All posts by Bryan Watson

Marr Road to Close for Construction

Milestone Contractors LP, as part of the City’s 2023 Community Crossings Matching Grant Project will be working on Marr Road at 25th Street north to Brent Cross.

On Monday 4/22 and Tuesday 4/23 crews will be patching in this area. Marr Road will be restricted to one lane, flaggers will direct traffic in both directions.

Wednesday 4/24 9AM – 2PM, Marr Road will be closed, as crews open cut the roadway to install new storm water infrastructure. Please seek alternate routes on Wednesday.

Reminder: INDOT has implemented lane restrictions north of 25th Street on US 31 for bridge deck overlay.

Please use caution in these areas. Slow down, obey flaggers, and don’t drive distracted.

INDOT to Temporarily Close State Road 11 in Jackson County

Indiana Department of Transportation contractor Milestone Contractors plans to temporarily close State Road 11 at the bridge over East Fork White River Overflow as soon as Saturday, April 20, to complete pavement repairs in Jackson County.

The bridge is located approximately two miles north of Seymour between the White River and the I-65 interchange near Jonesville. The temporary closure is expected to begin at approximately 7 a.m. and remain in place for up to 12 hours, weather permitting. The bridge is currently under construction utilizing temporary traffic signals. The signals will reactivate following the closure.

The bridge rehabilitation project is part of a $6.9 million contract awarded to Milestone in December 2023. The contract includes a total of three district bridge projects and one guardrail project. INDOT reminds drivers to slow down, use extra caution and avoid distractions when traveling in and near work zones. All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change.

Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management Reminds Public About Self Load Site/Friday Loading Operations

Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management would like to remind the public that Bartholomew County Residents are welcome to self load mulch and/or compost from the yard waste site located at 720 Mapleton, free of charge.
They offer Friday Loading every year from April through October, except for Friday holidays. For 2024, the program began on Friday, April 5th and runs from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. It Costs $10 per pick-up truck size load of mulch or compost. Stop by the BCSWMD Offices to pay per load.
Visit the BCSWMD website at or call 812-376-2614 for more information about Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District programs.

Road Closures Due To Flooding

As of  2:30 pm the following roads and areas are closed due to high water:

·         900 N between 300 E AND 200 E

·         Noblitt Park

·         Mill Race Park

·         Owen’s Bend

·         Azalia Public Access Site

·         800 S, between SR 11 and US 31

Ignite Columbus Returns April 25th

Ignite Columbus will be returning in just a few short weeks.

Ignite is an idea-sharing competition held in over 100 cities worldwide. These events are a venue for innovative thinkers to share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.

Participants will be competing in two judged categories, “Most Enlightening” and “Most Innovative.” One presenter will receive People’s Choice Award, which is given to the audience’s favorite.

There will be cash prizes for each category as well as audience favorite.

There will also be food, a cash bar, and brews and wine available.

Ignite will be held on Thursday April 25th from 5:30pm until 8pm at Helen Haddad Hall located at 315 Franklin Street.

To learn more about IGNTIE or to register visit or by clicking here by April 12th.

Bartholomew County Works Offering Weeklong Job Readiness Program

Bartholomew County Works is offering the public a weeklong job readiness program in April. Orientation for the workshop starts on Thursday March 28th from 10 am to 11:30am. The workshop will take place the week of April 1st and ends on April 5th. The orientation and workshop will take place at Yes Cinema’s Sarla Kalsi Conference Room.

For more information you can contact Dawn Bieberle at 812-378-2638 or [email protected]

Columbus City Council Announces 2 New Human Rights Commission Members

The Columbus City Council announced two new Human Rights Commission appointments at the Tuesday, March 19th City Council Meeting. Ms. Graciela Spencer was appointed by City Council to a term of One year, expiring on March 31st, 2025. This seat is filling the remainder of an open term.

