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Hancock County News

INDOT starts construction to add travel lane on I-70 in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation is starting construction to add a travel lane to I-70 in Hancock County.

This multi-construction season project will add a lane on I-70 from County Road 700 to State Road 9. This year, construction will focus on I-70 between CR 700 and Sugar Creek. 

Construction is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2024. 

Restrictions and Closures

Lane closures:

  • During construction, two lanes will be maintained in each direction on I-70 for much of the project. 
  • Crews will be constructing crossovers to put traffic on one side of the interstate while construction happens on the other side. Crossovers are scheduled to begin in the middle of May.
  • There will be some nightly and weekend lane closures as needed and will be communicated separately.
  • CR 700 is CLOSED for a bridge replacement. It is scheduled to reopen in September. The detour for the closure is: CR 100 N to Mt. Comfort Rd to CR 300 N. 

Ramp Closures:

  • Mt. Comfort Rd to I-70 WB
    • Closed on or after May 9
    • Scheduled to reopen early July 

Greenfield man killed in Monday morning fire

A man was killed in an early Monday morning fire in Greenfield.

 

A Greenfield police officer discovered a building fire at 18 West Main.  Officer Kyle Vaughn was on routine patrol at 12:17 am when he saw smoke in the downtown area.  The smoke was coming from a second story window at 18.5 West Main.

 

The officer attempted to find an entrance to the apartment but was not able to get anyone’s attention.  Greenfield Fire Territory arrived on the scene within a few minutes and was able to attack the fire.  Inside the apartment they found an unconscious male suffering from severe injuries consistent with heat / fire exposure.    

 

The man was treated at the scene and then transported to Hancock Regional Hospital by paramedics from Sugar Creek Township Fire Department.  The man, identified as Keith Myran, 53, of Greenfield, died a short time later.  He is believed to be the only person in the apartment at the time of the fire.

 

Greenfield Fire Territory Fire Marshal Steve Kropacek is investigating the cause of the fire.  Nothing appears suspicious at this time.  Further investigation revealed that it appeared the battery had been removed from the smoke detector. 

 

Anyone with information related to the fire is encouraged to call Fire Marshall Kropacek at 317-325-1505.

 

Greenfield native serves as a member of U.S. Navy's submarine force

A Greenfield, Indiana, native is stationed at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), homeport to west coast ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines.

 

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Whitley


Petty Officer 1st Class James Welling joined the Navy for the opportunities it provides. Today, Welling serves as a fire control technician.

“Joining the Navy was an opportunity for a change and a way to enhance my life in a positive way,” said Welling.

Welling attended Greenfield Central High School and graduated in 2005. Today, Welling uses skills and values similar to those found in Greenfield to succeed in the Navy.

“One of the big takeaways from growing up in a small town, is the sense of community and the ability to build strong relationships where you can rely on your neighbor,” said Welling.

These lessons have helped Welling while serving at Trident Training Facility.

Known as America’s “Apex Predators!,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, in furtherance of U.S. national security.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN).

Fast-attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. The Virginia-class SSN is the most advanced submarine in the world today. It combines stealth and payload capability to meet Combatant Commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition.

The Navy's ballistic-missile submarines, often referred to as "boomers," serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles. The Columbia-class SSBN will be the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. - replacing the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, Welling is part of a rich 122-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.

Serving in the Navy means Welling is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

A major component of that maritime security is homeported at Naval Submarine Base Bangor.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades Naval Submarine Base Bangor has been home to Ohio Class ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Welling and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“My proudest Navy accomplishment is leading and mentoring junior sailors during my last deployment, while serving as a leading petty officer,” said Welling. “Some of the sailors have reached out to me and thanked me for getting them through that experience. It makes me proud knowing that I was able to help them through that time in their lives.”

As Welling and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the military has given my family and I a way to see the world,” added Welling. “I have been able to introduce our kids to a lot of different environments. We look at every homeport as an extended vacation. It forces you to get out on adventures and enjoy your time.”

