Local News

Duke Energy celebrates National Lineworker Appreciation Day

Duke Energy celebrates the power behind the power on National Lineworker Appreciation Day on Sunday.

 

The annual recognition spotlights lineworkers’ role in powering the lives of millions of people across the U.S.

 

Whether perched in a bucket or scaling a towering pole, their work ensures that electricity keeps flowing to power vital infrastructure from hospitals, schools and water treatment facilities to businesses, industries and our everyday energy needs at home.

 

Their jobs are not for the faint-hearted.

 

“While the view from the top of the pole may change each day, the essential service lineworkers provide has not,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer, in a media release. “Powering our customers and communities is the most important job we have, and I am proud of the unwavering commitment of our lineworkers serving on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, even when severe weather struck.”

 

Record-breaking hurricane season

 

Duke Energy lineworkers battled a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season with eight hurricane deployments to restore outages in the company’s service areas, as well as neighboring utilities across the nation the past year. Crews tackled outages from high winds and ice storms, often working in extreme conditions to restore service to customers.

 

“As severe weather has increased in frequency and intensity, line technicians serve an increasingly essential role in maintaining reliable service every day, improving resiliency to restore service faster, and enabling cleaner energy options and a lower carbon future for customers,” added Batson.

 

 

Building the grid of the future

 

Lineworkers have not only kept the power flowing to our customers and communities, and supported neighboring utilities – they’ve also continued to build the energy grid of the future.

 

Lineworkers are installing self-healing technology that automatically detects power outages and automatically reroutes power when outages occur. This smart technology helps reduce the number of outages and the duration of an outage, by restoring power often in less than a minute. Over the next years, Duke Energy expects to install enough self-healing technology to serve most customers.

 

Crews are upgrading poles and lines that are stronger, making our system more resistant to severe weather, and placing outage-prone lines underground. The reliability improvements the company is making in our service areas will improve the grid and better serve customers.

 

As grid improvement work continues, line technician training programs and jobs can be found at www.duke-energy.com/lineworker.

 

More than 7,800 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers are part of the Duke Energy team. They are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining equipment and more than 300,000 miles of power lines in Duke Energy’s service territories – that is enough to wrap around the Earth 12 times.

 

Those who wish to honor lineworkers and their families are encouraged to use the hashtag #ThankALineworker on social media.

 

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 840,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Southwestern planning graduation ceremony with no attendance restrictions

Southwestern Consolidated Schools expects graduation to occur in May with no restrictions.

 

An indoor or outdoor ceremony has yet to be decided. Both options are still being discussed, according to Southwestern High School principal John Tindall.

 

“We would all like it to be outside but we have to see if we can make it work,” said Tindall to the school board at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.

 

The school system does not anticipate limiting the number of guests for each graduating senior but there are seating concerns that come with an outdoor ceremony at the soccer/track and field complex.

 

Graduation is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 28.

 

The school board approved a sixth-grade field trip to Indiana Caverns, the Louisville Slugger Museum, and a Louisville Bats baseball game.

 

The board accepted a retirement notice from kindergarten teacher Nancy Dougherty, which will become effective at the end of the school year.

 

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. May 12 at the administration building.

TC Fieldhouse just now open...and booked

It’s official.  Triton Central opened its new fieldhouse with a Wednesday night ceremony and ribbon cutting.

 

 

Three basketball courts, a new weight room, and new second level within the facility has a classroom area overlooking the courts, and an office.  The new wrestling room will bring the high school and middle school wrestlers back into the high school.

 

 

More restrooms, an actual concession stand, a hitting cage and portable tennis nets make the fieldhouse multi-functional for TC’s athletes and the thousands of athletes and their families that visit Fairland for events.

 

 

The price tag for the renovation is approximately $3.1 million, according to Hoke, who estimated the total fieldhouse investment to be about $5 million.

 

People have been watching the building go up anxiously awaiting completion.  Superintendent Chris Hoke says the wait for this has been longer than that.

 

 

By Indiana’s sports classification and school population Triton Central is labeled as 2A.  Hoke says they feel TC is bigger than that in some ways while maintaining the corporation’s hometown feel.

 

 

Athletic Director Bryan Graham says he has an event in the new facility this weekend.  He had people who wanted to get up shots Wednesday night.

 

 

Graham says the fieldhouse provides an exclamation point to the corporation’s commitment to its kids and athletics.

 

 

Bill to set state wind and solar standards dies in Senate

In a somewhat surprising move, House Bill 1381 was never called for a Senate vote Tuesday.

 

Without the necessary support, the bill is “essentially” dead but language in the bill that would set statewide standards for wind and solar projects, essentially overriding “home rule” for local government, could be added to another bill.

 

“We are excited today,” said Kyle Barlow, who helped spearhead Shelby County’s opposition to House Bill 1381. “It’s not over. It’s not done. We’re not going away. We’ve felt from the beginning they just wanted us to go away.”

 

Renewable energy companies are frustrated with local governments making entry for large-scale projects extremely difficult. House Bill 1381 was created to set standards to be used statewide at the expense of local governmental control.

