Local News

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is canceling Camp Eva, a bereavement camp for children ages 5-12

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is canceling Camp Eva, a half-day bereavement camp for children ages 5-12, originally scheduled for Saturday, September 18, 2021at Columbus Youth Camp. 


“In keeping with our priority of protecting the health and safety of the children and their families, we have made the disappointing decision to cancel Camp Eva due to the increased cases of Covid and increasing hospitalizations. Camp Eva is for children 5-12 and that is an age group that is not yet eligible for vaccinations. With the rise of the Delta variant, we are not willing to risk exposing these children and their families who have already suffered a loss of someone important to them,” said Laura Leonard, President of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.


“Bereavement staff will be reaching out to those families who have already registered to offer a Zoom Celebration of Life option, as well as invite them to Transformers, our monthly grief group held via Zoom for children and families,” continued Leonard.


Our Hospice provides bereavement support to people of all ages and at all stages of grief. All our groups are open to anyone who has lost someone, whether they received hospice care or not. Please contact David Dopson at 812-314-8096 or wdopson@crh.org to find out about any of our groups which are all currently meeting virtually:


  • Beginning Again –for adults who have lost a loved one. Meets weekly every Tuesday from 2:00-3:30 PM and 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Wings for the Journey – for anyone who has lost a child (of any age). Meeting monthly on the third Tuesday from 7:00-8:30 PM
  • Transformers – A child/family support group that meet monthly on the second Thursday from 4:30-5:30


Board of Works focusing on two more nuisance properties in Shelbyville

With three nuisance property cases resolved, the City of Shelbyville Board of Works approved two more orders to appear for owners of additional nuisance properties.

Plan Commission director Adam Rude informed the Board of Works Tuesday morning at City Hall of three nuisance property cases that were resolved, with a fourth order to appear yet to be delivered.

Two more will go out after Tuesday’s weekly Board of Works meeting. Orders to appear were approved for the owners of 2110 Kent Road (Frank Wetherill, according to Shelby County’s GIS website: shelbyin.wthgis.com) and 324 Roosevelt Drive (Johnny Hicks).

“These are nuisance properties we have not had much success with,” said Rude.

In other board business Tuesday, a new police department standard operating procedure for cell phone usage was approved and the purchase of a small parcel of land was approved for right of way to install a new access road along Tom Hession Drive.

Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun, who is one of three members of the Board of Works along with David Finkel and Bob Williams, closed the meeting by mentioning that Shelby County Emergency Management Director Ryan Hansome has been deployed to New Orleans to assist the city in its damage recovery efforts after Hurricane Ida.

Shelby County Incident Command Update - August 30

The Shelby County Covid positivity rate is 9.5% and we remain in “orange” status. 


MHP Priority Care and MHP Pediatrics walk-ins:Patient volumes continue to be busier than normal. A high proportion of pediatric patients are seeking treatment.


Emergency Department:  The Emergency Department is seeing more than 75 patients per day since August 1.We saw 88 patients on Friday (8/27), 80 patients Saturday (8/28) and 83 patients Sunday (8/29).  Many patients have a high acuity and need transferred to a tertiary facility to provide a higher level of care; and many of these are pediatric patients.


Hospitals on diversion: Community Hospital and Hendricks Regional are on diversion and not accepting any patient transfers.  IU Methodist is on diversion for ER/Critical Care/Trauma.  St. Francis was on diversion over the weekend; including STEMIs.  However,St. Francis is now open for STEMI transfers only.A STEMI (ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) is the most severe type of heart attack. 


Inpatient unit: The 3rd floor inpatient unit is completely full.  We still have bed availability in our ACC inpatient unit.  We currently have 15 critical care patients on the 3rd floor and 10 patients are on vents and five of those patients are requiring “proning”. 


All of our vented patients are unvaccinated.  20 of our inpatients are Covid positive and only three of those are vaccinated.

Staffing continues to be a challenge because of the high acuity of these patients.


Local Nursing Homes:  At least one local nursing home is starting to have Covid positive residents. 


Drugs and Supplies:  We are infusing several Covid+ patients on a daily basis with 11 scheduled for today.  We do not have any supply or PPE issues at this time.


Employee illness:  We have a total of six employees out with Covid or suspected Covid at this time. 


Testing metrics at MHP:  So far in August, we have 403 patients who have tested positive and of those 80% were unvaccinated.  17% were fully vaccinated and 3% had at least one dose of the vaccine.  The median age is 30. 

Columbus East student struck and killed getting on bus

Law enforcement officers from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Police Department and Indiana State Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash involving a high school student that occurred Monday morning.

Just before 7:00 am., officers responded to the 1900 block of South Gladstone Avenue in regards to the incident.  Witnesses reported that a Columbus East student was attempting to get on a stopped school bus when the student was struck by a car. The driver fled the scene and was followed by a witness who observed the crash. The suspect was located a short time later on County Road 250 East where he was taken into custody.

The student died at Columbus Regional Hospital.

The investigation into the hit and run crash is ongoing.

Additional information including the identity of both the suspect and student involved in the crash is expected to be released later today.


“We are working closely with Bartholomew County School Corporation officials in regards to this investigation,” said Major Chris Lane. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. A tragic event like this affects many people and we are thinking of everyone involved.”

Bulldozer pursuit ended without injury in Columbus

It was one of the more unusual law enforcement pursuits.


About 4:00 am Saturday, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office was notified that the Columbus Police Department was in pursuit of a suspected stolen 19, 000 pound bulldozer southbound on Central Avenue from 17th St.


Deputies responded to assist CPD officers in blocking intersections due to the John Deere "650 K Crawler Dozer" being extremely large and having the potential to seriously injure or kill anyone in its path.


The suspect identified as Adam Jackson was given numerous commands over a PA system to stop as well as seeing numerous police cars with emergency lights activated. Traffic was non-existent at the time and the speed of the bulldozer was approximately 6 mph.


The decision was made to retrieve the BCSO armored vehicle (MRAP) due to the size, weight, and dangerous capability of the dozer. The primary concern was if the dozer reached a populated residential area that major damage and personal injury / death would occur. 


Deputies pulled up next to the dozer in the MRAP as it was still moving at approximately 3 mph and gave numerous loud commands for Jackson to stop the machine. Jackson eventually complied and stopped.


Jackson was secured and taken into custody.


“The MRAP was provided to Bartholomew County at no cost from the federal government early during Sheriff Myers administration.  The MRAP’s purpose is to protect lives and property in the most dangerous situations. We had this situation last night. The MRAP was deployed to protect life and property and it worked. This incident could have resulted in a very tragic loss of life if the individual would have lost control and drove through a house while the occupants were sleeping. With the quick thinking of all the deputies and officers involved Mr. Jackson was stopped and taken safely into custody. No one was injured during this incident.  We don’t like to use this type of tactical vehicle, but we are glad we had it last night. This type of vehicle is a piece of equipment you hope you never have to use.  However, when needed it can save lives and if the need ever arises again we will use it. We appreciate our Federal partners in acquiring this rescue vehicle, without their help we would not have been able to afford this type of equipment," stated Chief Deputy Chris Lane


Our Hospice 35th Annual Free Summer Concert featuring headliner, Yacht Rock Revue, has been canceled

 Our Hospice of South Central Indianais announcing the cancelation of this year’s Summer Concert which was to feature Yacht Rock Revueon Labor Day weekend, Saturday, September 4.


“We worked closely with the Covid Task Force of Bartholomew County and, as a community organizationhave made the difficult decision to cancel due to rising cases of Covid and increasing hospitalizations. We cannot risk the health and safety of our community members,” said Our Hospice President, Laura Leonard. “We are deeply disappointed as we, along with so many fans, were excited to see Yacht Rock Revue come to Columbus to perform.”


Bartholomew County Health Officer, Dr. Brian Niedbalski said, “The health and safety of our community members is our top priority. Even though the concert is an outdoor event, the large number of people gathered together at Mill Race Park presents a great risk for transmission of the more infectious Delta variant. Although disappointing, this is the right decision in light of the escalating number of cases and hospitalizations from COVID in our surrounding areas.”


“Even thoughthe concert will not take place this year, we are optimistic that we can count on the generous support of our communities, as we needit now more than ever,” said Leonard. There are many ways to continue to demonstrate support and provide funding that goes directly to caring for patients and families served by Our Hospice and Palliative Care.


  • Make an additional donation directly online at www.crh.org/hospiceconcert
  • Purchase Raffle tickets for $10 each for a chance to win$10,000. Tickets can be purchased online using direct debit at www.crh.org/hospiceraffle until 5:00 PM on Sept. 4, 2021
  • Raffle Tickets can be purchased at our drive in events at Fair Oaks Mall, from any employee, or on Saturday, Sept. 4 from noon to 5:00 PM in front of the Hospice Center (drivethru)
  • Join us for the drive-thru American Legion 24 Fish Fry on Friday, August 27 from 11:00 AM-8:00 PM
  • Purchase fresh-baked cookies, T-shirts or Raffle tickets at our drive thru events on Tuesday, Aug. 31, Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 in the Fair Oaks Mall Parking lotfrom 11:00 AM-1:00 PM and 4:00 PM-6:00 PM.
  • Bid on the original concert Art by local artist Donna Rosenberg. Online bidding takes place until Thursday, September 9 at www.32auctions.com/OurHospiceArt2021
  • Purchase a $20 concert T-shirt by emailing jdavis3@crh.org

The $10,000 Raffle drawing will take place on September 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM. Winners will be notified by phone that evening and the results will also be posted on the Our Hospice Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OurHospice  and Instagram pages www.instagram.com/OurHospice.


