Local News

Shelbyville Spring Clean-Up runs April 1-5

Shelbyville's Spring Clean-up will be April 1-5.  It's on a residents regular trash day.


There will be NO recycling pickup during this week. Residents should save recyclables for the following week for pickup.


The city will pick up large items such as furniture, household trash, appliances (without freon), wood, metal, etc.


The city will NOT pick up anything with live bed bugs.


Anything with freon in it, such as refrigerators or air conditioners must be tagged as having had the freon and the compressor removed before the city can put it into the landfill.


The city also will not pick up tires, or remodeling debris such as roofing shingles and concrete.

The spring clean-up also does not collect televisions or computers, however, these items can be dropped off at the Street Department at no charge throughout the year if you are a city resident.


No more than a regular size truck load amount, no more than approximately an 8X6 section not being taller than four-foot, any more than that is too much. Crews will not stay at one stop for more than 10 minutes.


These are the best guidelines to go by if you are not sure how much is too much. If a stop load size is in question, crews will defer to the supervisor, and any amount that is over that will be left and will be the responsibility of the property owner to remove any and all items left.


Everything must be neatly piled and separated by material type, ie: wood, metal, general trash, furniture-as we have different trucks picking up different items. As always, have your items as by 7:00 am on your pick up day.


Please call the office with questions at 317-392-5169,  the Shelbyville Street Department's Facebook page, or www.cityofshelbyvillein.com for information.


Fountaintown and Morristown firefighters respond to area residence

A shed fire led to damage at a Fountaintown area residence Friday morning.


Shelby County dispatch received a call of a large glow around 1200 North and Division Road in the 6:00 am hour. Fountaintown and Morristown firefighters responded. 


The fire damage to a shed had extended into the home. 


There is no word on a cause at this time.  There were no injuries reported. 


Shelbyville Medics and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department assisted.

County to hold special meeting on new Comp Plan

A new Comprehensive Plan to guide future business and residential development throughout Shelby County remains a work in progress.


Now, following months of effort, the Shelby County Plan Commission wants to wrap it up.


Chairman Doug Warnecke suggested at the Plan Commission's meeting Tuesday evening that the commission meet outside of its regular monthly schedule to finish the comp plan.


“So, I don't know what everybody else thinks, I know everybody's time is valuable, I just think we need a separate comp plan, so we're going to give the best product possible to the commissioners. And I've not been real thrilled with our team. I'd like to have them, or somebody from that organization, at that meeting,” he said.


Warnecke was speaking about the county's consultant, HWC Engineering of Indianapolis, which drafted the new Comp Plan.


In response, Desiree Calderella, executive director of the Shelby County Plan Commission, said she had been in contact with the firm and they were working on addressing questions and comments, and getting a “clean copy” of the new Comp Plan ready for the commission members.


Warnecke noted that one of the goals outlined in the Comp Plan is to promote growth in certain areas; he used Fairland as an example of what he called a “rural town center.”


Commission member Kevin Carson, who's very active in the Shelby County Co-op, a farming cooperative, said cropland needs to be preserved.


Earlier in the meeting Carson called for a moratorium on large-scale solar power installations, and he again cited the recently-approved Ranger Power solar farm as an example of what not to do.


“We don't want to use up farmland which, I'm going to go back to the solar panels. The solar farm did. They used up a bunch of farmland that could've; how many houses, you're worried about zoning the ground, how many houses could you put on 1,700 acres?” Carson said.


The County Plan Commission is set to discuss a possible moratorium on new large-scale solar farms at its April 23 meeting.


No date was set for the special meeting on the Comp Plan. The members did talk about possibly holding it April 30, the fifth Tuesday of the month, to avoid schedule conflicts, but that's not confirmed.


In other matters, the Shelby County Plan Commission approved a rezoning request and a plat for a simple subdivision on 16.4 acres at County Road 8424 N 850 W.


Property owner Deelite Johnson intends to sell the rezoned parcel to a company for use as an office and garage for repairing dump trucks.


The platted portion is to be used for future residential development.

County Plan Commission talks moratorium on solar farms


On April 23, the Shelby County Plan Commission is due to discuss calling for a moratorium on construction of any new large-scale solar power facilities.


Commission member Kevin Carson suggested the moratorium during the Plan Commission's meeting Tuesday evening.


His comment set off a long discussion among the members about the issue and follows approval earlier this month of a large-scale solar farm to be built by Ranger Power northeast of Shelbyville.


“So now we're using 1,725 acres, so basically 3 square miles. I don't think we fathomed that, and I think, I'm aware that we've set, if we don't review it, we've set a precedent that Shelby County could be overrun by solar fields,” Carson said.


Desiree Calderella, executive director of the County Plan Commission, said the members could not vote on the issue Tuesday because a moratorium on solar farms wasn't on their agenda.


Also, a final decision would be up to the Shelby County Commissioners, noted Plan Commission member Terry Smith, who's also on the Shelby County Council.


However the Plan Commission could vote to render an advisory opinion to the commissioners, he said.


Commission Chairman Doug Warnecke cautioned that adding a moratorium to the county's recently-approved solar power ordinance would not necessarily be the final word to prevent future solar farms.


“I don't have any problem with a moratorium, if we choose to go down that path, but what everybody's got to understand is, no matter what we do in that ordinance, somebody can come in and do away with it. That's why it ended up in front of the Board of Zoning Appeals in the first place,” he said.


Ranger Power went to the county zoning appeals board following passage of the county's solar ordinance by the County Commissioners in April last year.


The County Plan Commission's next monthly meeting, when a possible solar farm moratorium is to be discussed, is scheduled for 7 p.m on April 23.


Meetings are held in the Court House Annex, 25 W. Polk St.

