Monthly Archives: February 2023

Legal Aid holding walk-in clinics in area counties

Legal Aid is hosting free walk-in legal clinics in local communities over the next few days.

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 will be a clinic for the Bartholomew County community from 3 to 5 p.m. today at the Bartholomew County Public Library in Columbus. Jackson County residents can attend a hearing from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the law office of Montgomery, Elsner & Pardieck, LLP, at 308 W. 2nd Street in Seymour.

There will be a walk in legal clinic for Brown County community members on Tuesday, March 7th from 3 to 5 pm at the Brown County Public Library.

From 3 to 4 p.m. the sessions will focus on general legal counsel. From 4 to 5 p.m. the clinics will focus on evictions.

Ivy Tech hosting Saturday nature walk at Touch the Earth

Ivy Tech Community College Columbus biology professors are continuing their series of nature hikes to educate residents about their natural environment.

The next hike will be Saturday at the Touch the Earth Natural Area west of Columbus. That is on North Country Club Road just south of State Road 46.

Ivy Tech Columbus faculty member Dr. Tom Sobat will lead the hike, focusing on exploring the network of trails within the Sycamore Land Trust property. All trails on the property are listed as “easy.”

Hikers will meet at 10 a.m. in the morning.

If you are planning to take part and have binoculars, you should bring them. The college will have some sets on hand you can use.

The hike is open to the public, and you are invited to attend. You should dress appropriately for the outdoors and the weather.

For more information, contact Dr. Tom Sobat at [email protected].

INDOT adds Thursday night I-65 closings

INDOT is adding more lane closings to the schedule this week on Interstate 65 between Columbus and Walesboro. That work will be done to install new overhead signs on the highway.

INDOT says that the northbound right lane and shoulder on I-65 will be closed just north of the Walessboro exit tonight. Work is expected to begin at 9 and last until 6 in the morning Wednesday. Rolling slowdowns are scheduled to take place during the work and will each last about 15 minutes.

The work will move to the southbound lanes on the interstate, starting at 9 on Thursday and lasting until 6 Friday morning.

The work schedule is dependent on the weather.

INDOT asks you to slow down, to use use extra caution and to drive without distractions in all work zones.

Jennings fugitive caught after ankle bracelet removed

Ace Holestein. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

A fugitive was captured by Jennings County authorities, after he cut off his monitoring ankle bracelet.

According to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Parole Services alerted Jennings County authorities that Ace Holestein had cut off his ankle bracelet at about 11:30 Saturday night. Holestein was on supervised release for a felony charge of child solicitation.

A description of the fugitive’s vehicle was released and a deputy located the vehicle in Country Squire Lakes. Deputies and North Vernon police went to the home and when they contacted Holestein at the front door, he attempted to run out the back. He was quickly taken into custody by a North Vernon police officer.

Holestein was taken to the Jennings County Jail without further incident.

Three injured in State Road 7 crash Sunday night

Three people were injured Sunday in a head-on crash on State Road 7 near the Bartholomew/Jennings County line.

According to Indiana State Police, a car driven by 23-year-old Ty Woodson of North Vernon was southbound on State Road 7 near Stephen Drive in Bartholomew County at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, when the vehicle crossed the centerline, into the path of an SUV being driven by 39-year-old Trisha Carman of Columbus, where they collided.

Woodson’s vehicle then caught fire. After being rescued he was flown to an Indianapolis area hospital with serious injuries.

Carman was taken by ambulance to Columbus Regional Hospital then flown to an Indianapolis hospital. A passenger in Carman’s vehicle, 9-year-old Amberly Carman was flown from the scene of the crash to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Police say that neither driver was wearing a seat belt. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

State Road 7 was closed for about two hours for the crash cleanup and investigation.

Assisting at the scene were Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team,  Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Jennings County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Township Fire Department, Elizabethtown Fire Department, Scipio-Geneva Township Fire Department, Jennings County EMS, and Columbus Regional Hospital EMS.

Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police.

Grant allows First Christian Church tower work to start soon

Organizers of an effort to preserve the historic First Christian Church tower in downtown Columbus are announcing that they have cleared a fund-raising hurdle and work should begin soon.

The Friends of First Christian Church Architecture Fund at Heritage Fund are announcing that it has secured a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation toward renovation of the iconic church tower. The Jeffris Family Foundation agreed in August of 2021 to provide a $1 match for every two dollars raised for the the Save Our Tower project. Friends of First Christian Church raised $1.1 million, which triggered the challenge match.

Jeff Logston, project leader of the Save Our Tower campaign, said that restoration work on the $3.2 million project should begin in March and be completed by November.

Tracy Souza, president and CEO of Heritage Fund, said about 70 donors provided funds toward the matching grant. She said the project is a special partnership between Heritage Fund, First Christian Church and Landmark Columbus Foundation.

Previous funding for the project has included a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant in from the National Park Service and a $250,000 grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places.

You can get more information at

Coroner’s office: Another record year for drug overdose deaths

The Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office is reporting a record number of overdose deaths in the county last year.

Coroner Clayton Nolting released the report for 2022, showing 39 overdose deaths. That compares to 33 in 2021 and 31 in 2020, also record highs at their time.

Nolting said that most overdose deaths involve multiple drugs, with only 12 being caused by a single drug. Fentanyl was the leading drug involved in deaths, showing up in 27 of the 39 cases. The second most seen drug was methamphetamine, which was involved in 26 cases.

16 overdose deaths showed both fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Other common drugs included THC and Gabapentin, a prescription anti-convulsant.

Overall, the coroner’s office investigated 160 deaths last year. Of hose 92 were natural, 58 accidents, six suicides and four homicides.

Two arrested in Seymour missing child investigation

An abducted child was recovered Saturday in Seymour and the father is facing kidnapping and other charges.

According to Seymour Police Department, the incident started at about 4:43 a.m. in the morning Saturday when a woman was attacked at a home in the 600 block of East Oak Street. The victim told police that her boyfriend, 23-year-old Daniel Gaspar Lopez-Mendoza, battered her, strangled her, took her phone and then took their child, making threats to harm the child.

The victim was taken to Schneck Medical Center by ambulance for treatment.

Officers began searching for the missing child. The suspect’s vehicle was found and stopped. The child was not found in the vehicle, Lopez-Mendoza was taken into custody. Police discovered that the child had been given to another man, 20-year-old Josue Francisco Canay-Rivera, and then taken back to the original address on Oak Street. Police found the child there and the child appeared unharmed, however the child was taken to Schneck Medical Center to be checked out.

Police say that Canay-Rivera had left the child at the home to go work out.

Lopez-Mendoza is facing preliminary charges of kidnapping, domestic battery, strangulation, intimidation and interfering with reporting a crime.

Canay-Rivera was arrested for child neglect.

FFY taking part in first Youth Service Bureau Day

Foundation for Youth will be celebrating the first Youth Service Bureau Day at the Indiana Statehouse next month in recognition of 50 years of agencies empowering Indiana’s youth.

The Indiana Youth Service Association, 28 member bureaus and local elected officials partner to provide juvenile delinquency prevention and family support programming in the state of Indiana. The Youth Service Bureau Day is meant to commit the groups, including FFY, to grow the partnerships.

The celebration will be March 27th at the Indiana Statehouse, on the north side of the third floor. A press conference will begin at 11:30 a.m. with lunch to follow.

Wind advisory in effect until 7 tonight

We are looking at another windy day today. The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory, warning of wind gusts of up to 50 mph throughout our area.

You can expect sustained southwest winds of 25 to 30 mph. Unsecured outside objects could get blown around and tree limbs could be knocked down. There may be a few power outages.

The wind advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. this morning until 7p.m.  tonight.