All posts by John Clark

Sheriff makes drug arrest during road patrol

Benjamin W. Stevens. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers made a drug arrest while working with his department’s road patrol last week.

According to reports from the sheriff’s department, Myers was patrolling on southbound U.S. 31 on Thursday when he noticed a vehicle on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. Myers stopped to check it out and spoke with the driver, 38-year-old Benjamin W. Stevens of Columbus, who said he had run out of gas and someone was on their way to assist. Myers said he noticed the smell of marijuana on Stevens and Stevens admitted that there was a small amount of marijuana in a container inside the vehicle.

After a search, Stevens was arrested on preliminary charges for possessing marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a syringe, as well as an outstanding warrant.

Evidence photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Blast of winter cold cutting through area

Our area will miss the worst of the winter storm cutting across Kentucky, but folks along the Indiana border will get a blast of winter weather.

The National Weather Service is warning about wind chills near zero to start the day in central and southern Indiana. There’s a winter weather advisory that stops just short of the Indiana state line. Forecasters say folks from Evansville to Clarksville will see freezing temperatures and maybe some slick roads today.

Every Indiana county shows severe spread of COVID-19

Every county in Indiana is now at a red advisory level for COVID-19 spread.

This is the first time that all 92 counties have been in the category on the Indiana Department of Health’s spread map. The levels are determined by each county’s seven-day all test positivity rate, and their weekly cases per 100,000 residents. On Wednesday, health officials announced over 16,000 new cases of COVID-19.

Statewide there are more than 3,400 people in the hospital with the virus.

According to information released this week by the Bartholomew County COVID-19 Task Force, Columbus Regional Health had a record-high 69 COVID hospitalizations as of Monday. Bartholomew County had 204 positive test results on Monday.

Part of story courtesy of TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

Narcotics team recovers 55 grams of meth during arrest

Pamela Schaefer. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A Columbus woman was arrested on drug dealing charges Tuesday in what the sheriff is calling a big drug bust.

According to reports from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, deputies stopped a vehicle in the area of East County Road 800N and North 100E at about 11:49 p.m. as part of a Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team investigation. A Columbus police dog alerted to the odor of narcotics in the vehicle and a search uncovered about 55 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

The driver, 64-year-old Pamela Schaefer was arrested on preliminary charges of dealing in and possessing methamphetamine.

Sheriff Matt Myers said he was proud of the agencies that worked together to make the arrest and thanked the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team. The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office targeting the manufacturing and abuse of drugs in Columbus and Bartholomew County.

Wanted man facing more charges after drugs found

Roger Burton. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Columbus police serving an arrest warrant early yesterday morning found more drugs at the home of the man wanted for drug dealing.

According to Columbus Police Department reports, officers served the arrest warrant at about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday morning in the 100 block of Cherry Street, on 57-year-old Roger K. Burton who is wanted for dealing methamphetamine. He was taken into custody without incident, but while at the home police noticed additional narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

In addition to the outstanding Bartholomew County warrant, Burton is facing new charges of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Four-vehicle crash injures five in northern Bartholomew County

German Township Volunteer firefighters rescued and treated five people after a multiple vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon

According to reports from the fire department, rescue workers were dispatched to the scene of the four-vehicle crash on U.S. 31 and County Road 550N at about 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. When firefighters arrived on scene they discovered five patients including two people trapped in separate vehicles. They rescued those trapped in the vehicles and they, along with the others injured, were taken by Columbus Regional ambulances to the hospital.

The firefighters also had to clean up a large fluid leak from a tow truck that was involved in the crash.

They were assisted at the scene by three CRH ambulances, Columbus Fire Department Squad 2, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police.

Photo courtesy German Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Hope planning Groundhog Day celebrations on Feb. 2nd

The groundhog Hope will be letting the town of Hope know whether she sees her shadow at the annual Groundhog Day celebration on the town square.

Hope the groundhog is a resident of Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators and will be giving her winter weather prognostication again at festivities starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, February 2nd.

The celebration is organized by Main Street of Hope and you can get more information on their Facebook page.

Hospice sets plans for Jennings County gala auction

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is announcing it will be holding its 24th annual, Lights, Camera, Royalty Jennings County gala and auction on Saturday Feb. 5th.

The auction will include a two or three night stay in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a Jeptha Creed barrel tasting experience, exciting events and experiences, desserts and other items. Previews of the auction items will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, Janu. 31st, with silent bids starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2nd.

Live auction bidding takes place on Saturday, Feb. 5, between 7:15  and 7:45 p.m.

Proceeds from the gala and the auction benefit the patients and families served by the Hospice’s Jennings County Office.

To register as a bidder text “OHSCI to 71760” on your smart phone and follow the link to register.

All registered bidders will be entered to win a door prize.

COVID patient numbers soar at CRH

Columbus Regional Health has set a new record for COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

According to information released yesterday by the Bartholomew County COVID-19 Task Force, CRH had 69 COVID hospitalizations as of Monday. That beats the previous high of 59 set on December 2, 2020 during the peak of the pre-vaccination COVID surge. The last day this year with fewer than 50 COVID patients was January 10th, with 43.

Bartholomew County has also set new records recently for the number of new COVID-19 cases. Bartholomew County had 204 positive tests on Monday, down from the high of 288 on Jan. 12th. During the worst of the pandemic last winter, the highest single day positive count was only 126.

CRH cautioned earlier this week that many outpatient services are experiencing high patient volumes and you can expect long wait times.

The hospital calls it an unprecedented influx of patients and is asking for compassion for the staff, health care providers and physicians as they deal with the surge.

Local high school winners chosen for Maverick Challenge

A Bartholomew County winner has been chosen from five teams of finalists for this year’s Maverick Challenge, organized by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

The local Maverick Challenge pits teams of high school entrepreneurs in competition for a spot at the upcoming regional competition. The local finals were held last weekend with teams from Columbus East and Columbus North High Schools.

The Highway Hippie team from Columbus East High School took first place, with team members Sara Hockersmith, Sophia Myers, and Morgan Olson. Their business idea is a system that allows plant lovers to take their plants on the go with their thermodynamic container, water alert system, and custom decorations.

The EcoLIVING team from Columbus North came in second place with Tanya Iyer and Anushka Genge Patil.

300 students from Bartholomew, Dearborn, Franklin, Jackson, Monroe, and Scott counties are participating in the competitions. The Maverick Challenge Regional Finals will be February 19th.