All posts by Kevin Pancake

Columbus, Bartholomew County to consider massive solar farm project

Bartholomew County and Columbus officials will be considering applications for a more than 1800 acre solar panel farm that would stretch across southeastern Bartholomew County.

According to the city and county planning departments, Carina Solar, a subsidiary of Samsung C&T, is seeking approval from the county and city zoning appeals boards for the 1,886 acre solar project. The proposal requires the city and county approve a conditional use for the property, which is now zoned agricultural.

The project would be south of County Road 100S in Columbus, Sand Creek and Rock Creek Townships on property that will be leased for the solar farm and is currently in use as farmland. It stretches from South Gladstone Avenue to East County Road South 525E on multiple properties. About 1,100 acres falls within the county jurisdiction and almost 800 acres within the city. 24 property owners have agreed to take part in the project

The planning department staff is recommending approval of the conditional use of the property for the solar complex.

The Bartholomew County board is set to hear the proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall, while the city will consider the proposal Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Speakers for or against the project will be limited to three minutes each.

You can get more information on the project here:

Map courtesy of Columbus and Bartholomew County Planning Departments.

Indiana sees first measles case in five years

A case of measles in northern Indiana is the first in the state in five years.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, the case was confirmed in a resident of Lake County. State Health Commissioner Dr. Lindsay Weaver says that about 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the disease catch it, and about a fifth of those who do catch it have to be hospitalized. The agency says the disease is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to the widespread availability of the measles, mumps and rubella or MMR vaccine, The CDC says there have been 20 confirmed cases nationwide this year.

Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 12-15 months, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten. If you were born before 1957, you are considered immune to the disease.

This is the first Indiana case since 2019.

Local conservation officer of the year named by DNR

An Indiana conservation officer from Morgan County has been named the officer of the year for our area.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Officer Connor Christman has been selected as the Officer of the Year for District 6 which includes Bartholomew, Johnson, Brown, Shelby, and five other counties in south-central Indiana.

Christman is assigned to Morgan County and has served as a conservation officer since 2022.

The district award puts Christman in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is given to the top overall conservation officer in the state. Winners from all 10 statewide districts are eligible to win the Pitzer Award. It is named after Indiana Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity in Jay County in 1961.

Centra financial adviser recognized with national award

A Centra Credit Union financial adviser has been named a “Woman of Distinction” by a national financial group.

According to the Columbus-based credit union, Crystal Rickard is being recognzied with the award from TruStage Financial Group. It honors women financial advisers who demonstrate superior performance and extraordinary efforts in promoting financial security. Rickard is from Bartholomew County and works out of Centra’s offices on Washington Street in Columbus.

The award is based on annual performance metrics, best practices, and quality of service to clients. Rickard will have the opportunity to mentor other financial representatives and help develop resources for women new to the industry.

Record high temps possible today

Forecasters say that today could see record breaking temperatures for our area.

According to the National Weather Service temperatures in the upper 60s and possibly even lower 70s are likely today. The record high for the Indianapolis area on Feb. 26th is 68 degrees set in 1998. The agency says that there is a 76 percent chance Indy will pass that record today. Chances for local communities to beat the 68 degree mark is 58 percent in Greensburg, 82 percent in Franklin, 86 percent in Columbus and 92 percent in Seymour.

The agency also says that there is a good chance for Tuesday to set new records for the highest recoded low temperature of the day. That’s with temperatures not expected to drop below 57 overnight.

Columbus featured on national news for eclipse efforts

Note: This story has been updated

Columbus made the national news today as the community prepares for the upcoming total solar eclipse.

Local tourism officials were interviewed for a segment on the Today show on NBC that aired this morning.

Our area will be in the path of totality for the April 8th event, meaning the sun will be completely blocked out by the moon during the solar phenomena. That is going to happen at 3:06 p.m. that afternoon in our area.

Area communities will have some of the longest periods of total eclipse in Indiana that day, with Franklin at 4 minutes and two seconds, Columbus at 3 minutes and 44 seconds and Greensburg at 3 minutes and 32 seconds.

Because of the rarity of the solar phenomena, visitors are expected to flock to our area, temporarily doubling the size of our communities, according to tourism and safety officials.

Erin Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Columbus Area Visitors Center, posted on social media about the Today appearance saying that she was interviewed for the program Sunday. The segment featured communities preparing for the event and Hawkins talked about the plans for celebrations here.

The visitors center is hosting a website with information about the eclipse and a central location to find eclipse-related events

You can watch the Columbus segment on the today show here:

Other area community eclipse information pages:

School Delays

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Edinburgh Community…2 Hour Delay

Franklin Community…2 Hour Delay

Nineveh Hensley Jackson…2 Hour Delay