“We are very grateful to our concert presenters, Faurecia and Columbus Regional Health, as well as our donors, benefactors and supporters who so generously give in support of the concert each year. We are encouraged by the generosity we receive and we sincerely appreciate every gift to help us make every moment count for our patients and families,” said Leonard. “We are confident that our community will step up and continue to support the specialized medical care we provide. We are as disappointed as we know many of you are, but we cannot risk endangering the lives of our friends and neighbors, nor can we risk overwhelming the capacity of our local health system. We look forward to the end of the pandemic when we can gather again and share the Summer Concert with you,” continued Leonard.


If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Julie Davis at (812) 371-7973, jdavis3@crh.org or online at www.crh.org/hospiceconcert .


To purchase $10 raffle tickets for a chance to win $10,000, please contact Tabitha Saltzman at (812) 662-3194, tsaltzman@crh.org, or purchase online athttps://www.crh.org/hospiceraffle, direct debit only.

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags to be flown at half-staff to honor and pay our respects to the U.S. service members and other victims killed in the terrorist attack on August 26, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. 


Flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on Monday, August 30, 2021.


Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff.

COVID-19 spread continues to rise in Indiana; Shelby, Hancock counties in Orange

Indiana had over 5,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day.  Wednesday's report is the first time the number of cases have eclipsed that level since January 10.


5,037 cases was up from just under 3,600 the previous week.  


Weekly Cases Per 100,000 Residents
  • Less Than 10 new cases (Blue)
  • 10 to 99 new cases (Yellow)
  • 100 to 199 new cases (Orange)
  • 200 or more (Red)


On the state's coronavirus color-coded map Shelby and surrounding counties remain in the Orange category.  In all, 67 counties are in Orange, the second-riskiest category.  That's up from 62 the previous week.


No Indiana counties are Blue - in the lowest level of virus spread.


Eight Indiana counties are holding in Yellow.  Aside from Boone and Monroe, those counties are in a line across the Indiana - Michigan border from northwest Indiana.


16 Indiana counties are in the state's highest level of spread shown as Red on the map.  Most of those are in west-central or southwest Indiana along the state's borders with Illinois and Kentucky.


The state Health Department also reports increased hospitalizations with over 2000 patients being treated for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.  That's up 30 % from a week ago and more than five times the numbers in early July.

Registration open for inaugural $1,000 Cornhole Derby

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will offer the inaugural Cornhole Derby on Sept. 4. The event will be held on the racetrack following the early afternoon racing program with a projected start time of approximately 2:30 p.m.

A special All-Quarter Horse racing program will be held on Sept. 4, beginning at 10 a.m.

Entry is open to all players 18 years of age and older. There is no entry fee and the tournament will be held in a single-elimination format with the first team to 21 advancing to the next round.

The final four teams will compete for $1,000 in prize money with the first place team receiving $500.

Registration for the Cornhole Derby may be obtained either online at www.indianagrand.com under the racing tab on the homepage or from the first floor OTB counter.

Entries must be emailed to indianagrandcontest@gmail.com.

Teams consist of two players and individuals may only compete on one team. Entries will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Sept. 2. Positions in the bracket will be drawn at that time for the Derby on Sept. 4.

Teams must supply their own regulation cornhole boards and bags to play.

For more information, contact indianagrandcontest@gmail.com.

Two Shelby County farms honored with Hoosier Homestead awards

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler presented 73 family farms with a Hoosier Homestead Award on Aug. 18 at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

The award recognizes a family’s longstanding commitment to Indiana agriculture.

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years, and consist of 20 acres or more, or produce more than $1,000 in agricultural products per year.

“Agriculture has always been and continues to be a vital and thriving industry in our state,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who was part of the awards presentation ceremony. “I always look forward to honoring these Hoosier Homestead Award recipients on their family’s commitment to their farm, community and heritage.”

Families are eligible for three different distinctions of the Hoosier Homestead Award, based on the age of the farm. They can receive the Centennial Award for 100 years, Sesquicentennial Award for 150 years or Bicentennial Award for 200 years of ownership.

Since the program’s inception in 1976, nearly 6,000 families have received the award. Often, a Hoosier Homestead farm is easily recognized because most recipients proudly display their awarded sign on their property.

“Each of these Hoosier Homestead farms have such a unique and important story behind them,” said Kettler. “Managing and operating a farm is no simple task, and I commend each of the families that receive this award for their dedication and devotion to agriculture.”

Shelby County had two family farms honored at the ceremony.

The Harrod Farm (top photo) received the Centennial Award for 100 years of operations. The farm has existed since 1899.

The Clark-Rehme Farm (photo below) received the Sesquicentennial Award for maintaining operations since 1866.


City gets control of nuisance property for purpose of demolition

A nuisance property in Shelbyville is now under city control.

The house that sits at 111 E. Hendricks St. (photo) has been deemed beyond repair and the company that currently owns it, INDYRE LLC, out of Boca Raton, Florida, has agreed to deed the property over to the City of Shelbyville.

The residence can now be destroyed and the property can be disposed of per Indiana requirements, according to mayor Tom DeBaun.

“We have done everything we could do to save that house,” said Board of Works board member David Finkel Tuesday morning at City Hall.

EJ Rentals LLC owned the property from Dec. 4, 2017 through Feb. 2, 2021 when it was sold to Savvy In LLC.

INDYRE LLC took over control of the property on April 12 of this year.

In other Board of Works business Tuesday morning:

Four bids were opened for the construction of an access road for economic development purposes off Tom Hession Drive.



HIS Constructors, who built Tom Hession Drive, had the low bid at $692,885 and was awarded the contract.

City engineer John Kuntz estimated the project at $747,098.

The other three bids came in between $714,000 and $879,000.

Shelby Co. Commissioners resolution calls for end of NW Regional Sewer District

The Northwest Shelby County Regional Sewer District appears to be dissolving after a decision by Shelby County Commissioners Monday.


The commissioners passed a resolution that calls for the filing of a petition by the City of Shelbyville that would dissolve the district that was created in the summer of 2012.


Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Nigh.



No sewer development has come to the area with the district’s implementation.  District president Jeremy Miller says one of the main roadblocks was costs per resident remained high and no plan had changed that.


Several northwestern Shelby County residents attended the meeting including Miller.  Miller asked for the issue to be tabled and told commissioners that he had an agreement


A future effort at sewers for the region, including the fast developing Pleasant View corridor off of I-74, will be funded, in part, with TIF funds from projects at the site.  The existence of a  regional sewer district was believed to impede on another service area looking to establish within the established region.


If IDEM agrees, an order would be issued to dissolve the district and distribute remaining assets after all liabilities had been paid.


Culver's restaurant among projects under city's technical review process

The City of Shelbyville’s monthly Plan Commission pre-meeting was loaded with pending projects.

Plan director Adam Rude informed the board of five projects slated for technical review Tuesday including a Culver’s restaurant.

Culver’s would sit north of Cracker Barrel, 1898 N. Morristown Road.

Another site development plan under technical review would be for a private urgent care facility near Chase Bank, 1828 East State Road 44. The urgent care would not be associated with Major Health Partners of Shelbyville.

Three planned unit developments also are under review.



M/I Homes of Indianapolis has purchased property (photo above) south of Timber Creek Villages assisted living facility, 990 Progress Parkway, with a plan to build 162 residential units priced in the $300,000 range.

A M/I Homes representative met with the Plan Commission Monday night at City Hall for a quick introduction of the project. Following technical review, a formal presentation is expected to be made at September’s meeting.

Davis Homes’ proposed Stratford Place, to be located behind the Golden Bear Preschool, 1115 E. State Road 44, is under review ahead of a Plan Commission presentation.

And Arbor Homes’ proposed Riverview residential subdivision near Blue River Memorial Park is back for another review. The initial project was denied by the Plan Commission earlier this year.

Purdue professor explains FDA Covid vaccine approval

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech has now received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for those 16 years and older.

Aaron Lottes, a Purdue University expert on FDA regulatory processes, explains what this means going forward.

Lottes worked with the FDA on the approval of drug-device combination products for 13 years. Now, as an associate professor of engineering practice in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, he continues to collaborate with the FDA and industry experts to educate the next generation of biomedical engineers and regulatory leaders.


Q: Does FDA approval mean the Pfizer vaccine is officially considered safe and effective?

A: FDA approval means that the Pfizer vaccine has now gone through the FDA’s full standard review process and the FDA has determined, based on extensive data with longer follow-up, that the vaccine is safe and effective for preventing COVID-19. An emergency-use authorization had just indicated that the vaccine may be safe and effective and that the known and potential benefits outweighed the known and potential risks.


Q: Why has the Pfizer vaccine just received FDA approval for people age 16 and up?

A: Studies for ages 12-15 were started later than for those 16 and older. While there are enough data to support emergency use in this younger age group, it was not part of the submission for approval. A supplement is planned for this age group once the required six-month data are available.


Q: Are there still risks involved with getting the Pfizer vaccine?

A: The FDA has identified an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, especially for males under 40. But this is being followed up in multiple required postmarket studies. The approved labeling includes a warning for this risk.


