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DHS announces extension of REAL ID full enforcement deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.

 

Under the new regulations published to execute this change, states will now have additional time to ensure their residents have driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act. As required by the law, following the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards.  

“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.” 

 

The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic. Many of these agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only. 

 

Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be. Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport 1security checkpoints for domestic air travel. 

 

Since enactment of the REAL ID Act in 2005, advancements in technology have enabled TSA to make significant improvements in checkpoint screening, particularly in the areas of identity management, on-person screening, accessible property screening and alarm resolution. Through the deployment of technologies such as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), Advanced Technology (AT) X-ray, then Computed Tomography (CT), Bottled Liquids Scanners (BLS), and Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), as well as deployment of Passenger Screening Canines (PSC) and the rollout of TSA PreCheck®, TSA has continually advanced its security capabilities. TSA also increased its vetting capability through Secure Flight, a risk-based passenger prescreening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists. REAL ID requirements will strengthen these improvements further by providing an additional layer of confidence in the identity of the traveler. 

 

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. These standards have significantly improved the reliability and accuracy of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. 

 

For more information on REAL ID, visit www.dhs.gov/real-id

 

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Our Hospice welcomes Stephanie Cain, MBA, MHA as incoming President

The Board of Directors of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana has hired Stephanie Cain as successor to outgoing President, Laura Leonard who announced her retirement earlier this year.

 

“Stephanie is strategic operational leader with a proven track record. She has 15 years’ experience in the health care industry and brings her expertise in home health and hospice. The Board is very excited to welcome a seasoned professional who can lead Our Hospice and Palliative Care into the future," said Our Hospice Board President, Tom Dowd.

 

Cain joins Our Hospice from her role as the Statewide Director of Hospice for Indiana University Health, serving 39 counties and 16 hospitals across the state, including a 12-bed inpatient unit in Bloomington, IN. She has previous experience in home health with Trinity Healthcare and Advocate Home Health Services. Stephanie received a Master of Science in Health Administration (MHA) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of St. Francis (Joliet, IL).

 

Laura Leonard succeeded Our Hospice founder, Sandy Carmichael, who led the local hospice organization from its’ inception in 1980. She joined Our Hospice in November, 2013. During her tenure, Leonard has been instrumental in:

 

  • Growing the number of patients served annually from 1100 patients to over 1450
  • Increasing the number of staff from 148 to 170
  • Developing a professional corporate image while maintaining the sense of a local organization serving communities in 16 counties in South Central Indiana.
  • Achieving highest ratings in Quality and Service in the industry
  • Expanding Bereavement care service to include children’s groups and outreach
  • Launching Palliative Care as a new medical specialty in 2019 currently serving over 350 patients
  • Initiating an endowment for future sustainability of unfunded or under-funded services including Palliative Care, Bereavement Care and the Hospice Center
  • Strengthening and expanding the leadership structure and the strategic planning capability of the organization
  • Setting a path for growth and financial sustainability

Board President, Tom Dowd, said, “Under Laura’s guidance, the organization has grown in many ways. She spearheaded the increase in the number of patients cared for, and also increased philanthropic support of our local hospice. By far, her greatest achievements include, the launching of Palliative Care, a service that is a critical need in the post-acute health continuum of care; and achieving a “no deficiencies or non-compliance” in two consecutive state and federal surveys. Launching a service line that receives only 14-17 cents on the dollar in reimbursement was a challenge, but she relentlessly drove toward the vision of bringing Palliative care to our community. The “clean” surveys of 2019 and 2022 demonstrate her unwavering pursuit of excellence. We will miss her, but she leaves Our Hospice and Palliative Care in a great position for the future and we wish her well in her retirement.”

 

Stephanie joined the organization on November 15 and will take the reins as President upon Laura’s retirement on December 31, 2022.

 

“We are excited to introduceStephanie to the community, and look forward to your continued support as we care for all those managing a serious illness pursuing the fulfillment of our mission, To Make Every Moment Count,” said Dowd.

 

 


Helm House in Rushville awarded historic renovation grant

Rushville's Dr. Jefferson Helm House is one of 10 properties were awarded $728,671 through the Historic Renovation Grant Program. 

 

The program is designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties to further incentivize downtown economic development across Indiana.

 

Eligible properties for this grant program must be at least 50 years old and either listed on the register of Indiana historic sites and structures, be listed or eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places, or be listed as a contributing resource in a National Register District. Awarded properties will receive funding for the renovation and preservation of exterior features.

 

“The Historic Renovation Grant Program has already created an ongoing positive impact in a number of communities,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “This grant round will help these 10 communities to preserve their Hoosier history while fueling economic development.”

 

Ronald V. Morris was awarded $100,000 to preserve and return to service the Dr. Jefferson Helm House. Located in Rush County, Dr. Helm built the small but distinctive home in 1845 reminiscent of the ideas of Thomas Jefferson. The property will be adapted into a social gathering place to host tours, special events and educational gatherings. Preservation work will include masonry restoration, chimney restoration, repair/restore roof, replacing non-historic windows with new period appropriate wood windows, repair/restore porch rails and columns, repair and replacement of historic doors, and reconstruction of two missing side porches based on physical evidence.

 

From 2021 to 2022, the Historic Renovation Grant Program received more than 80 applications with requests totaling over $5 million. While applicants must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match, the program continues to leverage significantly more than the State’s investment into these projects, resulting in a greater economic impact for awarded communities.

 

Applications were scored based on appropriate historical criteria, extensive support from local residents, and the economic impact the project would have on the greater community and the State of Indiana.

 

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Santa officially welcomes holiday season with downtown parade

Dodging raindrops and dealing with 20 mile-per-hour wind gusts, Santa and Mrs. Clause made it to downtown Shelbyville Friday to close out the city’s annual Holiday Parade.

Santa carefully dismounted from the back of a vintage Shelbyville Fire Department fire truck and returned to his traditional house now residing on the southwest quadrant of the Public Square.

With the help of Mrs. Clause and Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun, Santa led the large crowd in attendance in a countdown to light up the city’s holiday decorations. The red-and-white clad Christmas couple then stepped inside the cozy confines of the Santa House and met with local children for nearly 90 minutes after the conclusion of the parade.

“This is one of my favorite things about having the job,” said DeBaun, now in his third term as mayor. “We’ve been doing this now for a number of years. We took this over in 2001 or 2002 and the city has been doing it ever since. It’s kind of a right of passage in my family. All my kids have helped. It’s turned into a wonderful event.”

 

 

The fourth Annual Mistletoe Market was part of the holiday event, offering food and craft vendors set up around the downtown area and inside Blessing’s Opera House. There were holiday horse-and-carriage rides and various performers singing holiday tunes.

The 2022 celebration was the second since the complete redevelopment of downtown Shelbyville.

“The downtown is much more amenable to this type of activity,” continued DeBaun, who helped direct traffic during the parade and collect candy tossed from various parade entrants to deliver to the hundreds of children in attendance. “It’s been a great night.”

 

 

Santa’s house had been moved out of downtown Shelbyville to a Christmas display at Blue River Memorial Park during the construction process and did not return for the 2021 celebration. Santa met with children inside the former Chase Bank building.

Now refurbished and decorated for Christmas, a line of children stretched back around the building and south in front of Cadillac Jack’s, 29 Public Square, waiting to meet with Santa and Mrs. Clause.

“People were kind of mixed about the tradition and what we were going to do with Santa,” said DeBaun. “The guys from the Water Resource Recovery Facility and the Street Department did a really good job of putting it back together. It took a ton of city employees to make this work.”

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Greenwood man sentenced over bilking employer out of over $14 million

A Johnson County man was sentenced to federal prison time for defrauding his employer out of millions of dollars.

 

Daniel Fruits, 47, of Greenwood, was sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

 

According to court documents, Fruits, who was hired to manage and run a Greenwood-based trucking company, defrauded his employer out of more than $14 million over a 4.5-year period. From January 2015 through June 2019, a Kentucky-based entity invested over $14 million into the trucking company.

 

Federal prosecutors say Fruits used that money to fund his own lavish lifestyle including purchasing: real estate; several vehicles including two Ferraris and a Corvette; farm equipment including a horse trailer; a show horse; expensive jewelry including multiple Rolex watches; firearms; private jet flights; and high-end escort services.

 

Fruits hid his theft by creating false and misleading financial statements. He then sent those statements to his employer to induce additional investments into the trucking company.

 

In mid-2019, Fruits’ employer asked him to have an accountant review the trucking company’s financial statements and provide a report. Rather than comply, Fruits fabricated a letter, purportedly written by a Greenwood-based accountant. When the employer contacted the accountant to follow up, they learned that the accountant’s letter was false and fictitious. Fruits was fired the next day and the victims contacted law enforcement officers.

 

The investigation also revealed that Fruits attempted to defraud Fifth Third bank out of $432,000 by providing false documents to secure a mortgage. Finally, the investigation revealed that Fruits perpetrated a title wash scheme that fraudulently removed Ally Financial’s lien from a $69,607 truck.

 

Fruits was arrested on December 16, 2020. On August 18, 2021, a federal magistrate judge revoked his conditions of pretrial release and ordered him detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, after finding that Fruits had committed several violations including being charged with new fraud offenses in state court.

 

“Mr. Fruits stole an outrageous sum of money to fuel an extravagant lifestyle, concealing his crimes with years of lies and false documents,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Complex economic crimes such as these devastate the finances and security of businesses and individuals. The serious prison sentence imposed today demonstrates that this U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, IRS-CI, and all our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to hold these criminals accountable.”

 

The FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

 

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Sara Evans Barker. As part of the sentence, Judge Barker ordered that Fruits be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison and ordered Fruits to pay $14,339,252.04 in restitution to his victims and a $14,270,000 money judgment.

 

 

Sexual exploitation of a young child sends Shelbyville man to federal prison

A Shelbyville man will serve four decades in federal prison related to his sexual exploitation of a six-year-old child.

 

Justin R. Potts, 38, of Shelbyville, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to four counts related to his sexual exploitation of a six-year-old child committed while he was required to register as a sex offender.

 

According to court documents, on or about March 20, 2014, Potts was convicted of sexual misconduct of a minor in Hancock County, and sentenced to seven years in prison. As a result of this conviction, Potts was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years or until January 21, 2026. He failed to register in 2019 and was released from probation in April 2021.

 

Between December 28, 2021, and January 22, 2022, Potts resided in Muncie, with Individual A and Minor Victim 1, who was six years’ old. While Potts resided with Individual A and Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 1 was in Potts’ care, custody, and control. Potts sexually abused Minor Victim 1 and produced visual depictions of that abuse including videos showing Potts using his hands to force a penis-shaped device into the child’s anus, rubbing his penis against the child’s anus, and forcing his penis into the child’s mouth. The videos were uploaded to Potts’ Google account prompting immediate notification to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

The Indiana State Police and the United States Secret Service quickly investigated the account, traced it to Potts, contacted the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, and executed a search warrant leading to his arrest and detention. Potts pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually exploiting Minor Victim 1, and to one count of committing those offenses while required to register as a sex offender.

 

“This serial predator inflicted horrific abuse on an innocent child to satisfy his criminal sexual desires,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “I commend the outstanding and tireless efforts of the U.S. Secret Service, Indiana State Police, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, and federal prosecutors to quickly identify this offender, remove him from the community, and rescue a child from ongoing abuse. Mr. Potts will now spend decades in federal prison, where he cannot sexually abuse another child. The serious sentence imposed today demonstrates our dedication to protecting the public from these dangerous offenders.”

 

“This investigation is a testament to the Secret Service’s commitment to pursue those who chose to victimize our most vulnerable citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Adams, U. S. Secret Service – Indianapolis Field Office.  “The Secret Service is a proud member of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and would like to thank our partners at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Indiana State Police for their tireless work in this case.”

 

The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case and the Indiana State Police and Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office provided valuable assistance.

 

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney II. As part of the sentence, Judge Sweeney ordered that Potts be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for the rest of his life following his release from federal prison and ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution to the child victim. Potts must also register as sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school, as required by law.


Greenfield man charged in road rage shooting incident

A Hancock County man is charged with a road rage shooting on I-65.

 

About 9:15 am Wednesday, Indiana State Police dispatchers received a 911 call about alleged shots being fired from one vehicle at another on I-65 near Washington Street in Indianapolis. The incident involved the driver of a Ram pick-up truck firing a shot at a Jeep Patriot during a road rage encounter.

 

Troopers were able to locate the suspect vehicle a short time later near Holt Road and I-70 and the driver was detained.

 

Indiana State Police detectives were called to the scene and preliminary investigation led them to believe, Justin McGuire, 33, of Greenfield, was driving the Ram pick-up and became engaged in road rage. During the incident McGuire allegedly fired at least one shot at the Jeep striking the Jeep that was occupied by an adult driver and two children. The driver of the Jeep drove to a safe location and immediately notified police.

 

McGuire was arrested at the Indiana State Police Post in Indianapolis Wednesday night. He faces the preliminary charges of three counts of criminal recklessness. 

 

This interstate shooting investigation marks the 61st shooting incident for troopers at the Indianapolis Post on Indianapolis area interstates. Last year, they investigated a total of 65 interstate shootings in the Indianapolis area. 

 

McGuire was arrested on probable cause. Actual charges will be determined by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Fatalities identified in Rush County car - train crash

Two occupants of a car that were killed in an early Sunday morning collision with a train have been identified.

 

The driver, William B. Sanders, 24, and passenger, Wes A. Emerson, 21, of Knightstown, were declared dead at the scene of the crash on Rush County Road 700 West in Arlington.

 

The Rush County coroner advised that both died of blunt force trauma from the collision.

 

The Rush County Sheriff's Office says that a review of the on-board Amtrak camera showed that a Ford Fusion disregarded the crossing arms, which were operational at the time and in the down position.  The car was struck by the train that was traveling approximately 60 m.p.h.

 

There were no injuries to the 11 members of the train's crew or its 89 passengers.

 

Original release

Two people were killed in a Rush County car - train accident.

 

The Rush County Sheriff's Department recdived calls of the crash in Arlington about 2 a.m. Sunday.  The occupants of the vehicle were killed in the crash.  No names have been released as of this report.

 

There were no injuries to anyone on the train.

 

The Rush County Sheriff's Department Fatal Accident Crash Team is investigating.


Major renovations underway at two Shelbyville elementary schools

Complete renovation projects at two of Shelbyville’s three elementary schools are in full swing.

Coulston Elementary, opened in 1956, and Loper Elementary, opened in 1960, are getting complete interior makeovers that will take approximately 18 months to finish.

Both renovation projects are in Phase I.

“I can tell you so far, we are off to a good start,” said Shelbyville Central Schools Superintendent Dr. Matt Vance. “It’s hectic.”

Each phase of the projects will be contained in one particular area of the schools.

“The crews are doing a great job of keeping the areas blocked off where they are doing stuff,” said Vance. “It’s going well so far but, obviously, it’s a major project for complete renovations. We are talking floors, we are talking walls, and we are talking HVAC. … Both buildings are being completely renovated.”

That means classrooms of students are being displaced to other areas of each particular building. No classrooms will be relocated outside of their main buildings, according to Vance.

Phase I at Loper includes the kindergarten wing. It has a scheduled completion date of Feb. 21, 2023. Phase II is slated to begin Feb. 22 and end on June 9. Phase III runs from June 12 to Sept. 28. Phase IV follows from Sept. 29 to Jan. 16, 2024. Phase V goes from June 17, 2024, to May 3. And Phase VI, which includes the main office and cafeteria, starts May 27 and ends Aug. 5.

 

 

All six phases at Coulston Elementary (photo) follow the same startup and completion dates at Loper. The final phase will include the main office, cafeteria and gymnasium.

