Monthly Archives: January 2021

Driver arrested on drug charges after traffic stop

Brian A. Jones. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

A traffic stop turned into an arrest on felony drug charges for a Columbus man Thursday afternoon.

According to Columbus police, they stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation at just before 5 Thursday near Morningside Drive and Nolting Street. The driver, 45-year-old Brian A. Jones appeared nervous when speaking to officers, according to police reports.

Columbus police dog Argo was brought to the scene and alerted to the odor of narcotics inside the vehicle. A search allegedly revealed about 16 grams of methamphetamine and a small amount of heroin in Jones’ clothing.

He was arrested on preliminary charges for possessing the drugs.

Columbus man accused of forcing his way into apartment

Tyrrice L. Degraffenreid. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

Columbus police say that a man tried to force his way into an apartment to avoid officers and is now facing new charges for breaking in.

Officers received the call to the 1000 block of Phoenix Court at about 11:45 Thursday night and arrived to find residents trying to push the suspect out the door. The man then struggled with police before being taken into custody.

According to witnesses, the man, identified as 37-year-old Tyrrice L. Degraffenreid, knocked on their door and refused to leave. When police arrived, he allegedly forced his way into the apartment.

Police found that he was carrying drugs and drug paraphernalia. And he was wanted on an outstanding local warrant. After being checked out at Columbus Regional Hospital, Degraffenreid was arrested on preliminary charges or Resisting Law Enforcement, Residential Entry, Possession of Methamphetamine, Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia, and giving a false Identity Statement.


Johnson County investigating death of inmate

Officials are investigating after an inmate died at the Johnson County Jail yesterday.

Inmates called correctional officers for help after finding a female inmate unresponsive yesterday. CPR was attempted by both the correctional officers and medics once they arrived, but the efforts were unsuccessful. The inmate was pronounced dead at the scene.

Johnson County Coroner Michael Pruitt and the sheriff’s department are investigating.

United Way program helps with health insurance costs

Signups are underway for the Premium Link Bartholomew County program through the United Way of Bartholomew County. The program helps lower income residents pay for health insurance.

You may qualify for the program if your household income is less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and if you have health coverage through the healthcare marketplace Silver Plan or through the state’s HIP Plus plan.

Premium Link Bartholomew County launched in 2016. Last year, the program helped 92 participants pay for their healthcare.

To sign up or to get more information, call (812) 314-2960 or email [email protected].

Grubby to sleep in Tuesday; new groundhog to take role

Groundhog Day festivities for the town of Hope will have a new groundhog doing the work on Tuesday.

HSJ Online, the Hope news website, is reporting that Grubby the Groundhog will be sitting this year out because of illness. Instead, a young groundhog named Hope will be taking Grubby’s place. Hope was born last spring according to the website. Like her older groundhog predecessor, Hope is a resident of Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators and will not be released to the wild because she does not have the prey defenses needed to survive in the wild.

For the past few years, Groundhog Day festivities have been held on the Hope Town Square, organized by the Main Street of Hope group.

But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be largely virtual. The only live attendees will be the staff at Utopia, Main Street of Hope members and the media. Local dignitaries will be in costume, reading proclamations and reciting Groundhog Day history.

You can watch live starting at 8:30 a.m. on February 2nd through the Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators Facebook page.

BCSC extends hybrid attendance for two weeks

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools will be continuing their hybrid schedule for middle school and high school students, for at least two more weeks.

The school district announced yesterday that after a review of COVID-19 stats from both inside the schools and across the community, that it will continue the hybrid schedule through at least Friday, Feb. 12th. The plan is to announce any changes on Feb. 11th, and that would affect students starting on Monday, Feb. 15th.

Under the hybrid model, at the middle and high school level, students attend part of the week in class and part in e-learning, depending on the letters of their last name. A to K students are in person Mondays and Tuesdays, while L through Z students are in person Thursdays and Fridays. Should the county drop into the red level on the Indiana State Department of Health rankings, elementary school students would follow the same model.

Additionally, the school district announced that the same virtual options that are in place for the first semester of 2021, will remain in place for the second semester.

Suspect arrested after Columbus woman stabbed

Columbus police say a woman was stabbed multiple times in an argument early Thursday morning.

Officers were called to the 200 block of Woodlane Drive at about 2:50 yesterday morning for a reported disturbance. They found the stabbed woman and she was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital. She is expected to survive her injuries, police say.

After investigating, police arrested 37-year-old Gregory S. Taskey, who lives at the same home. He is facing a preliminary charge of battery with a deadly weapon.

The investigation is ongoing and is being handled by the Columbus Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Police warn of fake job listings scams

Seymour police are warning about online employment scams that appear to be job openings from local businesses. Police say that the fake ads demand that you download specific apps for communications or that you send personal information such as social security numbers by email. As a safeguard you should always provide that sort of information in person to the company directly.

As an example, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services reported that fraudulent job postings for the non-profit had been posted to online employment sites.

If you believe you have been a victim of one of these scams, you should contact your local police.

Area counties show serious spread of COVID-19

All area counties are in the orange, or serious spread category on the Indiana State Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracking map based on their weekly conditions.

Johnson and Shelby Counties remain under the red advisory level, limiting some activities there. Advisory level refers to the current guidelines the county must follow. A county must remain at a lower weekly score for two consecutive weeks to move down to a lower advisory level.

In yesterday’s state report, Bartholomew County had 26 new cases of the disease, Decatur 3 , Jennings 5, Jackson 10, Brown 1, Johnson 49 and Shelby County had 20 new cases. Jackson and Shelby counties each had one new death from the disease.

Statewide, there were 2,260 new cases reported and 40 new deaths reported, with some dating back as far as January 2nd. The 7-day positivity rate was 9.1 percent. Since the pandemic started last March there have been 617,176 cases and 9,470 deaths statewide.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb yesterday eased some of the state’s coronavirus restrictions for crowds. The changes are all based on a county’s coronavirus advisory level.


Kroger stores to receive COVID-19 vaccinations

The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine are arriving at Kroger stores across Indiana including in Bartholomew and Johnson counties.

The Indiana State Department of Health yesterday said Kroger will offer the vaccine at its stores in 16 counties. Other counties include Boone, Delaware, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Howard, Kosciusko, La Porte, Madison, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, and Vigo.

If you live in one of those counties, you will need an appointment before getting a shot.