Q: How fast was the FDA approval timeline for the Pfizer vaccine relative to other vaccines approved by the FDA in the past?

A: The submission was accepted by FDA and received priority review status in July. A normal submission has a target 10-month review timeline, whereas a priority submission is targeted at six months, which would have been January 2022. The actual review and approval time was just over one month, representing a tremendous effort by the FDA review team. This does not mean that FDA only spent one month reviewing all the data. Rather, this submission was provided over time to FDA for review. As different parts of the application were completed, FDA was able to review in near-real-time. It was just the final pieces that were not submitted until more recently. Additionally, based on the urgent need, the FDA diverted extensive resources to focus on this review and ensure that safety and effectiveness were thoroughly evaluated.


Q: Why has the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine not yet been approved by the FDA?

A: Moderna’s submission was about a month behind Pfizer’s submission, so it remains under review.


Q: Does FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine also include a booster shot?

A: The booster shot is not yet approved. At this time, there is only an FDA emergency use authorization in place for certain immunocompromised individuals to receive a booster shot.

New Palestine woman killed in Monday crash

A New Palestine woman was killed in a Monday morning one-vehicle accident in Shelby County.


The Shelby County Sheriff's Department says Angelica Hood, 21, was driving a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox when it left County Road 600 West just south of 1100 North and struck a guardrail about 9:30 am.  The vehicle came to rest in a creek.


Hood was pronounced dead at the scene.


The sheriff's department says it is unknown why the vehicle left the road.

COVID cases nearly quadruple from July to August within MHP system

Shelby County continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major Health Partners released its most recent data Monday which included Shelby County’s COVID positivity rate at 10.34%.

The Delta variant represents 97% of Indiana’s new COVID cases. In July, MHP had 67 patients test positive for COVID throughout the system. In August, there have been 232 patients test positive across the system and 19% of those patients were vaccinated. Eighty-one percent of MHP’s COVID-positive patients were unvaccinated.

Walk-in volumes remain double the expected norms for this time of the year. The vast majority of patients are presenting with respiratory systems.

The Emergency Department is averaging 78 patients per 24-hour period, which is approximately 10-15 patients higher than expected volumes. Many of these patients, according to MHP, are critical patients and ESI patients. Emergency Severity Index (ESI) is a five-level emergency department triage algorithm, representing the acuity level of the patient.

The hospital has 40 inpatients on the third floor and six inpatients in the ACC unit. Eight of the 46 inpatients are on vents. Fifteen of the 46 are COVID positive.

Staffing remains an issue because vented patients are requiring 5-6 critical care nurses per shift. Respiratory therapy staffing is an issue as well given the high volume of vented patients.

MHP currently has a large supply of the send-out COVID tests. Rapid tests continue to be in short supply. The rapid antigen testing supplies are on allocation as well.

MHP is following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, SDOH and OSHA. All entrants will be given a surgical mask or medical grade mask upon entry into the hospital. Cloth masks are no longer permissible, which is an OSHA requirement.

Fatal Monday morning Shelby County car accident

A woman was killed in a one-vehicle Shelby County accident Monday morning.


The name is not being released as of this report.


The Shelby County Sheriff's Department says the woman, 21, drove into the guardrail and over a small bridge into the creek below on County Road 600 West just south of 1100 North.


Dispatch was notified of the accident about 9:30 am Monday.


More details will be released as the investigation continues.

Vaccine still best defense as new COVID-19 variant cases rise across state

The state of Indiana has surpassed 800,000 positive cases for COVID-19. The death total is closing in on 14,000.

In Shelby County, positive cases are near 5,500 with 98 deaths.

Those statistics will continue to climb as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.

“As long as you continue to have people not vaccinated, they can transmit it and it can change and become a new variant,” said Dr. Paula Gustafson, Chief Medical Officer at Major Health Partners in Shelbyville.

With each variant, COVID-19 can become more aggressive and more dangerous, according to Gustafson.

MHP Medical Center is seeing a rise in patients in recent weeks. In its latest public update Monday, the pediatric practice, the emergency department and the inpatient unit were all dealing with an increase in patients with respiratory issues.

The pediatric department has seen walk-in cases double with patients with respiratory symptoms or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We can’t just have one thing at a time,” said Gustafson. “It is very unusual for RSV season this time of the year. It affects younger kids. The youngest ones take the brunt of it.”

On Sunday, the emergency department had 78 patients, 23 of which complained of respiratory issues. So far Major Hospital has not yet reached critical levels in terms of staffing – a problem at some hospitals.

“A lot of people in our profession have left because of COVID-19,” said Gustafson. “There is a severe nursing shortage. It’s not that hospitals don’t have beds, they don’t have the people to care for them.”

The inpatient unit is averaging 8-to-9 Critical Care Unit patients per day. What has changed in 2021 from 2020 is the average age of those admitted.

As of Monday, 90% of August COVID+ admissions were unvaccinated with an average age of 56 years old. The average age of vented patients is 53.

“A lot of older people got vaccinated,” said Dr. Gustafson. “Younger people feel they don’t need the vaccine. So we’re not getting the (admission) rates of older people.”



While the vaccine does not make someone immune from COVID-19, and it does not guarantee a person that has had COVID-19 will not contract it again, it does lessen the impact on the human body.

“The vaccine never stated it would prevent you from getting COVID-19. It will prevent you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19,” said Dr. Gustafson.

Vaccinations are readily available at multiple sites in Shelby County. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, just over 3,000,000 Hoosiers are fully vaccinated even as positivity rates climb over 10% as it is in Shelby County.

“Nothing is ever as simple as promised,” said Dr. Gustafson. “(Vaccination) is the best weapon to get herd immunity and make it harder to transmit the virus.”

While Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has stated he is not interested in reinstituting a mask mandate, he does support school systems requiring kids to wear them once again while in class.

The four superintendents in Shelby County are adamant they do not want kids being forced to wear masks in the classroom. It will take a state mandate or county health department decree to change policy.

“I don’t want to prognosticate and it certainly wouldn’t be our choice in this situation … for us right now our bigger concern is close contacts,” said Northwestern Consolidated Schools superintendent Chris Hoke after Monday’s school board meeting. “We made a move to start spacing kids out by six feet in instructional areas and doing some things we can that are identified as close contact. What we are seeing is a majority of them don’t later contract (COVID-19).”

Hoke estimated there had been about nine COVID-19 positive cases in the Triton Central school system as of Monday.

“There are things we know are not preferred in a school setting instructionally and we are trying to not have to do the things if we don’t have to,” said Hoke. “The reality is we will react to the reality on the ground and do what we need to do.”

City and county government buildings in Shelby County also could be returning to a mask requirement.

“I think that is where it’s going with the numbers that we are seeing,” said Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun after the most recent Common Council meeting at City Hall. “Watching the news and seeing what is happening across the country and as mobile as we are as a society, it is just inevitable that it is going to happen. I don’t anticipate any mandates from the state level. I think it is unfortunate something like this has been politicized. I think these things will be dealt with on the local level.”

CSX confirms 14 train cars derailed Thursday in Fountaintown

At approximately 8:11 a.m. Thursday, a CSX train derailed 14 cars near North Division Road in Fountaintown, Indiana, along the northern Shelby County and southern Hancock County line.

The train, headed to Avon yard in Indianapolis, took out power lines in the immediate area and caused traffic congestion along U.S. 52 (east and west) and State Road 9 (north and south).

Of the 14 derailed cars, six were empty and eight were loaded with mixed freight, according to a CSX media release. No hazardous materials were released, only white plastic pellets and a non-hazardous organic material (fatty acid).



Power is fully restored in the area, according to CSX. The derailed cars were moved to a staging area and track repair was completed.

CSX is working with local first responders and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to recover the spilled fatty acid and plastic pellets.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation. There were no injuries to the train crew.

Shelby County Sheriff Louie Koch was on site Thursday morning and confirmed his department was in a support role only to CSX crew on site.



“It was carnage,” said Koch of the site. “Train cars were erected in the air at 45-degree angles. There were mangled train cars. It was blessing that nobody was hurt.”

Agencies involved in the response to the derailment were Fountaintown Volunteer Fire Department, Shelbyville Fire Department, Sugar Creek Fire Department, Morristown Fire Department, Indianapolis Fire Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Shelby County Emergency Dispatch, Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Indiana State Department of Homeland Security, CSX, and Duke Energy.

(Aerial photos taken by Indianapolis Fire Department)

Shelbyville Police investigating man found dead in car outside Colonial Laundromat

Police have confirmed an investigation into a dead man found near a Shelbyville business.


A man, age 56, was found in a car deceased outside the Colonial Laundromat. The name was not released in this initial report.


At this time the Shelbyville Police Department says foul play is not suspected.

No timetable for cleanup of Fountaintown train derailment

A Thursday morning train derailment now means cleanup of broken cars, tracks and cooking oil in Fountaintown.

The cars derailed right at Division Road leaving the back end of the train blocking traffic at the State Road 9 crossing just north of the U.S. 52 intersection.

There were no hazardous materials spilled although there was a rupture of two cars carrying used cooking oil and plastic pellets.  Indianapolis Fire Department hazmat crews repaired the damage.

Over 80 cars were a part of the train with a dozen directly impacted by the derailment.  There’s no word yet on what caused the incident.  As can be seen in one of the GIANT fm News photos the wheels were knocked off of one car.