Retired Circuit Court Judge Charles O'Connor awarded Sagamore of the Wabash

Governor Eric Holcomb recently gave retired Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Charles O'Connor  Indiana's highest civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash Award.  The award is only given to those who have shown a deep concern for the well-being of others and who have rendered distinguished public service to the State of Indiana.  


Friends gathered Saturday night at a celebratory dinner at the home of Amy and Van McQueen, honoring Judge O'Connor and his wife, Brenda.  Former Shelby County GOP Chairman, J. R. Showers, two former Vice-Chairmen who served with Showers, Amy McQueen and Danae Sponsel, and Jeff Sponsel attended. 


“Though I feel undeserving of this award, I am very honored and  humbled to receive it.”  O'Connor said. 


Showers added, “I am glad to have served as GOP Chairman during some of Judge O'Connor's tenure as Judge, and I want to thank  State Representative Sean Eberhart and former City Councilman Jeff Sponsel for sponsoring Judge O'Connor to be inducted into the prestigious Society of Sagamores.”

County coffers hit by 'big box' tax appeals

Commercial property tax appeals are taking a toll on the county's tax revenues.


And Shelby County is not alone.


On Monday, the Shelby County Commissioners approved a tax refund of $295,000 to CVS following the company's appeal to the state over its property assessment.


County Auditor Amy Glackman said after the meeting that similar property tax appeals cost the county almost $337,000 in 2018.


So far this year, Glackman said appeals have cost the county almost twice as much, nearly $580,000. Large refunds, like the one to CVS, will be repaid over 5 years as reductions in the businesses' future property tax bills, she said.


Commissioner Chris Ross (R-North District) said the refunds stem from a court case; Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R-Center District) said the state legislature is considering changes in the law.


“Go back to the legislation right after the state did their tax reassessment thing; you guys wrote stories on it, the box stores, of how they are assessed,” Ross said.


“And they're working on, at the Statehouse, on something on that situation again this year,” said Nigh.


“Yeah, go back, and that's what I was asking Amy when she brought it up. I remember all the articles. But that has to do with that box store assessment,” said Ross.


The case the commissioners were referring was decided in 2014. That's when the Indiana Board of Tax Review ruled that a Meijer store on 96th Street in Indianapolis should have been assessed at $30 per square foot as opposed to $83 a square foot.


Meijer and other so-called “big box” stores have argued that, under the state's new assessment rules, their active stores should be assessed at the same rate as their vacant stores.


The stores say that business traffic at an active store should not be a factor. Numerous counties have been impacted by the tax appeals.


In February, lawmakers in the Indiana State Senate approved Senate Bill 623 so retailers could no longer use vacant stores as a comparison to appeal the property tax bills of their active stores.


SB 623 passed the Senate by a wide margin, 42 to 7. The bill is now before the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee. But even if approved, the legislation will not affect property tax appeals already decided.


In other matters, the commissioners voted to install a stop sign at the intersection of County Roads 400 West and 775 South near the Tanglewood subdivision.


Reconvened as the Shelby County Drainage Board, the commissioners voted to allow Amy Mullen to connect her property at 7073 E. U.S. 52 to the Alexander tile legal drain.


And the commissioners will have County Surveyor Taylor Sumerford look into concerns that installation of the Ranger Power solar farm will interfere with work planned for the Carmony tile.

Shelby County in lower half of state's health rankings according to annual study

Shelby County is in the bottom half of Indiana counties in a recently released study investigating factors that impact health.


The County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute (UWPHI), look at more than 30 factors including poverty, education, transportation, and jobs - that influence how long and how well people live.


Giridhar Mallya, MD, Senior Policy Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says where we live affects how long and how well we live.


"We rank the health of every county in the country taking into consideration a wide variety of factors.  Health care, for sure, but also things like unemployment rates, the rates of high school graduation so it's really a holistic look at health."


Overall, Shelby ranks 53rd in the state.  Hamilton County is the state's top-ranked healthiest county.  Shelby County neighbors Hancock (5th), Johnson (9th), Decatur (28th) and Bartholomew (35th) all rate higher.  Rush County (58th) and Marion County (76th) are ranked below Shelby.


This year's rankings also take a closer look at the links between housing and health - including the impact of the housing affordability crisis, residential segregation and trends in renting vs. home ownership.


Mallya suggests local leaders use the county health rankings as a starting point for decision making.


The 2019 Rankings area available online at www.countyhealthrankings.org.


Shelby County's statistics can be seen below.




Shelby County



Top U.S. Performers



Health Outcomes  (Indiana rank)


Length of Life  (Indiana rank)


Premature death








Quality of Life  (Indiana rank)


Poor or fair health








Poor physical health days








Poor mental health days








Low birthweight









Health Factors  (Indiana rank)


Health Behaviors  (Indiana rank)


Adult smoking








Adult obesity








Food environment index








Physical inactivity








Access to exercise opportunities








Excessive drinking








Alcohol-impaired driving deaths








Sexually transmitted infections








Teen births









Clinical Care  (Indiana rank)










Primary care physicians
















Mental health providers








Preventable hospital stays








Mammography screening








Flu vaccinations









Social & Economic Factors (Indiana rank)


High school graduation








Some college
















Children in poverty








Income inequality








Children in single-parent households








Social associations








Violent crime








Injury deaths









Physical Environment  (Indiana rank)


Air pollution - particulate matter








Drinking water violations








Severe housing problems








Driving alone to work








Long commute - driving alone








Emogene Plymate was synonymous with the Shelby County Fair

Emogene Plymate spent years serving the Shelby County Fair as treasurer, running the fair's queen contest and more.  Plymate passed away on Monday.


Plymate, 78, of Shelbyville, was born August 10, 1940, in Shelby County.  She graduated from Fairland High School in 1958.


