Monthly Archives: April 2024

Firefighters, animal control rescue ducklings from Columbus drain

Rescue workers saved a family of ducklings from a storm drain yesterday morning in Columbus.

According to the Columbus Fire Department, workers at Chevrolet of Columbus noticed a mother duck circling a storm drain. Columbus firefighters and Columbus animal Care Services were called to the scene and discovered that the ducklings had fallen down the storm drain. All eight were rescued and reunited with the mama.

The fire department praised the efforts of Engine 5 and Animal Care Services to make the save.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.

Jennings agency adds new equipment thanks to Duke grant

The Jennings County Emergency Management Agency says that a Duke Energy grant has allowed the agency to upgrade its equipment.

Officials say that the Duke Energy Foundation provide a grant that allowed the department to add a medical bed to the agency’s off road vehicle. They say that the vehicle has already been put to use in the field, supporting other agencies in the district during last week’s Thunder Over Louisville event.

The Duke Energy Foundation says it ” is focused on strengthening and uplifting communities throughout Indiana with grant funding.”

Two arrested on drug charges after traffic stop

Cheyanne George. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A traffic violation led to the arrest of two people on drug and weapons related charges last week in Bartholomew County.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, the incident started at about 11:25 p.m. on Wednesday night when a deputy noticed a vehicle with a bright white light coming from its rear bumper heading north on U.S. 31, violating traffic codes. The vehicle was pulled over and the deputy recognized that one of the occupants, 25-year-old Cheyanne George of Columbus, had an outstanding arrest warrant. A sheriff’s department deputy brought a police dog to the scene and the dog alerted to the smell of drugs in the vehicle. George was taken into custody and a smoking device with burnt residue was found in one of her pants pockets.

A deputy noticed another vehicle occupant. 36-year-old David Swift of Columbus appear to reach under this seat. A state trooper who had arrived on the scene removed Swift from the vehicle but a struggle broke out with the man refusing to be handcuffed, to stand or to walk. That’s when the deputy noticed Swift drop several baggies and then try to step on them. It took three officers to get Swift restrained and into a police vehicle.

David Swift. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Police recovered the baggies and found they contained a white substance which turned out to be methamphetamine.

A search of the vehicle recovered a handgun under the front passenger seat where Swift had been reaching earlier.

Swift is facing chargers of possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct.

George was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital to be checked out and then to the Bartholomew County Jail. She was found to be carrying a brown wax that she admitted to be THC marijuana. George was arrested on charges of obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana and of paraphernalia, along with her outstanding warrant.

County gives first approval to zoning ordinance changes

Bartholomew County Commissioners gave their first approval to a set of changes to the county’s zoning ordinances yesterday, ranging from solar panel and bike rack placement to the regulation of biosolid facilities.

Jeff Bergman, director of the city/county planning department, said that most of the changes were small adjustments meant to clarify the rules or to meet state law such as where to properly locate wheel stops in parking lots.

However, some changes were completely new, such as the regulation of vehicle charging stations. Bergman said that the stations have begun to pop up at businesses and in strip malls. But the zoning rules did not previously address them at all, he said. The new rules clarified thing like setback distances for the stations and whether they can encroach on landscaping.

Another major change would require that biosolid facilities would only be approved as a conditional use in agricultural zoned property in the county. In a separate process, the county commissioners have been considering new rules that would ban the importing of processed human waste into the county altogether.

Commissioner Tony London said he found it surprising that there has been almost no public comment on the human waste issue for either the zoning ordinance changes or the complete ban.

The proposed ordinance changes were previously approved by the Bartholomew County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Commissioners gave their first approval to the changes Monday.

Zoning Rev. for 4.29.24 Comm. Mtg

Pickleball tourney to raise money for Alzheimer’s care

Thrive Alliance will be hosting a pickleball tournament on Saturday named in honor of local pickleball player Bill Martin.

Martin died in 2022 from Alzheimer’s. Organizers say that even after his diagnosis, Martin continued to support and cheer on pickleball players. All proceeds for the tournament will go to support the agency’s Dementia and Care Partners Programming. The programs work to keep people engaged in their communities and offer support and respite care to their care partners.

The tournament is being held in partnership with the Columbus Pickleball Club. It will be held on the 18 pickleball courts at CERA Sports Park and Campground. There will be a round robin scramble format tournament across five divisions ranging from beginner to advanced. There will be a maximum of 16 players per division.

The cost to play is $40 per person. You can find links register here:

You can make a donation to Thrive Alliance’s dementia care programs in Bill Martin’s name here: or email [email protected].

Indiana DNR offers safety tips for off-road vehicles

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says with the warmer weather, more people are out riding off-road vehicles. And officials are urging you to take steps to be safe while having off-road fun.

According to the agency:

  • All riders under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet while operating an off-road vehicle.
  • They also recommend goggles, long sleeves, long pants, and over-the-ankle boots for riders.
  • Children younger than 14 need to be supervised by an adult at all times when riding an off-road vehicles. Children should only ride  if they meet the minimum age designated by the manufacturer of that vehicle.
  • Never operate an off-road vehicle with more people on it than it is designed to hold.
  • Never operate or ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Off-road vehicles should be operated at a speed where the driver can control the vehicle and stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • On side-by-side style off-road vehicles seat belts should be worn by the operator and any passengers.

Four seeking seats on Bartholomew County Council in primary races

Primary elections are coming up next week in Indiana and early voting is underway.

In Bartholomew County, you can vote early on weekdays from 8 to 5 at Donner Center on 22nd Street. There are also early voting hours on Saturday from 8 to 3 at Donner Center and at the Bartholomew County Governmental Office Building on Third Street.

Early voting wraps up at noon on Monday, May 6th with election day from 6 to 6 on Tuesday, May 7th at voting centers around Bartholomew County.

Bartholomew County voters will be choosing candidates for County Council at large on the Republican ticket. Four Republicans are running for those three seats. You can choose from Michael R. Bell, Kim Bennett, John Prohaska and Marcus D. Speer.

You can hear from each of the candidates below:

Michael Bell

Kim Bennett

John Prohaska

Marcus Speer

Ivy Tech hosting Saturday nature walk along Driftwood River

Ivy Tech Community College will be hosting a nature walk on Saturday, May 4th to learn more about the local natural environment. The school’s biology professors are hosting the series of hikes with the next along the Driftwood River near Edinburgh.

The hike is open to the public, and you are invited to attend. You should dress appropriately for the outdoors and the weather. Hikers will meet at 7:30 a.m. in the morning in the first paved parking area at the Driftwood State Fishing Area. That’s at 8825 S. U.S. 31, near Edinburgh.

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.

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

United Way and CRH teaming up to help with health coverage

The United Way of Bartholomew County and Columbus Regional Health are joining a state program to help more families gain health insurance.

The two groups will be implementing locally the statewide Covering Kids and Families program. Licensed navigators will be offering free assistance navigating health coverage to anyone in Bartholomew County. The navigators will be able to connect families to state and federal health plans they might qualify for. That includes Medicaid, Hoosier Healthwise or the Healthy Indiana Plan.

United Way works to ensure everyone has what they need to reach their full potential, including access to affordable healthcare services.

Ashley LaVanway, Covering Kids and Family manager for United Way says the program is a tool that can be used to get everyone affordable coverage.

You can start signing up for assistance starting on Wednesday. To get signed up you can call 812-418-3573 Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or online here: