All posts by John Clark

Seymour making plans for more tree plantings

The city of Seymour is planning to plant even more trees this year.

The city says that the Seymour Tree Board is planning for its 2024 plantings. The city’s Tree City USA program is receiving just over $43,000 in funding from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission and the Jackson County Solid Waste Management District to plant and maintain trees in the city.

According to the city, the program has grown from planting 15 trees in the city in 2020, to planting 160 trees last year. That included 73 at the Freeman Field Recreational Complex, 40 trees along the southern Burkart Boulevard Bypass, 25 trees at city property near County Road 340N and 15 trees at Kasting Park. They also planted seven memorial trees last year.

City officials say that they are planting all native trees with no invasive plants.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. The award recognizes communities for effective urban forest management.

To get involved with the city’s tree planting program, you can contact Seymour Parks and Recreation at 812-523-5888.

First State of the City for Ferdon set for Wednesday

New Columbus Mayor Mary Ferdon will be holding her first State of the City address next week.

According to the mayor’s office the event will be taking place Wednesday at Nexus Park, the former Fair Oaks Mall on 25th Street. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the mayor’s remarks will be at 6 p.m.

The speech will be followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Circle K Fieldhouse at Nexus Park.

A quorum of City Council members, along with members of other boards and commissions are expected to attend but the council will not be in session and no council business will be conducted.

The event is free and you are invited to attend. You should park in the southeastern lot off of 25th Street near Dunham’s Sports and signs will direct you to the location inside the former mall.

Hope Utilities to offer details on Goshen Meadows project

Hope Utilities will be holding a public hearing next month on a project to improve the water situation in the Goshen Meadows subdivision.

According to town officials, the project will be funded through a loan from the state wastewater revolving loan program. The town is planning to upgrade the existing Goshen Meadows lift station and rehabilitate the lateral connections in the neighborhood. You can view the preliminary engineering report at the Town Hall starting on March 9th.

Estimated costs for the project are not yet available.

There will be a public hearing on the project at the March 19th Town Council meeting at the Town Hall on Jackson Street. That will be at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon. You will have a chance to hear more details on the project and ask questions.

You can also leave written comments about the project through March 25th by mail to Tony Akles at 629 Washington Street, Columbus, IN 47201

For more information on the meeting, contact Jason Eckart at 812-546-0423.

Ivy Tech professors to lead nature hike Saturday

Ivy Tech Community College Columbus biology professors will be leading a nature hike at the Touch the Earth Natural Area on Saturday.

The hike will focus on exploring the network of trails within the Sycamore Land Trust property. All trails on the property are listed as “easy.”

The Touch the Earth Natural Area is west of Columbus on North Country Club Road just south of State Road 46.

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

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

Graphics courtesy of Sycamore Land Trust

Signup deadline Friday for BCSC spring break child care

The deadline is coming up tomorrow if you need to sign up your children for I-Care child care through Bartholomew COnoslidated Schools for the week of spring break.

According to the school district, the care will be available at CSA Fodrea Elementary from 6:30 in the morning to 6 p.m. in the evening March 11th through the 15th. The i-CARE program provides hands-on, STEM enrichment activities as well as healthy snacks, physical activity and homework help.

The program costs $125 a week for full time or $30 a day for drop in care. i-CARE offers a discounted sibling rate of $5 extra per day for each additional child. The deadline to sign up is Friday, but families will still be responsible for the full payment for students withdrawn after March 1st.

You can find a link to sign up here: https://www.ezchildtrack.com/parentportala/

For more information, visit www.bcscschools.org or call the i-CARE office at (812) 418-0924.

State Road 258 closing Monday in Jackson County

State Road 258 will be closing for three months near Freetown while crews replace a bridge superstructure.

According to INDOT, the work is expected to start on Monday. Contractor crews will be working at the intersection of State Road 258 and Jackson County Road 300W, just over two miles east of Freetown.

The official detour takes State Road 11 to U.S. 50 to State Road 135 before going back to State Road 258.

INDOT says the project is part of a $4.5 million contract awarded to Force Construction that includes three bridge rehabilitation projects.

The work is expected to take up to 90 days. The work schedule is dependent on the weather.

INDOT asks that you slow down, drive without distractions and use extra caution when driving in work zones.

Bartholomew commissioners approve capital projects plan

Bartholomew County Commissioners are outlining their plans for local income tax dollars to be spent on capitol improvement projects.
Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz said that the commissioners are required to outline how the funds will be spent from County Economic Development Income Tax revenues. The commissioners have an agreement with the County Council that the money for capital improvement projects will come from the income tax revenues, where the money used to be funded through the county general fund paid for by property taxes.
The county generates about $1.2 million a year for capital projects from the income taxes. But the two-year plan for 2024 and 2025 outlined about $7.4 million in projects and expenses. Kleinhenz said that was because money has been set aside for some projects already, or projects will be paid for as they progress.
Among the expenses outlined was $500,000 a year toward the county highway garage bonds, $800,000 for the northern gateway infrastructure project in the Taylorsville area, $400,000 for county parks improvements and up to half a million a year for both years for county road projects. The money is also used to pay for the county’s two seats on the Greater Columbus Indiana Economic Development Corporation board.
The commissioners approved their two-year plan this week.

Emergency officials offer tips for severe weather protections

With the severe weather in our area overnight and the start of tornado season coming soon, state emergency officials are offering safety tips.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says that if you have to take shelter during a severe weather threat, you should move to the lowest floor of a sturdy building such as a basement, safe room or storm shelter. If you don’t have such shelter, you should use an interior room or a hallway that has no windows. Blankets, pillows and furniture can provide additional protection.

If you are in a vehicle when severe weather hits, officials say your best choice is to get out and take shelter in a strong building. If you have to stay in the car, keep your seatbelt on, lower your head below the window and cover your head and neck with your arms and a blanket.

They also say not to try to shelter underneath of a bridge or overpass. Strong winds could cause the structure to collapse. You are also not protected from flying debris under a bridge. And if your vehicle is stopped there, you can block the roadway, preventing emergency crews from passing through or impeding others who are trying to reach better shelter.

The department also suggests that you have several ways of getting accurate and updated weather reports including radios and smartphone apps.

According to weather statistics, April, May and June are the months where tornadoes are most likely in Indiana.

Black heritage sites trail to be unveiled tonight

A proposal for a Black heritage trail in downtown Columbus will be unveiled this evening.

Paulette Roberts, Tami Iorio, and Jim Nickoll will be presenting their research on Columbus Black heritage sites in a discussion from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Helen Haddad Hall at the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic offices at Franklin Street.

Local historians and architectural experts are working on a project to celebrate important sites in Columbus and Bartholomew County Black History. Roberts has been organizing a Black Heritage Trail of downtown sites and leading tours during Black History Month. The trail highlights what Columbus was like for Black residents from 1870 to 1940.

10 sites are being proposed for the trail and are being documented as significant places of Black heritage. A mockup design of the history trail markers and a proposed project budget will also be presented.

Tonight’s event is being organized by Roberts, Bartholomew County Historical Society, Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives, and Landmark Columbus Foundation.

You can find out more about all of the community’s Black History Month activities at https://www.blackhistorycolumbus.com

Rust removed from Republican ballot for Senate

Seymour resident John Rust will not be on the Indiana Republican primary ballot for the U.S. Senate in May.

The Indiana Election Commission voted unanimously yesterday to remove him over challenges to his candidacy. State law requires candidates to vote in the primary for the party they wish to represent in the two previous elections. Rust had voted in Democratic Party primaries before 2016, when he voted Republican, and he did not vote in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, he says.

Rust called it a “very disappointing” ruling and says the Indiana Republican Party wants to keep him off the ballot. Rust released a statement on Twitter saying that if necessary he plans to appeal this ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and claimed that the hearing had a pre-determined outcome.

Rust is a former executive with Rose Acre Farms.

Story courtesy of TTWN Media Networks and Network Indiana