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Law enforcement in Johnson, Morgan counties make child solicitation arrests in Operation Guardian

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Martinsville Police Department, and the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a joint child solicitation operation entitled Operation Guardian.

 

Operation Guardian was similar to a child solicitation sting conducted in December, 2020.

 

Operation Guardian took place in the City of Franklin where detectives posed online as a child under the age of 14. During chat room conversations, several adult men solicited sex and arranged to meet with a detective they believed to be that underage child. These men were among many others waiting in online chat rooms to prey on and solicit sex from children. There were even warnings from other individuals in these chat rooms that law enforcement frequently posed as children, but these men still solicited sex despite those warnings. When the suspects appeared at the agreed-upon location to meet with the undercover detectives, they were arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail.

 

These arrests were a team effort by all agencies involved and were the result of several days of hard work and cooperation by detectives committed to locking up these types of predators.  All arrests will now be reviewed by the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office for formal charges and prosecution. Numerous charges are alleged including child solicitation, disseminating obscene / pornographic material to a minor, possession of methamphetamine, dealing in methamphetamine, resisting law enforcement, and driving while suspended.

 

Eight arrests were made in the operation including men from Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Nashville, Zionsville and Pendleton.  The ages of the men ranged from 24-60.

 

It is the continuing goal of Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess, Franklin Police Chief Kirby Cochran, Martinsville Police Chief John Richards, and Morgan County Sheriff Richard Myers to protect the children in our communities and surrounding areas. Law enforcement cannot eliminate this problem alone. Parents and guardians need to have an active role in their children’s lives to ensure they are aware of what they are doing on the internet.

 

Parents should keep an eye on what sites their children are visiting and who they are talking to in chats, games, and social media. This is an ongoing situation where children are regularly being targeted and seduced by predators to engage in sexual conduct. Please speak to your children about this issue and help eliminate these threats.

Modern Julius Joseph Fountain paying tribute to its original design

The Julius Joseph Fountain became the centerpiece of downtown Shelbyville in 1923.

 

In 2022, the very same fountain will have a modern operational system but will present a very similar design to its original version.

 

As the massive downtown Shelbyville redevelopment project was being discussed, the presentation of the fountain and the historic Bears of Blue River statue were prevalent in every conversation.

 

“The centerpiece of the fountain and the Balser Statue were never discussed as far as removing,” said Tom Davis of Genesis Property Development, the locally-based company overseeing the downtown project. “Now we discussed how we presented them, what the fountain would look like and how much should we modernize it versus how much we should keep the intent.

 

“It was always to try and make it look like it was original, or as close to the original as we can and keep as much of the original fountain as we could. That was always the top priority.”

 

Grover Museum photo: The Julius Joseph Fountain became operational in downtown Shelbyville in 1923. The fountain is currently being rebuilt as part of a downtown redevelopment project to reflect its original look, including the eight light poles running along each side of the fountain.

 

Representatives of Genesis and Ratio Architects met with Alex Krach, director of the Grover Museum in Shelbyville, to get a sense of the original design.

 

The museum has a photo of the original fountain that sat within a small island inside the public circle. Four street lights ran along each side of the island.

 

The 2022 version brings back the wider pool area and the four street lights along each side, but the island is much larger now.

 

The three flag poles will be relocated from the south end of the island to the north end while the Bears of Blue River statue will flip to the south end and be turned inward to face the fountain.

 

“The pool is a little bit different (from the most recent incarnation) as far as the size,” said Davis. “It is maybe more of a look to mirror what the road is going to look like. It’s a little bit different but they really tried to stick with the concept of what you’ve seen in the older pictures with the light poles.”

 

The foundations are already in place for the eight light poles and Davis expects the foundations for the flag poles and statue to be poured once the base of the fountain is complete.

 

Julius Joseph

 

German-immigrant Julius Joseph moved to Shelbyville in 1877 and opened a men’s clothing store at the site of the current Liberty Tax Service, 28 Public Square.

 

Joseph eventually transitioned into the furniture business and found success.

 

Upon his death in 1921, he left a $5,000 gift to the city to build a fountain.

 

Grover Museum photo: George Honig, shown here, was tasked with creating the Joseph Fountain. The three youth that sit atop the fountain are a tribute to Joseph's love of youth sports and games.

 

George Honig

 

The city turned to Evansville’s George Honig to create the fountain.

 

Honig’s best known creation is the Lincoln Pioneer Village in Rockport, Indiana. He also created sculptures on display in Denver, Colorado, the Evansville Coliseum Stadium, and the St. John’s Memorial in Joliet, Illinois. He also assisted on the George Washington statue in New York City.

 

Honig tapped into Joseph’s philanthropical nature with regard to youth and sports.

 

The original fountain was topped by three small children depicting their preparation for games or sports.

 

“The children represent outdoor life, as well as ‘the spirit of play that is inherent in every child,’” according to a prepared document from the Grover Museum.

 

Six plaques representing children’s faces were attached to the structure. Each was meant to represent a season as well as the mid-seasons when planting and harvesting took place.

 

There also was a plaque commemorating Julius Joseph.

 

Fountain dismantled

 

The Joseph Fountain was shut down and taken apart in 1951 after falling into disrepair.

 

“It was becoming an eyesore,” said Krach. “It was removed rather than repaired.”

 

The parts of the fountain were taken to the city garage where they stayed for the better part of three decades.

 

Grover Museum photo: The Joseph Fountain was returned to downtown Shelbyville in 1980 after being removed in 1951.

 

Downtown revitalization

 

Mayor Dan Theobald inherited his role in the midst of a downtown facelift. Talk centered around sprucing up the downtown area.

 

“I always remembered it as a kid growing up,” said Theobald of the fountain. “They were re-doing downtown, I inherited it from the previous administration, and we were looking at other things to bring downtown.”

 

Finding the fountain parts proved to be easy.

 

“Everything was in pretty good shape,” recalled Theobald. “Things needed to be cleaned up quite a bit but structurally it was all intact.”

