Category Archives: Top Story

Our Hospice concert slated for Labor Day weekend

Poster courtesy of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana

A reminder that the annual Our Hospice of South Central Indiana Labor Day weekend concert, is going virtual this year. Th show will feature Yacht Rock Revue, a band playing smooth songs from the 70s and 80s, formed by Columbus natives Nicholas Niespodziani and Peter Olson.

The concert will start at 7 in the evening on Saturday Sept. 5th and will stream live on the hospice Facebook page.

The event will include a raffle for a chance to win $10,000. Tickets are $10 and are available online at crh.org/hospice-donate.

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is a not-for-profit hospice providing care to patients and families in 16 counties, with offices in Columbus, North Vernon and Greensburg.

 

Jennings deputies searching for drunk, impaired drivers during Drive Sober event

Jennings County Sheriff Kenny Freeman. Photo courtesy of sheriff’s department.

Jennings County Sheriff’s Department is warning that deputies will be taking part in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign and Click it or Ticket though mid September.

The department announced last week that it will be running extra enforcement patrols looking for those driving under the influence. Sheriff Kenny Freeman says that if you are drinking alcohol, you need to use a designated driver or make arrangements to stay where you are are drinking. You should also always make sure that you and your passengers are all wearing seat-belts.

BCSC to switch to eLearning if COVID-19 spread spikes

Most Bartholomew Consolidated School students will be headed back to the classroom today for a delayed start to the school year.

But school officials will be keeping a close look on the various COVID-19 indicators to determine if they should shut down the buildings and go back to an e-learning model.

School officials said that they are working with local medical officials to chart seven indicators of the spread of COVID-19. If those indicate that the community has risen to a “Substantial Community Spread” level, BCSC will transition into an all eLearning model.

According to the eLearning plan released last week, if the school must shift to online instruction, the next day will be called off altogether and will count against the district’s snow days. Two days later eLearning will start and most students will stay at home for virtual classes. Some students will return to school for specialized cases, such as C4 students or disabled students in need of services. Extra-curricular and co-curricular activities may be suspended unless they can be conducted virtually.

The eLearning shift will happen for three weeks at a time, according to the plan, with evaluation ongoing and an announcement of any changes by the end of the Tuesday before the three-week period expires.

As of the most recent update last week, BCSC’s indicator dashboard was showing a moderate spread, with two measures actually improving in recent days.

One of the seven factors will be calculated as students return back to school by the percentage of students and staff who are complying with the district’s mask mandate. Under an internal audit process, if less than 90 percent of the personnel are complying, that would be a sign of substantial spread. However, if more than 95 percent are wearing masks, that would be a sign of minimal or no spread.

For more information, go to bcscschools.org

INDOT: All lanes of new overpass exchange opening Saturday

New State Road 46/State Road 11 overpass. Photo courtesy of INDOT

The new entrance into downtown Columbus of of State Road 46 will be fully open to traffic starting tomorrow morning. INDOT announced today that all lanes of the new interchange and overpass will be opening Saturday.

Drivers on their way out of Columbus heading out State Road 46 westbound for the first time, need to be aware that the left two lanes will lead you that direction, while the right lane will take you to State Road 11 and Garden City. That is a reverse of the previous lane choices.

INDOT says that final paving is scheduled to begin overnights on Monday Aug. 17th, from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning, with intermittent lane closures. That is expected to be finished by the end of the month, weather permitting.

You will also see other work continuing around the overpass through next spring, including the removal of the old State Road 46 lanes, seeding sodding and project clean-up.

INDOT asks that you slow down, use extra caution and drive without distractions through all work zones.

Pedestrian killed in State Road 46 accident

One pedestrian is dead and another critically injured after a crash yesterday afternoon on Jonathan Moore Pike.

35-year-old Stacy Hardy, of Columbus was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead according to Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting. He said the cause of death was massive head and chest trauma.

Columbus police say that at shortly before 1:30 p.m. yesterday Hardy and 28-year-old Jackson Coe of Columbus were crossing State Road 46 near Two Mile House Road, when they were struck by an SUV driven by 49-year-old Amanda Caldwell of Columbus.

Coe was flown by IU Health Lifeline to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and remains in critical condition.

The accident remains under investigation.

Delayed State Road 11 work to close highway tonight


State Road 11 will be closing in Jackson County this weekend, after road work was rained out last weekend.

INDOT says that the work will be done between 9 tonight and 6 a.m. Monday morning this weekend and next. Crews will be resurfacing the 2 and a half mile section of the highway between Rockford and Interstate 65. After patching the concrete, crews will install permanent striping and install raised pavement markers.

This weekend’s work is dependent on the weather.

INDOT asks that you slow down, use extra caution and drive without distractions through all work zones.

Area communities awarded share of $15 million water system grants

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch

Several area communities will be receiving a share of $15 million in grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced the awards to improve water infrastructure for 24 communities around the state.

Helmsburg in Brown County is being awarded $600,000 for flood drainage improvements. The town will be replacing old storm sewers along Helmsburg Road, Main Street and First Street. The town will also be extending storm sewers along North Street and improving drainage ditches.

Shelbyville is also receiving $600,000 to construct a relief sewer for the undersized storm sewer main that runs through the city. This will help to reduce residential and street flooding.

Crothersville was awarded $700,000 for an improvement project that will include a new wet weather overflow main and modifying existing plant surge basins with concrete wall cores, along with other improvements.

COVID-19 indicators remain OK for BCSC schools reopening

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools are still on track to open to students on Monday.

According to the indicators being tracked by the school district, the community is still seeing a moderate spread of COVID-19, with most of the indicators showing a yellow status. THe district shows a decrease in the per capita positive rate trend and COVID-19 hospitalizations are at 7, which remains below the moderate/minimal spread dividing line of 10 hospitalizations.

The school district yesterday announced that teachers are back in the buildings, on what would have been the first day of the school year, preparing for Monday’s opening to students.

You can find more information on the school district plans and current indicator tracking at bcscschools.org.

Coroner: Overdose deaths on the rise; high number of homicides

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting says his office is on track to hit a record high number of cases this year, led by an increase in drug overdose deaths.

In the first six months of this year, there have been 96 death investigation cases compared to 66 cases in the same period in 2019. The number of overdose deaths have more than doubled with 20 so far this year, compared to 9 at this point last year. In all of last year, there were only 24 overdose deaths, and only 19 in 2018.

Nolting said that methamphetamine and fentanyl have both appeared in nine deaths this year.

There have also been four homicides already in Bartholomew County this year. That compares to two homicides in all of last year, none in 2019 and a single homicide in 2017.

Nolting said that child deaths are down this year and suicides are on par with last year.

Overall, the county’s death investigations are on pace to come close to 200 this year, which would be a new record, Nolting said.

Nolting also noted that his office has not been handling any of the county’s deaths from COVID-19. He said that most of the patients who have died of COVID-19 were under the care of a doctor and the cause of their death is known, which doesn’t require an investigation.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Bartholomew County has had 47 deaths from COVID-19.

Cummins Receives Award from U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a total of nearly 7 million dollars to Cummins Inc. The company says the funding will support its work on enhancing economic viability of fuel cell powertrain solutions for heavy duty applications. The funding comes from the department of energy’s office of energy efficency and renewable energy. The projects benefiting from the awards are part of the Doe’s h2 Scale initiative, which aims to develop affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and use.