City Gives Final Approval Of Water Rate Hikes
The Greensburg City Council followed up a public hearing for the proposed increase in water and sewer rates with a unanimous vote to approve the rate hike on Monday night.
Attached to the new ordinances 2010-1, 2010-2 and 2010-3 was an important amendment that stipulated the rate increase, scheduled to take place at a rate of five percent compounded annually over the next three years, must be reviewed by the city. Each year, the City Council would decide to decrease the five percent hike or maintain it, based upon an investigation into revenue, depreciation lines and other monetary concerns.
Mayor Gary Herbert explained that the plan would incorporate summer sewage credits, or an automatic credit that will be based on prior consumption and lead to a less significant cost for residents' sewer bills.
Water Superintendent Rick Denney and Wastewater Superintendent Jeff Smith reported that their respective organizations have done as much as they can to cut costs.
"We understand how the utility rate payers feel," Mayor Herbert said.
Downtown Advocates Find New Energy On ÔMain Street' Formation
On a sunny mid-afternoon, Bryan Robbins, executive director of Main Street Greensburg, sat in Storie's next to the picture window overlooking Main Street casually perusing the menu.
Robbins, the widely-recognized downtown advocate, practices what he preaches: Supporting and developing business downtown. Now, he has a new, re-energized group like-minded but diverse individuals working with him.
"There's a new energy to the downtown," Dave Miers, former president of Heart of the Tree City and current board member of Main Street Greensburg, said. "That energy is all because of this guy, Bryan Robbins."
The new director had orginally drafted a 14-page document championing the downtown and the Main Street program and formation of a new group under that banner. As of March, the parallel groups Heart of the Tree City and the Downtown Greensburg Development Corporation working for the benefit of the square ceased to exist. From their framework came a newly united group - Main Street Greensburg - comprised of eight members on the board of four each from the former groups with Robbins at its helm.
Farming Trumps Family For APC
The Decatur County Area Plan Commission (APC) showed its dedication to agriculture, Wednesday, as it denied a petition to create sites for three homes.
Five acres of the land intended for construction, located on County Road 600 North at the intersection with County Road 350 West in Adams Township, is owned by Kevin and Carol Whipple, who purchased it from Carol Whipple's mother, Eloise Clapp. The remaining 2.99 acres is Clapp's property. Kevin and Carol Whipple had intended to divide their five acres in half for homes for their two daughters. They had also secured permission from Clapp to subdivide 2.99 acres of her land for the construction of a home for themselves, adjacent to their five acres.
For the Whipples, the plan was an attempt to preserve something of the big family farm for two more generations. Carol Whipple noted that her mother is aging, and the farm will likely be sold upon her passing. Constructing these three homes, she explained, would keep at least part of the farm in the family.
The Whipple's five acre tract was eligible for one home to be constructed without APC approval, a grandfather provision for tracts established before November of 1996. However, the division of this land into two pieces negated the grandfather clause, Area Plan Director David Neuman explained.
For the APC, the largest deterrent for approving the petition was the high quality of the ground in question. Across the road from the proposed building sites is a large field, and the 2.99 acres intended for subdivision for construction took a piece out of the corner of the existing farm ground. This, APC president Albert Armand and member Jay Hatton noted, would make farming the land more difficult.
The APC cast its votes with an outcome of four against and two for, denying the petition. The Whipples will have to wait one year before making another such petition for the land.
Voters Put Nix On County Schools Renovation Project
Late into the evening, votes from every corner of the county were tallied, eventually showing that the majority residents in the Decatur County Community Schools district did not want to the proposed project.
In all 3,130 people cast their votes on question one, with 1,770 voting "no" and 1,360 voting "yes." Question two had 15 more voters than the first question, with a total of 3,145. Of these, 1,986 voted "no" and 1,159 voted "yes."
For Gary Knecht, chairman of BASIC: Better Academics and School Improvement Committee, the choice made by the voters was the right one. He thanked the members of BASIC for their hard work throughout the process and the voters of the county who opted to say "no."
"We look forward to working with the school board and administrators to develop a much-needed solution," he said, "one that is workable for the county."
Feeling the sting of the defeated project, School Board President Chris Owens found himself answering to his elementary-aged children.
"Kids have been talking about this in school, even in fourth grade," he noted. "They want to know if their school is going to be fixed."
The board put much work into a project that will not come to be and is left with the same problems to solve, he noted. Now that the project must wait another year, the board will be looking at solving some of the immediate problems. After the next school year, the bleachers at both high schools will no longer be usable. In addition, exterior athletic lights at South Decatur Jr/Sr High School no longer function, and the same problem could crop up at North in the near future. Some of the items in need of the most rapid response are those that will directly affect funding from the state, Owens noted.