Plymate was very active in the Shelby County Fair Association. She served as the treasurer for numerous years, helped with the Shelby County Fair Queen Contest, the Little Mr. and Miss Contest and the baby contest. She enjoyed the fair and all of the activities and hard work it required to make it a success.


Plymate was also a leader in the Indiana Association of Fairs, helping make the annual convention a success by being the Chair of the Registration Committee since 1997. She also was the Youth Talent Coordinator for the Indiana State Fair for numerous years. Emogene attended the IAFE Convention for Fairs and Expositions for over 20 years.


She was an Academy of Fair Festival Leadership Recipient.


Visitation will be from 2 to 6 pm Sunday, March 24, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Carmony-Ewing Chapel, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville.


Funeral services will be at 10 am Monday, March 25, 2019 at the funeral home.


Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Shelbyville.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Shelby County Fair Association, P.O. Box 977, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176 or Cancer Association of Shelby County, P.O. Box 844, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176.

Gordmans opens in Shelbyville


More than 100 people braved the cold drizzle Wednesday afternoon to be the first customers of the new Gordmans store in Shelbyville.


The retailer's staff held a ribbon-cutting ceremony as the shoppers waited for the doors to open at Gordmans, located at 1818 E. State Road 44.


During the ceremony, Gordmans presented a check for $1,000 to Shelbyville High School.


Cassidy Judge is the store manager. She said they have a variety of items, including clothing and shoes for all ages, but the specialty is home décor.


Asked how Gordmans is growing while so many brick and mortar retailers are shutting their doors due to online competition, Judge said the key is discounting.


“It's an off-price place, so, you know, you don't have the high price. We don't do coupons, but we do have the low prices that will keep our customers coming,” she said.


Off-price retailers sell overstock and out-of-season items at a discount. According to the industry website – www.retaildive.com - the off-price sector is flourishing, due to low prices, convenience and variety of merchandise.


Gordmans is owned by Stage Stores Inc. headquartered in Houston. Stage Stores entered the off-price market by acquiring Gordmans in 2017.


Besides 58 Gordmans locations, Stage Stores operates about 800 BEALLS, GOODY’S, PALAIS ROYAL, PEEBLES and STAGE specialty department stores in 42 states.


Stage Stores employs about 14,500 workers and had 2016 sales totaling $1.4 billion, according to the company's website – www.corporate.stage.com.

Shelby County Council approves solar farm tax abatement

The Shelby County Council gave its go-ahead to the financial request associated with a planned 1800 acre solar farm.


On Tuesday night the council approved a tax abatement request by Ranger Power for the 199-megawatt solar power facility.


The county's Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-to-2 in favor of a variance for the use of the cropland leased from area residents.


Approval of the $175 million project, called “Speedway Solar,” came last week when the county's Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3 to 2 to grant a variance to allow Ranger Power to use the cropland for the commercial solar operation.


Tuesday’s vote was 5-1 with one abstention.


County council member Terry Smith said he felt it was better that he not vote on the abatement although he's been involved in the discussion.  Smith noted that he has family that owns land involved in the solar farm but doesn't own any himself.


County council member Linda Sanders did not vote in favor of abatement.


"I am for the project.  It's just the abatement.  When I read over the information, nothing reall stood out to me that said, my goodness, we have to do this as a county, we have to jump on this, it's a total win-win situation.  And i just felt like with everything we'd be putting into it that it just didn't seem like it was necessary that we needed to embark on this program at this time." 


The solar farm is expected to begin operation in 2023.  Wabash Valley Power has signed a 35-year agreement to purchase the power generated by the solar farm to sell to its customers in central and northern Indiana.


City preps for East Washington project; orders property cleanup and gives itself land

Folks planning to attend the city's upcoming summertime festivities downtown may want to double-check event schedules.


East Washington Street starting at the Public Square will be getting a serious makeover in the coming months.


In particular, the Taste of Shelby County event on June 7 and the Wine Walk on June 21 will be impacted by the East Washington project, so there may be some changes, according to city officials.


The Shelbyville Common Council's Downtown Projects Committee and Mayor Tom DeBaun met Tuesday morning in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., to talk about easing the impact the project will have on businesses and residents.


“We've made it very clear to the contractors that maintenance of traffic is important, both vehicles and pedestrians. Understanding that Franklin and Jackson Streets aren't available, we still understand the front of the building is imperative. So that was part of the discussion as well,” DeBaun said.


There's a pre-construction meeting next week between city officials and staff of Beaty Construction Inc. of Boggstown to talk over the East Washington Street renovation. The city will stress the need to keep businesses accessible, he added.


Beaty won the project with a base bid of $2.36 million. It was not the lowest bid, but Olco Inc, the low bidder, didn't meet the project specs, DeBaun said.


In addition, Ratio Architects, the project designer, is to have an office here open a couple of days each week to address questions and concerns.


And City Engineer Matt House said Tom Zimmer, a professional engineer, is due to start knocking on doors along East Washington to talk with business and property owners about the project.


In addition to the street and sidewalk construction, DeBaun said the city will look into upgrading telecommunications along the street.


Yeah, we'll be replacing concrete from curb to storefront; the asphalt will be a mill and replace. It won't be a full-depth reconstruction. And the other discussion we'll have is that, when we're doing the replacement of sidewalks, we'll be talking about doing conduits for fiber down through there,” he said.


The first part of the East Washington renovation, going from the Public Square to Pike Street next to the Post Office, is to be finished by Oct. 31, said House, the city engineer.


The remainder of the work, going more than one block from Pike Street to the railroad tracks just past Noble Street, is to be done by the end of the construction season, he said.


