Latest News Archives for 2020-02

Shelby County to monitor health of recent travelers from international geographic areas having widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19

The Shelby County Health Department will monitor the health of individuals who recently traveled internationally in accordance with guidance established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to a global outbreak of novel coronavirus. Currently, Shelby County does not have any returning travelers in our county requiring monitoring.


Shelby County Health Officer, Dr. Chris Loman, said individuals will be monitored daily for 14 days for symptoms of novel coronavirus, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC has said transmission of THE disease in the United States is low.


Marilee Evans, local county Nurse Director, reports that multiple agencies have been working together on preparations for our county. We are communicating and putting policies and procedures in place under the direction of the CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH).


“The risk of contracting the flu is much greater than any risk from novel coronavirus in our county, but we are taking every step possible to ensure that our community stays healthy,” Dr. Loman said.


Like influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;

  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;

  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and

  • Rarely, fecal contamination.


The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu, is to:


  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Health officials say Indiana is prepared if COVID-19 arrives in state

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging Hoosiers to take common-sense steps to prepare for the possibility that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) gains a greater foothold in the United States.


Indiana has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, and no one in the state is suspected of being infected at this time. To date, ISDH has worked with local health departments to monitor nearly 60 travelers in accordance with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of people being monitored fluctuates as individuals complete the 14-day monitoring period. Currently, 26 individuals are being monitored in Indiana due to their history of travel or contact with an individual who has traveled to an affected country.


The CDC says the immediate risk at this time is low for Americans who do not have risk factors, such as travel to an impacted area or contact with a person who has had recent travel to China or other affected countries. However, the CDC has urged Americans to begin thinking about steps they would take if their daily lives are disrupted.


“This is a time to plan, not to panic,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “The situation with this novel coronavirus is changing rapidly, and I know that can cause concern because we don’t have all the answers yet. What we do have, however, is a plan for how to respond if and when COVID-19 comes to Indiana.”


ISDH is working with state, local and federal partners to refine existing pandemic response strategies, which include specific measures to prepare communities to respond to local transmission of the virus.


“Indiana has responded to pandemics before, and we have many tools to keep Hoosiers safe,” Box said. “While we can’t predict which measures might be necessary, we have trained in their use and can deploy these strategies quickly if the need arises.”


COVID-19 is a new illness caused by a coronavirus that had not been previously identified. This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and has since spread globally. It is thought to be spread mainly person-to-person between people in close contact (within 6 feet) when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath.


Because there is no vaccine and no treatment for COVID-19, these steps largely focus on staying home and mitigating the risk of community exposure should it become necessary.


Here are some practical steps Hoosiers can take:

  • Practice everyday prevention measures, which include washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if you are sick and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest information by checking credible sources of information, including the ISDH website at and the CDC website at More information will be shared about additional recommendations as the situation changes.


A video of a briefing Dr. Box provided to media earlier today will be posted here (Internet Explorer only) this afternoon.

Franklin man, Southport PD officer, arrested for criminal confinement and neglect of a dependent

An investigation that began in in mid-January has led to the arrest of a Franklin man on the charges of Criminal Confinement and Neglect of a Dependent, both level 6 Felonies.


On January 9, 2020, a staff member at Franklin High School was made aware of a situation that occurred off school property involving a 15 year old student. That staff member immediately reported the information to the Department of Child Services who subsequently started an investigation into the matter. DCS contacted the Franklin Police Department who then turned the case over to the Indiana State Police when it was determined the alleged crime occurred in Marion County. 


According to state police detectives, Timothy Hayes Jr., 37, who at the time was a reserve police officer for the Southport Police Department, allegedly utilized his position as a police officer for an attempted scare tactic for his 15 year old son. Hayes Jr. allegedly left his son handcuffed and unattended in an intake holding area at the Southport Police Department for more than thirty minutes. Hayes Jr. then drove his son, who was still handcuffed, to the Adult Processing Center for the Marion County Jail and parked in an area designated for police vehicles, however neither Hayes Jr. nor his son exited the vehicle. Hayes Jr. then drove back to his home in Franklin. 