 

Barlow and others spent a full day at the Statehouse Tuesday talking with senators, including Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), who represents Shelby County and was opposed to the bill.

 

“There was a lot of opposition,” said Barlow. “A lot of senators we’re not happy with what they were trying to sneak in there.”

 

Shelby County’s opposition group saw the bill passed on early Tuesday which gave the impression it was dead. After a caucus and long discussion about another bill, House Bill 1381 came back up, according to Barlow.

 

Without enough support, though, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) withdrew the bill.

 

“There wasn’t enough support to pass the bill,” said Messmer in a story for Indiana Business Journal. “There’s no sense talking about a bill that’s not going anywhere.”

 

 

There is statewide support to increase Indiana’s renewable energy footprint. The opposition is not with renewable energy but with where it is being located – in many cases on prime farm land in a state that heavily relies on the agriculture industry.

 

A large solar industrial project has been approved for northeastern Shelby County which will sit on nearly 2,000 acres of farm land.

 

Southwestern Shelby County is now being targeted for another massive solar facility.

 

“They are very quiet,” said Barlow. “We are on our fifth land man trying to acquire more property out here.”

 

Barlow says talk of the project has been quietly lately. He believes many were following the fate of House Bill 1381.

ISP traffic stop results in drug charges for Milroy man

A  Rush County man was arrested on drug charges following a traffic stop on I-74 in northern Dearborn County.

 

The investigation began when Indiana State Police stopped a 2001 BMW after he observed multiple traffic violations.  During the stop the trooper became suspicious and deployed his drug detection K-9 who alerted to the odor of illegal drugs coming from the vehicle.

 

During a search of the vehicle, troopers located approximately seven grams of suspected heroin / fentanyl concealed in a hidden area in the trunk of the vehicle.  A syringe and additional drug paraphernalia was also located in the vehicle. 

 

The driver / registered owner of the vehicle, Brian J. Hillebrand, age 46, of Milroy was arrested on charges of Possession of a Narcotic Drug, over 5 grams, Level 5 felony, Possession of Syringe, Level 6 Felony, and Possession of Paraphernalia, Class A Misdemeanor. 

 

A female passenger in the vehicle was released at the scene. 

 

Hillebrand was incarcerated in the Dearborn County Jail pending his initial appearance in court.

Shelbyville house fire started in basement; residents out safely

All three stations of the Shelbyvlle Fire Department responded to a Monday evening house fire.

 

The Shelbyville Fire Department reports heavy internal smoke and fire damage at 933 North Hampton Boulevard.  The fire started in the basement about 6:45 pm when the residents were working on some type of project which led to the accidental start of the fire.

 

The residents got out safely.  Two cats were reported lost in the fire.

 

There's no word at this time on monetary damages to the home owned by Steven Hargrave.

Pence leads bipartisan letter to FCC in support of telehealth-dependent rural communities

Representative Greg Pence (R-IN) led a bipartisan letter along with 29 other members of Congress Monday urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support America’s rural communities in the second round of funding for the Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

 

“A person’s zip code should never be a barrier to accessing healthcare, nor should it affect the quality of care which they receive. Yet too many Hoosiers in Indiana and Americans in rural areas across the nation are facing great difficulty connecting with the critical services they need,” said Congressman Pence in a media release. “That’s why my colleagues and I are requesting FCC Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel prioritize these disadvantaged communities who need the support most, especially with the additional obstacles COVID-19 has imposed for many of our constituents who depend on telehealth telecommunication technologies.”

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, included $200 million for the Federal Communications Commission to expand telehealth capabilities. The Commission fully obligated the $200 million by issuing awards for 539 applications from April 16, 2020, through July 8, 2020.

 

The additional funding made available by the Trump Administration has supported the efforts of health care providers to continue serving their patients by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

 

Congressman Greg Pence represents Indiana’s 6th District, which includes Shelby County.

SCUFFY gets approval for two fundraising collection stations

Shelby County United Fund For You (SCUFFY) is currently engaged in its annual fundraising drive.

 

To assist with the fundraising effort, Alecia Gross, Executive Director of SCUFFY, appeared before the Board of Works Tuesday morning at City Hall in downtown Shelbyville to ask permission to set up two collection sites on May 1.

 

The first location will be at the intersection of Colescott St. and S. Harrison St. in front of Mickey’s T-Mart, 748 S. Harrison St.

 

The second location will be at Progress Parkway and Lee Boulevard at Walmart, 2500 Progress Parkway.

 

Fundraising collection stations will operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 1.

 

The Board of Works approved the request.

 

Police chief Mark Weidner appeared before the board to present paperwork on the retirement of Joe Nolley from the police department after 20 years of service.

 

Nolley’s final day of employment was April 7. Mayor Tom DeBaun noted this was the third generation of Nolleys to retire from the police department.

 

City planning director Adam Rude brought five nuisance cases before the board and asked for orders to appear to be approved.

 

With “heavy trash” collection running the week of April 26, Rude agreed for the orders to appear be set for 30 days and the department would work with the residential owners to get their properties cleaned up.