 

Over a three-week span, Theobald oversaw the reinstallation of the Joseph Fountain in downtown Shelbyville. The new base was not as wide, giving it a more squat look than its original inception.

 

“It went well. Everything really fell into place,” said Theobald.

 

The Bears of Blue River statue also was added to the downtown area during this renovation phase.

 

Bigger, better fountain

 

The base of the fountain currently being finished is 24 feet wide and almost 40 feet long.

 

The top part of the fountain is currently in North Carolina being professionally cleaned to determine if it is in need of repair.

 

“We brought in a forensic expert (from Florida) to look at it and see if we could restore it,” said Davis. “We realized it is granite and not limestone. That last renovation, they coated it for some reason. It probably had some lime and calcium build up on it.

 

“So we sent it out to have it restored by someone that can clean that off and see what we have. We haven’t made a final decision on what we are going to have to do to it because we have to get it cleaned up first. The goal is to bring it back. It’s 100 years old and we want to try and reuse it.”

 

The bronze statue of the three children is currently sitting safely in the Genesis Property Development offices.

 

“It’s in pretty good shape,” said Davis. “It needs to be topped off … the bronze does. Overall, it’s in really good shape.”

 

Once the fountain is running, it will maintain about 18 inches of water in the pool area. Davis does not expect the fountain to be operational in 2021.

 

“We are going to try and run it and test it then we will probably winterize it,” he said. “So I doubt we will run it very long since it will be late in the season. The goal for us is to get it all running and tested.”

 

The redevelopment plan is currently on track to be completed by November. Work will continue on the west two quadrants and the downtown island through August. The process will then flip to the east two quadrants.

 

Once completed, traffic flow will take a straighter path through the downtown area and the four quadrants will make the area more desirable for pedestrian traffic.

 

“Honestly, at the end of the day, people are going to be pretty happy with the end product,” said Davis.

Indiana Grand holds groundbreaking ceremony for barn and dormitory expansion

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday in Shelbyville, Indiana, to celebrate the addition of a new 100-stall barn and 50-room dormitory.

 

The project, which is estimated as a $7 million investment by Caesars Entertainment, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.

 

“We have earmarked a total of $25 million for our two racing properties in Indiana (Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park) over the next 10 years,” said Joseph Morris, Vice President of Racing for Caesars Entertainment. “This is further evidence of our commitment to Indiana racing, and by adding a new barn and dormitory, we will be able to accommodate the ever-increasing need for more space for horses competing at Indiana Grand. We want to thank the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and the horsemen for their continued support as we work together to bring racing to the next level.”

 

The 100-stall barn, which will be enclosed and winterized for winter training, will include 10 wash bays, two restrooms and 10 tack rooms.

 

The dormitory will include 50 rooms in a two-story structure next to the new barn. The facility will provide housing for those who care for the additional horses, and feature community bathrooms for both men and women, central air and heat, and a laundry facility on both floors. Both structures will be located on the west side of the current backstretch area.

 

Rachel McLaughlin, on air racing commentator for Indiana Grand, served as emcee for the event, which was moved under the trackside tent due to weather.

 

Several dignitaries were in attendance including Indiana State Senator Jean Leising and former Senator Luke Kenley, who was recognized for his work and support of horse racing during his tenure.

 

“The horsemen are very appreciative of what Caesars is doing to advance racing,” said Brian Elmore, Executive Director of the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “Racing is a $1 billion agri-business in the state that affects all 93 counties and we would be remissed if we didn’t recognize Luke Kenley and what he did for racing during his time in the legislature. Luke set the blueprint for these continued projects to help Indiana horse racing.”

 

Several members of the local community were in attendance for the event including Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun, City of Shelbyville Planning Director Adam Rude, Shelbyville Common Council member Joanne Bowen, Shelby County Council member Jordan Caldwell, Shelbyville Fire Chief Tony Logan, Donna Christian and Courtney Chappella of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, and Rachel Ackley of Shelby County Visitors and Tourism.

 

“This is an exciting time for horse racing in Indiana,” said Paul Martin, President of the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana. “This is a message sent to the industry that we are expanding, and it sends a clear signal we are going to be here for a long time.”

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INDOT to close two bridges over I-70 for replacement

The Indiana Department of Transportation is closing two bridges over I-70 in Marion County for full bridge replacements.

 

The closures will occur at Cumberland Road and German Church Road.

 

Bridge Closures

  • Cumberland Rd. Bridge over I-70
    • Mid-April to end of May
  • German Church Rd. Bridge over I-70
    • May 3 to end of September

In addition, there may be some intermittent lane closures on I-70 EB & WB during bridge construction.

Construction work is scheduled to be complete at the end of November.

Congressman Pence leads support for expanding virtual learning and telemedicine capabilities

Congressman Greg Pence (IN-06) and fellow Hoosier Congressman Frank J. Mrvan (IN-01) led 19 of their House colleagues Tuesday in urging the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies to support the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program.

 

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), aims to expand access to telecommunications capabilities for residents in less densely populated areas – seeking to bridge the gap between non-rural and rural communities with lack of broadband access.

 

In 2019, Congressman Pence’s amendment to increase funding for the DLT program passed the House floor overwhelmingly by a vote of 425-6. Since then, enacted appropriations bills have included increased dollars to the DLT program thanks to Rep. Pence’s support.

 

“It has been my priority in Congress to be a voice for Hoosiers back home, and ensure they have proper access to telemedicine and virtual learning programs,” said Pence in a media release. “Many in my community – and across the country rely on dependable broadband infrastructure to receive an education and connect with the healthcare they need. I am pleased to lead my colleagues in urging for further funding for this program that is so vital to countless American’s way of life.”

 

“I am proud to join with Rep. Pence and my fellow colleagues to advocate for the value of the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. Due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the need and urgency for all individuals to have access to virtual health services, educational programming, and internet-based agribusiness resources,” said Congressman Frank J. Mrvan. “I look forward to continuing to support this program and improved broadband access through the appropriations process.”