With more than 1,000 new homes already green lighted for construction by the Shelbyville Common Council, an increase in student population is expected over the next decade. Construction is already underway on a pair of large housing additions in the Loper district and two more subdivisions are expanding.

“At Loper, we are going to have to give that building a hard look even after it is renovated because of space issues,” said Vance. “It has grown and we have new housing coming into the district. If it continues to grow, it will become an issue.

“We will need to look down the road at redistricting or another add-on there (at Loper).”

The school does have property available to build another school building but how that gets financed is a concern. The school system is currently in a $30 million project with the renovations of the two elementary schools and work going on at Shelbyville Middle School.

Another $2 million project to replace the track surface and install an artificial turf field at J.M. McKeand Stadium at Shelbyville High School commences in the spring of 2023.

“I don’t know if I want to know that number,” laughed Vance when asked how much a new school would cost.

Vance is not against adding new housing subdivisions. In fact, he wants to see growth in the school system.

“I hope the housing industry calms down and we get those homes filled,” he said. “I would like to see a little growth for us as a school corporation. We’ve had a little bit of a decline in enrollment.”

SCS is more concerned about available space at the elementary schools compared to the middle school, opened in 1991, and high school.

“The middle school is OK there,” he said. “The high school has had more children than what we have in there now so there is no concern yet.”

Coulston had additions to the original building in 1971, 1983 and 2000.

Additions at Loper were completed in 1965, 1983 and 2000.

Hendricks Elementary opened at its current location in 2000.

“We will have to give (Hendricks) a look in the near future with some upgrades,” said Vance.

 

 

The project at Shelbyville Middle School (photo) involves turning the shuddered pool into a black box theatre and a multi-purpose room.

The first phase includes filling in the pool that has not been used since 2016. Repair work on the malfunctioning pool was not considered financially feasible. The middle school swim program now uses the high school pool for practices and meets.

The black box theater is a performance space with black walls and a level floor to provide flexibility for a stage and audience seating.

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023.

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Plan Commission recommends annexation for Genesis Property Development project

A foreign company seeking to build a U.S. headquarters in Shelbyville moved one step closer to reality Monday.

The as-yet-named company is working with Genesis Property Development of Shelbyville to secure annexation and rezoning of 67 acres of land located along State Road 44 east of the city.

The agricultural-based company wants to build a 200,000 to 300,000 square-foot facility on the property and use a portion of the acreage to grow crops that will be used in the manufacturing process.

The annexation process has come before the city in two waves.

A petition to annex into the city and rezone 26.5 acres of the land as Industrial General (IG) from Agricultural was previously approved by the Shelbyville Common Council.

At Monday’s Plan Commission meeting at City Hall, the remaining 40.5 acres, north of the 26.5-acre parcel, to be annexed and rezoned was given a favorable recommendation by the commission.

The project will now appear before the Common Council at its Dec. 5 meeting at City Hall at 7 p.m.

Genesis Property Development’s Ron Kelsay appeared before the Plan Commission Monday to provide what details about the project are available. He said a more formal media release about the company and its intent for the project will be available in the weeks following the land being annexed into the city and rezoned.

Kelsay estimates the overall investment for the foreign company is approximately $100 million.

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Early Learning Center to carry Runnebohm name

The Early Learning Center to be built in Intelliplex, with a groundbreaking tentatively scheduled for May 2023, will carry the Runnebohm family name:  The Julia and Nicholas Runnebohm Early Learning Center. 

 

The Center has been made possible through a community collaboration led by a personal contribution from the Runnebohms and Runnebohm Construction.

               

Nick and Judy (Julia) Runnebohm have four children, Mike (Marcy Patrick), Kathy Johnson, Cindy Whitten (Brent), and Susie Brown (Sam Young), and the family understands the importance of a healthy start for children.  Judy, who passed away in 2016, was especially dedicated to Shelby County’s youth.  She served as a powerful advocate for many residents of the former Shelby County Youth Center, a residential facility for youth who were unable to live at home. 

 

She was known for her tough love approach, and she was a dedicated mother figure to many teens and pre-teens.  She is legendary for making certain the youth in her care received the health and dental services they needed, that they received appropriate attention from their schools and teachers, and she generously dispensed love, advice, discipline, and compassion to the young people she served.

 

The Runnebohm family knows that giving the Center the Runnebohm name would have been especially meaningful to Judy.  She genuinely wanted to see all children grow up to have a happy, successful life, and that requires a wholesome and healthy start.  However, a recent internal study at MHP Pediatrics reveals that many children in the community ages zero to three are not getting that good start.  Approximately 67 percent of children in that age group are at risk for developmental and social delays.  The national average is 25 percent.  Being at risk increases a child’s potential for a less successful school career, thereby decreasing their quality of life.

 

“The Julia and Nicholas Runnebohm Early Learning Center will be transformational for the children of our community,” said Allison Coburn, PhD, Executive Director of Early Learning Shelby County.  She added, “The Golden Bear Preschool does a great job with children ages three and up, and it’s even more beneficial if potential delays can be spotted earlier.  This will happen at the Center. I think Judy Runnebohm would have loved that.”