Over 100 feet of track was damaged.

There is no timetable given for when the derailed cars will be removed and intersections or train traffic will be able to resume.

Train derails near Fountaintown causing power outage, traffic delays

A train derailment has occurred at the CSX tracks just north of U.S. 52 along the Shelby County/Hancock County line.

The derailment of cars reportedly carrying propane is near Division Road in Fountaintown and has left much of the train sitting on the track that crosses State Road 9.

Duke Energy currently has 427 customers without power as a direct result of the derailment.

Both the transmission and distribution structure in the railbed was damaged, according to Jean Renk with Duke Energy.

Repair work cannot begin until the train cars are removed.

“Customers should expect a delay on their power return,” confirmed Renk.

Shelby Senior Services settled into new home at MHP Community Health and Wellness Center

Shelby County’s senior population is growing.

To better serve that community, Shelby Senior Services has a modern, new home at the Major Health Partners Community Health and Wellness Center, 2120 Intelliplex Drive, Suite 101.

“It’s been a long time coming but I tell you, it is a true blessing that we are here,” said Kim Koehl, Executive Director of Shelby Senior Services. “Major Hospital has been good to us and, thankfully, they believe in Shelby Senior Services and what we do for our seniors in Shelby County.”

With the creation of the community center that also houses a new YMCA, MHP offered space to Shelby Senior Services to move from its 1504 S. Harrison St. location.

“It was excitement,” said Koehl when she learned of the commitment to seniors by MHP. “There was the possibility of all the new things we could do here that was not easily done in our old building.”



The square footage is similar from old home to new home, but the space is much more efficient.

The new facility has a kitchen area attached to a large activity room that can be divided into two spaces. There also is a conference room and dining area that is shared with the YMCA.

“It’s about the same space internally but it’s configured differently,” she said, who was allowed to give input on what Shelby Senior Services needed during the design phase.

The move across town went smoothly, according to Koehl.

“We didn’t have any activities the week before we moved,” she said. “We pretty much shut down for two weeks.

“That first week we packed everything and made sure it was ready. The next week we had movers on a Monday and then we took that week to put everything away. We were very happy with how it went.”

Shelby Senior Services has its own entrance into the Community Health and Wellness Center with ample parking near its main entrance, including extra handicap parking spaces.

“We like the extra spaces if we have a large event,” said Koehl. “It didn’t take long for our parking lot to fill up (at the old facility). We have a few of those every month where we were just outgrowing where we could be.”



Koehl hopes the modern facility will draw more seniors into the fold.

“This should take away that stigma that some people don’t want to come in and be part of the senior center,” she said. “A lot of that stigma is, ‘I’m not that senior to come to the senior center.’

“I hope being here will allow some of those seniors that are 55 and 60 years old to come in because we are here at the (Community Health and Wellness Center).”

Shelby Senior Services provides information and activities for seniors and their families.

“We want to be your one stop shop for seniors,” said Koehl. “If you have a question or if you don’t know where to turn for a senior, we may not have that direct answer right then but we will find it out for you.”

Shelby Senior Services can assist with housing and utilities, home modifications and even transportation through ShelbyGo. It also provides meals to seniors that cannot readily leave their residences.

And there are activity centers around Shelby County.

“We want to keep seniors active and moving and as safe and at home as long as we can,” said Koehl. “And help families because a lot of families don’t know where to turn. They can turn to us with many different questions and we can help and provide the services they need.”

TC school board hears complaints over uniform colors

On a night when the Northwestern Consolidated Schools Board accepted an anonymous donation of $6,586 to be used for uniform purchases, the exact color those uniforms will be came into question.

Board member Terry Morgan brought up a conversation he had with Superintendent Chris Hoke about concerns in the community that the color black was becoming more predominant in Triton Central’s color scheme of kelly green and white.

Morgan stated that the kelly green and white of Triton Central was set in 1959. Depending on the uniform supplier, kelly green has taken many shades over the years.

The school system currently has a deal with Nike to provide its uniforms and help standardize the kelly green color desired.

Morgan, though, has heard from several alumni with concerns that Triton Central teams are wearing black jerseys and black pants with green and white writing.

In addition, Morgan has discussed the issue with Triton Central athletic director Bryan Graham, who believes he has final authority on all uniform purchases and their colors. Morgan does not agree, believing the school board has the final say on color schemes.

What Morgan is concerned with is there a policy in place governing uniform colors and, if so, when was it enacted?

Hoke admitted to doing some research in past policy manuals but has not yet found anything concrete.

Hoke asked for more time to research the issue before an extended discussion is had with the board.

In other board business Monday night, Hoke informed the board that the newly-constructed press box at Bud Mendenhall Field should be complete Thursday.

“It’s everything we hoped it would be,” said Hoke of the larger press box used for football and soccer games as well as track and field meets.

Hoke also added that the bus lot at the middle school was finished other than “a few punch list items.”

“Both projects have gone fairly well,” said Hoke.

Capone's Downtown Speakeasy granted request for outdoor seating

Another business located on the Public Square appeared before the City of Shelbyville Board of Works to get permission to add outdoor seating.

Karen Smith, one of the owners of Capone’s Downtown Speakeasy (photo), located at 1 Public Square, wants to add outdoor seating to the bar and live music venue.

Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun, who is one of three members of the Board of Works, toured the outdoor area of Capone’s Friday with other officials to determine what limitations were to be set on outdoor seating at a bar.

DeBaun mentioned Tuesday morning at the Board of Works meeting that the city is working on a set of performance standards for furniture in the downtown area once the renovation process is complete.

In addition, the Redevelopment Commission will deliver a grant to Mainstreet Shelbyville to assist downtown merchants wanting to buy furniture, according to DeBaun.

The plan is to standardize what the downtown area looks like once the $20-plus million dollar renovation project is complete in November.

Capone’s request was granted by the Board of Works, similar to permission granted to Three Sisters Books & Gifts, 7 Public Square, earlier this year.

In other Board of Works business, orders to appear were issued for nuisance properties at 315 E. Franklin St. (owner: Callahan Investment Group, LLC), 145 Walker St. (owner: Rose Marie Roberts) and 329 E. Mechanic St. (owner: Safeguard Capital Partners, LLC).

Also, the owner of a pit bull that bit a Shelbyville police officer at Sunset Park failed to appear for the meeting.

Office Curt Schuman described to the Board of Works that he was called down to Sunset Park and came across a pit bull in a tent “not properly chained up.”

“I didn’t have time to react,” said Schuman, who was bit on the palm of his right hand. He needed medical treatment and is doing well.

The pit bull has been declared vicious after DeBaun and Board of Works member David Finkel visited the dog at the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter.

“We will let the animal shelter take care of the matter now,” said DeBaun.

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to reschedule annual gala due to COVID

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce is rescheduling the 2021 Chamber Awards Gala to next spring.


In a press release, the Chamber stated that due to the ongoing rise in COVID-19 cases, the Chamber Board of Directors decided to reschedule the event to ensure the safety of its award recipients, nominees and guests.


The Chamber recently has announced the individuals that will be honored at the Chamber Awards Gala at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville.


Six individual awards will be presented at the Gala as well as three business awards, where three finalists remain in each of the three categories.


The Dick Kitchin Volunteer of the Year is Amy Larrison.


Deborah Potter of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana will receive the Golden Pineapple Customer Service award.


Peter DePrez will be the recipient of the Shelby County Community Lifetime Achievement award.


The Golden Apple Outstanding Educator award will go to Coulston Elementary School’s Annette Creed.


The John A. Hartnett Sr. Business Person of the Year is Blue River Career Programs’ Angie Stieneker.


And the Outstanding Citizen award will be presented to Noah Henderson.


In the business categories, the three finalists for the Large Business of the Year are Brazeway Inc., Major Health Partners, and Penske Logistics.


In the Small Business category, the finalists are Cossairt Florist & Greenhouse, McNeely Law, and Sharp Trophies by Mack.


And in the Non-Profit business category, the finalists are Court and Child Advocacy Group Inc., Indiana Federation of Business & Professional Women Shelbyville, and Rotary Club of Shelbyville.


For more information on how to purchase tickets for the 2021 Chamber Awards Gala, contact a representative of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at 317-398-6647.

A Mississippi man struck and killed by a car on Smithland Road

A man was struck and killed in an overnight Shelby County accident.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says Noah Horton was driving a Honda Civic at 425 West Smithland Road about 12:40 am Tuesday.

David Young, 68, of Tupelo, Mississippi, was operating a tractor / trailer.  Young had stopped and was out of his vehicle with flashers on.  The sheriff’s office says Young was in the roadway and was struck by Horton’s vehicle.

No drugs or alcohol is suspected in the accident.


MHP Covid update - August 16, 2021

MHP Priority Care:  We had over 100 patients seen in just one day last week.  Our urgent care volumes were very busy over the weekend.  Our current weekend volumes are double our normal volumes.  The majority of patients are presenting with respiratory symptoms. 


MHP Pediatrics:  The pediatric practice is experiencing higher volumes as well.  We have double the number of walk-in visits compared to our normal patient volume.  Today, we had 19 walk-in patients in the first 45 minutes of opening. 

The majority of patients are presenting with respiratory symptoms and we have had several cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.  RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can be severe in young children.  As a result, some of our pediatric RSV patients have been transferred to Riley. 