Prior to the Downtown Projects meeting Tuesday, the city's Board of Works met in City Hall and voted to have the city clean up a property at 102 McKinley St. and bill the owner.


The board thanked the owner of 508 Tom Van Arden Dr. who appeared in person, and who had cleaned up his property at the city's request.


Also, the Board of Works voted to give a parcel of land the city owns next to the intersection of East State Road 44 and Interstate 74 to the city's Redevelopment Commission.


The parcel is adjacent to a large tract of land commonly known as the Presbyterian property.


Recently, the Redevelopment Commission bought the Presbyterian property. The Board of Works wanted to place the city-owned, 10-acre parcel under the commission's authority as it seeks to develop the overall site.


And the board was reminded that the city's annual spring heavy trash pickup will take place the week of April 1 through April 5.


No recycling will be picked up during that week.

Mayor calls on residents to support gaming bill

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun is asking for help.


He would like residents to contact state lawmakers in the Indiana House of Representatives and urge them to support Senate Bill 552. 


That's the gaming legislation that would allow live dealers at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino as of July 1 this year. 


DeBaun made the request on Monday evening at a meeting of the Shelbyville Common Council in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.


In the council's premeeting, the mayor noted potential opposition in the House to the legislation which passed the state Senate in February.


“I think when Speaker of the House Bosma indicated that he saw this as an expansion, and expressed concerns, that really kind of threw everybody. No one had expected that because he didn't made those comments prior. So everybody's kind of wading through that as well,” DeBaun said.


The mayor told City Council members and others at the meeting that Senate approval of moving a casino from Gary to Terre Haute has other casinos lined up at the Statehouse to get things they want, so now is the time to push hard for House to pass Senate Bill 552.


DeBaun noted that allowing live dealers at Indiana Grand would create 300 jobs, many of them paying high wages.


The mayor said he and others are going up to Indianapolis on Wednesday to talk with state lawmakers and seek support for the gaming bill. 


More information and contacts at the legislature are available at – www.iga.in.gov.


In other matters, the City Council on Monday unanimously approved adding a fee of $1,005 on all new homes built in the city to help offset the impact new residents will have on the city's parks. No one spoke in opposition to measure.


Council members also approved spending $44,000 to build a dog park and $45,000 to outfit an ambulance, which gives the fire department five ambulances.


Also, the council voted 6-1 to approve additional spending of $1.4 million in racino funds to upgrade East Washington Street, the first phase of the mayor's overall downtown redevelopment.


Councilman Brad Ridgeway (R-4th Ward) voted against the additional appropriation because of a jump in the cost when the project grew from one block to more than two blocks.


Ridgeway asked City Engineer Matt House to step up to the podium to go over the cost increase.


“Help me, explain to me, in just a short period of time as you can, how we went from the original project, which was, according to you, a little over $600,000, correct? For one block. (House: 'The base bid at the time, yes.')”


House and Mayor DeBaun noted that the second block of the project is longer, plus there were additional costs related to making parts of the sidewalk handicapped accessible, and there were extra engineering costs.


At the start of the council meeting, Chief Mark Weidner honored a 9th grader at Shelbyville High School for her support of the police department.


Breanna Aldridge was made an honorary police officer. She sends cards and brings gifts to the officers who are grateful, Weidner said.

Tax abatement for solar farm is on council agenda

On Tuesday evening, the Shelby County Council is scheduled to consider a property tax abatement for Ranger Power.


The Brooklyn, New York, company is set to build a 199-megawatt solar power facility on an 1,800-acre site northeast of Shelbyville.


Approval of the $175 million project, called “Speedway Solar,” came last week when the county's Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3 to 2 to grant a variance to allow Ranger Power to use the cropland for the commercial solar operation.


Nearby landowners opposed the plan fearing it would hurt their property values.


Some members of the county's farming community objected to taking farmland out of crop production, and were concerned about possible contamination of the site. 


Ranger Power leased the land so the ownership hasn't changed, and the zoning variance didn't change the designated use as farmland.


The company has submitted a plan to remove the solar installation at the end of its roughly 40-year lifespan so the land could be farmed again.


When operational in 2023, the facility's 700,000 solar panels are expected to produce enough electricity to power 35,000 homes, according to information on the website – www.speedwaysolar.com.


The website states the project will produce “at least $15.7 million” in revenue for Shelby County over the life of the solar farm.


Wabash Valley Power of Indianapolis has signed a 35-year deal to buy all the electricity produced by the facility.


The Shelby County Council meeting on Ranger Power's request for a tax abatement is due to start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening in the Court House Annex, 25 W. Polk St., second floor.

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce teaming with UnitedHealthcare to create insurance opportunities for members

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce is working to create a new benefit for its members and one that may have impact across several chambers and communities.


Executive Director Julie Metz says associated health plans are now a reality and the chamber is actively pursuing the opportunity.


“Associations can establish a health care plan and offer it to their members.  The Chamber has been taking with UnitedHealthcare and they are interested in forming a partnership to bring health care benefits to our small to medium-size businesses.”


Metz says they consulted Major Health Partners, locally, as a part of the process and they with UnitedHealthcare are developing plans and rates. UnitedHealthcare is proposing having the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce serve the central Indiana region which would go as far north as Muncie and Columbus, in the south.


Metz notes similar programs in Texas and Nevada where an association has served as a hub for the program.


“A business, let’s say in Delaware County, should be a member of the their local chamber.  As long as that chamber wants to participate in our program then that’s the gateway for those businesses to come through that associated health plan and offer those benefits to their employees.”


The impact could mean greater savings to small businesses.


“We understand the benefit is that a small business is, typically, quoted a small group price.  With this association they now will be quoted large group rates.”


The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce isn’t, itself, a licensed insurance broker.  Insurance brokers who are members of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce will offer the plans.