 

The Center will be staffed by degreed teachers and aides and will begin by serving 100 children ages three to zero with a goal of 200.  Over time, additional centers will be built in the rural areas of the community to add convenience and additional access for families who don’t live in the city.  The Center will feature a nationally standardized curriculum and evidence-based programming.  Vouchers, employer-based sponsorships, and scholarships will be available to qualifying families.

 

Early Learning Shelby County is a recipient of the READI Grant as well as city, county, state and private philanthropic support.  Donors include the Runnebohm family, Horseshoe Indianapolis, Knauf Insulation, Ryobi Die Casting USA, Major Health Partners, Early Learning Indiana, and the Wortman Family Foundation at the Blue River Community Foundation. 

City announces road closure schedule for Friday's holiday parade

With the downtown Christmas Parade comes road closures around the Public Square.

Mayor Tom DeBaun announced the road closures for Friday’s holiday celebration which will also include the Mistletoe Market.

At noon Friday, E. Washington St. from Harrison to Pike St. and W. Washington St. from Harrison to Union St. will be closed to begin preparations for the event.

At 3 p.m., Harrison St. will be closed from Franklin St. to Jackson St. which will eliminate direct access to the Public Square.

At 5 p.m., the Harrison St. closure through downtown will extend from Broadway to Harrison St. and the closure along W. Washington St. from Harrison will be extended to Tompkins St.

At 6 p.m., the Harrison St. closure will extend from Mechanic St. to Broadway.

The Mistletoe Market opens at 5 p.m. in downtown Shelbyville and runs through 8 p.m.

 

For more holiday celebration information, go to https://shelbycountypost.com/local-news/663640

 

The Christmas Parade starts at 7 p.m. and will run the traditional route from the Porter Center in to downtown Shelbyville and turn left on W. Washington St.

Santa will exit the parade in downtown Shelbyville, assist with turning on the holiday lights, and then head to his house located in the southwest quadrant of the Public Square to visit with children about their Christmas wishes.

The large turnout for the 2021 holiday celebration prompted safety concerns along this year’s parade route. The city is asking all parade attendees to stay back on sidewalks.

There will be barricades this year along the turn point from Harrison to W. Washington St. to keep people safely away from the large vehicles in the parade.

We think it will be clearly marked,” said DeBaun in the meeting Tuesday at City Hall. “We have about 30 barricades and about 10 more if needed. I think it will be a much better situation.”

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Benton Co. man arrested in shooting death in Hope

A Saturday night shooting left one man dead and another arrested.

 

Just before 10 p.m. Saturday, deputies from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 300 block of Elm Street in Hope, in regards to a person suffering from a gunshot wound.

 

Officers from the Hope Police Department and BCSO deputies located Jesse W. Bragg, 18, of Hope, who was shot in the chest inside the residence. Medical aid was immediately rendered. Bragg was pronounced deceased at the scene.

 

Detectives from both BCSO and CPD responded to conduct a homicide investigation, which resulted in the arrest of Joseph T. Kidwell, 18, of Fowler, Indiana. Kidwell is charged with reckless homicide – a Level 5 felony.

 

No information was provided as to what led to the shooting. This investigation is ongoing

Two dead in Rush Co. car-train crash

Two people were killed in a Rush County car - train accident.

 

The Rush County Sheriff's Department recdived calls of the crash in Arlington about 2 a.m. Sunday.  The occupants of the vehicle were killed in the crash.  No names have been released as of this report.

 

There were no injuries to anyone on the train.

 

The Rush County Sheriff's Department Fatal Accident Crash Team is investigating.

Edinburgh man charged with murder in Thanksgiving shooting

An Edinburgh man has been arrested for murder in a Thanksgiving Day shooting.

Just after 6 p.m. Thursday, deputies from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a shooting in the area of 15000 N. Bluff Rd. Upon deputies arrival, they found a male subject suffering from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. 

Responding personnel from German Township Fire Department and Columbus Regional Hospital EMS administered medical aid, however the victim was later pronounced deceased at Columbus Regional Hospital.

Damion Bryant, 20, of Edinburgh, was identified as the shooter and was taken into custody. Bryant was interviewed by detectives from BCSO then remanded into the jail on a sole preliminary charge of murder. 

“At this time the investigation is ongoing, we will not be releasing further details surrounding this incident at this time," BCSO spokesperson Detective Dane Duke said.

Assisting on scene at the incident was the Edinburgh Police Department, detectives from the Columbus Police Department, German Township Fire Department and Columbus Regional Hospital EMS. 

 

 

 

Woman killed in McCordsville fire

A woman killed in a McCordsville house fire has been identified.

 

Police and fire arrived at the home in the Bay Creek subdivision about 9 p.m. Wednesday.  Flames and heavy smoke prevented police from gaining entry.

 

Firemen later found Susan Spangler, 68, inside.

 

The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

 

 

Organization Day at Statehouse includes taking of oath for three lawmakers who represent Shelby County

State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) gathered with fellow legislators at the Statehouse for Organization Day — the ceremonial start of the 123rd Indiana General Assembly.

 

Organization Day includes the swearing in of new and returning members of the General Assembly.

 

State Rep. Jennifer Meltzer (R-Shelbyville) (center) joins fellow House lawmakers in taking the oath of office during Organization Day on Tuesday, at the Statehouse.

 

 

Meltzer will serve House District 73 in the General Assembly, which includes portions of Shelby, Decatur, Bartholomew and Jennings counties

 

State Rep. Cory Criswell (R-Middletown) (center) taking the oath of office during Organization Day on Tuesday at the Statehouse.