Emergency Department:  Our ED was busy over the weekend.  We had 78 patients on Sunday and 23 patients (30%) complained of respiratory issues.  We are experiencing some delays withtransferring patients.  Many hospitals are on diversion and the majority of those is caused by a staffing shortage.  Major Hospital’s staffing level has not reached a critical stage yet, but it remains concerning.  The Emergency Department is averaging over 70 patients per day since August 1st. 


Inpatient unit:  Our inpatient volumes were higher than normal over the weekend.  We have three vents in use currently.  Of our vented patients, two are Covid+ and 1 is a suspected Covid+ patient. 

We are averaging between 8-9 Critical Care Unit patients per day.We currently have 8 Covid+ patients out of a census of 31 patients. 

90% of our August Covid+admissions were unvaccinated patients.  The average age of those patients is 56.  The average age of our vented patients is 53.  Our patients who are currently on a vent are requiring higher levels of oxygen compared to this time last year. 

As of August 9, Shelby Co remains at ORANGE status at a 10.62% positivity rate.


Covid Testing:  Our NAA (PCR) send out tests are in plentiful supply and the average turnaround time is 24-48 hours.  Our Rapid RNA tests are in very short supply and the turnaround time for these tests is less than an hour.  These tests must be reserved for a limited group of patients due to the shortage. 


Employee illness:  Currently, 13 MHP employees are in quarantine.  We have 10 Covid+ staff members and 3 with pending results.  6 employees returned to worktoday after completing their quarantine period.


Vaccine booster:  Walgreens is giving the booster right now.  Walgreens is following a list of permitted criteria to be eligible for the booster. 

MedWorks is not doing that yet. 

The booster is approved for active immunocompromised patients on a restricted basis. 

The Indiana Department of Health will host a webinar Tuesday, August 17 related to vaccine boosters. 


Patient and Visitor masking policy: We are following the latest guidance from the CDC, SDOH and OSHA.  The new policy is not an MHP policy, but a federal and state mandate for healthcare facilities.  All entrants will be given a surgical mask or medical grade mask upon entryCloth masks are no longer permissible


Chaplains and Clergy visitation:  Chaplains and clergy will be allowed visitation for non-Covid patients.  Exceptions will be made for end-of-life situations on a case-by-case basis. 

Mobile Covid vaccination clinic in Shelbyville Wednesday

The Indiana Department of Health is hosting a free mobile vaccination clinic at the Excel Center in Shelbyville on Wednesday.

You can register online at ourshot.in.gov or call (866) 211-9966.  A representative will schedule an appointment from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm EDT daily.

If you are 18 or older, you may choose to receive either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccine.  A second dose will be scheduled at the time of your first dose.

Individuals age 12 – 17 must receive the Pfizer vaccine.  An adult must accompany children age 12 – 15 to the vaccine appointment.  If the adult present is not the parent or the guardian, consent must be submitted in advance.  For anyone age 16 – 17 it’s preferred that a parent or guardian accompany the minor to the vaccination site.

Street department budget stressed by trash collection volume

The City of Shelbyville has a trash problem.

To assist with being over budget on trash collection, the city will reinstitute the five-bag per resident trash limit at the end of August.

Effective Aug. 30, the street department will only collect no more than five individual trash bags not exceeding 35 gallons in size or 40 pounds in weight.

Any additional bags in excess of the limit, which was repealed due to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping more people at home, therefore more trash in each household, must be disposed of by the property owner.

“We are about $20,000 over (budget) per month which will leave us significantly short this year,” said street department commissioner Doug Hunt at Monday morning’s Common Council pre-meeting.

Disposal rates have not risen for the City of Shelbyville, according to Hunt, who cited the sheer volume being collected as the problem.

In other business Monday morning, the council created an amendment salary ordinance category so it can add a behavioral health officer to the payroll.

The new position has been filled and his office will be on the second floor of City Hall.

Shelbyville teacher, coach, city councilman, member of two HOF - Gene Sexton passed away Saturday

Robert “Gene” Sexton, 95, of Shelbyville passed away Saturday, August 14, 2021, at Ashford Place Health Campus in Shelbyville.


He was born November 6, 1925, in Shelby County, the son of Leroy and Cora (Hendricks) Sexton. On February 11, 1956, he married Helen Marie Emma Draxton, and she preceded him in death on April 16, 2020.


Gene is survived by his daughters, Jeanne Lockridge and husband, Kurt, of Shelbyville, Teresa Drake and husband, David, and Julie Drake and husband, Darrell, both of Cambridge City, Toni Everhart and husband, Gary, of Waldron, Jan Kehrt and husband, Brian, of New Palestine, and Tina Clapp and husband, Carl, of Shelbyville; brother, Jack Sexton of Winter Springs, Florida; grandchildren Tyler Lockridge and wife, Mandy, Luke Lockridge and wife, Susan, Aaron Drake and wife, Ashley, Ryan Drake and wife, Anna, Sarah Holt and husband, Jake, Adrienne Fisher and husband, Erik, Megan Smith and husband, Kevin, Lauren Kehrt, Lindsey Nelsen and husband, Brandon, Natalie Kehrt, Natasha Waite and husband, Chris, Nathan Clapp, and Morgan Martin and husband, Aaron; 15 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.


In addition to Helen, Gene was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Don Sexton; and sisters, Faye Fisher and Fern Farquhar.


Gene graduated in 1944 from Shelbyville High School. He continued his education at Ball State Teachers College (now Ball State University) graduating in 1950. Gene was a member on the undefeated 1949 Ball State football team which currently stands as the university’s only undefeated football team and was inducted into the Ball State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.


He went on to obtain his Master’s degree from Butler University in 1958.


He was a U.S. Navy veteran.


Gene became principal at Shelby Township in 1951, and then taught at Colescott Elementary (later Lora B. Pearson). He moved to the Shelbyville Junior High School in 1957 to teach in the math department. He became full-time principal there in 1964 and served in that position until his retirement in 1987. He also served as athletic director. Gene was also a coach on the Golden Bear football and track staffs.

Gene was inducted into the Shelbyville High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010.


He had also worked for Carmony-Ewing Funeral Homes.


He served his community well including six terms on the Shelbyville City Council.


Gene was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Retired Teachers Association, Council on Aging, Ball State Alumni Association and American Legion.


Graveside services will be at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at Lewis Creek Baptist Cemetery in Shelby County.


Services have been entrusted to Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Shelbyville High School Athletic Department, 2003 S. Miller St., Shelbyville, Indiana 46176 or Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, 2626 E. 17th St., Columbus, Indiana 47201.


Online condolences may be shared with Gene’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.

SHS graduate working to broaden Shelby County Special Olympics' reach

Kendra Sizemore sees the beauty in sports and the tragedies in life all in a weekend.

An emergency room nurse at Eskenazi Hospital, located just west of downtown Indianapolis, Sizemore quips, “If you saw it on the news in the morning, I did it five hours ago.”

The Level I trauma center handles life-threatening cases on a hourly basis. But when her 12-hour shifts end, Sizemore returns her focus toward being the sports coordinator for Shelby County Special Olympics, where she also serves as softball coach for one of two state tournament bound teams.

“I was introduced into the role (of sports coordinator) when COVID-1 hit,” said Sizemore, a Shelbyville High School graduate who completed her Nursing degree at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). “Then we started writing COVID protocols for every sport. I didn’t sign up for that, but it worked out just fine. We are finally getting back to where all of our sports are getting to play. This is what I signed up for … to go to practices and to go to tournaments and be hands on with athletes – and not write papers.”

Sizemore (photo: back row, far left) loves her job, loves her role within Special Olympics, and is planning a wedding as 2021 shapes up to be a memorable year. Her life is in a great spot, in part, to being a 2016 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient.

“There is the obvious, I graduated (college) with a very small debt for housing. I mean I’m already out of debt,” said Sizemore when asked how the scholarship helped her. “There are people that I graduated with that are $80,000 in debt. That is such a huge burden to shoulder as a young adult. I certainly wouldn’t be looking to buy a house right now.

“Then you think about why did they do that? Why do they give out full-ride scholarships? It’s to get people to come back to Shelbyville.”

While Sizemore is not living or working full-time in Shelby County, she is fully committed to making a difference in Shelby County Special Olympics.

“I want to see us grow as a community,” she said. “Special Olympics, when I was younger, started out as a Shares sheltered workshop. It was mostly based around that population of adults with special needs. We’ve gotten more involved with the elementary school, the middle school and the high school and I think that by having more community outreach, we can really make a difference in these kids’ lives before they become adults. We can get them in some structured sports. And get them involved in the community in different ways.”

Sizemore has seen it work first hand for her brother, Kyle.

“It’s through programs like Special Olympics that my brother has jobs or volunteer opportunities,” she said. “He bowled with Special Olympics for several years and now the bowling alley hires him to put together pizza boxes in exchange for free games. He is one of many that have been touched like that.”

Sizemore was pulled into a coaching role by her father, Dan, who needed help with a Special Olympics basketball team.

“My brother is one year younger than me and is special needs. He started (Special Olympics) when he was 8,” she explained. “Dad started coaching pretty much immediately. I was 13 or 14 and he needed an assistant basketball coach. He was like, ‘Just get out there and come to practices every week.’

“I started doing it and I have been doing it ever since.”

