Monthly Archives: June 2022

NexusPark site brings visit from Holcomb for READI kickoff

Local, state and regional officials celebrated at NexusPark, the former Fair Oaks Mall, in Columbus this morning as the state recognized the kickoff of its READI grants initiative. The project is receiving $6 million dollars from the state program.

The joint project between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health is transforming the former mall, into a center for health, wellness and recreation. The event took place in the west side of the former mall, near where Carson’s once operated. Gov. Eric Holcomb, Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Hospital CEO Jim Bickel and dignitaries from neighboring communities were on hand to celebrate the project.

Mayor Lienhoop explains:

Lienhoop said the state money will allow for additional parks and trails amenities, as well as child care facilities.

The READI program, or Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, will be announcing how it will distribute the first $200 million dollars by the end of July, and the rest of the $500 million by the end of the year.

Columbus Regional Health is putting more than $40 million dollars into its side of the project, while the city expects to spend a similar amount on the east side of the former mall, including the construction of a fieldhouse.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers and Mary Ferdon, the city’s director of administration and community development at Thursday’s NexusPark event. White River Broadcasting photo

North Vernon woman facing drug-dealing charges after traffic stop

A North Vernon woman is being accused of drug dealing after a traffic stop Monday near Seymour.

According to reports from the Indiana State Police, troopers were alerted by Seymour police and Jennings County deputies that a wanted woman was in a vehicle on the east side of Seymour. A trooper located the vehicle on U.S. 50 and pulled it over for a traffic violation.

The driver, 44-year-old Kelli Cravens initially gave police a fake name but was soon arrested on an outstanding felony warrant from Jennings County.

A state police dog alerted to the smell of drugs in the vehicle and a search revealed 25 grams of suspected crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Cravens was arrested on preliminary felony charges of dealing methamphetamine of over 10 grams, possession of methamphetamine over 10 grams  and identity theft,  as well as misdemeanor charges for possessing the marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Bartholomew fair continues with go-kart races at grandstand

The Bartholomew County 4-H Fair continues today with Young Farmer’s Day at the fair. Midway wristbands are buy one get one starting at 5 p.m.

Today’s entertainment includes The Columbus East Choir at David Boll Theatre, Columbus Go-Karts at the grandstands, and the Vinyl Escape Band at the Farm Bureau Building, all starting at 7 p.m., and the Working Chute Contest starting at 8 p.m. at the Pavilion

The fair ends Saturday.

You can get more information at

Authorities find no crimes committed in jail inmate’s death

Authorities have concluded that no crimes were committed by Jackson County Jail workers after an investigation into the death of an inmate, Joshua McLemore, last year.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Chalfant released the report yesterday, with an autopsy concluding that the manner of McLemore’s August 2021 death was found to be natural, but the causes included multiple organ failure, a refusal to eat or drink and unrelated schizophrenia.

Indiana State Police concluded and the prosecutor agreed that there was no evidence of a single staff member committing a knowing, intentional or reckless act, thus no one committed a crime. However, “McLemore most likely died due to a prolonged lack of attention by Jackson Jail staff as a group.”

The report concluded that after an incident at Schneck Medical Center at about 2:30 a.m. in the morning on July 20th, McLemore was arrested on charges including battery against a public safety official and criminal mischief. However, because of his mental state, McLemore was not fingerprinted, photographed or asked medical questions when he was booked into the jail. Instead, he was taken directly to a padded cell. While an initial hearing is normally held after an arrest, no hearing was ever held during nearly three weeks he spent in the cell.

On July 29th, McLemore’s attorney filed a motion to determine his competency and sought an evaluation for insanity. Just over a week later, he was taken to Schneck Medical Center again, then to Mercy West Hospital in Cincinnati, where he died on August 10th.

In the days leading up to his death, McLemore was only rarely sleeping, eating, drinking and not using the bathroom. The cell was frequently covered with human and food waste, trash and liquids, according to video records reviewed by state police. McLemore was frequently in a distressed state, striking himself, making suicidal comments and not speaking clearly.

Local Salvation Army to see share of grant funds

Two local Salvation Army branches will be receiving a share of grants being announced by Glick Philanthropies from the Glick Community Relief Fund.