Metz says the chamber hopes to launch August 1.

Parks fee goes before City Council Monday evening

A plan to levy a fee on new home construction to fund city parks is set for a public hearing at the Shelbyville Common Council meeting on Monday.


Based on a study by Lehman & Lehman Inc. of Mishawaka, the city would impose a fee of $1,005 on each new home built in Shelbyville if the council votes in favor of the proposal.


Proceeds from the fee would go toward future park needs; priorities include softball fields, park shelters, multi-use nature trails and open space areas.


Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun noted that only those who build new homes would have to pay the impact fee, and it would be a small part of the overall construction cost.


“I think again the key is that people need to understand it's not a tax on an existing home. It's not a tax that's assessed when you buy a home or sell a home. It's only assessed when you build a home. And we looked at, and I said this on the record last time, our average single-family permit values last year were over $170,000. So I think looking at this, it was less than one-half of 1 percent of the total budget,” he said.


DeBaun said he's had no negative input from home builders or members of the public about the park impact fee. 


However, he asked the City Council to move its meeting on Monday to the evening from its regular time in the morning to make it easier for people to attend.


The council granted the request. Monday's Common Council meeting is due to begin at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.


Other items on the council's agenda include an additional appropriation of $1.4 million in racino funds to pay for upgrading East Washington Street from the Public Square to the railroad tracks just beyond Noble Street. 


The project is due to begin this spring. It's the first phase of the mayor's overall downtown redevelopment plan. 


Also the City Council is to consider proposals to spend $44,000 to build a dog park, and $45,000 for supplies to equip an ambulance for the fire department.

Local events showcase Disability Awareness Month

About 200 people turned out to cheer the winners and nominees at the second annual Aspire Awards in Breck Auditorium at Shelbyville High School on Wednesday evening.


The Aspire Awards honor those who've overcome developmental challenges, and those who help them. 


It was the first of three activities locally to mark National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month held in March each year.


Coming up on Friday is the annual Open House and awards ceremony at Shares Inc., which offers life-skills education and jobs to those with disabilities.


Shares is located at 1611 S. Miller St. in the building behind the Headstart office, next door to the bowling alley.


The Shares Open House and awards ceremony will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The event is free. Light refreshments will be served.


And the third of the three local programs in honor of Disability Awareness Month is set to take place at 6 p.m. on March 26.


Six local organizations have joined to host the Disability Awareness Dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 413 E. South St.


The Shelbyville VC Aktion Club, which is part of Kiwanis; the Arc of Shelby County; SENSES Gym; Shares Inc.; Shelbyville Central Schools; and Shelby County Special Olympics are co-sponsors.


Everyone is welcome to attend the dinner, but an RSVP is required, said Don Collins, president of the local Arc chapter and longtime advocate for people with special needs.


“They can just call me, or they can send it to my address, or they can send it to any one of the participating groups, like Special Olympics, Shares, the Arc, the Aktion Club, Shelbyville Central Schools, anybody connected with them or knows them and wants to attend can let them know or let me know,” he said.


Collins can be reached at 317-398-6708. There's no charge to attend the Disability Awareness Dinner.

Shelbyville Central board tours preschool

Members of the Board of Trustees for the Shelbyville Central Schools Corp. got a first-hand look Tuesday evening at the new preschool going into the former Marsh Supermarket building, 1015 E. State Road 44. The board took a detailed tour of the roughly 62,000-square-foot facility which is due to house about 200 kids when it opens this fall.


And the school board got some good news about the Golden Bear Preschool – the school corporation reported that, after bidding, the nearly $13.3 million project is almost $493,000 under budget.


Superintendent David Adams told the board that the way the bond is structured, leftover funds could be used at the other schools in Shelby Central.


City looking at roundabout near high school; storm drainage along South West Street

Plans for a roundabout to ease traffic congestion near Shelbyville High School and drainage improvements on the city's southwest side have the go-ahead.


The Shelbyville Board of Works has approved contracts with two companies to develop proposals for those projects.


City Engineer Matt House presented the contracts to the board on Tuesday. The first is an agreement with Zimmer Construction Engineering LLC of Indianapolis for the roundabout.


“It's for intersection improvements on Miller Street and McKay Road. It's a signed contract; there'll be a contract between us and the state coming later. We got a $2.4 million grant awarded last year for intersection improvements. We have a traffic system that points to a roundabout as the best solution,” House told the board.


Construction could begin in 2022 and finish in 2023, he said.


House noted that roundabout circles can be offset so traffic can continue to flow through the intersection during much of the construction.


Board of Works member David Finkel is also on the Shelbyville Central School board. He said the school is all for the project.


Sidewalks for the area near the high school will be put in along with the roundabout, Finkel added.


The second contract House presented to the Board of Works was for drainage upgrades to the area of Shelbyville between McKay Road and Evans Street, down the hill from Miller Street.


Commonwealth Engineers Inc. of Indianapolis has looked at a drainage pipe that runs along the bottom of that hill and drains south to a ditch, House said after the meeting.


So last year they studied the capacity of the pipe and the ditch. They found out the pipe is really undersized, the ditch is undersized. So even if you fix one or the other, you still have some flooding,” he said.


Solutions look to be expensive, so they're trying to find cost-effective remedies, House said.


The contract with Commonwealth is for general services, so there's no fixed amount, he said.

Solar farm plan goes before zoning board Tuesday

A large crowd is expected Tuesday evening as the Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals again takes up the issue of a proposed solar energy installation.


Ranger Power of Brooklyn, New York, has proposed building a solar energy farm northwest of Shebyville. The company's leased nearly 1,800 acres from property owners for the project.


At a packed hearing in November, the county zoning board voted 3-2 against the company's request for a land use variance needed to install the solar panels.