And what Sizemore found was a new way to bond with her father.

“When I used to pitch, he was my catcher at pitching lessons. We got really close,” she said. “Then when I had my surgery and couldn’t pitch anymore, it really made things harder because we weren’t as close anymore. We didn’t have those hours and hours a week practicing together.

“Then we started coaching together and now we come home and call each other almost every day to talk about our (softball) lineups. This is our bonding experience and I love it.”

Nursing was always on Sizemore’s radar and an opportunity to job shadow at Major Hospital confirmed she was on the right track. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington for a year, she transferred to IUPUI and found a job at Eskenazi Hospital.

Sizemore has worked in Eskenazi’s emergency room since December of 2018. She admits the hospital was not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases during its initial surges but the stress associated with dealing with the pandemic was real.

“There were a lot of tears and a lot of stress because when you are on the front line you don’t have a choice,” she said. “All of the big waves of people that we were told were coming to our hospital never came. We were empty for a long time. They talked about laying off staff because our numbers were so low. It was the complete opposite of what you expected."

Sizemore's career allows her to help people, no different than her role with Special Olympics, which continues to grow.

“I am a little biased but I think Shelby County has done a fantastic job building up their programs, especially in the upper age groups,” said Sizemore. “And that has translated into some really great teams of young adults.”

Sizemore’s softball team, and a second representative of Shelby County Special Olympics, will compete in the Special Olympics Softball State Tournament Aug. 28 at Center Grove Lassie League in Greenwood.

Southwestern school board approves over $400,000 for roof maintenance

The Southwestern Consolidated Schools Board approved spending $423,900 for building improvements in the months ahead.

Southwestern superintendent Curt Chase asked the board Wednesday night at its monthly meeting to approve $410,400 for Quality Roofing Specialists to replace the majority of the roof on the high school building and the elementary school building.

Chase can now schedule the work with the roofing company to start as soon as possible.

Additionally, Chase asked the board to approve $13,500 for Huber Painting to paint all the white areas in the gymnasium (photo).

“The murals will all stay,” confirmed Chase Friday morning.

The goal is to put a fresh coat of white paint in the gymnasium to make it “pop."

In other board business, the board also approved the Jr./Sr. High School and Elementary School improvement plans.

“We are sticking with the same plan as we had,” explained Chase. “As we collect the data on any learning loss, we are taking a hard look at all our school programs through the year.”

The school system will monitor testing data to compare from pre-pandemic times in early 2020 to today.

As the delta variant of COVID-19 spurs more cases, Chase says the school system is monitoring the situation and awaiting any mandates handed down by the state with regard to wearing masks on campus.

“Right now they are leaving it to local schools and we appreciate that,” said Chase. “We are sticking with our plan and always monitoring the situation.”

Dental Care of Shelbyville to host Free Dentistry Day

Residents in the Shelbyville community and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to receive free dental services at Dental Care of Shelbyville.


Drs. Michael Hoagburg, Shuaib Mirani and team at Dental Care of Shelbyville will be improving the oral health of the community as part of Free Dentistry Day, Friday, September 10, a day dedicated to providing free dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 108 million Americans are living without dental insurance.


“We understand that many people in our community and across the nation haven’t been to the dentist for a long period of time. Some don’t understand the importance of dental health, but more often than not, they don’t have the financial means,” said Dr. Hoagburg. “This event is a great opportunity for us to share our time and resources with those less fortunate and give back to the community.”


There is increasing evidence that links oral health to overall health and well-being. The signs and symptoms of over 100 medical conditions, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and oral cancer may first be detected through traditional oral examinations.


“Dental health is a vital part of a person’s overall health,” said Dr. Mirani. “Through this event, we hope to educate patients on the importance of dental health and encourage them to adopt an ongoing oral care regimen.”


During Free Dentistry Day, cleanings and extractions will be provided to patients on Friday, September 10, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 1828 E. State Road 44, Ste 300 in Shelbyville. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call 317-604-5275 or visit www.FreeDentistryDay.org.


“It’s very gratifying to see the impact that events like Free Dentistry Day can have on the life of a person. While we’re changing their life, they’re changing ours,” said Dr. Hoagburg.


Chamber announces honorees, business award finalists for 2021 Chamber Awards Gala

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce has announced the individuals that will be honored at the 2021 Chamber Awards Gala on Sept. 17 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville.

Six individual awards will be presented at the Gala as well as three business awards, where three finalists remain in each of the three categories.

The Dick Kitchin Volunteer of the Year is Amy Larrison.

Deborah Potter of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana will receive the Golden Pineapple Customer Service award.

Peter DePrez will be the recipient of the Shelby County Community Lifetime Achievement award.

The Golden Apple Outstanding Educator award will go to Coulston Elementary School’s Annette Creed.

The John A. Hartnett Sr. Business Person of the Year is Blue River Career Programs’ Angie Stieneker.

And the Outstanding Citizen award will be presented to Noah Henderson.

In the business categories, the three finalists for the Large Business of the Year are Brazeway Inc., Major Health Partners, and Penske Logistics.

In the Small Business category, the finalists are Cossairt Florist & Greenhouse, McNeely Law, and Sharp Trophies by Mack.

And in the Non-Profit business category, the finalists are Court and Child Advocacy Group Inc., Indiana Federation of Business & Professional Women Shelbyville, and Rotary Club of Shelbyville.

For more information on how to purchase tickets for the 2021 Chamber Awards Gala, contact a representative of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at 317-398-6647.

Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center hosting Doggie Day Sunday

The Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center’s final day of the 2021 summer season is Saturday.

The facility will be open from noon to 6 p.m., according to Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department assistant director Trisha Tackett.

On Sunday, the 14th annual Doggie Day will mark the official closure of the water park. From 4 to 6 p.m., dogs and their owners can enjoy the facility. Admission is $7 per dog. There is no fee for owners.

All proceeds from Doggie Day will go to the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter. Donations for the animal shelter also will be accepted, according to Tackett, who spoke Wednesday at the parks department board meeting.

The aquatic center will be closed after Sunday’s event. Routine maintenance will then begin as the facility is closed down until 2022.

Heat advisory for second day in a row

Another day of hot, humid temperatures before relief going into the weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Thursday much of the state. The advisory is officially in effect from 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST.

High temperatures are expected to reach the middle 90's with the heat index ranging from up to 105.

Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur. People are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Racing canceled Thursday due to extreme heat at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Due to projected extreme temperatures and expected heat index for Thursday, Aug. 12, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will cancel the late afternoon racing program.


The decision to cancel was made in a joint effort by Indiana Grand management and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. All entities agreed the safety of all equine and human athletes is always the utmost of importance in extreme temperatures forecasted for Central Indiana. The area is currently under a heat advisory through Thursday, Aug. 12.


Racing will resume Saturday, Aug. 14 with an all-Quarter Horse program beginning at 10 a.m.


Live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is in progress through Monday, Nov. 8. The 120-day racing season offers action Monday through Thursday with a first post of  2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Racing begins at 3:25 p.m. on Thursdays. 

MHP reports Covid cases on rise; require medical, surgical grade masks

Major Health Partners is making adjustments to its COVID-19 protocols.
MHP outlines the changes and other COVID-related incidents while calling on the public to get vaccinated in this latest update:

Here at MHP we are experiencing what has been occurring across the country, Covid-19 cases are rising.  As this virus has persisted, it has led to the development of variant strains.  Currently, the dominant variant is the Delta Variant, which originated in India and is currently widespread in the United States. 


Research suggests that this variant is much more transmissible and is responsible for the increase in cases we have seen locally. 


The State Department of Health reports that 87.2% of all new Covid-19 cases are of the Delta Variant.  In Indiana, we have seen the positivity rate go from 1.8% in mid-June to 9% as of 8/2.  Shelby County’s positivity rate is 11.68% currently. 


The longer the virus persists, and the more it transfers from one individual to the next, the opportunity for new variants arises.  The single best defense against the virus continues to be vaccination.  If you have not received the vaccination, please take time to understand the risks associated with these new variants and consult your healthcare provider for adviceand guidance.  The vaccine is readily available in our community for individuals above the age of 12 and is still free of charge.


MHP Case Load

Emergency Dept census average for August 1-9 is 72 / day; was 66 / day in July.


Infusions of Regeneron for Covid-19 positive patients Aug 1-9 is 39; was total of 17 in July and 7 in June.


Inpatient Unit daily census average for August thus far is 29; 5 being critical care, 2 being ventilator dependent cases.


Hospitalized Covid-19 cases average for August 1-9 is 9 / day; up from 3 / day in July, less than 1 / day in June.


Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases, the following will be instituted at MHP between 8/11 and 8/21.

  • All in person, public events are cancelled or postponed through November 
  • All hospital-based meetings will convert to virtual format
  • All support groups will halt or convert to virtual format
  • Pharmaceutical and medical device reps will cease
  • All student shadowing programs will be suspended
  • Covid-19 testing will resume for all admissions and scheduled surgical cases
  • All staff, even those vaccinated, will need to wear a mask at all times within the facility
  • Cloth masks are no longer permitted for staff, patients or visitors.  CDC guidelines and OSHA standards now require hospital provided medical or surgical grade masks
  • Staff self-screening practices will be re-instituted
  • Entrance open times will be decreased, and patient/visitor screening will be re-instituted
  • Visitation will continue with new restrictions as posted on the MHP website


Bartholomew Co. buildings begin new mask requirements due to COVID-19

Bartholomew County Emergency Management announced via Facebook that county buildings there are now mandating masks be worn:


Due to the increasing spread of the Delta variant, COVID-19, and increasing hospitalizations, including ICU patients, beginning Wednesday August 11, visitors and employees must wear a mask while conducting business inside all Bartholomew County buildings.