50 pounds of suspected methamphetamine found in traffic stop

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in methamphetamine was found in an I-70 traffic stop.

 

Pro-Active Criminal Enforcement (PACE) is a multi-jurisdiction law enforcement criminal interdiction task force consisting of sheriff’s deputies from the Henry County Sheriff's Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.

 

On Thursday at 11:00 am deputies with the PACE Team conducted a traffic stop of a 2022 Jeep Latitude along eastbound I-70 in Henry County for following too closely and speeding violations.  During the course of the traffic stop, while standing outside of vehicle speaking with driver, deputies observed a vacuum sealed package containing a small amount of marijuana in plain view, in the passenger compartment.

 

A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted and deputies located a locked large red colored suitcase in the rear cargo area of the vehicle. Deputies then utilized a pry tool to open the suitcase after the driver refused to provide the combination. Deputies opened the suitcase and found what was later determined to be 50 vacuumed sealed packages each containing approximately one pound of suspected crystal methamphetamine. The current street value of the drugs is estimated to be in excess of $200,000.

 

Deputies then arrested without incident the driver of the vehicle, Courtney M. Kinard, 33, of Normal, IL on one count of Felony 2 dealing in methamphetamine and one count of possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor.

 

Crider named 2021 Legislator of the Year for improving mental health

The Mental Health America of Indiana recently presented State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) with its 2021 Legislator of the Year Award.

 

"Sen. Mike Crider has passed and prioritized numerous mental health bills during his tenure in the Indiana General Assembly," said Stephen C. McCaffrey, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana. "These bills have been wide ranging, including the creation of the Indiana Behavioral Health Commission and the expansion of mental health parity. Behavioral health must be a state priority for policy reasons that are rational, financial, and clinical – but it truly makes a difference when you have an understanding that is personal, that you feel at your core. Sen. Crider feels that and we want him to know that his work has truly made a difference."

 

Crider received this award for his unwavering support and commitment in protecting and promoting legislation for the lives of Hoosiers who have been impacted by behavioral health issues.

 

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work on ways to improve the lives of those suffering from mental health challenges," Crider said. "I want to also express my appreciation for my fellow lawmakers who have come alongside me in my efforts to improve mental health outcomes for Hoosiers across our state. It has been a legislative priority of mine for many years and I am humbled and grateful for this recognition and support."

 

To learn more about bills Crider has authored and had passed into law, click here.

 

To learn more about Mental Health America of Indiana, click here.

INDOT to host public hearing on US 36 reconstruction project in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation is hosting a public hearing on a proposed road reconstruction project on U.S. 36 in Hancock County. 

 

The public hearing will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at the Mt Vernon School Corporation Administration Building (1806 W S.R. 324, Fortville, IN). The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m.  with a formal presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m.

 

The reconstruction is proposed along U.S. 36 from Garden Street to S.R. 13. The project also includes plans to modify the intersection at Maple Street and a plan to construct a new concrete paved multi?use path  along US 36 beginning at the northside of Garden Street and continuing along US 36 until it turns north at the intersection with SR 13. 

 

Construction is slated to start in the Summer of 2022. 

 

Members of the public are invited to come and give their comments during the formal public hearing. If you cannot attend the meeting, written comments will be accepted until Friday, March 18.

 

Written comments may be submitted prior to the public hearing and within the comment period to Lochmueller Group, Attn: Chris Kunkel, 3502 Woodview Trace, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46268  or CKunkel@lochgroup.com.

 

Joe McGuinness to step down from INDOT; Former head of Greenfield District Mike Smith named new commissioner

Joe McGuinness has notified Gov. Eric J. Holcomb that he is stepping down from his role as the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) after five years. Gov. Holcomb today named Mike Smith, an INDOT deputy commissioner and its chief financial officer, as the new commissioner, effective Feb. 14.