 

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

Christian Investments receives favorable recommendation for West McKay Road rezone

A proposed apartment complex has received criticism for its proposed location and potential impact.  Those points weren't of great influence at Monday night's Shelbyville Plan Commission meeting 

 

A petition to expand Martinique Village Apartments is facing resistance from local residents concerned about the density of the project, added traffic to the area and drainage issues.  A petition, as regards rezoning one particular part of it, was before the Shelbyville Plan Commission Monday night.

 

Prince Alexander Architecture, LLC, created a site plan for Christian Investments, LLC, that included 96 new apartment units at the vacant area near 1451 West McKay Road.  The Shelbyville Board of Zoming Appeals was concerned about the number of overall units for the parcel of land and made a recommendation that the unit total be limited to 50.

 

Much of the debate over the plan was put on hold Monday as the request before the Plan Commission was simply one of zoning, not information on the plans itself.  The petition by Christian Investments was to rezone the property from R2 (two-family residential) to RM (multiple family residential).

 

Plan Commission President Mike Evans explained the rezoning request before them Monday.

 

 

With that in mind, the first vote was on a motion to forward an unfavorable recommendation to the Shelbyville Common Council.  That failed by a 5-4 vote. 

 

A follow-up vote, to forward a favorable recommendation for the rezone, was passed by a 5-4 vote.  The measure now goes to the Common Council for consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana Grand announces $7 million barn and dormitory expansion

Caesars Entertainment, parent company of Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana, announced plans Tuesday to significantly expand the property’s barn and dormitory facilities.

 

The $7 million investment project will include a new 100-stall barn and a 50-room dormitory, increasing stall space on the backstretch to accommodate nearly 1,200 horses.

 

News of this expansion comes on the heels of Indiana Grand’s recent announcement of its $32.5 million investment to grow and enhance the existing casino gaming floor.

 

The barn and dormitory project should be completed in the fall of 2021.

 

“Each year, we turn many stables away because we just don’t have the stall space for them,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. “As our racing continues to grow at the national level, we receive even more requests to race at our facility. This addition will further solidify Indiana Grand as a premier racing destination.”

 

 

 

The new 100-stall barn, modeled after the Quarter Horse barn, built in 2014 at Indiana Grand, will be enclosed and winterized with three large sliding doors on both sides of the barn. The structure will include 10 wash bays, two restrooms and 10 tack rooms.

 

The dormitory will include 50 additional rooms in a two-story structure next to the new barn. The

 

facility will provide housing for those who care for the additional horses, featuring community bathrooms for both men and women, central air and heat, and a laundry facility on both floors. Both structures will be located on the west side of the current backstretch area.

 

“Adding another barn will only strengthen our current program at Indiana Grand and build upon Caesars Entertainment’s growing position as a leader in sports and entertainment,” said Joseph Morris, Vice President of Racing for Caesars Entertainment. “This project is another example of how Caesars Entertainment is investing in the horse racing industry in the state of Indiana.”

 

Work should begin in early May on the project. The construction site will be fenced off from the existing barn area to provide safety and security to the current horse population at Indiana Grand.

 

For more information on the 2021 racing season, go to www.caesars.com/indiana-grand.

Board of Works offers assistance to struggling homeowner

City of Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun was ready to dole out a substantial fine to a homeowner that has repeatedly failed to upkeep a residence.

 

Then Barbara Johnson caught the third-term mayor off guard.

 

Johnson owns the residence at 305 Sunset Drive that the Board of Works has received numerous complaints on over the years. The site has quite literally been a nuisance.

 

Johnson heeded her summons to appear Tuesday morning at City Hall to discuss her living situation with the Board Works, which includes DeBaun, David Finkel and Bob Williams.

 

She explained how she is now alone in the house and struggles with discarding items no longer of value or need.

 

“It’s a disease. I know,” said Johnson. “You used to be able to take a white glove to my house. Since my husband died I’ve become a hoarder. I’m just alone. It’s a disease. I know it.”

 

Johnson stated she was embarrassed having to come before the board and that caused DeBaun to change his posture.

 

Fire chief Tony Logan, who regularly attends the Board of Works meetings, offered up a solution.

 

The city has a community advocate that could offer multiple ways of assistance for a resident struggling through life.

 

“That might be the first time ever, and I’ve been doing this as the code enforcement guy and as mayor for 28 years, that someone came to the podium and admitted they had a hoarding problem and asked for help,” said DeBaun Tuesday morning after the meeting.

 

Emily Larrison is the city’s Community Advocate and Logan met with Johnson to exchange contact information.

 

“(Johnson) mentioned depression so I hope Emily can hook her up with some mental health resources,” said DeBaun.

 

The mayor also wanted to contact Shelby Senior Services to see if that organization could also offer Johnson some assistance.

 

DeBaun recalled when Johnson’s husband appeared before the Board of Works several years earlier and mentioned there were additional people at the house contributing to the mess.

 

Johnson stated Tuesday that those people are gone and mentioned they left her in a worse position.

 

“They took me for everything I had,” she said.

 

The board opted to continue the case for another two weeks to see what progress could be made to help Johnson.

 

“I know sometimes people don’t look at government or the city as a resource but we do have that ability to connect,” said DeBaun.

Summerfield subdivision preliminary plat approved by Shelbyville Plan Commission

The preliminary plat for a housing subdivision on Shelbyville’s southwest side received approval from the Shelbyville Plan Commission Monday.

 

A 187 lot, approximately 64-acre parcel has been proposed by the Forestar Group at the northwest corner of Progress Parkway and Amos Road.  It's directly south of the Southern Trace subdivision.

 

The proposed development received mostly favorable reviews from neighboring residents although there were concerns voiced over drainage and traffic, particularly on Amos Road.

 

Mike Babbitt lives in Eaglebrook.

 

 

Melissa Garrard represented Forestar at Monday's meeting.  She explained why one of the development's entrances involved Amos Road.

 

 

Summerfield's preliminary plat was approved by unanimous vote.

 

 

 

Midwest ice cream maker recalls almost 100 products

Velvet Ice Cream recently announced a voluntary recall of all ice cream and sherbert products sold in the past month.  The recall affects dozens of products sold after March 24.  In a news release, the company stated there have been no reported illnesses.

