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Hancock County News Archives for 2019-08

Suspects apprehended off campus after social threat results in lockdown

The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation released the following statement on the social media threat that resulted in a Friday afternoon lockdown of its schools;


At the end of the school day today, a student reported to the Mt. Vernon High School administration that they had viewed a threat on social media related to an armed assailant. As our security protocols were enacted, all schools on the Fortville campus were placed on lockdown while police searched for the suspects and secured the campus.


Within five minutes we had 10 officers on campus and within 30 minutes we had approximately 33 officers from nine surrounding law enforcement offices, including: Fortville Police, Indiana State Police, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Greenfield Police Department, McCordsville Police Department, Shirley Police Department, Indianapolis Metro Police Department and New Palestine Police Department.


After police had apprehended the suspects off campus and identified that the school was safe, the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) began systematically releasing students.


Mt. Vernon takes every threat related to student safety seriously. The student who reported the threat should be commended for bringing this to the attention of school administrators.


This is an optimal time to remind students, “if you see something, say something.” Student and staff safety is the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation’s number one priority.


We highly value our close relationship with the local law enforcement. Their swift actions resulted in a positive resolution of the matter, which helped to ensure the safety of our students. We appreciate the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that took place among law enforcement, school administration, parents, and students.


Dr. Jack Parker
MVCSC Superintendent

Woman tied to robberies in Hancock and Howard counties

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection to armed robberies in Howard and Hancock counties, according to the Howard County Sheriff’s Department.


The sheriff’s department said their investigation began after being dispatched on Aug. 17 around 4 a.m. to the Village Pantry in the 3600 block of West Sycamore Street in Kokomo. Deputies were responding to a call of an armed robbery.


After arriving on the scene, deputies were informed that a black woman entered the convenience store wearing a mask, pointed a gun at the manager and demanded both cash and lottery tickets. The female suspect then fled the scene in a dark-colored Jeep Liberty.


While working on the case, deputies received information that an armed robbery took place on Aug. 16 at a McDonald’s in Hancock County. Both the suspect and vehicle in that robbery were very similar to the armed robbery in Howard County.


Then, deputies said, on Aug. 22, an arrest warrant was issued for Tere McCall, who had ties to the Kokomo area.


According to deputies, Hancock County sheriff’s detectives learned that McCall, who had abandoned her home, was preparing to leave the state.


Detectives were able to track McCall down at an apartment complex in the Indianapolis area, and arrested her. She has been transported to the Hancock County Jail, facing preliminary charges for armed robbery and theft.

New Palestine man charged in child porn case in Alabama

A Hancock County man has been arrested on child pornography charges in Alabama.


Ian Kennedy, 31, of New Palestinem was arrested August 20 in Trussville, Alabama.  Authorities there served a search warrant at a family member's home where Kennedy was staying.  Child porn was found on multiple electronic devices.


Police say they were tipped off by information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Kennedy faces 22 counts including production of pornography with minors; possession of child pornography; and dissemination or display of child pornography.


Police are still investigating and additional charges could be filed.

Bicyclist struck, killed by drunk driver

An intoxicated driver was arrested following a crash that killed a bicyclist in Hancock County.


The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department issued a release of the name of the bicyclist, Rodger Wellenreiter, 76, of Greenfield. 


The incident happened in the area of 1500 West 300 North.  The driver of the motor vehicle, Robert terry, 40, of Greenfield, was not injured in the collision.  He did remain at the scene waiting for officers to arrive and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated – causing death (Level 4 Felony) and driving while suspended – causing death (Level 5 Felony).

Libby's Ice Cream filling the void and stomach in Fortville

For Libby Wyatt, it was about filling a need in the town she loves and lives in.


Earlier this year, Wyatt and her husband changed their business in Fortville, adding an ice cream shop and giving residents an opportunity to have the treat they had missed after another shop closed.


"I have had the retail business since July 2016 where we offered an eclectic selection of home goods, kitchen gadgets and toys. My husband and I shutdown StoreHouse in May and reopened June 10  with a renovated, reinvented and renewed shop with ice cream ," Wyatt told Giant FM.

Libby's Ice Cream is open at 11 South Main Street, Fortville. The business is closed Monda's but open Tuesday through Thursday noon until 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon until 9:30 and Sundays from 2-8.


Wyatt told Giant FM, she used to have a front window view of the previous ice cream shop and knew people were missing ice cream.


 "The town was missing ice cream, and they are thankful to have it again. And its really good ice cream," Wyatt said.


Wyatt said she is serving Sundae's Ice Cream, which is local, and, according to her, is "amazingly delicious."

"We offer sugar, cake, and waffle cones and bowls in a variety of scoop sizes. Milkshakes, malts, rootbeer floats and sundaes are also available. The most fun dish to have alone or share with friends is our flight, which is a sampling of four flavors of your choice," Wyatt said.