“From day one, Commissioner McGuinness harnessed his local government experience and the many resources at INDOT to find innovative ways to expedite construction projects and create safer work zones all while finishing projects on budget and ahead of schedule whenever possible,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Under his leadership, Indiana continues to offer a world-class infrastructure system, which remains a key engine to our economic growth and safety. Joe’s legacy is one Hoosiers can be proud of and will have long lasting positive impacts right here at the crossroads of America.”

McGuinness was appointed INDOT commissioner in 2017. Prior to serving as commissioner, McGuinness was mayor of Franklin for five years.

Under his leadership, INDOT has:

  • Expedited the completion of the new Interstate 69 from Evansville to Indianapolis by three years from 2027 to 2024
  • Helped cities, towns and counties modernize their transportation networks through the Community Crossings and Local Trax programs, which are key components of Next Level Roads. The matching fund initiatives have awarded more than $1 billion since 2016
  • Maintained and improved 29,000 lane miles of highways, more than 5,700 bridges, and partnered with railroads and public airports to deliver infrastructure that has consistently earned Indiana top national rankings
  • As Chair of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), oversaw the largest investment in public transit in state history with the more than $944 million West Lake Corridor extension project and the more than $490 million double tracking of the South Shore service between Michigan City and Gary
  • Introduced the Greener Crossroads program, an aggressive, enhanced roadside management program to beautify and promote biodiversity in the more than 60,000 acres of medians and roadsides along Indiana’s highways
  • Partnered with construction companies and law enforcement to improve construction zone safety for motorists and workers by increasing work zone patrols and introducing technology solutions including queue protection trucks and advanced queue warning systems

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to help the state embark on transformational projects that will have an impact on Hoosiers and Hoosier businesses for generations to come,” McGuinness said. “While we’ve worked to deliver projects on time and on budget, we’ve looked ahead for the state, and I leave behind an agency that is at the forefront of partnerships to explore new technology. I thank Gov. Holcomb for the opportunity to serve and his leadership, which allowed INDOT to continue to move Indiana forward.”

McGuinness’ last day as commissioner is Feb. 11. He is departing to become CEO of a new local government infrastructure management consultant company.

Smith has been a deputy commissioner for INDOT since 2015, when he started overseeing the Greenfield district. He became chief operating officer in 2017 and was named chief financial officer in 2021.

“Mike brought experience from the fast-paced demands of managing business growth to INDOT, where he has been involved in day-to-day work in a district, developed comprehensive fleet management plans, invested taxpayer money in the best technologies, and developed biennium budgets to maintain and build Indiana’s infrastructure,” Gov. Holcomb said. “That breadth and depth of experience and determination will serve residents and businesses well as we continue making the best use of dollars to provide a top-rated infrastructure network for Hoosiers and our guests.”

Prior to joining INDOT, Smith was the district manager for Walmart, overseeing up to 10 stores in the Indianapolis area.

“I thank Commissioner McGuinness for his leadership during the last five years, and I’m honored that Gov. Holcomb is affording me the opportunity to continue INDOT’s progress. The team is as committed as ever to finding innovative ways to deliver NextLevel Roads, and I look forward to the work ahead.”

Smith earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from Indiana University.

Semi driver killed in I-70 accident

A semi driver was killed in a one-vehicle accident Wednesday on I-70.

 

Just after 3:30 pm emergency responders were called to the scene of a single vehicle crash on I-70 westbound near the 112 mile marker. The Greenfield Fire Department responded and located a semi-tractor trailer off the right side of the roadway in the ditch. The driver was unconscious and unresponsive.  Paramedics administered life saving efforts, however Scott Brandenburg, 54, of Clarksville, was pronounced deceased at the scene. A passenger, who was in the sleeper berth at the time suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. 

 

Investigators determined Brandenburg was driving westbound on I-70 when for unknown reasons he drove off the road to the left, across the median and into the eastbound lanes, then back across the grass median, across the westbound lanes and into the ditch on the right side of the road. 

