Monthly Archives: June 2024

Jennings school offering support for students after tragic crash

Note: This story has been updated.

Jennings County High School is providing counselors and clergy to students today, as the community struggles with a tragic crash that killed two students on Friday.

16-year-old Kyle Neukam and 15-year-old Randall Gordon have been identified as the students who were killed in the crash, which happened on State Road 7 near County Road 600W Friday afternoon.

The school district says that Jennings County High School will be open to students from 9 to 11:30 a.m. today to provide assistance to those struggling.

Students planning to come to the high school can enter through Door C in the front of the building. Counselors and clergy will be available in room 106.

The school district is asking “that the entire community keep the families and loved ones of these young men in our thoughts and prayers. Your support and solidarity will be invaluable in the days and weeks ahead.”

According to the Indiana State Police, a trooper came upon the crash at about 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. A car driven by the 16-year-old, had crossed the centerline into the path of a pickup. The driver was killed instantly, while the 15-year-old passenger was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Troopers determined both the driver and passenger in the car were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

The driver of the pickup, 26-year-old Connor E. Ramey of Scipio, was seriously injured and was flown by helicopter to an Indianapolis area hospital, authorities say.

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

Jennings County High School photo courtesy of Jennings County School Corp.

Trash collection delayed next week in Columbus due to holiday

Local government offices in Columbus will be closed next Thursday and Friday for the Independence Day holiday.

There will be no trash or recycling pickups in Columbus on Thursday. Instead, Thursday and Friday collections will be delayed by one day, with normal Thursday routes on Friday, and normal Friday routes on Saturday.

You should have your Toters to the curb by 7 on your delayed trash day.

You can get more information on the city website at and going to the Department of Public Works or through the Columbus Collects App on your phone.

Old-Fashioned Independence Day set for tonight in Hope

A reminder that the Yellow Trail Museum will be hosting the Hope Old-Fashioned Independence Day festivities at the Hope Town Square this evening.

Activities start at 5:30 p.m. and will include an apple pie contest, the crowning of Miss and Mr. Firecracker, a bike parade, music and fireworks. The Museum will be open and selling ice cream floats along with pony rides, balloon making and face painting.

The winners of the Miss and Mr. Firecracker competition will lead the bike, trike and stroller parade around the square at 6:30. The Bannister Family Band will be performing starting at 7 p.m.

The fireworks are scheduled to start at 10 p.m. You should bring your own chair or blanket.

Jennings deputies search for info on thefts from vehicles

Jennings County deputies are looking for your help identifying a person that may be involved in a series of thefts in the community.

According to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, they are investigating multiple thefts from vehicles in the area of County Road 900W. They have released a photo from a surveillance camera of a person of interest and are asking anyone who recognizes the person to reach out to the department.

They are also asking anyone who might have security camera video of thefts to call the department. And they suggest that you check your vehicles and belongings to make sure you have not been a victim of the thefts.

You can find a photo of the person on our website. If you have any information or more video, you can contact investigators through the Jennings county Dispatch Center at 812-346-4911.

Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department

Bartholomew fair continues today with tractor pulls

The Bartholomew County 4-H Fair continues today with Weichert Realtors Home Group Day at the fair.

The Midway will open at 5 p.m. Tickets will be regular price from 5 to 8 p.m., with Midnight Madness starting at 8 with $25 wristbands

Entertainment tonight includes the Antique Tractor Pull at the Grandstand starting at 7 p.m. and the Corn Hole Tournament at the Farm Bureau building with $2 registration starting at 7 p.m. and the event starting at 7:30 p.m.

The fair runs through Saturday. You can get more information at


Johnson County company receiving $815k grant for solar array

A Johnson County company is receiving a more than $815 thousand dollar grant to upgrade its facilities with solar power.

The USDA is announcing the next round of grants from the Rural Energy for America Program. The agency announced today that it has awarded more than $3.4 million to three Indiana companies for their projects in the most recent funding cycle. The program is meant to help agricultural producers and rural small business owners make energy efficiency improvements including expanding wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy.

In Johnson County, Macbeath Hardwood Company is receiving a $816,360 grant to install a solar array. This project will provide 820 kilowatts saving the business more than $123 thousand dollars annually. That will come from offsetting enough energy to power 89 homes for a year.