For those wondering, the retail portion of the store is still in business, according to Wyatt.


"We offer popular brands such as Natural Life, Melissa and Doug, Joseph and Joseph and Jody Realsor jewelry, as well as local favorites," Wyatt said.


With the temperatures cooling recently, Wyatt says customers shouldn't fret as ice cream is good year round.


"We are looking forward to the fall season and will be open year round. We offer gift cards and are big supporters of local charities and community events," Wyatt said.  

New Palestine moving ahead with high school construction, renovation

It is full steam ahead on a project that will bring about significant changes to New Palestine High School following this week's school board meeting.


This week, the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County approved several resolutions that will move the project forward. The biggest is a resolution determining need, which acknowledges the district has a need to renovate the high school and surrounding site. In addition, the district approved a resolution approving formation of a building corporation and a resolution approving plans form of lease anx authorizing publication of notice of a lease hearing. A public hearing on the lease will be held Sept. 9th at the district office during the regular board meeting. 

According to Wes Anderson, director of school and community relations for the district, the next step is to issue bids for the Multi-purpose room to be built on the Southeastern corner of the building. 


"This building must be completed and ready to house temporary classrooms before renovation work on the high school can begin," Anderson told Giant FM. 


Anderson said the administration and construction team continue working on finalizing potential designs. 


Discussion of the renovations have dominated school board meetings for several months. 

Earlier this summer, Robert Yoder, assistant superintendent for the district, showed off and discussed preliminary drawings of areas that would be demolished, including the current English/Math wing on the northeast side of the current facility. In addition, those in attendance learned where new classrooms and structures will be added to the existing building.  


"There are lots of parts of the high school that can be used. We are not building a new high school," said Yoder, adding the district is hopeful the project can start in the fall and has an anticipated conclusion or the 2022-23 school year. 


Financial impact

Officials have said the cost of the project is $49 million and will be paid through bonds.

"We've worked hard on being financially responsible to the taxpayers while addressing a need," Yoder said.


One area that will help in the financing of the project is $34 million worth of 20-year bonds for construction projects are about to come off the tax rolls. Yoder said that money will be applied to the $49 million without increasing the tax rate.


As a result, the tax rate will be raised only on the remaining $15 million.


Yoder presented various scenarios on how this would impact taxpayers. 


For example, if the district’s assessed value grows by at least 2 percent, residents owning a home with a true tax value assessed at $100,000 would see a projected increase of $56. It raises to $109 on a $150,000 home and $160 on a $200,000 home

Paul Casey now officially Chief of Police in McCordsville

After a rocky couple of months, the McCordsville Police Department has a new chief and he is ready to lead, serve and protect all of the Town of McCordsville. 


Recently, the interim tag was removed before Paul Casey’s name, and the second police chief in the history of McCordsville took his oath, officially making him the new chief of police. With the hiring, Casey replaces Harold Rodgers, who retired earlier this year.

Casey told Giant FM he feels “excited and humbled to have the opportunity.

“A lot of hard work and time has been put in by more people than I can mention to keep the police department moving in a pro-active and positive direction,” Casey said.

As he gets used to being in a new seat, Casey said his goal remains the same as when he was a Major and interim chief – to serve and protect the citizens.

“The primary goal is to continue to provide high quality police services to the residents of the Town of McCordsville. I will continue to seek out the best and most efficient ways to provide new and challenging training for our officers. I will continue to find creative ways to put citizens and officers in situations where they can interact and communicate on a more regular basis,” he said.

Casey also told Giant FM that while there was the transition, there are many strengths to the department, stating there are a core group of experienced officers and a town staff that has been supportive.

“In a very short period of time, the police department has become a destination location for future police officers. My main initiative is to find and hire the best and brightest people we can find. If possible, I would prefer officers that are tied to the community and have a sense of ownership and want to call McCordsville home,” Casey said.

Casey does have one piece of advice for citizens – get to know your neighbors.

“If something seems wrong or you have not seen them when you normally would, check on them or call and have us check on them. The more eyes we have helping us, the better chance we all have of keeping our community safe. If you see something, say something. Call dispatch at 317-477-4400 if you see any suspicious activity or something that is not normal, and an officer will be sent to assist you,” Casey said.

Casey also told Giant FM he is going to continue searching for ways to integrate technology into the community and increase the department’s level of communication with residents.

Mark Walker, president of the Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners for McCordsville, praised Casey, stating he was the best candidate.

“His fresh, new ideas, initiatives and officer buy-in were all determining factors. The department had been in a fragile state since Chief Rodgers’ departure, and interim chief Casey weathered the storm and brought the department through, and we are now poised for rapid growth both in the town and police department,” Walker told Giant FM.