 

The right lane of I-70 westbound was closed for nearly seven hours while the crash was investigated and the damaged semi was removed. The investigation is ongoing.

 

ISP was assisted by the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, the Hancock County Coroner, the Greenfield Fire Department and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Stillinger Family Funeral Home grows with purchase of Hendryx Mortuary, Penny's Florist

Greenfield's Stillinger Family Funeral is expanding with the purchase of Hancock County's Hendryx Mortuary.  

 

The recent purchase of a Greenfield florist is also growing the Stilinger footprint.

 

Hendryx Mortuaries has been a longstanding business in the Hancock County community for decades. Now, David Stillinger, owner of Stillinger Family Funeral Home Pasco Chapel, has acquired the 134-year-old business and is eager to continue the Hendryx family legacy.

 

Stillinger will now be the owner of both the Hendryx New Palestine Chapel and the Cumberland Chapel, respectively.

 

 

Tom Hendryx, Hendryx’s previous owner and fourth-generation funeral director, is excited for the next chapter of his family’s business and believes Stillinger is the perfect fit.

 

“I had heard great things about David [Stillinger] and have seen what he has done since taking over the Pasco Chapel,” Hendryx said. “Seeing the success he has had, the fact that he is a local, small business owner that holds similar values and loves our community made him easily the best fit for taking over my family’s business.”

 

For Hendryx, Hendryx Mortuaries has been his whole life. He grew up in the business and joined the family to work in 1978 right after his college graduation. He is ready to back away from working and enjoy the next chapter in his life.

 

“Working with David has given me a peace of mind that the business is being placed into good hands,” Hendryx said. “I am excited for him to implement new technology and a fresh perspective while serving the families of this community.”

 

Stillinger took over the Pasco Chapel in Greenfield just over 20 years ago.

 

 

Stillinger and his team will provide their existing services at both the New Palestine and Cumberland Chapel locations, including full cremation and funeral options, pre-planning, pet services, grief therapy dogs, monument sales and more.

 

 

“Our team is ready to uphold the Hendryx family’s values while also instilling our existing beliefs to create a warm, caring atmosphere for the families we serve,” Stillinger said. “I look forward to helping more families in our amazing community during their most difficult time and I am thankful to do that while carrying on both the Stillinger and Hendryx Family legacies.”

 

Stillinger says his son is working with him now in the business.

 

 

The other recent addition has been the acquisition of Penny's Florist in Greenfield.

 

 

 

Silver Alert: Anyia Boyette, Greenfield

The Greenfield Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Anyia Boyette, an 18 year old black female, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, black hair with brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a t-shirt, pajama pants, and pink ugg boots.

 

Anyia is missing from Greenfield and was last seen on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 8:30 pm. She is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 

 

If you have any information on Anyia Boyette, contact the Greenfield Police Department at 317-477-4400 or 911.

Silver Alert: Rosalee Thompson, Greenfield

The Greenfield Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Rosalee Thompson, a 68 year old white female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 200 pounds, gray hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing a yellow shirt and khaki pants.

 

Rosalee is missing from Greenfield, and was last seen on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 2:45 pm.

 

She is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 

Two cars stolen, one recovered from Greenfield's Dellen car dealership

Greenfield Police recovered one of two cars stolen from Dellen Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram early Wednesday morning.

 

An employee at a nearby Greenfield business told 911 they observed a vehicle pulling into the Dellen lot at 3:00 am and people got out looking at a vehicle.  A few moments later, the witness observed the vehicle’s lights come on and then three vehicles left the lot.

 

Stolen from the dealership were a black 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat and an orange 2018 Dodge Charger Hellcat.  Those vehicles and the suspect vehicle left the lot and headed westbound on US 40.

 

Officers with the New Palestine and Cumberland police departments located the vehicles at US 40 and Mt. Comfort Road.  All three vehicles went north on Mt. Comfort Road and a pursuit began that ended a few minutes later.

