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Hancock County News Archives for 2022-05

Stolen car investigation leads to pursuit and crash in Greenfield; suspect in critical condition

A police investigation that began in Anderson led to a vehicle pursuit in Greenfield, and ended with a single vehicle crash.


On Tuesday morning, Anderson Police were investigating a stolen vehicle that was located at a hotel in Anderson. When officers approached the occupied vehicle the male suspect allegedly became combative and physically resisted the officers. The suspect got in the stolen vehicle and fled the scene. An officer from the Anderson Police Department was injured in the incident, and was not able to pursue the vehicle with his police car. The officer's injuries are reported as minor. 


Information about the stolen vehicle was shared with the Indiana State Police and other agencies. About 7:20 am, Indiana State Police located the vehicle near Apple Street and Morristown Pike in Greenfield. Officers from the Greenfield Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Office were also in the area and assisted. The suspect once again fled from police in the vehicle driving south on Morristown Pike.


The suspect failed to stop at a four-way stop on Morristown Pike at Davis Road. After crossing the intersection the suspect lost control of the vehicle and it left the road to the left where it struck and broke a utility pole.  It then collided with several trees.


The adult male driver had to be extricated from the vehicle by the Greenfield Fire Department and he was transported by ambulance to an Indianapolis hospital in critical condition. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash and no other injuries reported. 


As of this report, Indiana State Police Detectives are currently on scene as well as crash reconstructionists and the investigation is ongoing.  Morristown Pike is still closed south of Davis Road for further investigation and removal of the wreckage. 



Greenfield's Julia Wickard, state executive director of USDA FSA, honored by Purdue Ag Alumni Assoc.

Eight leaders from across the fields of agriculture were recognized with the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association’s highest honor– the Certificate of Distinction –during the Ag Alumni Fish Fry in April.


The Certificate of Distinction is presented annually to professionals who have contributed to agriculture, forestry or natural resources through career accomplishments, organizational involvement, community service and other activities.


The following individuals were honored this year.


Julia Wickard, Greenfield, Indiana, is the current Indiana state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. This is Wickard’s second time filling this role, as she previously held the position from 2009-17, administering credit, disaster and safety net farm programs for agricultural producers and overseeing more than 345 employees in 75 field offices. 


In 2017, Wickard was the assistant commissioner at the Office of Program Support in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She was also the agricultural liaison. Wickard worked for U.S. and Indiana departments of agriculture, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, and Indiana Farm Bureau Inc


Stephen W. Creech, Bloomington, Indiana, earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and natural resources in 1974 from Purdue. A year later, he was a district forester with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and a volunteer firefighter in Greencastle. Part of an Indiana wildland fire crew since 1977, he’s been mobilized nationally to 14 states since 1987 and has responded to hurricanes, floods and 9/11.


Creech has served on a Type 1 national incident management team since 1996, was Indiana’s fire coordinator from 1978 to 2003, and is a two-time recipient of the Northeast Forest Fire Supervisors award. Creech was a primary force in establishing the Big Rivers Forest Fire Management Compact (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, U.S. Forest Service), and is the current grants administrator. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and Indiana University, he helped initiate a geographic information system analysis of the wildland-urban interface fire problem in 20 northeastern states.


For two decades, Creech was an adjunct instructor for FNR’s fire ecology class, and for years directed the department’s forestry summer practicum in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He now heads Bloomington-based Wildfire Management and Training Specialists.


Byron Fagg, Salem, Indiana, has been Purdue Extension director and ANR educator in Washington County for 22 years. Fagg was instrumental in getting many programs started, with the Indiana Beef Evaluation Program, Bull Test Station, being a good example.


In 1983, Fagg started an annual breeding soundness evaluation (BSE) clinic in Washington County and then in six other counties. He determined that each bull identified as unable to breed cows cost the producer $10,000. Washington County producers have avoided more than $1 million in potential losses by identifying these bulls.


Fagg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue in animal sciences.