 

The five properties in question are at 628 Shelby St., 236 E. Broadway, 1043 Meridian, 1047 Meridian, and 1417 S. Harrison St.

State Health Dept to pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Indiana Department of Health is proactively notifying all vaccination clinics using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to pause its use following news reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for additional review of its safety. The state has not received official notification of a directive to pause but is doing so out of an abundance of caution.

 

The Shelby County Health Dept. has announced that it will temporarily suspend Johnson and Johnson vaccinations at its sites. For today's drive-thru clinic at Indiana Grand the department will used the Moderna vaccine.  The drive-thru at Indiana Grand is scheduled to run 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

 

Moderna also offered at the clinic held at Occasions in Shelbyville.

 

The state health department will be sending the two-dose Moderna vaccine to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is conducting mass vaccination clinics today, so that Hoosiers can continue to get vaccinated without interruption. The department is also working with other clinics that were scheduled to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the immediate future.

 

 

Beverage provider selects Indiana for Midwest HQ, production facility

Ninth Avenue Foods, a beverage production company, announced plans today to locate in Indiana, establishing its Midwest headquarters and production facility in Bartholomew County. To support its growth, the company plans to create up to 111 new jobs by the end of 2025.

"Indiana's central location, strong agriculture sector and business-friendly climate make the Hoosier State the ideal spot for dairy processors," said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. "Companies like Ninth Avenue Foods are the reason Indiana is home to a thriving, cutting-edge dairy industry, and we look forward to the company's continued growth as we work to create new careers and support Indiana farmers.”

The company, which is headquartered in southern California, will invest roughly $103 million to build and equip a 260,000-square-foot dairy and plant-based beverage manufacturing operation on Columbus' south side near the intersection of 175 W and Deaver Road. The new facility will house up to seven state-of-the-art filling lines and serve as the company's Midwest headquarters, adding to the company's West Coast operations to enable a national customer reach.

“After searching many locations in multiple states, Columbus, Indiana, was chosen as the perfect fit for our growing company,” said Ted DeGroot, Ninth Avenue Foods chief operating officer. “We wanted to expand to the Midwest, and for many reasons, Indiana and specifically Columbus, stood out. Friendly people, a growing community and high-quality workforce were all factors in our decision. We are excited to become a part of this vibrant and welcoming, family-friendly community and look forward to opportunities for expansion and growth.”

Ninth Avenue Foods will be hiring in Columbus for warehouse, production, maintenance and instrument control technicians, quality technicians and administrative positions beginning March 2022. Open positions will officially be announced on the company's website.

Ninth Avenue Foods is a family-owned company that specializes in extended shelf-life dairy and dairy alternative products. A combination of high temperature and an ultra-clean filling environment enables Ninth Avenue Foods to package dairy and nondairy products with an extended shelf-life while maintaining the nutritional benefits of the product. The new state-of-the-art facility will allow production of some products that do not require refrigeration, providing a greener alternative to conventional refrigerated storage and transportation.

“I’ve been impressed by the company’s approach to mixing family values with innovative production capabilities,” said Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “By leveraging Columbus, Indiana’s nationally recognized manufacturing strengths, we trust Ninth Avenue Foods will find great success here, and we are more than pleased to support their new state-of-the-art beverage facility and Midwest headquarters here.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) partners with industry organizations like AgriNovus Indiana, the state’s initiative dedicated to promoting and accelerating the growth of the agbiosciences community, in order to target business recruitment in high-skilled, high-growth sectors. AgriNovus works to cultivate business development needs within the agriculture sectors, helping recruit organizations like Ninth Avenue Foods to expand or locate in Indiana.

“Innovation in food and nutrition are essential to Indiana’s agbioscience economy and the broader food supply chain – especially post pandemic,” said Mitch Frazier, president and chief executive officer of AgriNovus Indiana. “Ninth Avenue Foods is an innovator that is positioned to thrive as part of Indiana’s growing $29 billion value-added food and nutrition industry.”

America’s dairy farmers are critical to agriculture, not just in Indiana but around the world. Producing a net surplus of 3.5 million pounds of milk each day, Indiana is continuing to grow its dairy industry by adding processing capacity, fostering product innovation and leveraging the Hoosier State’s unique advantage in critical infrastructure from agriculture to transportation to skilled labor through Indiana Dairy Strategy 2.0, a new strategic focus on dairy business expansion, development and attraction to our great Hoosier state.

The IEDC offered Ninth Avenue Foods up to $1.1 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The IEDC will also provide up to $150,000 to the local community from the Industrial Development Grant Fund to support off-site infrastructure improvements. With the support of Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation, the city of Columbus will consider additional incentives.

About Ninth Avenue Foods
Ninth Avenue Foods is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company with a long-standing history of quality and service in the dairy industry. As innovation has led to growth and success, family values and commitment to quality has remained the same. Our new state-of-the-art ESL manufacturing facility and over 50 years of experience in the industry will take your products from concept state to successful launch with ease. At Ninth Avenue Foods, we offer a personal touch and do our best to go the extra mile for our customers. Learn more about Ninth Avenue Foods at www.ninthavenuefoods.com.