 

The 2018 Dodge Charger was later recovered by Indianapolis Police.  It had been abandoned.

 

Greenfield Police say similar thefts of vehicles have been occurring in surrounding jurisdictions. 

 

No suspects have been identified or located as of this report.

 

Traffic violation leads State Police to several pounds of Fentanyl

A traffic stop for following too closely led troopers to a major drug arrest.

An Indiana State Trooper noticed a Chevrolet passenger car following another vehicle too closely in the center lane of I-70 near Greenfield. The trooper pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver. Subsequent interaction with the driver and a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 15.8 pounds of what are believed to be Fentanyl laced pills and 4.4 pounds of pure Fentanyl hidden under the rear passenger seat. 

Felix Becerra Aguilera, 39, of California was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.  He was arrested on preliminary drug charges and transported to the Hancock County Jail. 

The Hancock County Prosecutor's Office filed the following charges:

  • Dealing in a Narcotic Drug Manufacture/Deliver/Finance - 10 or more grams - Level 2 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-1(a)(2)
  • Possession of a Narcotic Drug - Level 3 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-6(a)
  • Possession of Cocaine - Level 6 Felony - 35-48-4-6(a)

Becerra-Aguilera had his first court appearance Tuesday in Hancock Circuit Court where a judge granted the prosecutor's request for a $1,000,000 cash bond.

A pre-trial conference is set for December and a jury trial is set for March, 2022.

 

Crider named 2021 Public Elected Official of the Year

The National Association of Social Workers' Indiana Chapter (NASW-Indiana Chapter) recently presented State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) with the 2021 Public Elected Official of the Year Award.

 

"Sen. Crider has seen firsthand the intersection between the criminal justice system and behavioral health systems. This has helped guide his work in the General Assembly to author some of the most innovative changes to both systems," Katrina Norris, NASW-Indiana Chapter board president, said. "Sen. Crider is Indiana's behavioral health MVP!"

 

Crider received this award, in part, for legislation he authored and helped pass during the 2021 legislative session. Under Senate Enrolled Act 82, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, clinical addiction counselors and physician assistants can now diagnose and refer an individual to start mental health treatment. These professionals are required to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice under a licensed supervisor in order to diagnose mental health disorders.

 

Prior to the passage of SEA 82, professionals who met this requirement could only perform a diagnostic impression. A diagnostic impression evaluates the presenting problem, but does not include a diagnosis.

 

"In recent sessions, destigmatizing mental health and ensuring Hoosiers have access to safe and reliable mental health services has been one of my highest legislative priorities," Crider said. "I am honored to receive this recognition and will continue to be an advocate for improved mental health services for Hoosiers."

 

To learn more about bills Crider has authored and had passed into law, click here.

 

Hancock County's Tech Castings receives grant to implement robotics

A Hancock County business has been awarded a Manufacturing Readiness Grants.

 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, announced the fourth round of awards totaling more than $2.8 million to 34 Indiana businesses in Manufacturing Readiness Grants to support a projected $17.4 million in technology-based capital investment in Indiana.

 

Tech Castings LLC was awarded a $171,500 grant award.  Tech Castings is a leading supplier of vacuum and air melt superalloy investment castings and pressurized ceramic core leaching services to aerospace companies. The company is implementing robotics in its shell room to increase capacity and quality while alleviating employees from lifting heavy items.
 
The Manufacturing Readiness Grants program was launched in 2020 to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing sector. Based on the program’s success, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million in additional funding to the two-year state budget that runs through June 30, 2023, to help position Hoosier operations for future growth and prosperity. Availability of the new funding on July 1, 2021, has enabled a total of 122 awards to date totaling nearly $9.7 million in grants to Hoosier companies in 50 counties, supporting technology-based capital investment projected to be more than $68.6 million. 