 

 

Criswell will serve House District 54 in the General Assembly, which includes portions of Hancock, Henry, Rush and Shelby counties.

 

State Rep. Robb Greene (R-Shelbyville) (center) taking the oath of office during Organization Day on Tuesday at the Statehouse.

 

 

Greene will serve House District 47 in the General Assembly, which includes portions of Johnson and Shelby counties.

 

This day also marks the annual first roll call of all state lawmakers and gives each Senate and House of Representatives caucus the opportunity to organize in preparation for the 2023 legislative session.

 

During the first session of each General Assembly, lawmakers craft a comprehensive budget to fund government services for the next two fiscal years.

 

“With the 2023 legislative session underway, I look forward to using all the information gathered this interim to continue my service to Hoosiers,” Crider said. “My fellow legislators and I will be working to create a balanced budget, and I will be working on ways we can improve our state's mental health infrastructure.”

 

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Law enforcement in Shelby, Hancock and Rush receive grants for enhanced traffic enforcement

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) awarded $5.7 million in grant funding to more than 200 police departments for enhanced traffic enforcement.

 

Departments will use the funding to conduct overtime patrols and carry out strategies aimed at curbing dangerous and reckless driving.

 

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department and Shelbyville Police Department were granted $38,500.

 

Hancock County Sheriff's Department with the Greenfield Police Departmen, Fortville Police Department and McCordsville Police Department

were granted $13,000.

 

Rush County and Rushville Police received $8, 000.

 

Most of their efforts will take place during targeted enforcement campaigns, which coincide with some of the deadliest times of the year to be on the road, such as the holiday season and Labor Day. While officers will be on the lookout for all traffic violations, their focus will be on addressing some of the leading causes of fatal crashes including impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving and lack of seat belt use.

 

Ultimately, the goal of the program, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is to help prevent crashes and fatalities through education and enhanced high-visibility enforcement.

 

According to the latest statistical projections from NHTSA, 20,175 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide in the first half of 2022, up slightly from the previous year. Despite the discouraging report, traffic fatalities decreased by 4.9% in the second quarter of 2022 – signifying the first year-to-year decline since the start of the pandemic.

 

Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what statewide data is showing in Indiana, as fatalities continue to rise. As of October, ICJI estimates that 814 people lost their lives in fatal collisions this year. While that’s up 2.4% from the same time in 2021, it represents an 18.5% increase from pre-pandemic 2019.

 

The rising number of crash-related deaths can be attributed, in part, to an increase in unsafe driving behavior such as speeding, driving impaired or distracted, and not wearing seat belts, according to ICJI.

 

The grants were awarded last month using federal NHTSA funds. The largest amount went to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at $1.3 million, as urban areas, like Marion County, continue to see the largest increase in fatal crashes.

 

The first campaign of the program, Safe Family Travel, kicks off next week and is designed to cut down on impaired driving and promote seat belt use during the busy holiday season, followed by a St. Patrick’s Day-focused enforcement operation in March.

 

 

 

Hancock County

Hancock County Sheriff's Department* (TSP)

Greenfield Police Department

Fortville Police Department

McCordsville Police Department

$13,000

 

 

 

 

City preparing for another well-attended downtown holiday celebration

With a newly-redesigned downtown Public Square officially complete, the City of Shelbyville hosted a grand holiday celebration one year ago.

Recreating the perfect alignment of a revitalized city space and unusually warm temperatures may prove difficult for the 2022 celebration, but Mayor Tom DeBaun is ready to try.

“Based upon what we’ve seen with crowds for other (downtown) events, it’s realistic to say we could see that many people again,” said DeBaun from his office Tuesday morning. “I hope we do. It’s a great time and it’s great for the downtown vendors. It’s nice to see everybody having fun.”

The 2022 Christmas holiday celebration will be Dec. 2 at the Public Square from 5 to 8 p.m. The annual parade that culminates with Santa Clause’s arrival in downtown Shelbyville starts at 7 p.m.

Crowd estimates for the 2021 event topped 4,000 people enjoying the Mistletoe Market, the downtown parade and other holiday activities.

The Mistletoe Market will open at 5 p.m. along East Washington Street off the Public Square. There will be a heated tent stocked with more than two dozen vendors.

There also will be vendors inside Blessing’s Opera House on the second floor at 30 E. Washington St.

Food vendors will be located on E. Washington St. and S. Harrison St.

Carriage rides around downtown will start at the former Chase Bank building.

In addition to the vendors at the event, downtown businesses and restaurants will be open.

The parade will again start at the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and move south along N. Harrison St. to the Public Square. The large turnout for the 2021 event proved more safety precautions were needed to separate parade entrants from the people.

“We’ve got solid barricades that will be up to help the turning radius (from N. Harrison St. on to W. Washington St.),” said DeBaun.

Santa’s house, a long-time tradition of the holiday celebration, will return to downtown Shelbyville this year. It has been part of the holiday decorations at Blue River Memorial Park in recent years as the construction process progressed.

“The Santa house will be right there in front of First Federal (Bank),” said DeBaun. “When the parade stops and Santa gets out, we will do everything right there like we have traditionally and Santa will see the kids in his house that night and the remainder of the holiday season.

“That way, it’s very clear where he will be.”

Santa greeted local children inside the former Chase Bank building in 2021.

