Monthly Archives: December 2019

Recycling Center accepting trees, lights and wrapping paper

You have options if you want to clear away some Christmas clutter. Officials at the Columbus/Bartholomew County Recycling Center say you can drop off Christmas Trees, Christmas lights and wrapping paper at their facility at 720 Mapleton Street during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, through January 18th.

There are some restrictions. Trees must be live and free of all decorations and stands. They can be dropped off at the yard waste site adjacent to the recycling center. If you want to dispose of Christmas lights, they must be of the strand variety. Wrapping paper cannot be shiny and must be free of bows and ribbons.

For more information, visit

New phone and video system coming to Bartholomew County Jail

A new phone and video system will soon be in place at the Bartholomew County Jail. Authorities say that inmates, families and friends will now have more options for visitation and email.

The Home WAV (Home Web Access Visitation) system will allow an inmate to visit remotely. Inmates will be able to see more people more often and will be able to send and receive emails.

Jail staff say this system offers built-in security. Any and all incoming mail will be scanned at an offsite location and emailed to inmates. Officials say that on-station visitation will still be available, however you can now visit online. Attorneys will also be able to speak with inmates remotely if they choose to do so.

“This new system should increase revenue generated for the Technology Fund,” said Major John Martoccia, Jail Commander. “Some of the Tech funds were used to offset the cost of the recently purchased body scanner,” added Martoccia. That body scanner is used to check inmates and visitors at the jail.

The new system is expected to be installed and working sometime in February.

The Sheriff’s Department stresses that this system comes at no cost to taxpayers. Officials say there will be a service charge to those who use the system.

Swearing in ceremony set for Columbus City Hall

A swearing-in ceremony for Columbus city officials is set for tomorrow.

The ceremony for local officials elected In November will be at 10 a.m. in the morning at Columbus City Hall. You are invited to attend.

Being sworn in will be Incumbent City Council members Tom Dell, Elaine Hilber, Tim Shuffett and David Bush, along with newcomers Grace Kestler and Jerone Wood. Councilman Frank Miller was sworn in earlier because he will be out of town tomorrow.

The Democrats will hold a narrow margin in the new council, the first time they have led the body since the 1980s.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer are also being sworn in for the start of their new terms serving the city.

City and county offices closed today for holiday

Bartholomew County and city of Columbus offices are closed today and tomorrow for the New Year’s holiday. There will be no trash or recycling pickups in Columbus on New Year’s Day. Trash and recycling will be running a day late the rest of the week.

The Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District offices and the Columbus and Bartholomew County recycling center are closed today and tomorrow. The county landfill is open today but closed Wednesday.

2019 in review: Our top stories April through June

We are taking a look back at our top stories of the year 2019.

In April, Bartholomew Consolidated Schools were considering a change to student’s schedules. Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts explained

Also in April, Former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar died after complications of a neurological disorder. He was 87. Lugar, an Indianapolis native, served in the U.S. Navy before entering a life of public service. He served as the mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975 before moving on to the Senate from 1977 to 2013. He ran for President in 1996.

And in April, 23-year-old Donavon Booker of North Vernon was shot to death in Country Squire Lakes. The investigation led to the arrest of four people. 30-year-old Stephon Moore of Louisville was caught on home security cameras shooting at Booker and two other men outside the home. Moore was convicted in October in the murder.

In May, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop won the Republican primary election over his challenger Glenn Petri 71 to 29 percent…

In other contested Republican primary races in Columbus, incumbent Dascal Bunch defeated challenger Chris Rutan in the District 1 Council race, while incumbent Dave Bush defeated Russell Poling in the District 3 council race.

In the three way race for the two nominations for the at-large seats on Columbus City Council. Josh Burnett and Laurie Booher won spots on the November ballot.

Also in May, Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell drew a crowd of enthusiastic local supporters to a town hall and rally at the Factory 12 Event Loft. Swalwell, a four-term incumbent Congressman from California is married to Columbus native Brittany Watts Swalwell.

IndyCar drivers including Tony Stewart took a lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway driving five antique Cummins race cars. To commemorate Cummins’ 100th anniversary, the cars participated in a vintage parade lap just prior to the green flag dropping at this year’s race.

