Monthly Archives: November 2019

Electrical fire damages garage of 13th Street home

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Dept.

An electrical fire damaged a home on 13th Street Friday morning.

At about 10 a.m., Columbus Firefighters were called to the 2100 block of 13th Street for a residential fire. Columbus Police officers were first to arrive on the scene, and initially reported no evidence of fire. After further examination of the home, officers later reported smoke was visible at the rear of the home in what appeared to be an attached garage. When firefighters arrived on the scene the amount smoke had increased and was visible from the street. The home was cleared of occupants.

Firefighters suspected that the fire was isolated within the attached garage at the rear of the residence. They entered the home and made their way to the garage, where firefighters found flames and a high concentration of smoke. The fire was extinguished quickly and was contained to the garage of the 700 square-foot home.

Firefighters say high heat and flames damaged the interior walls separating the garage from the home. Flames also damaged the home’s water heater. Due to damages the home’s utility system, the power and water utility have been disconnected until repairs are made.

Investigators determined that the garage fire was electrical in nature. Damages are estimated at approximately $5,000 to the building and its contents. No Injuries were reported.

The Columbus Fire Department is taking this opportunity to remind you that, nationally, winter months have historically seen an increase in home fires. While the most common cause of fire remains cooking fires, electrical and heating fires also increase during the winter months.

Sunday Social looking for Christmas memories of Hope

The Yellow Trail Museum in Hope will be holding its next Sunday Social series this weekend with a focus on Christmas memories.

Organizers are looking for discussion of area Christmas programs at churches and schools, special gifts, family traditions and what made your celebrations in Hope special.

Sunday socials are held at the museum on the northwest corner of the Hope Town Square on the first Sunday of the month. It will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the museum.

Small Business Saturday deals abound tomorrow in Columbus, Hope

Downtown Columbus businesses will be taking part in Small Business Saturday tomorrow — a national alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping encouraging people to support their local businesses..

Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, explains what the day is all about.

Frey says that a core group of downtown merchants will have specials and deals for you to take advantage of…

Frey encourages to take advantage of local deals and spend your holiday dollars in a way that supports area businesses and community-building efforts.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop has also proclaimed it “Shop Small Saturday” in Columbus tomorrow.

Shops in the town of Hope will also be participating in Small Business Saturday. You can take advantage of hometown shopping, dining, and seasonal decorations in a relaxed setting in Hipe Saturday.

Area officers cracking down on unsafe driving during holidays

You will see more Bartholomew County deputies and Columbus police on the road this holiday season, as officers use grant money to crack down on unsafe driving.

The Click It to Live It campaign works to promote seat belt usage and to reduce impaired driving. Bartholomew County agencies received a $20.500 grant to pay for overtime patrols focused on those areas.

In Indiana, officers may ticket unrestrained drivers or passengers, even if no other traffic violation has taken place. According to the most recent data available, 53% of passengers killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seatbelts.

The Click it to LIve It grants are distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

High winds causing power outages for area customers

Local electricity providers are reporting many outages caused by today’s high winds.

As of noon. Bartholomew County REMC was reporting 108 customers without power.

Bartholomew County REMC power outage map

Duke Energy is reporting more than 4,000 customers without power in our area, with more than 3,000 out in the North Vernon area alone. There are about 400 out in the Edinburgh area, 489 without power in the Seymour area, 181 out near Nashville, and  142 out in Columbus.

Chip Orben with Duke Energy says that statewide, there are more than 17,000 customers without power.

Duke Energy power outage map

“As with all outages, we need to first assess the damage before we can make repairs,” Orben said. “Customers without power should call 1-800-343-3525.”

Orben also urged people not to touch downed power lines and to leave the work of moving the lines to trained professionals.

Estimates for repairs in some areas indicate outages past midnight tonight. And Orben said that the wind appears to be picking up.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a high wind advisory until 9 p.m. tonight. The area is seeing sustained southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with possible gusts up to 55 mph. The worst of the winds should be done by about 2 p.m. this afternoon according to the weather service.

Columbus firefighters warn of Thanksgiving fire dangers

Thanksgiving is a day for family celebrations and grateful thoughts, but it also carries the potential for fire dangers.

Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department., says that statistically tomorrow brings the greatest chance for a kitchen fire, the most common type of residential fire. Frequently that is due to distractions, he said. Those can range from cell phone calls to football games or children underfoot in the kitchen.

Frying your Thanksgiving turkey is popular right now but that brings its own set of dangers..

Turkey fryers should never be used inside, including in a garage. When outdoors, Wilson said you should keep the fryer off of wooden decks and away from eaves or overhangs.

Wilson suggested that you make sure to have a non-water fire extinguisher on hand for your meal preparation safety. He wants to remind you to never try to extinguish a grease fire with water.

Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay said this is a time of year when remembering basic fire safety will help keep your family safe.

Lay said that includes checking your smoke detectors, making sure they are working and making sure you have a family escape plan.


Downtown group and church partner for 25th community dinner

First Christian Church and Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center will be continuing their annual tradition of a community Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.

Randy Allman with the center explains that everything is ready for the big event.

Allman talks about the history of the event.

Allman said that this is the 22nd year that the neighborhood partners have worked together to put on the meal.

Organizers expect to serve more than 600 meals tomorrow

The meal will be served from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the church on Fifth Street in Columbus. The meal is free and you are invited.

Date for recount in District 1 election expected to be set next week

A time and date for the recount to determine the winner of the Columbus City Council District 1 race is expected to be set next week.

Councilman Dascal Bunch,a Republican, and Democrat Jerone Wood appeared with counsel before Superior Court I Judge Jim Worton Tuesday afternoon. Wood defeated Bunch, the incumbent, by a single vote, 260-259 in November’s general election. Independent candidate Michael Kinder received 81 votes.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Worton instructed both candidates to have their recount commissioner named by the end of business on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The court will work with Clerk Jay Phelps to name a third member to the commission, a “mechanic,” that understands how the voting machines operate. The three-member commission will be tasked with counting each ballot in the district’s seven precincts. Each side is also permitted to have a “watcher” on hand during the recount.

Judge Worton says he anticipates approving the candidates’ representatives and setting a date for the recount by the middle of next week.

By law, the recount must be complete and the election certified by December 20.

Hope looks for town’s best Christmas light displays

The town of Hope will again be holding a Deck the Town Christmas lights competition, sponsored by Main Street of Hope.

All of the decorated homes in the town limits before Sunday night, Dec. 15th will be photographed and entered to win. Photos of the homes will be posted on the Main Street of Hope Facebook page on Monday, Dec. 16th.

To vote you will need to “Like” your favorite photos. Voting will continue through 10 p.m. in the evening on Saturday, Dec. 21st . The winner will receive a traveling trophy that is a replica of the Leg Lamp from the movie “The Christmas Story.”