Monthly Archives: January 2023

Two Jennings County students arrested over threat accusations

Two students were arrested at Jennings County High School Monday morning after threats were made to the school.

According to information from the North Vernon Police Department, a school resource officer was notified by Jennings County High School staff about an incident reported by a student. The witness overheard another student make an intimidating statement threatening the school while getting off of a bus. The student was identified and taken from the classroom. A search of the student’s backpack did not find anything dangerous. However, the student allegedly admitted to making the threatening statement. With the aid of Jennings County Juvenile Probation, the student was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention facility.

Later that morning, the school staff received more information about the bomb threat last week sent by iPhone air drop. The student was interviewed by detectives and police say she admitted to sending the message in the cafeteria that led to the school’s evacuation on Thursday. She was arrested on a charge of intimidation.

Police say that statements made through social media or electronically are treated the same as if the threats were made in person. Officers encourage parents to impress upon their children the severity of the students’ actions and their consequences.

IUPUC announces Excellence in Diversity award winners

Jon Padfield. Photo courtesy of IUPUC.

IUPUC recognized the winners of its Excellence in Diversity Awards at the NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Awards Gala Saturday. Those went to associate professor of mathematics Jon Padfield and the United Way of Bartholomew County.

Padfield was recognized for a campus initiative which provided customized Six Sigma training to black women in leadership positions, so the skills could be used to address issues that impact the Black community and workforce. The training was part of the IUPUC Center for Business and Economic Development cohort in partnership with The Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute.

The United Way was recognized for community initiative for its involvement in the Columbus Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. The task force works to identify and to address issues of discrimination, prejudice, and bias in the community. United Way of Bartholomew County supports local organizations including the Columbus Area Diversity Council, the Columbus African American Heritage Museum, and the Columbus Pride Festival.

Arrest made in local business thefts

Jeron McDonald. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police say an investigation has led to the arrest of a man believed to have stolen cash registers, money and lottery tickets from several businesses.

According to reports from Columbus Police Department, officers began investigating a burglary in the 1700 block of State Street on Thursday after a rock was thrown through a glass door and a cash register taken. After watching video of the incident, police identified 27-year-old Jeron McDonald of a Columbus as a suspect.

A police dog followed the suspect’s trail and the cash register was recovered in an alley near an apartment building on South Cherry Street where the tracks ended. Police blocked off the area and found and arrested McDonald. A search of his apartment uncovered a large amount of cash as well as lottery tickets stolen in an earlier burglary.

McDonald was arrested on preliminary charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and criminal mischief. Police say additional charges are possible and the investigation is ongoing.

Evidence photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

Area conservation officer of the year named

Conservation Officer Nick Wilson. Photo courtesy of Indiana Conservation Officers

Indiana Department of Natural Resources is announcing the conservation officer of the year for the district that includes Bartholomew, Brown, Johnson and Shelby Counties.

Conservation Officer Nick Wilson is assigned to Hendricks County where he has served since 2018. Before transferring, he served in Marion County.

In addition to his normal duties as a field officer, Wilson serves as a background investigator, public safety diver, passenger for hire inspector, river rescue instructor, field training officer, and airboat operator.

The district award puts Wilson in the running for the Pitzer Award. The award recognizes Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot in 1961. The winner each year is selected from the 10 district winners.

District 6 also includes Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, and Monroe counties.

Three arrested in hunting gear theft investigation

Three Jennings County residents were arrested after an investigation into the theft of hunting equipment.

According to reports from Indiana DNR conservation officers, officers served a search warrant on a home as part of an investigation into the thefts near Paris Crossing earlier this month. That search revealed items tied to other Jennings County theft cases, as well as marijuana plants and drug paraphernalia.

40-year-old Terry J. Kinworthy of Paris Crossing is facing preliminary charges of theft, trespassing, cultivating marijuana, maintaining a common nuisance, and for possessing methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a hypodermic syringe.

50-year-old John Stacy and 41-year-old Meagan P. Stacy, also of Paris Crossing are being accused of cultivating and possessing of marijuana.