The company and its local affiliate, Speedway Solar, refiled the petition, including a plan to remove the solar installation at the end of its roughly 40-year lifespan.


“A decommissioning plan, yup, that's been filed and reviewed. I actually went through that and kind of, added to it, so we agreed on what it's going to be,” said Desiree Calderella, director of the Shelby County Plan Commission.


Calderella said the size of the site has increased to nearly 1,800 acres, but the number of solar panels under the revised plan is now about 800 less.


The company leased additional acreage and increased set backs to help mitigate the impact on nearby residents, she said.


Neighbors of the proposed site have objected, saying the huge fields of solar panels will ruin their property values and may pollute the land.


Farmers have also objected to taking what's now primarily cropland out of production in favor of the solar installation.


At the Shelby County Commissioners meeting Monday morning, Commissioners Kevin Nigh (R-Center District) and Don Parker (R-South District), who are both farmers, said that despite some comments, the plan is not a done deal and the zoning board could reject the solar farm petition.


The public hearing on the solar farm is due to begin at 7 p.m on Tuesday evening in Breck Auditorium at Shelbyville High School, 2003 S. Miller St.


Also at the commissioners meeting, the board approved using the Shelby County Highway Garage, 1304 N. Michigan Road, for the annual low-cost rabies clinic put on by veterinarian Dr. William Doig.


The vaccinations are scheduled to take place at the highway garage from 10:30 a.m. to noon on April 13 and from 2 to 3 p.m. on April 27.

Bishopp's Appliances plans to continue on after recent passing of owner, Dick Bishopp

Business is good at a Shelbyville appliance institution.  And, despite the loss of its leader in business and family, Bishopp’s Appliances expects to continue in Shelbyville and Columbus.


Longtime local business and civic leader Dick Bishopp passed away January 16. Bishopp owned and operated Bishopp's Appliances on Shelbyville's Public Square and its Columbus location.


Bishopp, 81, had recently undergone heart surgery and was recovering and doing well after its completion.  He died at Franciscan Health Heart Center from separate complications about a week after the surgery.


His nephew, Doug Cassidy, quells any rumors that the stores might be closing.


“Our business is good so we’re not going anywhere.  I’m just gonna pick up more of what Dick did and we’re gonna move on, forge on as him and my grandfather set out for us.”


Cassidy says it’s a veteran group at the Shelbyville store, including Dick’s wife, Becky.


"Becky’s back to work, strong lady.  She does all our book work and Dennis has been with us 47 years and he’s like a big brother.”


Cassidy has been working at the stores since he was a kid and managing operations for nearly 25 years.  He says they look forward to continuing on.


“We thank the community and it’s been great since 1947.  We’ll just keep going.  That’s what grandpa and Uncle Dick set out for us to do.  We’ll do the best we can do.


Shoppers invited to fun grand opening celebration March 20 at Shelbyville Gordmans

Apparel and home décor retailer Gordmans, a division of Stage Stores, will debut a new department store in Shelbyville with a Grand Opening Celebration beginning with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20. Gordmans, to be located at 1818 E. State Road 44, opens March 21 with its regular hours 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.


The new Shelbyville store is part of an exciting Gordmans Grand Opening Tour Celebration, which includes 38 brand new Gordmans stores opening this March across the country. In addition, the 67 current Gordmans stores are joining in to celebrate Gordmans’ incredible growth, based on shoppers loving the retailer’s bigger deals and smaller prices every day. As part of the festivities, the new and current Gordmans stores will be offering giveaways and other fun surprises.


Community members are invited to the Shelbyville Gordmans ribbon cutting, joining representatives from the City of Shelbyville and the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, before stepping inside the new store to discover the fun finds and exciting deals on name brand apparel, home décor and more. Additionally that evening, as part of Gordmans’ commitment to Shelbyville, the retailer will donate $1,000 to Shelbyville High School.


  • Free Gift Plus Shopping Cards: The first 100 guests in line at the Grand Opening Celebration will receive a free gift and an opportunity to win a$50 gift card or $5 shopping card.
  • Rewards Galore: Gordmans guests who enroll in Style Circle Rewards will enjoy incredible payback rewards, double-double points, a birthday gift and more.
  • Gordmans Credit Card Savings:Gordmans’ guests who apply and are approved for a Gordmans credit card will receive 20 percent off their first day’s purchases.


“Gordmans is excited to join the Shelbyville community. At Gordmans we create an exciting place where terrific deals and popular name brands are at every turn,” said Michael Glazer, President and CEO of Stage Stores. “Gordmans is among the best, with trend-right décor, fun accessories and seasonal items — all at values our guests love. We are committed to bringing our guests bigger deals and smaller prices — and with fresh new deliveries arriving weekly, there will always be something new to discover. From men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, to shoes and home décor, Gordmans has deals like nowhere else.”

POET makes Fast Company annual list of "World's Most Innovative Companies"

POET and its new JIVE asphalt product have earned the No. 3 spot in this year’s Fast Company “World’s Most Innovative Companies.”


POET made the annual ranking in the transportation category thanks to its new proprietary asphalt rejuvenator and modifier, now being used to pave roadways in states across the U.S.


“Our world is addicted to fossil fuels. At POET, we’re breaking that addiction,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “Biofuels like ethanol are the best solution to reverse the devastating effects of climate change caused by a century of burning fossil fuels. And POET’s impact extends beyond the fuel tank; we’re launching additional bioproducts from starch and biomass including a new eco-friendly, renewable asphalt component for US roadways. We’re making the roads we drive on as green as the biofuels used to power our vehicles.”


“We are truly honored to be recognized by Fast Company for creating sustainable solutions to our world’s most challenging problems,” he said. “At POET, we’re committed to striving for innovations to help build a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”


The Fast Company annual list honors businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s volatile world. This year, Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries and every region. The World’s Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.