Indiana State Police detectives presented the results of their investigation to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutors reviewed the case and subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Timothy Hayes Jr. on February 24th, 2020. Earlier this morning, Hayes Jr. turned himself into the Marion County Jail.  


The Southport Police Department has been fully cooperative with this investigation. The police chief has placed Hayes Jr. on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. 

All crimes mentioned in this release are alleged and all suspects named are considered innocent until and unless proven guilty in the court of law.

Search suspended, Prather named president of Franklin College

The Franklin College Board of Trustees has announced the suspension of its presidential search and the naming of current Acting President Kerry N. Prather as president, effective immediately.


“The Franklin College Board of Trustees recognizes that Kerry Prather’s steady hand, transparent communication style and committed servant leadership are needed during this time of transition to keep the college focused on the important work of doing what is best for students,” said Board of Trustees Chairman James V. Due. “The campus community and our alumni enthusiastically greeted Kerry’s appointment as acting president, and today’s announcement reflects the board’s confidence in his abilities and leadership.”


Prather was appointed acting president effective January 14, 2020.


“This is a very special place to me and to our family. At Franklin, our priorities are the students we are preparing and the faculty and staff who are creating paths for their success,” President Prather said. “We will all work together as we pursue opportunities and confront challenges, always with our students as the focus of our efforts.”


Prather, who has served Franklin College in various capacities for 38 years, is a well-known and respected figure on campus. He began his career at Franklin in 1982 as an assistant men’s basketball coach, was promoted to head coach in 1983 and took on the additional role of athletic director in 1990. For much of that time, he was also an executive leadership representative on Franklin’s President’s Cabinet. In addition to his most recent roles, he previously served as acting vice president for administration and acting vice president for enrollment management. He is a graduate of Indiana University with an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in education.


Franklin terminated the employment of its previous president, Thomas J. Minar, in January 2020.


Franklin will renew its presidential search in March 2021 with a goal of selecting a president to take office during the summer of 2022. The college will again use Isaacson, Miller as its presidential search firm.

Snow on the way

All of this rain in central Indiana will eventually turn to snow, but how much will we get?


Mike Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service says it all depends on where you live.


The northern half of the state is under a Winter Storm Watch late tonight and all day Wednesday.


"Indianapolis is not included in the watch, but locations in the north metro -- Boone and Hamilton counties -- and points north of there are under the watch," Ryan said.


He says the Indy metro will see the most snow on Wednesday afternoon and during the evening commute, with totals reaching 1-3 inches.


The more north you go, the more snow you'll see.


"North central Indiana, places like Lafayette and Kokomo, will get around 3 to 5 inches," Ryan said. "6 to 8 inches, maybe even higher, as you get up towards Rensselaer, Rochester, and definitely South Bend and towards the Chicagoland area."


On the flip side, southern Indiana will see less amounts. Ryan says Bloomington and Columbus might see an inch of snow, but cities and towns along the Ohio River Valley might not see any, as temperatures should stay warm enough to keep any precipitation as rain.

INDOT to close portion of U.S. 52 on March 2 to replace bridge

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close a portion of U.S. 52 to replace the bridge over West Little Sugar Creek. 


The closure is scheduled to begin on March 2. Contractors will close both directions of U.S. 52 between CR S 600 W and CR S 550 W.


The portion of U.S. 52 will be closed for 120 days as contractors replace the bridge. 


During the closure, drivers are encouraged to take the detour route. The official detour will be I-465 NB to U.S. 40 EB to S.R. 9 SB back to U.S. 52. 

Silver Alert: Lester Burbrink, Columbus

The Columbus Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Lester Burbrink, an 81 year old white male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 230 pounds, gray hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing a light gray or brown jacket, dark hat, and driving a gold 2011 Toyota Sienna van with Indiana license plate RMY591.