Regardless the outcome or the hurdles yet to traverse, he expressed his gratitude to the broad-based committee for all of the effort put forth for the schools.
"I always valued what they had to say," he noted.
Traffic Stop Yields ÔBig Player' In Meth Bust
A routine traffic stop in Greensburg this weekend put the brakes on an allegedly large-scale meth distributorship in Decatur County.
Those arrested included Jason Edward Barnard, 38, 202 N. Jackson Street, Rushville; Zachary Ryan Huff, 24, 1244 Phyliss Way, Rushville; Brian Lee Dietrich, 28, 8174 County Road 200 S., New Point; and Sheylea E. L. Ison, 25, 8174 CR 200 S., New Point.
"They found a substantial amount of uncut meth in the vehicle," he explained.
During the course of the investigation, GPD officers obtained information about a "meth cook" in New Point. Investigators traveled to New Point, and pinpointed a wooded area that Barnard had described as the meth cook's location. Near the area was the shared home of Ison and Dietrich. After obtaining a search warrant from the Decatur County Prosecutor's office, the GPD's TAC Team was assembled and descended upon the residence. Both Ison and Dietrich were home, accompanied by a "substantial amount" of meth that was going to be sold and distributed, according to Heaton. Equipment and materials to manufacture meth were also found.
"Collectively, this was an all-night investigation," Heaton said. "And the New Point Marshal's department was of great assistance to us throughout the night. It was an all-night ordeal, really, an all-weekend ordeal."
Heaton said Barnard was "a big catch," who has allegedly been dealing meth not only in Decatur County but in surrounding areas as well.
Two Votes Give Lucas The Go Ahead For Republican Nod For Sheriff
Two votes separated Sheriff candidates Chief Deputy Darin Lucas and Sgt. Brian McCullough, both of the Sheriff's Department, following the final tally of the votes Tuesday night.
Ultimately, Lucas came out on top, and he will face Indiana State Police Sgt. Greg Allen in the November general election. Lucas garnered 966 votes, or 18.51 percent, edging out McCullough, who had 964 votes and 18.47 percent of the total vote. Next was DCSD Lt. Rick Underhill, who came away with 16.75 percent and Greensburg Police Det. Bill Meyerrose with 16.42 percent.
The final percentages were: Darin Lucas, 18.51 percent; Brian McCullough, 18.47 percent; Rick Underhill, 16.75 percent; Bill Meyerrose, 16.42 percent; Steve Snyder, 13.11 percent; Keith Gay, 12.22 percent; Rick Denney, 2.87 percent; and Matt Morrow, 1.65 percent.
Major Marijuana-Growing Operation Shut Down By GPD
Both Brian Prifogle and Elizabeth Whipple were arrested on individual charges of: Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, a Class D Felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D Felony; dealing in marijuana, a Class D Felony; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class B Misdemeanor.
At about 5 a.m. on Thursday, the GPD executed a search warrant on a residence at 107 W. Third Street in Greensburg. According to Chief of Police Brian Heaton, investigators followed up on a long and in-depth investigation. They presented the case to the Decatur County Prosecutor's office and warrants were issued.
The GPD's special TAC Team was called in early and had assembled by 4:30 a.m., he said, a the team proceeded to serve the warrant as they raided the house. Inside was a "large quantity of marijuana," Heaton reported. Some of it was allegedly packaged and wrapped, likely to be sold or distributed.
In the basement of the home was a significant marijuana-growing operation, Heaton said. Both Prifogle and Whipple were known to be local pot dealers, both to Greensburg and neighboring communities and counties, he explained.
"They were doing a lot of dealing locally," Heaton explained.
The discovery in the basement and the amount of marijuana found was larger than the GPD had originally believed, Heaton said.
Board Of Works Votes To Terminate GPD Officer
An internal investigation has led to the possible dismissal of an officer at the Greensburg Police Department.
On Monday, the city's Board of Public Works and Safety accepted the recommendation from Chief of Police Brian Heaton to terminate the GPD employee, Officer Michael Hancock.
Mayor Gary Herbert, Chief Heaton and the rest of the Board of Works did not reveal the officer's name during or after the meeting. At the meeting, they used his badge number as identification - PE313. Badge numbers are matters of public records, and the name was ascertained from public documents available to the Daily News.
Darrell Poling of the Board of Works abstained and Steve Simmonds was absent as the decision was made.
At the meeting, Chief Heaton explained that an internal investigation began April 13 and was recently completed. The results implicated the officer in acts of "dishonesty, conduct unbecoming of an officer and intimidation." Alongside Assistant Chief Stacy Chasteen and the shift supervisor, Heaton asked the Board of Works to consider the termination of the employee, as outlined in the results of the internal investigation.
According to Indiana Code, the officer could decide to tender his resignation or have a hearing with the Board of Works within 30 days.