 

Possible listeria contamination was found during routine testing.  It's the third such recall involving Velvet in the last four years.

 

Velvet Ice Cream has been in business for over 100 years.

 

Anyone who bought one of the affected products is encouraged to dispose of it. Customers can contact the company for a refund.

 

This list of affected products is on the company's website:

 

Volunteer clean up project set for Forest Hill Cemetery

A community service clean up project will take place May 8 at Forest Hill Cemetery in Shelbyville.

 

Organized by Carrie Ridgeway, the clean up project offers community service hours to individuals and groups.

 

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the cemetery, 704 Morris Avenue.

 

The goal is to spruce up the cemetery after the winter months and prepare it for the Memorial Day holiday when many people visit.

 

Volunteers should bring weed eaters and leaf blowers if possible.

 

Collecting fallen sticks and tree branches and sweeping headstones also is needed.

 

There will be an official on site to sign off on community service hours.

 

If weather does not cooperate, the event will take place on May 15.

Shelbyville house fire started in garage

There were no injuries in a Sunday Shelbyville fire.

 

The Shelbyville Fire Department responded to 2216 Theobald about 12:20 pm.  The fire originated in the garage and then spread causing some damage into the home.

 

No dollar amount has been released.  The cause remains under investigation.

 

 

The home's owner is listed as the Harry McNeely Trust, Jessica Cooper - trustee.

 

No injuries Friday as car flips onto side in 3-car accident

A vehicle flipped onto its side in a three-car accident Friday.

 

Jocelyn Lane, 17, of Shelbyville, told Shelbyville Police she was going 30 mph in the northbound right turn lane of South Harrison.  She said another vehicle struck her on the driver’s side door causing her 2008 Chevrolet Equinox to flip onto its side.

 

The driver of the second vehicle, a 2003 Pontiac Montana, told police she was waiting to turn left into CVS.  Rita Hellums, 63, of Milroy, said she took a flashing of lights by the Lane vehicle to mean she should turn in front of that vehicle to reach the CVS parking lot. 

 

A third vehicle driven by John Tsataros, 54, of Shelbyville, was struck by the Equinox as it flipped.

 

No injuries were reported.

 

 

 

Sen. Leising provides legislative update through virtual meeting

Senator Jean Leising expects more attempts to create a statewide standard for solar and wind turbine regulations.

 

Approximately 6% of Indiana’s power currently comes from renewable energy and there is a strong push to drive that number up as high as 30%.

 

Leising (photo) expressed caution Friday afternoon with regard to that number without more assurances as to how reliable renewable energy can be for the state.

 

House Bill 1381 died on the Senate Floor during the most recent Statehouse session’s final days. The bill wanted to create a set of standards for solar and wind facilities that would override stricter standards of local county governments.

 

The bill passed through the House of Representatives and landed in the Utilities Committee of the Senate where Leising first got involved in the topic.

 

“I asked a ton of questions,” said Leising via a virtual meeting Friday hosted by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. “There are so many unanswered questions and it would have an impact on my district.”

 

The bill made it out of the committee, Leising voted against it, but did not have enough support on the Senate floor to continue.

 

“I think we are doing quite well with renewable (energy) compared to other states in the Midwest but people are pushing that we need to increase our renewables.

 

“I am going to pay attention to that issue. I am sure it will be back again.”

 

The session officially recessed Thursday, but did not adjourn, because there is still work to be completed. The Senate needs updated U.S. Census numbers, which are not yet available, to complete redistricting which is based on population numbers.

 

The Senate has been told that data may not be available until as late as September.

 

Leising updated those following the meeting online about the new state budget numbers which includes half of the state general fund being allocated to K-12 education.

 

“With the increase in funding, I am hoping teacher pay will improve,” said Leising.

 

At least 45% of the state funding schools will be getting must go to teacher pay, according to Leising. And a school is required to submit a report to the Indiana Department of Education if it cannot get starting teacher pay up to $40,000 per year.

 

“I want people who really want to teach our kids to go into the teaching profession,” said Leising.

 

The Legislative Update was to include Rep. Sean Eberhart and Senator Michael Crider but both were unable to participate.

 

For more on what Leising discussed, the virtual meeting is on the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

Welcome back the cicada

Maybe as many one to two million per acre.  If you’re in a heavily wooded area a very noisy time may be coming your way.  The 17-year wait for this cicada brood is over.

 

Shelby County’s Purdue Cooperative Extension Educator Scott Gabbard says Brood X is coming.

 

 

Gabbard says the female cicadas will lay eggs and that will result in some areas experiencing a lot of twigs and branches falling off.

 

 

Typically, the damage to trees is minimal.

 

 

The phenomenon that is the cicada eruption could be more gradual depending upon where you are.

 

 

Northern Illinois is expected to be hit by the next brood to emerge, Brood XIII, in 2024.

 

Southern Indiana joins Northern Kentucky, Maryland, and Pennsylvania as the primary locations for Brood X.  As many as 11 other states could be involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelbyville Central Schools board views new marching band uniform prototype

The Shelbyville Central Schools board already agreed to fund 50% of a new set of marching band uniforms for Shelbyville High School.

 

On Wednesday at its April meeting, the board was presented with a prototype of the uniform, modeled by marching band member Nate Thurston (photo left).

 

The process of replacing 200 marching band uniforms is tedious and costly. Approximately 115 returning band members have been measured for new uniforms with the roughly 85 other uniforms to be a mixture of sizes.

 

The total cost is $100,000 with half needed to be raised by the band boosters. By law, the school board can only offer $50,000.

 

The band boosters have been working tirelessly to raise its $50,000 and got assistance from one anonymous donor who pledged $10,000.

 

At Wednesday’s meeting, three organizations donated a total of $5,000 to the cause. Ryobi Die Casting presented a check for $3,000 while Shelby Lodge No. 28 F&AM and the Shelbyville Police Department’s D.A.R.E. Program each pledged $1,000.