The agency also announced a grant of almost $375 thousand in Jay County for a grain dryer at a farm and a $346 thousand in Allen County to provide a solar array at a company manufacturing windows and doors for homes.

USDA will continue to accept applications for the program’s competitions through Sept. 30th.

Local legislator’s law cracking down on street drug goes into effect

Jennifer Meltzer

A new law that will crack down on an animal tranquilizer called xylazine or “tranq” will go into effect Monday. The cause was championed by local State Rep. Jennifer Meltzer.

Meltzer, a Shelbyville Republican and vice chair of the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, authored a bill that makes xylazine, a large animal sedative, into a controlled substance. The bill requires a prescription to possess xylazine or the holder could face criminal penalties including felony charges. There are exceptions such as for pharmacists and veterinarians.

Meltzer has said xylazine is being mixed with heroin as a street drug and is linked to a growing number of overdose deaths. Xylazine is not an opioid, so lifesaving medications such as Narcan are less effective.

Last year, Meltzer authored a bill that was signed into law, tracking deaths involving xylazine. Under that legislation, coroners will test for any trace of xylazine in drug overdose deaths.

Meltzer’s district includes eastern Bartholomew County.

Two arrested on drug, child neglect charges in Seymour

Two people in Seymour are facing drug and child neglect charges after a large amount of marijuana was found in a home.

According to the Seymour Police Department, officers received tips about drug activity at a home in the 800 block of Windermere Drive. Officers stopped by and contacted the occupants of the home and said that they smelled marijuana coming from inside.

The two residents at the home were detained while a search warrant was issued. A two-year-old child was at the home and police entertained the child until a caretaker could arrive and take responsibility for the child.

The search uncovered 16 grams of cocaine, more than 600 grams of marijuana, acid, syringes, a handgun and several hundred dollars in cash.

26-year-old Reid Newkirk and 30-year-old Brandy McQueen, both of Seymour, are facing charges including neglect of a dependent, dealing in cocaine and marijuana, maintaining a common nuisance, as well as for possessing the drugs and paraphernalia.

Photo courtesy of Seymour Police Department.

Community coalition to receive nearly $500k for career coaching

The Columbus-based Community Education Coalition is receiving a nearly half million dollar grant from the state to provide career coaching to help guide students on in-demand careers.

According to Kathy Oren, President and CEO of the coalition, the grant of more than $493 thousand dollars is coming from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education as part of its Career Coaching Initiative. The grants, created last year, are meant to provide Hoosier students with essential resources to make informed decisions about their college and career paths. The commission awarded more than $25 million to 28 organizations.

Oren said that the local grant would allow the coalition to expand career coaching, “ensuring consistent, high-quality guidance for students in Bartholomew County and the AirPark Campus region.”

Dr. Chad Phillips, superintendent of Bartholomew Consolidated Schools, said that the partnership with the Coalition would allow more personalized career guidance for students.

From the announcement by the Community Education Coalition:

  • Cindy Frey, President of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the broader community impact: “The Career Coaching Grant will benefit not only our students but also our local economy. By preparing our youth for high-demand careers, we ensure a robust talent pipeline that meets the needs of our regional employers.”
  • Julia Abedian, Executive Vice President & Chief Community Impact Officer at Columbus Regional Health, added: “We have witnessed the positive outcomes of CEC’s career coaching programs. This grant will allow for an even greater impact, helping more students gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their chosen career paths.”
  • Jim Schacht, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Cummins Inc., remarked: “Cummins is proud to support the Community Education Coalition in this endeavor. The grant from ICHE will amplify CEC’s efforts to provide essential career coaching, directly contributing to the development of a skilled workforce that is critical for our industry and the broader community.”
  • Dave Glass, CEO of LHP Engineering Solutions, expressed his enthusiasm: “This grant represents a vital investment in our future workforce. The CEC’s dedicated coaching will empower students to pursue careers in engineering and technology, fields essential for innovation and economic growth.”

Patchy fog could make morning drive hazy

You could see some fog out there this morning. The National Weather Service says areas of fog are developing across central Indiana and it could be dense in some areas. Visibility could be as low as a quarter of a mile and you should be prepared for visibility to change rapidly.

If you have to be on the road this morning, they are urging you to slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination.

The fog should burn off by 9 a.m., forecasters say