Monthly Archives: July 2021

Ticket sales continue for Our Hospice concert raffle

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana wants to remind you that raffle tickets are on sale for the free Labor Day weekend concert, and you do not have to be present to win.

The hospice will be holding its free fundraising event at Mill Race Park starting at 6:30 on Saturday, Sept. 4th. This will be the 35th annual concert for the hospice. The headliners will be Yacht Rock Revue with opening act 40 Years of College featuring vocalist Janie Gordon.

The event includes a raffle for a chance to win $10,000. Raffle ticket proceeds provides support for the hospice’s free bereavement programs and pediatric, palliative care and hospice services. Tickets are $10 and are available online at

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is a not-for-profit hospice providing care to patients and families in 16 counties, with offices in Columbus, North Vernon and Greensburg.

Columbus moving park meetings to Fair Oaks

The city of Columbus is moving its park board meetings into the former Fair Oaks Mall for the rest of the year. The city announced the change this week, saying that the meetings will be held at the renamed Nexus Park, near the center of the main corridor, going forward.

The city and Columbus Regional Health purchased the 35-acre mall site at 25th Street and Central Avenue with an eye to making the property into a health, wellness, sports and recreation center for the city. The city will eventually be moving the parks department offices from the current location at Donner Park to the former mall building.

The city is also announcing that the park board meeting orginally set for August 12th has been rescheduled for Friday, August 20th at Nexus Park.

Gold medalist’s family has Cummins ties

The Minnesota family of Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee has ties to Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins. The company reported yesterday that her father, John Lee, is a Power Systems Product Engineer for Cummins.

The 18-year-old American gymnast is bringing home a fifth straight gold medal for Team USA in the women’s all-around at the Tokyo Olympics.

In August of 2019, just before the U.S. National Gymnastics Championships, John Lee fell from a ladder while helping a friend trim a tree. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down, along with a broken wrist. He says he remembers coming out of surgery and then watching his daughter compete on television, where she came in second.

In October of 2020, Lee was able to return to work as a product application engineer for Cummins.

You can read more here.

Haw Creek pushed into minor flooding by overnight rains


Last night’s heavy rains led to a flood warning for Haw Creek in northeastern Bartholomew County and to some flash flooding.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis says 3 to 5 inches of rain was dumped in a small area around southern Shelby and northeastern Bartholomew counties last night. Haw Creek was quickly pushed into a flood stage. The creek appears to have peaked at 13.46 feet in Hope at about 1:45 this morning, about a foot and a half above the moderate flood stage.

Downstream at Clifford, the river peaked at 12.89 feet, almost a foot above the 12 foot minor flood stage at abut 6:15 a.m. this morning.

During the worst of the rain last night, flash flood warnings were issued for the area. Local law enforcement reported flood waters covering the road on State Road 252 in far southern Shelby county and water was over the roadway on State Road 9.

The weather service warns that you should never drive into floodwaters. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles and you should turn around and don’t drown.

Haw Creek is expected to drop back below the flood stage early this morning.

Severe heat and humidity today leads to weather warnings

It is going to be a hot and humid day today with weather that will feel like 110 degrees in some places.

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a heat advisory for parts of our area, saying hot temperatures in the mid 90s will combine with high humidity to bring heat indexes of 105 to 110 degrees. Heat related illnesses may happen quickly for people and pets with prolonged outdoor exposure.

The agency says you should drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room and stay out of the sun. If you have to be outside, be sure to take extra precautions and wear lightweight and loose fitting clothes.

Possible thunderstorms this afternoon and evening could bring the temperatures down. Most of Indiana is under a slight risk of severe weather, with damaging winds, large hail, lightning, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes possible.

The heat advisory is in effect from 2 p.m. this afternoon to 8 p.m. this evening for an area including Brown and Jackson counties.

Bartholomew leads area counties in full vaccination rate; still below 50 percent

Updated 9:15 a.m. Thursday

Bartholomew County is closing in on having half of its population vaccinated against COVID-19 and leads area counties, according to state and federal statistics.

Bartholomew County has 40,139 people who are fully vaccinated, or about 47.9 percent of the county’s population according to CDC tracking.

Women make up almost 54 percent of those who have been vaccinated in Bartholomew County. The largest age group to get fully vaccinated have been those who are 60 to 64 years old, which makes up just over 10 percent of those vaccinated.

Bartholomew County has a higher vaccination rate than other area counties according to CDC figures. Brown County has 42 percent, Decatur 39.2 percent, Jackson 40.7 percent, Jennings 31.6 percent, and Shelby County with 45.9 percent. Johnson County is the closest to Bartholomew among neighboring counties with almost 47.1  percent.

Hamilton County leads the state with 59.1 percent fully vaccinated.

CDC vaccination statistics for Indiana

Indiana State Department of Health vaccination statistics

Bartholomew County COVID-19 Task Force vaccination statistics

Local health officials are urging people to get vaccinated to hit that 50 percent mark countywide.

In our area, Bartholomew, Decatur, Brown and Jackson counties are all blue under the state’s color-coded map, showing a low spread of the disease. Johnson, Shelby and Jennings counties are all yellow, showing moderate spread. The closest counties showing orange, or serious spread are Washington and Scott counties.

Pfizer vaccine clinic offered Saturday at Calvary Community Church

The Bartholomew County Health Department and Windrose Health’s mobile unit will be offering a COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Community Church on Chestnut Street in Columbus.

The clinic will be giving doses of the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 years old or older.

There will be free gifts for those who get vaccinated.

Walk-ins are welcome but you can also register by calling Windrose Health at 317-680-9901.

Interstate 65 traffic to be restricted south of Columbus Friday night

You will see some restrictions on Interstate 65 between Columbus and Walesboro starting Friday night.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says that the left lane of northbound 65 will be closed starting at about 9 p.m. Friday night through 6 a.m. Saturday morning between the 65 and 66 mile markers.

Crews with contractor Force Construction will be removing a temporary barrier wall and moving equipment. Traffic will be slowed through a series of rolling roadblocks, with traffic reduced to 45 mph for 5-10 minutes at a time.

INDOT says you should use extra caution and watched for slowed traffic in the area. There will be electronic message boards and queue trucks to warn drivers of the restrictions.

The work schedule is dependent on the weather.

Spots still open for police teen driving course set for Saturday

Columbus police say that there are still spots available for Saturday’s teen precision driving course.

The course includes classroom instruction and hands-on driving at a closed driving track. Students will be taught vehicle dynamics and safety tips as well as legal aspects of driving. At the track, students will learn to how to make safe panic stops, safe evasive steering maneuvers and off-road recoveries. Students will practice their backing skills and parallel parking skills.

The class is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbus Police Department. The cost is $25.

You can sign up here. 

Tennessee man accused of stealing calculators, meds from Columbus store

Gregg Lestingi. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Tennessee man is accused of stealing dozens of scientific calculators and medicine from a Columbus Walmart store.

According to Columbus police reports, officers were called to the Whitfield Drive Walmart at about 4:45 Saturday afternoon about a possible shoplifting suspect. Police say that 51-year-old Gregg Lestingi of Oak Ridge, Tennessee stashed calculators inside of a mailbox which he then bought at the self checkout line.

When police confronted Lestingi in the parking lot they noticed what appeared to be stolen merchandise in the vehicle. A search revealed more calculators and over-the-counter medicine supplements. The value of the stolen property was estimated at more than $8,500. Police believe that he intended to sell the items on the internet.

He was arrested on preliminary charges of theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Evidence photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.