Monthly Archives: January 2019

Protect your animals from extreme cold weather

Columbus Animal Care Services and other animal advocates are urging you to take extra care for your pets in this weather.

Nicohl Birdwell Goodin, director of the Columbus animal shelter, says to take precautions with your pets if you are taking them for a walk including protecting their feet from the cold and from salt on sidewalks.

She suggests bringing outdoor pets inside if you can. If they must stay outside a dog house will keep a dog dry and help maintain body heat. The house should only be large enough for him to turn around inside and not much bigger.    The house should be half-filled with straw for bedding and insulation.  Face the opening of the dog house to the south and nail heavy plastic or cloth strips over the door to keep the wind outside and body heat inside.

For bedding, she said straw is better than blankets as the straw allows the animal to burrow down for extra warmth, while blankets can get wet and freeze.

She says that you will have to take special care with outdoor pets to make sure that they have water that isn’t frozen and extra food.

Goodin says that ultimately,  if it is too cold for you out there, it is too cold for them.

The said the Columbus Animal Care Services recommends that outside pets be brought into a house or garage when temperatures are below 20.

Wanted Columbus man arrested after struggle

Zackary Townsend; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

Columbus Police arrested a local man after he reportedly assaulted man and tried to take his wallet. Officers were called to the 1200 block of California Street Tuesday night. Shortly after 11 p.m., officers met with the victim who stated that the suspect approached him while he was walking and demanded his wallet. When the victim refused, a struggle ensued and at one point the suspect allegedly tried to use a stun gun on the victim.

Police say the suspect, 29-year-old Zackary C. Townsend, of Columbus, fled the area after the altercation. He was located a short time later in the 1300 block of Lafayette Avenue where he was taken into custody. He was also wanted on an outstanding warrant.

Townsend is facing preliminary charges of Battery and Robbery.

Local man arrested after crashing into pole

Phillip S Menefee; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

Columbus Police arrested a local man Tuesday morning after his vehicle struck a pole in the parking lot of an apartment complex. At approximately 8 a.m., officers were called to the 3500 block of Cardinal Court and discovered the driver had a small child with him inside of the crashed vehicle.

Officers say they had difficulty waking the driver, 40-year-old Phillip Menefee, who appeared to be under the influence. After failing several field sobriety tests, Menefee was taken to Columbus Regional Health for a blood draw. The child was not injured and was released to a family member.

Menefee is facing a preliminary charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (Endangerment).

Cold temperatures are here; how to find shelter

The dangerously cold weather is here today.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning that is in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Wind chills are expected to be 20 to 40 below. That is with sustained winds of up to 18 mph and wind gusts of up to 30

The cold weather has already left six dead in the Midwest and the temperatures are still dropping.

If you need shelter today, in Columbus, you can visit the Community Engagement Center, at 1951 McKinley Avenue during the day. There is also a warming shelter at Donner Center open until 10 p.m. tonight and from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday

Overnight shelter can be found in Columbus at the Brighter Days Shelter at 421 S. Mapleton. Their number is (812) 344-4512.

In Seymour, the homeless can go to The Alley Church at 416 E Second Street. Their number is (812) 946-0258.

In Jennings County, the Country Squire Lakes Clubhouse will be open today through Thursday as a shelter for those that have no heat or electricity. If you need a ride you can call (812) 346-7841.

If you need help but don’t know where to turn, you can call 2-1-1.

These cold temperatures have resulted in numerous closings and cancellations:

Indiana State Police say that if you have a vehicle breakdown on the road in these temperatures and are not able to heat your vehicle, you should call 911. They say that it is not only acceptable but it is expected in these dangerously cold temperatures. State police say that they will send officers to your location to get you someplace warm and help make arrangements for your vehicle.

Redevelopment Commission hires consultant for hotel/conference center

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission hired a Chicago-based consultant to help city officials find a developer for a proposed downtown hotel and conference center.

Heather Pope, the city’s director of redevelopment, brought forth the proposal Monday afternoon that the city would contract with Hunden Strategic Partners. Pope says that this organization has done past work for the city. Hunden will be charged with creating a market and financial feasibility analysis for the project. The commission voted unanimously to approve the contract, for an amount not to exceed $62,600.

Pope says Hunden is a good fit for Columbus, as the company specializes in hospitality industry projects. She adds that the project could include an urban grocer, as a recent study found that a proposed site on downtown Third Street could be utilized for hotel, conference center and grocer.

Pope estimates it will take six to eight months for Hunden’s work to be complete.

Bartholomew County EMA urges safety as cold approaches

Bitter cold temperatures are expected to arrive tonight. Shannan Hinton, Bartholomew County’s director of emergency management, says your best bet is stay indoors.

If you must be out and about, Hinton urges you to take precautions.

If you have to be in a vehicle, make sure you bring an emergency kit with food, water, extra clothes and a phone.

Columbus to open warming location at Donner Center

The city of Columbus is announcing a warming center will be set up starting this evening  at Donner Center on 22nd Street.

The warming center will operate until 10 p.m. tonight, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Donner Center is at the corner of 22nd and Sycamore streets.

The goal is to provide temporary shelter in an effort to prevent injury from those who might be exposed to the forecast extreme cold temperatures.  The National Weather Service is forecasting lows below zero tonight and Wednesday night and wind chill levels from minus 20 to minus 40 degrees. Frostbite to exposed skin can occur in 10 minutes under those conditions.

City officials say that those using Donner Center to get out of the elements must comply with all normal rules and policies. Additional guidelines include:

  • Bring your own reading material or other personal items you require.
  • Amplified sound devices are prohibited.
  • Supply your own snacks.
  • A water fountain is available for public use on the premises.

They also want you to be aware that there are no medical services provided at Donner Center.

For more information,  contact Donner Center at (812) 376-2680.

Dance on hood of SUV leads to drug arrest in Jennings Co.

Craig Coons. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

A North Vernon man is facing charges after dancing on the hood of a vehicle in the middle of the road, while under the influence according to Jennings County deputies.

A deputy noticed the stopped SUV in the middle of the road, with 25-year-old Craig Coons dancing on the hood and waving a pine tree branch at the intersection of County Road 150S and 250E at about 5:15 last Thursday.

Coons appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and deputies noticed a syringe and other drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. He was taken to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital to be checked out before being taken to the jail. He is facing preliminary charges of possession of a syringe, a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia as well as public intoxication.

North Vernon suspends golf manager without pay

North Vernon is continuing the suspension of the town’s golf course manager, but this time without pay.

City Council voted last night to suspend golf director Robin Brown, for two more weeks. The council first suspended Brown, with pay, on Jan. 14th for an “undisclosed violation of the employee handbook.”

That alleged violation stems from Brown’s arrest for drunk driving early on the morning of Jan. 6th. by North Vernon Police. While being booked in the Jennings County Jail, he allegedly threatened the arresting officer. Brown is facing charges of Intimidation, operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent and operating while intoxicated.

The council will address the issue as more information becomes available.