48 Hour Challenge concerns local law enforcement with recent increase in runaway reports

A social media challenge that prompts teens to become runaways is a concern for the Shelbyville Police Department.

 

Lt. Mike Turner says good news overnight included two of their reported runaways being located in Anderson. 

 

Shelbyville PD reports that Tony Bridges remains missing. Bridges, 17, went missing on April 9.  If anyone knows where Tony is or has seen Tony you're asked to contact the Shelbyville Police Department 317-392-2511 or 911 if you believe it is an emergency.

 

Turner says there's been no immediate connection between the 48 Hour Challenge and the recent  uptick in local runaway reports.  But it's concerning.

 

 

He says a runaway child places immense stress on family.

 

 

And Turner notes that running away is a punishable offense.

 

 

Edinburgh man charged for battery on jail officers

An Edinburgh man was arrested on a warrant served to him inside the Bartholomew County Jail.

 

On Friday a warrant was served in the Bartholomew County Jail on inmate James Paul Snodgrass, 65, Edinburgh, for battery resulting in bodily injury to a law enforcement officer – Level 5 felony.

 

The Barttholomew County Sheriff's Office says on March 16, correctional officers were completing tray pass when Snodgrass became unruly.  As officers entered his cell, Snodgrass became extremely combative and began striking both officers.  Both received medical treatment for their injuries.

 

“Correctional officers are responsible for enforcing rules and regulations in BCJ. It is their job to oversee individuals who have been arrested and who are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail and this is an extremely serious offense," said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers.  “Battery on any BCSO law enforcement officer will not be tolerated and any person doing so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." 

 

“Our correctional officers are not going to be kicked, spat on and beaten up on in any way.  I would not allow jail staff to treat our inmates disrespectfully and staff will be treated disrespectfully by our inmates," said Bartholomew County Jail Commander, Major John Martoccia.

 

Snodgrass was being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on multiple charges.  Bond for the March 16 incident is set at $100,000.

 

 

Johnson County vaccinating inmates after weekend of Covid cases discovered

The Johnson County Jail has been on lockdown due to Covid-19.

 

Sheriff Duane Burgess says during the week of April 5 - Friday April 9, the jail had three inmates that tested positive for COVID 19 after exhibiting symptoms. On Friday, the Johnson County Health Department was notified of the situation. Several rapid test kits were immediately obtained from the Health Department. On Saturday, April 10 all inmates in the facility were tested that would consent to the test. The results of those tests were that five additional inmates tested positive.

 

Startign Monday, Quality Correctional Care offered the Johnson and Johnson vaccination to all inmates and employees. Only 58 inmates took advantage of the vaccination. The Sheriff's Department will continue to offer the vaccination to any new inmates coming into the facility.

 

It is important to know that Monday, April 12 and Tuesday April 13, 2021 had already been set to give the vaccinations, prior to the inmates testing positive. 

 

 

Street department sets guidelines for 'Spring Clean Up Week'

City of Shelbyville residents can begin preparing for the annual “Spring Clean Up.”

 

The City of Shelbyville Street Department is reminding residents that its annual “heavy trash” pick up is the week of April 26 on your regular trash collection day.

 

There will no recycling collection that week. Recyclables will resume normal collection schedule on May 3.

 

The street department will pick up large items such as furniture, household trash, appliances (without Freon), wood, metal and more.

 

Anything with live bed bugs will not be collected.

 

 

Items with Freon such as refrigerators or air conditioners must be tagged as having had the Freon and the compressor removed before collection.

 

Also not being collected are tires or remodeling debris such as roofing shingles and concrete.

 

Television or computers are not collected via truck service but those items can be dropped off at the street department, 605 Hale Road, at no charge throughout the year if you are a city resident.

 

Due to time constraints, the street department asks residents to keep heavy trash clean up to a reasonable limit. There are 6,700 stops per week so street department staff will spend no longer than 10 minutes at a residence.

 

The guideline for collection includes no more than a regular size truck load amount or no more than approximately an 8X6 section not being more than four feet tall.

 

If a stop load size is in question, a supervisor for the street department will make the final decision on how much is collected. Any items left will be the responsibility of the property owner.

 

Items to be collected must be piled and separated by material type such as wood, metal, general trash and furniture. Different trucks will collect different items.

 

Trash should be ready for collection by 7 a.m. on pick up day.

 

For questions, contact a street department representative at 317-392-5169.

Religious services deemed essential by Indiana Senate bill

Religious activities are deemed essential services in a bill approved by the Indiana Senate on Thursday.

 

The bill prohibits state and local orders from preventing anyone from attending religious servies during a disaster emergency.  It would also prevent such orders from being more restrictive on churches than on other places, like businesses, that are considered essential.

 

Services could be held without restrictions on capacity size, social distancing or mask mandates.  Those restrictions could still apply, however, to their schools or daycares.

 

The bill now goes to the governor.

 

 

2021 racing season begins Tuesday at Indiana Grand

A pandemic slashed Indiana Grand’s 2020 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing season and it still thrived.