 

The goal is to have the uniforms ready to debut at Shelbyville High School’s first home football game on Aug. 27. And the uniforms will be on full display when the marching band travels to Walt Disney World to perform in two years.

 

If you are interested in making a donation, go to www.paypal.com/biz/fund?id=J92JPHK6QA9TG or go to shelbyvillebands.membershiptoolkit.com.

 

In other business, the board approved overnight and out-of-state field trip requests for SHS girls varsity soccer team (Anderson University  Team Camp, July 22-24), SHS girls basketball (St. Francis College D-One Tourney, June 13-15), SMS science students (Great Smoky Mountains in Tremont, Tennessee, February 2022), SMS eighth-grade students (Washington D.C, March 18-21, 2022), and SHS boys and girls cross country team (Starve Hollow, July 19-22).

 

“We have approved the (trips) for the summer. Parents are going to have to sign off on that extracurricular agreement if they have not already signed off on that,” said superintendent Mary Harper.

 

The school system is working on an option to test students for COVID-19 once they return from trips, especially students on trips closer to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Trip sponsors and administrators have been encouraged to communicate with parents of students going out of state about purchasing travel insurance in case trips are cancelled.

 

The board also approved Chartwells to continue providing cafeteria food services and agreed to change the October school board meeting from Oct. 20 to Oct. 13.

 

The board also approved the refinancing of 2011 bonds that would save the corporation $270,000.

SCS finalizing plans for over $7 million in federal stimulus funding

The Indiana Department of Education recently announced the recipients of a third round of federal funding for school corporations to help offset expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Shelbyville Central Schools received $4,970,010.28 – more than double what Shelby County’s largest school corporation received in the second round of funding.

 

“We are working, our administrative team and our board and we’ve met with our teacher team,” said SCS superintendent Mary Harper following Wednesday’s school board meeting. “We are trying to prioritize everything. We are trying to address learning loss and the needs of our students. We don’t have a final plan yet.”

 

The second round of federal stimulus dollars allocated to Indiana’s public and non-public schools totaled $881 million. The third round allocates an additional $1.8 billion.

 

The funds can be used to reimburse approved expenses incurred through September 2024. At least 20% of the funding must be used to support accelerated learning opportunities for students, such as summer learning, comprehensive after-school programs, or extended school years programs.

 

There are deadlines in place for school corporations to meet to get the funding.

 

“Our ESSER 2 (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) is due on May 14, and our ESSER 3 is due June 14,” said Harper, speaking exclusively with the Shelby County Post. “We are getting quotes on some things. Our hope is by the first of May, or that first week of May, we will be pretty firm in what we are doing on ESSER 2.”

 

ESSER funds will not be used to enhance teacher salaries or hire new staff, according to Harper.

 

“We’re not going to be hiring certified staff with our ESSER money that we have to sustain beyond the grant,” said Harper. “Luckily, our board is super supportive and we are hiring two English Language Learners teachers this year, one for Loper (Elementary School) and one for Hendricks (Elementary School), and we are hiring a dean at the high school.

 

“Those are things we could have included in the grant but, ultimately, after 2024 you have to sustain them, so we are just including them in our regular education fund so those are budgeted and we can keep those positions.”

 

Infrastructure and technological advances are key focal points, according to Harper.

 

“First thing, we are looking at the needs of our students, but (the grant) is really open in terms of technology and infrastructure and looking at learning loss, accelerated learning, and there is also updated technology and we are definitely going to take advantage of that.”

 

While five of the six schools in the SCS system have avoided hybrid learning or complete e-Leaning situations during the pandemic, there will still be health concerns when the 2021-2022 school year begins in August.

 

“In terms of spacing students out, we can update some spaces,” she said. “We are going to do some things with infrastructure which will help us in the long run.”

 

Harper does not expect Shelbyville’s elementary students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August. The same may be true of middle school students.

 

“So we are going to take advantage of (the grant money) and try to expand some spaces we will be able to use,” she continued. “I am thinking larger activities where we can spread students out so they are not as close together. That way if a student tests positive, we are not sending large groups of students home as close contacts.”

 

The three rounds of federal funding have provided SCS with $7,611,189.56.

 

“It’s great for the corporation,” said Harper. “I’m excited about the budget increasing because ideally we want to hire more staff, decrease class sizes, and get support staff in to help our students but it’s risky to hire staff on money that you know will not be there in a couple of years.

 

“I understand districts are doing that with ESSER. The last thing I want to do is be in the middle of a (reduction in force). That’s never healthy for the district. So as much as the staff we feel is needed and we can absorb into our education fund, then we can spend ESSER money for other things.”

 

The third round of federal funding also provided $819,908.24 to Shelby Eastern Schools (Morristown and Waldron), $659,895.79 to Southwestern Consolidated Schools, and $1,487.876.49 to Northwestern Consolidated Schools (Triton Central).

 

In surrounding schools systems, Bartholomew Consolidated Schools (Columbus) received $13,845,308.94 in ESSER 3 funding; Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation (Hauser) $737,448,46; Decatur County Community Schools $1,912,751.19; Greensburg Community Schools $3,531,689.92; Southern Hancock Consolidated Community Schools (New Palestine) $606,456.45; Greenfield-Central Community Schools $2,710,877.58; Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation $1,469,225.83; and Eastern Hancock Consolidated Community Schools $629,790.04.

Friends of the Blue River cleanup event moved to May 1

With inclement weather in Saturday’s forecast, the Friends of the Blue River cleanup event has been postponed until May 1.

 

The group needs volunteers to help clean up trash and control invasive species.

 

Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. at the N. Harrison St. trailhead. Water and lunch will be provided. Volunteers will receive T-shirts.

 

Funds for the cleanup project came from a grant written by Shelby County’s 2008 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient Lauren Ruble.

 

The grant application for $2,487 was approved and delivered to Patrick Addis to spearhead the project.

 

For more information, send a text message to 317-512-9164 or email to addispz@rose-hulman.edu.

Shelby County changed from Blue to Yellow on Indiana's coronavirus map

Shelby County has experienced an increased number of coronavirus cases causing the county to be moved from Blue to Yellow this week.