The 34 grant recipients in this round include companies from 22 Indiana counties and cover a wide range of specialties, including aerospace and defense, automotive, custom electronics and medical devices.
 

 

Greenfield native gains experience while interning with Lt. Gov. Crouch

Hancock County native Matthew Hankins is gaining experience as an intern with the office of Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch this summer.

 

Hankins, a resident of Greenfield, is the son of Kyle and Erin Hankins. A 2019 Cathedral High School graduate, he is attending Xavier University and majoring in marketing.

 

“Working with the Lieutenant Governor and her executive staff has been a great experience and an honor,” Hankins said. “I am so grateful to have this opportunity, learn more about Indiana and get a first-hand look at how state government operates.”

 

As a communications intern, Hankins assists the office by writing press releases and social media content, creating graphics, and assisting with research, scheduling and organizing events.

 

“I love meeting students from across Indiana,” Crouch said. “It has been a pleasure to meet Matt, learn more about him and have him help my office and I better serve Hoosiers. There is so much information to absorb at the Statehouse and I hope this experience will be one that will benefit him as he continues school and soon begins his professional career.”

 

Hankins will be a junior this fall at Xavier.

ISP Senior Trooper and Hancock County resident promoted to Sergeant

The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, Douglas G. Carter, has announced the promotion of Senior Trooper Seth A. Tumey to the rank of Sergeant. 

 

Sergeant Tumey will serve within the Public Information Office as the Special Programs Coordinator and will oversee the Indiana State Police Youth Camp Program.

 

Tumey, who is originally from Franklin, is a 2000 graduate of Franklin Community High School. On July 8, 2007, he graduated from the 67th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy and was appointed as a Trooper and assigned to the Indiana State Police Post in Pendleton where he served for three years before being transferred to the Indianapolis Post.  During that time, Tumey served as a Counselor for the 74th,75th and 76th Indiana State Police Recruit Academies.

 

During his career, Tumey has served the Indiana State Police in the following disciplines:  Field Training Officer, Control Tactics Instructor, Firearms Instructor and Taser Instructor.

 

Tumey, his wife and three children are residents of Hancock County.

Two officers from Hancock Co. recognized for efforts to stop impaired driving

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Executive Director Devon McDonald presented 65 Indiana police officers with the Traffic Safety All-Star Award for working to save lives and put a stop to impaired driving.

 

To qualify, the officer must have made at least 20 OWI arrests and participated in one of the state’s targeted enforcement campaigns during the previous year.

 

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the work these officers are doing to keep our roads and communities safe,” Gov. Holcomb said. “They’ve demonstrated their commitment day-in and day-out to curb impaired driving, and people are alive today because of their efforts. I want to congratulate these officers on their well-deserved, hard-earned achievement.”

 

In addition to the 65 officers, three individuals received the Leadership Award for aiding in the fight against impaired driving: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Tim Abrams, Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Pete Beyel and Speedway Police Department Sergeant Mark Morgan, who recently passed away due to cancer.

 

In total, the officers recognized made 3,163 OWI arrests across Indiana in 2020.

 

The recipients were nominated by their departments as some of the top officers for OWI enforcement. In addition to their normal patrols, they often worked overtime picking up extra shifts during state and national enforcement periods – one of which is kicking off this week: the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization.

 

Now until Labor Day, more than 200 police agencies throughout the state will be increasing patrols and cracking down on drunk driving, which claims the lives of more than 10,000 people every year in the U.S. That’s approximately one person every 52 minutes or 28 per day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

In Indiana, drunk driving has been on the rise. Of the 898 traffic fatalities that occurred last year in the state, 151, or 17 percent, were alcohol related. That’s up from 130 in 2019. During Labor Day weekend alone, there were 12 fatal collisions with one involving a driver over the legal limit.

 

“Impaired driving continues to take a terrible toll on our state and nation,” McDonald said. “While these overtime patrols are effective and will undoubtedly save lives, we can’t enforce our way out of this issue. It’s up to everyone to drive sober and make smart choices behind the wheel.”