“Each day I strive to be like Bryon,” said Danielle Howell-Walker, a Purdue Extension Washington County educator, said. “To build relationships with farmers, to be a positive leader, to respond quickly and accurately with information for those who need Extension assistance, to provide practical and applicable information during education programs and to promote agriculture and our county in the best light possible.


Jules Janick, West Lafayette, Indiana, came to Purdue in 1951. He has contributed iconographic studies on Dioscorides, the Drake Manuscript, the Unicorn Tapestries, Caravaggio, Cotan, and the Raphael frescoes in the Villa Farnesina in Rome. He has written on the inter-relationship of horticulture and scholarship, art, ethics and the contributions of horticulture to human welfare. More recently, he has contributed to unraveling the Voynich codex.


His scholarly work in plants led to the release of 23 varieties of disease-resistant apples. He has authored, co-authored or edited 142 volumes of books, journals or proceedings, 63 book chapters and 222 refereed journal articles. His seminal text, Horticultural Science, first published in 1964, is translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi. Janick taught online for more than a decade, and two courses — History of Horticulture, and Tropical Horticulture — were taken by at least 6,000 students.


Max Judge, Lexington, Virginia, earned two degrees from Purdue and was a full professor at the university for 27 years. He developed and taught the first meat science course offered at Purdue. Thousands of Boilermakers have taken the course and others he developed. In 1974, he co-authored “Principles of Meat Science,” which, after updates, still is one of the most-used undergraduate meat science textbooks.


Judge’s research led to improved meat quality with reduced fat content in pork. He published the first report in the United States indicating a definite effect of growing environment on swine meat quality. Judge demonstrated technology to measure swine carcass lean content on the production line in pork harvest plants. The Lean Team, funded by the USDA and the Indiana Pork Producers Association, received the USDA’s Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Research in 1992. The American Meat Science Association’s highest honor, the R.C. Pollock Award, is another on a long list of national and international salutes.


Eileen Kladivko, West Lafayette, Indiana, the 2020-21 recipient of Purdue’s prestigious Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award, is “a generous scientist, still curious about new insights and applications,” said Jennifer Tank, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.


In 1982, Kladivko became the first female faculty member in Purdue’s Department of Agronomy.


Kladivko helped lead two significant changes in agriculture: the use of cover crops as a technique to reduce farm field nutrient losses and soil erosion, and the use of soil health to improve the understanding of soil systems management. Kladivko was instrumental in starting, funding and leading the Midwest Cover Crop Council and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative. More than 90,000 copies of the Cover Crop Pocket Guide that she authored are in circulation.


Kevin Still, Avon, Indiana, is the former general manager of Pulaski County Co-op. He was president and chief executive of Midland Co-op from 1989 to 2002 and engineered a series of mergers and consolidations that created Co-Alliance, which Still has led since 2002.


A billion-dollar corporation and one of the nation’s larger farmer-owned input supply cooperatives, Co-Alliance is based in Avon and has more than 1,000 employees and 80-plus locations in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It deals in energy, agronomy, grain marketing and swine/animal nutrition.


“Early on, Kevin realized that farmer-owned cooperatives were going to need to adapt and grow if they were to remain competitive in a rapidly changing agricultural business environment,” Purdue Provost Jay Akridge said. “Change was essential if these farmer-owned businesses were to continue to provide the benefits to farmers that they had made possible for decades.


Michael A. Veenhuizen, Greenwood, Indiana, is president of Livestock Engineering Solutions Inc., earning a national reputation while providing site planning, design expertise and professional consultancy for all aspects of manure handling.


Malcom DeKryger, president and CEO of Belstra Milling Co. and Belstra Group Farms and a trustee of Purdue, said that in the more than two decades he has worked with Veenhuizen, his integrity about doing the right thing is one of the greatest compliments he could give.


“A livestock producer is faced with many challenges on an annual/seasonal/daily basis. Mike’s understanding of the crossroads between design, construction, operation and compliance prevented many problems and raised the professionalism of Indiana’s producers,” DeKryger said. “We always knew that if anyone questioned our design by Mike that he would stand alongside and defend our dreams with intelligence?and integrity.


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.”