BCSC looks for public’s thoughts on goals, plans

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools are looking for your thoughts on the goals the district should set over the upcoming years.

The district is undergoing the strategic planning process it faces every five to 10 years of setting plans and goals for the future. District officials say that they are looking to the community for your thoughts and ideas on how to best serve the students in the years ahead.

There is a brief, three-question survey online. You can find the link on our website or go to bit.ly/bcscstrategicsurvey.

Seymour police arrest suspect in catalytic converter thefts

Jordan A. Ackeret. Photo courtesy of Jackson County Jail.

Seymour police are reporting an arrest in a series of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles earlier this year.

The investigation started in January, when catalytic converters were stolen from a delivery vehicle at the Autozone store on Tipton Street and from a van at Seymour Christ Temple on Euclid Avenue. A crime scene technician found evidence at the scene which was sent to the Indiana State Police lab for processing. Based on that evidence, police say that they identified 22-year-old Jordan Ackeret of Seymour as a suspect in the thefts.

On Tuesday, police arrested Ackeret and he allegedly admitted he had been involved in the thefts.

He was arrested on preliminary charges of theft.

Police say that the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

Pension dispute leads sheriff to forgo county contract

A long-running dispute between Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers and the County Council led to the sheriff forgoing a contract last year, instead taking a higher income with part of his pay coming from the money collected from tax warrants in the county.

For several years, Myers has asked the council to revise the county pension rules to allow him to collect a pension. The rules require the sheriff to serve in the department for 8 years and a month to qualify for a pension, despite paying into the county’s pension system. Because Myers came from the Columbus Police Department and because his elected terms are only an even eight years, he does not qualify for a pension.

The sheriff has argued that the rule unfairly penalizes anyone who runs for office from outside the sheriff’s department.

The Council has repeatedly turned down the sheriff’s request for a rule change. After last year’s denial, Myers opted not to sign a contract, according to sheriff’s department attorney Jeff Beck. Beck said that under Indiana law, sheriffs must make a minimum of 80 percent of the salary of county prosecutors under a contract. But they can make the maximum of the same salary as the prosecutor makes if they forgo a contract and draw money from the collected tax warrants, or about $159 thousand dollars. That is the option Myers took, Beck said.

County Attorney Chris Monroe had a different take on the law. In his view, without a contract in place the county is not required to set the sheriff’s salary at the minimum and can in fact go even lower.

The sheriff’s annual contract discussion came up at this week’s council meeting. Some council members expressed frustration and concerns that the sheriff received a pay raise last year without a contract.

Myers did not appear before the council for the discussion. Beck said that he would likely no longer represent the sheriff in the salary discussions, because it is a personal matter with the sheriff and not a larger sheriff’s department issue.

The council put off discussion of the sheriff’s salary to a later meeting.

Report: Victim was stabbed to death in North Vernon murder

William “Billy” Smith. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Jail.

A victim in a North Vernon murder was stabbed to death, according to The Republic newspaper. Police told the newspaper that the victim in Tuesday’s attack knew his alleged attacker, 45-year-old William “Billy” Smith.

The victim’s body was found in a home in the 100 block of West Walnut Street. Smith was identified as a suspect and a search for him ended at about 6 Tuesday night after he fled from police through backyards near O&M Avenue.

Smith is being held in the Jennings County Jail on charges of murder, robbery, theft and possession of methamphetamine.

The name of the victim has not yet been released.

You can read more at therepublic.com

DSI merging with Kokomo-based Bona Vista agency

Columbus based Developmental Services Inc is merging with Bona Vista, from Kokomo, the agencies announced this week.

Together the two organizations will provide services and support to children and adults with disabilities in over 60 Indiana counties. Both agencies provide supported living, group homes, job placement, children’s services, and supported employment.

All clients and employees will be retained after the merger.

Officials with the agencies say that the merger is strategic and is not being driven by financial constraints.

Bona Vista began in Kokomo and Peru in 1958 and DSI began in 1975.

The merger should be finalized on July 1st.

Standoff suspect facing new drug charges

David A. Bevis. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A man arrested in a SWAT team standoff last week after a domestic violence incident, is now facing drug charges.

Bartholomew County deputies report finding about 123 grams of methamphetamine at a home owned by 59-year-old David Bevis of Columbus, during the investigation into last week’s standoff.

According to police reports, Bevis was arrested on May 5th in the 3900 block of County Road South 550W after a victim was hit with a shotgun several times. Bevis allegedly threatened to kill his wife, police and everyone in the home, as well as wanting to commit “suicide by cop.” Negotiators and the SWAT team were called in and after more than an hour of negotiation, he left the home and surrendered.

Yesterday, a warrant was issued for possession of methamphetamine and possession of more than 28 grams of methamphetamine.

Bevis remains in the Bartholomew County Jail.

North Vernon man accused of murder after body found

William “Billy” Smith. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A North Vernon man is being accused of murder after a body was found yesterday afternoon on West Walnut Street.

North Vernon police say that they received a report of a possible dead body in the 100 block at about 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Officers found the body in the residence and determined that 45 year old William “Billy” Smith was a person of interest in the investigation. Police warned the public not to make contact with Smith if they saw him, but instead to call authorities.

At about 6 p.m. Tuesday night, North Vernon officers and Jennings County deputies began searching for Smith on West O&M Avenue after receiving a report on his location. Smith began running through back yards and was caught by police.

He was taken to the jail on a preliminary charge of murder and is being held without bond.

Columbus firefighters to host tactics training for area

A federal grant will allow Columbus Fire Department to provide free training for local, state and regional firefighters next month.

The department was awarded a $71,000 grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide a command and tactics training workshop for up to 250 firefighters. It will also fund a three-day train-the- trainer workshop for 15 members of the Columbus Fire Department.

The two-day workshop, Mastering Fireground Command- Calm the Chaos!, will be presented by Battalion Chief Anthony Kastros of the Sacramento Metro Fire District. The two-day workshop will be held June 7-8 in the Nugent-Custer Performance Hall at The Commons  and is open to any volunteer or career firefighter.

The training will cover incident command, modern fire behavior, tactics, safety, accountability, building construction and preplanning.

Firefighters who want to attend, or who want more information, can call Columbus Fire Department at 812-376-2679.

Wanted man arrested during shoplifting investigation

Jordan L. Caldwell. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

A Flatrock man was arrested on three outstanding warrants after store security called police about a man switching labels on merchandise.

Columbus Police Department officers were called to the Whitfield Drive Walmart store at 5:55 p.m. Monday evening about possible shoplifting.

Police spoke with 31-year-old Jordan L. Caldwell and found he was wanted on the three Bartholomew County warrants. A search as he was taken into custody also discovered he was carrying methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

In addition to the outstanding warrants he is facing new possession charges.

Driver dies after collision with train in southern Jackson County

A 21-year-old Austin man has died after his vehicle was struck by a train near Crothersville Monday evening.

Dawson A. Vest was pronounced dead by the Jefferson County, Kentucky coroner’s office shortly after 1 a.m. this morning, according to Indiana State Police.

Troopers say that the accident happened near the Jackson and Scott county line at about 6:30 p.m. Monday when Vest drove his car into the path of a northbound CSX train on Jackson County Road 775S, just west of U.S. 31. The train hit the car in the driver’s side, rolling the vehicle and ejecting Vest from the wreckage.

He was flown by PHI Medical Helicopter to a Louisville hospital.

Troopers say that the crossing included warning signs and stop signs. The road was closed for about three hours while the wreckage was cleaned up.

Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police.