all motor vehicle extrications from 2013 to 2018 occurred within the western census tracts of Bartholomew County. Chief Compton said the decision to place the reserve unit at Station 5 is a proactive approach to prepare for the increase in train traffic expected to hit our area, as well as the upcoming construction on the west-side State Road 46 overpass.

Free legal help available Wednesday in Jackson County

Legal Aid is hosting a free legal clinic for Jackson County community members from 3 – 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson County Public Library.

Local volunteer attorneys will be offering free legal consultations to those with low incomes. You can expect a 10-minute consultation to get general questions answered, to receive legal information, and to get advice. The consultations are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no need to register in advance.

For more information, you can contact the Legal Aid Office at 812-314-2722.

Columbus Bed, Bath and Beyond store closing in two months

The Bed, Bath & Beyond Store in Columbus is closing soon.

That’s from our news-gathering partners at The Republic.

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey based chain told the newspaper that the Columbus store’s lease was ending. The company reported earlier this year that it planned to closed up to 40 of their 500 stores if they couldn’t reach favorable lease terms with property managers.

The closing is set for Feb. 1st.

You can get more information at

Holiday shopping scams hit unsuspecting consumers

Unfortunately, the Christmas season is a time for scams aimed at consumers.

That’s from Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Better Business Bureau.

Maniscalo warns about a common scam that they are seeing now called the Secret Sisters Gift Exchange scam.

The social media scam encourages you to send a present and says you will receive 36 back in return. However, the scammers take your gift and send you nothing. Maniscalo says this is basically just a pyramid scheme.

Maniscalo warns about possible dangers from what he called pop-up stores — places that open up in an empty storefront just for the holiday season. While many are legitimate, others are not.

Even the legitimate pop up stores give reason to be wary, he said. Most close by January 1st causing problems if you need to exchange or return a gift item. He suggested checking to see if they have a central corporate office you can contact if needed.

You can find details on some of the current scams hitting our area on the Better Business Bureau Website at

Hope museum hosting Christmas homes tour Dec. 7th

Tickets are on sale now for the annual Christmas Homes Tour in the Hope area.

The tour is Friday, Dec. 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. Four homes are on the tour along with the Simmons Schoolhouse and the United Methodist Church. Tickets are $10.

You can get your tickets at the Yellow Trail Museum & Visitors Center and at WiLLow LeaVes of Hope, both on the Hope Town Square.

Tickets will also be available next Friday before the event at the museum starting at 5 p.m.

DARE fish fry Dec. 7th at Columbus American Legion

Correction: The event is Friday, Dec. 7th. We reported the date incorrectly earlier today.

The Columbus police and Bartholomew County sheriff’s department DARE programs are holding a fundraising fish fry Friday, Dec. 7th at the Columbus American Legion post on 25th Street.

The meal costs $8 and includes a fish or tenderloin sandwich, baked beans, potato salad and coleslaw. You can order it with free delivery in the Columbus city limits if you are ordering six or more meals.

All proceeds benefit the city and county DARE programs. The fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7th.

Head-on crash briefly closes section of 25th Street

Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Dept.

A head-on collision closed a section of 25th Street Thursday morning. The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department responded to the two-vehicle crash on 25th Street at Bonnell Road at about 8:50 a.m.

Investigators say that a pickup truck driven by 57-year-old David Wright, of Columbus, may have struck a patch of black ice on the bridge. Wright’s vehicle struck the south guardrail, before striking a car driven by 48-year-old Michelle Townsend, of Westport. Police say she was westbound on 25th Street approaching Bonnell Road when the crash occurred.

Authorities say Townsend was trapped in her car. She was extricated by Columbus Fire Department Squad 2 before being airlifted to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Her condition is unknown at this time.

Wright was taken to Columbus Regional Health for evaluation.

Police say 25th Street, at the bridge, was closed for about an hour while the scene was cleared.

Local post offices offering Sunday hours for holiday shipping

Several local post office branches will be having extra hours on Sundays so that you can ship packages, cards and letters to Santa for the holidays.

The postal service in Indianapolis is reporting that those hours will be starting this Sunday and continuing on Dec. 9th and Dec.16th.

The Columbus, Seymour and Greenwood post offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on those Sundays. The Bloomington post office will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Bloomington-Woodbridge and Southport post offices will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chambers changes schedule for Third House forums with legislators

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce is planning to offer Third House forums with local legislators again during next year’s legislative session, but with a change.

The forums allow you a chance to talk with your state representatives and senators in an informal setting and to get updates on issues coming before the state’s General Assembly.

Cindy Frey, president of the local chamber, says that the forums will be held on Mondays monthly during the session at 7:30 a.m. at Columbus City Hall. The first session is Jan. 28th with other sessions on Feb. 25th, March 25th and April 22nd — the fourth Mondays of the month.

This is a change from the weekly Third House sessions held in previous years. Frey said that having fewer sessions will allow for more substantive meetings with legislators and will better meet the needs of chamber members.

Third House sessions are free and open to the public. The events will be canceled for bad weather if Bartholomew Consolidated Schools are called off.

For more information you can go to the Chamber website at or call  812-379-4457.

Final ‘Envision Columbus’ plan unveiled

David Rubin talks to local residents about “Envision Columbus” – WRB staff photo

The final draft of Columbus’ strategic plan for development of the downtown was unveiled Wednesday evening. Tracy Souza, with Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, says nearly a year of work has gone into the Envision Columbus plan.


The city has been working with Philadelphia-based David Rubin Land Collective, the landscape architecture and urban design firm hired to guide the project. Rubin says that there a four initial “focus points:” a hotel/conference center with performance venue opportunities, an urban grocer, neighborhood revitalization and housing.


Rubin says that State Road 46 is a positive for the city.


Souza says work to implement these plans will begin in earnest in January.

You can check out the entire plan at