 

Despite a two-month delay to the racing season at the Shelbyville facility, Indiana Grand set handle records for single day, single week and total handle for the season.

 

“We were off until June with three months of inactivity. For about two months I was about the only one in this building which was Twilight Zone stuff,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing at Indiana Grand. “Once we got going and changed our racing days of the week to Monday through Thursday, we found our spot in national wagering.”

 

The track achieved just short of $200 million wagered in 2020, up nearly 61% from 2019.

 

“In 92 days of racing last year we were up significantly,” he said. “It was a very strange year. We did things we never would have done unless we were forced to and a lot of it turned out to probably be what was best for us.”

 

Jeff Brown photos

Indiana Grand Racing is nearly ready for the 2021 racing season.

 

The 2021 season kicks off Tuesday at 2:25 p.m. with a full schedule of racing.

 

Racing will take place Mondays through Thursdays weekly until Nov. 8. There are six Saturday racing cards for Quarter Horses only, except Oct. 30 when Thoroughbred races also will be held.

 

“It’s different running Monday through Thursday and a Saturday here and there, but it has helped the purses and done a whole lot of things for our national image,” said Halstrom.

 

Like most sporting venues, horse tracks struggled to host events in 2020, especially with live crowds. Indiana Grand found its niche running mid-week and continues to grow even as COVID-19 statistics are still making life difficult.

 

“A lot of places struggled because they needed a certain amount of days to work,” said Halstrom when asked about the horse racing industry. “It was a mixed bag but we were on the good side of that.”

 

Indiana Grand recently announced a casino expansion at the facility while the racing side has invested approximately $7 million into improvements on site.

 

 “We are building a new 100-stall barn and 50 dorm rooms for the help that works back there,” said Halstrom. “There is an 8-slot horse walker that is state of the art.”

 

Indiana Grand Racing photo

Brayten Gahimer and Bill Jackson sync Indiana Grand Racing's new drone with the current camera system at the horse racing facility in Shelbyville.

 

Through social media, the track recently released video of a new drone purchased to capture the racing action from unique angles.

 

“We will be the first track to use a drone in its day-to-day operations,” said Halstrom. “We should be able to get some very neat stuff.”

 

Despite the difficulties running a racing season in 2020, Indiana Grand has shown it is gaining traction as one of the best racing facilities in the country.

 

“I know there are a lot of places that wouldn’t even think about expansion,” said Halstrom. “There is a $32 million expansion over in the casino and $7 million-plus in the barn area, so basically $40 million into the facility coming out of a pandemic. Well, we’re still in a pandemic.”

 

The 2021 Indiana Derby is scheduled for July 7. The 2020 event garnered nearly $6 million of wagering for the 12-race card.

 

New this year is a day of exhibition races with exotic animals. On July 24, ostriches, camels and zebras will be racing on the Indiana Grand track.

 

Carthage man died following Hancock Co. crash

A Carthage man has died from injuries sustained in a Tuesday motorcycle - Jeep collision.

 

Guy David Washburn, 27, of Carthage, was riding a motorcycle on Mt. Comfort Road Tuesday afternoon.  According to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, the Jeep involved was northbound on Mt. Comfort Road near 900 North and the motorcycle was being driven southbound.  The initial investigation indicates the Jeep turned into the path of the motorcycle.

 

The juvenile driver of the Jeep was not injured and cooperated with law enforcement at the scene.

 

Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the accident.

 

Dine and Shop for SCUFFY April 14-15

Eating and shopping Shelbyville’s downtown next week could mean a contribution to the Shelby County United Fund.

 

Mainstreet Shelbyville Executive Director Brandi Coomes explains how downtown shops, businesses and restaurants are partnering with SCUFFY.

 

 

SCUFFY is in the midst of its annual drive.  This year's goal is to raise $860, 000 to benefit 12 member agencies.

 

 

 

Coomes says the businesses stepped up even when confronted by the pandemic and construction.

 

 

Next phase of Harrison Street project underway on Friday

The next phase of Harrison Street construction will begin on Friday, April 9. 

 

Beginning at the Coca-Cola Bottling property the westernmost southbound lane will be closed from that point to the Pennsylvania Street intersection.

 

The entrance / exit to Shelby Tire will remain open during this phase.

 

The westbound lane shoulder on Pennsylvania Street where the curb and storm drain meet will be closed. Traffic will still be able to turn onto West Pennsylvania St. 

Law enforcement pursuit ended in Shelby County Tuesday

A pursuit involving law enforcement started in Decatur County and ended Tuesday in Shelby.

 

About 11:30 am, Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve a Level 1 Felony warrant on Tony Shreve, 46, of Decatur County. The warrant stemmed from an incident occurring the previous night involving allegations of attempted murder and battery on another individual.

 

Deputies made visual contact with Shreve, who fled the scene in a black Ford truck and led units on a twenty-minute pursuit that spanned across two counties. During the pursuit the suspect entered numerous fields and caused property damage in both Shelby County and Decatur County. The suspect ultimately crashed his vehicle into a creek bed near Vandalia Road and 625 E in Shelby County and proceeded to lead units on a foot pursuit through a field. Units managed to apprehend the suspect and ultimately transported him to the Decatur County Detention Center, where he will be held until his judicial hearing.