Once Santa departs his sleigh from the parade, he will help DeBaun illuminate the downtown holiday lights and decorations that will remain on through the holiday season.

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Shelbyville Common Council welcomes three businesses to expanded riverfront district

The Shelbyville Common Council welcomed three new businesses Monday to the newly-expanded riverfront district.

The council previously expanded the riverfront district from 1,500 feet to 3,000 feet south of the river flood plain limits to include all of the Public Square.

“The licensing of beer and wine,” said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun of the advantage to being part of the riverfront district. “You don’t have to go to the state to get (a license). It’s a special license authorized by the city.”

The riverfront district now includes:

  • Spegal’s Prime Cuts located at 48 Public Square.
  • MCCM, LLC, which will open a restaurant at 39 Public Square, the former site of Munchies.
  • Rio Azul, Inc. which will open Blue Agave Mexican Grill and Bar at 530 N. Harrison St. at the site of the former Riverfront Taproom (photo).

Representatives from Rio Azul informed the council at Monday morning’s meeting at City Hall it plans to open the restaurant portion by mid-January and will begin brewing beer on site later in 2023.

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Board of Works, property owner frustrated with tenant maintaining nuisance property

The owner of the property at 1029 S. Miller Avenue and the city’s Board of Works are equally frustrated with a tenant maintaining a nuisance property on the site.

Randy Sturgill maintains he is running a woodworking business on site but trash and debris has been an ongoing issue.

The more recent inspection of the property Friday showed junk and debris posing fire and safety risks, according to Adam Rude, Plan Director for the City of Shelbyville.

Material is now piled so high within the fenced-in yard that it is visible over the top of the estimated six- to seven-foot fence.

“I’ve never had a situation like this before,” said property owner Darrell Mollenkopf at Tuesday’s Board of Works meeting at City Hall.

Sturgill has been ordered to appear before the Board of Works before about debris sitting outside the fence. While there have been efforts to clean up the property, the stockpile of materials continues to grow.

“It’s pretty clear we are tired of dealing with this,” said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun, who is one of three members of the Board of Works.

DeBaun was ready to order the property cleaned up within 30 days but Mollenkopf asked to extend the order past the holiday season.

DeBaun agreed and the Board of Works set the clean-up date by Jan. 3 or the city would remove the materials at what would be Mollenkopf’s expense as the property owner.

DeBaun also encouraged Mollenkopf to consult an attorney to discuss his rights to remove the tenant from the property.

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Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is off and ringing

The familiar small bell sound was present Saturday morning in front of the Walmart Supercenter in Shelbyville. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign officially kicked off for 2022.

“If you see one of the bell ringers and here the ding-a-ling going, please contribute to the fund,” said Major Connie Shaw of the Salvation Army, who was present on a cold, windy Saturday morning at Walmart, 2500 Progress Parkway. “This helps us not only at Christmas time but throughout the whole year.”

The Salvation Army has goals of raising $150,000 this holiday season through donations and has targeted $40,000 as its goal for the Red Kettle Campaign.

“Last year, we came in a little bit short so we really want to encourage people when they see the bucket, think about us and donate please,” said Shaw.

The funds raised throughout the holiday season help the Salvation Army stay in operations the entire year.

“We depend on this,” said Shaw. “This is what we use to function all year round. Not only the kettles but also the donations that come in through the mail, and through the online app. That supports us throughout the year for our feeding programs, our pantry.

“We had pantry (Friday) and ran out of food. We need that financial support. We need those donations as well.”

The Shelbyville Salvation Army is located at 136 E. Washington St. For more information on its services, or to deliver a donation, call 317-398-7421.

Bell ringers will be stationed at the Walmart Supercenter through Christmas. After Thanksgiving, there also will be bell ringers at Kroger supermarket, 1601 E. Michigan Road.

 

 

Bell ringers are needed to operate the kettles. To volunteer, go to registertoring.com and select a time.

“It will ask for your zip code and it will walk you through the process,” said Shaw. “They will notify me as to the days and hours you’ve picked and we will meet you at the kettle location.

“We have some groups that will dress up in dinosaur outfits, or as Santa and elves and make it a real fun time.”

Shaw wishes there were not the need for the Salvation Army’s services, but that’s not the reality of this holiday season.

“Our numbers are up. It’s unfortunate,” said Shaw. “We would love to be put out of business, you might say, but the needs are up. We’ve seen an increase in our Christmas applications for assistance for kids for toys. All the numbers are up. We definitely need to see our income come up as well.”

Photo: Salvation Army Major Connie Shaw, left, bell ringer Ronnie Ward, and Salvation Army Envoy Shannon Benner announce the kickoff to the Red Kettle Campaign Saturday morning at the Walmart Supercenter in Shelbyville.

Hickory Furniture Collective acquires Shelbyville's Old Hickory Furniture Company

Hickory Furniture Collective is pleased to announce the acquisition of Old Hickory Furniture Company in Shelbyville.

 

With this acquisition, Hickory Furniture Collective is now the largest maker of hickory furniture worldwide.

 

“We were a market leader in the contracts and hospitality space, with customers that include the nationwide Twin Peaks Restaurant chain and Japan’s Disney World Wilderness Lodge. However, Old Hickory was the leading brand in the retail markets”

 

Hickory Furniture Collective formed in 2018 with three brands: Hickory Furniture Designs, Flat Rock Furniture, and Rocky Top Furniture. Now, Old Hickory Furniture Company joins the family of brands, all proudly made in the USA.