In June, Cummins requested, and received, a tax abatement on $3.3 million in building improvements and $29.7 million in new equipment at its Central Avenue plant. That was related to creating a headquarters for its electrification business here.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop said that Columbus is fortunate to be home to Cummins.

Also in June, Columbus city leaders were asked to ban vaping in public places and businesses in the same way cigarettes have been banned. Kylee Jones, tobacco awareness coordinator with Healthy Communities at Columbus Regional Health said that use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing among the youth in our community and the devices are possibly as harmful to public health as actual cigarettes.

Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde announced in June that he would be stepping down as chief at the end of this year. He has plans to run for Bartholomew County Superior Court II judge. Later in June, the mayor announced that Rohde would be replaced by long-time local officer and current Deputy Chief Mike Richardson on January 1st.

North Vernon man accused of torturing animals

Cody Kreutzjans. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

A North Vernon man is being accused of torturing animals after an investigation into dead dogs in the county.

Jennings County deputies report that the investigation began in February when several dogs were found dead in the northeastern part of the county. Evidence was recovered that went to the Indiana State Police Lab, eventually leading to an arrest warrant for 30-year-old Cody Kreutzjans.

He was arrested at his home at about 4:30 yesterday and is facing 11 counts of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, including 10 felony charges.

Sheriff Kenny Freeman thanked the public for their assistance in the case and said he is glad to close this investigation.

Indy woman arrested for Burglary in Jennings County

An Indianapolis woman is behind bars after a Jennings County homeowner found her in his garage.

On Dec. 28 at approximately 3:20 p.m., Jennings County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area of State Road 7 and County Road 300 North for a suspicious person riding a bicycle in traffic. While responding to the call, authorities received a call from a homeowner in the area who had found a woman in his garage breaking into his vehicle.

When deputies arrived, they found an intoxicated female who matched the description of the woman on the bicycle. Investigators say the female had made entry into the garage and stole items out of the victim’s vehicle.

Police arrested 33-year-old Jennifer L. Price on preliminary charges of:

– Burglary
– Possession of Methamphetamine
– Residential Entry
– Theft
– Criminal Trespassing
– Unauthorized Entry to a Motor Vehicle
– Public Intoxication

Jackson sheriff warns of jury duty scam

Jackson County authorities are reporting a version of a jury duty phone scam going on in the county.

A scammer is calling and telling the victims he is Officer Nathaniel Johnson with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and that the victim is in trouble for missing jury duty. However, there is no deputy by that name with the Jackson County  department says Sheriff Rick Meyer.

Experts say that the jury duty scam usually leads to the scammer demanding immediate payment of a fine with a threat of going to jail if you don’t comply. They will normally demand the fine be paid online or through the purchase of gift cards or pre-paid debit cards. No legitimate law enforcement agency will demand immediate payment over the phone under the threat of arrest. And no legitimate agency or business demands payment of debts through the purchase of cards.

Meyer says if you receive a call such as this, you should call the Sheriff’s Department directly at 812-358-2141.

BCSC students return to class next week

The first half of the 2019-2020 school year is in the books. Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts explains that students return to class next week.

Roberts says that inclement weather causing delays and cancellations remain a concern.

Roberts adds that e-learning days remain an option if additional snow days are compiled. If there are more before Spring Break, they will be made up during the week of March 9th. Any closings after Spring Break will be made up online.

The school corporation’s website is

Clerk injured during struggle over car keys

Joesy R. Keesling. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Noblesville man was arrested Saturday, accused of stealing a woman’s vehicle outside a Walesboro gas station and injuring the victim in the process.

Columbus police say that the incident happened at about 4:20 a.m. outside the gas station in the 3500 block of West County Road 450S. A store clerk was allegedly grabbed outside of the store by a man with a knife, who stole her car keys. During the struggle, the victim was injured, suffering cuts and scrapes. The attacker then took her vehicle and fled north on Interstate 65.

A Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputy began chasing the vehicle and eventually it was pulled over just south of the Johnson/Shelby county line.

The driver, 29-year-old Josey R. Keesling was arrested on charges including robbery with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury, auto theft, intimidation, and resisting law enforcement with a vehicle.