 

Shelby County's Yellow advisory level is fueled by a 7-Day All Tests Positivity Rate of 6.69% and 89 Weekly Cases per 100, 000 residents.

 

Neighboring counties in Yellow include:  Hancock, Rush, Marion and Johnson.

 

Decatur County is listed as Blue in the most recent map.

 

 

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to host legislative update Friday

The Indiana legislative budget session is scheduled to close at the end of this week with redistricting to come later in the calendar year with census information stalled until September.

 

An update on the session is being hosted by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce this Friday, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm.  State senators Jean Leising and Mike Crider and State Representative Sean Eberhart are expected to take part in the virtual session via Zoom.

 

Those who wish to listen and take part should contact the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to register and receive a free Zoom link.

 

Nidec Sankyo workers eligible for Trade Adjustment benefits

On April 14, 2021, Nidec Sankyo America Corp. in Shelbyville became eligible to apply for benefits and services through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

 

TAA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and assists workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade.

Any worker laid off from Nidec Sankyo, a manufacturer of automotive parts, on or after Dec. 22, 2019, or any worker scheduled to be laid off before April 14, 2023, may be eligible to apply for TAA benefits.

TAA services and benefits include:

 

  • Training—pays 100% of all required training costs
  • Income support—up to 130 weeks of income-support payments
  • Job-search and relocation allowances—reimbursement of 90% of allowable costs to travel to a job-search activity or relocation for new employment
  • Wage subsidy—for workers age 50 and older up to $10,000
  • Health care tax credit—IRS tax credit of 72.5% of qualifying monthly health care premiums

 

For more information about the TAA program, please visit https://www.in.gov/dwd/taa/, call 317-385-1965 or email TradeActPetitions@dwd.IN.gov.

School board approves contract to build new press box at Mendenhall Field

The need for a new press box at Bud Mendenhall Field at Triton Central High School is obvious.

 

With increased live video streaming productions as well as local news and radio coverage, the 18-foot press box that also houses the public address announcer, scoreboard operators and assistant coaches is just not adequate, according to Northwestern Consolidated Schools system superintendent Chris Hoke.

 

On Tuesday, the school board approved an emergency contract to get a larger press box completed by the start of the 2021 football season.

 

Antal Building Corporation, based in Avon, Indiana, will oversee construction of a 39-foot press box.. Antal has worked on two previous projects for the school system – the second phase of the elementary school renovation and a renovation project at Triton Central Middle School.

 

With faith the company can meet a deadline and not surpass the $175,000 estimate, the board approved the project unanimously.

 

“We have a very short timeframe,” said Hoke during the meeting. “We can get in there and start doing (demolition) in early May and have it done by mid-August and the start of the football season. We have a very compressed time frame.”

 

The project would maintain the entry way at Mendenhall Field and include repair work on the ticket booth.

 

Triton Central’s first home game of the 2021 football season is Aug. 27 against Greensburg.

 

In other business, the board agreed to continue using Chartwells Food Service. The five-year contract will begin its third year with Northwestern Consolidated Schools in 2021. The contract rolls over each year but still needs board approval.

 

The board was informed by Triton Central High School athletic director Bryan Graham it will see a $5,000-plus bill for using an outside contractor to move the weight room equipment into the new weight room built inside the fieldhouse. Once the spring sports season is over, equipment will be moved and catalogued to determine what new equipment is needed.

 

Graham also informed the board that the newly-remodeled fieldhouse hosted its first event Saturday and Sunday. Approximately 75 boys and girls basketball teams were in Fairland.

 

“There were 121 games in two days,” said Graham.

 

Reviews of the fieldhouse facility were excellent and traffic flow around the buildings on campus was much improved.

 

The board also honored Triton Central Middle School eighth-grader Blaine Raider (photo above) for recently winning the 3D Archery middle school state championship.

 

Rather than shooting at traditional bullseye targets, 3D archery provides 3D animal targets with smaller target areas to hit.

Board of Works approves street closures for St. Joe Spring Festival

The Shelbyville Board of Works approved street closures for the return of St. Joe Spring Festival.

 

To assist with set up of the carnival rides and the event itself, Pike St. to Noble St. will be closed and on S. Noble St. from Broadway to Hendricks St. will be closed from May 5 through May 9.

 

“I’m looking forward to it and I vote we approve the request,” said Board of Works member David Finkel.

 

The St. Joe Spring Festival was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In other business, the board heard from city planning director Adam Rude about four nuisance properties that would be receiving orders to appear following the street department’s “spring clean up” or “heavy trash week” that starts Monday and runs all week.

 

The properties are located at 609 Morris Avenue, 907 Governors Lane, 1904 S. West St., and 1022 Lincoln St.

 

The board also approved a contract with Duke Energy to replace 13 street lights between the bridge on N. Harrison St. and Mechanic St.

 

Construction has been going on that is not related to the downtown redevelopment project, according to Rude. Light replacement will commence following the concrete work that is currently taking place.

 

The decorative lights will match existing lights already placed in downtown Shelbyville.

City's COVID-19 Phase 3 funding request denied; county request approved

The City of Shelbyville was not awarded a Phase 3 grant to help local businesses financially stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Instead, local businesses must now go through Shelby County officials for assistance. Shelby County was awarded a Phase 3 grant in the amount of $250,000.

 

Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun mentioned the Phase 3 denial at Tuesday’s Board of Works meeting. After the meeting, he spoke with the Shelby County Post and was not concerned for local businesses.

 

“I went through the list of all three rounds (of grants) and I don’t know if I found an instance where a city and a county were awarded in the same area,” he said. “My guess is since we were awarded in the second round, the county was awarded this time. I think they were trying to spread it out.”

 

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announced Monday that 80 Hoosier communities would receive more than $18.8 million in federal grant funding through OCRA’s COVID-19 Response Grant Program.

 

“I looked at the description because there are multiple categories (that can apply). Some are food challenged, some are housing challenged, some are job retention and so when I look at the applicants awarded, we fall squarely within those parameters each time,” said DeBaun. “I think it’s just a matter of giving it to the county this time.”