Lester is missing from Columbus and was last seen on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 3:30 pm. He is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance.


If you have any information on Lester Burbrink, contact the Columbus Police Department at 812-379-1689 or 911.

Do you want to sign to save Indiana Beach?

A petition to save Indiana Beach.


The petition, started by a man named Dustin Springer, has collected more than 24,000 signatures in just two days.


Springer's petition is aimed at park owner Apex Parks Group, which closed Indiana Beach earlier this week.


You can find the petition at



Indiana DNR hiring conservation officers

The Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement is looking to fill Indiana Conservation Officer (ICO) positions across the state with highly motivated, outdoor-centered individuals.


Anyone interested in a career as an ICO should first read “Becoming a Conservation Officer” at for and complete the pre-screening test at  Completion of the pre-screening test by midnight Feb. 28 is required to be considered for the 2020 hiring process, which starts in early March.


To be qualified to pass the pre-screening test, you must be a U.S. citizen; be 21 years old by April 16, 2021; and have an associate’s degree from an accredited college or completed 60 hours toward a bachelor’s degree, or have four years full time active military service with an honorable discharge by Sept. 21, 2020. You must be able to pass minimum Indiana Law Enforcement Academy physical fitness requirements as listed at


ICOs are fully recognized Indiana police officers who enforce and uphold all DNR rules and regulations as well as all other Indiana state laws. ICOs spend the majority of their time enforcing fishing and hunting regulations, conducting marine boat patrol on Indiana’s waterways, and patrolling DNR properties to keep them safe and family friendly.


In addition to traditional law enforcement work, ICOs also engage in many specialty areas, including Scuba, K-9, search and rescue, swift water rescue and many more.

Indiana Beach closing after 94 years

Indiana Beach amusement park has closed after operating for 94 years in White County. The park closed for good Tuesday afternoon, confirmed White County Economic Development Director Randy Mitchell to WLFI TV.


Apex Parks Group, which operates 20 other parks, decided to close the park after it could not find a buyer.


The decision was financial, according to the company's vice president.


The park has been sold at least twice, the last time in 2015. It was opened by the Spackman family in 1926.


The future of all park employees was not clear Tuesday.

Search continues for missing Hope woman

The Hope Police Department is still investigating the disappearance of Donna Mitchell.
Mitchell was the subject of a statewide Silver Alert.
On the department's Facebook page, Hope Police have asked that anyone who lives along Decatur County Line Road, 700S and 60 SW, that have cameras that face the road contact Hope PD to view any video that may help in their investigation.

Mitchell is a 57 year old white female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 115 pounds, brown hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing glasses, a tan Carhartt jacket, blue jeans with a flower decal on the pant leg.


She is believed to be driving a maroon 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer and front bumper is hanging by a coat hanger with Indiana license plate 902QAK.


Donna is missing from Hope and was last seen on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm.  She is believed to be in danger and may require medical assistance. 


If you have any information on Donna Mitchell, contact the Hope Police Department at 812-546-4015 or 911.


Silver Alert: Woman reported missing from Hope

A Statewide Silver Alert has been declared.


The Hope Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Donna Mitchell, a 57 year old white female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 115 pounds, brown hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing glasses, a tan Carhartt jacket, blue jeans with a flower decal on the pant leg.


She is believed to be driving a maroon 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer and front bumper is hanging by a coat hanger with Indiana license plate 902QAK.


Donna is missing from Hope and was last seen on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm.  She is believed to be in danger and may require medical assistance. 


If you have any information on Donna Mitchell, contact the Hope Police Department at 812-546-4015 or 911.

School delays for Thursday, Feb 13

This list will be updated as we proceed through the morning.


As of 6:10 am, the following school corporations have reported that they are on a 2-hour delay.