Late NIght Crash Claims Life Of Local Man
A late night crash Tuesday killed a local man on his way home from work.
Brian Capper, 52, of Greensburg was prounounced dead at the scene at 12:25 a.m. by Coroner Doug Banks. According to Decatur County Sheriff Daryl Templeton, Capper was traveling east on County Road 700 South after finishing his shift at Cummins in Columbus. As Capper's 1999 Ford Mustang pulled into the intersection with 700 West, he was struck in the driver's side door by a Chevy pick-up truck driven by Jacob Mattox, 17, of Greensburg.
"He just hit it right in the center of (Capper's) door," Templeton said.
The intersection is a four-way stop, the Sheriff noted, and while it appeared Capper stopped, Mattox admitted he was intending to blow through the intersection.
Templeton said the incident was made up of "horrible timing." Mattox suffered minor injuries in the crash and was noticeably shaken up. The Sheriff noted such an incident serves as a reminder that no matter the hour, there can always be traffic, even on seemingly desolate country roads.
"Even at 11 at night, even if you're thinking there's no traffic, you have to stop. You never know when somebody's going to come out of nowhere," he said.
Five Teens Crash After Police Chase, Two Seriously Injured
"He was just a little kid. Really, just a little kid about this big," Allen said holding his hand about chest high on his 5'10" frame. "He's like a passenger you'd expect in another crash you'd work. They were all just little kids."
ISP and DCSD estimate the driver, a 14-year-old male runaway from North Vernon who had been on home detention for prior convictions, was traveling between 80 and 100 miles per hour when he met police at the intersection.
Templeton said the driver bolted into the intersection, narrowly missed slamming into an eastbound vehicle, went airborne momentarily, hit Old State Road 46 and made it onto a private gravel driveway parallel to Dinghy's Cafe.
The 14-year-old driver and his four passengers - one boy, 14, and three girls, two 14 and one 15, all from North Vernon - careened down the gravel drive at a high rate of speed. About 100 feet down the lane, the driver lost control and slipped into the grassy ditch where the car skidded against a metal fence shooting sparks. Eventually the fence broke and the car smashed into a corn picker, which removed most of the roof on the passenger side, and then slammed into a corn threshing head for a combine, the force of which whipped the car around leaving it demolished and facing the way it came.
The driver and one 14-year-old girl who was in the back seat on the driver's side, were on the run.
The front seat passengers, one 14-year-old boy in the passenger seat and a 14-year-old girl in the middle, were seriously injured.
Both were air cared from the scene to Methodist Hospital. At press time, their condition was unknown, but Allen and Templeton said they didn't expect the boy to survive the incident.
"It only takes a second to ruin your life forever. Make the right decision. You might get in trouble, but it's a lot better than losing your life or taking someone else's," he said.
Hancock Resignation Accepted By Board of Works
Last month, the members of the Greensburg Board of Works made the decision to terminate Greensburg Police Officer Michael Hancock.
According to Indiana Code, the officer had the option to either tender his resignation from the police force or have a hearing with the Board of Works. On Wednesday, June 9, Police Chief Brian Heaton received Hancock's resignation.
"On May 17, I submitted the recommendation for termination of employee (badge number) 313. I have since received his resignation," Chief Heaton said.
Chief Heaton asked that his termination request be rescinded as a result of the resignation.
The internal investigation implicated Hancock in acts of "dishonesty, conduct unbecoming of an officer and intimidation."
GPD Raids Alleged Drug Haven, Brothers Arrested
For years, a residence on North Monfort Street in Greensburg aroused suspicion and was avoided by neighbors because of the allegedly criminal misdeeds and transgressions that took place there.
On Friday night, the Greensburg Police Department and its TAC Team arrested brothers Sylvester and Nathan Gilbert. Sylvester Gilbert, 53, 1023 N. Monfort Street, was arrested on preliminary charges of Schedule III narcotic possession, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance. Nathan Gilbert, 52, 1021 N. Monfort Street, was arrested on preliminary charges of schedule IV narcotic possession, legend drug possession and maintaining a common nuisance. According to Police Chief Brian Heaton, one male juvenile and two female juveniles inside the home were arrested at the time of the raid as well.
"There has been activity there for years and years," Heaton said.
At the time of Sylvester and Nathan Gilbert's arrest, the neighborhood showed their appreciation for their removal by applauding.
Commissioners Overturn APC Decision
Whipples Granted Rezoning To Build Homes On Farm
After having their petition denied twice by the Decatur County Area Plan Commission (APC), Kevin and Carol Whipple returned to the Decatur County Commissioners to request further consideration.
The Whipples had gone before the APC on April 7 with petition to create three lots for houses for themselves and their two daughters on the family farm, located at the intersection of County Roads 350 West and 600 North. The APC denied the request. On April 19, the Whipples approached the commissioners, who examined the petition and suggested that one of the lots be reconfigured to be less obtrusive to the surrounding farmground before sending the petition back to the APC.