 

Founded in 1892, Old Hickory has been handcrafting rustic furniture in Central Indiana for nearly 130 years. Old Hickory’s sustainable materials, expert craftsmanship, and timeless pieces are a perfect match for the Hickory Furniture Collective brand.

 

“We were a market leader in the contracts and hospitality space, with customers that include the nationwide Twin Peaks Restaurant chain and Japan’s Disney World Wilderness Lodge. However, Old Hickory was the leading brand in the retail markets,” said Chad Galloway, CEO of Hickory Furniture Collective.

 

Galloway continued, “We realized that our companies had clear synergies and that by acquiring Old Hickory, we’d ensure that we will maintain our manufacturing here in Indiana. I am thrilled to add the iconic Old Hickory Furniture Company to our portfolio, and appreciate the opportunity to lead the brand for decades to come.”

 

Bob Morrison, President of Old Hickory Furniture Company, will remain in the position following the acquisition. He stated, “The Morrison family has been honored to be part of the history of an American treasure like Old Hickory Furniture Company. We’ve helped support and guide Old Hickory over the past 32 years, and we believe the sale of the company to Hickory Furniture Collective will help it flourish for another several decades.”

 

Hickory furniture imparts a rustic, authentic feel to any space. From national parks and theme parks to private cabins and ski lodges, hickory furniture is a favorite among interior designers for its timeless appeal and down home comfort.

 

Furgeson announces campaign to return as mayor of Shelbyville

After two terms as Shelbyville mayor, Scott Furgeson walked away knowing he wanted to do more.

Furgeson’s family and the restaurant he owned just needed him more.

On Friday, Furgeson appeared on the morning show at GIANT fm to announce his intention to run for mayor once again in 2023.

“The decision was kind of made last summer but it was way too early to announce,” said Furgeson, the owner of Cagney’s Pizza King in Shelbyville. “It’s still almost too early to announce. The formal period to sign up doesn’t begin until January.

“We still have a long way to go and a long time to get things organized and figure out exactly what our message is going to be and how we are going to deliver it.”

Current mayor Tom DeBaun has previously announced his third term would be his last term. Furgeson was mayor for the two terms previous to DeBaun’s election.

After eight years away from city government, Furgeson ran for the Common Council Fourth Ward seat and was elected. He previously served two terms on the council before becoming mayor.

“I’m having the same feelings I had back then,” he said. “The city council is an important job in the city but it’s not the nuts and bolts where you actually get it done. The mayor gets it done. The council is in charge of the money and making sure the funds are there to help with those things and pass the rules. The mayor is the more exciting job and the job where if you want to change things and make things happen, that’s where it’s at.”

With two teenagers at home and a business that needed his attention, Furgeson ended his first mayoral reign in 2011.

“When I left being mayor, I thought I would come back,” he explained. “I wasn’t done. I didn’t want it to be done. The kids were going into high school and middle school and business wise, I needed to get out for that aspect.”

 

 

Furgeson held a campaign fundraising event Thursday and made the radio appearance (photo) Friday morning.

City growth was a key component of his two terms as mayor and that has continued through DeBaun’s three terms. Furgeson now believes it’s time for more internal reflection and a new approach to chasing growth.

“We’ve been trying to grow and be different. We’ve been so growth-based. I’m not saying we forgot. When I started 20 years ago that is what I wanted to do so I’m not being critical of the current administration,” said Furgeson. “We’ve been trying to grow and be different for a long time around here. I don’t know if that is what we need. Maybe we need to step back and look at us internally, from the inside, and make ourselves better from the inside out and people will still be attracted to us.

“I’m not saying we’re not going to go after growth or we’re not going to try and be progressive. We need to maybe take a different focus.”

Furgeson discussed other platform ideas Friday with GIANT fm morning show host Johnny McCrory including assisting the police department solve local issues, improving the hirable workforce and helping raise the median income levels.

“It’s not that we don’t want to grow, we want to grow better,” said Furgeson. “It’s going to be hard and we have to realize that. It will take a lot of effort to make it work. I think we need to do things differently because of that.”

Furgeson was mayor of Shelbyville from 2004 through 2011.

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Waldron Jr. Sr. High School goes virtual to deal with high number of illnesses

Waldron Jr. Sr. High School has followed its sister school in Morristown in going to virtual learning due to a growing number of illnesses.

 

Shelby Eastern Superintendent Dr. Todd Hitchcock issued a letter Thursday announcing that Waldron Jr. Sr. high School would go virtual on Friday.  The letter mirrored the one from earlier in the week that launched virtual learning at Morristown. Dr. Hitchcock cited a high number of fluu cases or flu-like illnesses compounded by even more students who were sent home from school.  Indiana Code requires the school district to consult with the local and state health department anytime absences exceed 20% on a given day.  Dr. Hitchcock said the school had achieved that threshold by the end of the day.

 

With that, a transition to virtual learning on Friday. Staff will properly clean and disinfect the school and it's hoped symptoms and cases will subside in that time.

 

The closure includes all extra-curricular activities, contests, meetings and events.  Students who attend Blue River are not expected to attend Friday.  

 

Students should not return to school until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.

 

The move does not impact Waldron Elementary.

 

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