 

DeBaun was unsure who or what branch of county government would disperse the funds. He tasked city plan director Adam Rude to find out so a contact name could be dispersed to local businesses.

 

“I think it’s a different person with a different checkbook,” said DeBaun. “I think it’s likely that a lot of the people that were awarded in the second round will be awarded in the third round.”

 

A day after the news broke that the city would not receive federal funding, Phase 2 of the grant process was closed out.

 

Rude addressed the Board of Works Tuesday morning to make it official.

 

The Shelbyville COVID-19 Economic Recovery Committee reviewed 36 applications and awarded grants of various amounts to all 36.

 

“Everyone eligible was funded in some capacity,” said Rude.

Shelbyville firefighters respond to call of smoke from second floor of Public Square building

A 911 call of smoke in the second floor of a Public Square building brought Shelbyville firemen to downtown Shelbyville in the 11 a.m. hour Tuesday.

 

 

Shelbyville Fire Chief Tony Logan told GIANT fm News and The Shelby County Post that it appears pavers on the downtown reconstruction got too close to the building while using a torch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Councilman wants to equip all Shelbyville police cars with dashboard cameras

Just over half of the Shelbyville Police Department vehicles are equipped with dashboard cameras.

Shelbyville Common Council member Tyson Conrady (R-5th ward) has put in motion a way to equip the 15 cars that are lacking video recording capability.

 

Conrady discussed the need for more cameras at Monday morning’s council meeting at City Hall. The first-time council member is the council’s liaison to police, fire and emergency medical services in the city.

 

The city currently has 34 officers assigned to the patrol division, according to police chief Mark Weidner. There are 19 dashboard cameras in service now.

 

“In this day and age, it is (important),” said Weidner following Tuesday morning’s Board of Works meeting. “It is a protection more than anything else. We really do need to be more aware of what we are saying and what we are doing.”

 

Shelbyville Common Council member Tyson Conrady (R-5th ward) is the council's liaison to police, fire and emergency medical services in Shelbyville.

 

The city will seek grant money to cover the $75,000 expense ($5,000 per vehicle for 15 vehicles).

 

“If we can get half (in grant money), I hope the council will be willing to furnish the rest of the finances,” said Conrady. “It’s not a want. It’s a need.”

 

The Shelbyville police department does not provide body cameras for its officers. There are privacy issue concerns with wearing those cameras, according to Weidner.

 

“The biggest thing with body cameras is you don’t take the dash cam inside someone’s house,” explained Weidner. “There are no privacy concerns on the road. I wonder just how much resistance you will get when you take body cams inside a house and start filming things that people don’t necessarily want to share with everybody.”

 

There is more time and expense in dealing with body cameras compared to in-car cameras.

 

“There is an extreme expense in (body cams) because you don’t just take them out of the box and make them work,” said Weidner. “You have to maintain them. You have to turn them on and turn them off. And when do they go on and when do they go off?”

 

There is no timeline for the grant process yet.

 

“I am going to stay on that,” said Conrady. “I feel like this is one of those things where us as a council, we need to make sure that public safety is first.”

Two-year-old struck by truck and killed in Greenwood accident

A child was struck by a vehicle and died in Johnson County Monday.

 

The Johnson County 911 Center received a call reporting a two-year old boy had been struck by a vehicle at 4377 West Countyline Road, Lot 222, Greenwood, in the Winterbrook Mobile Home community.

 

Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess said driver of the vehicle involved in this incident was Christopher White, 59, of Greenwood, and an employee of Winterbrook. The vehicle he was driving was a 2021 Chevrolet pickup owned by the mobile home park. The driver reported that he came to a stop at an intersection, looked both ways and then turned.  At that time, he felt that he ran over something.  White said his truck is very tall and he never saw the child.

 

The Sheriff’s Office as well as the Johnson County Coroner’s Office is still investigating the incident and collecting information. All information received during the course of this investigation will be forwarded to the Johnson County Prosecutors Office for their review.

 

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, White River Fire Department, Greenwood Fire Department Chaplain, and the Johnson County Coroner’s Office all responded to the scene.

Shelby and Decatur counties, Rushville among COVID-19 Response Grant Phase 3 recipients

 Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced that an additional 80 Hoosier communities will receive more than $18.6 million in federal grant funding through OCRA's COVID-19 Response Grant Program.

 

“This grant program has already provided support to more than 600,000 Hoosiers across our state,” Crouch said. “This round we expanded the COVID-19 Response Grant Program so we can continue helping Hoosiers, their families and their businesses recover from the pandemic.”

 

In April of 2020, OCRA began addressing COVID-19 impact on Indiana communities. Last year, 112 grants were awarded to 96 communities, totaling more than $20.9 million.

 

"Based on additional research and community feedback, OCRA was able to open this round to municipalities of all sizes and expanded eligible activities," said Denny Spinner, Executive Director of OCRA. "With a focus on assisting small businesses, expanding food bank and pantry services, and providing essential mental health services, these grants will impact Hoosiers and communities that are on the road to recovery."

 

For this round, eligible applicants include non-entitlement and entitlement local units of government could apply for up to $250,000. Eligible activities include mental health services, childcare services, public WiFi locations, food pantry or bank services, subsidence payment programs, or grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate income (LMI) jobs.

 

Funding for the COVID-19 Response Phase 3 is derived from Indiana’s CARES Act allocation.

 

Shelby County is awarded $250,000 to award grants for up to $10,000 to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees located within Shelby County that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

 

Decatur County is awarded $250,000 to grant between $5,000 and $10,000 to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees located in Greensburg, Millhousen, New Point, St. Paul, Westport and unincorporated Decatur County.

 

The City of Rushville is awarded $250,000to provide $10,000 grants to any eligible business located within the city with less than 100 employees that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center on track for May 29 opening

The Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center is on schedule to open May 29 after staying closed throughout the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The pool is already filled and work is in progress to replace the smaller drop slide that was showing some age.