 

Agencies responding included Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Decatur County Communications Center, Greensburg Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, Tim’s Wrecker, and TDS Wrecker.

Red truck damages local Dairy Queen

An elderly man lost control of his red Chevrolet truck Tuesday afternoon and plowed into Dairy Queen, 1614 E. Michigan Road, in Shelbyville.

 

The man was not injured in the accident. He was trying to park on the west side of the Dairy Queen when he lost control of the vehicle.

 

The only employee inside the Dairy Queen at the time also was not injured.

 

Dairy Queen manager Holly Reed had already been in contact with the company’s district manager and the owner of the local ice cream place when she talked with the Shelby County Post.

 

“We are going to have to get someone out here to assess (the building),” she said. “Hopefully we will get this figured out.”

 

The west side foundation along the front of the building took the brunt of the blow from the truck. All of the glass along the front of the building where orders were taken was destroyed.

 

The menu sign was knocked loose and hanging.

 

“This is crazy and right before our peak season,” said Reed.

Common Council rezones property for proposed subdivision

A proposed housing subdivision on Shelbyville’s southwest side cleared a zoning issue Monday night at the city’s Common Council meeting at City Hall.

 

The Forestar Group received zoning clearance to move ahead with a proposed 185-parcel housing subdivision that will sit directly south of the Southern Trace subdivision.

 

A portion of the property (12 acres) was zoned for business purposes but has now been rezoned to residential. It sits adjacent to a nearly 52-acre piece of property that is already zoned residential.

 

The Forestar Group has targeted both properties for a housing subdivision that will be constructed by Westport Homes. Both entities are currently working together on the Twin Lakes expansion on the city’s west side.

 

The Forestar Group is expected to provide a detailed look at the housing subdivision at the Plan Commission meeting on April 26 at City Hall.

 

In other council business, it approved a salary ordinance amendment to make certain salary ranges more attractive. The city is struggling to fill positions at the Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center and has a city engineer being recruited by the private sector.

 

“Things are pretty competitive right now,” said Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department Director Karen Martin at the meeting. “We are not just competing with things like (water parks). We are competing with Walmart and restaurants. We are losing (employees) to places like that.”

 

The Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center did not open in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. That has led to losing employees that traditionally work for the parks department during summer months.

 

The council also approved face mask requirements for city buildings.

 

The statewide mandate to wear masks ended today. Masks are no longer required at restaurants and retail stores in Shelby County but local businesses may still require patrons to wear them.

 

The city, county and Major Health Partners have extended mask requirements until May 3 for their facilities.

 

In the city that includes Accell IN Center, the municipal airport, animal shelter, City Hall, conference center at 2154 Intelliplex Drive, all three fire stations, the parks department, police department, public utilities office, street department, and the Waste Water Recovery Facility.

 

With another 3-4 weeks of vaccinations, the mask mandate could end according to Mayor Tom DeBaun.

Board of Works frustrated with recurring nuisance property

The owner of a nuisance property in Shelbyville could be assessed serious financial penalties.

 

An Order to Appear was issued Tuesday morning to Barbara Johnson by the Shelbyville Board of Works. Johnson is the property owner of the residence at 305 Sunset Drive.

 

The property has been labeled a nuisance property on several occasions and is back before the Board of Works once again.

 

The Board of Works asked Planning Director Adam Rude to determine whether the property was owner occupied which could lead to substantial fines.

 

“There could be significant fees as this is a recurring case,” said Mayor Tom DeBaun, who is one of three members of the Board of Works along with David Finkel and Bob Williams.

 

Rude was not positive whether Johnson resides at 305 Sunset Drive.

 

In other business, the Board of Works awarded Schutte Excavating of Greensburg the contract for work on the Fortune Ditch project. The project will address flooding issues around the Meridian Park Basin on the city’s south side.

 

DeBaun also reminded the public that heavy trash collection week is the final week of April.

New date, new ride company as Shelby County Fair preps for 2021 run

A fish fry here.  A festival there.  Many of the events we've become accustomed to over the years are dotting the upcoming calendar as Covid restrictions are scaled back.

 

After a year off due to the pandemic Shelby County Fair Board President Jeff Pruitt says they’re getting ready for 2021.

 

 

And with the fair moving off the July 4th week Pruitt said finding the ride company was critical.

 

 

He says moving off the 4th of July reduces holiday conflicts.  Now, we’ll just have to see exactly how it works out.

 

 

Pruitt notes it’s an exciting time for the fairgrounds for another reason.  Indiana Grand’s recent announcement of a major grant will lead to important improvements.

 

 

Pruitt says he knows some vendors may be lost with the change on the schedule but it will also open the door to others who haven’t been able to come to Shelby County over the 4th of July.

 

Redevelopment Commission receives control of West Washington Street property

The Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission (RDC) took ownership of a near downtown parcel of property Monday night offered up by the City of Shelbyville.

