Monthly Archives: March 2021

Free mulch or compost for seniors offered Wednesday

Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District will be offering free compost or mulch loading for seniors from 8 to noon tomorrow. Seniors can get a pickup sized scoop loaded at the yard waste site. That is behind the Columbus and Bartholomew County Recycling Center at 720 S. Mapleton St.

Seniors will not need to stop at the district office for a loading ticket.

The regular loading program will start on April 9th and be held on Fridays from 2 to 4:30. Bartholomew County residents will be able to get the pickup sized scoop for $10 per load.

To take part in the regular mulch or compost loading program, you must first stop at the office and pay by check or with exact cash at the black box on the porch of the office. Then take a ticket marked “M” for mulch or “C” for compost to the loading area.

The Friday Loading Program is for Bartholomew County residents only and no businesses are allowed. For more information call 812-376-2614 or visit

Monroe County deputy dies in Monday crash

A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy died yesterday in a crash while responding to the scene of another accident.

Indiana State Police say that 38-year-old Deputy James A. Driver of Spencer was driving his police cruiser with lights and sirens activated at about 4 yesterday afternoon on State Road 45, when an oncoming pickup and trailer tried to pull over, lost control and crossed into Driver’s lane, where the trailer hit the deputy’s car. The cruiser flipped several times, ejecting Driver from the vehicle.

He was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital where he died.

Reporting: Cummins planning $18 million Seymour expansion

Cummins is planning a nearly $18 million dollar expansion in Seymour. The Seymour Tribune newspaper is reporting that the city council has approved three recent tax abatement requests from the Columbus-based engine manufacturer.

Two of the tax abatements were for personal property and one was for real estate, with all three totaling $17. 74 million dollars. A tax abatement allows businesses to phase in property taxes on new investments, usually over a 10 year period, rather than pay taxes on the investment all at once.

The newspaper reports that the improvements will start mid-May and no new jobs are being projected due to the improvements.

You can read more here.

Two juveniles arrested in Centra Credit Union invasion

Seymour Police are reporting the arrest of two juveniles after the glass entry doors at Centra Credit Union on Jackson Park Drive were smashed Thursday.

A review of surveillance footage showed two teens broke the door glass and one entered the building, where he checked the vault and teller stations.

Based on footage from the bank and other locations, investigators identified two suspects who were taken into custody. Both confessed, according to police.

A 14-year-old and a 15-year-old boy were arrested and accused of burglary. The 15-year-old is also facing charges of criminal mischief, theft, and possession of marijuana.

The case remains under investigation.

Earth Day events being planned in Bartholomew County

Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District is planning Earth Day events on Saturday, April 24th at the Columbus/Bartholomew County Recycling Center on Mapleton Street. Activities will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bartholomew County residents can dispose of, free of charge, up to two refrigerant-containing appliances, two gas grill propane tanks, and four personal vehicle tires, without rims. No household hazardous waste will be accepted during the event.

Document shredding will be available from 9 to 1 provided by Toyota Material Handling. The company is also providing free river birch seedlings to everyone attending the event.

Bartholomew County residents can also get one pick-up sized scoop of mulch or compost loaded for free from 8 to noon. You can also register to win a rain barrel kit.

You can get more information on the event and other Earth Day activities on the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District Facebook page @BartholomewCoSWMD.

State Road 135 to close for a month in Jackson County

INDOT says that contractors are planning to close State Road 135 in Jackson County for about a month to replace a box culvert there.

Dave O’Mara Contractor plans to close the road starting on Monday, April 5th. The official detour will follow U.S. 50 to State Road 11 to State Road 258. To continue north on State Road 135, you should use State Road 58 to Interstate 65 to State Road 46. This is because the State Road 135 bridge over Kiper Creek is closed because of a superstructure replacement project that began earlier this month.

INDOT asks you to slow down, to use extra caution, and drive without distractions in and near all work zones. All work is dependent on the weather and schedules are subject to change.

Work to start next week on State Street repaving

Work is going to start next week on a $1.3 million repaving project on State Street in Columbus. INDOT says that patching, milling and paving will be taking place through the fall from Mapleton Street to Repp Court.

The work by Milestone Contractors will begin with upgrades to curb ramps throughout the project area, which should take about a month. Milling and paving will follow, likely in early May. All the work is expected to happen overnights from 7 in the evening to 6 in the morning. You can expect to see various lanes closed with flaggers directing traffic as needed.

The work is expected to be completed by October.

Jennings County first responders honored for efforts to help runaways

Jennings County Sheriff Kenny Freeman says that two members of his staff have been honored by the American Police Hall of Fame with Knight of Justice awards, for their efforts to rescue two runaways being lured to California to meet with an unknown man.

Freeman presented the the “ Venerable Order of the Knights of Michael The Archangel”, awards at a ceremony last week to Dispatcher Julie Miller and Deputy Ian McPherson. Freeman said that two girls were lured out of state, but McPherson and Miller worked together to locate the two traveling on Interstate 80 in Iowa. Iowa State Police took the two into custody and they were returned home safely.

The award recognizes the pledge to “protect the weak and hungry against all evil doers.”

Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

COVID-19 task force urges community to continue precautions

The Bartholomew County and Columbus COVID-19 Community Task Force met on Friday and concluded that mask requirements and other restrictions will stay in place for several organizations through at least early May including the city of Columbus, Bartholomew County, local schools and Columbus Regional Health.

The City of Columbus announced that is facilities will remain closed for public meetings through at least May 3rd. Staff and visitors to city buildings will continue to be required to be masked. Bartholomew County government buildings will remain closed to the public through at least May 3rd and staff are being encouraged to wear masks when entering or exiting buildings.

Masks will continue to be mandatory for all students, staff and visitors to Bartholomew Consolidated Schools and Flat Rock Haw Creek Schools facilities through the end of the school year. And masks will continue to be mandatory at all Columbus Regional Health facilities for all patients, staff and visitors.

The coalition said that COVID-19 continues to pose a significant risk in our community and state. They urged you to be vigilant and to prioritize safety measures that limit transmission of the virus.

You can get more information at

Bartholomew County sets new guidelines for COVID-19

Bartholomew County Health Officer Dr. Brian Niedbalski is urging the public to continue taking COVID-19 precautions and businesses to continue requiring masks despite the governor’s plan to lift those restrictions in just over a week.

Niedbalski said that despite recent improvements and stabilization of COVID-19 cases in our area, viral spread remains in our county. He said it is important that the community continue working to prevent the spread by following all public safety measures of face coverings, physical distancing of 6 feet and hand hygiene.

He said he feels it is extremely important to continue mask wearing when out in public places where close contact with individuals outside of your own household will occur. He also strongly encouraged local businesses to continue to require the wearing of masks for their customers and staff.

Niedbalski said that social gatherings, public meetings, and other events will be limited to no more than 250 people adhering to social distancing guidelines. Attendance may not exceed 100% of a facility’s capacity.

You can read the most recent Bartholomew County Health Department COVID-19 guidance here.