“Established players are showing the same kind of nimbleness that we’ve generally associated with startups,” said Fast Company deputy editor David Lidsky, who oversaw the issue with senior editor Amy Farley.


JIVE is used to maintain the integrity of roads in both high- and low-temperature conditions. It helps stop cracking in cold weather and rutting in warm weather. It also softens old asphalt for recycling.


JIVE is a lower-cost, better performing product than the petroleum-based modifiers historically used. With $175 billion spent by state and local governments annually for highway construction and maintenance, lower-cost environmental options are sorely needed. POET has the capacity to produce enough JIVE to pave a highway around the world each year.


For more information, visit https://poet.com/asphalt.


Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March-April 2019) is now available online, with POET’s ranking at https://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2019/sectors/transportation, as well as in app form via iTunes and on newsstands beginning Feb. 27.

City council reviews park fee; pool upgrades; dog park

A public hearing is slated for March 18 in City Hall on the proposal to levy a fee on new home construction to help fund Shelbyville's parks.


Mayor Tom DeBaun told the Shelbyville Common Council that public notice regarding the parks impact fee has to be published before a hearing can take place.


Under the proposal drafted by a consultant, a fee of $1,005 could be levied on each new home built in Shelbyville to offset the impact new residents would have on the city's parks. The fee would be applied to all new homes, including those built by current city residents.


In other matters, the City Council on Monday evening approved spending $106,050 for a “Splashtacular” water slide installation for the city pool.


Tricia Tackett, assistant director at the Shelbyville Parks & Recreation Department, described the reasons for the project.


“We do have a pool that's 20 years old, but we're trying to put features in there to help keep it going and help somewhat compete with surrounding counties and what they have.  I know we don't have a new pool at this time, but what we do have, I really feel this is a positive direction for us to go in,” Tackett said.


The council also got an update on the proposed dog park at Blue River Memorial Park. 


The estimated cost is nearly $54,000.  Leadership Shelby County, a program run by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, has raised $10,600 to help pay for the dog park.


A $7,000 grant now in the application process may also offset some of the cost.


The City Council also said farewell to a former member.


Late last year, David Carmony resigned his seat representing the city's 2nd Ward on the council because he moved out of the county.  DeBaun presented Carmony with a plaque to mark his service.


Carmony thanked the mayor and council members, and he addressed a group of high school students attending the council meeting.


“So I would encourage you sometime in your life to think about running for public office.  It's a great experience; it was fun for me to get out in the neighborhoods 7 years ago, knock on doors, identify yourself, and get to make a stand on what you believe and what you don't believe.”


DeBaun also noted another milestone at Monday's City Council meeting.  Police Chief Mark Weidner celebrated 30 years of service on the force.


City Council members argue over downtown redevelopment

The Shelbyville Common Council did not vote on Mayor Tom DeBaun's proposal to move ahead with three major downtown projects.


That would happen only after a public hearing scheduled for April 1.


However, some council members did have a lengthy exchange on whether or not the plan should go forward.


On Monday evening, the city's Redevelopment Commission approved using a special state law that allows for public-private partnerships, known as P-3s, to carry out the downtown plan.


The proposals include reconfiguring the Public Square, renovating the Methodist Building and constructing executive-style homes on the old Major Hospital site about two blocks west of the Square.


At the City Council's premeeting, which took place right after the Redevelopment Commission met, Councilman Rob Nolley (R-3rd Ward), said people he declined to identify want to put a restaurant on the Square and told him, “This project better happen.”


Nolley also said there are a couple of people wanting to buy buildings downtown.


“In particular, one building has the potential for some nice, high-quality, what they refer to as Manhattan-style apartments, and they're concerned if the downtown project doesn't happen, those won't work,” Nolley said.


However, Councilman Brad Ridgeway (R-4th Ward) challenged the downtown proposal.


“I'm not convinced doing a two-block area while the rest of the city goes downhill is the way to go. That's just my opinion. I just want to go on the record. When you say, you know, developers don't usually work like that. 'You do that; I'll do that.' I don't see any big windfalls coming in 'cause that's a two-block area. There's no plans for the other downtown,” Ridgeway said.


Ridgeway is running for mayor of Shelbyville in this year's election against DeBaun, a Democrat.


The mayor told the City Council's premeeting that the P-3 public-private partnership efforts have worked in other communities.


“Lebanon, Martinsville, you know, other places, are spending these dollars and seeing new investment on the private side to compliment the public money being spent. Indianapolis over the last 15 years has reinvented itself because of the public money that's been spent and the private investment that's followed," DeBaun said.


In a related matter, on Tuesday morning, the Shelbyville Board of Works and Public Safety voted to award a contract to redevelop East Washington Street to Beaty Construction Co. of Boggstown.


DeBaun noted Beaty wasn't the lowest of the three bids, but the low bidder, Olco Inc., didn't submit a complete proposal, and the bid by Milestone Construction was well above Beaty's $2.36 million base bid.


A $642,000 grant through the state's Community Crossings program will help offset that cost.


DeBaun said after the Board of Works meeting he expects work on East Washington Street can begin in about one month, and he'll be visiting with business owners on the street to see about easing the impact the project will have on their operations.

Public hearing due April 1 on major downtown plan for Shelbyville

Revitalize the Public Square; refurbish the Methodist Building; develop the old Major Hospital site.


On April 1, the city is set to hold a public hearing on proposals to do those three projects, using a special public-private partnership mechanism available under state law.


Indiana Code 5-23 is known as a “Build-Operate-Transfer” statute.  It allows communities to enter into a P-3, or public-private partnership, to carry out an economic development or infrastructure project. 


