Category Archives: Top Story

Authorities say no charges after investigation into Pence documents

Former Vice President and Columbus native Mike Pence is avoiding charges related to classified documents being found at his Indiana home.

NBC News reports the Department of Justice informed Pence’s attorney that the investigation was closed and no charges will come based on “results” of the probe. Lawyers for Pence reported that a “small number” of classified materials had been found at the Indiana home earlier this year. This comes as the former Vice President is expected to announce his bid for President next week.

Investigations are still ongoing into classified documents found at the residences of former President Trump and President Biden.

Trump says he’s “at least as innocent” as his vice president. Trump wrote on Truth Social that he should be “fully exonerated” on what he called a “hoax.” The DOJ found a few sensitive documents at Pence’s home, but in Trump’s case federal agents raided his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida last year after his refusal to cooperate with the National Archives for months.

Story courtesy of TTWN Media Networks.

Air quality warnings extended through Saturday night

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is extending its Air Quality Action Day alert into Saturday.

According to the agency, higher temperatures and minimal cloud cover are making conditions ripe for ground-level ozone to develop.

Ground-level ozone forms when sunlight and hot weather combine with vehicle exhaust, factory emissions, and gasoline vapors. While ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations.

Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.

The Air Quality Action Day alert now lasts through midnight Saturday.

Emergency officials are also warning about the dangers of fires burning out of control during this weekend of hot and dry weather.

According to the Bartholomew County Emergency Management Department, there is an elevated risk of fire danger today and lasting through the weekend. With the high temperatures in the lower 90s, low humidity and dry ground, there is an elevated risk of fire danger.

The National Weather Service warns that any outdoor fires that start in these elevated fire risk conditions will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. Also, you should never throw lit cigarettes from your vehicle.

The dry conditions and elevated fire risk will continue through most of next week.

Suspect accused of shooting his brother and nephew in Hope

Robbie L. Perez. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department

A suspect in a shooting overnight in Hope is in custody.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, 35-year-old Robbie L. Perez of Columbus was arrested in Johnson County, accused of shooting his brother and nephew Thursday night in Hope.

Officers from Hope and Bartholomew County deputies were called to the 300 block of Elm Street in Hope at about 11:25 last night about a shooting. Perez’s brother, 36-year-old George Perez Jr and his son, a 3-year-old boy both suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to Indianapolis area hospitals by IU Lifeline helicopter. George Perez Jr. has since been treated and released. The child remains in critical condition.

A search began for Robbie Perez and his vehicle, a silver Chevrolet HHR. Franklin police attempted to stop the vehicle on East King Street near Interstate 65, but the driver fled. Robbie Perez was eventually stopped and when police took him into custody, he was found to have a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital to be treated.

A search of the vehicle recovered a firearm.

Investigators say that a long-term feud between the two brothers escalated into the shooting incident.

Robbie Perez is facing two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The incident remains under investigation.

Editor’s note: Due to a source error, the age of the boy victim was incorrect in earlier reports.

North student receives first Hungerford scholarship

Jessica Meza Sanchez. Photo courtesy of Heritage Fund.

The Columbus North High School valedictorian will receive the first Siler Hungerford Memorial Scholarship.

Heritage Fund: The Bartholomew County Community Foundation is announcing that Jessica Meza-Sanchez has been awarded the $25,000 scholarship. The award was established last year by Hungerford’s family to encourage the excellence of study in math and science and to foster leadership in academic pursuits by a graduating North student. Hungerford taught mathematics at Columbus North and was the former chair of the Math Department. She died at the age of 87 in 2016.

Meza Sanchez plans to major in mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her time at North, Meza-Sanchez won all-conference honors for cross country and track and field, was vice president of Key Club, president of the Society of Women in Engineering and was a calculus/math tutor. She also volunteered at Love Chapel and St. Bartholomew Church.

Free fishing Saturday and Sunday at Indiana public waters

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week with free fishing days this weekend.

Indiana residents can fish without a state fishing license or trout and salmon stamp on state waters Saturday and Sunday. Other rules apply such as season, bag and size limits.

There will be a Youth Fishing Derby from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Paynetown State Recreation Area fishing dock at Monroe Lake. Children 16 and younger can take part in the derby by borrowing state gear or bringing their own. Bait will be provided and volunteer instructors will be on hand. A prize drawing will be held at 10:30 a.m.

DEA urges you to be alert for fentanyl dangers

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is reinforcing its campaign against synthetic opioid abuse by meeting with local police agencies and stressing that “One Pill Can Kill.”

Representatives from the campaign were in Bartholomew County and Jackson County on Wednesday, meeting with sheriff’s deputies and police officers.

The agency is warning residents that as little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. That amount can fit on the tip of a sharpened pencil.

Fentanyl is frequently diluted by drug dealers with cutting agents and made into counterfeit prescription pills. Those could appear the same as prescriptions for Oxycodone, Percocet, Xanax, or other drugs.

But small variations in the quantity or quality of fentanyl in a dose can lead to fatalities and fentanyl has now become the leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in the United States. 6 out of 10 illegal fentanyl tablets sold contain a potentially lethal dose of the drug.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

And authorities say that there are even more deadly synthetic opioids out there, including one called “Pyro” and “M30”. This drug is about 10 times stronger than fentanyl and between 1,000 to 1 ,500 times stronger than morphine.

You can get more information at

Photos courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, Seymour Police Department.

Hope Cruise-In set for today on Town Square

A reminder that the Town of Hope will be holding its next Cruise-In to Hope today at the Hope Town Square.

Any cars or bikes are welcome and a donation of $10 is recommended. Proceeds will go to support the Student Fund of Hope.

Music will be by Vinyl Escape. The Cruise-ins are held on the first Friday of the month through the summer.

The Cruise-in will start at 5 p.m.

The cruise in is organized by the Town of Hope and Main Street of Hope.

High temperatures to cause ozone problems today

Forecasters say that today is going to be stifling in our area with high heat and high ozone levels.

With expected temperatures in the low 90s, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has declared an Air Quality Action Day for our area. That means that a combination of high temperatures, light winds, and other factors, are expected to produce conditions where high levels of ground-level ozone emissionso may exceed federally mandated standards.

High ozone near the ground acts a lung irritant. It can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations. Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors today.

The alert is in effect until midnight.

You can get more information at

The National Weather Service is also warning of an enhanced danger of wildfires on Saturday and Sunday.

Two arrested after car chase through yards and crash in Columbus

Nicholas Shutters. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department

Two men were captured after a car chase and crash in Columbus Wednesday.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, a deputy tried to stop a vehicle he believed to be carrying a suspect wanted for outstanding warrants at about 7:32 p.m. Wednesday near Ninth Street and McClure Road. But rather than stop, the driver took off, driving through yards and crashing into a fence.

After the crash, both of the occupants tried to run away but were soon captured.

The driver, 27-year-old Nicholas Shutters of Columbus allegedly swallowed methamphetamine during the incident and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment. He is facing charges of resisting law enforcement, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, obstruction of justice, reckless driving and possession of methamphetamine. He was also wanted on outstanding warrants from Bartholomew and Jackson counties.

The passenger, 44-year-old Charles Barr Jr of Columbus was arrested on a charge of resisting law enforcement.

Charles Barr Jr. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.