 

In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. In addition, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year. Consequences of impaired driving can include thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased insurance rates, loss of license, a criminal record and possible jail time.

 

To avoid those, plan a safe and sober ride home before going out. Even if only one drink is consumed, designate a sober driver or plan to use a rideshare service, public transportation or taxi. Motorists that encounter a drunk driver on the road are encouraged to call 911.

 

Hancock Richard Vanosdol Hancock County Sheriff's Department 20  
Hancock Shawn Brady New Palestine Police Department 27  

$40 million master development coming to McCordsville Town Center

The Town of McCordsville’s Town Council approved a $40 million mixed-use development on 48 acres at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting.

 

The master development is the first step forward in the implementation of the Town Center Development Plan and will be anchored by McCord Square Apartments. Additional projects are planned for the new downtown district development.

 

“The Town of McCordsville has planned for the development of a town center for more than a decade,” said Barry Wood, Town of McCordsville Council President. “With the master development agreement substantially approved with Rebar Development, we are confident that McCord Square will become an economic driver for the area as well as meet critical needs of our growing community.”

 

Located on the southeast corner of Broadway Avenue (S.R. 67) and Mt. Comfort Road, the development, called McCord Square, is a partnership between the Town of McCordsville, Rebar Development, and Pride Investment Partners. McCord Square accomplishes many goals set forth in the Town Center Development plan, including the creation of a defined, vibrant downtown district with a unique identity. McCord Square will diversify the tax base and is expected to add $50 million in assessed value by 2025.

 

“Rebar Development worked closely with the Town of McCordsville to develop a comprehensive plan for the new town center that sets the standard for high-quality downtown development,” said Shelby Bowen, President of Rebar Development. “We are very excited to be a part of this transformational step forward in creating a town center in the heart of McCordsville and are ready to meet the demand for the first high-quality mixed-use project in Hancock County.” 

 

Also announced, the first project scheduled to break ground in the new downtown district, McCord Square Apartments will bring 206 modern apartment homes to the new downtown district. The apartment community will consist of two buildings on each side of the new Civic Green with one and two-bedroom units and luxury amenities, including a resort-style courtyard, work-from-home lounge, pet park and spa, wellness studio, indoor bike storage and large balconies with expansive views.

 

The first floor of the McCord Square Apartment community will consist of six 1,000 sq. ft. commercial studios with street-facing entrances. The new commercial studios are all-inclusive—sharing amenities with the apartment community—and will have flexible lease terms.

 

“We could not be prouder of our involvement in this groundbreaking achievement that will serve the residents of the Town of McCordsville, and surely be a top gathering place, for years to come,” said Stephanie White, President of Pride Investment Partners. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Rebar and the Town on this outstanding development.”

 

Plans for future development in the new downtown district align closely with the Town Center Development Plan including the creation of a community gathering space and new McCordsville Town Hall. The Civic Commons outdoor amphitheater, connectivity throughout downtown and to existing neighborhoods, and a new park create a destination for residents and visitors to live and recreate. In addition, McCord Square will eventually add townhomes, three-bedroom and two-bathroom bungalow cottages, 20,000 sq. ft. of retail/office/restaurant space, and a daycare.

 

Construction on the McCord Square Apartments is scheduled to begin in February of 2022 with an anticipated completion date of summer in 2023. For more information, please visit www.rebardev.com.

 

Hancock County resident, Sergeant Chris Lambert, promoted to Lieutenant

The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, Douglas G. Carter, has announced the promotion of Sergeant Christopher J. Lambert to the rank of Lieutenant.

 

Lieutenant Lambert received his promotion through written testing and a competitive interview process.  In his new capacity, Lambert will serve as the Training Division Training Programs Coordinator and will oversee various components of the department’s In-Service Training Programs.  