Conservation officers were assisted in the investigation by the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department and the North Vernon Police Department.

Slick, icy conditions in some spots this morning

Emergency officials are warning of some slick road conditions out there this morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for our area that is in effect until 8 a.m.  this morning. Forecasters say that light freezing rain mixed with snow is causing ice accumulations of up to a 10th of an inch in some spots.

You can expect roads to be slippery and hazardous. Bartholomew County deputies say that Interstate 65 is now open again after an overnight crash involving a semi and several other vehicles in the northbound lanes on the interstate near the Bartholomew/Jackson county line. State police say a semi crash south of Seymour also shut down the northbound lanes of the highway for several hours. Both of those accidents have been cleared.

Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur and Jennings counties have all declared travel advisories this morning. A travel advisory is the lowest level of local travel restriction. Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and you should use caution or avoid those areas.

North Vernon Teen Arrested in Airdrop Threats Incident

On Friday, January 27th, 2023, at 4:23 PM the North Vernon Police Department made an arrest on a suspect regarding an intimidating air drop sent during the high school incident on Thursday, January 26th, 2023, at the Jennings County High School/Jennings County Middle School.
Detectives with the North Vernon Police Department along with School Resource Officer Matt Staples, and Officer Michael Holliday worked closely with staff from Jennings County High School, Jennings County Middle School, and Jennings County Juvenile probation to conduct further investigation into the bomb threat airdrop and gun airdrop at the above-mentioned schools.
During the investigation numerous tips and information from students and staff in addition to video surveillance footage led to numerous interviews and phones being seized in relation to the offenses. The information received ultimately lead to a juvenile suspect who was interviewed on Friday, January 23rd at the North Vernon Police Department. A voice stress analysis was also conducted by Andy Judd, Jennings County Juvenile Probation Officer.
During the interview, the juvenile provided a verbal admission to one of the air drops sent on Thursday, January 26th, and also provided photo/electronic evidence of the crime. At the conclusion of the interview an arrest was made in accordance with the Indiana State Law for Intimidation, a level 5 felony. The juvenile was taken into custody and transported to a juvenile detention facility.
This investigation is still ongoing with future interviews planned. It is highly encouraged that anyone with any information contact the North Vernon Police Department or contact SRO Matt Staples or Jennings County School Corporation. Tips and information can be left anonymously.
Information Courtesy of the North Vernon Police Department Facebook Page.

Cummins Inc. Launches TEC Program In Indianapolis

Cummins Inc. and Arsenal Technical High School launched Cummins Technical Education for Communities (TEC) in Indianapolis last week.

The program aims to improve pathways for Black youth into prosperous careers.
Cummins and its partners have provided equipment to the schools’ Diesel Powered Equipment Technology and Automotive programs to enrich the students’ hands-on learning experience.

Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE), a U.S. strategic community initiative, supported the Cummins TEC team as they selected Indianapolis, and other U.S. cities to expand Cummins TEC.

The Indianapolis Cummins TEC program will be the fifth location in the United States and will become part of the 26 programs across the globe.

Lieutenant Scott Maley of CFD Retires After 29 Years.

The Columbus Fire Department (CFD) is announcing the retirement of Lieutenant Scott Maley, a 29-year veteran of the department.
Lieutenant Maley joined the Columbus Fire Department in 1994 and is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and Hazardous Materials Technician.

Lieutenant Maley retires from his current assignment as the company officer of fire station # 3 on Battalion A.
Lieutenant Scott Maley’s official retirement date was on Saturday, (January 28th, 2023).

Temporary Road Closure: County Road 400N and County Road 1200 E

The Bartholomew County Highway Department advises motorists that a portion of County Road 400N will still be closed to traffic early next week.

County Road 400N, between Hartsville and County Road 1200E, will be shut down on Monday, January 30th, and Tuesday, January 31st, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., both days.

The highway department says the closure is so that workers can finish their tree removal project, which was interrupted by wintry weather last week.