Greenfield – Central

Southern Hancock

Eastern Hancock

Mt. Vernon Community

Shelbyville Central

Southwestern Consolidated

Northwestern Consolidated – Shelby Co.                  Child care at 8:30 am

Shelby Eastern

Mays Community Academy 

Rush County Schools 



Shelby Senior Services offices will open at 8:00am.  The Horizon Center has a 2-hour delay





BBB warns consumers to be wary of coronavirus scams

Consumers need to be skeptical of emails and websites promoting coronavirus prevention products and tips. Phishing emails are unsolicited messages that request personal information or money from the intended victim and are expected to rise significantly as the virus spreads. They often are a precursor to identity theft. 


Media reports on the outbreak of coronavirus (2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV) in the Wuhan region of China already have prompted a social media scam targeting Chinese-Australian citizens in Wuhan with a phony online evacuation form, according to a report by Australia’s ABC news outlet.


During the 2009 swine flu epidemic, McAfee Avert Labs, an online security company, reported that messages promoting virus treatment and prevention, or otherwise sensationalizing the outbreak, accounted for 2 percent of all spam sent in the days following the first media reports of the outbreak. And various websites promoted “survival guides,” masks, prevention tips and treatments, most of them of little value in fighting flu. 


Free information on the virus, the outbreak and preventive measures is available on the?Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.


BBB offers the following advice to avoid coronavirus-related scams: 


  • Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source. Do not click on links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Instead, delete the e-mail. If you suspect that it is a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. 


  • Disregard online offers for vaccinations. Vaccinations?against coronavirus do not exist. For more information on the virus and updates on progress in fighting the outbreak, go to the CDC’s website at


  • Make sure the antivirus and anti-malware programs on your computer are up to date?and all operating system security patches have been installed. If your computer becomes infected as the result of a spam e-mail about coronavirus, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at?

Owens throws support to Myers in Democrat governor's race

Shelbyville native Josh Owens has announced that he has suspended his campaign for governor.


Owens, 34, has pulled from the race for the Democratic nomination and says he will support Dr. Woody Myers.


Owens published the following statement:


I got into this race because I believe Indiana needs a bigger, bolder, more inclusive vision for every Hoosier, one not rooted in our last 200 years, but in our next 200. Over the past several months, we've earned the support and trust of thousands of Hoosiers who agree.


During this primary, I've had many discussions with Dr. Woody Myers about the future of Indiana and the desperate need for new leadership in the Governor's office. While we have some differences, I'm encouraged that like me, he's not a career politician. Dr. Myers brings an outsider's perspective to our politics, which is urgently needed.


One of the things Dr. Myers and I have agreed on is the need to avoid a divisive Democratic Primary. As of today, I will be suspending my campaign and supporting Dr. Myers as he becomes the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor.


Our state needs a champion for public school teachers and students in every community. Our state needs a leader who will act on universal background checks and climate change innovation. And our state needs an executive who will protect all Hoosiers, and one who represents the diversity of our great state and will bring new inclusive voices to the table.


Dr. Myers has the experience, the background, and the vision for success that Indiana deserves. I am proud to be supporting him as he takes our fight into the November election.

Man injured at Bunge elevator in Morristown Monday

A man was seriously injured when his arm became caught in machinery in Morristown Monday evening.


The name of the man was not released in initial information provided to GIANT fm News.  


The man was free of the machinery at the  Bunge Morristown Elevator when local emergency crews arrived just after 6:00 pm.  He was taken by ground ambulance to Methodist Hospital.


Shelbyville, IN woman indicted in Kentucky after leaving children abandoned on side of the road

A grand jury in Boyle County, Kentucky has indicted a Shelbyville woman on drug and child endangerment charges.


Erica Girdler, 31, of Shelbyville, face two counts abandonment of a minor under circumstances endangering their life or health; and possession of meth.


According to court documents, Girdler was charged in November of last year after two children, aged 9 and 11, were found along an area roadway in Danville, Kentucky.


Investigators say they were able to determine the family was driving to visit family in Kentucky when the children were abandoned.


Girdler was found by authorities and pulled over in a traffic stop after the children were located.