The Indiana Salvation Army announced that the Jackson County Service Extension Unit received a $10,000 grant and The Salvation Army of Columbus is receiving a $7,500 award. The grants will be used to strengthen food ministries within the service area, supporting essential feeding programs in communities affected by the pandemic and increasing inflation.

Four Salvation Army units across the state received funds from Glick Philanthropies, also including Salvation Army’s Indianapolis Eagle Creek Corps Community Center, East Chicago Corps Community Center. Overall, Glick announced 90 grants in communities where Gene B. Glick Company properties are located.

Last year, Salvation Army’s Indiana division provided nearly 1.5 million meals and grocery orders to Hoosiers, through food pantries, hot meal programs, and grocery cards.

Columbus residents sought in Franklin County thefts

Dustin A. Hurley. 

Franklin County authorities are looking for two Columbus residents, who they believe are involved in recent vehicle break-ins there.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is asking for your help locating 33-year-old Dustin A. Hurley and 31-year-old Amanda L. Zeigler. The two were last seen driving a white, 2016 Chevy Impala. Franklin County is east of Decatur County on the Indiana/Ohio border. Authorities believe the two may be located in the Cincinnati area.

If you have any information, you can contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department at 765-647-4138.

Photos courtesy of Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

Amanda L. Zeigler. .

Phone scammers targeting Bartholomew REMC customers

Bartholomew County REMC is warning about phone scammers trying to take advantage of utility customers.

The local power co-op says that the scammers will claim that you have overpaid your bill and are due a reimbursement. But they are actually trying to get you to give up your financial information.

Bartholomew County REMC said it will never ask members to provide or verify financial information over the phone. If you receive a strange call from anyone claiming to be with the company, you can call Bartholomew County REMC at 800-927-5672.

Legal Aid walk-in clinics return with Brown County library event

Legal Aid is holding a free walk-in Legal Aid Clinic from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5th at the Brown County Public Library.

Legal Aid offers the clinics for low-income residents of its eight-county district.

If you take part you will have up to a 10-minute consultation with a volunteer attorney to answer general questions, to offer legal information or to receive other advice.

There is no need to register in advance.

Legal Aid will also be holding a phone clinic in from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on July 12th. To take part, you must first register between noon and 2 p.m. that day by calling 812-378-0358.

Roundabout street closures extended through Friday afternoon

Streets will be closed around the downtown Columbus roundabout a while longer than expected.

City officials say that street closures, originally expected to end Friday morning, will now be extended until 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

Affected areas include the intersection of Eighth and Brown streets, along with Brown Street between Fifth Street and the Indianapolis Road roundabout, and Eighth Street between Brown and Lindsey streets. Crews are installing a sewer replacement for Columbus City Utilities.

You should find an alternative route and avoid the area.

Cummins announces mining and Hypertruck partnerships

Cummins announced two new partnerships yesterday expanding its work in natural gas powertrains and in working toward zero emissions solutions for mining trucks.

The company announced a partnership with Hyliion to optimize the Cummins natural gas engine as the generator for the Hypertruck ERX powertrain.

The Hypertruck ERX is an electric range extender that uses onboard power generation to recharge the batteries for a semi-truck powertrain. The Hypertruck ERX offers 75-miles of electric range and can achieve up to 1,000 miles of full range through the generator. Cummins’ ISX 12N will be optimized so that it can use the existing 700 natural gas stations across North America for low cost refueling.

Start of production for the Hypertruck ERX with the Cummins natural gas power is expected to begin in late 2023.

More information on the Hyliion partnership.

Cummins also announced Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with Komatsu to work on mine hauling equipment with zero emissions. The two companies plan to initially focus on hydrogen fuel cell solutions for large mining haul trucks.

Komatsu announced last year a mining truck concept that can run on a variety of power sources, including diesel electric, battery power and hydrogen fuel cells. The Cummins/Komatsu alliance has a target of advancing Komatsu’s power-agnostic truck concept, with a goal of offering vehicles commercially by 2030.

More information on the Komatso agreement.

Hypertruck ERX photo courtesy of Hyliion