 

Located on West Washington St. across from the former Major Hospital site, the property is part parking lot, part playground and the site of the city’s Japanese garden.

 

Plans have been discussed to relocate the playground and garden so development can occur on the property located across West Washington St. from the current Hamilton-Major project, which is a small upscale housing subdivision.

 

“The RDC has a set of statutes that allows them to request a Request For Proposal,” said City of Shelbyville attorney Jennifer Meltzer.

 

Jeff Brown photos

The Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission now controls the property along West Washington St. that contains a parking lot, playground (above photo) and a Japanese garden (top photo). The commission received the property from the City of Shelbyville so it can make Requests For Proposals to develop the land.

 

The city cannot formally request ideas to develop land and find suitable partners.

 

“The RDC can do that, so we put it in the RDC’s hands so we can draft up that request and get a couple of developers or people interested in that land to get it developed,” said Meltzer.

 

The RDC, which meets at City Hall the first Monday of each month, also received a construction update from Tom Davis of Genesis Property Development on the downtown redevelopment project.

 

The Public Square portion of the three-year project is ahead of schedule, according to Davis.

 

Asphalt has been laid over some of the current concrete sidewalks so brick pavers can be laid. That process along and near Franklin St. is expected to start today.

 

Limestone has started arriving and construction on the fountain that will return to the center of the Public Square is underway.

 

“Our budget is in good shape,” said Davis. “We have not had very many change orders. Our contingency (fund) has been adequate so far. We’ve not spent much of that at all while working on two-thirds of the square.”

 

The timeline has the project completed by the end of November. Davis said he wants the project done by Thanksgiving.

 

When asked by the redevelopment commission if there would be some sort of celebration or public ceremony, Davis said that is being discussed.

 

Mayor Tom DeBaun, who was sitting in the chamber room ahead of the Common Council meeting that was to follow, told the commission the plan is to have the annual Christmas celebration return to downtown Shelbyville in 2021.

 

That event could coincide with the completion of the downtown redevelopment project.

Rolling slow downs begin Wednesday night on I-65 at Johnson, Shelby County line

Indiana Department of Transportation contractor HIS Constructors plans to conduct rolling slow downs two nights this week at County Line Road (C.R. 800 E.) over I-65 in southeastern Johnson County.

 

Traffic will be stopped for up to 20 minutes at a time between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for hydrodemolition of bridge decks over the interstate. Southbound traffic on I-65 will be stopped Wednesday, April 7, and northbound traffic will be stopped Thursday, April 8, weather permitting.

 

The bridges are located approximately three miles north of S.R. 252 near MM 83. Drivers should consider allowing extra time to reach their destinations or using an alternate route to avoid delays.

 

This work is part of a $800,000 bridge rehabilitation contract that was awarded last fall. County Line Road is scheduled to remain closed over I-65 through early August. The official detour follows C.R. 550 S. to C.R. 700 E. to C.R. 400 S.

 

Motorists are reminded to slow down, use extra caution, and drive distraction-free in and near all work zones. All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change.

Statewide mask mandate downgraded to advisory

Indiana's statewide mask mandate is now just an advisory.

 

Local governments, and individual establishments can still employ more stringent requirements.  For example, Elkhart County has extended its mandate through May 14 with an uptick in Covid cases.  Many government offices will still call for masks to be worn.  

 

Shelby and Hancock County have advised they plan to follow the governor's order.  Marion County will maintain the mask mandate for now.

 

 

Duke Energy reminds customers to call 811 before you dig

Duke Energy reminds those planning to plant trees, shrubs and flowers or starting outdoor construction projects, to make an important call to 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline.

 

The hotline is the first step to getting underground utilities on your property properly located and marked.

 

“Calling 811 before digging anywhere prevents damage to underground utilities, prevents potential personal injury and avoids electric and other utility outages,” said Scott Batson, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief distribution officer, in a media release. “It also helps avoid costly repairs for the offenders.”

 

Calling 811 is a free nationwide service. Contractors, homeowners, business owners and anyone preparing for a digging project of any kind should call 811 at least three business days before digging begins.

 

The local utilities will then send a crew to mark underground lines in the area (electric, natural gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV and others) with above-ground stakes, flags or paint, which indicates restricted areas before a customer begins a digging project.

 

In 2019, the U.S. Common Ground Alliance reported approximately 532,000 excavation-related damage events in the U.S., an increase in 14% from 2018, the latest year for which figures are available. Estimated damages in 2019 total approximately $30 billion in direct and indirect losses.

 

In 2020, Duke Energy reported approximately 2,800 damage-causing dig-in events in its six-state electric service territory. In Indiana, the number was 138.

 

For more information about the Call Before You Dig system in Indiana, visit https://Indiana811.org.

 

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 840,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Shelby County to follow Gov. Holcomb's orders as mask mandate ends Tuesday

The Shelby County Health Department made it official Monday.  Through a press release the department announced its intent for the county to follow Governor Holcomb’s orders.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently announced the mask-wearing mandate will be lifted Tuesday.

 

Masks will still be required in all state buildings and at vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites, but nowhere else unless counties and local governments require them for entrance.