County business will continue to be transacted; employees will continue to work, answer phones, emails, and will meet with members of the public.


Bartholomew County officials will return to conducting virtual meeting through the end of August. The meetings will be available via Zoom. If Governor Holcomb's emergency order is extended through September the county will continue with virtual meetings in September.


The Bartholomew County Commissioners continue to encourage all employees and members of the public to get vaccinated. 

Heat Advisory in effect Wednesday

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Wednesday much of the state.

The advisory is officially in effect from 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST.

High temperatures are expected to reach the lower to middle 90's with the heat index ranging from 95 to 105.

Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.

People are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out
of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. 

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. 

COVID vaccine clinic in Waldron Friday

Waldron Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center and the Shelby County Health Department will host a COVID vaccine clinic on Friday, August 13, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


All three vaccines will be available (Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J).


Shelby County Senior Services will be providing round trip transportation to the facility (if you live within 5 miles of the facility)


If the weather permits, vaccines will be offered as a drive thru.  If not, vaccines will be offered inside of Waldron Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center.  






Two killed in Bartholomew Co. crash


A Monday afternoon  two-car crash resulted in two deaths.


About 12:15 pm,  the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office received a report involving a two-vehicle collision with injuries and entrapment.


Upon arrival, it was determined there was one fatality and one victim entrapped in the same vehicle. The entrapped occupant was removed and transported to Columbus Regional Hospital via ambulance and later succumbed to her injuries.


The other involved driver was injured and transported to Columbus Regional Hospital as well and his condition is unknown as of this report.


East 25th Street was shutdown both directions for approximately four hours while an accident reconstruction was conducted from both the Indiana State Police and Columbus Police Department.


The accident is still under investigation.


The identities of the deceased will not be released at this time. 

Hancock among Indiana counties DNR asks to continue not feeding birds

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced today that Hoosiers in 76 counties across the state can resume feeding birds but asks that residents of the remaining counties keep their feeders down while the investigation into what is killing songbirds continues.

DNR recommended a statewide moratorium on bird feeding on June 25 to slow the spread of a still-undetermined illness that is killing birds across the state. Hoosiers answered the call, removing feeders, cleaning birdbaths, and submitting more than 3,400 reports of sick or dead birds. DNR biologists believe there to be more than 500 cases in 72 counties that involve a very specific set of clinical signs (crusty eyes, eye discharge, and/or neurological issues).

Based on the data, it appears that the bird illness is consistently affecting specific areas. There is no imminent threat to people, the population of specific bird species, or to the overall population of birds in Indiana.

DNR recommends that residents of the following counties continue to refrain from feeding birds: Allen, Carroll, Clark, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Porter, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Whitley.

Residents of other counties may again put out their feeders. Seed and suet feeders should be cleaned at least once every two weeks by scrubbing feeders with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution. Feeders should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before being filled with birdseed. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least one a week with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly.

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center’s avian disease experts are working to determine the cause of this disease outbreak. Indiana will continue to support the effort by providing samples to the laboratory.

If you see a sick or dead bird with the above symptoms, report it at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. Reports help DNR staff continue to track this outbreak.

Shelbyville Speedway sold winning lottery ticket

A winning lottery ticket has been sold in Shelbyville.


Hoosier Lottery players should check their tickets carefully as two players matched all five numbers in Friday night’s estimated $331,500 CA$H 5 jackpot drawing. The players will split the jackpot, each winning an estimated $165,750.

The winning tickets were purchased at Speedway #8075 located at 1424 S. Harrison in Shelbyville and LUQQY Group LLC located at 3360 N. Keystone Ave. in Indianapolis. The winning CA$H 5 numbers for Friday, August 6 are: 3-6-15-33-36.

Each ticket holder should ensure their ticket is in a secure place, consider meeting with a financial advisor and contact Hoosier Lottery customer service at 1-800-955-6886 for specific claim instructions.

The last time a CA$H 5 jackpot win occurred was July 12, 2021 when a winning ticket worth $522,000 was sold in Hobart.

CA$H 5 jackpot odds are 1 in 1,221,759. Overall Odds are 1 in 11. 

Players can check their tickets with the free Hoosier Lottery Mobile App by downloading here.

Shelby County's Annex II wrapping up final touches on alarms, elevator

Shelby County’s departments ready to move into a new home in the recently constructed Courthouse Annex II have been put on hold. County leaders hope it won't be much longer.


County Commissioner Don Parker says the effort continues to finalize plans for a backup to the building’s alarm system.



Parker says with hopes of finalizing that, and the problem nationwide of getting microchips, in this case for the building’s elevator, they may be able to wrap up next week.



Parker also noted that the members of the Shelby County Treasurer’s Office are traveling to Fort Wayne for a conference.  The office will close at noon on August 10 and be closed on August 11 - 12, as well.





Elizabethtown man struck multiple vehicles, fled police

Bartholomew County man charged after stealing a car hitting multiple vehicles.


The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of SR 7 and S 525 E in reference to a reported motorcycle crash with injury.  BCSO deputies were then advised that a maroon Jeep, involved in the crash, had fled the scene.  Deputies located the Jeep at a service station on SR 7 and US 31.  The driver, identified as Brandon Dye, 29, of Elizabethtown, fled into a field behind the building.


A BCSO K9 Unit was deployed and, a short time later, Dye was located at a residence on S US 31.  During the investigation, deputies found the Jeep had been reported stolen from Jennings County a short time prior to the crash.  It was also determined that Dye, while traveling north on SR 7, had struck 2 vehicles and a motorcycle all of which were also traveling north on SR 7. 


As the Jeep turned into the gas station, Dye struck a parked vehicle and fled the scene. 


Two motorists were transported to Columbus Regional Hospital and Dye was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on the following preliminary charges:

3 counts – Leaving the scene of an accident

2 counts – Leaving the scene of an accident with injury

Intimidation with a deadly weapon

Possession of stolen property

Possession of paraphernalia

Intimidation on law enforcement

Resisting law enforcement


Dye remains in BCJ in lieu of $67,500.00 bond.


Other agencies on the scene included the Elizabethtown Fire Department, Columbus Township Fire Department, Columbus Regional Hospital EMS, R & R Towing, 31 Wrecker.

State Road 44 closure extended through November

The Indiana Department of Transportation and contractor Milestone Contractors L.P. have extended the closure of State Road 44 over Sugar Creek through November, 2021.

This work was originally expected to be completed next week, but has been extended due to a change in the scope of the project. The bridge rehabilitation (superstructure replacement) work has now changed to full bridge replacement due to unforeseen circumstances.


Grooming educators for today and tomorrow getting tougher and tougher

With all four Shelby County school systems now back in session, there are still over 1,200 job openings around the state for teachers.

The 2020-2021 school year was demanding for educators. Teaching in a pandemic was time consuming, frustrating and puzzling all at the same time.

Teachers wore masks in the classrooms. Students wore masks in the classrooms. Small group sessions were not allowed. Some students stayed virtual and never made it into a classroom.

“When I got my license in the late 80s there were so many teachers, especially at the elementary level. It was hard to find a job,” said Loper Elementary School fourth grade teacher Teresa Meredith. “You might have had 20 to 30 applicants or more (for a teaching position). Now, there are two or three.”

According to the Indiana Department of Education job bank, there are 250 elementary education teaching positions currently open – two in Shelby County.

“I have never seen so many elementary education postings in late July,” said Triton Central Elementary School principal Heather Gant. “I know an administrator in another school district is filling in in the classroom because she doesn’t have anyone hired yet.”

On Nov. 17, 2019, an estimated 20,000 people gathered on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse to show support for teachers receiving salary increases.

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, spoke that day in support of teachers and stated Indiana was last in the country in teacher pay increase since 2002.

Four months later, the “Red for Ed” movement was an afterthought as COVID-19 settled in across the United States.

The most stressful year of teaching followed in 2020-2021.

“It’s tough because we don’t have (high school) graduates going into teaching,” said Gant. “It’s difficult to be an educator and take care of yourself because you graduate college after four years with all this student loan debt. Education doesn’t pay that well so it really deters some people from going into it.

“And the world of education is different; you have to wear multiple hats. You are worried about the social and emotional well-being of kids, so you are doing some counseling trying to help them with their emotions. Then you have the education piece and the state tests and state assessments keep getting harder.”

Gant always wanted to be a teacher. Her decision to take the educational path at Indiana University rather than the law path was not a difficult one to make.

“Nobody goes into education for the money,” she said. “They go into it to help kids. There is a lot of pressure with that. When you put the pressure of the job with the thinking you can’t support yourself (financially), that’s tough.”


Photo courtesy Hendricks Elementary and Loper Elementary Facebook pages

Students work at their desks with masks on during the 2020-2021 school year. (Above photo): Students work on iPads in Teresa Meredith's fourth grade classroom during the 2020-2021 school year.


