All posts by Kevin Kelley

Covid-19 Community Task Force Update

The Columbus/Bartholomew County COVID-19 Community Task Force recently released its latest coronavirus numbers, showing continued increases in cases while hospitalizations remain steady.

Based on weekly data last collected on August 2nd, there was an average of 30 new positive cases per day, up from 26 cases the previous week.

Columbus Regional Health’s COVID hospitalizations were at a daily average of 13 patients, the same as the previous week.

For more information about the impact of COVID-19 locally, visit covid19communitytaskforce.org.

Inaugural 4th Street Art Fair Coming Up

The inaugural 4th Street Art Fair is scheduled for Saturday, August 20, from Noon to 5 p.m., in downtown Columbus. The event will take place on 4th Street, between Jackson and Washington Streets, in front of the Columbus Bar.

This first-time festival will feature art vendors, live art demonstrations, an open mic, a raffle, and art activities for the children.

Support for the 4th Street Art Fair is provided by the Columbus Area Arts Council, Good Vibrations Tattoos and Body Art, and the Columbus Bar.

Indiana State Police Offer Tips to Keep Kids Safe

Indiana State Police are offering advice on how to keep your kids safe this school year.

Some of their tips include:

1. Watching for stopped school buses.

2. Being patient while driving behind buses.

3. Remaining aware of kids or school crossing guards who are near or crossing the road.

4. Driving the posted speed, especially in school zones.

5. Walking to/from school on the same path every day, with no additional stops.

6. Walking in a group, if possible.

7. Reporting strange behavior.

8. Arriving early to bus stops and school, if possible.

9. Staying off mobile devices while driving.

10. Being respectful of bus drivers and their rules.

Battalion Chief to Retire

The Columbus Fire Department (CFD) has announced the retirement of Battalion Chief Terry Whitis, a 33-year veteran of the department.

Whitis, who joined the department in 1989, rose through the ranks earning officer promotions to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain before being promoted to Battalion Chief in 2016. He is also a state-certified Paramedic and Hazardous Materials Technician.

The long-time public servant retires from his current post at fire station # 1 as the highest ranking officer of Battalion A. The official retirement date for Battalion Chief Whitis is today (August 5th).

Buckler Named BCSC Teacher of the Year

According to the BCSC Facebook Page, CSA New Tech High School’s Veronica Buckler was named Teacher of the Year for the BCSC School District.

Miss Buckler joined BCSC in 2016 as a facilitator at CSA New Tech. She has taught English/ Language Arts (9-12), World History, and US History.

She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in 2012 from Ball State University.

In 2014, she received her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Earlham College. She is currently enrolled at the University of Indianapolis for a Master’s in English.

Miss Buckler will be celebrated again at an upcoming School Board meeting and will  represent BCSC as their nominee for the Indiana State Teacher of The Year.

Cummins Completes Acquisition of Meritor

Cummins Inc. announced via a Press Release Wednesday that it had completed its acquisition of Meritor, Inc., a  global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, aftermarket, and electric powertrain solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.

Cummins financed the acquisition, which had a total transaction value of approximately $3.7 billion, including assumed debt and net of acquired cash, using a combination of cash on the Cummins balance sheet, commercial paper, and debt. Meritor acquired Arvin industries of Columbus in July 2000.

Bartholomew County Prosecutor Faces Charges

Bartholomew County prosecutor William Nash faces charges after threatening to kill his neighbor.

According to our News Gathering Partners at Network Indiana, Bartholomew County’s prosecutor is facing charges after the Indiana State Police heard complaints from his neighbor, who alleged he threatened his life on Mother’s Day.

In a probable cause affidavit unsealed Thursday, an ISP detective said they spoke with William Nash’s neighbors. They said they were concerned for their safety due to Nash’s erratic behavior, position and power.

In an incident on Mother’s Day, a neighbor was mowing his yard when he noticed Nash aggressively approaching him with an angry look on his face. This neighbor claims that Nash yelled at him saying, “You have dangerous dogs, this is the last time. You yell about a BB gun being dangerous, your dogs are dangerous.” The neighbor explained to the detective that Nash has shot a BB gun towards their house in the past. The neighbor told Nash to get off his property and his wife came out to see if he was okay.

Later on a collar was found with the name of a pet. The number went to Nash’s voicemail. The neighbor went to Nash and said, “Hey Bill found this, I think it is yours.” Nash then started yelling at him. The document read that he said this:

“You think a BB gun is dangerous! Your dogs are dangerous! A BB gun is not going to kill you! You have kids playing with the dogs! You think a BB gun can kill you! I can kill you! I will kill you and Indiana State Law says I can kill you! Dude, you came into my yard screaming at me about shooting a BB gun! You put up a fence! Throw it and go, the last time I checked I am still the chief law enforcement officer until December 31 so go ahead and call the cops! Good luck with that! Throw me my thing!”

The neighbor’s wife heard the yelling and started a recording after allegedly hearing Nash say “Indiana Law says I can kill you.” The document says the rest of the statement was captured on the recording.

Nash was charged with the following: obstruction of justice causing a person to withhold or unreasonably delay in producing any testimony, information, document, or thing, intimidation where the threat is to commit a forcible felony, intimidation interference with the reporting of a crime, disorderly conduct, four counts of harassment by telegraph, mail or other written communication.

You Might Have Unexpected Money

Indiana’s Attorney General is encouraging you to find out if you have any unexpected money available, by stopping by the the attorney general’s booth at the Indiana State Fair.

Attorney General Todd Rokita says team members will be available to assist Hoosiers with unclaimed property searches. Staff will also have information and tips to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft and other scams.

The attorney general’s booth is located in the Agriculture Horticulture Building and will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

The Indiana State Fair runs until Sunday, Aug. 21 and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Cummins Reports Record Revenues

Cummins is reporting record revenues in its quarterly financial reports.

The Columbus based engine manufacturer says it brought in $6.6 billion in revenue and is maintaining its guidance that revenue will be up 8 percent for the entire year.

According to the report, the $6.6 billion was increase of 8 percent over the same quarter last year. North American sales were up 15 percent, while international sales were down 2 percent. The company said the slump was caused by a slowdown in China and the suspension of operations in Russia.

The company also reported net income of $702 million, or 10.7 percent of sales, for the quarter. That was up over $100 million from 2021.

The company reported quarterly highlights including the acquisition of Jacob Vehicle Systems and Meritor, which was finalized yesterday.

Columbus Man Arrested After Vehicle Pursuit

A Columbus man was arrested by The Columbus Police Department (CPD) after a vehicle pursuit on Tuesday.

An officer stopped a speeding truck in the 1400 block of Central Avenue shortly before 3 p.m.  The driver, later identified as Ronald D. Estes, 45, of Columbus, exited the truck and supposedly refused to follow the directions of CPD.

He eventually got back into the vehicle and drove away. A chase followed during which the suspect reportedly ignored several traffic signs.

Estes got out of the truck again in the 1400 block of Lafayette Avenue and allegedly tried to escape officers on foot.

He was apprehended nearby a short time later.

He was arrested and taken to Columbus Regional Health for clearance.

He was then escorted to Bartholomew County Jail and charged with operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, operating a vehicle without receiving a license, and reckless driving.