 

School systems in the state will stick with mask wearing during school hours and at school events until the end of the school year.

 

The Shelby County Health Department also notes that “customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs will no longer be required by the state to be seated.  Six feet of spacing between tables and other seating will still be recommended as is spacing between non-household parties.”

 

Face coverings will remain mandatory in all county / city buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and Covid testing sites until further notice,

 

Private businesses and other entities may institute more stringent guidelines. 

Masks Off: Mask mandate to end Tuesday but caution still prevailing message

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently announced the mask-wearing mandate will be lifted Tuesday.

 

Masks will still be required in all state buildings and at vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites, but nowhere else unless counties and local governments require them for entrance.

 

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun met with local health officials Friday morning and will not steer away from the governor’s directive.

 

“We will still require masks in all our (city) facilities until further notice just as the county is (requiring),” said DeBaun. “We still highly encourage people to wear masks.”

 

The no mask mandate will allow restaurants and retail outlets not to require masks for entrance. That will be a business-by-business decision.

 

“Each business can make that decision just like, ‘No shirts, No shoes, No service,’” said DeBaun.

 

 

If Shelbyville and Shelby County were to see a surge in COVID-19 cases DeBaun believes Major Health Partners Medical Center is prepared for the increased workload.

 

“I believe they have the ability and the capacity, if we have a surge, to be able to cover it,” said DeBaun.

 

Shelby County remains in a Blue advisory level according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Neighboring counties Johnson and Decatur are in Yellow advisory levels with an upswing in cases.

 

Shelby County has reported 4,710 cases of COVID-19 as of today and 95 deaths, according to the state department of health.

 

School systems in the state will stick with mask wearing during school hours and at school events until the end of the school year.

 

Schools in the Shelbyville system sent out messages this week reminding parents that students must continue to wear masks and visitors to each respective school must wear a mask as well.

 

DeBaun was cautiously optimistic that with masks, social distancing and vaccines available to anyone age 16 and older, the pandemic is winding down. He cautioned, though, it is not yet time to let up from taking precautions from the pandemic.

 

“My personal opinion, we ought to wear masks until at least the end of this month,” said DeBaun.

Shelbyville man arrested on warrant after jury trial, sentenced

A Shelby County man has been sentenced following his most recent arrest which came after his conviction by a jury.

 

Richard W. Gaines, 59, of Shelbyville, was sentenced to 36 years in prison Thursday following his conviction at jury trial on two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine, each as a Level 2 Felony, and being an Habitual Offender. None of the sentence was suspended. 

 

During the investigation by the Shelby County Drug Task Force, Gaines dealt methamphetamine to a confidential informant on August 12 and August 16, 2019. Charges were filed on December 12, 2019, but the case was continued longer than normal due to the Supreme Court's suspending jury trials due to COVID.

 

Gaines showed up for the first day of his jury trial on March 9, 2021, but did not appear for the second day of his trial. He was convicted on all counts, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was located and arrested on the warrant on March 24.

 

Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen said Gaines’ sentence was enhanced largely due to his substantial criminal record - having been arrested on 48 different occasions and having been charged with a total of 96 criminal charges as an adult - charges including various thefts, forgeries, reckless driving, burglary, battery, escape, resisting law enforcement, auto theft, possession of marijuana, criminal mischief, invasion of privacy, residential injury, felony intimidation, battery with a deadly weapon, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, identity deception, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a syringe, maintaining a common nuisance, false informing, possession of a narcotic drug, and dealing methamphetamine - just to name a few.

 

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Pasel. Gaines was represented by attorney Chris Starkey. The Honorable Senior Judge K. Mark Lloyd from Johnson County served as Judge for the trial and sentencing.

 

“Gaines is a good one to get off the streets - as he has led a lifelong criminal campaign here in Shelby County with various theft-related crimes, crimes of violence, and various other dangerous crimes.  I commend the Shelby County Drug Task Force for their great work on this case,” said Landwerlen.

SHS Band Boosters receive matching offer for new uniforms fundraiser

Matching band uniforms used by Shelbyville High School have been around longer than the students who wear them.  What's worse is they don't have much life left.

 

That's why the Shelbyville Band Boosters have launched a fundraising campaign to purchase new uniforms.

 

Amanda Blackketter and Dawn Millitzer told GIANT fm about the new uniforms and the efforts to raise funds to acquire them.

 

 

Every donation received through April 15 will be matched up to $10, 000 due to a generous anonymous donor.

 

Ways to donate:

 

Donate now: www.paypal.com/biz/fund?id=J92JPHK6QA9TG

 

Visit the SHS Band Website: shelbyvillebands.membershiptoolkit.com and click donate.

 

Corporate Sponsorship ~ please message us for more information. We are happy to share the different levels of corporate sponsorship.

 

SR9 / North Riley Highway scheduled to begin Monday

Crack sealing will begin on SR9 / North Riley Highway, between Boggstown Rd and Rampart Street next week. Lane restrictions will be in place. 

 

Work will begin Monday, April 5, and finish by Friday, April 9.