Mr. Joseph Joyner was appointed by City Council to a full term of three years, expiring on March 31st, 2027. Ms. Spencer is a Bilingual Student Success Coach at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, IN. She has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from IU Columbus and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the Universidad de las AmericasPuebla. Some of her recent work includes providing professional development training to faculty and staff at the Air Park Campus. Some topics included creating an inclusive environment for multilingual students, financial aid for Latino/Hispanic students, barriers to international students, and reasonable accommodations for limited English-proficient students. Graciela and her family relocated to Columbus in 2010. While here, she has worked with Family School Partners in Bartholomew County School Corporation and VIM Care Clinic,
assisting Spanish-speaking individuals. Ms. Spencer is highly engaged in the Latino/Hispanic community and looks forward to educating underrepresented residents about the mission of the Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Joyner is the Human Resources Generalist at the Bartholomew County
Public Library. He is passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive
environment for library staff and the community. Mr. Joyner has a Bachelor of
Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago. He has in-depth knowledge of antidiscrimination laws and has participated in investigations of ethical violations and discrimination throughout his professional career.

Joseph has the following certifications: Mental Health First Aid, LGBTQ+ Safe Leader Certification, and SHRM-CP. His community involvement includes Cummins Pride Employee Resources Group, and It’s Okay Mental Health Committee. Mr. Joyner is
interested in working with the most vulnerable residents to provide support
through his experiences and education.

The Columbus Human Rights Commission has been serving the community since 1962. The mission of the Commission is to lead Columbus in building and maintaining an inclusive community by enforcing the Human Rights Ordinance, educating the public, challenging attitudes and systems that create barriers to equality (equity),
and empowering community members to advance the mission. Under City Council President Miller and Mayor Ferdon’s leadership, the Commission will be at full capacity this year.
The City of Columbus Municipal Code states that the City Council shall appoint persons residing in Bartholomew County to serve on the Human Rights Commission for three year, renewable terms, “serving without compensation and broadly representative of the community’s diversity.”

For over thirty years, City Council has chosen an open application process for the Human Rights Commission. Any community member who wishes to serve on the Commission may submit a completed application. Applications are then reviewed
by the City Council member serving as a liaison to the Human Rights Commission. The current City Council liaison is Mr. Frank Miller.

Seymour Man Arrested for Operating Illegal Dentist Office Without a License

On Tuesday, patrol officers with the Seymour Police Department received a complaint about an individual operating a dentist office without a license. Investigators conducted a follow up investigation and interviews. On Wednesday, patrol officers and investigators with the police department along with an investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff Department executed a Jackson Superior Court 1 Search Warrant at a residence on Gaiser Drive in Seymour. During the execution of the search warrant, investigators located evidence showing that dental work was being performed at the location. Some of the evidence included dental instruments, medications, ledgers, misc. items, and an undisclosed amount of Money.

As a result of the investigation, investigators arrested Freddie Phillipe Pascual (AKA) Freddie Chapin for practicing dentistry without an Indiana state license a level 6 felony, and criminal recklessness a class A misdemeanor. Phillipe Pascual declined to be interviewed. Phillipe Pascual was taken to the Jackson County Jail and turned over to the jail division for processing. Additional charges are still possible.

The Seymour Police Department was assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff Department, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.

Former Seymour Business Owner Arrested on Multiple Battery Charges

A former co-owner of the Vat & Barrel Restaurant in downtown Seymour, Indiana was arrested by Indiana State Police Troopers Monday, on multiple counts of battery after he allegedly touched multiple female employees inappropriately over the past four years.

Detective Derek Eggers, Indiana State Police-Versailles Post, began an investigation in February 2024 after a former employee of the business came forward with allegations that a co-owner, Marc Gebhart, 67, touched her inappropriately at a separate location in Seymour, Indiana in 2023.

During the investigation, Det. Eggers obtained information that additional former employees reported that they had also been touched inappropriately by Gebhart at the Vat & Barrel between the time the restaurant opened in 2020 and the time the allegations were made to law enforcement earlier this year.

Det. Eggers submitted the investigation to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office which resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Marc Gebhart on seven misdemeanor counts of battery.

He was arrested Monday March 18th and is incarcerated at the Jackson County Jail.  Gebhart will soon face an initial court appearance in this case.

Indiana State Police Detectives were assisted by the Seymour Police Department.

Marc Gebhart, Photo Courtesy of Indiana State Police