Because of COVID-19, teachers-in-training at the collegiate level are not getting in-classroom instruction before they graduate. It’s a valuable component to preparing a teacher for what lies ahead.

Meredith has two sons, Taylor and Justin, that are teachers at Southwestern High School.

“We have new teachers coming in who never had the live in-student teaching experience,” said Meredith, past president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “I think some of them are quitting. I don’t know the numbers in Shelbyville, but I am hearing statewide there is another exodus.

“First it was money and then it is climate … you’ve got the perfect storm.”

Summer break was needed more than ever for state educators, who endured two months of straight virtual learning to close out the 2019-2020 school year, a summer of uncertainty, and then a 2020-2021 school year that was as much about maintaining the health and well-being of students as it was about learning.

“I think statewide and even here, there were some difficulties just finding some summer school teachers because they were just done,” said Meredith. “They spent the spring before figuring out how to do all this online stuff and spent last summer wondering what school was going to look like, how much online and how much in person.”

Teachers leaned on each other more than ever. Veteran educators needed lessons on how newer technology worked. Younger teachers needed the support from their own mentors in the building to know they were on the right track.

“The collaboration was something I haven’t seen in a long time in schools,” said Meredith Hall, music teacher at Coulston Elementary School and the president of the Shelbyville Central Teachers Association. “We all tend to get into our own lane, not that we don’t collaborate ever. This year, it was everyday we were relying on each other. Those veteran teachers like me that aren’t as tech savvy relied on those younger kids coming out of college that know what they are doing.

“Same thing, those (younger teachers) were dealing with situations they’ve never dealt with before. Those kids that came out were not able to get into schools and do student teaching the way they should have. There were face-to-face with kids sometimes for the first time. So we helped each other out.”

The start of the 2021-2022 school year is already different. COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available for teachers and older students. That alone will alleviate some of the stress in a school setting.

“I think teachers will feel a lot more comfortable because we’ve been able to get vaccinated if we wish too,” said Hall. “So your own personal health is not going to be as big of an issue.

“This year it will be making sure we keep those kids in the room learning as much as possible and not in and out like last year.”

Shelbyville Police urge safety measures for kids, buses headed back to school

The Shelbyville Police Department is asking the public to help them with the safety and buses and the kids going to and from school.

Lt. Mike Turner says an open section of North State Road 9 was a site for issues last school year.

Turner says if you’re not sure what to do when if you encounter a bus stopping then take the safe course of action.

Turner says they will monitor bus stops in the community.

The Shelbyville officer says if you see something suspicious near a bus stop you should contact police.

Shelbyville and Shelby Eastern schools will join Shelby County’s Triton Central and Southwestern back in the classroom today. 





Final phase of downtown redevelopment project underway

The final piece of the downtown redevelopment project is underway.

Demolition has started on the east side of the Public Square which resulted in a traffic pattern change through downtown Shelbyville.

“That went pretty smooth as far as the closure of the northbound lanes and switching over to southbound,” said Tom Davis of Genesis Property Development Monday night at the Redevelopment Commission meeting at City Hall.

The restoration of the Julius Joseph Fountain is progressing well. Davis hopes to have the limestone work completed this month as well as the return of the actual statue pieces that comprise the fountain.

“That center part will start looking really impressive here in a few weeks,” said Davis.

Genesis Property Development still sees the project completed by Thanksgiving which will allow the city to have a downtown Christmas celebration in 2021.


Genesis Property Development photos

The west side of the Public Square is nearing completion and demolition on the east side is underway. The three-year downtown redevelopment project is on schedule to be completed by the end of November.


The east side work includes the new traffic pattern through the downtown area as well as two pedestrian-friendly areas matching the two on the west side of the fountain.

A large shelter that will sit near Pudder’s restaurant, 8 Public Square, has arrived and is ready to be constructed when the land is ready.

“We’ve already purchased materials and the shelter to save money so we didn’t have to pay all the inflation costs you’ve seen on metal and wood,” said Davis.

The demolition phase on the east side started smoothly and there have been no surprises found underground.

“More than half of it is demolished already,” said Davis. “The encouraging thing is we found nothing other than an old brick manhole that we need to get checked out. We didn’t find any hidden basements or archaeological stuff. Everything was fairly clean and, so far, we are really making some good headway.”

The project started in 2019 with work down the East Washington corridor from the Public Square. The West Washington corridor and a new parking garage were completed in 2020 as well as work on the west side of the Public Square.

Downtown business approved to add outdoor seating

The City of Shelbyville’s downtown redevelopment project envisioned a pedestrian friendly district located in the heart of the city.

Now just months away from completion, one downtown business is ready to take advantage of the new look Public Square.

Barbara Rogers of Three Sisters Books & Gifts and The Bookmark: Coffee and Company, located at 7 Public Square and 9 Public Square, respectively, appeared virtually before the Board of Works Tuesday morning to request outdoor seating.

Rogers was requesting permission to add a two-top high table, two four-top tables and a six-top table outside the businesses in the newly-created pedestrian spaces.

“We do still have limited seating inside (at The Bookmark),” explained Rogers. “This will provide additional seating outside which helps with capacity … and it will look great too.”

Gant excited for first day as principal at Triton Central Elementary School

After 20 years working in one of the state’s largest school districts, Heather Gant takes over in a building very similar to her earliest education days.

Gant, a North Decatur graduate, is the new principal at Triton Central Elementary School, replacing James Hough, who stepped down at the end of the school year to pursue a new career track in real estate.

“I will say, James left a phenomenal building,” said Gant, a St. Paul native. “This staff is the most dedicated I’ve seen in any place I’ve been. They love this community. They love this school. They love the kids. They really do want to be here. This isn’t really work to them. They enjoy this and a lot of that comes from the leadership they’ve had. James built that culture and I plan to continue that culture.”

Day one for Gant is Tuesday as the Triton Central and Southwestern school systems in Shelby County return to the classrooms. Shelbyville and Shelby Eastern (Morristown and Waldron) start Wednesday.

Gant arrives in Fairland after serving as the assistant principal at North Grove Elementary School in Greenwood – part of the Center Grove school district. Her parents grew up in Shelbyville and her grandparents still live in the area.

She is excited to see the kids return to what is now her building.

“My game plan is to be out and about and all around,” said Gant of her Tuesday schedule. “I want to see everything in action – the playground, the cafeteria, the classrooms, the drop-off and pick-up, the childcare. I will not wear roller skates but I could use them. I will definitely have some comfortable shoes on.”

While it’s her first principal position, Gant believes a difficult 2020-2021 school year prepared her for teaching in a pandemic and dealing with whatever crisis may arise.

“Last year, I pretty much felt like a principal,” she said. “My principal was quarantined quite a bit. I dealt with the preschool next door being on fire. I had probably 70 preschoolers in our gym because their whole building was on fire.

“So while he was out on quarantine I had a fire, confiscated eight vapes – we had a big vaping bust, and had some other (human resources) stuff. That initiation period … I’m done with that.”



The Indiana University graduate and her husband, Brian, have two daughters – Morgan, a sophomore at Center Grove High School, and Lynden, a fifth grader at Maple Grove Elementary School.

Gant does not expect any major changes for the 2021-2022 school year at Triton Central. Her goal is to keep the educational experience running smoothly.

“In administration, you come into buildings that already have systems and procedures and a way to do things,” she said. “You just kind of adapt to that and then you look at your practices and maybe refine things or make changes that could be better.”

COVID-19, though, forced administrators to take a deeper look into all protocols and procedures.

“With COVID-19, it was like starting from ground zero,” she continued. “You had to look at the way you did everything all over again. There was some excitement with that. I had never started from ground zero before.”

The idea of sanitizing stations will likely become common practice in schools. Water bottle filling stations are a new addition as well as water fountains are phased out.

“We found out things where this is the best practice and maybe we should be doing this,” said Gant.

With less than 24 hours to opening day, the Triton Central school system will not require students to wear masks in the building.

“We are going to operate as is the way we’ve set our plan up to be until we are forced to look at that,” said Gant of the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. “I could see it happening but I really think that would be a last resort.”

Library hosting Bluegrass Jam Fundraiser at outdoor plaza

The Shelby County Public Library will host a Bluegrass Jam Fundraiser on Aug. 27 at its outdoor plaza.

All funds raised from the event will benefit the local library.

The Moon Cave Ramblers will headline the event with a performance at 7 p.m. that will lead into an open circle jam for instrumentalists wanting to perform.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children 12-and-under and can be purchased at the library, 57 W. Broadway St. in Shelbyville or online at eventbrite.com which is linked to the library’s website at myshelbylibrary.org.

Dinner is included in the ticket price. A full pork chop meal from Mel’s Catering will be served along with dessert and a complimentary bottle of water.

Bourbons & Brews Mobile Bartending also will be onsite for the event.

This is a family-friendly event, according to Laura Land of the Shelby County Public Library. Her husband, Joe, is part of the Moon Cave Ramblers.

“We are still looking for ‘pickers’ who would like to participate in the jam,” said Land.

Tickets are selling really well, according to Land.

“This is a different kind of fundraiser,” she said. “It’s going to be a party.”

Shelby County has two tornadoes confirmed by NWS

Two EF-1 tornadoes have been confirmed in storms that rolled through Shelby County Thursday.


photo by Jess Comstock


Tree damage, some damage to buildings, fences and roofs reported in a stretch from Shelbyville through southeastern Shelby County.