 

Lambert, who is originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, is a 1989 graduate of North Vigo High School.  In 1993, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.  On December 4, 1994, he graduated from the 51st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy and was assigned to the Pendleton Post where he served as a road trooper for thirteen years. 

In 2007, Lambert was promoted to the rank of Sergeant to serve as the Firearms Program Coordinator in the Training Division.  In 2014 he was transferred to the Special Operations Command to serve as the Commander of the Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT). 

  

During his career, Lambert has completed several professional development courses, including the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board Senior Instructor Course and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Leadership Academy.  Lambert has served the Indiana State Police in the following disciplines:  Field Training Officer, Tactical Intervention Platoon, USRT Diving Officer, Firearms Instructor, Tactical Flight Officer, First Aid Instructor, and in 2009 was a recipient of the Meritorious Service Award.

 

Lambert and his wife have four children and are residents of Hancock County.

Greenfield woman killed in two-vehicle Brown County crash

A Greenfield woman was killed in a Brown County car crash on June 3.

 

Alison Jerrell was pronounced dead at the scene at the intersection of T.C. Steele Road and State Road 46. 

 

The two-vehicle crash happened about 10:00 pm that evening.  Andrew Sanders, of Indianapolis, was driving  a 2018 Ford Fusion and failed to stop at the intersection according to a release from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.  His car went into the path of a 2019 Ram 5500 driven by Billy Dobbs, of Elizabethtown.  Dobb’s truck hit the driver’s side of Sanders’ car.

 

Sanders was flown to IU Methodist for medical treatment.  A warrant will allow law enforcement to check Sanders’ toxicology results as part of its investigation.  There’s no word in the release if intoxicated driving is believed to be a factor.

 

Dobbs also submitted to tests as part of the investigation.  He was treated at Columbus Regional.

 

INDOT to close portion of SR 9 for pavement project

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close a portion of State Road 9 for construction. 

 

SR 9 will close between Mackenzie Road and U.S. 40 in both directions. The closure is scheduled to begin on June 7, weather permitting. The road is scheduled to reopen in the beginning of August. 

 

Crews will be patching and repaving the road during the closure. Please plan ahead and know your alternate route. Plan some extra time to get around the closure, especially in the first few weeks.

Bees cause Southern Hancock elementary to close Wednesday

Covid, weather, maybe even an electrical or water issue are at the top of the list for reasons schools close for a day.  Not commonly on that list - bees.

 

The Southern Hancock Schools announced that Brandywine Elementary would be closed today after a large beehive was discovered.  The bees have been contained and aren't considered to be a threat to the public but the school system played it safe by closing the elementary for today, May 26.

 

The rest of the Southern Hancock is open Wednesday.

 

 

 

INDOT to close ramps on State Road 9 for construction

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close ramps on State Road 9 to and from I-70 for construction work. 

 

The ramp closures will occur the next three weekends: April 30 - May 3, May 7-10 and May 14-17. Ramps will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. 

 

Crews will be installing concrete center islands on some of the ramps and on State Road 9. This is a safety feature that will separate traffic as they exit onto S.R. 9. 

 

Ramp Closures

  • I-70 EB to SR 9 NB 
  • SR 9 NB & SB to I-70 EB 

Sinkhole develops in Greenfield traffic / road construction area

The Greenfield Police Department has issued the following regarding a traffic situation that has developed in a construction zone on the city's south side:

 

A sinkhole has opened up in the 800 block of South State Street at the entrance of the Waste Water treatment plant. This section of the street is already under a "soft closure" due to the ongoing construction, but it will now become a "hard closure."

 

No traffic will be able to get through this section of the street. For reference, this is in front of the old Florida Cracker restaurant. The street will be closed at this location only.

 

If you live between Tague Street and the Florida Cracker, you will be able to use Tague Street to get to State Street. You will also be able to access the cemetery and all businesses within that section from Tague Street.

 

This hard closure is expected to last until at least Friday afternoon.

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