Jackson County Fair cancels under COVID-19 restrictions

Organizers of the Jackson County Fair have called off this year’s event, originally scheduled for July 26th through Aug. 1st.

In a letter to the community, the fair organizers said that while Indiana’s Back on Track plan would allow for an event the size of the fair under Stage 5, the restrictions would have been unworkable and there is no guarantee that the state will have moved to Stage 5 of the plan in time for the fair.

Changes would have required only allowing livestock on the grounds the day of the fair; food stands, rides and other walkways would have had to maintain six feet of social distancing between those in line; fair buildings would have only been allowed to have one-way travel and there would have been limits on the number of people allowed inside.

Organizers ultimately determined that a large gathering in July would have posed risk to the visitors and volunteers, churches, schools and businesses that take part.

Planning is underway to transition the 4-H exhibitions usually held at the fair to a virtual format.

Coronavirus update for May 27th: County sees another death from COVID-19

Bartholomew County has had another death from COVID-19.

According to the most recent update from the Indiana State Department of Health, there are 32,437 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indiana, an increase of 370 cases since Tuesday’s report.

There have been 1,871 deaths in Indiana as of Wednesday afternoon’s update, an increase of 18 deaths from the previous numbers.

Bartholomew County has 486 confirmed cases and there have been 34 deaths from COVID-19 in Bartholomew County, an increase of one since yesterday.

In other area counties, Decatur County has had 224 cases and 31 deaths, Jennings 128 cases and 4 deaths, Jackson 368 cases and 1 death, Brown 33 cases and 1 death, Johnson 1,092 cases and 104 deaths, Shelby 321 cases and 21 deaths.

State Road 11 to close near Columbus on June 1

State Road 11 between downtown Columbus and Garden City will be closing down for a month starting early Monday morning.

The Indiana Department of Transportation reports that the highway will be closing just south of the State Road 46/Jonathan Moore Pike intersection for 30 days while crews replace the pavement and install drainage structures.

This is part of the $30 million dollar project to install an overpass into downtown Columbus, allowing traffic to bypass the railroad tracks.

The agency expects the road to shut down at midnight on June 1st, meaning it will be closed during Monday morning’s commute. The official detour will follow Interstate 65 from Columbus to Exit 55 at Jonesville.

Those needing access to the veterinary office within the closure area will be able to reach the facility from the south while the road is closed.

Milestone Contractors is doing the work on the project.

INDOT says that drivers should slow down, use extra caution and avoid distractions while in workzones.

The schedule is dependent on the weather.

Two arrested on drug charges after East Columbus traffic stop

Stephen B. Wyatt. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Two people were arrested on drug charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop in eastern Columbus.

Shortly before 2 a.m., Columbus Police stopped a vehicle for a minor traffic violation near 10th Street and McClure Road. While officers spoke with the driver, 25 year old Alison Overfelt, of Columbus they noticed that her passenger, 57-year-old Stephen B. Wyatt of Elizabethtown, was acting nervous. A police dog alerted to the odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle.

Inside the vehicle, officers reportedly found methamphetamine, Suboxone pills, marijuana, multiple syringes, along with drug paraphernalia including a pipe, scales, and corner cut baggies.

Both Overfelt and Wyatt were arrested.

Alison Overfelt. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Wyatt is facing charges of possession of a legend drug injection device, methamphetamine, a legend drug, a controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Overfelt is being accused of possessing methamphetamine, a legend drug injection device and drug paraphernalia.

Plasma therapy helping in more than half of the tests at CRH

Columbus Regional Health is reporting that it has treated 40 COVID-19 patients with plasma donated by those who have already recovered from the disease, and so far the hospital is seeing good results.

The hospital announced last month that it was taking part in a partnership with the Mayo Clinic and blood research institute Versiti to use the donated plasma on patients with severe symptoms.

Over half of the patients treated with the donated plasma have been discharged and sent home or continue to improve their condition.

Anyone who has had a positive test for COVID-19 antibodies may donate plasma. CRH is offering antibody testing and anyone can have the testing done who thinks they may have been COVID-19 positive, whether or not that was ever confirmed by a lab test.

Potential donors who are eligible for the program will be able to donate at a Versiti Blood Bank location in Indianapolis or the mobile unit that visits Columbus weekly. To donate you must be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and you must be symptom free for 14 days before being eligible to donate.

You can get more information at CRH.org/plasma.

County Commissioner candidates consider facility improvements

Bartholomew County voters will be deciding between three candidates for County Commissioner District 3 on the Republican ticket. The candidates are Dan Arnholt, Jo Flohr and Tony London.

I asked the candidates what improvements they would like to make in county facilities.

Dan Arnholt explained:

Jo Flohr explained:

Tony London explained:

County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz is running unopposed in the Republican primary for the District 1 seat on the commissioners.

No Democrats are slated for the County Commissioner races heading into the November general election.

Early voting is going on through Saturday at Donner Center from 8 a.m. to 5 and again on Monday from 8 to noon. Primary election day is Tuesday and polls will be open at eight vote centers around Bartholomew County from 6 to 6.

Jo Flohr. Photo courtesy of the candidate.
Dan Arnholt. Photo courtesy of the candidate
Tony London. Photo courtesy of the candidate

COVID-19 Relief Fund for Bartholomew County tops $555k

The United Way of Bartholomew County says that its COVID-19 relief fund has now passed half a million dollars.

Magen Pillar, spokeswoman for the agency, highlighted a recent $5,000 donation by Horizon Bank to the fund which is working with those hit hard by the pandemic.

Pillar says that donations to the fund are being sent to local agencies that work closely with those most in need. Of the more than $555,783 raised so far, United Way has allocated money to nine local agencies which have helped about 2,500 people in need in the community

Horizon Bank Inc. is an independent, commercial bank holding company serving Indiana and Michigan

Interstate striping work to slow Columbus-Seymour traffic

INDOT is planning on intermittent lane restrictions between Columbus and Seymour, starting tonight as crews restripe lanes in the Interstate 65 work zone.

According to the agency, that work will be done at night from 9 to 6 and will take place over the next few weeks. Crews will be removing the existing temporary lane markings and replacing them with permanent markings from just north of State Road 11 to State Road 58. The work will be done on both the northbound and southbound lanes.

The work is dependent on the weather.

Columbus Scottish Festival cancels September event

Columbus Scottish Festival organizers are calling off this year’s event due to concerns over COVID-19. The announcement was made this weekend that the 29th annual event will be postponed until 2021.

Organizers said that while they love to share Scottish culture in Columbus with southern Indiana, the risk of endangering the health of participants meant holding the event was not an option.

The event would have been held September 12th and 13th.

The Scottish Festival will have an online component through social media and the organizing committee is looking for ways to commemorate the missing festival. You can get more information on facebook at facebook.com/ColumbusScottishFestival. or at their website at scottishfestival.org.

Coronavirus update for May 26th: State passes 32k cases

According to the most recent update from the Indiana State Department of Health, there are 32,078 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indiana, an increase of 373 cases since Monday’s report.

There have been 1,850 deaths in Indiana as of Tuesday afternoon’s update, an increase of 18 deaths from the previous numbers.

Bartholomew County has 481 confirmed cases and there have been 33 deaths from COVID-19 in Bartholomew County.

In other area counties, Decatur County has had 224 cases and 31 deaths, Jennings 127 cases and 4 deaths, Jackson 367 cases and 1 death, Brown 33 cases and 1 death, Johnson 1,086 cases and 104 deaths, Shelby 314 cases and 21 deaths.