On Monday evening, the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission approved using the B-O-T method for the three projects.


After the meeting, Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun explained the process.


“Basically, that allows us to move forward with the presentation we made to the finance committee and the city council a few weeks ago about creating a budget for the downtown, the Methodist Building and the former hospital site.  The third motion they made and approved was allowing us to advertise for the “Build-Operate-Transfer” request for proposals.”


Once contractor bids are in following the R-F-P,  a committee will review the bids, DeBaun said.


That “B-O-T” committee includes the mayor, Sam Terrell, who's on the Redevelopment Commission, David Finkel, a member of the city's Board of Works, and Matt House, the city engineer.


Last month, Tim Barrick of Ratio Architects talked to the Shelbyville Common Council about the Public Square project.  Also, Ron Kelsay of Genesis Property Group and the Riverfront Taproom made a proposal about the Methodist Building, and Chris King proposed building executive housing on the Major Hospital site.


At the public hearing on April 1, Mayor DeBaun said the review committee may recommend a winning bid for those projects to the Redevelopment Commission.

Shelbyville City Council to hear parks fee plan

Monday evening, the Shelbyville Common Council is due to take up the issue of levying a fee on new home construction to help fund the city parks.


Last week, the city's Plan Commission unanimously OK'd the idea.

Lehmam & Lehman Inc., a consultant in Mishawaka, developed the “parks impact fee” proposal.


The firm concluded a fee of $1,005 per new home would be needed to offset the impact new residents would have on the city's parks.  Chuck Lehman, president of the consulting firm, told GIANT FM the fee would apply to all new homes built in the city, including those built by people already living in Shelbyville.


The City Council could vote on the parks impact fee at tonight's meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.

Funeral services announced for James "Poochie" Macklin

One of Shebyville's best known residents has died.


James E. Macklin, better known as “Poochie,” was born on Sept. 13, 1953, in Hickman, KY, the son of Jannie and Joe Macklin.


His family moved to Shelbyville in 1959.


Macklin was a businessman, at one time owning a successful pub in Shelbyville called “Poochies,” and he was an accomplished woodworker, building furniture pieces for clients and family.


A number of years ago, Macklin was a contestant on the TV game show, Hoosier Millionaire, and won the $1 million grand prize.


In 2011, Macklin ran for a seat on the Shelbyville City Council along with six other Democrat council candidates, and current Clerk-Treasurer Frank Zerr and Mayor Tom DeBaun, who were both elected.


Poochie Macklin is survived by his daughter, Mariaha; brothers Tommy, Henry, Roland, and Bruce Macklin; and sisters, Doris, Brenda, Bettye, and Theresa Macklin; and several nieces and nephews.


Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Crossroads Community Church, 475 Progress Parkway, in Shelbyville.


Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the church with Pastor Andy Lee officiating.


Burial will be at Forest Hill Cemetery.


Online condolences may be shared at – www.murphyparks.com.


Hundreds attend Chamber Awards Gala

Outstanding individuals and companies in Shelbyville and Shelby County are likely still glowing from their “Night to Shine.” 

That was the theme of the 2019 Chamber Awards Gala hosted by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

Several hundred people attended the Chamber's “Night to Shine” awards gala at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino on Thursday evening.

A total of 10 awards are given at the annual event - seven to individuals and three to companies and organizations.

In the individual category, Karen Stieneker was named the 2019 Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

“I'm fortunate that I'm still able to do this volunteer work that I do,” she said, “It takes many volunteers for this to happen, and on behalf of those volunteers, I accept this award.” 

Stieneker is a retired paralegal. She volunteers extensively at Shelby Senior Services, and, for 56 years, with the Daughters of Isabella, a service group at the St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Eric Sutton was the winner of the 2019 Golden Apple Outstanding Educator Award.

“I want to thank the whole community of Shelbyville for supporting the schools, supporting all the teachers. It's so important.” he said.

Sutton's been an art teacher at Loper Elementary School since 1996.  He leads his students to do artworks for SCUFFY and the annual “Drug Free” calendar put out by the county prosecutor's office. 

Dennis Baker, co-founder of Builders Lumber and Hardware, was named the 2019 John A. Hartnett Sr. Business Person of the Year.

His son, Brian, accepted the award following a video featuring his father, and promised to carry on in his father's footsteps.

In the other individual categories:

Beth Case was the winner of the 2019 “Dick Kitchin” Volunteer of the Year Award.

Case is a financial advisor at Edward Jones.  She's also vice president of the local Business and Professional Women's organization and has been very active in the Chamber and other groups.

Tom Rosenfeld was the winner of the 2019 Shelby County Community Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rosenfeld is retired from State Farm Insurance after 44 years.  He's been involved with the Salvation Army board, SCUFFY, Rotary Club and the Blue River Community Foundation.

Chris Browder was the winner of the 2019 Golden Pineapple Customer Service Award.

Browder began volunteering at the Shelby County Animal Shelter in 2006 and was hired as administrative assistant 2 years later.  She helps grieving families who must have a pet put to sleep.

Tom Johnson was the winner of the 2019 Pay It Forward Award.

Johnson is president of Ryobi Die Casting (USA) Inc.  He's supported SCUFFY for 17 years along with the Boys Club and Girls Inc., particularly the recent Girls Inc. expansion.

Recipients of the awards for individuals were known in advance.

However, the suspense built throughout the evening at the Chamber Awards Gala leading to the announcements of the business and nonprofit awards.

Those awards are given for contributions from both business growth, and volunteer work, that impact the community:

Knauf Insulation was named 2019 Large Business Champion of the Year

Shelby Materials was named 2019 Small Business Champion of the Year;

Blue River Community Foundation was named 2019 Nonprofit Champion of the Year.