 

“We took out one of the slides and are putting in a new slide,” said Karen Martin, director of the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department which operates the venue. “The old slide had some rusted areas that I felt was a huge liability for the city and us. So we are replacing the whole slide because the cost to replace the parts would have been almost as much. It just made sense to replace the whole thing.”

 

Jeff Brown photos

The Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center in on track to open May 29 after remaining closed all of 2020. The Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department is currently replacing the small drop slide that was located next to the climbing wall with a new one.

 

With no summer jobs to offer in 2020, the parks department has found hiring staff in 2021 to be difficult. Trusted seasonal employees moved on to other job opportunities leaving the parks department in search mode even as opening day is just over a month away.

 

“We’ve had three or four apply and we will be starting interviews,” said Martin. “It’s sad to see some of our senior leaders leaving. They are great people and they have been great people for us. We are going to miss them. Hopefully, we will move forward in a positive way.”

 

In a previous story for the Shelby County Post, Trisha Tackett, assistant director of the parks department, called the decision to keep the aquatic center closed in 2020 one of the most difficult decisions ever made.

 

“We’re moving forward,” said Martin, who mentioned the facility will be in start-up mode today. “Right now, it looks like we are on schedule and that’s a positive thing.”

Henry County woman, 76, killed in farm accident

Indiana State Police responded to a rural Henry County farm to investigate the death of a New Castle woman.

 

Investigators learned that James, 81, and Barbara Smith, 76, were off loading corn from a grain bin located on their farm at 4808 W. State Road 234. At approximately 2:00 pm Smith called 911 and reported he was unable to locate his wife and believed she may have been trapped inside the grain bin.

First responders searched for two hours before they located Mrs. Smith inside the grain bin, which contained between eight to ten feet of corn. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Henry County Coroner.

 

The Indiana State Police was assisted by the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Henry County Coroner’s Officer, and Fire Departments from New Castle, Jefferson Twp. (Sulphur Springs), Harrison Twp. (Cadiz), Adams Twp. (Markleville), Greensboro, Kennard, and Shirley.

Friends of the Blue River seeks volunteers for cleanup day

Spring is in the air and clean-up projects are underway.

 

On April 24 at 9 a.m., Friends of the Blue River is asking for volunteers to help with Spring Cleanup Day.

 

This initiative started in the fall of 2020 with a grant application request written by Lauren (Rush) Ruble.

 

Shelby County’s 2008 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient took on the grant-writing process as part of Lilly Scholar Network’s Lead Forward grant opportunity.

 

“I had never written a grant before. I wanted to try it but couldn’t think of a project, so I actually went to BRCF (Blue River Community Foundation) and asked if they had any ideas,” said Ruble, a Southwestern High School graduate and fifth grade teacher at Triton Central Middle School in Fairland, Indiana. “Julie Jones told me about Friends of the Blue River and it seemed like a great fit for the grant application description.”

 

Ruble’s grant application was approved for $2,487 which was delivered to Patrick Addis to spearhead the project. The funds will be used to purchase needed equipment and supplies for volunteer cleanup days like the next one on April 24.

 

Volunteers are asked to meet at the N. Harrison St. trailhead. Water and lunch will be provided. Volunteers will receive T-shirts.

 

The goal is to keep the Blue River Trail free of trash and invasive species.

 

“Being a BRCF Alumni Scholar allows me the opportunity to find ways to give back to the community that gave me a college education,” said Ruble. “I am so blessed to have received my scholarship, and I will continually work hard to try and thank the community that helped me.”

 

For more information, send a text message to 317-512-9164 or email to addispz@rose-hulman.edu.

INDOT to close portion of SR 3 in Rush County for bridge work

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close State Road 3 from I-74 to IN 244 for bridge work.

 

SR 3 will be closed from I-74 near Greensburg to IN 244 in Rush County, 7 miles south of Rushville.

 

The road will close at the end of the April. It is scheduled to reopen at the beginning of June.

Indiana transitions to new high school equivalency exam

The Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Adult Education will transition to a new high school equivalency test on July 1. Used in more than 25 states and territories, HiSET® will become the state’s new HSE credential and another way for Hoosiers without a high school diploma to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.

 

A product of ETS, a leader in assessment, the HiSET® exam is consistent with the curricular emphasis found in today’s high schools, aligns with the College and Career Readiness Standards for adult education, and maintains rigor while providing another path to a new future.

 

According to Marilyn V. Pitzulo, DWD’s associate chief workforce strategy and design, Indiana continues to be a leader nationally in adult education. “This opportunity will give Hoosiers an opportunity to demonstrate mastery and earn a state-issued HSE diploma,” she said.

 

An HSE helps adult learners achieve college and career goals, expand opportunities, and change lives.

 

The items that are included in the HiSET® exam are pilot-tested, validated, and normal for graduating high school juniors and seniors.

 

While not every state offers the HiSET® exam, the HSE credential is recognized by all states, the U.S. Department of Education, military, and federal programs. Three neighboring states – Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan – currently offer the HiSET® exam.

 

HiSET® is seven hours in length and covers five subject areas – mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts (reading and writing). The HiSET® test will be offered in English and Spanish, by paper and computer, and there is an option for examinees to take the exam from home.

HiSET® Exam at Home will be a convenient option for students who are unable to test at a test center. The subtests are identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to tests taken at a test center. It may be taken on a computer at home or another secure location and monitored by a human proctor online. HiSET® Exam at Home will be available from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

 

Immediate “unofficial” score results on computer-delivered, multiple-choice tests, except for language arts – writing, will be available to examinees.

 

In addition to Indiana Adult Education, HiSET® offers a variety of prep materials to help test takers get ready for the exam, including an Official Guide to the HiSET® Exam and practice tests.

 

A transition from the current TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion™) exam will allow examinees to complete any unfinished tests from July 1 – October 15, 2021. In Indiana, new adult education students will take the HiSET® exam July 1 and after.

 

In Indiana, the cost to take the new exam will remain at $115. There will be an additional charge for students who utilize the HiSET® Exam at Home option.

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. 

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