Monthly Archives: February 2021

Update: Gleaners changes location of Friday food distribution

Gleaners Food Bank has again changed the location for the food distribution today at the Columbus Municipal Airport.

The location will once again be the corporate aviation hangar at 5175 North Warren Drive. That change was announced yesterday afternoon and is different than the previously announced alternate location. However it is a return to the usual spot for the pantry distributions.

The food distribution was originally scheduled for last week, but delayed because of the severe weather.

The Columbus event will be from 4 to 6 pm. today. Gleaners says you will still stay inside your vehicle and there are no early arrivals, or parking on the main streets in the area.

You can check for updates before the event on the Gleaners website at

Agencies statewide taking part in impaired driving crackdown

Police agencies around Indiana are reminding Hoosiers not to hit the road if they have been drinking or are otherwise impaired during their celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day or the NCAA tournament.

Agencies will be cracking down on dangerous and impaired drivers in an effort that starts Friday and lasts through March 31st. You can expect to see officers conducting extra, highly visible patrols and they will be searching for those driving aggressively, over the speed limit or under the influence.

The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through an Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant.

The agency issued a report showing that more drivers took part in dangerous behavior in 2020 and fewer drivers wore seatbelts. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 turned out to be the third highest year in traffic deaths over the past decade for Indiana, with 850 fatalities.

Area agencies announcing their participation in the crackdown include North Vernon and Bloomington police departments and Indiana State Police.

World-famous scientist taking part in Greensburg High event

Greensburg High School will be virtually hosting famous scientist Jane Goodall next week as part of the annual Greensburg Chautauqua.

History teacher John Pratt says Goodall is expected to give an uplifting talk from her home in England, followed by a question and answer session with the students.

Goodall was one of the first first women primatologists in the world and started researching chimpanzees in Tanzania in 1960. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute, a global wildlife & environment conservation organization.

Chautauquas started in the late 19th century as an educational movement and were usually an outdoor event where participants could hear a lecture or attend a concert under a tent. Greensburg hosted Helen Keller and William Jennings Bryan in those early events.

Pratt has been organizing the Greensburg Chautauquas for 26 years and this is the second year for a virtual event.

The Goodall event will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday through the Zoom app. Pratt said other schools are also invited to participate.

Image courtesy of Jane Goodall Institute.

Area rivers threaten ice-jam flooding

The National Weather Service is warning that we could see some river flooding in the area, as warmer weather breaks up ice on the waterways.

Forecasters say the danger of ice-jam related flooding could last into the weekend and through early next week. High temperatures in the upper 40s and low to mid 50s are expected into next week.

Local counties under the weather advisory include Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson and Shelby counties.

Image courtesy of National Weather Service

Road to close, water cut for Eastern Bartholomew customers Thursday

Some Eastern Bartholomew Water customers will be without service for part of the day today and a road will be closed, while the utility makes repairs to a broken water main.

The work will be on County Road 100W in the Rosstown area. The road will be closed between County Roads 550S and 625S during the repairs. Authorities estimate the road will close at about 8 a.m. and reopen at about 5 p.m.

The utility estimates that customers will be without water for four to six hours tomorrow. Once water service is restored, those affected customers will be under a boil water advisory from about 4 p.m. thisĀ  afternoon to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Customers south of County Road 550S to 900 S may also be affected.

Riverfront project contracts extended after delays

A downtown riverfront improvement project is still moving forward under contract changes approved by Columbus Redevelopment Commission this week.

The city is adding money and new responsibilities to the contracts for Hitchcock Design Group and Core Planning Strategies, after approvals and demands from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have taken longer than expected.

The riverfront project would remove the low-head dam on East Fork White River between the downtown bridges, connect the People Trail along the river, and provide in-river recreation such as kayaking and canoeing. While DNR has given a permit for the project, there are still approvals needed from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Army Corps of Engineers.

City Council members Tom Dell and Elaine Hilber asked whether there is any guarantee that all the agencies will eventually allow this project to be approved. Hilber called the approvals a moving target. Both consultants said they had a good feeling the project can move forward.

Core would see an additional flat fee of $161,000 plus expenses for its work as project manager, while Hitchcock would receive just over $115,000 more plus expenses for the additional work.

The redevelopment commission approved the contract changes.

Riverfront design illustration courtesy of Hitchcock Design Group.

Columbus government offices to remain off-limits

Columbus city government offices are going to remain mostly closed to the public through at least the end of March.

City officials say that they will be reviewing the spread of COVID-19 in the community and the pace of local vaccinations to determine whether they can re-open after March 31st.

Officials stress that city business will continue with employees working, answering phones and e-mails and meeting with members of the public by appointment only.

The city will also continue with largely virtual government meetings that will be streamed through the city’s website and conducted by Web Ex. Should Gov. Eric Holcomb opt not to extend his emergency order, the city would go back to in person meetings.

City officials say the restrictions are meant to protect the health and safety of employees and the public.

Local agencies receive grants from Heritage Fund

Three local not-for-profit groups will be receiving part of more than $65,000 in grants being announced by Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.

The agency announced the recipients of grants from its most recent grant cycle yesterday.

Gleaners Food Bank is receiving $15,343 to support a Mobile Food Pantry for seniors.

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools are receiving $17,500 to support the Counseling Counts program

Thrive Alliance will be getting more than $15,764 to purchase software to manage customer relationships and more than $16,688 toward a new outreach program for Bartholomew County seniors.

The grants are being made through the agency’s unrestricted Community Fund, which gives between $600,000 and $700,000 dollars annually to local nonprofits. The Community Fund focuses on needs in the areas of youth development, substance abuse, neighborhood revitalization, innovation and creativity and being a welcoming community.

Indiana passes 12k deaths from COVID-19

Indiana has now passed 12 thousand deaths from COVID-19.

There were 44 new deaths added to the Indiana State Department of Health tally Tuesday, dating back to Dec. 1st. That brings the total to 12,025.

In our area, Johnson County reported a single death in yesterday’s report, the only surrounding county to record a death.

All of our area counties are currently showing a moderate spread of the disease and are yellow on the state’s color coded map. However Bartholomew, Johnson, Decatur and Jackson counties all remain under the orange, or serious spread advisory level. Counties much remain at a lower 7-day score for two consecutive weeks to move down to a lower advisory level.

State officials are opening up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to people who are between 60 and 64. There are nearly 432,000 people between those ages in the state, and nearly 91,000 of them have already made vaccine appointments. Anyone older than 64 has already been eligible.

Deputies save home by pulling burning truck away

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies used a department pickup truck to pull a burning truck away from a home this morning, saving the home from damage.

Deputy Sgt. Andrew Dougan and Sgt. Jarod Aspenson were called to the 5000 block of Brush Creek Drive at about 3:08 a.m. this morning on a report of a vehicle fire. They found the burning truck just a few feet from the home. After trying to put the fire out with extinguishers failed, Dougan hooked up a tow strap and pulled the burning truck away from the home.

Firefighters from Columbus Township Fire and Rescue Department and Elizabethtown Volunteer Fire Department arrived and quickly extinguished the blazing truck according to police reports. Most of the personal items inside the truck were able to be salvaged.

Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department