On June 2, the Whipples returned to the APC with the reconfigured lot, and the petition was denied once more. As a result, the couple returned to the commissioners on June 7 to ask that the petition be reconsidered.
"The APC is a very vital piece of what we do in Decatur County," he said.
Still, the commissioners will not always agree with the choices the board makes, he said.
"In this case, I think it is the right thing to do to let Kevin and Carol build on their property," he said as he made a motion to approve the rezoning.
The other commissioners concurred, making the rezoning official.
Westport Man Killed In Columbus Crash
The Columbus Police Department is continuing its investigation into a motorcycle and vehicle collision that claimed the life of a Westport man late Tuesday night.
Curtis L. Johnson, 22 of Westport, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision in Columbus just after 9 p.m. on June 1. His motorcycle reportedly slammed into the passenger side of a pickup truck that was turning in front of him, Columbus Police Department's Public Information Officer Joe Richardson explained.
According to Richardson, Johnson was traveling east bound on State Road 46 with other friends on motorcycles. The pickup truck was heading west bound on the same road and turning south onto Morgan Willow Trace when Johnson collided with the vehicle.
Woman Allegedly Shot At Ex-Husband For Mowing The Lawn
A day that began with a little yard work ended with shots fired and preliminary felony charges for a Decatur County woman Saturday afternoon.
Judith Mae Gerrian, 69, 2167 N. County Road 950 E., Greensburg, was arrested on charges of criminal recklessness with a weapon, battery and pointing a loaded firearm. No bond was set.
The Decatur County Sheriff's Department responded to a report of a dispute at approximately 12:42 p.m. on Saturday, June 26. According to DCSD Deputy Josh Bushhorn, earlier in the day, Gerrian was reportedly on her dock at her home where she witnessed her ex-husband of 18 years Tom Henderson mowing the yard on their daughter's property, which the daughter had given him permission to do. Angered by this, she allegedly began shooting a .22-caliber weapon. According to witness statements, Gerrian was pointing the gun at Henderson, though she later claimed to be shooting it up into the air, which Henderson affirmed. Bushhorn said the DCSD was still unsure where exactly the shots were aimed.
Few things in high school basketball are more difficult to do than beating a conference rival, especially twice in a season.
- Decatur County Events Calendar Local clubs, service groups, fraternal organizations and others are encouraged to send their Coming Events information to the Daily News at firstname.lastname@example.org or Daily News, PO Box 106, Greensburg, IN 47240. March 8 2 p.m. - Maggie Delaney,
- Police Blotter Incidents DCSD March 6 3:23 a.m. - EMS run to Westport GPD March 6 2:19 p.m. - EMS run to the 300 block of N. Carver Street. 5:15 p.m. - Domestic battery in the 200 block of S. Broadway Street. 5:16 p.m. - Juvenile/incorrigible in the 300 block of N.
- Cougars' season ends in OT It was as heartbreaking as any game could turn out to be. Friday night's outcome in the South Decatur Sectional 60 Semifinal was not the result that the South Decatur boys basketball team had expected. The second half had a championship feel to it, a
- Elementary school celebrates diversity with cartoons GREENSBURG - With soft drinks, popcorn and subtitled cartoons from around the world, Greensburg Elementary School celebrated the diversity of its students. About 200 children and parents gathered in the school's cafeteria Thursday evening for about a
- Beware of rental scam, ISP says Hamilton County - A rental scam utilizing Craigslist has reared its ugly head once again in central Indiana and the State Police want to warn the public to be mindful of their dealings. On Feb. 21, a Plainfield resident answered a Craigslist postin
- Illuminate Ticket Sales Illuminate Ticket Sales Tickets for Illuminate can be purchased at: First Christian Church of Greensburg - contact Alex Sefton Community Churches of Greensburg and Batesville - contact Barry Morton Greensburg Wesleyan Church - contact Doug Preston F
- County schools learn internet safety GREENSBURG - In late February, the Daily News printed an article about North Decatur Elementary School (NDES) students learning internet safety from school counselor Candy Scaggs. The information in that article came from general course materials and
- Expert encourages sustainable farming GREENSBURG - Farmland conservation makes farmers better stewards of the environment -- and can help them lower their costs and produce higher yields, a state conservation expert said. Through the creation of wetlands and watershed structures and focu
- Worship concert “Illuminate” to benefit Kids’ Closet GREENSBURG - The Kids' Closet of Decatur County has announced an upcoming fundraising concert called Illuminate at 6 p.m. on April 12, at the Greensburg Junior High School auditorium. Illuminate will be a worship concert appropriate for all ages. Loc
- More News Headlines
- SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS!!